Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On the road again

After 5 days off of the motorcycles in Bogotá Colombia, we are about to pick the bikes up from the dealership and start moving south again. We spent most of the time here seeing the sights. The views from the top of Cerros de Monserratè were outstanding. The top of the mountain is about 10,400 feet and we got there on the funicular - a train-like thing that goes straight up the side of the mountain was pulled by a steel cable at an alarming angle. The ride down was via the teleferico which was like a large cable car. It hung from the cable and reminded me of Jackson Hole.  Man I miss snowboarding this winter, I hope there is some snow left when I get back to Colorado!

There were street vendors all over the place when we got down from the mountain selling donuts in long plastic bags. We spent some time walking through the parks in the city and we were by ourselves for most of the day as it was raining outside. The city is massive and it was wild how everyone, almost 8 million people, was at home for the holidays. The next day we picked up the motorcycles on-time just as expected. They were in the same condition that they were in when we dropped them off.  Before we could be reunited with our machines we spent the better part of 4 hours filling out paperwork and going between offices talking to people trying to satisfy the amazing amount of red tape required.  After we had used about a sequoia each in the customs office we were told to wait outside doors three and four for the bikes. When we went outside, all the doors were numbered 100 or higher. So we went back into the office to find out what was going on and spent the better part of two hours sitting in the hallway while they looked for motorcycles in the warehouse. Once they had been found we were invited to inspect them and ride them away. The only way out of the warehouse was through the loading bay doors. The height of the bottom of the door from the ground was setup for a semi to unload and load by backing up to the door, ~4.5 feet. I figured they would lift the bikes out with a fork truck or something, but instead a guy showed up with a homemade ramp. They used the loading lift to pin the ramp to the doorway and looked at us to ride the bikes down! Where the lift met the ramp there was about a foot long drop between the end of the lift and the beginning of the ramp. I was pretty thankful that we had the adventures with the extra ground clearance and higher suspension travel when we launched off the loading dock. We made it down the ramp without incident and headed into town to find the dealership as it was time for service and some new rubber. We probably could have ridden another thousand miles or so on the tires we had, but they were getting thin. On the way to the dealership we were riding through traffic which was getting pretty thick and we started to split lanes, so the bikes wouldn't overheat, when a very enthusiastic Colombian began to yell at us and fist pump out his window. He had seen our license plates and seemed to be more amped about the trip than we were. He told us how jealous he was and how much he would like to be going with us as we all ripped through rush hour traffic. He even gave us some recommendations for places to, and I quote, get wasted for Christmas! We eventually made it to the dealership and it was open so they said that they would have our bikes finished the day after Christmas. Great news as we were worried about the holidays holding us back. We found another place to stay and looked for some more sights to see. Bogotá for Christmas was pretty much like a ghost town, we had a relaxing day and had some excellent food at Club Colombia where they make their own beer. We walked through streets decorated with Xmas lights on a scale that I have rarely seen. The next day we saw a movie as we passed the time without the bikes. It was hard to be off the road for 5 days straight! Time seemed to stand still a bit and we both really missed our families. We discovered that McDonald's has the best WiFi in town and we were able to FaceTime with some of the people that we missed the most (read, our wives). We hit the Museo del Oro as a last tourist stop and checked out the gold artifacts from ancient times before having an amazing steak and some ravioli for lunch. Back at the dealership the bikes were all polished up and ready to go. They had them all tuned up and they are running like new. Not that there was anything wrong with them, but there is something about a brand new set of tires and a cleaning that always just makes it feel like its running better to me. Speaking of feelings, I didn't realize how much I missed the bike. Having it back gives me back a feeling that I had lost. I didn't realize what exactly was bothering me the past few days, but I think it was the immobility. The feeling of independent freedom that I get when I am in the saddle is one if the biggest reasons why I ride motorcycles. The sense of adventure has returned, look out South America - here we come!

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