C – We only had a short ride today, about 130km, but we were sure there would be more dirt ‘highway’! It rained quite a bit last night so we were both excited about this – maybe there would be mud!
We turned off of Highway 45 and back onto highway 60 and immediately approached a toll gate. Thankfully, motos are free on toll roads here, so we just rode down the little moto lane and whizzed through. Coffee was calling us as we approached the first town, so we stopped for some Caldo (soup) and coffee.
The highway was actually quite a nice ride, with beautiful views as we wound up, up, up. Yesterday, we started at nearly 3000mtrs and ended up at nearly sea level. Today, we knew our destination was back over 2000mtrs, so the girls had to climb today.
Each corner we rounded had us both exclaiming ‘wow’ and ‘is this even possible?’ as the views just got better and better.
After about an hour, we took the ‘short cut’ route through a town called San Luis. Along the way, we saw quite a few waterfalls, the most impressive being La Cascada Cuba. Beautiful! The town was bustling and lively and upon our exit, we discovered the road became nasty, nasty cobblestone. The cobblestone was wet, and it apparently often is, as there was plenty of slippery slime for the girls to slide around on.
Eventually, the cobblestones petered out and we were presented with the now familiar one lane wide, gravel/dirt/rock/mud secondary highway. The riding was sensational and we even got to play in some puddles!
Rosie has had some electrical issues lately. We knew that it was just a broken wire, as all my accessory power was gone – indicators, horn, neutral light. So we found a little gravel pit with an extraordinary view and pulled over to do some maintenance. Mabel also needed a broken wire fixing, as since her visit to the mechanic, her key has become defunct! Obviously a broken, or loosened, ignition wire.
T – We had been making pretty good time along this track today and when I saw the little cleared area with amazing views I thought “Why not fix them here”. It didnt take too long to find Rosies broken wires and patch them back up. Rosie lost her headlight and taillight yesterday and she was constantly winking at me as over each jolt the wire or connection would join up and then cut out again. I thought I had fixed that too.
Mabel was a little harder to fix. I went straight to where the ignition wires had been lengthened to allow for her ignition to be moved from its original position to a more convenient one. No broken wires there. Eventually by pure luck I found where an old Australia Post repair on her had fallen apart. I replaced the wire and then declared her fixed. Even though I had blown her main fuse accidentally and she now has no indicators, horn, or dash lights, except when she is running.
Once we hit the track again I saw Rosie go down a rut and over a rock and her tail light blinked off. Damn it! So finding that broken wire is a job for another day.We also need to do some fuel tank repairs to Rosie as she managed to melt hers a little when she last laid down. Ahh postie bikes.
C – Soon enough, we were back on the track and then back onto bitumen. We ended up in the town of Granada, quite by accident! We knew we had missed a right hand turn, but neither of us saw this turn anywhere. We stopped for a snack in Granada and checked our maps. We were soon heading back a few kilometres to see if we could find the right hand turn.
We found it! We turned off the smooth bitumen back onto a single lane track which quickly deteriorated into a mud pit. Oh the fun!!! We were both squealing with delight as us, and our girls, got completely filthy and covered in mud! This went on for quite some kilometres, before we came to a suspension bridge over the river. I went first and was not happy to learn the bridge moved. Also, the railing drops way down low, about the bike seat height and it was rather terrifying!
T – The little suspension bridge was brilliant! I stopped partway across to try to film it and Mabel and I were sat there rocking and bouncing up and down and back and forth. Brilliant!
C – We had some more thick mud to battle through, but then we were back on the bitumen and enjoying the views of the monolith – El Penol, where we would visit tomorrow.
It took some time to find a hotel that was not a complete rip off, as Guatape is a very touristed town. Most hotels were trying to charge extra for moto parking and they were asking way above the normal rates for lower quality rooms. Eventually, I found a little place above a local family house. We settled in and then ventured out to look around.
We found some chicharon to snack on and then found a locals bar to enjoy a beer or two. All the restaurants on the malecon were expectedly pricey, but as we hadnt eaten since breakfast, we decided a nice meal was in order. We found one willing to give us a discount and tucked into some fresh fish, salad and chips. Accompanied by a dark beer!
Tomorrow, we want to climb El Penol! Then we will head to Medellin.