Follow the published narration and story of two friends traveling South, through 15 countries and two continents. From Ottawa Canada to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Rob and Nik are set to embark on a journey meant to take a year, to be completed in a mere 2 months.

January - March 2011 : A year in the making..

We promise this blog will not only be awesome to read, but PACKED with info on how to plan your own trip........

the RIGHT way.

With only two months to complete the trip, we'll be cramming in tons of VIDEOS, PICS and useful and hopefully funny info.

Stay tuned for the Extended Video Log on my YouTube Channel after the trip; this blog is only the beginning....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Solace in the Murder Capital of the World - Rob

Erm, ex-murder capital of the world....but I had to make the title sound good didn't I? Medellin, here we are, "ship-wrecked" for a few days while we repair the motos. But, again, I'm missing a few days in between here, so lets go back to getting off the boat.

I wish the video would the time we finally anchored in the bay of Turbo, convincing captain underpants to drop us off closer to shore, with rebuttals of "no es possible", and a few swear words back and forth, the coast guard took Nik and Dan to check documents and find a launcher to get to shore. The deal was, Doug said, 5 days, no more. He made us get off the boat that night, no argument, "I'll drop the bikes right into the ocean". Like to see you try you peckerhead. Anyway, we wanted nothing more than to get off the boat regardless, so with 400 hp and the power of the fuerza policia, they took off to find a couple of dudes willing to heave some THE DARK. Unheard of. I gathered our gear, they came back with a couple of locals begging for whiskey. 4 hours later, we were all ashore. The worst part about doing it at night is that 3 bikes won't fit on a single launcher, I get dropped off at some industrial port side dock, some sketchy lifting of mine and Dan's bikes, and they go off for another hour or so to get Niks. I'm left, two bikes, a bit of gear, by myself in the dark, with a few hundred locals...staring at first, warming up to me and coming to look at bikes. I have to keep my cool, but Turbo is a genuine turd-hole. It's a tad scary.

Whatever, it all worked out, except for Nik's bike not starting...we expected that after the journey. Dan and I took off to grab a hotel, and found a little gem in the middle of a rough and tumble town. Nik walked his bike over, and for 11 or so a piece, we had 3 beds, our infamous Warner Superchannel, washing, and bike washing at our fingertips. We spent two nights there, Nik had his bike fixed at a local shop for cheap (ended up being the salt affecting the electronics) and we cleaned our bikes thoroughly. We spent the first day doing some retail therapy, overcoming the stress of the boat ride. All of us still felt the sea legs effects. We had to find the Aduana as well, we were still illegal status. That took half the damn day, no one, cops, security, militia, could figure out where to go. Finally a Migracion official pointed us in the right direction and the aduana was a piece of cake. For those traveling into Turbo via boat, the aduana for motorcycles is in the militant port along the bay at the beach, and the aduana is called Dian, tucked in the back. Veryyyy difficult to find on your own, the gate guards turned us back the first time. After getting checked in, we spent the last day chowing and touring around.

Perhaps the most decent hotel in the city, Costa del Sol

Our balcony view
So the city itself however, is fun. It's reallllly busy, motorcycle's everywhere, businesses, restaurants, everything cheap. Its quite entertaining, and we actually had a lot of fun here. You could eat breakfast for 50 cents, I had lunch for 25 cents, and dinner was no more than 5 dollars pigging out.

On our departure day, it rained...hard. Bad start. We waited a few hours and decided to take a chance. I made it the first mile with my bike and it died. A few false starts later, got it another block and it died again. I just changed the spark plug a week ago....but on the busiest street in the city, I had to tear everything apart and put a new one in again, hoping this would get us to Medellin. 30 minutes later, me pissed off, Nik frustrated and Dan trying to figure out how to get out of town, the bike fired up and we were off and running. We got 50 km out of town when the towel I was riding on grabbed my chain. Any motorcyclist knows when you get something in your chain, it has bad news written all over it. Well, lucky enough a towel is pretty rippable, so it wrapped itself around the rear axle, stopping me almost instantly. Lucky. Another 20 minutes of towel pulling and locals laughing at me and back on the road. It started off nicely, remember, three bad starts and 350 km to go, but it started to get a bit hilly. We had to climb over 12000 feet, quite a task. To this day, the ride was by far the most challenging we've had. It doesn't help that Dan races motorcycle's, and trying to keep up with him is like trying to catch the carrot at the end of the stick. Fun and games though, these roads were intense. Multiple switchbacks, massive inclines/declines, and the best part was most of the ride consisted of immediate asphalt-to-gravel terrain shifts. With only a front brake, this is very hard. You'd be going 90-100kph, go into a corner, and it turns to dirt, full of potholes. Again, it was definitely fun. We got about half way when a live landslide blocked our road f or a good half hour. We tried bribing the construction worker to let us through amongst the falling rocks  (we swear we could have made it) but it was no go. Good time for a break anyway, these roads tire you out, specially when its half-raining.

