T – I was keen to get on the road early today. The road we want to take doesnt show up on Google Maps at all. Not even in Google Earth mode! Based on our past travels on some of these back roads in Colombia I knew that we would possibly only manage around 20 km/hr on average.
We were out of town nice and smartly just after 9. The sealed road ended about 3 meters out of town and then the climb began. The road was in pretty good nick compared to the last few days roads and we made steady progress in 2nd gear at 15 km/hr. Up up up we went. Steadily climbing. 2000 mts, 2500 mts, 2800 mts, 3000 mts, finally topping out at 3327 mts. Poor Mabel was gasping for breath. But she chugged on. I kept telling her to get used to it as we would probably ride a lot higher once we got further south!
We followed the single lane road along the ridges of mountain tops and dropped in and out of the clouds. Valleys spread out on either side of us as we motored along. I’m really loving the mountains of this place.
C – The riding was sensational and I was very excited to see the Wax Palms, Colombia’s national tree! The green of the valley was vivid and with the beautiful white drifting clouds it made for an awesome view.
T – We passed a few cattle farms and enjoyed the very slippery, very poo and pee filled mud that the cows had left behind on the road. No way was I going to face plant into that stuff! It was super slippery for our little machines and at one point Mabels front tyre was up on the centre ridge and her rear in the right hand rut leaving me hanging on for dear life as we slid sideways down the hill.
We passed through a very sleepy little town called Toche and crossed a roaring river before beginning another ascent. Up went our little trains that could. Up up up. Back to first gear for some of the steeper sections before we levelled out again at over 2000 meters. We splashed through puddles and Mabel and I took a ride up a creek until we came to a waterfall. It was tons of fun!
We found a flat spot on a hill overlooking the city of Cajamarca and I proceed to rip Rosie apart in order to find this damn electrical fault. Rosie has no blinkers, no horn, no tail light and no headlight, and her battery is dead flat and wont charge up. I found nothing. Wondering if it could be a regulator, I swapped Rosies out for Mabels. No change. I pulled the wiring looms apart as much as I dared. Still nothing. So now I am down to an issue with the stator perhaps, or a wire I haven’t yet found to be broken. We have decided that she will be best left in the hands of a mechanic when we get to near Bogota.
After we put Rosie back together again we headed down the hill and rejoined the highway. This highway was chocka block full of trucks and buses. We took a few chances with overtaking some of them but mostly we were stuck between trucks. Eventually though the ever useful roadworks came up and we zipped to the front of the line.
We passed through a few towns and soon we ended up at the town of Venadillo where we decided to call it quits for the day.
What a fantastic day! I really enjoyed it! I will be glad when we have Rosies electrics fixed as I do worry about Chantelle having no brake lights or horn, not that any of the local bikes seem to have any working electrics either.
Tomorrow we head to Zipquira which is a tad over 200kms away. We plan to be there a few days while we do some maintenance and washing.