Cali to Salento | Monday, November 22 |
Day one in Colombia started with a few flipped switches… from languages, to currencies and eventually schedules. After a familiar landscape at the Marriott hotel, we get picked up and delivered to the garage nearby where I find out that there’s no support vehicle on this tour… oops. And here I brought the full-sized laptop, DSLR and a set of lenses….. all now to be packed on the G 650 GS. Hmmm. Thirty minutes later, after shaving a few items from each sub package, lose this shirt, that bag, this sense, that bottle of pills and so on until I got it all to fit inside the Giant Loop horseshoe bag… Plus my usual Wolfman tank bag and the blow-over bag that carried the laptop and tripod (an known waterproof bags, since it’s mine). A little over loaded and shaken, but it’s a go. I can’t go without this stuff, just the bags in which I carry it to the van each morning. Beyond that, I worry about security when I get off the bike to look around…
Latitude: 3.4525° N | Longitude: 75.5667° W
In motion, its an easy and entertaining ride out of the city. Pass the discos, the sex hotels and eventually the industrial spaces as well… and into the lush green Cauca Valley. For miles and miles of sugar cane fields and lots of two-wheel traffic… the good kind, motorcycles. It’s a Sunday and everyone is out having a picnic, or enjoying the day any way they do here in Colombia. Many bicycle, others ride little 125cc machines…. we rip pass them on the old road and have one hell of a day. Instead of the usual mid-morning coffee stop, we sipped on fresh squeezed strawberry and banana smoothies… unique and very good.
Lunch was a wacky experience while trying to order sancocho, language barriers can be funny sometimes… even with Spanish speaking ride mates.
Crossing the river, we then climb out of the valley and into the coffee growing regions. The roads get twisty now and the rains also come. Luckily the day ends before it gets any worse in the road… perched in the hillside, in a town called Salento.
A day of about 150 miles brings us to your first night, in a cool little town, just bustling with people. A quick shower and image dump brought us to dinner time and our guide lead us around the square first for a trip to the ATM (having arrived at 1am, I was locally penniless) and then up the main street, pass dozens of shops that which many american boutiques wished they could look like… rustic, hip, and loaded with artisan man goods. We made a b-line for some rum and beef ribs however…. and before leaving the bar, tested out skill at doing tequila shots “con no manos”… and then to the pool hall for some local history and aquacaliente. I’ve never seen a pool table without pockets! Talk about an awesome first day in Colombia!