Friday, April 5, 2013

Withdrawals

So Wikipedia says the following: "Withdrawal is the group of symptoms that occur upon the abrupt discontinuation or decrease in intake of medications or recreational drugs.In order to experience the symptoms of withdrawal, one must have first developed a physical or mental dependence (often referred to as chemical dependency). This happens after consuming one or more substances for a certain period of time, which is both dose dependent and varies based upon the drug consumed. For example, prolonged use of an anti-depressant is most likely to cause a much different reaction when discontinued than the repeated use of an opioid, such as heroin."

Now I don't know if riding Blondy through the twisties of Ecuador and Colombia produced any chemicals in this old brain of mine or not, but I am sure feeling antsy about not having ridden for the past few days.  I can't imagine what my northern friends are feeling, with yet another bout of snow and winter in the Great White North...and I understand that Germany has been hit extra hard this winter as well.

The good new about arriving in Cartagena and preparing for the next stage of the adventure is that I have been doing a lot of walking and talking in the city itself.  I am very comfortable with wandering about the neighbourhoods and environs of this great Colonial  city.  While I keep kidding myself that I am "fitting in", it only takes a cabbie or a street vendor to remind me that my rojo red sunburn is a long way from the black and brown of the streets.  Well, at least in my mind I am not a tourista, and certainly not fresh off a Carnival cruise boat...do I sound a bit jealous and envious of those touristas who made the time to learn to speak Spanish well?

I have cleaned Blondy up, getting rid of the evidence of South American mud and dirt, and given her a good shine. She will be sitting onboard the Stahllratte for quite some time, and I don't want the salt air to bite her.  I am also thinking that it may be a good message to the Cuban authorities that I respect their country enough to clean up my ride.

 Thanks to Bruce and Anne, I have Canadianized her too: with small Canadian stickers on her and on my helmet.  I also was wandering around a ship chandlers' store the other day, and came across a Canadian Flag.  I hesitated about having it sewn onto my jacket, but I will carry it proudly in Cuba, and hope to gain some points with the locals.

 I have had a number of email conversations with the Cuban authorities regarding my importation of a GPS for navigation purposes.  For some reason, there are reports that this is a problem for them.  I expect to be navigating by paper maps and talking to the locals, which is not a bad thing, although I have begun to appreciate Mr. Garmin in the city traffic.  Again, I appreciate my fellow rider Uli, who has helped me to transfer over some Open Street Maps to a micro chip so that if I am able to use the Garmin, I will be good to go.

I walked over to the harbour the other day, and sure enough, the Stahlratte is in the harbour. I think Captain Ludwig and crew are taking a well-deserved break from the travellers, and hopefully restocking the larders for the journey to Jamaica and Cuba.










 These guys are running 2X300 HP Outboards on these rigs....




One thing about this ride which has been reaffirmed for me is the fact that I live in a beautiful part of the world.  As I rode down the Peruvian and Chilean coast, and then up the Argentinian coast, I was continually reminded that one has to go a long way to beat the waters of the Pacific North West, and that the waters of Nootka Sound and the West Coast of Vancouver Island are truly extraordinary and unique.   I am looking forward to getting back on the water with my rides, and perhaps even doing a little fishing...




Try as I might, I couldn't get Blondy into the Shower with me, so I settled for a washup of the panners.




Have I mentioned the wonderful flowers and colours of Colombia lately??

Or the beautiful women???




With the great knockers??






Dog Day afternoon...






I regret that I have still not mastered the mighty SmartPhone.  All of the youngsters are running IPhones and their relatives.  I feel so old with a MacBook...




And the great Street Art???


Who is happiest: the guys heading South, or the guy heading North??



Some of the crew coming off the Stahlratte. Four Aussies, a Mexican, and two Canucks from Thunder Bay.  The Canadians are riding 250 Sherpas, and I remember them from the Horizons Unlimited Meeting in Nakusp, way back in August...


Which way is South??? Two of the Aussies had just spent 5 years in Fort McMurray and had full Prairie Chicken status...


Riders from Austrailia and Mexico  are staring their ride of South America.  I have attached one of their blogs to mine so that readers can follow their ride.  "The Science of DualSportology"...

These two are Canucks: you can tell because she is looking for traffic...

 This fellow, from Austrailia is about to ride South America....


These two folks are from Ontario, and will be travelling on the Stahllrate with me to Mexico, where I understand they are going then do Central America...a 650 and a 1200...




Canuck riders always look twice....


Because we promised our kids we would not do anything stupid...