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Part 2: Happy Family – BIOcycling: Adiós South America

What happened so far:

The force of a united family, much more than just an outdoor family adventure, discovering hidden stories of sustainable realities and organic farming. Now in Central America, Check out!

Review: Part 1: How to become a Happy Family – BIOcycling in South America

The Happy Family keeps riding North!

Camping outside the Bomberos in El Valle de Anton, a little village called “India Dormida” by the locals for the lying-woman shaped skyline of the mountains surrounding us, right in the middle of the crater of an inactive volcano in Panama. It’s raining outside, we’re in our Mark XT tent hearing and observing the drops roll down the sides, taking advantage of this peaceful moment to rest a bit, each one of us busy in different activities: Alby is doing homework with Anna; Angy is ending another book while Seba is keeping up with communications left over in the last period.

Our home: the VAUDE Mark XT tent

We love mountains!

After crossing the Andes 13 times, our last big challenge was along the Oriental Cordigliera in Colombia getting through the Chicamocha Canyon, the second biggest in the world, having to ride and push our heavy bikes up and down steep mountains but as usual getting indescribable satisfactions that always reward us. From there we continued to La Guajira the Northernmost region of Colombia finally on flat roads but with hot temperatures that reached to 45°C having to carry a lot of portable water to drink and cool ourselves. Once again we tested our total weight of our bikes including gear and passengers at a public weigh: Alby with her Puma loaded with school books, games, girls cloths, first-aid kit and kitchen equipment weigh 120 kg; Seba with the girls and the rest of the stuff on the Condor weigh around 300 kg! Riding around the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, the highest mountain close to the sea (5.575 m) we visited indigenous communities growing high quality organic coffee and also interesting banana and palm oil plantations.

Angy is documenting the work on a palm oil plantation

Rubbish

Reaching the Caribbean and riding down the coast was rather disappointing because of the unbelievable amount of rubbish found in the area and on the beach, that wasn’t really the postcard scenery we were imagining. Like in many other occasions, as a sign of respect and thankfulness, we spent hours collecting rubbish all together reflecting sadly upon our destructive impact as human beings on planet Earth and how we can all make a positive difference simply changing our routines to urgent sustainable lifestyles.

No words needed.

Our favorite country

We finally ended our long journey through South America cycling the Andes from the tip of Patagonia after 3 years and a half, 22.500 km to Cartagena in Colombia. An important milestone marked on our map long time before starting, that was reached emotionally thanks to the team work and commitment of the whole family.

Many people often ask us which is our favorite country. Well, in general we have wonderful memories in all of them and mostly for the love received by the people hosting us and the beauty of certain landscapes, but having to choose one, we all agree putting Ecuador on top of the list where we spent 8 months between 2017 and 2018. A small country with a concentration of everything where you can easily switch from the Pacific Ocean to the Amazon passing high volcanic mountains and different cultures along the way, with many public services and wonderful people.

Ruiz Volcano, Columbia

Panama

Moving to Panama wasn’t easy, as the road connections disappear because of the Darrien Gap jungle, so the options getting to the other side aren’t many. Initially we thought we would have taken a 5 day sailing boat passing through the San Blas islands, but due to the expensive prices around $2.000 for all of us, we decided to catch a quick and less romantic solution going by plane that costed us $550. On the other hand we had to deal with stressful moments splitting our bikes in pieces to make them fit in specific size boxes and sending a part of our stuff with a 4×4 overland truck of Italian friends heading North. Panama City was rather shocking, a concrete jungle of skyscrapers never seen before that gave us more the idea of USA rather than the South America we were used to see. Big shopping malls, huge cars and trucks, US dollars, no bicycles and a mixture of international cultures that made us feel a bit lost! We couldn’t miss visiting the famous Panama Canal the 80km artificial strait that connects the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, where enormous cargo ships are lifted to 27 m above sea level, giving us many answers upon the US influence controlling the Canal until 1999. This was real worldschooling for all of us, discovering together this mighty engineering project, one of the main economic incomes of Panama.

Next Plan

Starting another chapter of BIOcycling America from Panama to Mexico, planing to reach California by the end of 2020…in theory! It all depends on finding the right balance between all of us, depending on health, security, economy and will power. Angela is growing fast, we wish to reach USA in time to learn English as we promised ourselves and then plan our way back home allowing her stability for her adolescence. For safety reasons we took the decision to wait another year before letting Angy ride a bike alone, this will let her keep reading tons of books while cycling but on the other hand making it tougher for daddy Seba riding a bike as a lorry!

Happy to share the energy and make you feel part of the adventure, stay tuned for short updates on our social media and enjoy the ride with us.

Adiós South America

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