Half of the road, all of the fun.

200 km of this awesomeness

Just don't fall off the border-less roads, you won't be walking back up I promise you

The landslide blocking our path, would have made for a good video if we tried passing.

Mucho vistas all the way back down the hill
We took an awesome tunnel that brought us out onto the top of Medellin, where I instantly "wow'ed" out loud. Medellin is way more massive than I imagined. With a population of 2.5 million, it spreads across a massive mountain bowl.
One picture cannot describe it's beauty and size
It's big. Thousands of apartment buildings, endless sea of red brick. Very impressive. However, a motorcyclist dreads entering cities of this size, mapless and confused, nearing darkness. We pulled over to an Auteco, the dealer for my bike (one of a thousand here) and he pointed us to a touristy-moto-friendly part of town. This town focuses on motorcyclists, you cannot avoid them and no matter where you look at least 30 will be in your sights. We found Calle 70, found a nice hotel (I'd recommend Merlott if you can get a room for 100,000 pesos, its a beautiful place) but we figured 70,000 was enough for our budget. Nice place, hot water, internet, and right in the middle of the fun. We have spent the last few days touring around, I dropped my bike off at the dealer this morning, as did Dan, to fix up the salt problems and Dan to get new clutch plates installed and a new mirror.

For my bike, unknowing of the price, the list so far is:
- cleaning of all plugs, wires, electronics
- rear brake pads (super expensive here, 50.00)
- fluid check
- left turn signal bulb
- clutch cable

Not too bad, I expect the bill upwards of $100.00. Hopefully the last fix before this trip is over. It should be ready by tomorrow, but we probably won't have enough time to get started on the next leg, so we'll stay here on more night. It's quite a western style city, without the tourism, but there's tons of things to do and places to go. Today we toured the Cerro Nutibara park, rode around on the impressively designed above level metro, walked around Centro, and visited La Poblado (zona rosa) for some shots. Taxi's are cheap, the metro is cheap, food is a tad expensive, but I could almost see living here, pretty cool. Tomorrow the plan is to take a metro cable (a gondola) all the way up to the top of the mountains to overlook the entire city, visit the botanical gardens, maybe check out a museum. So much to see, so little time as usual. Well three days here is more than our trip can afford, so we're also eager to get a move on.

The Kawa dealership, overrun by small displacement machines and scooters

One of the many open-air malls, expensive but worth the visit

View from the Exito supermarket, as common as Tim Hortons in Canada.

The metro, a very well-built piece of infrastructure invaluable to the city

All sorts of neat sites and places to go

The Rio Medellin, but I have no idea what the tarps are for

I'm getting to skinny me thinks :(

Nik preventing cramping with some much recommended exercises

View from Cerro Nutibara, in the middle of the city

Dan acting a fool

Steph, please like my hat :(

Three stooges taking in the sites

and Nik getting friendly with the locals, ONLY NIK DON'T WORRY

anndddddd before I forget I got a couple more videos uploaded of the past couple weeks.

The closed off waterfall trail in Manual Antonio, shhhh...

Havin' some fun in the San Blas islands

Until the next one guys!!! Thanks for keeping up with me, I never thought I;d have so much support and the first thing I do when I get internet is to check all the comments, I love 'em all. Thanks everyone!!
P.S. Dan, any country in particular a shot glass? I'll try to keep an eye out.
P.P.S. Dan and Cath, you guys are damn crazy to be able to sail the ocean, I wish you all the luck in the world, remember lots of Dramamine?
P.P.P.S. For steve and sarah, I'll never stop posting, no worries guys, as long as I get to keep you entertained.
P.P.P.P.S. Uncle B you're always the first to facebook comment! Are you stalking me?!?
P.P.P.P.P.S. Khan, tell your family to make more roads so I can visit Guiana easier..


  1. Please darling, you know I'll never like your hat! I'm burning it when you get back so you better hide it :P I just don't like things covering up your pretty face :( and you better not be getting too friendly, don't forget what I have planned for you when you get home hahaha I love you so much and I'm missing you every day, no matter how upset I get, I'm always loving and thinking of you, it's just hard being without you. Be safe, be GOOD and I can't wait to talk to you again.

    Love, Steph.

  2. Love reading your adventures Rob, I am a faithful visitor of your great blog. Thanks for the amazing pics and the the stories love it:)

    Take care and thanks for the tip, Antinausea drug for the ocean I won't forget...


  3. Rob,
    Great to see you are doing good. The water in the last video looks so nice. I wish I could swim in blue water like that.
    No theres no particular country for a shot glass...just surprise me.
    I don't have much time to type cause your post was so long and it took up the majority of my lunch. Take care,


  4. whew wee, some good memories!