Before that though, I have to cross the Darian Gap! Taking a machete and braving the drug lords and mosquito-infested swamp would have been preferable to the brick-wall-bashing week I have had - and it's not over yet!
How can crossing from SA to CA still be so difficult? This is not a pioneering route I am taking here. Surely there are more 'overlanders' here than anywhere else in the world. People have been treading this path from Alaska to Ushuaia with all types of vehicles for many years. I'm not breaking new ground on this one! So why is it so difficult to cross the infamous Darian Gap after all these years?
After a week of dealing with dithering merchant ships, who could not give me a date (or a price in some cases) I was left with no choice but to quadruple my costs and go for the 'easier' option of flying! The only other option is to take a sailing boat called the Stahlratte, which takes bikes. However, that takes 5 days, and seems a bit of a party boat. Not for everyone and very expensive. It only goes once a month as well and the dates didn't work for me.
My mood had not been helped by the fact that, on my way out of the city, with a severely rattling chain, I managed to get in to a fight with a truck. The traffic is very unforgiving in Medellin, as with many big cities, and hesitation is not something that goes down well! The best way to ride in them is to attack. It's worked well for me so far. Today I was distracted and I was dithering. I was lost and going around in circles during morning rush hour. That's when the truck hit me from behind. I had hesitated and the truck driver was in no mood to stop. Luckily I'd seen him over my shoulder just a split second before and so I was throwing myself in the oposite direction as he hit. I slid to a stop on my side in the next lane. It was none too lady-like I can tell you! The truck driver carried on and the cars just drove around me. Thankfully, some pedestrians ran over to help me get the bike up and out of the road, making sure I was OK before moving on. This really was not my week - and so perhaps I can be forgiven for losing my cool when told to come back tomorrow AND to bring more money! Just sometimes, I feel it's OK to get angry!
Bar a few bruises, a broken clutch lever and many holes in my luggage, I was OK. It was all fixable or replaceable. My helmet had taken a knock and my luggage, (I think) was beyond repair, so there will be a few things I need to work out, but it's all do-able!
Now, safely back in my hotel, I look forward to the delights of my next visit to the airport, where I will watch the police take Rhonda apart bit by bit. However, tomorrow I will be ready with a smile and a bucket load of patience. After all, I am alive and I'm still going strong. A few bruises and a lot less money - but I'm still here and ready for continent No. 6.
Once I hit that 40,000 mile mark (in about 600 miles), I will do a review of the bike and all the accessories.
See you in Central America!