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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AK Smitty, Nov 20, 2012.
And half a smile under one of those eyes
Good eye my friend! That pic has endless entertainment value!!
Guess I should have given you the credit for the good eye.
Just an average day at Miami beach... a crazy guy in a full suit and great scenery!
I am actually now back in AK. I need to finish up this RR and start looking at my next adventure. Here are my final thoughts on the shipping from Bogota to Miami.
After my day of seeing the sights around Miami I made some calls to see the progress of the moto shipment. The news was not good. The plane was delayed again due to mechanical and no one was sure when it would be leaving. The newest information was optimistic of a late Thursday night arrival in Miami.
At this point I am getting a little irritated. I had changed the end of my trip to visit family and that was all but squashed due to the protest. Now I am looking at more delays due to plane mechanical issues. Also hanging out in Popayan for a week is much more economical than Miami for a day! I sent off a couple polite but direct emails and really hoped my bike would be here before Friday. If it arrives to late on Friday that means I am stuck in Miami until Monday. That also means changing my flights again and a bigger hit to the wallet.
I will say that I do believe that the plane did have mechanical problems. I was told the same thing when my bike was shipped from Panama to Bogota and I did not believe it at all. Also Veronica at Lyn Cargo worked very hard for me and was very professional. However none of that got my bike to Miami any quicker. I was told originally possibly Wednesday but definitely no later than Thursday. It arrived late Friday and I processed the bike at customs without ever seeing it was here at 4 PM Friday. I am not sure if this was even legit but it worked. I wasnt able to get the bike until after 7 that night and it was a hassle.
I asked several times through email days in advance for the final dollar value that I needed to pay. No one could provide that information. I wanted to know because you can only pay with bank check or money order and I wanted to have that in hand when I showed up at the airport. I did receive on email with some babble about the amount on the airway bill plus 5% calculated of the weight of the cargo. I was also told I could pay the destination charges with credit card and when I got there they said no! Hell with them. If they cant answer the question of what I am suppose to pay at the end of all this then they are getting the amount on the airway bill. Also in all my frustration Veronica had sent me an email saying she was trying to get destination charges waived (the 5%) due to them being 3 days late on the shipment.
I get to the Centurion office in Miami with all the correct documents and I can not get the bike because my bank check does not have the $71 in destination charges included in it. I am ready to lose it at this point. I show them the email that says destination charges should be waived and the boss says no. Promised one thing and then told another. We finally come to the resolution that I can pay with cash and I run to gas station ATM with outrageous fees. I also find out my hotel jumped from $100 to $200 dollars that night. In all reality, the moto shipment delay ending up with me spending over $400 more than I would have if it had been on time. I feel the plane mechanical problems were legit, but there were a lot of things handled poorly after that. To not give a customer an exact dollar amount and require payment with bank check or money order is just moronic! Lastly the information given to me where to go is actually their old office and I walked the 4.4 miles to the new office.
Veronica was extremely apologetic and wanted to make things right but that didnt really change my bad experience. There were also others that were very sympathetic but again it didnt put money back in my pocket or days back on the calendar. It has been an eventful and trying end to a great adventure.
There are some other guys that shipped with Lyn about a week before me. I am contacting them to see how their experience was.
Final thoughts on LynCargo: I would not recommend them at this point but I would also not black list them either. There are some good people there that want to provide good customer service. Veronica in Bogota specifically. She has sent me an email asking for my input because she wants to improve the process. Will that happen? I dont know. For me it was a horrible, horrible experience but I see the effort and that they care and for me that goes a long ways.
I have been challenged to my limits in problem solving and patients at the end of this trip. For me it is extremely difficult when logic does not prevail. I thought after months of travel in countries where bass ackwards is the norm I had accepted it! Well in all really went it truly goes haywire, I kept asking why and say this doest make any sense! In the end I worked through it all. Id like to say I remained calm at all times and my blood pressure consistent, but I cant. Sometimes you just got get it out. Its all good now and I laugh when I tell the stories. I also accept some of the responsibility for putting myself on a tight schedule with the hopes of getting to see family. I have a habit of putting too much on my plate.
Late Friday with my whip back! At some point during all this someone told me I COULDN'T get my bike before Monday. That was all I needed to hear to motivate me!!
<a href="http://akjts.smugmug.com/Other/Ecuador-and-Colombia/28031330_5ZG9rM#!i=2440849710&k=2wQqRMD&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="http://akjts.smugmug.com/Other/Ecuador-and-Colombia/i-2wQqRMD/0/L/photo-4-L.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a>
Off before 9 am Saturday morning and heading north to Chesapeake VA. Maybe a detour to Cocoa Beach FL to see some old family friends. Some of them I havent seen in over 20 years!
