Pano-from-Steel-Horse-Filandia-Filandia-Colombia

Colombia Part 3: Medellin and the Coffee Region

Medellin has been at the back of our minds since we left the States (thanks Narcos, Pablo Escobar, and EVERY damn traveler we’ve met coming north). Needless to say, the bar had been set very high and for very good reason. With stunning views, passionate people, and one of the biggest plates of MEAT (bandeja paisa) you can find anywhere, what was there not to love?! That coupled with the coffee region which is regarded by many to be their favorite region in all of Colombia (mainly due to its beauty, temperate climate, and coffee ALLLLL the coffee). This next leg of the trip was sure to be one of the best!

Arriving in Medellin, we set ourselves up in a nice AirBnB in the Laureles neighborhood, we’re gonna be here for a while. The common theme we heard running into other backpackers (and talking to buddies a head of us) was “Medellin, I could ACTUALLY live there!”. Hmmm well those are some pretty high expectations, we’re going to have to DIG-IN and find out for ourselves! This was evident upon our arrival. Weaving in and out of traffic we got non-stop honks and the occasional “Bienvenidos!”. The people of Medellin were excited to see us!

(more…)

Santa-Cruz-de-Mompox-Colombia-36

Colombia Part 2: Santa Cruz de Mompox and San Gil

Returning from two weeks in the States Mitch was eager to hit the road and get into the depths of Colombia. He was missing the vibrant culture, food, and of course El Tractor (and Antonia, of course!). We had plans to head north retracing some of Justin’s footsteps before heading further up coast towards Punta Gallinas, the northern most point in South America. The horror stories of the man eating sand fleas and the unbearable heat Justin endured must have not sounded enticing and Mitch’s mind was quickly changed. We decided we needed to retreat down to the mountains near Bucaramanga and San Gil, where it would be cooler, and we wouldn’t need three showers a day. We would follow the Rio Magdalena south stopping in Santa Cruz de Mompox before ascending into the mountains. It was game time!

Before we could depart Cartagena, and officially dive into South America, we had a few maintenance items to take care of. We’ve both been running the same tires since we left Denver, some 12,000 miles ago, and our chain and sprocket setup was even older! It was time to treat the girls to some well-deserved maintenance. The guys over at Moto Gangas were a great crew and got us all setup, and had the best selection of motorcycle tires and parts we found in Cartagena. 

(more…)

Taganga-Colombia-1

Colombia Part 1: Escaping the Heat

Landing in Colombia was a world-wind of a journey. Getting the bikes unloaded and through customs was easy and by 3 PM we were free to roam South America! For the first time in the entire trip the team would split up as Mitch had to take care of some business back in Colorado (golfing, wedding, and drinking an IPA or two were on the docket).  A vacation from his vacation? Probably not…With so many people to see and “activities” to do there was a high probably of burn out…retired life can be so stressful sometimes! Oh well! It could be a worse ;). With the Captain of the Wildcard hooking Mitch up with a place to store the KLR for two weeks he was off and Justin was free to roam on his own!

(more…)

Sailing-the-San-Blas-Islands-Wild-Card-Panama-44

Panama: Family Visits and Sailing the San Blas Islands

With two days’ time and 500+ miles to go we really didn’t leave ourselves much time to see anything in Panama except the rolling asphalt underneath our bikes and the impending rain storms above us. It was time for La Tortuga to put on her big girl pants and waddle herself at lightning speed towards Panama City! Mitch’s parents would be arriving and we had big plans to explore the city before heading to the San Blas Islands with Wildcard Sailing. The highlight of the drive was whizzing past our Chilean friend we met at customs. There he was in all his glory, ears flopping all around, tongue dragging in the wind emitting slobber. This was by far the coolest dog either of us will ever meet. Other dogs aspire to be as bad-ass as him. He might as well be the Brad Pitt of dogs swooning bitches from one dog park to another. He had traveled from Chile up to Costa Rica, and now back down all while lounging in the comforts of his companion’s sidecar. What a boss!

(more…)