Day 345 – A long day to San Agustin

Day 345 / Timana-San Agustin, Colombia / 35 miles (Total 8340)

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My aunt Sharon always reminded me to stop and smell the flowers on my first tour. Well aunt Sharon, I stop to smell the flowers and to pet the puppy’s. Always taking my time to enjoy the day.

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I would call him ET if he was mine and make a special handlebar bag for him and we would tour the world together – Just a thought. His little butt was wagging so fast that he couldn’t walk a straight line.

We packed up the tents and had another early morning start. The sun just started to rise as we hit the asphalt for another great day in Colombia. Today I was in no hurry to get to San Agustin, so I rode slow all day and enjoyed the views. Marko and Anja pulled ahead and I wouldn’t see them for the rest of the day. San Agustin is a small tourist town with plenty of things to do and see. I wasn’t to worried about getting into town late. After some research I found out the town is full of hotels and places to camp.

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A very nice family that chatted with me during my lunch break. When I run out of Spanish I will show some photos on the road. They were amazed at the Redwood forest. I asked for a photo and the daughter ran in the house to gather everyone in the family.

As I made my way out of the town where we stayed, I turned off the Gps and turned on the music. Today would be filled with the usual hill climbing and heat, so I poked along and made plenty of stops throughout the day.

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Random photo to my right.

The higher I climbed today the more intense the views became. Some spots had me fighting to leave. I wanted to throw the tent up at so many places and relax the day away. My saddlebags were empty of food and I was running out of water, so I kept climbing towards San Agustin. With my gps turned off I really have no clue how much elevation I climbed today, but I would guess around another 3000 ft. The road was nice for the entire day. Only a few stretches where the road was a challenge with a steep grade.

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Coming down a hill and the view opened up to this! Speechless. I don’t think views get any better than this.

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The start of the hill climb to San Agustin.

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Seeing a face in the rock. It might be the altitude getting to me or maybe i’m just starting to lose my marbles

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The hill kept climbing and the views keep getting better.

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No guard rail and a long ways down.

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Still climbing

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I can’t even imagine the work involved in making this road. Looking back

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Almost into San Agustin and I took a long break here. Very little traffic today and a picture perfect view.

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Waterfalls far off in the distance. What a great ride today. Hard, but well worth it.

It started to get late in the day, so I made my finale push into San Agustin. As I rolled into town around 4:00 pm, dark storm clouds covered the town and an intense downpour started. All the camping was on the opposite end of town. A few kilometers away and all up a very steep side road. Most of the campgrounds charge around 10,000 pesos, so I took a long shot to see how much a hotel room was. The first hotel I looked into was amazing and probably out of my budget. I walked in soaking wet and the lady behind the counter grabbed me a hot coffee to warm up. She told me a room was 20,000 pesos and that was too much for a long stay in San Agustin. I finished my coffee and thanked her and started to walk outside. The lady followed me out and saw my bike. She asked how long I have been riding for and I told her 11 months on the road. She smiled and offered a room for 15,000. Then a nice elderly man came out of the hotel, gave me 3,000 pesos and told me to get the room for 12,000. I couldn’t pass that up. A very nice room with a private bathroom and a hot shower for $6.00. I ended up getting even a better deal for staying a few days. Ended up paying $20.00 for 4 nights. Glad I picked this hotel, every night around 7:00 pm it would start down pouring rain and wouldn’t stop for hours. Time to relax and do a little sightseeing.

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The last push into San Agustin and I’m ready for a couple of days off the bike.


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Day 344 – A contagious smile

Day 344 / Gigante – Timana, Colombia / 55 miles (Total 8305)

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I told myself, no mountain photos today. I want to show a different view of Colombia besides the beautiful mountains. Well, that lasted maybe 2 hours. Small ponds and lakes filled the grassland to my right, reflecting the near by tress and mountains

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Roads like this always brings me back to why I love to ride. Trees overlapping each other high above the road giving off peaceful feeling. Colombia offers plenty of these tranquila (quiet) roads.

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If mudslides weren’t bad enough, you can add giant boulders to the fear factor. There is a stretch of road on highway 45 for about two miles that will make your mind think the worse. Large boulders and rocks litter the highway with recent falls that came tumbling down from high up. It looked like at any minute and new boulder would come crashing down if someone sneezed loud. This wouldn’t wreck your day, but probably wreck your life. I was glad to get past this stretch of asphalt.

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These are Colombian grapes called uvas. Wherever traffic slows down on a highway here, you can expect locals selling anything from sodas to fruits and vegetables. Vehicles will slow down, roll down their window and do a quick exchange (sometimes they don’t even come to a stop).   This is a great time to try something new. Usually the prices are amazing when its something locally grown.  I grabbed this bag for 1 mil Colombian pesos, around .50 cents. I always love trying new fruit out here and believe me, I have a lot more to try. I took my first bite, the skin of the grape is very thin and peels off with ease. Then the taste explodes in your mouth, leaving behind a small seed or two to spit out. Imagine a tasty grape juice drink, take that flavor and roll it into a ball and you have a uva. A great handlebar bag treat to snack on during the day

Always a good ride when you have to pull over and stretch your neck from rubber-necking it. Steep colorful cliffs enhancing the roadside view

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I stopped at this little shop to grab a snack and the girl in the middle was wide-eyed when I pulled in. She came right up and introduced herself with a smile that was contagious. When I told her I was from Estados Unidos (United States) she told me to wait for a second and that’s all it took. She ran full speed to her house and was back in seconds with a notepad. She started to talk/ask questions in English with great pronunciation. She was glowing with happiness, so I sat down and we talked away in English. Her mom brought me out a cold coke and I drank it while she asked for help with certain words. I had to sneak this photo of the lady’s, cause when I mentioned the word photo the little girl glowed a different color of shyness.