After getting all the shipping handled I decide its time to head north in the morning. I actually am not sure where I am going. I have a flight out of ATL in less than a week and need to decide where to drop the bike. My original plan was to go to my brothers in Maryville TN. Hang out for a couple of days and then ride over to my sisters in Chesapeake VA. Not happening because of the 8 days lost in Popayan during the protest and 3 days with the late bike shipment. Have to make a decision and since I had already booked a flight from Norfolk to ATL, I am leaning that way. Its more riding on boring I-95 but whatever.
Being on the road for a few months helps align priorities and I knew that if I wasnt going to make Machu Picchu that I wanted to see some family. All the delays really put a kink in my plan but all part of the journey. I have also been in contact with my Dad's best friend since high school and I am pretty much driving right by his house in Coco Beach. I'd couldn't live with myself if I had just driven by!!
It was a great visit and so cool to see some old friends that I havent seen in 20 years! I would have loved to stay more than a couple of hours but I had a lot of miles to cover. They suggested that I stay in Saint Augustine for the night. It sounded like a cool little coastal town and I was there right at dark so perfect.
The Miler Family...Thanks guys for a great visit!!!
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Had planned to crash early as I have a big day tomorrow. Planning to make it to Chesapeake from here. I walked around town and got some killer ribs and beer. Took in some music and more beer at the Celtic Festival going on and oh shit its already midnight!
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Today will be a long full day of looking forward to seeing my sister and her 3 kids, and reflecting on the trip. Its I-95 all day which will not be super fun. Actually yesterday on a big Saturday night I blew right through Daytona. It was the start of bike week and I am not one to miss a good party, especially one with motorcycles. But as I said priorities align with time on the road and I have had more than my fair share of party nights over the past few months. I want to see at least part of my fam.
I hope I make Chesapeake VA about dark!
Oh one other story from the day. I stopped to get gas south of Daytona and there was a gang of 1% or HA or some other known biker gang. I honestly cant remember at this point who, just remember I recognized the name as a well-known gang. I parked near them after getting gas b/c that was the best place to park. They all looked me up and down like I was the first guy to ever roll through here on a fully loaded bike. They were BSing with a cop and as I walked by the cop struck up conversation. you look like you are from the discovery channel or something! I laughed and told him where I had been. The gang member that was talking to him now really staring at me gets ready to start his bike. The cop makes another comment about my trip and I say Yep my bike is meant to be ridden and I have everything I need right here. Not just a show piece to ride to the bar. The cop laughed his ass off and gang dude finishes his 1 minute straight of stink eye and drives away. I thought it was all pretty damn funny. Also another one of gang dudes bike wouldnt start. I dont judge what people ride and I think any bike is better than no bike. I also think that I will own a cruiser someday but I dont like to be intimidated b/c a guy feels tough with his matching jacket on and all his friends. Belong to a riding club for people to ride with, camaraderie and knowledge of bikes and places to ride, totally awesome. Belonging to a gang because you need to belong to something and be a part of intimidating people, pathetic. I wish they has chosen something different than motorcycles to seem tough, it only takes away from everything great about riding motorcycles. I am sure I was also given a little extra boost in my confidence from being back in the US after a grand adventure and oh yeah and the cop standing right there. haha
I'm one of the guys who shipped out on Lyn Cargo the week before. Of all the options in Columbia, they were by far the most knowledgeable and helpful. In fact, after several days of frustration in Cartagena where we got many differing answers on shipping (even from the same company), Henry and I actually drove all the way back to Bogota to use them specifically because of Veronica and how helpful she was. When we got there, the helpfulness continued. Paying was a hassle (cash or wire transfer only - I managed to get enough cash from ATM's and the handler drove me to the banks and back with the cash). Veronica finally figured out that you could pay for the shipping with a credit card through their American branch and that was how Henry paid. They let us hang out in their office, use the internet as needed, and the printers. I'm sad to say I forget his name, but the handler (for lack of a better term) stayed with me at the airport for probably 5 hours getting my motorcycle checked in.
The headaches occurred on the US end. First off, you can't legally walk out of the Miami airport so cab ride #1 to Centurion cargo to pick up the paperwork. At this point, I was told amount of the destination fee ($40) and that they wouldn't take anything but a money order or wire transfer. I walked to the Western Union across the street and they couldn't do a money order (system down I was told). I walked from there to my hotel since it was on the way and called a cab to go to customs from there. The f*%king cab company kept saying they were just a few minutes away and kept dicking around until it was too late to make it to customs by closing.
Next morning, it's off to customs (cab ride #2) and I get my release paperwork. Cab ride #3 to a different Western Union for the money order and then from there to Centurion. Somewhere about $50 for all the cab rides.
The big hassle is paying the destination fee - they need to work something out on that.
