Gringo riding a 125ccm motorbike 28.000km through Ecuador and Columbia


 
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To enter Ecuador took only a few minutes. At the boarder, there were nice new air conditioned Buildings. It was Friday afternoon and I was the only customer there. Within seconds, I had the exit stamp in my passport.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
The officer on the Peruvian side did not know what to do with my hand written import letter for the bike. He just waved me through.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
On the Ecuador side, they did not know what to do as well. I got the entry print in my passport and was allowed to leave without legally importing my motorbike.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
I could fill up my bike for only 2 Dollars at the next petrol station a few minutes later. One Gallon of petrol = 3,78 Liter was only 1,45 US$. In Ecuador, the American Dollars have become the main currancy and are accepted everywhere.
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Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
Ecuador is a very green country. Everywhere people were growing something. I passed big banana plantages for many kilometers. Some of them were so big, that airplanes were used to put the chemicals on.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
People were living everywhere. Even outside of the towns it was hard to find a place to camp. The security people did not allow me to enter those big plantages but chased me away.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
Finally, I found a nice family who allowed me to pitch my tent protected of rain underneath their carport. The daughter was able to speak English, so we could even talk and I got invited for supper.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
The next day it was raining a lot. Some city's were completely flooded. Even on the main road there was up to 30 cm of water.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
I got soaked many times. When Trucks or Buses passed me, there were big waves on the road and I got splashed. When I turned into the mountains and rode up to 4000 Meters I was soaked wet and became really cold.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
At the volcano lake Laguna Quilotoa GPS S0°51'40" W78°53'50" the fog disappeared and the sun came out.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
But it remained cold, so I did not want to camp in the close little tourist town but went back down to 3000 meters altitude. Here I passed a school, where they were just playing a soccer match.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
They were selling pommes and milk rice and it was a big hello when I stopped to by something to eat. We started to communicate with hands and feet and at the end, I was invited to pitch my tent in the house of the community.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
The next day, the road remained on height altitude, but towards the boarder it became wider and better. While riding around Quito, the road even had 6 lanes and the asphalt was completely new.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
It was a lot of fun to ride there, so it was definitely worth the few penny's of toll I had to pay.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
I missed the equator. I was so concentrated on the road and the trucks, that I did not watch my navigation system. But that didn't matter: I could feel that I was in the geographical winter on the north part of the world by now, anyway! ;)
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
When I reached the boarder to Columbia, I went a few kilometer long cue of waiting vehicles. At the immigration counter, I was the only one and quickly got my exit stamp.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
It didn't take much longer to get the enter stamp from Columbia. Here they wanted to copy my international drivers licence and even traced my frame number with some paint and tape. But even here, the whole procedure did not take very long. A few minutes later I was with full jerrycans in Columbia. After 12.500 Kilometers I have done so far the half part of my trip.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
While searching for the church Las Lajas GPS N0°48'22.41" W77°34'54.57", I passed a little restaurant. Here, they were selling grilled guinea pig. The meat tasted like rubber. Not nice.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
I stopped to take some pictures and to change a bit of money. For 10 Dollars I got 18.500 Pesos. The son of the family was in my age, proudly presented his own car and his LED TV and invited me to stay for the night.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
Later on, we drove to see the church, one of the main things to see in Columbia. I was happy that I did not went there only by myself.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
The place was very touristic. There were lots of souvenir shops around, but no place to securely park a fully loaded motorbike.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
When we walked down to the church we passed many thanks plates of Christian's who were healed from diseases. Inside of the church were many people.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
On the next morning I got up early and followed the nice winding road, probably the nicest part of all my trip, 450 km to Cali. The small road winded through the mountains and through nice green landscape down to see level. Really nice.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
There were some military roadblocks. Most of them waved me through. If someone stopped me, I always complained about "so many" controls and was allowed to go on.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
In the evening, I finally reached Cali. In Cali it is not allowed for two men to ride together on a motorbike since people from motorbikes were shooting and stealing passengers.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
After looking a while for a nice place to pitch my tent, I found the nice building of the Christian community, where I was invited to stay while I was in Lima. Here again, I could relax a bit, cook my own food and show the pictures of my Africa trip.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Then I continued towards Medellin. Here I was allowed to camp in the waldorf school, where people from Germany can do a social year with the organisation "Weltwaerts" and learn Espaniol.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

There I left my stuff and went into the town to find the hotel of David. I had met David on the HUBB forum when I was looking for someone to do the ferry trip from Manaus to Belem with me.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

