" South America "

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!

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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. 

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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!

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Dispatches from the Road

While I wallow in self-pity of sitting at work, Nathan and Tuan are off tackling new adventures. They have safely made it to Santiago, Chile before embarking on a bus ride across the Andes to Mendoza, Argentina to meet their group.

Dispatchs (from newest to oldest):

12) 3/19/15 – Chatted with the guys yesterday a bit. They just got done doing a 9 day circuit through Torres Del Paine. Sadly they had to come out a day early due to some knee issues, but all seems well.

11) 3/7/15 – I spoke with Nate over this morning. They have made their second attempt at Fitz Roy. They tried a 3 day circuit but the weather was poor so came out a day early and then re-did the same hike. This time blue skies and the view looked stunning. Just beautiful. Nate sent me a picture of him taking a polar plunge in the glacial water.

10) 3/2/15 –  Have been bad about updating. I stopped getting text message so I assumed they weren’t using the Deloreme, but I forgot they just stopped that service. They are still being tracked. I Skyped with Nate on Friday night while I was driving down to Wolf Creek chasing some powder. They guys are doing great. They are down in Patagonia about to embark on a 3 day backpacking trip around Fitz Roy.

9) The boys are out and alive!!!! I have seen a few pictures of them on the Glacier and it looks truly badass.

8) 8:40AM Thursday, January 29, 2015 – “Just finished our first practice on the Glacier”

7) 12:07PM Wednesday, January 28, 2015 – “Hello from base camp! 14K ft. Everyone is great and is excited to be at the glacier.”

6) 12:37PM Monday, January 26, 2015 – “Camp 2!!, Home for the next 2 nights. Our view is an 18K mtn”

5) 5:28PM Sunday, January 25, 2015 – “At first camp. About to eat some stirfry!”

4) 6:10PM Saturday, January 24, 2015 – “Just had asado dinner. About to call it a night. Have a wonderful evening.”

3) 11:00AM Saturday, January 24, 2015 – “We are off to Penitentes our final town before starting our trek”

2) 12:95PM Thursday, January 22, 2015 – “Buenos dias from Argentina”

1)  8:51AM Thursday, January 22, 2015 – “Buenos dias from Chile”

 

I will try my best to update as I hear from them.

-Justin