Desert Solitaire: Ibague to San Agustin

We left Ibague minus Raimon as he needs to double back to Bogota. We all hope he may still catch up anyway. I can’t believe I’m writing about Colombia while planning how to cross from Ecuador to Peru now. Apologies folks for being lazy posting some updates.

We left balmy Ibague knowing fully well the next week or so will be a sweatfest. It’s been awhile since we had this, I’m not looking forward to it but it’s ok. A week of heat is nothing compared to what we experienced in Central America. In hindsight, we actually would have skipped Central America altogether. But we had good memories spending more time than we expected in that part of Latin America. Central America made us more excited to explore South America.

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We hauled as much ice-cold water as we can on our way down to the flat part of Colombia only to realize it’s a waste of time and money. It turned warm in no time so back to filtering tap water.
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Bernardo basking in the heat
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A mere thousand. For some it’s just that, but nothing feels better than hitting that thousand mark. It’s like loosing your virginity. You only have that once in your bike touring lifetime. And Dang and I are super stoked to celebrate it with Bernardo.
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Scene from our room. Dang trying to cool-off the heat of the day.
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Quiet roads of Colombia with ample shoulder space for us. We actually don’t need the space as drivers make an effort to give a wide berth. Safest roads we’ve ridden so far is in Colombia. I’m just not quite sure what that traffic sign even mean..
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And scenic too
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With some tunnels to break that mountain view monotony
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Happy to help haul that extra bananas mister
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Surly Knards. My wonky tubeless Knards. Brand new only since Medellin.
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Plus tires are a big hit with the kids. Or a bike with motorcycle tires as they say. I’m nervous nowadays lending my steed to excited kids nowadays after an incident in Mexico when a kid crashed my bike resulting in a frayed Rohloff gear cable. From time to time I still cave in. It feels good to put a smile in a kid’s face.

 

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While in a shaded plaza of Tatacoa, I took the chance to fix the wonky Knards. All I did is put an inner tube and it went back to its normal alignment. I’m just sad it’s not tubeless anymore.

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We rode unladen in the park the next day
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Reminds me of Utah only in a smaller scale.

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Dusk in the desert
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Bernardo Salce in the house!
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We discovered some uninvited creatures in our bikes as a result of leaning the bikes in one particular tree overnight while camped in the desert

 

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Once out of Tatacoa, we were treated to some tree-lined flat pavement goodness. Life on the road is so hard…
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And I was surprised there’s another Manila, the place I grew up, on the other side of the planet. I couldn’t resist to take a snap.
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Sign of heat. A lady actually rents all these “seat covers” for a fee to protect the motorcycles from the heat of the sun. And the drivers pay willingly lest they want their nether region fried when they hop back on their motos.
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Salmons are cheap here so I bought a pair here in Colombia to replace my travel-weary La Sportiva pair. So far so good but I don’t keep my hopes high as with my other shoes from years past. All it takes is a couple of hike-a-bike days and those uppers will wilt away for sure.
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Classic. Period.
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Second breakfast in a tiny shack. I gotta say this one is a bit early(9 o’clock) and the owner seems not ready to serve yet. We can wait we told her.
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Faster doesn’t mean you’ll get there sooner. On our way to San Agustin, this truck passed us about 1o minutes before and  I wonder ‘how in the hell can he drive that fast on that big of a truck?’. Apparently that’s the answer to ‘how in the hell did he end up in there’. He was fuming mad when he saw me took a picture of his stupidity.
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San Agustin at last. Several days of heat is on the books now. Situated a bit higher hence cooler, this place is just a welcome relief from the heat of the previous days.
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Dang catching up on her reading in Casa de Nelly.

Our routeIbague – Natagaima – Tatacoa – Neiva – Gigante – Garzon – Altamira – San Agustin

Route notes: In San Agustin, we stayed at Casa de Nelly. Dorms for $7 a night. Highly Recommended. Ask Harry, the manager, for route ideas south to Ecuador. He traveled by horse along with his friends for several months from San Agustin to Baños, Ecuador.

If you’re a more visual hombre, you can view the GPS track here.

 

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