Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I spent a long time typing up a huge post about the last few days, but when i tried to post it, it all got deleted! So, now it's 5:30 AM and I can't sleep due to the sore throat that I developed after 30 hours of projectile vomiting my insides into the Caribean.....might as well re-do that post.

I'm not going to re-type everything, but I'll throw in all the pics.

On the 17th we got dropped off from the Independence and got our passports done. Later, Mike and I found a room in Getsemani near all of the Hostels with A/C for $44, which we split. Hotel San Roque. Nice place if a little expensive; they are going to let Mike leave his bike here for a week while he flies back to Belize to see his wife.

Afterwords we went and saw the rest of the old city. Cartagena de las Indias is a UNESCO Worl Heritage Site. It's easy to see why. Beautifully restored buildings and walls, impressive churches and museums, and really intriguing fortifications. My pictures don't do it justice; I have a crappy camera that can't quite capture the contrast.

We also managed to find the inquisition museum. Apparently the inquisition was going strong from 1610 all the way up thought the beginnings of the 1800's in Cartagena. Here's the infamous rack:

This nasty little device was called "eyes on god":

And here is a handy questioner if you ever need to talk to a witch:

Cartagena was at one time sacked by Sir Francis Drake and then ransomed back to the Spanish for an exorbitant fee. Eventually, they ended up spending tons of money fortifying the city. They've managed to restore most of the walls and the huge fort on the land ward entrance.

This picture doesn't make much sense to me:

Who points a cannon back at their own wall? Maybe a swivel gun loaded with grape, or some rather large muskets, but certainly not a long cannon. Whoever restored this section messed up. Here's Castillo San Felipe de Barajas:

Extremely impressive fortification. I love seeing this stuff.

The next day, December 18th, we headed down to the harbor to unload our bikes from the boat.

Here's the process in pictures:

I wasn't too happy about having to lay my bike on it's side in the little skiff, but I didn't really have much of a choice. I figure that for $900 there should be people unloading the bike fore you onto a dock, not you unloading the bikes yourself into a skiff......oh well.

After getting the old XRL out of the skiff it was flooded and wouldn't start. This nice guy came up on his scooter, stuck his foot out and pushed me from my passenger peg while he throttled along. It was a perfect push start! Obviously they do this sort of thing down here quite a bit. I had him sign my tank.

After rescuing the bikes and picking up the customs paperwork, we go insurance and then said goodbye to Kevin and Katerine and their amazing XS 650's:

They are selling these bikes when they get to Buenas Aires if anyone is interested. After the goodbyes, Mike and I mozied on over to a car wash to rinse off all the salt brine and WD-40 from our motors.

That's when I realized that I had managed to WD-40 all over my brakes! We spent the next hour searching fruitlessly for brake cleaner. I did find a slightly used XR600R:

Elsalvadorklr, if you are reading this, I think there is an awesome parts bike in Cartagena just waiting for you to come down here and pick it up!

I also saw an homage to the best bike in Latin America:

That's right, the XR250 "Tornado"! If you wanted to do this trip and never have to worry about getting maintenance done or finding spare parts, this is the bike for you! They are everywhere. I'm surprised Jdowns isn't on one of these instead of his Super Sherpa. Hell, I almost want one now.

After bike time, Mike had to split for Belize. I gave him some stickers from Ed Zachtamundo's stolen sticker stash which has been bequeathed to me to distribute to fellow ADVriders whom I meet along the way.

Justin, your sticker legacy lives on!

And now for a little aside: this summer I took a little trip on my Harley (yes I am an evil Harley owner, you can start hating now) cross country. It was a totally different vibe, no riding gear, just some Levi's, a cut up t-shirt, and a little half helmet. I managed to do 700 miles one day on this thing:

One day in late August I pulled into a KOA in Amarillo, Texas and met this really cool British couple, Byron and Isabel, on an old 1979 BMW R100RS. They had flown their bike from the UK to Alaska, then spent the entire summer riding around the north, down through Canada, and all over the US. They were currently heading west for California and then were going to turn south for Baja.

We hit it off and spent the rest of the night talking and drinking beer. The next day we decided to ride together for Albuquerque, New Mexico. I called up my good buddy Jeff (Matthews) who met us about half way and then invited us all over to his place that night to crash! We had a great time!

Fast forward nearly four months to Cartagena and imagine my surprise when I find out that they are staying in the Hostel just a block away from my Hotel! Granted, I had been keeping up with them by email and I knew that I would probably catch up to them sooner or later, but I didn't imagine we would only end up being a block apart!

After saying goodbye to Mike, Byron, Isabel, and I went out and had dinner and drinks and got caught up on the last four months. They've had a hell of an adventure, even crazier than mine! I'll try and find their blog address and post it up on here later. They are great folks!

I gave Byron one of Ed Zachtamundo's mustache stickers:

These guys are great! I introduced them to Denny's back in the states and they repaid me by buying my dinner and drinks! Excellent!

So now I'm going to go get some breakfast with the Brits and then plan my route to Medellin. It's about 400 miles and I don't really feel like pushing it today; does anyone know of a good place to stop in between?

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