Social Icons

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Travel / Adventure Update From Popayán...

I've gotten a lot of questions lately about how the trip is going.  So, I figured I'd put together a Q&A recap/update below...  If there are other questions shoot me a note and I'm happy to answer.  

Also, I get a lot of budget questions, but I haven't prepared that info quite yet.  I'll work on piecing that together soon. 

Here is a map showing the journey thus far...  

Date:  Thursday, 3 April 2014

Days on road:  137
Miles traveled:  ~ 10,201

Countries:  9
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Guatemala
  • El Salvador
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama
  • Colombia

Highs:  Waaaay too many to list
Lows:  Leaving behind new friends along the way & occasional loneliness
Current mood:  Happy, excited, adventurous, changed, and thirsty for more!!!  

Best food:  Molé infused street chicken tamales in Oaxaca, Mexico
Worst food:  Crickets/chapulinas & chicken foot soup in Huila, Colombia

Security concerns:
  • Needing to pull my knife on a VERY drunk guy in a very small town in southern Mexico
  • Being run off the road by a truck and elbowing/breaking his mirror in Bogota, Colombia
  • Dropping the bike into a parked car in Antigua, Guatemala
  • Brushing against numerous cars/trucks in city traffic throughout Central America
*** Note, everything/everyone else has been warm, inviting, and full of smiles...  

Number of crashes/offs/mishaps:  6

Number of new friends:  Waaaay too many to count
Number of new 'female friends':  Ummm...  I'll leave that alone

Number of waves surfed:  Exactly 5
Favorite beach:  Costeño Beach (just east of Tayrona on Colombian Caribbean coast)

Most expensive country:  Costly Rica, and fuel in Colombia is surprisingly expensive
Cheapest country:  Guatemala and El Salvador thus far

Number of hammocks slept in:  6
Number of nights tent camping:  12
Hostel / Couchsurfing / Hotel split:  75% / 5% / 20%

Cervezas, bottles of ron & Aguardiente consumed:  Ashamed to say way too many!!!
Favorite drink:  Club Colombia 
Least favorite drink:  Guaro!!!  Only because I love it...  until the next day.  :(  
Favorite non-alcoholic drink:  Blend of fresh fresa, maracuya, and mandarin juice
Least favorite non-alcoholic drink:  Agua de panela

A sampling of recent memorable songs that have kept me smiling on the bike:
  • Bill Withers - Lovely Day
  • Sigur Ros - Hoppipola
  • Radiohead - Separator 
  • Jose Gonzalez - Stay Alive
  • Little Dragon - Crystalfilm / Scribbled Paper
  • BadBadNotGood - Can't Leave the Night
  • Alt J - Tesselate 
  • Spoon - Underdog
  • Portugal. The Man - The Sun
  • The Stones - Wild Horses / Gimme Shelter
  • Jungle - Drops
  • Tom Odell - Another Love (Zwette Edit)
  • The War On Drugs - Red Eyes
  • St. Lucia - Wait For Love
  • Ray Charles - What I'd Say
  • Hot Chip - Look At Where We Are
  • Julian Casablancas - I'll Try Anything Once
  • Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing
  • Sebastien Tellier - Le Long De La Riviere Tendre
  • Van Morrison - Into the Mystic
  • The Heavy - Short Change Hero
  • The Hives - Tick Tick Boom
  • Underworld - To Heal
  • Metric - Gold Guns Girls
  • Keane - Spiralling
  • Finley Quaye - Even After All
  • Kings of Convenience - 24/25
  • Cinematic Orchestra - To Build a Home
  • Daft Punk - Something About Us
  • Tycho - Hours / Dive
  • Chairlift - Sidewalk Safari
  • Crystal Fighters - Champion Sound / Xtatic Truth
  • LCD Soundsystem - Home 
  • Zero 7 - On My Own
  • Nils Frahm - Journey For a Traveller 
  • Gustavo Santaolalla - Apertura / Sendero / La Partida
Favorite town/puebla:  Barichara (Colombia - near San Gil)
Favorite big city:  None.  I've grown to dislike large cities, which is surprising for me
Favorite road:  Venao/Las Tablas in Panama or San Agustin/Popayán in Colombia

Run-ins w/ police:  Pulled over four times, stopped at road blocks approx five
Bribes paid:  Zero!  

