ROAD TO: SAN AGUSTÍN
2016 has been a very busy year for us in EnMoto.Tv with all the work surrounding the online store, sponsors and keeping up the work in the website and the online store. However we still have to take time to do what we love, travel in our motorbikes. Luis Carlos is an old friend who’s been out of the game for a while, but who is craving for a trip. Let’s go to San Agustin!
I didn’t have much faith in Luis Carlos, but as he was going to be the one planning the whole thing I relaxed and replied «yes». We gathered information and riders to make this a big trip, and we managed to get 6 more bikes involved. 7 states, 4 days of travel. I managed to take a couple days off and started early so I could contact some clients on the way.
It’s working time.
Tuesday 7 a.m. Mauricio and I went ahead, but on the way to La Pintada we got stuck on some road work and ended up waiting for about 20 minutes. «This won’t take long«, Mauro said. 20 fricking minutes.
Tie wraps are a must in any trip.
Once the road opened again we made our way to Versalles. There we met a traveler who as just starting his 3 month trip through South America in a brand new KLR 650 ready for anything. There Mauricio told me that my muffler was hanging from the motorbike as a screw fell along the way. A couple tie wraps solved the problem until we got to a shop on the way. Quick fix.
This will be fast. Right.
The works on the road amounted to 5 stops and go and almost an hour delay; but we finally made it to La Pintada. Hungry and tired we stopped to have some breakfast and made our to Manizales to visit some clients, the Pereira and so on. We wound up working all morning, and finally made it to Cartago, we had some lunch there in Brasas y Leños. It’s hard to find but totally worth it. I had a nice big chunk of meet called «Churrasco» and it’s just amazingly big, almost a pound of meat. «Chimichurri» is a must.
Meat. Meat. Meat! All dishes were huge!
The next day we made our way to Cali, and again we stopped in Buga and met up with Daniel Velandia – who lost his cell phone in the way and said it was my fault. «Mono we can’t leave this place without having pork chop , it’s famous!«. We looked for Don Karlos Restaurant, a place next to the river with a full parking lot, always a good sign. The waiter rushed us in without any explanation and quickly asked «Chuleta?» and we replied «YES!» and like most restaurants here most portions are huge! It was amazing.
This is the sign you are looking for.
Stuffed we continued our journey to Potenza in Cali where they were expecting us to do an oil change to the KLR and new brake pads to the 1290. There was another surprise waiting for me there,the iXS adventure gear so I was very exited to try it out was waiting for me there, so I got to test the Montevideo II Jacket and the Caracas II pants paired with the Fresh gloves for the remainder of the trip. It seemed like the perfect gear for this multi weather journey, and it was now time to put it to the test.
New apparel from iXS!
Potenza made it feel almost like a pit stop as they rushed everything and had us ready in minutes. We visited more clients and wound up having «empanadas» in the obelisk. This part of the trip was called work. Finally we ended that part and rode all the way to Popayán, where the rest of the gang was expecting us, Luis, Jorge and Juan. The roads and landscapes are amazing over here, I don’t understand why Antioquia’s roads are SO bad. I got a call through the Intercom
«Luis where are you?»
«Just 30 kms from Popayán.»
«Wait for us we’re nearby.»
We stopped at a gas station to reunite with the rest of the group, and happily made it to Popayán. We walked through Colombia’s white city, and ate at Mora Castilla Restaurant, the number 1 restaurant in Popayan according to trip advisor. Right next to our hotel. The food there is as small and made to share. Very different to our experience the days before. All the dishes were amazing, little tastes of heaven, empanaditas, tamalitos and all kind of Colombian delicacies. It was like sitting in a living room with the family, what a great place to visit.
Finally together we walked the streets of Popayán.
We walked through Popayan’s historic center, gazing at the amazing classic buildings there. The Catedral Basílica Metropolitana Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Popayán, the Iglesia San Francisco, the Torre del Reloj, the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and the Puente del Humilladero; amazing. Now it’s time to sleep as tomorrow was the high point of the trip. I was really looking forward the 130 km. up to The Salto de Bordones.
Popayan’s historical center is a must see.
