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Old 09-19-2012, 08:21 AM   #1
Cisco_k OP
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Americas Ride - All the countries

Having recently retired, I can now make that long ride that isn't bound by how much vacation I have. My plan, actually my plan and my riding partner's plan, is to ride to Ushuaia, TDF, Argentina (the End Of the World) and be there on December 21, 2012 (the End Of the World). We both live in the Houston, Texas area and will officially start our ride on September 21, 2012, when we fly to Cartagena, Columbia. The reason for starting in Cartagena is that we shipped our bikes there but will ride them through all the countries in South and Central America as well as Mexico before riding back home. We will be riding 2011 KTM 990 Dakar models which we purchased last October.

We will actually have two ride reports going as my riding partner Joe, has started his own at http://rideeow.blogspot.com/ . You may want to check to see what he has to say from time to time because, often, we’re known to see things quite a bit differently. Additionally, Joe started his report a while back and there are a lot of photos and information about bike choice, preparation and planning as well as our shake down ride on the Trans Labrador Highway in Canada.

This trip is loosely planned and any suggestions as to places to visit and things to do will be appreciated. Our route will be from Columbia down the west side of South America and the up the east side and across the top before riding back through Central America and Mexico.


Below are photos of my bike ready for shipment and the bikes crated and on their way to the Port of Houston.
























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Cisco_k screwed with this post 09-19-2012 at 08:35 AM
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:25 AM   #2
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:38 AM   #3
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Here's to an Amazing Journey

Cisco_k,

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate retirement. Here's to an amazing journey and safe trevels!


Cheers,
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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Chuck!!! Great to see the ride starting. I can't wait to see some scratches on that perdy bike of yours
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by daveg View Post
Chuck!!! Great to see the ride starting. I can't wait to see some scratches on that perdy bike of yours
Scratches, what do you mean scratches? I guess I'll have to keep Joe away from it.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:35 AM   #6
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So, how's the weather down there?
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:59 PM   #7
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So, how's the weather down there?
Two short words...It Sucks. Just as Houston was starting to cool we came to Cartagena to find double 90's; Temp and humidity both in the 90's. Walk around a while and one finds they are soaking wet. Oh well, that's how it goes. It will be better in a few days when we head south into the higher elevations. For now we're just passing time while we wait for the port to open on Monday.

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Old 09-20-2012, 05:24 PM   #8
smeghead
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What's it weigh Chuck??

She looks reasonably encumbered... Better or worse than the KLR?

Glad to hear you are getting on the road. Question: are you guys going to ride Central America on the way back ?(presuming the world doesn't end)

G'luck!
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeghead View Post
She looks reasonably encumbered... Better or worse than the KLR?

Glad to hear you are getting on the road. Question: are you guys going to ride Central America on the way back ?(presuming the world doesn't end)

G'luck!
I'm guessing that the weight of the gear in the boxes and pack is around 60 lbs. It's mostly cloths and a few tools and spares. The two red 2 gallon gas tanks will only be filled for special needs. We rode the Trans Labrador Highway loaded the same way and over about 800 miles of dry gravel road (a lot of it soft and sandy with a little gravel thrown in) and it felt fine as long as the speed was kept at a decent rate. Even when the tanks were full, for one 300 mile stretch, the bike felt great. It feels much better than my old KLR. There’s plenty of room and extra power and with a low feeling center of gravity too.

Our plan is to ride down the west side of SA, up the east side, across the top and back to Houston via Central America. Yes, it all depends upon if we wake up on December 22nd.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:28 AM   #10
Oldone
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Bookmarks.....

Oh boy! Another one for my bookmarks....thanks for giving me more to look forward to and more to read......

Gary "Oldone"

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
Oh boy! Another one for my bookmarks....thanks for giving me more to look forward to and more to read......

Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride
I hope you enjoy the ride report, especially when you're snowed in this winter.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:08 PM   #12
jmn
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Joe was just saying Wed that they have no good beer down there, nice to see that he's manning up and suffering through it
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:12 PM   #13
knthrall
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Well dear at least you got to the wall and fort that I rushed you through last time we were in Cartegana!
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:03 PM   #14
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This is Joe, Chuck's riding partner. I have updated my blog to include the importing process to Cartagena if you use Seaboard.

Good luck!

