Tag Archives: traveladventures

The Globe Trol makes it to South America!

We arrived to Cartagena, Colombia, South America the same night that The Globe Trol did.  The very next morning we started the grueling task of retrieving our vehicle from the port.  Mounds of paperwork and back and forth in taxis all over this city, two eight hour days later Christian is at the container with his hard hat on and watching the doors open to find our beloved rolling home in one piece.

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We spent the next few days hanging out in the boiling hot colonial city of Cartagena, it was more perfect than I imagined.  If this was any indication of what Colombia was going to be like, we were going to have the time of our lives exploring the rest of the country.  On our way out of the city we get pulled over right away, which is nothing new to us.  They pull us over to let me know my bikini is on the hood of the car and about to blow away.  Whoops, I told them I was air drying it.

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Our next destination was Medellin and it was going to take couple of looooong driving days to get there.  We found a cool campground outside of the city high up in the mountains that overlooked the valley where Medellin sat.  We stayed there for over two weeks relearning a new slimmer budget due to the insane cost that it takes to ship yourselves and the vehicle from Panama to Colombia.  Outside the cost of camping which was extremely low we budgeted out our daily allowance to $12 for the two of us.  So each day we would come up with a strict grocery list and walk over to the market and only pick up three meals worth at a time.  By the end of the two weeks we saved a few dollars to take the bus to the national park nearby and ride the gondola down to the city for sightseeing, pictures, gardens, the center plaza and street food.  A few days later our friends that we met in Guatemala, Krystina and Bernardo (bkexplore) came to the campground and we traveled the rest of Colombia with them for about a month and a half.  At night up at the campground where we had wifi we would pull out netflix (thanks to my brother for sharing his acct) and watch Narcos season 2.  I mean we were there and its kind of like the city’s history.

Just a couple hours away from Medellin is a majestic lake called Guatape with a colorful quaint town.  We boon-docked here for a few days, made cute dinners together and we even made chocolate chip cookies out of the dutch oven.  It shocked me how perfect they came out.

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Cafeteros (coffee plantation towns) where next on the Pan-Americana road going south.  Home to hundreds of coffee plantations set in the Andean Mountains and in the middle of Colombia.  Coffee is one of the top three things that I love second only to red wine and chocolate.   I was stoked to go out for a tour and drink the best coffee on the planet.  On our way there we were going to stop at some thermals, it just so happened to be Colombian Valentines day so the thermals were packed and we were not going to be able to camp there for the night.  Instead on the way we saw a family off the side of the road near a river and with our tight budget we asked if we could park and camp next to them.  They were happy to have us and we drove onto their land and found ourselves in the muddiest place on earth and surrounded in cow meadow muffins.  The next morning they took us on a tour of their property on the other side of the river where I experienced my first mini jungle tour.  We bathed in the ice river that we camped next to and overall enjoyed ourselves for free in this mud-hole with the sweetest family.

Just before the coffee plantations was the Valley Cocora where the tallest palm trees in the world live.  It’s a little touristy but worth the visit, it also had a sweet little town called Salento outside of it.  Stay Tuned for the next chapter in Colombia, it only gets better.

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Volcano Boarding down Cerro Negro ;)

 

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Our ride out to the volcano with a bunch of Irish backpackers

While we were in Leon, Nicaragua we heard there was some Volcano Boarding that could be done.  I checked YouTube for other particpants’ videos to see if this was something that I could do, if there were any survivors and if anyone had pro-tips.  Christian would have bet you that I wouldn’t do this type of activity.  After every YouTube video I’d run up to him and say something like “they go like 40-60 mph on a board down the volcano!” “People crash pretty hard, some girl went rolling the rest of the way and flew off her board!”  His response was always “yeah, I’m sure, are you sure you wanna do this?  I want to go but I’m not sure if you’re going to like it.  I don’t want to spend money on this if you’re going to get up to the top and I have to worry about you trying to walk down it instead.”  My type of fun isn’t going fast, free-falling or adrenaline-raising type of activities.  I prefer a very relaxed chill type of fun, but I figured this might be the only place in the world that I would be at where I could go down a volcano on a board.  The board is a sturdy piece of wood with a raggedy rope tied to the end for you to hang onto and underneath the board is a piece of metal and fiberglass to make it fly down the gravel-volcano.  When you are at the top and looking down it’s steep enough that you can’t see the route beneath you.

