Day 49 – Oiba, Colombia

We don´t like backtracking.  So today we decided that instead of going back to Bogota from Tunja, we would head northwest to Bacamaranga.  Tomorrow, we could head west to Medellin.  Before setting out from Tunja, we had a fantastic breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, bread, coffee, orange juice, and arepas (yummy!).  An elderly gentleman invited us to eat at his table.  He was excited when he found out we were from Canada.  It turned out he had a daughter living in Oakville, Ontario.  He pulled out his cell phone and called his daughter, and I had a conversation with her about our motorcycle trip and where we should go in Columbia.  She gave me her cell phone and said to call if he we needed help with anything.

About an hour after leaving Tunja, we stopped for gas.  I asked the attendant if we were on the road to Bacamaranga.  We were not.  Three are two roads leading north out of Tunja, and of course we had ended up on the wrong ne.  We would have to backtrack all the way to Tunja.  Once back in Tunja, we set out on another road (the right one?).  We stopped for lunch in a beautiful 16th century town called Villa de Leyva, which was not on our map.  However, by asking people in the restaurant, I was able to ascertain that yet again, we were on the wrong road.  We decided to go back to a tourist information centre that we had seen on the way into town.  However, due to confusion involving a maze of one way streets, I led us out of Villa de Leyva on a different road.  We did not pass a tourist information centre.  Instead we came upon a mini dinosaur museum.  They had a complete skeleton of an enourmous marine creature that lived 120 million years ago.

Outside the museum, I asked directions to Bacamaranga.  Soon a crowd of about a dozen adults and a half dozen kids had gathered.  They discussed the problem of how to get to Bucamaranga amongst themselves.  One woman and a few of the kids spoke English, and they acted as translators.   I was told that I would have to go to Tunja and take the main road to Bucamaranga from there.  I explained that I did not want to backtrack to Tunja.  On the map, it looked like there was some sort of thin red line leading from near where I guessed we were to the main road connecting Tunja and Bucamaranga.  There was more discussion.  One little boy said there was a way to get from the village of Santa Mafia to Barbosa, which was on the main road.  The adults looked doubtful.  It wasn´t until I explained that our bikes could handle bad roads that an old man spoke up in Spanish.  He explained that if we went down the hill and took a right, we would get to the Village of Santa Mafia.  From Santa Mafia, there was a track leading to Mona Kira.  Neither of these villages was on our map.  From Mona Kira it was possible to get to Barbosa.  The kid had been right.  Since backtracking was out of the question, it was settled: we would head into a blank space on the map and hopefully find the main road before dark.

It didn´t take long for the asphalt run out.  The road to Santa Mafia was gravel, but in relatively good shape.  In Santa Mafia, I asked how to get to Mona Kira.  The road  to Mona Kira was  a bit rougher, but  the drive was spectacular.  At one point we had to pass a truck that was stuck in the mud through a pool of murky water.  At Mona Kira, we found a road leading into the mountains.  It seemed to be the only road leading out the other side of the village.  Soon I started doubting that we were on the right road.  The road was really a narrow track covered with loose rocks.  There was grass growing on the road in places, leading me to think that it was not often used.  Would we really get to the main road this way?  I asked some farmers leading horses if we were on the road to Barbosa.  Si, si.  We continued.  However, we had learned in Central America that if you want reliable directions, ask someone with a vehicle.  Machete-wielding farmers will always tell you that you are on the right road.

The road went higher and higher up the side of a mountain.  It was steep and we had not passed any other travelers except for some farmers on horseback.  We stopped and conferred about what to do.  It was getting late – after 4:00PM.  We didn´t want to be lost in the boonies when night fell.  I noticed a woman and a girl working in a nearby field.  I´m not sure what the crop was, but it wasn´t corn, rice, or bananas.  Again I asked if we were on the road to Barbosa.  Si, si.  Well, if two people at different points on the road said it was the road to Barbosa, then I guess it was possible that it really was the road to Barbosa.  Still, we didn´t put a lot of weight on directions given by people working in fields.  However, there was nothing to do except press on.

The road deteriorated even further.  Ted´s bike started to fall over on a pile of loose rocks on a steep downslope.  He tried to catch it, but it was too late.  He had to jump clear and went rolling into the ditch as his bike crashed onto its´ side.  I went to the bottom of the hill so that I could stop my bike and help.  By the time I got back, Ted had already righted his bike.  I went back to my bike, and was standing a feet away from her, zipping up my jacket, when she tipped over.  Bollox.  She was had fallen into a rut, which made getting her back up extremely difficult.  I struggled for a long time without success trying to get her up (stubbornly refusing Ted´s help).  In the end, I had to spin her around 90 degrees so that she was perpendicular to the rut before I got her up.

There we were: our 3rd day in Colombia and we were in the middle of nowhere, not sure if we were on the right track, and we had each dropped our bikes within sight of unknown crops, and it was getting dark.

3 thoughts on “Day 49 – Oiba, Colombia

  1. Tyson,You are becoming too good of a writer and stopping at the climax of the story. To enter the story at least I know that you made it to civilization. What a small world, your Oakville Ontario encounter!Bernie is reading your blog and now he is almost desperate to get in to a yacht and set sail on an adventure!Love your pictures,Mom

  2. Tyson,Listen to your mother. You can’t end a tale on that note. How did it all end up? Do tell, do tell. I miss ya’ and hope you’re doing well.

  3. Tyson you wild and crazy nephew, wish I had my motor bike to join you. Alma, Jason and I are very happy your having such an adventure. Keep safe and onward and upward BUD. I hope your friend Ted will be OK (slow down a bit and enjoy the Flowers and Chic e tas Man.Catch you guys later. Find my DREAM!!!Thanks GuysUncle Tom, Alma and Jason

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