Monday, 2 December 2013

18 Months On The Loose!!!

....loose units..

Things I Have Learnt

Macro makes things look bigger

Medellin, Colombia has something in their water

If it is not raining it is fine

Colombia rocks

Birthdays abroad are fun cos you have no idea who is coming to your party.

Little bikes are bloody good for scouting around in the backyard of a country.

Colombians are like Kiwis

Maya is a seriously cool piece of kit and gives me wood when I start her

If you are in unsure territory act like you own it.

Helpful people don’t work at border crossings.

Having been on the road now for 18 months we have had a chance to use gear and find out what does or does not work.

We have had a great run from some products while others have fallen by the wayside disappointingly fast considering the money we have outlaid on them buying “quality” stuff.

It does leave a question whether you buy one expensive unit to “hopefully” last or buy a cheap arse unit knowing it will crap out but for half the price you can get a new one again.

For me I have always preferred the quality item “first cost be your last”, now I am not so sure and particularly when you are away from the point of purchase warranty is a word you don’t hear very often.

My Klim riding gear is still fantastic and despite being down a few times etc is standing up incredibly well which I am thankful for.

The ARAIs, nothing more to say other than mint but my fluro has notably turned yello in the Central American/South American sun, no worries just two toned now!!.

My boots and Ellens boots are standing up to it, Ellen replacement pants after her crash are crap but she is making do with them, in hindsight we should have repaired her first gear pants which were superior.

Our Jesses, there is NOTHING better for two up long distance adventure touring for ease of storage, lock-ability, capacity etc, now if we need to leave the bike we simply unclip our Wolfman tank bag and take it with us, everything else is locked and sorted, huge thanks to Al Jesse and the crew you guys rock.

...but don't take our word for it check them out for yourself

Noting else outlandish this time round, life has been great despite one or two speed bumps, Central America and now South America are fantastic despite all the nasty reports you hear, we wish we had spent more time in Honduras after finding out retrospectively that over half the Police force had been sacked for corruption crap now they are trying to clean their act up because of the loss of tourists and travellers, we fall directly into that basket .

Everywhere we have been, bad areas and good areas there are normal people living normal lives doing their daily thing and for the majority, 99.9% of their interest in us is genuine curiosity, not hostility.

We have been in only a couple of instances where we have felt maybe slightly uncomfortable but nothing more, our closest shave we were sent back by the Militars at Policarpa for our own safety, heeding those warnings and doing everything else per normal the most danger in a normal day is mossie bites....cos they itch.

Thus far we have been ripped off three times, all USA based,

1: Ipad 2, 3 weeks old in the university of Fairbanks library
2: Alfred Lamarrie, fello trusted ADVer (translates to wanker) Re Maya from Portland Maine
3: Wells Fargo USA bank, holding $930 of our money on a fraudulent transaction made in a different country to which we were in.

Not throwing a slant on the USA but pointing out the bad shit that has happened has not been Central America or South America thus far, this may not be the norm but this is what has happened to us.

The Colombia Some Up

Still unfairly tarnished by its history Colombia is as safe as houses, the people are warm and inviting and to be fair the nicest people we have met across the board, as you guys know we have met incredible people (and I say this outside of the ADV circles so normal humans) so we don’t say it lightly.

I found it a little unusual at first thinking “WTF do you want” but all they want is to know, how many cylinders, how fast does it go and how big is the engine, they ask where from /where to so we show them our Horizons Unlimited world map (picture worth 1000 words)((2000 in Spanish)) and this is met with amusement and amazement along with respect, give them the time to chat and share with them and you give them a face full of smiles to walk away with.....that IS a cool feeling of being on the ground with the locale.

The funniest event for me was Puerto Berrio having the crowd fill and block the street and the police thinking there was a pub scrap or riot on, Ellen thought the same cos she could not see me in the tide of people, simply interested and amazed curious Colombians, obviously not something they see everyday, no animosity whatsoever.

Not much more to add other than WOW, R2R were great to deal with, Salvi and Paola from Bogota are fantastic people and are very proud of their country and rightfully so, they single handedly made a huge impact on our trip and for the good.

