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Thread: The Wife takes on Chlamydia. A South American Retrospective

  1. #97
    Chiclayo to Cajamarca to Kuelap Ruins

    The north east of Peru from Chiclayo to Cajarmarca to the Kuelap Ruins and the border with Ecuador is most definitely not on the Gringo trail. I was pleased to see virtually no Europeans, nor North Americans. A great chance to only speak Spanish and ride more superb twisty roads and a detour over the mountains around a landslide. The weather was changeable. From dry and arid to lush and green with blue skies to wet and misty.

    Interesting looking cactus growing out of a rock face

    About 30 miles before Cajamarca, there was a big landslide across the road that was being cleared by proper earth moving equipment, but not any time soon. There was a paved 100 mile detour, but I reconed there might be a shorter alternative route over the mountains and as it hadn't rained for a while, probably not too technical on the old Chlym with road biased tyres. Navigation was interesting: Just with the GPS giving me a as the crow flies direction indicator. I came upon this young girl carrying her sister and what's probably the grocery shopping. I'm not sure she had seen a European before. Certainly not one on a motorcycle.

    Her way home. My route.

    Eventually back on the main road

    I think this lady thinks I can't see her!

    Pleasant rural views

    Getting more and more hilly, with more curvy roads

    Occasionally following a river. Weird mossy stuff hanging off the trees

    Happy locals on the way to the Kuelap Ruins

    Kuelap Ruins on the ridge top right, I rode up those serpentines on the far left. And a farmer looking at me, centre right

    The ruins in 2016. Virtually nobody else there. Hard to walk up there with a totally Donald ducked knee. If you're interested in reading more, please check out

    Llama in the mist at the ruins in 2016

    Kuelap in 2001

    Interesting rock carvings

    I think I can guess why it's called the Ancient Fortress of the Cloud Warriors...

  2. #98
    Oh Yes.... Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Oct 2006
    Superb Steve, simply superb & stunning pictures..
    Perfekt ist nicht gut genug.

    UKGSER-A place where I've wasted so much time, learned so much, laughed a lot and cried a few times.

    Every bed of roses has pricks in it!

  3. #99

  4. #100
    Oh Yes.... Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Oct 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Cheers mate.
    Chris (not Steve )
    daft as a brush iz i
    Perfekt ist nicht gut genug.

    UKGSER-A place where I've wasted so much time, learned so much, laughed a lot and cried a few times.

    Every bed of roses has pricks in it!

  5. #101
    Towards the border to Ecuador: A funny encounter

    On the last trip in 2001 I headed more north-eastwards towards Yurimaguas in order to board the first of 3 boats to float down the mighty Amazon from Iquitos to Belen at the Atlantic Ocean. This wasn’t on the cards this time as I had my heart set on visiting Colombia, that I had only briefly touched last time.

    The Amazon story is at including a picture gallery.

    2001 Hammock dwelling on the boats

    The ride from Kuelap to the border with Ecuador at La Balza via Jaen was fun: lovely windy road and very few gringos in sight. The funniest thing was encountering security guards on the road: Brown uniforms with big “Seguridad” written in yellow on the front and back of their uniforms. At the first post (sandbag emplacements, machine guns, shot guns etc) I didn’t see the guy trying to flag me down. 10km later another guard wants me to do a wheelie. 10km later at the third checkpost I stop.

    The actors are matey A, matey B and me. A emerges from the sandbag protected hut to my left, without a gun. B to my right stands with a pump action shotgun at rest. I turn the motor off, shake their hands and exchange pleasantries but keep my helmet on. A starts to explain how he is hungry and has no money. I don’t understand. He continues trying his hardest to explain his plight and that I should donate some money to his lunch fund. Still no entiendo nada. He explains he is security, showing me the writing on his shirt. Sorry mate, I’m just a dumb as fcuk gringo who is totally naďve and knows nothing about anything. I really just don’t understand, sorry. He gets his wallet out and proceeds to demonstrate the lack of anything in it.

    By now I’m losing the will to live (and trying not to laugh out loud), so with a cheerful “Hasta luego” and in one smooth movement I turn on the ignition, kick the bike into gear, twist the throttle and let the clutch out.
    I’m looking very carefully in my mirrors as I ride away, especially to see if B should raise his shotgun in my direction. What I see is A slam his wallet onto the road in mock disgust while B is in hysterics. The encounter made my day!

    The pictures are a bit patchy for this stretch. I was hungry and had miles to do.

    Not only were they putting a gondola system up to Kuelap, but the comms infrastructure was receiving a major boost.

    My Open Street Map mapping software on the Garmin 60csx was playing silly buggers, so I had to look at my paper map and follow road signs. Quelle horreur!

