Road of Death – Bolivia

Road of Death

Nick, Ivanka, Kevin, Andre & Mark are in Bolivia and they set off from La Paz to Cuzco encountering road blocks, snow and great mountain scenery.

To be honest we have done harder roads than the road of death but we are glad that the road was open only one way when we did it. If there would have been traffic coming the other way then it would have been a different story.

Cusco to Machu Picchu by motorcycle

Cusco to Machu Picchu by motorcycle

8 motorcyclists, 9 people over 4 days. Here we are shaking our ass (Groove Armada style) as we head into deepest Peru through the Sacred Valley to the Kingdom of the Incas. This is how adventure motorcycling should be as we head through remote passes, rivers, fog, rain and much more.

Some very talented dancers in this video, adopting similar choreography to that of the Teletubbies.


A Day in Peru – Canyon del Pato – Video

A Day in Peru

This video shows a complete day on the bike from dawn til dusk as we start the day with a puncture, then join our fellow motorcyclists James and Glen and tackle the Canyon del Plato between Trujillo and Huaraz in the Andes.

This day was a very memorable day and some of the best riding we have done for a long long time.

Riding through desert landscapes, arid river passes, remote mountain villages and the best of all the Canyon. This road featured 40 tunnels, 8 hours of riding, waterfalls, old derelict coal mines, lots of oncoming traffic (even in tunnels) and semi passable bridges.

By the way, the rough road finishes with a double rainbow, heavy rain and then we finally find a hotel room on this particular day about 8.30pm.

The following day we find that the puncture we repaired did not hold together very well so we head for a tyre repair guy to do a better job than we did.

Ramble on by Led Zeppelin definitely does the day justice.


The Amazon in Ecuador

The Amazon in Ecuador

Ecuador has been absolutely stunning and we wished we could have stayed longer.

We visited the Ecuadorian part of the amazon for several days and travelled into the jungle by boat with a guide. Here we were introduced to how the locals manage to find everything they need through plants and flora – and it was incredible to hear what they have as resources: medicine, cotton, penicillin, poison, anti-biotics and much more. Here is our latest vid featuring some dutch guys who travelled into the jungle with us.

Lots of fun was had by all on this part of the adventure motorcycling trip.

Ecuador and Crossing the Equator – Video

Ecuador and Crossing the Equator

Colombia has been relaxing, an adventure, we only probably road 10 days in the month we stayed there and we are now ready for the big ride down to Ushuaia in Tierra Del Fuego/ Argentina. We are currently in the Ecuadorian part of the Amazon jungle, having crossed the Equator.

Leaving Bogota we headed south over a magnificent pass between Ibague and Armenia. Climbing to an altitude of 4000m through sweeping bends, lush mountains and small villages along the way. Then after this mountain crossing we straight-lined it south towards Popayan and then the border town of Ipiales where we crossed into Ecuador.

Here is our latest video.

Riding Without Rubber – Arriving in Bogota

Riding Without Rubber

The last few days have been exciting, breathtaking, anxious and now we are safely tucked away in Boutique Hostel Violeta in the Candelaria part of Bogota.

Here is a short video which shows Ivanka describing our recent challenges and what happens if you push your tyre changes to the limit! Lesson learnt from our point of view and we won’t do it again.

The whole experience with BMW was exemplary, so if you need assistance while on the road in Colombia then do pop by and say hello to Edgar Gomez.

We are now ready for the rest of the adventure and the strength and durability of the Metzeler Tourances has to be noted here; amazing that they lasted so long (10,500 miles) and incredible that they did not decide to blow on us.

Archive Footage – Salmon Glacier near Hyder.

Archive Footage

Hyder, Salmon Glacier in British Colombia.
Nick and Ivanka take a break on route up the long trek to Salmon Glacier. A long gravel road, bears on route – with some of the most spectacular scenery we have seen so far on the trip. Quite a challenging narrow road with steep drops to one side, then of course the odd bear to watch out for.

A memorable journey indeed.

That evening we booked ourselves into our first hotel stay of the trip. This was because every camp ground had massive bear signs up stating that all food should be kept in the bear lockers and all pets should be kept indoors. All a bit too excessive so we thought we deserved the comfort of a nice hotel without the worries of bears prowling around the tent while we tried to sleep.

Very soon we will be heading back to the mountains as we head towards the Andes via southern Colombia and Ecuador.

Almost missing in Colombia

Almost missing in Colombia

Last week we started the bike after it had been sat in heavy rain for a couple of days and the motorbike did not sound good. It would not tick over, it sounded very rough and it struggled to make it from one side of Cartagena to the other.

I found water in the spark plug chamber and inside the lip of the petrol cap but after having a look at the plugs, speaking to a few motorcycle dudes, changing the oil, revving, riding, we were still in the same situation. The bike was spluttering and it was not going to take us anywhere reliably.

