Cartagena > Sahagun, Columbia – 245km > Medellin 430km


With being on the boat and time in Cartagena, it has been 10 days no riding so we are more than ready to hit the road again today, the first day of South America, always heading south 🙂

Didn’t do a big mileage because the main road goes through all the small towns which cuts our speed back. We have exchanged the constant tooting of horns for very loud, full volume lively South American music.  The people are so friendly, even the army and police give us the thumbs up as we pass.

There are 100’s of small motorbikes everywhere, they are even used as taxis – the guys carry an extra helmet for their passengers.

For the most part its a great road, though it does have its moments – I wouldn’t like to ride it at night with some of the repairs needed.

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We get to go through the tolls free which means no more fluffing about trying to get gloves off, the right money out, gloves on etc. There is a small lane on the right hand side – sometimes very narrow – and we just shoot up there.

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Typical country today

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Our lunch stop – a good find, food was delicious

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Don’t get this sort of service at home – our seats were covered so as to not get too hot

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The town we stopped in for the night, fairly typical

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Our hotel – room was small but clean.  Nice courtyard complete with lit up fountain.

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Sahagun > Medellin – 430km


Kept seeing this sign … not sure what it means but its kinda cute

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Our brunch stop

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They love colour on their homes here

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Saw a number of different styles of housing, some were just polythene tied over sticks with dirt floors, very sad.

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One area had an abundance of water and there were high water spouts all along the road, these are to beckon people in to have their car/truck washed.

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Climbed up over the mountains – a very very winding road with spectacular views at the top.

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Charlie had a close call today – came around a blind corner and our side of the road was full of a vehicle trying to pass from the other direction.  Fortunately Charlie has quick reactions and swung to the right, I saw him swerve so I swung into the small gap too, don’t know what happened with the car behind me.

On the straight roads, motorcycles don’t really count as vehicles when it comes to passing.  We tend to keep well to the outside of the road and keep our wits about us.

A lot of the countryside today has reminded us of home – could be riding in NZ

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  • Warren

    Hi Janet and Charlie,
    Hard to get any work done reading your wonderful blog. That cute road sign you took a photo of is an international sign means low beam required. There is one with four circles top two white centre and bottom two half black for high beam

    December 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      I wondered if that was what they might mean. I just kept wanting to put lips on the sign, or a smile 🙂

      December 28, 2014 at 2:04 am
      • Warren

        You made laugh, buy some red chalk and decorate the next one you see. Hope you two are allowing enough rest stops. Must be pretty tiring riding all day every day. Tell Charlie I’ve just hand mixed 3 cubes concrete! Arms now longer than my legs. Ride carefully out there.

        December 28, 2014 at 7:21 am
  • Steve & Kim

    Hi Charlie and Janet,

    WOW what an awesome trip to date, REALLY enjoying your writings and photos, feet getting really itchy now, jealous much :-).

    How are the bikes performing, being Yamaha’s I doubt you’ll have too many issues, how many km’s are you getting from the tyres? Where will you get the next services done?

    The Dakar starts on the 4th Jan and will be having a rest day in Iquique Bolivia on the 10th Jan, will you be down there by then?

    Looking forward to the South American part of your journey.

    Ride safe.

    December 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      Hi Steve and Kim.
      A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!! Great to hear from you.
      The bikes are performing superbly. Apart from the fork seals being replaced on the Tenere after going to Prudhoe Bay, we have had no problems at all. Long may that continue.
      We are looking at getting the next service done in Quito – that will be about our next 10,000 mark, so that’s just an oil change.
      Re the tyres – Janet’s 660R has Metzler Tourance which we replaced in San Diego before heading into Mexico, not that they really needed changing at that point and those new ones may see us through – will re-assess in Chile.
      Re Charlie’s bike – started with Metzler Next and replaced the rear after 15,000. Again put on new tyres in San Diego, this time using Heidenau tyres and I’m liking them better. They are 50/50 gravel pavement tyres and so a bit noisy, but not enough to worry about.

      Glad you are enjoying our journey with us
      Charlie & Janet

      December 28, 2014 at 2:14 am
  • Steve & Kim

    Oops, Iquique is in Chile, not Bolivia, my bad 🙂


    December 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm
  • Melanie

    Aw dear please stay safe Charlie jnr and Cory are hanging out for more Grandma and Grandpa hugs n chats.
    Awesome photos keep up he awesome blog 🙂 yay for not having to pay tolls x

    December 28, 2014 at 11:45 am

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