Seaboard / Cartagena details
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:07 PM   #15
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We are in Puerto Colombia, Colombia today. We made it out of the port in Cartagena about 2:00pm and rode north along the coast until we decided it was time to stop as it was raining and there were not too many places if we went much further. But, before moving on, I’ll add the previous couple of days to this writing.
On Saturday afternoon we decided that since the port was closed for the weekend, we would try and locate an insurance agency where we would purchase the mandatory motorcycle insurance. All the reports that we have reviewed indicated that it is a must to have the insurance and that there are often police waiting outside the port to stop and even impound vehicles not having the proper insurance, known as SOAT. It seems that everyone wants to sell a full years policy but there are some agents that will sell the three month minimum. We had received offers of a one year policy that ran from over $2,500 to as little as $250 depending on the options. Many previous riders had said that we could get the three month policy so that is what we decided to find. Never did we imagine that it would be so difficult to find an agency for the three month minimum policy. No one seems to know about it and the ride reports that suggest places don’t have exact locations or directions. One that seemed to have what we needed ended up to not exist when we took a taxi there. We did a lot of walking about and managed only to end up wet with sweat and tired. On Sunday we tried again by using suggestions from another ride report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=17429599 , but while useful, it wasn’t exact. For some reason, the actual address isn’t advertised well. But, it is easy to find by going to the statue of some boots that are by a large old fort near the old walled city. It is across the street, southeast, from the fort named Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. You can see the office by looking south from the statue “Los Zapatos Viejos” on Calle 30. It is on the south side of Calle 30 between the Chevrolet dealer and the Renault dealer and streets Carrera 18A and Carrera 19. The agency is listed as Seguros sura and is a large modern office. They were very helpful and while we could have purchased a three month policy we choose a six month policy because we will be returning to Colombia on our ride back north. We ended up paying around $100 on Monday and were relieved to have our insurance. They are open M-F from 8 until about 5 with time off for lunch. I’ve written a lot about the office because it is difficult to find and a must to have.
Now more about our days and getting the bikes from the port.
Went to the port to see if bikes were in. Took some doing because you have to get a security badge and then go through security twice and then wait for someone to open a gate that takes finger print recognition to work(repeated the process every time we went to the port). Do it twice because you have to get out too. Bikes were there so we got papers and went downtown to customs office. Filled out papers, in duplicate because they don’t have a copy machine. Filled out papers again because they gave us the wrong papers. Went across the street to get copy of entry stamp in passport. Went back to customs office, and met with a few officials, and were told to be at port at 8:00 the next morning for inspection. Left and went to insurance office and purchased insurance. Went to port the next morning (Tuesday), paid port fees and met inspector. Had crates opened and removed bikes. Inspector glanced at place where VIN was stamped and said okay (no way he could see it because it was dark). Inspector said to meet him at customs office at 11:00 to get paperwork. Went downtown, filled out more forms and gave extra copies of titles and passports (we had brought extra copies from home) to officials. Got official entry certificate and headed back to port. Got escort to bikes, loaded them with things we had brought from home and rode to port gate. We had to stop at the gate so the port security could check all the paperwork. 50 feet outside of the gate the police and someone else stopped us to check it all out again. I really wanted them to ask for our insurance certificate but they let me down. Now I need for someone somewhere to ask for it. Number one thing to remember to do is stay calm and don’t try to push the workers. They all seemed to be genuinely friendly and tried to help. Finally we were on our way and headed north.
As we headed north we passed a mud volcano that we were going to wade into but decided not to visit because there was intermittent rain and we were finally moving and cooled off. We did stop and have lunch while we let some hard rain pass and then rode on. Somewhere between stopping and having lunch and getting to our hotel, I lost my IPhone so lesson learned is to stay organized with all ones gear. The country side was very green and lush, there were small villages of only a handful of people. Pigs and burrows grazed by the side of the road and we had to be watchful that they didn’t move into the road. I suspect the less cautious ones have already become road kill because none of the ones we say gave any indication that they wanted to wander into the road. We even passed a few carts pulled by burrows.
We have both been having trouble finding things and decided that what we needed was a day to repack and get our trip started more calmly so we decided to stay for an extra night at Puerto Colombia. Tomorrow morning we will head over to Santa Marta and Tayrona Park. We had intended to go further up north but after talking to some locals tonight and finding out that there is some unrest in the area, plus the road is just a coal haul road full of big trucks, we decided to change our routing and avoid the area. After tomorrow we should be heading south into the mountains and cooler weather.
Following are photos of Cartagena, the boot statue and the insurance office, uncrating the bikes and the place we’re staying.

Plenty of Taxies


Joe walks the streets near our hotel


New areas taken from the fort


The Fort


Cannons to make it a proper fort.


Joe down one of the passagways that lead to the inside of the fort.


Inside the passageway


I don't know what they were for but there are little rooms, about 6 feet long, off the passageways


The fort from the boot statue


The Sura Office from the boot statue


From the fort. The insurance office is the one with the red roof between Chevrolet and Renault Dealers. The boots are in the lower left corner of the photo.


Finally the crates at the port.


Opening




Free at last


Ready to leave port


They let us park close and under the awning.


It looks nicer than it is. Probably was nice many years ago. It has a duplex unit here. Duplex and triplex units make up the place.


Breakfast on the beach, kind of. The place was virtually empty.


It was early. Probably 9:00am


Not sure why this statue is on the beach at a resort hotel in Colombia.
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Cisco_k screwed with this post 09-26-2012 at 08:40 PM Reason: Add more photos
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