Colombia

Ruta Del Sol

Bucaramanga to Santa Marta | Nov. 28 | 328 miles |

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Smiles and thumbs up abound.. even if they don’t understand why tourists would come to this random place.

Today was our longest day of the tour… and the one with the greatest challenges to both mind and body. Rick had warned me about the weather at the coast. While I sweated through the humidity in Cali, he suggested I get used to it as it’ll be both humid AND hot at the coast. And being on the Caribbean Sea, the temps soared above 30 degrees celsius and into the 200% humid range.

With a 6am breakfast call, the day began before the sun, and ran from the last of mountain valleys and into flat and straight for most of the day. I still couldn’t find any boredom.

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Latitude: 11.2419° N |  Longitude: 74.2053° W

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Overall dropping over 2,000 feet in elevation from the city to the sea, the ride was far less windy, but no less dangerous. And after last night’s mall parking lot handy work, putting to good use my Giant Loop Pronghorn straps to mount the bits of rebar I found at the gas station yesterday, today’s ride was also one of comfort.

Colombia-7335At check point charlie, maybe an hour north of the city, where we not only get frisked but lightly searched (for arms mainly) Rick also notices my rear tire is low… good man!

With conflicts between Colombia and neighboring Venezuela, and the recent news of captured and/ or decapitated leaders (it could be anything down here!) this is a find point query the safety of travelers on the road ahead. Thanks yet again Rick for the lead and the group’s security.

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Peaches and mandarines to cellphone charging cables and dvds, the Colombian’s sell everything along the road.

The US turnpike-like Ruta Del Sol is a multiple lane highway system running through the more remote stretches of lowlands, running between villages and through a veritable zoo of animal crossings. My shutter busy collecting road signs every few kilometers, I simply skipped a few because I was tiring of the stop and go. I know… gasp!   Aardvark crossing anyone? How about weasels, sloths and monkeys?

In our last hour, as the sun was setting, Rico returned the favor to Rick, pointing out the now-flattened KLR’s rear tire. Luckily located next to a toll booth and multi-llantera, this added 30 mins to our ride time and put us arriving in Santa Marta after dark but not before a little turkey fighting as road-side entertainment.

Checking into the hotel, and relocating the bikes to a garage around the corner, immediate beers became necessary. Relaxation and laughter commenced, followed by some pizza and much needed sleep. No photos, not even a cell phone was brought out to move the bikes… so technically this night never happened. 🙂