He was stuck in Medellin since a car had driven over his left leg. Now we decided to continue our trip to Venezuela together. We had heard to many bad things about Venezuela so we thought it was saver this way.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

The road to Cucuta was nice and winding. Here we crossed the Andes for the last time. David made a lot of speed. He already wanted to be in Sao Paulo a few weeks later. At night we camped on a cow lawn. It was the first time for David to camp since Argentina.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

After two days, we passed a sign "Bienvenidos a Venezuela" eventually. Was this the boarder? Right. We were already illegal in Venezuela. After a bit of looking around, we found the boarder post.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

There, the officer told us we would have to ride 16 km back to get our exit stamps from Columbia and then we would have to use a different boarder GPS 7°49'8.10"N 72°27'11.50"W because he does not have the stamp to import our vehicles.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

We were helpless when a friendly guy from the United States invited us to spend the night in his house. He was married to a nice wife from Venezuela and lived here since then.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Just for us she started to make really nice pizza while we took a shower and spreaded our tents so they could get dry.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

The next day Alan showed us the way to the other boarder. We got our exit stamps but the officer did not know how to handle the import papers of our bikes. Doesn't matter.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

After following Alan to a well hidden office a few kilometers behind the boarder of Venezuela, we got our enter stamps there. Then the import of our vehicles became a nightmare.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

We had to follow Alan to three different offices, all of them well hidden in the big city Cucuta to fill out forms and get stamps. They even wanted 20 Bolivar from each of us for some stamps.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Without Alans help we would have not been able to do all this. He watched our bikes while we had to wait and walk around the different buildings. In the evening, he helped us to change some money. Then we followed him back to his house again.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

The official rate in Venezuela is only 4 Bolivar per Dollar but on the black marked we got 9 Bolivar per Dollar.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
Therefore it is not good to use the credit card in Venezuela. Rather take out money in Columbia and change it to get the better rate or carry US$ like I do to be save.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

At Alans place, we were illegally in Columbia since officially we had already entered Venezuela but nobody cared. The next day we crossed the boarder without any stop.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

The last night I had made a quick oil change and put on a new tire since I have heard they are so much more expensive in Brasil.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Because there were long cues on the petrol stations, we were happy that we already had bought cheap petrol beside the road in Columbia and did not had to wait here. Petrol in Venezuela is only about 1 Cent per Liter. Im not joking. That's also why many people there use the big, bold and thirsty American cars.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Nobody cares, how much petrol a car takes per 100 km. Electricity is very cheap as well, so even the poor looking houses had air condition.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Against all warnings about corrupt police controls or attacks, the people were very friendly to us. Only one time a police man did not want my travel made to continue his trip with the broken leg.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

The next night we were invited to stay in the nice house of a friendly man from couchsurfing.org. He cared about us and even started a big barbecue. I was too tired to stay awake so long.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Just after Ciudad de Bolivar my engine failed while I was trying to overtake a long truck. I parked beside the road to see what was wrong.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

A friendly couple stoppd and tried to help me. They were travelling on a Chinese motorbike.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Finally, my travel made came back and pulled me with his belt around my rear set 12 km back to the last city.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Here, we found a competent mechanic who quickly made the same diagnose as I did before: no compression. When he took of the valve cap we could see that one of the valves which were controlled by tappets instead of a chain was bend.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

I tried to negotiate about the price for the repair. Because I did not have much of the local currency I wanted to use Dollars. He wanted 200, I offered 100 US$.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Another guy already started to take my engine apart. Then the mechanic disappeared and returned a few minutes later with a new valve. Within a few hours they managed to repair my engine.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

With his fingers the mechanic wrote the bill into the sand: 200 Bolivar for the Valves and a new spark plug and 200 Bolivar for his work. only about 45 Dollars. Wow.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Because it already turned too dark, we were allowed to camp at the yard of a nice local family. Thanks a lot. Many neighbors came around to watch the big Kawasaki KLR 650 of my Gringo travel made.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

On we went to the east. We tried to do 400 km per day, which was hard because the road was very bad.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Again and again, there were lots of speed bumps and big pot holes. One of them I did not see and nearly crashed. Luckily, nothing happened.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

The landscape was boring. We passed many big Cow yards and many bush fires.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

