• Thursday , 21 September 2017
The Prom Queen Falters: Bogota, Colombia

The Prom Queen Falters: Bogota, Colombia

I am lucky to have a woman as patient and forgiving as Shannon. For a while she has been telling me over the radio as we ride that Zippy was feeling “heavy” in corners and she was losing her mojo. I shrugged it off as Shannon being a tired rider. At the end of the day I would occasionally ride Zippy unloaded for a minute or so and everything seemed fine. Ouch, she was right. On the second day of some very curvy mountain twisties while climbing out of a steep valley Shannon was obviously struggling. At a roadside stop for photos and ice cream she was commenting on how hard Zippy was to ride and that she wasn’t having any fun at all on a great motorcycle road (new black top). No time like the present, so I took her for a spin. In less than forty feet I determined that Zippy was almost un-ride able and the poor girl was completely fucked. The steering head bearings had such a substantial notch that Zippy was only happy going in a straight line and steering on these roads was very difficult.

We stopped to take some photos of the spectacular canyon of Rio Chicamocha. This is also the spot where Shannon asked Mike to ride Zippy because something didn't feel right. She was right, her bike was barely ride able on the twisty road out of the valley. Shannon is one tough cookie!

We stopped to take some photos of the spectacular canyon of Rio Chicamocha. This is also the spot where Shannon asked Mike to ride Zippy because something didn’t feel right. She was right, her bike was barely ride able on the twisty road out of the valley. Shannon is one tough cookie!

Clinton and Mike make roadside lunch at a gas station outside of Bogota. Fresh baked bread, olive/anchovy tapenade, boiled eggs with soy sauce, and fresh cheese. Yum.

Clinton and Mike make roadside lunch at a gas station outside of Bogota. Fresh baked bread, olive/anchovy tapenade, boiled eggs with soy sauce, and fresh cheese. Yum.

On total trip scale the tiny anomaly of a bad bearing shouldn’t create much fuss one would think. For us, this seemingly minor disturbance in the Force, changed our vector, gave us new friends and became a trip highlight instead of an event to dread. The request for a mechanic on the Horizons Unlimited Facebook page flooded us with contacts and recommendations. One reply to our inquiry in essence simply stated: I live in Bogota, I work in the motorcycle industry, and I will help you if you want. Going on a gut feeling and verification from an acquaintance that the guy was legit we made contact and set a plan in motion. This plan sparked our love of Bogota and brought Jairo and his lovely wife Maria Clara into our lives. As a side note, the bike was expertly repaired in less than three hours by the same crew who services the Bogota police Suzuki DR650s.

Dinner with our Bogota friends Jairo and Maria Clara. Jairo dropped what he was doing for a couple days and came to our aid simply out of the goodness of his heart. With his help we were able to quickly get Shannon's bike fixed. Thank you for everything Jairo and Maria Clara, we miss you both already!

Dinner with our Bogota friends Jairo and Maria Clara. Jairo dropped what he was doing for a couple days and came to our aid simply out of the goodness of his heart. With his help we were able to quickly get Shannon’s bike fixed. Thank you for everything Jairo and Maria Clara, we miss you both already!

Jairo met us bright and early at the mechanic. He pulled some strings and got our repair moved to the front of the line that morning. We were good to go by lunchtime.

Jairo met us bright and early at the mechanic. He pulled some strings and got our repair moved to the front of the line that morning. We were good to go by lunchtime.

Zippy in good hands. These mechanics also repair the Suzuki DR 650s for the Bogota Police.

Zippy in good hands. These mechanics also repair the Suzuki DR 650s for the Bogota Police.

While waiting for the plan to play out we explored central Bogota from our hostel in the La Candelaria neighborhood. Bogota is a complex city with all the grittiness that New York had in the 1970s. World-class museums blocks away from the transvestite prostitute street, urban hipsters elbow to elbow with drug addicts and college students sipping café con leche. At no time during our week in Bogota did we feel anymore at risk then we would have downtown in our hometown of Seattle. We had a great week.

Punk Rock is alive and well in Bogota.

Punk Rock is alive and well in Bogota.

Watching a police dog lunge at a lady that walked too close in a small square by the University.

Watching a police dog lunge at a lady that walked too close in a small square by the University.

Security is always high in Bogota. These two were stationed in the square to keep an eye on things.

Security is always high in Bogota. These two were stationed in the square to keep an eye on things. The dog was fine unless you walked within three feet of him.

The Candelaria neighborhood of Central Bogota.

The Candelaria neighborhood of Central Bogota.

The Candelaria neighborhood of Central Bogota.

The Candelaria neighborhood of Central Bogota.

Parking is at a premium in Central Bogota. Mike made friends with the family that ran the lot where we kept the bikes. The lot was a good place to strip Shannon's bike down to its factory form before heading off to the mechanics.

Parking is at a premium in Central Bogota. Mike made friends with the family that ran the lot where we kept the bikes. The lot was a good place to strip Shannon’s bike down to its factory form before heading off to the mechanic.

The Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) of Bogota is worth a visit if you are ever here.

The Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) of Bogota is worth a visit if you are ever here.

Shannon walking home from the plaza.

Shannon walking home from the plaza.

The graffiti was everywhere and often of exemplary quality and scale. Enjoy our slideshow of the street art we found in Bogota, Cartagena, and Medellin.

Having fun with the $2.00 mirrored cop sunnies while out on a graffiti photo expedition.

Having fun with the $2.00 mirrored cop sunnies while out on a graffiti photo expedition.

Art snobs on parade.

Art snobs on parade.

A final highlight of Bogota was found on our way out of town. Here we toured a cathedral deep underground carved entirely of salt located in the town of Zipaquira.

Salt Cathedral, Zipaquira, Colombia.

Salt Cathedral, Zipaquira, Colombia.

Salt Cathedral, Zipaquira, Colombia.

Salt Cathedral, Zipaquira, Colombia.

Salt Cathedral, Zipaquira, Colombia.

Salt Cathedral, Zipaquira, Colombia.

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