Mike at Motolomnia also helped us out, Raul and Jorge in Cali took night riding to a new degree which was cool.

There is a certain vigilantly hooliganism in Colombia I find very attractive, a little unruliness that you can do daily and get away with ... just little things that our law men in New Zealand don’t see the funny side of.

For the most it is just a little more freedom without getting busted for simple things and this is very refreshing.

Would I recommend Colombia, no cos I want it for myself ..... the real answer is get off the Stahlratte, buy 3 months insurance and get ya 90 day VISA and start loving Colombia, there are certain places you know you will be back too, Guatemala for Julios good cooking is one, El Salvador to Marios for good cooking is another, Colombia for big boobies (I mean nice people and landscapes) in Medellin is another.

The Heart Speaks

Not very crunchie this time.

Since riding two up our personal space has shrunk which actually needs extra care and patience each day as you can’t just sail off and do your own thing ... to a point anyway.

I would have to say that NOT looking in my mirrors worrying about Ellen has made life easier for my mind, now I just have to watch for crazy South Americans whose first road rule is there are none, first in first served.

Having crammed two onto one and house and contents proved hard for me as I am not a big dude so our decision to send camping gear home was tossed around a lot, pros and cons considered.

We sent camping gear home and took 9kg off the bike and off the top of the bike which made a hell of difference allowing us easier access to more difficult places with less concern, I am still mindful we are on a tall bike with a bit of weight, I have not been over a weigh bridge but I reckon two up, fully gassed up with luggage we would have to be 400kg ..... much to the detriment of the dog than ran under the bike and didn’t get back up.

Maya plus or minus is sorted with only normal wear and tear items and a few fails of items that crap out over time, mileage and torture, she has become my favourite bike of all time over 40 motos in 34 years of owning motos.

So although some interests have changed slightly I am still the same old Andi, I don’t think I will be taking up extreme crochet knitting or anything really exciting like that, in fact my passion for motos, Maya being No 40 (but No1) over 34 years of riding is only stronger and I feel the inspiration to build a street tracker when home ... always gotta have something to tinker with.

Ellen .. same same

Still the support pillar and sushi maker extraordinaire, although there have been ups and downs, swear words etc life continues to be good for both of us.


Nothing much more to add other than 18 months in our trip has gotten better, one or two speed bumps like the fire in our garage at home and the shite that went down with Maya, probably coulda done without broken ribs too.

A huge thanks to all who have had input to our travels, everyone makes a donation of time and energy which adds up to good times and great experiences, great experiences don’t always have to be great at the time but on reflection you get to see the light of day and how things unfold.

As we have said before, when shit happens so does good, it is a funny thing but it always works out sometime despite being between a rock and three hard places.

There are of coarse always a few pissoffs, barking dogs, dogs that simply go for motos and the biggy, the FUCKEN car alarms, the wanker who made them needs to be tormented for 24 hours solid of the ding dong ding dong shit before being shot in public....then I will feel better

It is incredible the needless noise pollution that comes from these and it is unreal the amount that just sit there and go on and on.

The noise from and including Mexico south is unreal, small shops with BIG speakers all trying to outdo each other, also in residential areas they do they same ... who has the biggest speakers, add to that the car cruising down the street with loud speakers advertising shit, some days you feel mentally hammered just from the wonder we love mountain passes etc to get away from that.

I must also thank our resident favourite Ozzie (oxymoron) Geoff, seasoned traveller and good bastid, thanks for your bits of travel advice, instant IT fixes etc and just general support from prior day 1, we will come to OZ to personally thank you, might even bring some Kiwi reds from home if you continue to be a good boy.

No more words from me, we love having you guys along, feel free to chime in, give us shit, tell us how to improve or simply share your shenanigans with us as it makes us feel like we are not talking to thin air and it gives us a cool insight to what you guys are up to while we are tormenting South America.

This ride report isn’t just about us but all who are involved ... yes that is you!!!

Thanks and love to all of our extended families across the Americas and the dodgy travellers we have crossed paths with along the way.

Andi & Ellen

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