8 a.m. and while packing up the bike I must admit I was very anxious. Finally after years of trying to make this trip, and crossing the famous Purace summit. I’ve been trying to go to San Agustin for ages and it looks like this was finally the time. First stop is about 30 km. away, at Termales de Agua Tibia where we would bathe in a mud hot tub. Cool stuff. The not so cool part is that only one of us had actually packed a towel. 9 people and 1 towel. Do the math.
Note to self: Pack a towel
As there wasn’t any lunch to be had there we made our way to Palatera? I really don’t remember the name, I just say a restaurant, a parked tour bus and I stopped. Oh what a show we were in for! Turns out there was an alleged thief hiding out in the restaurant, begging to be taken somewhere as he was fearing capture – from the authorities. The «indigenous guard» made it’s way to the restaurant and took the man away. Locals told us after that the man was wanted for several robberies in the area so, that’s that. After the «show» we had lunch and continued our way.
Where else would you get a view like this?
Just a couple of meters from the restaurant the pavement ended – Leo you lucky son of a bitch – the landscape changed as well, more and more like a paramo, birds and lot’s of animals we’ve seen before in our trips to the Nevado del Ruiz. The road was very good, not many cars, but still the occasional minibus still surprised us on the road, all in good spirits though. So be careful. The Parque Nacional Purace is located between the Cauca and Huila departments. It’s height 4.646 mt. above sea level, and gives birth to 4 of Colombia’s biggest rivers, Magdalena, Cauca, Caqueta y Patia. It was all fun and games on this dirt road until rain came. My grin was gone as the road turned into this slippery, yellow muddy soup. «Just keep calm». Luckily none fall and as the paramo turns into a jungle we delight in this color fest. The rain stopped at San Jose de Isnos, we are almost there.
Off road and rain. Great.
The Salto de Bordones is one of the highest in the country, about 400 mt. in an already high spot, 1.800 mt. above sea level. Located between Saladoblanco, Isnos, y Pitalito. It’s just simply majestic. Quiet and peaceful; a much needed escape in today’s busy world. The best part though is the hotel, the Bordones Hotel is as mysterious as charming. We’ll be staying here today. The staff was very warm it us and helped us into our rooms – which luckily they had available for all of us. Wi – fi included! We ended the day by the fire after a quick wash of the bikes that were muddy as they could be.
We should have stayed longer.
Morning came and everyone was kind of sad as we were leaving this heavenly place. we should have stayed longer. But the plan is the plan and now it’s time to make our way to San Agustin. The day, like us, was also sad, so it decided to rain on our parade all the way to the San Agustin park, all 40 km. of the way. The sun came to the rescue and accompanied us while we toured the park. To enter you have to purchase a passport to the park, nice souvenir.
Most of the group. Would you look at that!
Rocio, our tour guide, told us everything about this Colombian treasure. The tour takes about an hour and ends up in river made to protect these stone giants. The park is one of Colombia’s most important archaeological spaces, and was declared World Heritage by Unesco in 1995, being the worlds largest necropolis in existence. The tour is a lot of fun and the park is in excellent shape.
Now it’s time to leave as almost 400 km. separate us from Ibague in our way back home. I am very hungry now and have barely eaten anything. Huila is know for its BBQ so I’m expecting quite a feast. The road is amazing – seriously what’s the deal with roads in Antioquia? – lot’s of twisties, no speed traps, and clean pavement, a dream, but no restaurants. Almost an hour in I found a place, nothing special. Eventually Daniel caught up to me but he was the only one there. We started calling everyone, they told us David had a problem with his bike, seems the mud made a mess of the KTM front end. We waited there for a couple of hours but the bike was fixed and we pushed on. The night came and we wound up in a hotel in Neiva. Couple of beers, hot tub and rest. Tomorrow we head home.
Getting up was hard, dark day, tired from the day before. We have a big breakfast and hit the road. We stick together all the way to Espinal where Mauricio and Jorge head to Bogotá as they have work there. We make our way to Medellín after we stop in Honda to get some lunch in Hotel Posada las Trampas. 1.600 kms in a couple of days is the balance and one hell of experiences. The iXS apparel was perfect for the trip, never too hot in hot weather, never too cold in the rain or the cold. Comfy apparel that not only delivers but looks good also. I am very pleased with this brand and hope to get to test more goodies in the future, I highly recommend.