A bit later on, the bad luck got David. His clutch leaver started to pulse and his engine made a bad metallic noise. Then I also got a flat front tire. Fuck.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Luckily, we reached the city Ciudad de Guayana, where we found a good mechanic again. He took of the side part of the Kawasaki KLR 650,
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

then he took of the clutch and we could see one of the bearings was broken. We found a lot of metal parts in the filter.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

The mechanic called a friend who appeared a few minutes later on a Kawasaki KLR 650 as well. He owned the Hostel Calle Boyacá,
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

He translated to repair the motorcycle will cost 150 Dollars and will take 3 days because therefore the whole engine had to be taken apart. The fitting set who needed to be ordered in Caracas will be another 150 Dollars.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

David agreed. We followed Martin Haars to his Hostel Calle Boyacá N° 26 con Calle Amor Patrio detás Gobernacion www.posada-doncarlos.com 0058 (0) 414-8546616. Martin was German and owned a German bank account, where David could transfer the money so he did not have to use his credit card with the bad official rate.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

I was also able to change some of my dollars here. When David went to the doctor to get his food looked after he found out that the medical care in Venezuela was free even for tourists. I really start to like Venezuela.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

On most of the petrol stations were big cues of many cars but motorbikes were always called to the front and filled up for free.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

There was just not small enough money to give change for only seven liters of petrol.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Against all the bad things I have heared about Venezuela before, I got treated very well wherever I stopped in the only country of the world that has 30 minutes time difference.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

The people proudly presented their home and the landscape and offered nice fruits, which I have never seen before and tasty food.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Some people waved to me as I was riding past. In those cases I stopped and turned around.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
I was happy to travel alone again. I could enjoy the time and take lots of fotos without being pushed by my travelmade.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

On the way through the grande sabana I was overtaken by a 25m long truck. When there was suddenly traffic coming towards us, he pulled back on my lane and pushed me off the road.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

I could not avoid to crash, but because of the soft and muddy ground, luckily nothing serious happened. Only my break pedal was bend.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

I asked the next person who I saw screwing on a car to help me bend it back.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Instead of a bill he offered coffee and a chocolate bar at the end.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Such are the people in Venezuela. So friendly. Unbelievable. I did not get robbed or cheated but invited, wherever I stopped.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

I could not visit the Angel Waterfalls because there was no road going there.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Anyway, I passed many nice waterfalls along the way, where I could even pitch my tent.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

One day, I pitched my tent close to a bee nest. It was nice and quiet there and the place was soft and flat.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

In the morning the bees started to attack me. One of them stuck me close to my eye.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

It started to swill so big that I could hardly see on my left eye.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

There were many animals in the Amazonas Rainforest. Everywhere I could hear the sound of insects or the whistling of birds. The Rain forest was really loud.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
I saw many colourful birds and even a small ant bear and many dead snakes on the road.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

Because of them, I rather moved into a empty house ad dawn instead if pitching my tent on the high grass.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

To leave Venezuela wasn't a problem. In nice new offices directly at the boarder friendly officers quickly did the paperwork for me. To enter Brazil was easy as well. They only wanted to copy my documents, then I got a two pages authority document to ride in Brazil for 90 days.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

In Brazil, people were talking Portuguese. One liter of petrol was 1,40 Euro. No medical insurance is needed as public hospitales are free. To smoke in public houses and to attach a box to a bike for two persons was prohibited but to carry gas bottles on a bike seemed to be ok as many people did so.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

But the last thing did affect me as a tourist. The last 300 kilometers to Manaus I crossed thick tropical forest.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela

I stopped many times to take photos. I was stunned by the power of nature.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
There was only one roadblock. The officer welcomed me. He was even able to speak English.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
Here again, the people were friendly and allowed me to take photos whenever I asked.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
Nobody begged at me. They were proud, that even a Gringo like me liked their beautiful Amazonas Rain forest.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
There were nice little wooden houses - some build high up so no animals could get there.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
Indians who did not liked to be photographed, walked bare feet even here.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
I realized with respect that everybody carried a knife on his belt.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
They shyly looked at me, but did not attack me. They even smiled when I greeted them with my hand.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
I believe the only problem here is the so called westly influence and the western waste.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
While the leftovers of fruits and the rests of mud houses disappearing after a while,
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
plastic bottles and parts of cars stay for years without rotting away.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
We so called civilized people should try to learn from the Indians how to life together with nature.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
We should not teach them how to destroy nature. The same thing I have realized while traveling around Africa before.
 
Southamerica with a motorcycle - Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela
There were people again who lived without running water and electricity but are even more happy than we are. Continue to next page.
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