Friday, September 28, 2018

Rumble in the Jungle

After leaving Los Hermanos, I began pedaling for Riohacha, knowing I wouldn't make it that day. I got about halfway and decided to call it a day. I set up the tent in a dried up river bed. It was a nice cozy spot. It looked bone dry so I deemed it safe enough to sleep there. Right as I was setting it up a light rainstorm hit. Since I was under the bridge it didn't effect me too much. After about a half hour it stopped, and I dozed off.

One last look before leaving Los Hermanos.

I'm gonna miss these tropical views.

 Passing over a jungle river.

Mangoes for days!! Too bad they weren't ripe yet.

I was rudely awakened by a crash of thunder about two hours later, this time the rain was coming down hard. It had cooled off and the rain was relaxing so I quickly fell asleep again. The third time I woke up it was not by sight, or sound, but by my entire tent floating downstream!!! I looked out and one side of my tent was floating on 6 inches of water. I was utterly shocked. In all my years of camping nothing like this had ever happened. The bone dry river bed was no longer bone dry! I stared tossing thing outside the tent. I wasn't fast enough though, within a minute the water was over a foot deep. The floodgates had opened and let loose everything. I started loading stuff up onto a little ledge under the bridge. I was frantically looking for a flashlight and a bandana. I could see very little in the dark of night, and my hair kept falling into my face making matters worse. I couldn't find a light and had only seconds to act. I unloaded everything I could see besides the bike and the bags attached to it. The water was now well over knee deep and I couldn't roll the bike out of the tent, it was too deep.

This was the flooded place that was once a peaceful resting place. Well some of my clothes are peacefully resting there.

I grabbed the whole tent and floated it over like a little tugboat to the last bit of rock that hadn't been flooded yet. I was finally able to get the bike out. The water had turned white and it was difficult to walk in. I needed to get my bike across to the ledge and safety. If I pushed it through the water it would have been engulfed almost up the the seat, and my bags are not waterproof. I muscled the bike above the water as I waded through to the other side. When I reached the ledge I summoned up all the strength I had and He-manned it up on the concrete ledge above my head. Now I had to run back and get the rest of the stuff. By this point the tent had already floated downstream. I grabbed it and pulled, it wasn't as easy to move around as I remembered. I felt inside and it had filled up with a considerable amount of water. I guided it to safety while trying not to rip and snap anything. I made one final trip to grab the miscellaneous items. Now that everything was safely above the floodwaters, I started taking inventory and removing valuables from the wet tent and bags. I sorted everything out and set the tent back up to dry. When it was all said and done the only casualties that I discovered were some shorts, pants, and two shirts. This river had its way with them. Not cool, but all things considered I'll take that. At least they are easily replaceable.

This was the safer spot that I should have set up on. This was on the opposite side on the main flooding.

I know you're probably saying to yourself, what was he thinking setting up a tent in a riverbed. Well here was my reasoning. It looked like it had been dry for ages. There were some big plants growing in the middle of it. Also right where I set up the tent there was a manmade sand pyramid that surely would have been washed away by the river had there been any water flow. Also we had rain the past two days so I figured if those storms weren't enough to flood it then this wouldn't be either. Well I was wrong, and the lesson was learned. Never set a tent up in a flood zone if it's pouring down rain.


This cow had to pay a pretty penny to het this Carribean beach house.

One of the local cyclists with his machete by his side.

I made it to Riohacha. My next plan was to go to Punta Gallimas, the northernmost point in South America, then I'd start heading sound. After a bit of shopping I hit the road again it was immediately brutally hot. It wasn't nearly as humid and there was a bit of a breeze, but it was still scorching hot, and I could feel my body frying. Even with sunscreen I was getting roasted. Within an hour or two the scenery had completely changed. It was no longer vibrant green pastures riddled with palmtrees. It was hard, dusty, orange earth covered in prickly trees and cacti. So long palm trees and coconuts!

First bike tourists I met. They started in Brazil and rode through chaotic Venezuela. She said "It was heavy metal there! Rock and roll!!"

Uribia was the last town before Punta Gallinas. About halfway to Uribia I was coaxed in to stopping for food at this ladies stand. There were so many to choose from I'm glad she called on me. She asked if I wanted a type of roll with bananas or meat. I replied con carne. She had it served up in an instant. The meat was tasty, but really chewy, and it had skin and a fair amount of fat. The flavor was good though. Just before I finished it off I asked her if it was chicken or ham. I know it wasn't chicken, but the word for beef escaped me. She burst out laughing and said no, it's goat! I was a bit surprised, but then again why should I have been, this is Colombia after all. We talked for a minute or two, then I rode off.

Linda, my goat chef!

This was it. Still pretty tasty.

It was no match for this street food though. This lumpy chorizo was killer!

Not sure what made it bright yellow, but it was bursting with flavor. It had big chunks of fat, and big chunks of bacon.

The ride to Uribia was long and straight. It didn't so much as turn an inch. I pulled off beside a traintrack to get some water and rig up the solar panels. Just then a small animal trotted into view. It wasn't a goat or cow, but a tiny golden puppy. He looked like he had just waken up from a long nap. This was a lovely surprise. He was rather playful and very friendly. He didn't have a collar like 99% of the dogs I've seen here. He was presumably a wild dog. He was trusting enough to let me pick him up without any issues. I seriously thought about taking him along with me. I decided against it because I've had a tough time keeping enough water for myself, let alone with another mouth to feed. When he was done playing he scampered back to a little shady spot and likely dozed back off.

He was ready to join!

He enjoyed playing.

If he could sit just like this all day I would have had to take him.

It was tough leaving him behind.

Another crazy day in Colombia!

So long beaches, you will be missed!

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