Today started off with a chance encounter with a couple of travelers from Oregon. They’ve traveled through Central America in their RV, spending some time in Mexico along the way, and now they’re headed toward Argentina where I think they intend to make a new home in their retirement. Spent longer than planned chatting so we got on the road a bit late, alas.
The first leg from Tunia to Pasto got progressively worse as we rode along. At places, it resembled the roads in Honduras, which have been the worse paved roads we’ve ridden. It was heavily potholed and bumpy with patches, although because we were on motos, we were able to pick good lines through most of it. I was just surprised by the condition of the road because A) It was the Pan American and B) All of the other paved roads we’ve ridden in Colombia have been in MUCH better condition.
But, as usual, it was beautiful riding in Colombia, anyway.
Stopped for lunch at a random roadside restaurant, and while we were finishing up our meal, a couple of guys walked in and introduced themselves with “You guys must be the guys causing trouble on the BMWs out there.” Indeed, we were! And so we met Vern and Joe, who are also riding to Ushuaia. We had a very pleasant chat with them, and Joe had a lot of good information, including some tips on the road to Uyuni in Bolivia that we intended to ride. (Apparently the main road that people tend to take has some deep sand, in addition to the washboards we’d already heard about, but Joe gave us a heads-up about an alternate route that is decent dirt.)
They told us they intended to head to Pasto tonight, and I asked for the name of the hotel where they planned to stay. We were probably going to stop in Pasto, too. We were hoping we’d see them again when we arrived at the hotel because it’s always nice to chat with other adventure riders and I wanted to pick their brains. But as it happens, we caught up with them on the road to Pasto!
We ended up behind them and followed them most of the way to Pasto (except a few sections where they got ahead again) and when they stopped at a gas station on the edge of Pasto to reconnoiter, we asked if they’d mind if we followed them to the hotel. They didn’t, and in surprisingly short order, with the help of some GPS coordinates and a friendly Colombian moto rider who helped lead us the last bit, we made it to the hotel and unpacked. Hotel San Sebastian – nice rooms, internet – the only problem is that our room is on the fourth floor. And we unloaded all the crap from our bikes. Boo.
Unloaded the bikes and went out in search of dinner with Joe and Vern, which was fun. We found a local comidas rapidas place (fast food) where we had assorted hamburgers, sausage on a stick, potatoes and pizza. Then off to a pastelria for cookies to enjoy back in the room, and calling it a night.
Tomorrow the plan is to head for the border with Ecuador and cross. Yay! Alas, Joe and Vern are both Iron Butt riders and tend to get started earlier than we do, so I’m not sure we’ll travel with them much further – we take our time a bit more to stop for photos, linger over places we like and good meals, etc. We may make it to Quito with the guys tomorrow, but they might leave too early for us in the AM – and even if we do hit Quito with them, our paths might diverge there. We’ll see. But it’s been fun chatting with them, and I enjoyed riding in a convo of adventure riders today!
Kay’s note: Vern is riding a Suzuki DRZ 350, which we think might just be the perfect size for the Americas, although neither of us like the idea of riding a bike without fuel injection at high altitudes. But, for some reason we’re getting way better mileage that either of them. We’ve been averaging between 65 and 75 Mpg lately. We have no idea why.