Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ready, steady, go! Part Two: South America!
We are excited! Tomorrow we are back on the road!
Somehow naturally, without our intention at all, our adventure got divided into two parts. Last year in September we arrived to Portobelo in Panama, which for us was the end of North America; that was when we had the opportunity to earn some money, but just before that we did 3-week backpacking trip in Colombia with Ania and Kamila; and then because of various circumstances we decided to go home for Christmas. 
Now, after nearly 5! (I've just realized that! Long time!) months, we are back in Cartagena, the place where we stepped on South American ground for the very first time. A week ago we were in Medellin, but we decided to come by bus (the same way as we got to Medellin) uh here so that we won't miss cycling any part of Colombia. 
We took advantage of being in US and Europe and got some bike parts and other useful stuff that are hard to get here. Lets do a small sum up of what we are starting with the second part.
First of all bikes, that Raul was working on them for few days. We both have new chain and casette; it was the second change of them. We changed it for the first time after about 8000km, and now - after 16770km. The crown sets seem to be still working fine in both bikes. All the cables and housings has been changed as well (it was the second time for the gear ones; first time - breaks). Raul had to service his rear hub, because the cones were worn off. And we changed my front tire, which has been with me since Alaska. My rear tire has still some life left as it was changed in Portland, Oregon. Raul's front tire came with him from Alaska and still can do a little bit more, while the rear one is fairly new (has been changed in Chiapas, Mexico). However, we carry two new tires - one each  -  a bit thicker (the thickest possible that will fit on our bikes) and with a grip that is better for gravel roads, which we'll have to face more often in South America. We also carry 5 spare inner tubes, because we learnt that south from US in size 700 we can only get the skinny tubes for road bikes. And we have new  grips, the one with a platform for long hours on a bike, thanks to which the wrist is more relaxed. It was a present, thank you guys! Ah! The last thing - speedometers. Both, mine and Raul, had to be exchanged two times already and the last ones we got somewhere in Mexico. They were both of no-brand and didn't last long. So now we invested in something better. Mine will even show us the altitude and the grade while climbing. Another present; thank you Parents!
We also got few new stuff for camping, but first of all we finally got the zips in our tent fixed! Because to open/close them was becoming an art; we had to hold here, squeeze there and pull the zipper at a certain angle and all of it at the same time to make sure that it won't separate in the middle of the night. It costed Raul many hours of unravelling, but was undoubtedly necessary. We are planning to do more treks now that Andes are just in front of us. That's why we got trekking shoes, instead of lighter trainers that we had before. For the same reason we decided to exhange the big transverse rear pannier that Raul carries for a 50l backpack that will do the same job as the pannier on daily basis, but when we want to go trekking we'll have comfortable backpack. And the last thing is a present as well, which I believe is going to be very useful; it's small JetBoil stove, which will be just perfect to prepare hot cup of something for lunch in cold days up in the Andes. Thanks Sis!
So that's us. Ready. South America! We are coming! ;)

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