In my last post I think I gave the impression that the past few months have been nothing but gloom and doom. But that’s not the case at all. I’ve had many grand adventures in Europe, despite the challenges and changes. Although I haven’t had crazy desert crossings or eaten cow brains, I have enjoyed spending time with some really great people.
Yes, I’ve been gone a while. When I last left you I was heading south to meet Alicia Sornosa in Madrid. I did make it to Spain, but then I smashed my laptop and have been unable to update the site for a few weeks! I’m saving that craziness for a different post. First, let me tell you about Madrid.
It’s been a busy week here in Cape Town. This is one of those places where you come for a few days but stay for a few weeks. There’s just so much to see and do. And the people here are just fantastic. I’ve been out and about every single day, here’s a quick recap of the week.
While I was in Lima I got sick. It wasn’t horrible, but I definitely had some kind of sickness that wasn’t getting better. I waited a few days and finally decided to push on. The ride over the Andes proved to be quite a challenge. It was cold and windy, the roads were covered in oil, the cliffs steep, and there wasn’t a lot of air to breath.
Arriving in Quito felt a bit like coming home. Almost two years ago to the day my friend Lex and I landed in Quito, we planned on staying in Ecuador for three days and loved it so much we stayed for three months. We spent a lot of time in Quito, Mindo, Baños, the Galapagos Islands, and Guayaquil. As much as I’d love to visit all of those places again I’ve decided to explore a part of Ecuador I haven’t seen yet, Cuenca – and if possible, El Cajas national park.
I left Manizales on a foggy wet morning. I’d gotten word from friends in the south that the Pan-American highway would be open for 36 hours. Now was my chance to get to Ecuador. The roads down the mountain where curvy but devoid of the normal onslaught of killer semi trucks. It was a beautiful ride that would only get better. In a short time I found myself on a two lane divided highway. I was actually able to ride at speeds above 100kmh. The day was absolutely spectacular.
After a fun week in Cartagena I rode south to Medellín. This was my first taste of the twisty congested roads that were in my future. I passed 18 wheelers, dodged smaller bikes, and discovered that the weather can change quickly in Colombia. At one point a trucks back doors flew open and two giant containers of gas and oil smashed down on the road. This shut the highway down for almost an hour as everyone scurried to figure out how to get them off the road (with a rope tied to the truck).
Just over a year ago I spent a few weeks in Cartagena and loved it. I’d made some great friends, Oscar and Daniella, and they invited me to come back and stay for a while on this trip. When I was in the US I’d talked to a few friends about the possibility of joining up for a few stops along the way. My friend Keith thought Cartagena sounded pretty good and he decided to fly down.