Day 53 – Popayan, Colombia to Ibarras, Ecuador

Another amazing day – congratulations Colombia!!
Morning was a little wet but then we started climbing up and up and up and around and around around!
The scenaries were breathtaking and as you thought you´d seen the most beautiful scenery ever, you see another one that surpasses them all. Incredible.
Then we hit the border… well… no border… no one stopped us so we just kept going… the customs guy just waived us through and no one asked for any documentation. We might run into some problems leaving Ecuador but we´ll just have to find out 🙂
We rode for another hour or so and then Marc suddenly stopped – he was in desperate need to use the men´s room… the place was colorful and lit up by neon signs… girls walking around… you do the math… I took a look around while Marc was doing his business… US$40 for the full monty… geees…
Further down the road we saw two or three more similar establishments.
We are now in a hotel that was recommended by a Colombian guide book we bought in Bogota – El Conquistador – no girls here – hehehe
The connection is dial-up – 36kbps – yes – the computer dial a phone number, you hear that fax machine noise and then you are connected… I think the last time I used a dial up was back in 1998! So no videos or photos tonight – I honestly don´t know when we´ll get a good connection now.
Tomorrow morning we´ll go by Quito – Marc´s start button is not working – I´m getting a good workout pushing his bike to jump start it 🙂 It stopped working today, worked for a couple more times and now it´s not working again.
After Quito we really don´t know where we´re going to sleep since it will all depend on how long it will take to fix the bike and what recommendations we get there. Hopefully I will have some connectivity at the dealer to at least upload the photos. The video usually takes about 4 hours to upload… and today´s video will be a little long I think just because the views were soooo great!

From Motorcycle NY to SP

Day 52 – Manizales to Popoyan

A LOT of miles today – made up for the relatively small amount of miles we did yesterday.

This morning coming out of Manizales I was ecstatic with the road and the scenery – Colombia is one of the prettiest so far in my opinion – it’s lush, mountainous, well kept and great people.
On a more inappropriate note, I’ve heard several times that the Colombian women are the prettiest in the world, something that I have not attested to just yet. Not really fair to judge on just a few days in the country and not really knowing where to go. One thing we can attest to is that, well, there is something in the water here that makes girls grow quite large breasts! Seriously – quite curious. No photos – sorry 🙂
Going back to the riding – another great day riding – NO rain today and LOTS of attention from the locals – they simply love the big bikes and also LOVE the GPS of all things 🙂
Getting into Popoyan a car pulled up offering his help – he’s a biker as well and led us to the hotel we had found earlier on the internet – Dan Monastero – another very nice hotel!
Here’s the video with more info – seems like I am repeating myself on the video and text here:

Day 51 – Medellin to Manizales

Another WOW day of riding… but first we went to the BMW dealer to get Marc’s bike which had brand new tires on.

Leaving Medellin we took a wrong turn but looking at the GPS it seemed like an OK deviation.
Turned out to be a very long route and off-road for the most part.
It was a lot of fun and gorgeous mountain views – truly a privilege to be able to drive through these roads.
It also meant very slow progress towards Armenia, our original destination though.
Once we got back on the highway the roads continued to be winding and amazingly beautiful.
We got some rain but not that bad – we were more worried about getting to a larger town before it got dark.
We ended up in Manizales, which is not too far from Armenia. We never saw so many motorcycles shops in one town! We stopped at a shop which had the exact same bike that Marc has and started talking to the owner – he was closing shop so he took us to a hotel – just like yesterday – which I just realized I didn’t write about yesterday.
When we got to Medellin Marc pulled over to see if he could find the BMW dealer – Ruta 40. A cab driver was trying to figure out where the address was when I looked down the street and saw it right there!! We drove up to it and being 7 at night we didn’t expect to find anyone there but to our surprise they were there!! Very cool guys – Mauricio Gallo – the owner even took us to a hotel he recommended after we left Marc’s bike at the shop so that it could be serviced first thing in the morning 🙂

New feature today – Marc found this very cool site called where you can upload the data of the GPS – very cool – hit the play button to see how different our speed was on the dirt road vs. the paved road 🙂 Don’t know why it says that the trip duration was of 11 hours though…

Nov 21

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Day 50 – Bogota to Medellin

Great roads today – tons and tons of winding mountain roads – made for a long day though – from around 11am to 7pm riding pretty much non-stop.
This morning we were on a quest to find tires for Marc’s bike since the planned ones in Medellin did not arrive. We tried to call and locate the BMW dealer in Bogota with no success so we went for it and were going to try our luck in Medellin.
On the way out of town we pass in FRONT of BMW dealer AND they had tires for his bike!! We bought them immediately, strapped them on to Marc’s bike and headed out of town through some serious traffic.

