South America Blog

   This is the journey I have always dreamed of,  to ride my motorcycle across the Americas. 

   Follow me as I travel south from Texas to the tip of South America on my BMW GS.   

    Here's a view of the  Map 

Getting to Cartagena, Colombia

I was warned that the ride from Medellin to Cartagena would be long and hard, with a minimum of ten hours of road time.  They were correct. It took me twelve hours to travel the distance of approximately 350 miles.  The road was long, with many obstacles and road conditions that were not good.  The road reminded me of a road in Mexico between Oaxaca and Cristobal de las Casas.

Since I was still not familiar with the area, it took me an hour to get out of Medellin.  Once I located the correct road I had a slow but incredible ride with vistas of the valleys and the farm houses on the sides of vibrant green hills.  Traffic was heavy, with large Lorries and cars struggling to climb up the steep hills.  This was a toll road that was free for motorcycles.  Mexico needs to adopt the Colombian fee structure.

The first 150 miles were great because I was traveling on mountain roads.  After that, I dropped to the lower coastal plains.  The temperature started to warm up. The road became straight, and for the next 200 miles the road conditions were not bad, with the exception of heavy traffic.  The sun started to set and I was still 100 miles from Cartagena.  The last 100 miles were traveled under very bad road conditions.  There were huge potholes in the middle of the road and jungle all around.  I would manage to miss one pothole yet hit three others.  I hit a pothole extra hard and I was sure I had done some damage to my front wheel.  Luckily I did not.

Having to stop at check points was another issue I had to deal with.  Colombia has many of these check points and I discovered that once the officials realized that I was from out of the country “Tejas” (Texas), I was asked many questions about the GS and my trip.  At this point my concern was that I was losing daylight fast and I was hoping to get to Cartagena before dark.  I did have one check point where a kid with a gun, who was in charge, wanted to check every inch of the GS and also wanted to review all of my documents.  He checked the VIN number and wanted to know what I was carrying, etc.  At one point he questioned my accent. He wanted to know why I did not have a “Gringo” accent when speaking Spanish.  After I had put everything away and was ready to pull away he stopped me and requested to see my insurance documentation.  I am glad I went through all the trouble of getting it.  “Here it is”, I said to him.  You should have seen the look on his face. He was sure I did not have insurance coverage.  I should have taken his picture.

The last 100 miles took forever to travel.  My average speed was approximately 30 mph, mostly because road conditions were so bad with potholes, and also there was a lot of traffic.  I dodged oncoming cars and Lorries traveling in my lane because they were dodging vehicles in their lane and would cross over to my lane of travel.

When I arrived in Cartagena, I discovered that it was Friday night madness.  Traffic was everywhere with everyone knowing where they were going except for me.  I finally made

Is this Frriday Night Madness or Sunday night? Look at the date of the entry.

my way to the center of town and many of the streets were closed to traffic because of the Christmas Festivities that they were having.  After 12.5 hours I located a hotel that was not too expensive and it had good parking for my GS. 


  View of the country side