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Here’s Cerro Negro Volcan (Black Hill Volcano) 2391 feet high and last eruption was in 1999.  It goes off about every 20 years or so…

When we arrive at the top we get a briefing from our guide in his broken English, “lean back to be fast, sit-up for slow, and lean back a little bit for medium-fast.  Tap your feet to turn, use feet to stop, hold on.”  Okay sure, but I’m not going first.  I’ll go last, I need to see the ratio of wipe-outs and damage to successful completion.  I was counting how many seconds until I could see someone appear alive from the bottom, the first girl wipes out and we don’t see her for ten minutes.  Then he says ok, Next!   Thirty minutes later Christian and I are the only ones left at the top of the mountain besides a guide using his thumbs to direct boarding traffic.

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Hiking up the volcano, Christian has his board strapped to his back I hired a porter for $5.  Learned a lesson from our hike in Guatemala.

I wanted to go down before Christian so I wasn’t the very last left up there, but Christian gets the thumb first.  I’m waiting on my board, breathing heavily underneath my bandana and a swarm of bees or wasps come across the top of the hill surrounding me.  Are you freakin’ kidding me!!!!  I start scootin my butt on the board to go slow but get the hell out of the swarm.  My lane wasn’t ready, there was a girl wiped out just below me.  “Come on lady!! Hurry up, I’m gonna die up here!”  “Please, please let me go!”  I’ve never been so anxious to do something I was nervous about.  Fuck it, I’m going she better move!”  A swarm of wasps is more horrifying than this volcano boarding, I hang on and head down the volcano.  Just in time I get the thumbs up as I pass the guide.  I’m looking down ahead of me and I can’t spot Christian.  So I lean back, pick up speed and it feels like I’m literally flying on gravel.  Sit-up sit-up sit-up, slow-down slow-down slow-down aaaaaggghhhh, phew I’m good.  I’m coming up on the speed gun so I lean back to pick up speed so no one will know how slow I was going, plus now I can see the bottom.

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You can see how far the lava pooles out when active, almost a mile.  So beautiful.
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This volcano is HOT, the ground here was steaming and too hot to touch
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Christian leaned back hard for some speed right before he wiped out, tore this outfit into pieces, ripped his goggles off and the go-pro went flying.  Clocked at 63kph (40 mph)
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This is me trying to go as slow as possible, sitting straight up and trying not to fly off the board.  Clocked at a smooth-tranquillo 24kph (15mph)

I made it to the bottom of the hill in one-piece and probably the dirtiest I have ever been.  There’s dirt and gravel everywhere, we all had dirt rings around where are goggles were.  I find Christian in shambles at the bottom, I run up to him screaming “wasn’t that awesome! I wish I went faster, can you believe I was going 24kph, I’m so fast!!!”  What was your speed, what happened to you?”

Christian was banged up, missing shoes and his go-pro, bleeding from his arm, leg and face and his suit was torn into pieces.  “I was picking up some serious speed hit a bump flew off the board and rolled down about half way,” he said.  Well how fast were you?  63kph he told me.

The survivors were given a cold beer and a cookie right away and a second beer back at the hostel.

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Still in Baja, we could stay forever…

These are from Baja California (the northern half)

He tested out the AWD…

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After Cabo we took a dirt road for an hour to a secret beach thanks to “Here Until There” to meet up with a few Overlander buddies (Travel Amateurs and Kocovnici Kocovni).  It was an awesome FREE place to camp for a few days.  I rode the skooter on this rocky road to soft sand cliffs while Christian drove the van.  As soon as we pull up to the camp Christian tests out the AWD on our Astro through the soft sandy beach, don’t worry I grabbed the camera immediately.  With a little help from a few friends, boards and shovels we were dug and pushed out in no time.  We set up camp and found Josh and Jenna (travel amateurs) were in deep with a Hermit Crab Coliseum getting ready for a big race.  Everyone picked out a crab to race, however our crab took twenty-five minutes to come out of his shell and move.  We were disqualified based on our crab seemed more like a rock than a racer.

The next morning we were greeted by a heard of goats and it’s herder, a puppy we called Goat.  Goat left his heard and hung out with us for most of the day, maybe because we provided shade or more than likely because we fed him steak.  To pass sometime Josh decided to go into battle with what he thought was a few wasps and bees but turned into hours of war.  Christian and I took a walk down the beach practicing our spanish and watching whales breach.

On the road and on to the next, Los Barriles where the term “active at any age” thrives.  Our newest neighbor 70+ was doing sit-ups for an hour or so, before he went kite surfing for the rest of the day.  Right now we are trying to figure out how to fix our fridge, it’s inefficient and sucking the life out of our house battery.  Tomorrow we will head back to La Paz to search for a new fridge just in time for Carnivale.  Should be mayhem for the next five days, stayed tuned.

mucho amor and until the next wifi -tgt