Facing the climb

Facing the climb

Having made it to the bottom of El Retiro the night before, at 7:30 we were starting the climb. If I’d been alone, it would have been a couple of hours of constant climbing. As it was, it took until 11am and pushing probably 90% of the way. HJ tried riding at times, but it was nearly always too steep as we went up switchback after switchback climbing up to the start of the altiplano. There must be a bike race up there, as I saw plenty of motivational messages written on the road aimed at

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Guanambi – Montes Claros

Guanambi – Montes Claros

Even with the offer from Rodrigo and family to stay much longer in Guanambi, I had to move on. If it weren’t for the 6 month visa limit, I could definitely have seen myself staying longer, not only in Guanambi but in other places too. The people here are constantly saying I should stay a few days more, so much so that if I accepted them all I’d probably barely get to Rio by the Olympics, nevermind the World Cup.

From Guanambi to Montes Claros, there was the best part of 400km, with

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Rapidos de Kamoiran – Santa Elena

Rapidos de Kamoiran – Santa Elena

The group in the mini-bus were getting ready to leave when I got up, but I gave them my information so they can hopefully send me the pictures they took, and they gave me a sandwich so I had some breakfast. The swanky hotel, which in some ways reminded me of the lodge in the middle of Death Valley, had its own waterfall near to where I’d camped and, having not had a shower, I bathed there.

A few km down the road, I met a Swedish cyclist called Johannes heading the other way. He’d started

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Puerto Ordaz – Tumeremo

Puerto Ordaz – Tumeremo

Following on from my camera problems, I was frustrated to find my iPod (which I had got replaced under warranty in Nicaragua) had failed again. I think it was caused during the heavy rain on the way from Valencia to Maracay, as that’s when the battery issues seemed to start, and that seemed to develop into it not playing anything. The warranty had expired, and there was no way I was buying a new one for $200 considering their history of failing under my ownership. In the Chinese owned shops

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Panama City – Capurganá

Panama City – Capurganá

I’d decided that the best way to get to Colombia, was to head to the coast and find the motor boats that take you along the coast. If I’d been willing to sit round for a lot of time, I could have gone to Colón to try to find someone sailing, but that could have meant me sitting round for days on end, which didn’t sound that fun. As it was, off to Cartí.

The last town before Cartí is Chepo, only about 65km from Panama City, that meant that when the rain drummed down I could

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