Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Colombia : Lago Colima to Cali...

After such a great time in coffee country it was hard to move on.  I felt like I could stay in that part of Colombia forever.  The weather was good, the environment was beautiful, the cities were modern, safe and fun.  And of course, the people were incredible.

Heading further south in Colombia I was greeted by rain.  Not just a bit of rain:  a total and utter flood of rain.  I made my way to Lago Colima, a reservoir known for windsurfing and kiteboarding.  I was mostly just looking for a place to stop on my way to Cali and a way to get off the highway.  I was headed for the town of Darién.  When I got there I was shocked to see the town packed with Ash Wednesday revelers.

I found a cool little hotel called Zuleuar that had a nice parking area for the moto.  I got my gear out to dry and walked around to check out the town.

My motocross boots drying from the deluge the day before.  The open attic of the hotel had a great view of the cathedral on the plaza.

Red Tilapia fish getting weighed for sale in the market.

Interesting little guy in the meat market...

A view of Lago Colima from the south end of the reservoir.

A view of San Salvador pueblo.  A typical Colombian town with a big twin towered church surrounded by beautiful green countryside.

The riding was super awesome between Lago Colima and the city of Cali.  I chose a route through the countryside instead of rallying down the highway directly.   My destination was Casa Blanca Hostel.  I'd known about this place since Mexico, when I met Bob from Washington in the backcountry of Oaxaca.  Everyone in the Adventure Motorcycle Touring community talks super highly of Casa Blanca.  Created, owned and operated by Mikkel Thomsen, a Danish guy, who a few years ago was traveling South America himself.  He met his wife Diana, who is Colombian and started his family and business here in Cali, Colombia.

Mikkel (Mike) and his little daughter Laura...

Casa Blanca hostel is set up for long distance motorcycle travelers.  Here Owain and Hannah from Australia chat on the front steps while David Kitson from England arrives.

David Kitson.

David's kit in the bunkroom we were staying in at Casa Blanca.  David left from England and traveled in a generally eastward route through Europe and into Russia and then to Japan.  His bike was sent across the Pacific to the U.S., where he continued his journey southward into Latin America.

Mike also runs a tour company for 4-wheeler tours as well as multiday motorcycle tours called Motolombia.   Here he rips through the flooding Cali Easter rains in front of the hostel after a muddy tour.

Rain came in waves for days during Easter time.  Cali, normally the center of Colombian Salsa, was dead because of the Easter holiday.  David, Owain, Hannah and I spent most of our time drinking beer and eating Chinese food in between working with Mike's mechanic on various problems with our bikes.

Owain and Hannah with their new rear shock ready for their KLR 650.

Owain with his seriously dismantled KLR 650.

Owain not only has the skills to fix his motorcycle, but he makes up a mean Easter dinner as well.  We put down a good amount of wine and rum and enjoyed the good food and company.  During holidays on the road, nothing is better than having new friends around.  

Santiago, our super awesome and helpful mechanic.  He does lots of work for Mike on his rental and tour bikes and was great about letting us work in his shop and helping us locate whatever we needed to repair our bikes.  I had him drop some new wheel bearings in my rear wheel while were holed up due to the flooding rain.

David Kitson in the tire shop.  It was super cool to meet David.   He successfully rounded the world on his old Yamaha XT650.  With no major mechanicals he rode from England all the way around, well, to England.  Nice work David.  Can't wait to see you on the road again somewhere.

My time in Cali was a great rest but there was much more of Colombia to scope out.  Next:  Tierradentro, Desierto de Tatacoa and San Augustín.


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