Thursday, March 16, 2006

Motorcycle diaries

Mike Jacobs just finished a motorcycle trip from his home in Black Forest to Tierra del Fuego on the southern tip of Argentina. Now he's riding back.
He's keeping a great
online journal.

Some of the choice entries I found in a quick glance include this one:

Ride from Popayan to Ipicles, Colombia

Welcome to Switzerland without the snow. My partner Luis agreed the country side and the views were Switzerland. Only the buildings were Latin America.

Most of the towns were picturesque with different color row houses and shacks.

Interesting sights and events were
1. Beautiful waterfalls;
2. Riding the mountain ridge line and overlooking two deep valleys by just turning my head 180 degrees,
3. Seeing bicyclists hitching rides up the hills by hanging on the tailgates
4. Rivers far below in the valley.
5. Meeting an Italian bicyclist riding from Mexico to Peru. At the time he was repairing his inner tube.
6. Washing the bike for about on hour.
7. Finding an altitude of almost 11,000 feet where it was 62’F.
8. Changing temperature from 100° F to 53° F in Ipicles.
9. Challenging the army on a bridge! The army has soldiers stationed at most bridges in Colombia. On a very long bridge I stopped in the middle to take a photo. The soldiers at both ends started waving at me and were coming at me. I took my photo, and started rolling again and showed the camera as I blew past the guard. He waved back.

From Popayan to Ipicles, Colombia was another fabulous ride through the mountains. The road was mostly maintained but had about 100 miles of needed repair.

I bottomed out the kickstand once. Also was very careful on the mud covered spots in the road.

Guards about every twenty or more miles.

We bargained the Hotel Mayasquer ‘down from $20 pp to $ 10 pp. This hotel is 300 feet from the Ecuador border and we walked it. It is a Travelodge and we were the only guests. They locked up our bikes in a garage attached to the hotel so we could walk to them inside. Address Avenida Paramedical Km 3 Via Rumichoca,phone 7734062,

Luis found out he needs a visa to get into Ecuador. Tomorrow will find out his entry.

Note 1. Technical
Popayan has two Kawasaki dealers. I know this because stopped I stopped at the first and Asked for a speedometer cable. They called the second one and within minutes I had a replacement delivered to me. Cost $ 8. Try that in the U.S.

Note 2. Army guards and police.

I drive by all checkpoints at about 60 mph while also passing cars and trucks who slow down for them. So far all I get is a wave, thumbs up, or a whiplash head turn.

This has been my practice in all countries.

So far, no high speed chases or gunfire.

There are no speed limits for motorcycles. They figure most bikes can’t speed.

Also motorcycles do not pay tolls in Colombia. There is a special 2-foot-wide bypass with ropes at both ends.

Miles: 215
Food $1, gas $6, lodging $10

By the way, I don't have any pictures of Jacobs on his motorcycle, (the one above is an actor portraying Che Guevara) But you can see pictures of Jacobs here.

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