These rock walls are everywhere when you ride through flat country in Colombia. They stretch for as far as the eye can see and give off an wild west feeling.

These rock walls are everywhere when you ride through flat country in Colombia. They stretch for as far as the eye can see and give off a wild west feeling.

The Rio Suaza giving me an afternoon surprise. I had no clue that the views would open up to such an amazing landscape.

The Rio Suaza giving me an afternoon surprise. I had no clue that the views would open up to such an amazing landscape.

A fast hill descent around a sharp corner and my brakes were locked up when I saw this.

A fast hill descent around a sharp corner and my brakes were locked up when I saw this.

Enjoying

Some fun roads to ride today. I came screaming around the switchback with speed and loud yelling.

A fun road to ride today. I came screaming around the switchback with speed and loud yelling.

 

Whenever traffic was a little backed up due to a slow moving semi, I just pulled over anywhere and you could pick a part of the shoulder that offered a picture view

Whenever traffic was a little backed up due to a slow-moving semi, I just pulled over anywhere. It didnt matter where I pulled over there was always a great view.

While mom and dad where searching for crab in the river, she was all about playing in the water

While mom and dad where searching for crab in the river, she was all about playing in the water

I rolled into town after a hot, sweaty hill climb and I was in no rush to hunt down a hotel room. As I walked into the town park Marko and Anja was enjoying the day in a new town. I was riding slow today, enjoying the views, talking to the locas and taking photo. Marko and Anja rode ahead of me most the day and we agreed to meet back up in Timana.

I rolled into town after a hot, sweaty hill climb and I was in no rush to hunt down a hotel room. As I walked into the town park, Marko and Anja was enjoying the afternoon in a new town. I was riding slow today, enjoying the views, talking to the locals and taking photo. Marko and Anja,  pedaled ahead of me most the day and we agreed to meet back up in Timana.

It is such a different and unique feeling touring other countries. The small things can blow you away like this statue in the park center. I really doubt you will see a statue like this in the United Sates. A female indian warrior with a decapitated head in her hand. Love it

It is such a different and unique feeling touring other countries. The small things can blow you away like this statue in the park center. I really doubt you will see a statue like this in the United Sates. A naked female warrior with a decapitated head in her hand. Love it

We made our way to a nice city park where we could camp for free A perfect place to set a tent with outlets, bathroom and showers. Plus we even had our own spectator crew. I cleaned the Mother Trucker while Marko and Anja filtered water. It must have been real interesting, cause we were putting on a show for 7-0 kids at a time.

We made our way to a city park where we could camp for free. A perfect place to set a tent with outlets, bathroom and showers. Plus we even had our own spectator crew. I cleaned the Mother Trucker, while Marko and Anja filtered water. It must have been real interesting, cause we were putting on a show for 7-0 kids at a time.

There is always room and time for a soccer game.

There is always room and time for a soccer game.

Pitched the tent under a little lean-to, so I didnt have to bother with the fly again. A nice cool night up at 4,000 ft. We were all beat again after climbing over 4200 ft Just another days ride in Colombia. Getting pretty use to putting in hard days now. Minnesota is going to feel like a kiddie playground when I get back home.

Pitched the tent under a little lean-to, so I didn’t have to bother with the fly again. A cool night up at 4,000 ft. We were all feeling tired again after climbing over 4200 ft, just another days ride in Colombia. Getting use to putting in hard days now. Minnesota is going to feel like a kiddie playground when I get back home.


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Day 343 – A little Jim time

Day 343 / Campoalegre-Gigante, Colombia / 35 miles (Total 8250)

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Walked out of the hotel and this rainbow was the center of attention this morning. It was a lot bigger, but I was too busy filling my mouth at the bakery to take a photo.

Today, we planned on a short easy day with only 35 miles to the next decent size town. Hahaha, forgot I was in Colombia. The first 20 mile of the ride was up and down easy hills, then came a good push of a few miles uphill. Soon as the steep hill started, the sun decided to come out of hiding and give us a good sweat. I received a sunburn even with a t-shirt on, some powerful rays down here.

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Don’t forget to look behind you on tour. This view made my jaw drop and gave me a big-o-smile.

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About 5 minutes later I looked behind again and the scenery was still amazing.

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Reflection photo

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Stopped here after a few miles of climbing uphill. Nice to have great views when a hill is beating you down

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Road warriors

Made it to Gigante and grabbed the cheapest hotel at $10.00. The other hotels are very expensive and I was happy with the one we got. Quiet and off the main road for a good night sleep. The shower was freezing cold and felt great on my Sun burnt back. Took a walk into the small town and today I wish I could have been invisible. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very blessed for being on this trip, but someday’s are a little overwhelming. As I walked down the street people got close enough to be in my personal bubble and stare at me with an open mouth. I would walk into a store to browse and 2-3 people would follow me around to see what I was looking at. The people working would notice I was in the store and follow as well. Every time I would pick something up, they would grab a plastic bag and try to pack it up for me. No less than two steps behind me the people would watch and stop when I stopped. I know they are just curious on what a gringo buys, but wow, today was ridiculous. I needed a little Jim time, so back to the solitude of the hotel and called it a night.

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The sign says it all after 11 months on the road most of my gear is taped, sewed or zip-tied together. Homeless and happy.


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