From Motorcycle NY to SP

The “highway” just outside of Bogota was quite small to the point where we thought we were on the wrong route – but as a local motorcyclist said – follow the trucks, which the call “mulas” or donkeys – and you’ll get to Medellin.
Then we started hitting the mountains! Very very cool roads. TONS of trucks but it’s actually fun to overtake them. We went through 3 passes, i.e., up and down mountain roads. Very cool… I was “in the zone” with the the bike and all the turns 🙂
There were quite a few mud slides along the way and one accident which along they way which we overtook by going along the side of the road around a police car… in the process Marc’s front tire slid into a groove and his bike got stuck… then all of the sudden we were
surrounded by people who all lifted the bike up and got it out of the groove! It was great! Thanks guys! Or should I thank little Jose, big Jose, and Jose’s son, like Marc did in an earlier post.
We got to Medellin a little later than we had hoped (dark) but it all looked kosher – it ALL looks very safe here actually – there are tons of military personnel on the road – makes you feel very safe – plus everyone tells us that the situation is very much under control here
in Colombia.
Medellin looks great – my first impression is that it’s much better than Bogota – let’s see what the nightlife has to offer.
By the way, we went to Harry’s Bar last night – one of the places that were recommended the most to us – and it definitely was worth it.
Reminded us of Sao Paulo actually – very nice food and ambience.

By the way number 2 – lost my sunglasses and my good set of earphones broke – again. Have an extra pair of sunglasses and of earphones… but really liked the ones I had 🙁 I’m pretty sure I lost them when we got into Bogota – I had them hanging from my shirt and then went into the cab and put the seatbelt on – that must’ve knocked it out of place…

From Motorcycle NY to SP

Day 49 – Bogota – back on the bikes!

What a long day! 

We went to the airport at 11am and finished the process at 7pm!! 
First the cargo company had to cancel some paperwork that said that the bikes were going to be nationalized and create the paperwork for them as personal vehicles in transit.  
In the meantime we had to go from the warehouse to the customs to find out what the process was!! No one the entire day seemed to know what they were supposed to do or what the process was but at least this time we went by car. It is about a 10 minute walk between the warehouse and the customs offices – not to mention that every time we went to the warehouse they wanted us to open up our bags, patted us down and got our IDs.
Back at the warehouse we had to wait for the entire airplane to be unloaded to then get some papers so that we could go back to customs again – walking this time. 
Then a fee popped up – some handling fee! 
We were outraged since we already had paid a fortune for this service in Panama. 
After some back and forth they gave us a small discount – but we had to pay something anyway. 
Off we went to customs then back with two very nice and flirtatious customs ladies who inspected our bikes at the warehouse – by car 🙂
Back to the customs we got more paperwork done, photocopies, and then cleared our papers with the cargo inspectors next to the customs office. 
We thought we were in the clear and happily walked back to the warehouse where we found out that there was yet another inspection that had to be done by a cargo inspector – there were 2 of them in the warehouse. But I had to go back to customs to request an authorization for them to inspect the bike.
By this time I was fuming… charged to the customs building and got them to come to inspect the bikes… 
Back to the warehouse we waited for another eternity for them to fill out paperwork and so on. 
UFF!! So now we were clear to get the bikes out of the warehouse.
“Where is your truck?” 
“What truck!? We’re driving the motorcycles out of here!”
“Oh… don’t know how we’re going to get them down from the loading docks…”
We ended up having to maneuver them through the lobby and down some stairs… it was actually kind of fun 🙂
Our plans to leave Bogota today didn’t go through so we’re back at the same hotel… it’s a record for us in this trip – 3 nights in the same hotel!! 
Tomorrow off to Medellin!!

From Motorcycle NY to SP


Thought it was appropriate to post this image for all those “Anonymous” comments on the blog 🙂 It’s a bar in Zona T of Bogota… 

Day 49 – Bogota

Still waiting for the bikes… they were supposed to have been here this morning but due to some weather problems the plane landed at 9am instead of 3am… and they will only know if the bikes were actually shipped around 2pm!


Day 48 – Bogota

So the bikes were not shipped last night so staying another day in

Going to do some tourism around town…

We went to eat at Casa Vieja – a restaurant with regional food – quite tasty – and then walked around the historic part of town called Candelaria. The weather cleared up a little so we took a cable car up to Montserate – which I wonder if the word come from serrated mountain or mountain with fog – anyone?

And here are the photos:

From Motorcycle NY to SP

At night we went out to meet a friend of a friend of Marc’s and had a beer at a local spot in the Center of town… we then went to Zona G looking for Harry’s Bar but no one knew where it was (very strange) and then we went to Zona T where all the bars and restaurants are to grab a bite to eat… Tuesday night so not too much going on… 

Day 47 – Panama City to Bogota

Uff – long day – started out very well with a great breakfast at the hotel then we went straight to the cargo terminal to see about shipping the bikes today through Servi Carga who were a LOT nicer and more helpful that GIRAG and Copa…
Let’s see if it actually gets put on a plane tonight… we’ll have confirmation only tomorrow.
We spent the entire day at the cargo area packing up the bikes and doing the paperwork.
We then went to the passenger terminal and got on the flight to Bogota, Colombia – which we were lucky to get on since the flight was full!
The plane was delayed to depart due to “operational” problems and then because one of the passengers wasn’t feeling well… the captain asked if there was a doctor on board and there was… once the doctor looked at the passenger we finally took off.
The entire plane had a good laugh when the captain explained that the passenger was fit to fly and another passenger said “El tenia calor!” – the guy was hot!
In any case – arrived in Bogota after an hour and tried to decide where to stay – near the airport or in Zona T – a recommendation by a friend of a friend – we got a very nice taxi driver – Alvaro – who very patiently took us around and around and around.
Zona T’s hotels were booked… the hotels near the center of town were pretty bad… so we went all the way back to the hotels near the airport, which were ok…
Uff 🙂