    Hope her rug doesn't tear, otherwise there would be a long roll down the hill

    Drying crops on the road

    Not blessed with the best chances in life

    Intrigued locals en route

  6. #102
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post

    Top 3 bikes: Toby Price, Australia (KTM) - Stefan Svitko, Slovakia (KTM) - Pablo Quintanilla, Chile (Husqvarna = rebadged KTM)

    A happy Aussie!
    I'm now into quoting myself....

    As we know the 2018 Dakar finished a couple of days ago. My Dakar pictures are from 2016 when I watched the second half of the race live in Bolivia and Argentina. While browsing YouTube recently I came across this video about Toby Price who won in '16 and came third this year. Well worth 38 minutes of your life. He seems to be a solid and sound guy.

  7. #103
    Here's a map of my route through Ecuador. It's a bit straight on-ish but I was in a hurry to reach Colombia and Ecuador has probably had the most "development" of all South American countries in the past 15 years, so was least interesting for me. Also the bag of sh!t now 4 or 5 month old Progressive shock required yet more attention, which combined with their even more useless customer "service" meant I was focused on workshops rather than local people, roads and landscapes.

  8. #104
    Southern Ecuador

    The border crossing was pretty painless, especially the formalities leaving Peru. A bridge across the river helped. in 2001 I was told there wasn't one. Just a canoe. Entering Ecuador was a bit long winded, particularly because the Ecuadorian customs chappie had to dictate my vehicle details over the cell phone to the next (main) border crossing along. And the cell phone signal was tending towards utter useless. That was when they actually answered the phone. But I had time and not far to ride.

    Nice dirt road towards Vilcabamba. Wouldn't have been fun in the wet. Some of the inclines very steep. There are advantages of travelling in the dry season...

    The obligatory selfie heading from the Peru/Ecuador border towards Vilcabamba

    An interesting way to keep a shop mannequin vertical...

    My favourite restaurant in 2001, but now in 2016, outside my budget. Vilcabamba is now tourism central and the currency of the country is the US$. In 2001 I spent a month here recovering from my accident and infected burn on my leg from a r100gs exhaust header pipe. I was operated on in Loja, just up the road.

    Memories from 2001: Poking a snake with a stick. Was it really such a good idea?

    2001: super views

    Vilcabamba central square fountain in 2016

    And in 2001, ditto, but it must have been rebuilt in the intervening years

    2016 Great views between Vilcabamba and Cuenca. But a good idea to stop to take pictures...

    2001: Because if you don't you fall on your ar$e... And it hurts like hell!

    Old, new and hippy

    Dapper shorts

    Tradition clothes still worn as a matter of course

    Counting the takings from a hard day's work. No glasses needed

    Above: Cuenca cathedral in 2016

    Below: Cuenca Cathedral in 2001

    The German Honorary Consul's offices in Cuenca

    The Consul has a good taste in what he sells...

    I liked the lighting for this picture. Aparently Benigno Malo was an Ecuadorian lawyer who died in Cuenca in 1870

    Sleepy downtown central park Cuenca. Including free wifi. Welcome to the 21st Century

    What must these 3 senior gentlemen have seen across their lives?

  9. #105
    North Ecuador: Banos, Quito, Otalvalo and the Equator

    My memory Ecuador was of fooling around trying to get my nearly new Progressive shock fixed yet again. Hence my mood wasn't as good as it could be = less picture taking. I had help from a bike shop owner in Cuenca who lent me the shock off his KLR so I could ride to Quito for Diego Salvador at Race Tech Ecuador to try his best. Catching up with old friend Ricardo Rocco was a highlight.

    I had intended on visiting the Galapagos Islands, but budgetary constraints put paid to that. While waiting for shock parts I visited the pleasant town of Banos, but another trip into the Amazon didn't float my budget either. Looking back at some of my 2001 pictures, below, I should have done...

    Chlym and church

    Pretty scenery

    Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water, and souvenir stalls, Banos

    Same as above

    Great views around Banos. Shame my left knee was so totally damaged I wasn't walking anywhere far, especially not over undulating terrain

    2001 Banos baker kneading dough

    An equator line, although not the main place where I went last time. There was a sign about paying an entry fee and a hut with a man off to the side. But said matie didn't want to come to collect any fee, so I didn't bother to walk over to him to swap dinero for a ticket

    Rubbish selfie

    Otavalo market in 2016, waiting for the gringo tour buses

    Otavalo in 2001: Locals only far and wide

    Sorry about this picture...

