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The initial plan was to simply spend the night in Taganga and head out, but everyone told me Id be a fool if I didn’t visit the Parque Tyrona. So I headed out by bus to Tyrona with Kess and Lauren two travelers from Australia. Left Ruby with the fine people at Hostel Felipe.

This would be my first bus ride on this trip. All I can say is that this is no way to travel. Slow, loud, cramped. Im sure there are better buses, but there is no way it will ever compete with traveling by bike.

Anyway, after you take three buses you get to the park entrance, and the rest is by foot (or horseback if you are so inclined) The trek takes about two hours (can be done in less) but absolutely worth it. Some of the nicest beaches I have ever seen. Even rivaled Hawaii. Pictures speak louder than words so…..

Hanging out with a few fellow travelers. From left, Lauren, Kess, I forget and Megan who were from the states:

I met Meredith, aka “DirtGirl” here as well. She’s on a KLR and cruising around Colombia for a month. Good to see woman riders on the road.

I spent the night on a hammock and got eaten alive by mosquitoes and sand flies. Had to get up a couple of times to apply more deet. At one point, a dude in a neighboring hammock came over to me. He could smell the deet I was putting on, and pleaded for some. Of course, no problem we’re all suffering here.

The next morning I opted to take a boat back to Taganga. Got completely sunburned in the process, but what a ride. The boat bounced all over the place.

Good times.

H


Taganga is only 5 km from Santa Marta. Despite this it still took me over an hour to find it. The unmarked access road is dirt and goes over some rail road tracks before it turns to tarmac again. I got the help from a local biker who showed me the way. No fricken way I would have ever have found it otherwise.

Taganga is almost the polar opposite of Santa Marta. This place can not be missed. It’s much more laid back than Santa Marta, and a fraction of the size. This is beach bum paradise. You can walk along the cliffs to find other secluded beaches or make your way to Playa Grande, which despite not having an access road is just swarming with people and bars. Cool place to hang.

Playa Grande:

I stayed in the Felipe Hostel that had some of the friendliest and most down to earth people. They had a built in restaurant who’s cook could compete on Iron Chef. Best damn thai-beef Ive ever had. Literally melted in your mouth.

I got there early so I decided to do some bike maintenance. Got to keep Ruby tip-top. This time around it was the rear brake pads.

Talk about waiting to the very last minute. When I got new tires in Guatemala, the dudes at the shop wanted to replace them early. I told them no, and got 5 extra countries out of them.

Skip Santa Marta, and go straight to Taganga. Hard to find but well worth it. At the risk of being labeled “passive aggressive”, I must say that I could stay here for a very long while. Inside joke.

H


Santa Marta is your typical port town. The beach here is nice and inviting, but as for the rest of the town not much can be said. Not entirely sure why I decided to stay here for the night. I ended up in an really expensive hotel that overlooked the water. The told me they had secure parking, but they failed to add that it was in some neighbor’s backyard. WTF?

No doubt, one of the best parts of visiting Colombia is the people watching. Hanging back at a beach side café sipping a cold beer and watching the woman wearing the tightest of tight clothes stroll by. In some cases, they can’t even get their pants zipper completely closed. The road side candy here is endless. All the dudes around me chuckle to one another as one beautiful lass after another walks by. No Spanish required to know what’s on everyone’s mind.

At night the town did come alive. Colombian’s start celebrating Christmas even earlier than us Americans. Christmas decorations are up everywhere. Its actually really odd considering its like summer here, yet you have Santa all dressed up and on his sleigh. Shouldn’t they put him in shorts at least? Maybe on a surfboard?

Santa Marta can be skipped. Tomorrow I hit Taganga only a few clicks away.

H


Still on the road heading north. With traffic, small towns, and countless checkpoints (although you don’t need to stop, just slow down) I figure it will take awhile before I hit the coast. The bad part is I’ve descended in elevation in to the low lands, and the humidity is through the roof.

I decided to stop just before the next big town to get a hotel. I’m staying at a truck stop hotel. Can’t help thinking that the rooms here can be gotten by the hour.

The lady who helped with the room was so friendly.

While the lady who ran the restaurant was the biggest bitch imaginable. She radiated evil. What opposites.

Meanwhile down stairs while I’m writing this, there is a group gathered around Ruby checking her out. A lot of pointing and discussion. I guess the BMW is a rarity around here. One group leaves just to be replaced by some new faces. They all want to touch her too. That’s a big no no in the states, but as long as they don’t start taking her apart, what the hell.

I’m noticing that many locals first reaction to me is to laugh. Instant smiles and hysterical laughter. But what are they laughing at? The way I look in my insanely hot space age riding gear? The overloaded bike? My oh so cool bandanna? All of the above? Not sure, but it really gets the people rolling. I guess anything that puts a smile on one’s face is a positive. Better than a frown and machete. I always end up laughing with them. It’s a bit strange, but all good.

H


I got up early to try to beat the Bogota traffic, but at 6am the roads were already grid locked just like in L.A.

Once out of Bogota, I finally got to see the Colombian country side. I was blown away. What a diverse country. In one section I even hit some desert with cactus. The terrain changed continuously as you went up and down the mountains. Beautiful twisty roads made riding the best.

I stopped for the night in Bucaramanga. It’s Thanksgiving so I decided to stay at a hostel. I didn’t want to spend the night in a hotel cell on this day. I went to a hostel up on the side of the mountain that overlooks Bucaramanga. This place is also a para-gliding school. It had the typical assortment of Europeans backpackers. They were all pretty cool. Fortunately they were all into flying so the conversation never degraded in to politics, and “What’s wrong with America” lectures.

We barbecued steaks and potatoes that night on a fire pit that overlooked the city. Was actually a perfect place to spend the night. Although, I would have rather spent the day back in the states with friends and family. Wanna you goin do?

H

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