Day 341 / Natagaima-Villavieja, Colombia / 40 miles (Total 8170)
I feel so alive while touring. Words cannot describe the feeling of being deep into a new country and never knowing whats around the next corner. Always expecting the best and accepting the worse.
Today we crossed over Colombia’s largest river (the Magdalena river) and rode through the Tatacoa desert. The Tatacoa Desert or “Sadness Valley”, is the second largest arid zone in Colombia. The headwinds were strong, the road was rough and it was hot as hell. It was inspiring to ride a road so untraveled and secluded. What would take an hour on a smooth road to ride, took us all afternoon in the desert.
Anja riding ahead, while Marko and I drop back to enjoy the morning and some photo time. This was a perfect morning where I wish all my friends and family were riding beside me. Nothing beats a morning ride like this. Wish you all were here to experience this moment. Miss you all.
I’m sure your all sick of the mountain photos by now, but their just to surreal not to be in the blog. Enjoying the green mountains while it was still around today.
Always sad to see.
These hawks are everywhere. Throughout the day you can hear them screaming high in the sky. Siting still long enough for a photo.
We made our detour off the highway and onto a nice back road where we would catch a boat to ferry across Colombia’s largest river. We made it just in time for the next crossing. We loaded the bikes, paid the .50 cents and made our way across the fast-moving river.
I was out first and grabbed the camera for an action photo. On this side of the river things changed real fast.
A sketchy bridge to cross before the fun begins
Always a few funny looks from the locals, but most of the time it’s thumbs up. There are moments on this trip where it really hits me hard that I’m in new lands. This was one of those moments. A fun dirt road that led us through a tiny little village.
More cotton fields with some hard-working Colombians. No machinery to do the hard work for them. They are out in the blazing heat with no complaints.
Even small empty fields caught my eye today.
This gave me a good laugh. Colombians love their faith and cerveza. Poker beer and Mary hanging out on the same block.
We turned the corner out of the small village and the landscape opened up. We started far back where the mountains start. No signs or signs of life out here. Mmmm which road to take?
Changing the music for something that fits the scenery. The road was rough enough to knock my panniers off every once in a while. The wind blow hard enough to hold us back and kick dust into our face all afternoon. Did it bother me? Not for a second. Loving every moment of this adventure.
Mountains far off in the distance.Camera fully zoomed in to grab the details.
Everyone should ride through a desert once in their life. Something fills you up, yet empty’s your thoughts at the same time.
A shrine in the middle of nowhere. I was ahead of Marko and Anja and didn’t notice that they eventually disappeared out of my view. I sat here for a while and took in the silence till they showed up as little specks far away in the distance.
The heat was getting to them, so they took a break for a while to gain back some energy. It was fun to watch them slowly make their way through the desert road.
The road, heat and wind beat us down all afternoon, but we pushed on to the town of Villavieja.
We made it to Villavieja late in the afternoon and it felt like I was hit by a truck. I was starving and dehydrated to the point I was almost sick. We had another 5 kilometers to ride to the campground and the thought of pedaling onward made me quiver. The best part of riding with others is you feed off them and vise versa. I wanted to call it a night and grab a hotel room in town, but I saw how determined they were to push on. A quick snack and I was back in the game. Back out-of-town and we head east into more of no mans land. More hills to climb and wind to fight all the way to the campground. Once we were in view of the campground the views turned into a completely new world. Amazing!
A hot dog like this will give you the boost you need to put on another 5 kilometers after a hard day. For 0.70 cents, it filled me up and was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.
We turned a corner and I had no clue this kind of view was involved. Kind of took me by surprise. Almost a miniature version of the Badlands. Even better, we could camp at a locals house just a few feet from this place. For $2.50 we received a chunk of land, an incredible shower and unreal views for the night.
Good to be out camping again
Marko and Anja’s home for the last 10 months when the’re not in a hotel. Hilleberg makes a great tent.
We made it to the campground and I was dehydrated to the point of being nausea. I filtered my water bottles and ended up drinking almost 4 litters of water and a bottle of Gatorade in two hours. That did the trick, I was back to my normal self. I set my tent under a little shelter, so I didn’t have to put my fly up. Had some good ventilation and a perfect spot to do some star-gazing at night. A great spot to put the tent up. Made up some egg,cheese and tomato sandwiches for dinner and watched the sun go down.
The locals from Mexico to Colombia have no problems drinking their own tap water, but a foreigner will more than likely get sick. This is probably one of the best purchases I made for touring. The Sawyer water filter has saved me more money then I could imagine. If I were to buy my water, it would run me around $3.00 per day. Plus you’re not wasting plastic bottles day in and day out. It’s as simple as it gets. Fill the bag, add the attachment and squeeze the bag. The process is simple, but time-consuming. Filling 4 litters of water will take around 20 minutes. Here I came up with a simple solution. Grab a plastic bag, punch a few holes and let gravity do the work. By the time I’m done filtering, I have all my photos uploaded and sorted through for the day. More multi-tasking.
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