Our Second Continent
The Andes are coming

July 2 & 3, 2016

I don’t think we have ever had a day where we a) received an escort from good samaritans or b) descends 3000m.

What happened…

Amanda writes:

July 2

Our day started at a pretty leisurely pace and to be honest had we not been trying to get to our house sit and our friends who we hoped to ride with, we may have stayed another day. Our host Mauricio was so gracious and was excited at the prospect of showing us around his beautiful City. While it wasn’t meant to be he was able to chat with us in the morning, share a lovely breakfast and then help us get out of town. After taking us to the safest spot possible to get cash, he guided us to the cities edge. After some warm goodbyes we headed out for our long day.

We had planned to ride over 100 kilometres today knowing that it would be mostly downhill. We were also prepared for the first 20 kilometres to be uphill and for me knowing in advance is great. Traffic was heavy but Mauricio had warned us about that because it was a long weekend. The shoulder was great and we even had quite a few other cyclists on the road with us. Cars were incredibly courteous and so encouraging. I’m quickly learning that cycling is part of the culture here and cars give you a lot of respect. Toward the end of our big climb a car pulled off on the shoulder and was clearly waiting for us. It had two bikes on the back and two on the roof. It was a family of cyclists who chatted with us and gave us tons of awesome fresh fruit. They left after arming us with their business card and told us if we had any problems to call them. Then when we really did reach the top we stopped at the restaurant to eat. Again another car pulled in, chatted us up and gave us their card. Colombians really are rolling out the carpet here. It started with Mauricio in Bogota and it just seems to keep going. I’m really enjoying the kindness.

After our big lunch we started on our descent and it was just as we expected. Mostly downhill with of course a few ups but it was awesome and our speed showed it. By the end of our day we were over 20 kilometres per hour and I just love it when we can accomplish so much distance. After we finished the big descent we were basically in a valley of flat roads. Toward the end of the descent there was a pretty windy section and there was a truck with flashing lights that ended up driving behind us for about 5 kilometres to protect us. We pulled off after a bit because we were causing a traffic jam and it turned out to be two bomberos (firemen) in one of their patrol trucks. We chatted for a bit and we thanked them for the escort and off we went. They stayed behind us for a few more kilometres and then passed us with a kind wave. These Colombians are great.

We came across a mall where we bought some groceries and then tried to get some wifi to figure out where our Air BnB was that we booked. We knew we had to move a bit quicker than we were going at this point because the sun was going to set. After Andrew managed to get online and figure out where it was, he called the Air BnB host to let him know we were relatively close. We ventured off the main road and then enjoyed some side farm country and were left wondering if we were going the right way. Turns out we were and the Air BnB was a bit more off the main road that we had expected. After 120 kilometres we finally arrived. And much to the surprise of our host.

Don’t get me wrong, the host knew we were coming and that we were on bikes but I think he was expecting road cyclists just out for a weekend ride. He was thrilled as was his wife and they gave us some nice cold drinks and then of course wanted to hear our story. Imagine yourself having a Bed & Breakfast or Air BnB and you host normal everyday people and then instead have two people with their worldly possessions on their bikes show up at your doorstep after travelling for two years from Northern Canada. You’d be curious too, right? So instead of eating, showering and falling on the bed for some rest we told them our story and answered questions. Then the rest of their family (3 generations worth) showed up for the evening and again we indulged in sharing our adventure. Don’t get me wrong, we love answering questions and feeling peoples curiosity; just sometimes its hard when you’ve been on the road all day cycling your ass off. They were a lovely family and I’m really glad we stayed there.

July 3

We managed to get a nice early start to the day and knew we had some extra ground to cover to get back to the highway. Once on the main road the day was pretty uneventful. We rolled into a town after riding for many hours and there was some kind of festival going on. It was pretty neat to see all the costumes and floats if you will (Latin style). We rolled up to the bomberos and asked if we could stay the night and they didn’t seem too interested and eventually said no. The directed us down the road to the Red Cross who was closed. On our way out of town we ended up in the path of the parade and despite our requests of not being sprayed with their festive bubble type stuff, they nailed Andrew. It would have been funny had it not gone directly in his eyes causing him some discomfort. We managed to wash it out with our water bottles and we left town with Andrew looking a little worse for the wear. I know they didn’t mean any harm but when you travel by bike you have two shirts; one for on the bike and one for off. Fortunately as we started to try and find hotels along the road anyone we spoke to knew exactly what happened to his shirt and smiled.

Today’s Photographs

[flickr_tags user_id=”17145280@N00″ tags=”070216, 070316″]
Our Second Continent
The Andes are coming