The Road to Cali

February 4, 2010

Back out the Valley road back to the Panamericana.

Nice pass on the double yellow…

PEAJE.

The road was hot and flat and pretty straight. I rode through miles and miles of sugar cane fields.

Then I see this sign…I understand “tren” (train) but canero? i am puzzled…

Until I see this.

That’s right, folks. Count ’em, FOUR semis full of sugar cane being bpulled by a single tractor. How do they steer such beasts?

Well they re downright FUN to pass…just take my advice and go fast enough so one does not pass YOU! With so many articulations they are wobbly beasts!

A cut sugarcane field…hence the “tren”. This one’s just been cut. They burn these fields afterwards–and most often they are right beside the road. I’ve been warned to be really careful when they are burning.

Next I get passed by this guy…I have to pass him again to make sure I saw that right…”Prohibited to transport women and children”…

Next I get passed by a 950 KTM Adventure.  He rides alongside making a variety of hand signals which I do not understand, and then I finally get it when he pulls ahead and pulls off the road. I do, too…

…and I meet Ricardo Rocco, owner of Escuela de Motos in Quito.  He’s headed into Cali, knows the town, knows some people there, and agrees to let me follow him. Where he’s going is just a couple blocks from the Cassablanca hostel I’ve been recommended to.

We arrive at Asturias Motors. Hs friends Sory Con and Jorge run Asturias, a repair chop for all makes and models of motorcycles. The place is bustling–it’s obvious they do a whopping businesss and know their stuff. They also have a shop next door that sells parts and gear for riders–an ideal combination.

On my way to the bathroom I take a tour of the bikes in the shop and fall in love with this one…they don’t import them into the UUSA so I can only dream of riding a Tenere in foreign lands…

Sory and Jorge checking out my bike. They ask if I have anything that needs fixing.

Well the pplace is a people-and-bike- magnet with the enigmatic owners and their riding buddies, all the travelers they help, locals whose bikes they service. Plus, Sory and Jorge are world travelers themselves, so theyy just attract cool motorcyclists. The crowd out front grows.

And grows.

And grows. It’s fun to be yakking with all these motorcycle people, many of which are going over maps with me, giving me ideas of where to go, things I cannot miss over the next few days.

Well finally the crowd dissipated, an ricardo and I packed up. Ricardo gave me his business card and invited me to Quito….luckily for me offering to meet me outside the City and escort me in (yeah! I hate cities–I always get so lost).  He led me to my hostal,  where I got the last bunk in a dorm room of 10 people for $9 I think. There were two other motorcycle travelers in the room–that was kind of cool. But I did not sleep well at all, too many people in too small a space. Plus everyone was partying til the wee hours.

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