The first day out from Medellin, I had my first proper mechanical disaster- not so much something that happened as something that I did.
The light was fading, and I was still a few kilometres from where I knew there to be a hospedaje- camping might have also been a possibility, but the hillside was all but sheer on both sides of the road. The road was unlit, so I stopped to unpack my proper headlight. When repacking, though, I forgot to secure one end of the bungee that holds one of my bags on- I didn’t notice until it was hooked round a spoke and wrapped many times round the hub sprocket and gear-shift linkage. I had to disassemble the shift mechanism to get all the bits of rubber out- one of the plastic chain guides was a toal loss, and the gear cable is kinked, so will need replaced when I get to Cali. I was very kindly assisted in reassembling everything by a motorcyclist who had just left the adjacent restaurant; it wasn’t complicated, but hugely easier with more hands and light.
I don’t think there was other serious damage, but I suspect my rear wheel has lost a little roundness.. All was ok though, and I had my first (brief) experience of cycling in the dark- just like going to 105% on the reactor.
Heading south on highway 25, the hills are gentler- parts even look like europe at times. I haven’t seen any more touring cyclists but I get asked what I’m doing or where I’m going noticeably less often.. a lad washing a truck at the side of the road did shout and ask if I was cycling round the world though..

Today (Monday) while I was finishing lunch I was passed by another panamericanista – one of the other customers offered to give chase on his motorcycle.. but that turned out to be unnecessary. I caught up with Takuya Shuta a short distance down the road. Takuya started in Canada and is following a different route further south, but we are a deux until Cali..
We stopped at an oddly busy junction in the middle of nowhere earlier; there were traffic police there taking care of business. (One was, anyway- the other three were just hanging out). We talked to them to see if they knew of a hospedaje or hotel somewhere near- they did, as it happened .. and all but insisted that we have some watermelon that a guy was selling close by, and even bought some themselves.
Just the thing- it had been a long day, and strength was beginning to ebb a little.

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