    2001 cute kid

    2001 Piggy went to market

    2001 soldiers

    2001 ringing the bells to attract customers

    2001 Zen Buddhism?

    2001 Python in an Amazonian tree trunk

    2001 Scorpion reading Bob Geldof's autobiography

    2001 Amazonian alphabet

    2001 Amazonian shamen with interesting backdrop...

  10. #106
    Oh Yes.... Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Oct 2006
    Loving the updates Chris.
    What an adventure.....

    Perfekt ist nicht gut genug.

    UKGSER-A place where I've wasted so much time, learned so much, laughed a lot and cried a few times.

    Every bed of roses has pricks in it!

  11. #107

  12. #108
    Colombia route map

    Here's couple of maps of my route through Colombia. Even the main Panamerica is well worth the ride

  13. #109
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Feb 2012
    Nice R/R Chris,
    Liked the R/R Mongolia one aswell,which I read on Adv,then realised your the same person...!!!
    Cheer,s Mike.

  14. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by crumbles View Post
    Nice R/R Chris,
    Liked the R/R Mongolia one aswell,which I read on Adv,then realised your the same person...!!!
    Cheer,s Mike.

    Happy that you like this and the Mongolian RR. Have you read the Siberian one in the link in my signature?

    Best wishes!

  15. #111
    Colombia, From border with Ecuador to Cali, shock and campesino problems around my 50th birthday

    I think I mentioned previously that during my 2001 South American trip on the Wife I only briefly touched down in Cartagena and Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast while my bike was in transit from Panama to the Guayaquil dockyard in Ecuador. Hence I didn't really visit Colombia at all. Then there were alleged problems involving FARC and ELN "rebels", supported by the indigenous farmers, in Spanish "campesinos". In mid 2016 things were safer, but the inbred and alcohol fueled campesinos are still alive, well and causing havoc. I had the displeasure of meeting some.

    I also crossed the Ecuador/Colombia border twice as my useless "Progressive: The only thing more inept than the product is their customer service" shock needed another rebuild in Quito at Diego Salvador's of Racetech Ecuador.

    In June 2016 I had my 50th birthday. It didn't end up as planned after the Cali "friends" of a biking acquaintance were unable to let me stay at their gaff: I had previously been invited and they knew of my big 5-O. The reason: If I was going to drink a beer on a working week (on a Thursday night, on my 50th birthday and I had no job!!), then I couldn't stay. Can't say I was bothered about not meeting them. I did however get to meet the bloke in the shop below their apartment: A pleasant and helpful chap who had lived for 10 years in Bath, England prior to being deported as an illegal immigrant. He allowed me to use his phone to call the grumpys as they struggled to answer my WhatsApp messages. Probably too busy working...

    This is what I wrote on my Facebook page on my 50th birthday in response to messages received. I couldn't write better myself today...

    MANY THANKS FOR THE BIRTHDAY WISHES! What a way to spend the day before and morning of my 50th birthday! Apologies for not being able to reply to the many and heartfelt wishes from you all. Just spent the last 24 hours: noon yesterday to noon today, negotiating burning tyres, chopped down trees and railings across the highway, so much broken glass and obnoxious, drunk, neanderthal indigenous "striking" peasants' road blocks between Popayan and Cali. Only one puncture (d!ckhead with knife slashed it) and a big stick to my head (crash helmets do have their uses!). He and his mate: Both will get what's coming to them, I'm sure! The next flood/landslide/outbreak of dysentery has their names on it. Found a hotel last night full of truckers who have been stuck there for 11 days. Managed to pass all the blockades with some luck and a lot of bullsh!t. They were so stupid they believed my fake sob stories I'm most definitely not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome... Strongly believe it's now beer o'clock!

    At the border into Colombia. DIAN is "Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales" = Colombian Customs. The Customs man explained what to do (I said I had done it one already a few days previously...) and I was sent to take an imprint of the Chlym's chassis number on the headstock using his plastic tape. A highly responsible job only entrusted to responsible, mature individuals! Appearances can be so deceptive

    First I rubbed the area with duplicating paper ink and the stuck the tape on it. This was then transferred (very carefully) onto a random piece of paper (I mean "official customs document") that was soon to disappear onto a huge pile of similarly pointless reasons for the depletion of the Amazonian rain forest. So, you could say I'm in the Customs Cartel

    Taking the mick. Guilty as charged. As I was taking so long taking daft selfies, the customs ossifer came out to see what was taking so long...

    Very little traffic. I wasn't sure why. I was to work it out later on.

    The road got twisty and very scenic.

    More scenic scenery on the Panamericana.

