Caraz is not a bad place to be stuck in for two weeks, even with bad food poisoning. A nice little hotel right on the main square, secure parking in the courtyard, and my buddy @mak arrived
His bike is a Yamaha 250 Tenere, pretty much a perfect bike for South America, Fi, amazing mileage of over 400km to a tank and he bought it and sold it for almost the same price. If you have already read the process of how to buy a bike in Colombia, great, if not I wrote an article about it for the editorial front page HERE
To put this in perspective of how different people can and do travel and how they afford it, Mak had a minor financial loss on the sale of this bike, but to get here he had to save for SEVEN years working in his native India where wages are very, very, low to fulfill a life long dream.
He then rode and traveled on a budget of around $500-700 a month…and you think you can’t afford it! So for less than $5000 for seven months of riding, he had a ball on a solo trip.
The original plan was to be doing it all with his wife but the US Embassy put stop to that. Unbeknownst to me, Indians have limited priveledges when it comes to travel and the US inadvertently can create a reduction in countries they travel to.
Colombia DOESN’T allow an Indian citizen to come into the country without a current US Visa, basically, they use the US as their private vetting agency. Mak and his wife applied the same day, he got his, she was refused. She did the honorable thing and told him to go solo…
We had met months before, we chatted in Caraz and as we were both riding back to Colombia we decided to ride together.
Heading north out of Caraz put you straight on to Cañón del Pato route, so for the second time, I ride it. It is listed as one of the most dangerous roads in the world…which is a major stretch! You can see thru almost all of the tunnels from end to end and the ones you can’t you sound your horn. The road is mostly paved now so no issues with dust anymore
…but right here of all places my horn decided to die…oh the irony, but after all the tunnels it started working again!
and into the valley below
Once you clear the canyon the views go for miles and you can pick your route without using a map
I guess minor electrical issues were happening and somehow my GPS decided to delete some of its tracks as well as it cut off, but then, of course, it came back on and was fine.
Stopping in a small village in the middle of nowhere, name unknown due to lost tracks we found a town that had been passed by, by the paved road and all that was left was an amazing church, a few people and some very steep cobbled streets
Not finding an alternative smaller track/ back way out of the village we have no choice but to head back to the main track and ride the more used ( i use that term very lightly) track
We know roughly our heading it’s towards that drop-off and down and up the other side…more fun coming…
Mid-morning arrival in a tiny Puebla I’d planned to get to for lunch (i can’t remember the name) had me sitting around taking in daily life as for the day began. The lady in the kitchen asked if I’d mind waiting for an hour or so…I’d been here before and her cooking was good, some of the best I’d eaten in rural Peru, I was in no rush so yes!
I sat outside on the curb as just observed…
Then this guy and his horse comes and sits next to me
His buddy arrives and the drinking begins, its 10.30am, I just sit and wonder if these guys said to each other before the first drink…its gotta be 5.30 somewhere!!!
Mak had asked me to take a few photos of his bike for his return to Colombia so he could sell it, he headed off to get it cleaned from this to this –
As his bike was a Colombian registered bike he’d bought there it would be an easy sell to a local or a traveler. The latter interested me where he would find an international buyer…”Horizons Unlimited” he stated. So we had a look to see if anyone was looking to buy in Colombia around the dates we roughly planned to be there…nothing!
…but I spotted a listing of a guy looking for a bike the same week I had planned to ship mine out. Not holding out much hope I dropped him a message, he replied instantly and we went back and forth with a few questions and answers then he said where do I send the money! I told him I wanted at least 50% down, he agreed and in minutes the money was in my Paypal account.
At this point I really had not any intentions of selling, I was working with Veronica in Bogota about flying the bike back. A few days before Mak and I had made a spreadsheet of all the options she was offering –
The final destination was Phoenix, to either ride there or ship direct, prices are not exact due to not knowing the exact final crate estimates
- Bogota – Miami $1850 +/-
- Bogota – LA $2750 +/-
- Bogota – Panama City $900
- Bogota – Phoenix $2900 +/-
The problem was flying it to Phoenix wasn’t a good option because they just don’t do it from Bogota, so the bike would have been ground freighted from Miami to Phoenix.
We sat and looked at these options and then the possible extra days on the road and added costs…especially the Panama option and riding back thru CA…yikes! All of them came in around $100 difference from each other. At this point, we were sitting in central Peru
…but now none of this was necessary at all because I had a sale. Veronica sent me an email telling me she had received a new quote to Phoenix for $2200, I thanked her for her time and told her the bike had sold so no need for shipping any longer.
To me, my original thoughts were get the bike back to PHX take off a lot of the expensive add ons sell them separately and then sell the bike as a basic adventure bike with just upgrades like, tank, luggage rack and a few other minor things, now this wasn’t a worry, now the worry was getting the bike to Bogota in one piece.
Now in my head, I was $2200 better off!
This certainly didn’t make me stay on paved roads or the Pan America for safety, if I broke the bike I would simply fix it before his arrival.
We passed a sign somewhere along the way, one of many we’d seen and could easily be the title for this ride report – “Pavements ends”
One last pork dinner in Peru then it was time to cross back to Ecuador
I picked a slightly different route north but keeping to dirt, this time through the rainy season was in full effect and photos were reduced, only taking the occasional shot here an there…plus maybe a little lack of motivation as South America ending was now a reality with a timestamp
I used a few of the dirt tracks @CourtRand had shared with me months before and headed north via Banos, Mak and I agreed to meet back up in Quito later
Once we had reacquainted I promised to show Mak a few odd tracks because he hadn’t seen too much of Ecuador, passing by quickly making a beeline for Peru and the mountains, his main goal.
Mak sat patiently a few times as I was taking my last few panaramas
our last section of Ecuador was west to east crossing near the border on a remote track I had ridden a few times and I promised to get a few good shots of him on the trail.
I took to an area that could be Ecuador’s equivalent of the BaM road and collapsed bridges
and the beginning of more than a few waterfalls
he was having a blast
A quick crossing and we were back in Colombia and more mud
It took us almost two hours to complete this part of the track from where we’d seen the last house to where we’d see the next one, and this guy was pushing his bicycle with a bag of grain over the crossbar, makes you wonder how often he makes this journey thru the rain forest.
Maybe not too far as a short while later we met ranchers moving cattle and this was the only traffic we met along here
He was having fun and his once clean and shiny bike was now looking like it needed a fresh cleaning
Out from the rain forest an back into the mountains we rode up from the bottom of the valley (see the track) to here
and traversed at altitude for a few days heading north
We planned our last section of dusty dirt track before heading back to the Steel Horse where we’d both stayed before
The plan was to use the SH as a staging cleaning area for me to head off to Bogota and him to Medellin to our respective buyers, we didn’t waste any water in the process, mother nature took care of the washing and all the bike needed was a quick wipe down between showers
and it was ready for the new buyer (a non-inmate)
I arrived in Bogota a day later parked it and never rode it again… @Tricepilot took the final photo (he was here for a few weeks riding) before the buyer rode it away
My very last photo of the DR was this…I don’t name bikes!
It had covered 70,225 km/ 43,635 miles with me and actually a few more as I had a few tracks that didn’t register so call it 44k, never once did I have anything similar to the issues Andi @Two Moto Kiwis had when he owned it prior to me
I hoped a cab early the following morning and before I knew it ‘merica was right there.
not too many hours later I got to the house in Phoenix and a delivery had beat me there a few days before!
The ride is not over, by far, it’s about to take a whole different twist and continue…