Colombia At Last

We left Ibarro, Ecuador early this morning headed for Colombia.  The scenery is really hard to describe. The mountains are very beautiful, but often covered in thick fog.
a-mountain-fog
(in addition to rain most of the time)

However, our greatest concern is that the roads are very curvy, steep, and scattered with potholes.
a-pot-holes
One misdirection between holes or cracks and you could no doubt flip the motorcycle.  These potholes could easily total a motorcycle.  Many times the roads turn to rock and mud without warning.

We’ve had lots of rain today.  Sometimes so strong that we could not see through the helmet shield; so we slow down to 20 MPH and follow other traffic as a safety precaution.  We would like to stop, but we would loose precious time.

a-The-view-when-it-s-raining

Late in the afternoon, as we descended the highest mountain pass, my rear brakes failed from overheating. It was quite the moment of stress.  This was shortly after two incidents of sliding, due to oil slicks on the roadway.  So many trucks breakdown regularly that oil patches become very dangerous when it rains (which so happens to be a daily event).

a-shear-dropoffAfter consulting the manual, we were comforted to know that after a short break we were okay.  Although, I am thankful that we will be at a Harley Davidson dealer on Monday (in Bogota) for service.  After an abusive 6,000 miles new brakes, and new tires, are in order.  We were hoping to make it to Cali by dark, but fell short by only 95 miles.
a-hotel
We found an eclectic hotel in an old colonial town called Popayan.  The hotel is called the Dann Monasterio.  It used to be a monastery.  It is like stepping back in time. What a great reward a nice hotel can be after such a long and difficult day of riding.

a-hotel-2
The hotel still has the cloister as well as the sanctuary.  If you ever have a reason to go to Popayan, this is where you must stay!

Although the Popayan region is the center of most of the recent violence in Colombia.  The local residents are very proud of how much Columbia has improved its image over the past 5 years. It’s amazing that Colombia is not a center for tourism as it is so beautiful and the resources so vast.

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