    I took this picture from outside the panaderia where I had just bought breakfast having stayed the night in Pasto. I got fuel from the only station that was still open (rationed to 20 litres per vehicle: not a problem for a bike). The transporters weren't getting through because of the blockaded roads north of here. I attempted to head eastwards into the jungle.

    I didn't make far: The shocker cacked out after about 100 km and I was forced to return to Pasto with the bike in the back in a truck. The guys who picked me up were really cool dudes. 6 of us lifted the bike 5 feet up onto the loading bay. And they wanted no money from me for the ride...

    Previously, I (briefly) considered changing my surname to Broaster and flogging fried chickens, but somebody else had already had the same idea!

    Colombia is very green...

    My shocker wasn't up to easy gravel road

    Plenty of time to take pictures.

    Now back on the main highway after re-visiting Diego in Ecuador. Getting my puncture fixed after Dicky McDickface knifed it. Penknife guy's face genuinely looked like a scrotum!

    I had passed Popayan and had my "incident" with the effin' peasants and had also just negotiated a rainstorm. My mood wasn't good. I was my 50th tomorrow. This is in front of the hotel mentioned in the Facebook post above. Full of truckers (at least their vehicles/ produce weren't burnt or vandalised) next to an empty gas station. They hadn't had any petrol or diesel for over a week.

    Not interested in any intellectual chit chat...

    Fuel was available from this street-side seller. At 3 x the official price. But he did have a captive audience. Literally: the road was blocked behind me by my knife wielding mates and all sorts carnage to come ahead.

    The glittering clear, green and brown stuff in the foreground is glass. The yellow things are roadside railing. First thing in the morning there were very few camp-p!ssed-up-inos as they were sleeping off their brave hangovers.

    Bikes were getting through and with help from some normal Colombians I got my bike through with only taking the windscreen off. Every few miles I stopped and did a full tyre inspection and used the screwdriver on my Leatherman to dig out bits of embedded glass.

    This truck wasn't so lucky as the guys in my hotel last night. The road may be blocked, but the (American) sidewalk/ (English) pavement isn't.

    This was the end of the troubles for me and the start of the real Colombia: That is friendly people, super views and great riding.

    Lots of bikes and non-moving south bound buses.

    On my 50th birthday saying hello at the famous Asturias bike shop in Cali. Time to find a hotel (with AC... Things had well and truly warmed up) and buy a beer (or 5). Watching Copa America footy (English)/soccer (American) on the TV, sitting on plastic garden furniture outside an off-licences English) a.k.a liquor store (American). Eating a take away pizza from next door. Chatting to locals when not reading my guide book, trying to plan my Colombian adventure.

  16. #112
    Armenia and the Coffee Triangle. One of the reasons I came to Colombia

    Apologies for the lack of Wife/ BMW R100gs pictures and comparisons with 2001. As mentioned, in 2001 I only briefly touched down by air on the north coast of Colombia while the bike took the slow boat from Panama to Ecuador. So from now on it's pretty much only 2016 pictures and impressions of a scabby Gen 1 KLR called Chlamydia

    Having left Cali my blood pressure was allowed to return back towards normal. I was starting to like Colombia. Still loco drivers, but they're like this all over South America and during many years of travel I have more than adapted. If you can't beat them, join them! Possibly I've taught some a few new tricks?

    Armenia is in the coffee growing region of the country. I don't drink coffee, but still. Super scenery, really good riding and pleasant people. And Colombians are motorcycle mad! And chilled. My experiences with the indigenous peasants soon became distant memories and didn't cloud the enjoyment of the country.

    Outside of the towns in Colombia there is still a big army presence, especially at bridges. However I was never stopped or hassled by anyone in uniform.

    Andres, whom I met via the HU Communities hosted me in Armenia. A thoroughly sound bloke. He rides and old Africa Twin and and a new 701 Husabang. His family owns coffee plantations and a wood export business.

    The guys who hung out outside my room door.

    The bike was always safe...

    Salento is a quaint town in the Coffee region near Armenia. As we know, Colombia is notorious for one of its export crops. There is also an internal market that people aren't happy about.

    But the women and girls still like to dress up to a demonstration and to dance

    The scenery is wonderful

    Meeting the locals

    The fertile earth allows many plants and flowers to grow

    Including the bird of paradise

    Great hiking and biking country

    Salento is rather pretty. And busy.

    Nobody batted an eyelid at Chlam's presence

    One horse power vehicles are also very popular

    Colombian gaucho. People are also proud and litter is cleared up

    Interesting atire

    Had I had space in my luggage, I would have bought a souvenir

    The world over: Fat blokes in lycra

    Stopping for breakfast en route north out of Armenia at the Bambi Pan bakery. Parked among the fruit and veg stalls in the street.

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