October 30, 2009
Every once in a while you run into a giant. A tree that stops you in your tire tracks and warrants a couple of hours of your life.
The giant on the right dwells in a sleepy town, barely on the map, near San Cristobal, Venezuela. We were looking for an alternate route to get to the border of Colombia and bumped along the cobblestone streets into the town square of San Pedro del Rio. Oh my God. The tree. It spanned the entire park. A living umbrella shielding us from the relentless sun. This is a tree you could spend a life under.
The road from San Pedro del Rio winds up into the mountains before steeply descending to Agua Caliente. Colombia is a stone’s throw away, but you have to continue to San Antonio del Tachira to legally cross the border into Colombia.
The giant on the left resides in the former homeland of Venda in South Africa. Legend has it that the gods plucked the baobab tree out of the ground and shoved it back upside down. The trunk is designed to store water in a land of frequent drought.
I stopped and lingered at the base of this giant, pondering what a baobab bike would look like.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.