We were tinkering with the bike in the car park of the apartments we were staying in with some friends (very nice friends!) when a Colombian chap took an interest in what we were doing and he just seemed super keen to help. He said he had a mechanic friend, he could take us there. So, Ivanka and I looked at each other, thought it was the best shot we had and agreed to meet Alfredo at midday. It was a great idea – but, Ivanka and I have been side-by-side for 7 months and we never do missions separately and Alfredo doesn’t have a car of his own.

At midday my new amigo Alfredo (on the back of the bike and wearing Ivanka’s helmet) was kindly directing him and me on a mission across Cartagena in order to get the bike back to its best.

The journey itself was the usual kind of stuff on latin american roads; buses, motorbikes, traffic from bumper to bumper and I suppose I was expecting to get there within 10 minutes or so. 20 minutes later we were heading more inner city and I started to think: “Shit! Where is he taking me?” I got all sorts of ideas in my head – let me tell you! Is he taking me somewhere so he can do over the ‘gringo’? How will I get in touch with Ivanka to let her know about my progress? But then you remind yourself that Alfredo seemed like a nice bloke. Didn’t he?

The journey took us about 30 minutes in total and Alfredo said: “if you don’t like the mechanic just let me know”. We pulled down several back streets and eventually arrived in a neighborhood where there was a line of several bikes at the side of the kerb with a bunch of guys hanging out.

We got off the bike, Alfredo said hello to his friends and I thought: “shit, this clearly isn’t a proper mechanic – what am I supposed to do?”. The mechanic and I conversed in my basic Spanish and we agreed that he would look at the bike in about 45 minutes, once it had cooled down. In the meantime word must have got out that there was an English ‘gringo’ with a big bike and I must have met 10-15 kids who couldn’t help but come and have a look! Alfredo reminded me to watch my wallet and my belongings over and over again while I tried to keep the crowds entertained with my tales of places I have been and English football – all delivered in my excellent gringo Spanish!

Much later, the mechanic returned, he checked the spark plugs, took my engine case apart and then adjusted one of my throttle bodies and the bike seemed to be back just as it should be. It cost me $30 for his time and I had to let him have a go on the bike. Alfredo had come up with the goods, the mechanic had done the business and I was ready to go.

While we had been waiting there was a discussion about fitting my bike with fog lights and Alfredo said that there was a shop around the corner that could help. I thought to myself that I had only been gone a couple of hours so what was the harm? And anyway, I needed a new bulb for my headlight…

Alfredo called the doorman of the apartment block, left a message for Ivanka, and off we went.

To cut a long story short, I ended up going to 2 or 3 shops with Alfredo. We then went to 2 welders who needed to help with fitting a bracket and we had to go to an electrician so he could fit the lights. The whole process took us to 6.30 and we met so many nice people! One guy made us a Colombia sticker and everyone wanted a photo with me and the bike.

That was it. What a day! My bike was fixed, I had a new set of spotlights and I had a really really great day with Alfredo. Turns out he had had a BMW motorbike himself for a number of years which was part of the reason he was so keen to help. All in all we had spent 8 hours together by the time we got home and we had set up a friendship; I had invited him to visit in the UK and we had agreed to go out for some beers in Cartagena.

The journey home was more eventful than the whole day! It was dark, it was rush hour; there were cars, motorbikes and buses all over the place but that is just how it is and we made it back together safely.

When we met Ivanka on our return it was clear that she had been worried. Properly worried. She got the update call at 4pm and by 8pm she had been fighting all the paranoid possibilities for the best part of 5 hours. As she said, she had been trying very hard to except everything for what it was, a nice person being helpful, but it can be hard not to think of the alternatives because, even by latin american standards it had taken “an awfully long time”.

This story really highlights the kindness that you experience on a trip like this – all the crap you hear about Mexicans and Colombians is definitely there for a reason but the majority of people you meet out there are great people with really big hearts.

When was the last time you helped a stranger?

Thanks Alfredo for a special day around Cartagena and I look forward to our beer!

Crossing from Panama to Colombia – the Darien Gap

Crossing from Panama to Colombia

A major part of the trip so far as we cross from Central America to South America
Leaving from a small fishing village called Carti in the Panama jungle and then heading on a four day crossing to the big city lights of Cartagena in Colombia via the San Blas Islands.

In short one of the most exciting things we have done for a very long time. From the buzz of hoisting the motorbike in the air and placing it on a 100 year old fishing boat, to snorkelling along the reefs of the San Blas Islands.

It feels superb to be now settled in Colombia, with the second half of the Americas to look forward to.

Enjoy the video.

The Impossible Dream – Video Highlights from Central America

The Impossible Dream

Adventure Motorcycling Highlights from Central America.

Featuring video footage from the landslides in Guatemala, cattle crossing in Mexico, foggy roads on the roads to El Salvador and more.

This will be our last video for a while as tomorrow we are heading to the San Blas Islands in Panama for our 5 day boat ride to Colombia.

Our next update will be from South America :)

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