I traveled from Medellin to Bogota Colombia without incident. It was a 250 mile ride. I was stopped a couple of times for document checks by the police and/or military. At a check point I was informed that it was not long ago that the roads in the area could not be traveled because of guerilla or bandit activity. Today things are safer throughout most of the country. The police and/or military are everywhere and it is difficult to tell the difference between the two services since they both wear the same type of uniform (army green). In the lower jungle, between Medellin and Bogota, the security presence is very heavy. There are small military groups stationed approximately every one and half mile along the road. They stop traffic to inspect cars and people. At one point I stopped along side of the road to take a few photos and I did not notice that there were two military guys standing about ten feet away from me and about a foot into the jungle vegetation. They blended into the jungle so well that they seemed to be invisible.
I was warned by the military and police to be extra careful once I approached the Ecuadorian border. The military officials indicated that the area close to the border had a lot of hot activity. My assumption was that he meant guerilla activity.
I traveled at a good pace to Bogota except for the last 60 miles. The last 60 miles took me approximately two and half hours to travel. Between climbing the mountain passes, heavy truck and bus traffic, and construction, the last leg of my ride took what seemed forever. As I entered the city it started to rain.
I was to meet a friend at a repair shop to do some maintenance on the GS – oil change and an overall inspection. During my inspection I discovered some damage to the rear factory tail rack. I had a backrest attached where the pillion seat normally goes. The rack had broken completely into two pieces and I also noticed that a very small crack had started on the frame of the GS. I believe that maybe the spare tires I was carrying may have been bouncing a lot on the many bad roads traveled, adding stress to the aluminum rack, causing it to break.
With the help of my friend Jairo, we located a welding shop that was just down the street. The welder touched up the crack on the frame of the GS and welded together the broken tail rack, adding some extra support. One thing that I admire about people in these countries is that they do not know how to say “No. It cannot be done.” They will fix or make almost anything to solve a problem. Just before I left on this trip I had a cylinder guard that needed to be welded. I had such a difficult time finding a welder to do that simple job. In the area where I live there seems to be a welder at every corner, but to get them to agree to fix an item is very difficult, if not impossible. It seems that they always have a reason (excuse) as to why it cannot be done.
Once the welding repairs where completed I put everything back together on the GS and was ready for the next leg of my trip.
Fixing the Crack on the frame
The tail section after the weld, not pretty but it works.