DAY 496 - TRAMPOLINE DEL MUERTE
Day 496 - Trampoline del Muerte, Colombia - 9782 km
I’m counting my last days in Colombia. From the high plains of Bogota I dropped into the valley south bound via Tatacoa desert, Neiva and Pitalito where I stayed a few days because I was sick. A light stomach bug, and my wisdom tooth was playing up. Time to visit the dentist, who cleaned did a clean up and gave some pain killers for the sore tooth.
My last ordeal is a road crossing the Andes so called Trampoline Del Muerte. It’s an unpaved, single lane, dirt track going up along steep hillsides. The road was built in the 1930’s for military purposes and because the mountain slopes are almost vertical, it’s hard to maintain the road or make it wider. Through the years there have been a number of accidents with rock slides and avalanches, hence the “Trampoline of death”. Public transport is minimised to small minivans. Larger busses are not longer allowed on this road.
To my opinion the road was much more stunning than dangerous. Given the rocky road surface and the ongoing climb, the ride is extremely slow. I need 2,5 days to do the 100 km’s until the road is flat and paved again. But it’s worth it, the views from the cliffs are breathtaking and I get company from butterflies that sit on my bike enjoying the ride for minutes. Older trucks moan and groan when they fold themselves around the bend. When there’s upcoming traffic one must back off in reverse. It’s a tricky route for the larger trucks, but a detour is a few hundred km’s longer.
The nights at camp are beautiful. There’s a waterfall nearby where I take a shower and fill up my water. I cook my ever reliable spaghetti dish and at night I keep myself busy taking pictures of the stars. My camera is not very good in low light so shots end up taking up 60 seconds to get a decent exposure. 3 more days until the border of Equador.