Hottest temp:  105F somewhere in southern Central America
Coldest temp:  30F in northern Mexico - San Luis Potosi state 

The pics above and below are from the past few days.  San Agustin was nice, and the archeological park there definitely did not disappoint. 

The road from San Agustin to Popayán was rough, intense, but amazing.  I left around 8am and didn't arrive until around 4pm.  That's a long time for just under 100 miles.  However, when 75% is rough and rocky dirt w/ several landslides and delays, I guess it's understandable.  I'd highly recommend this route if anyone is doing a similar trip.  There are stretches that go on for miles and miles without another soul to be seen.  Several times I parked the bike, took off my helmet and just sat there listening to the rotation between, and combination of absolute silence, breeze, and birds chirping.  

It is beautiful here, just like everyone says.  Known as the 'white city' because of its beautiful colonial buildings and houses, Popayán was founded in 1537.  It has played a major role in Colombia's history dating back to the early days of the Spanish conquest and into the twentieth century.  

I'm staying at Hostel Caldas, which I found on Hostel World.  It is easy to search and filter for places with parking.  This popped up as the only one and I'm happy with it.  They allowed me to roll the bike right inside the entrance hall.  The dorms and bathrooms are clean, and they have basic services like lockers, coffee, etc.  It is located directly next to the city center, so you'd be hard pressed to find a better location. 

Early in the evening yesterday I went out and explored the city streets, sights, sounds, local restaurants, and everything in between.  Popa is very easy to navigate and you can get from one end to the other in under 20 minutes walking.  When the sun settled I randomly stumbled into a smoky dive bar called El Sotareño.  I quickly started chatting with the owner, and bartender.  The owner is a short, nice man who opened the lively mainstay 53 years ago.  Apparently the moody bartender has been there for the entire time as well.  The decor is very old school inside.  The minute you walk through the saloon style swinging doors, it feels like you've stepped back in time.  The two guys stand behind the bar and take turns throwing on scratchy old salsa and bolero vinyl records.  They argue continuously about which songs and artists are better than others.  It really is a unique and special place. We ended up talking and laughing for hours.  I showed them pictures from the trip and they were fascinated.  The owner brought out a bottle of Colombian ron, and kept feeding it to me, along with beer chasers.  I ended up getting pretty sauced with these two and am really glad I happened upon the place.  If you are a music/culture/dive bar fan, this place is a must. 

Tomorrow I'll wake up early and head out.  I've decided to ride south to Pasto and then northeast to Mocoa.  I think it will take 7 - 8 hours without issue (i.e. heavy rain, roadblocks, landslides, etc).  I'll explore Mocoa for two nights I think.  Until recently, the area was a hotbed for drugs, narcos, and FARC presence.  However, about 70% of the people/locals that I speak with say that it is a perfectly fine place to visit.  It borders the mountains and rainforest, so there are tons of waterfalls, hikes, rivers, and wildlife to explore and see.  From Mocoa, I'll take the road called the Devil's Trampoline, aka Adios mi Vida (goodbye my life) back to Pasto, and then south to Ipiales for a day/night exploring Santuario de las Lajas, and sleeping in a monastery.  After all that, it's into Ecuador!  

It looks like it will be a busy few days!  Because of that, I have a few things to prepare (camping gear, bike prep, route planning, etc).  So, I'll sign off for now and will write more when I get back online after my adventure to Mocoa and through Colombia's 'Death Road'. 

Chat soon, 

~ D

1 comment:

  1. Hola guapo,
    I really enjoy reading your blog - informative, quiet personal and definitely not shallow. Enjoy your