So I give Lyn Cargo a big thumbs up as they were WAY WAY WAY more helpful than anyone else in Columbia. Especially Veronica
I agree that Veronica is amazing. Without her I can't imagine what would have happen. They still have a lot of details to work out and most of them are in their US office. I could ONLY pay in the US with bank check or money order. As I spoke to already no one could give me an exact price.
I agree can't give enough credit to Veronica and she really tried to overcome the poor process her empoler has. Not her fault. I think it is a safe call to go with them. With one caution: If you contact then and Veronica is no longer there;
RUN!!! RUN FAST TO ANOTHER COMPANY!!
How was the rest of your trip? Anyone new trips in the near future?
Lyn Cargo with Veronica was so much better than anyone else we talked with in Columbia. In theory, it is possible to air ship from Cartagena or Barranquila. Henry is totally bilingual and he talked directly with the guys at the cargo offices who told us that motorcycles are occasionally air shipped out of those cargo terminals. However, Columbia has a rule (so we were told several times) that an individual can not ship out of the country - you must use a broker. When we went to the brokers recommended, we were told we couldn't ship our motos by air. :huh We paid a local "handler" to ride around with us in taxis to various brokers for half a day and were never able to set up transport. I can't imagine what someone who wasn't fluent in Spanish would have accomplished. So even with the flaws on the US end, Lyn Cargo was better than anything else, and with Veronica the service was above and beyond.
The rest of the trip was pretty much a "sit there, twist that" ride home on the interstate for 4 1/2 days. I did run into an ADV riding partner at random while northbound on a Florida turnpike. He'd been at my house in California about a year ago - a small world kind of deal. Then in Texas, I got the worst tank of fuel of the whole trip. I spent several hours to figure out it was bad gas. I still have to pull the carbs (a royal PITA on a 950) to clean out the idle or low speed jets but I got home okay.
Trips in the near future - I don't know. I'm changing my residence to Montana so I'll be there for most of the summer and getting that squared away. An inmate here floated the possibility of racing the Baja 1000 last year which didn't go but maybe I'll give it a shot this year. Who knows?
For sure, some Baja trips will happen.
If you find yourself in the area of West Yellowstone, MT in the summer, let me know as I'm always looking for someone to ride with. I just finished my taxes and will start my trip report soon. Kudos to you for getting yours done and much of that while on the road.
Sorry for the delays, life has been moving fast and already my ride seems partly like a dream.
It was a long and boring day of mostly I-95 from San Augustine to Chesapeake. I made it to my sisters house a little after 9 PM. I had more stops than I would have liked but they were all necessary. More for coffee because I was about to fall asleep and that never ends well. Also lots of gas stops because I was speeding a lot and my mileage was really bad. And of course at most stops people wanted to know what the hell I was doing, so I gave them a quick version of my ride. It was nice to be able to tell my story in English.
My sister did not know I was coming so it was nice to surprise her and the kids. I had a great few days with them and wished it could have been longer but that was not in the cards. I had to get back to Alaska and find a place to live, make things right with my boss for not being back to work on time and show up for jury duty. The real world was coming back at me fast!
Here is a pick of my boots after about 20,000 miles. I hope I can get these things re-soled! Hearing the boots drag always gets my blood flowing a little more and I sure do love that feeling! Guess I need to work on getting a little more aggressive cornering to the right!
<a href="http://akjts.smugmug.com/Other/Ecuador-and-Colombia/28031330_5ZG9rM#!i=2474224513&k=F48qQcX&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="http://akjts.smugmug.com/Other/Ecuador-and-Colombia/i-F48qQcX/0/L/IMG_6014-L.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a>
Because I was late getting back to Ak I did not make it to work when I was suppose to. I work remotely for 2 weeks than have 2 weeks off. I went into the main office to make sure all was good between el hefe and I. I had kept him posted during the trip. All was good on the work front. So once I got dismissed from jury duty I basically had 2 weeks off!!
It was not the best winter in AK but the week I got home the snow started piling up!! So why sit around the house dreaming of amazing South American roads when I can pass time doing this!
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That dot is me
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Ended up getting some great days at the resort and then a few in the backcountry. All the skiing pics are from one day in the back country. Me and one other buddy had the place all to ourselves! Pretty sweet transition from SA to AK and a way to ease into work after 4 months off.
It was great to be home and enjoy Alaska as well as see some friends before hitting the real world again. I had heard talk of the adjustment being difficult for some after long rides. I had not even thought about it and to be honest I never expected it to be so weird. More to come on that...
Thanks for a great RR . And great pics . I have dragged quite a few ideas and destinations for my planned trip , aiming for your original destination . I have to make Cusco to meet one of my kids later this year . Cheers
Billy are you on the road yet? What's your time frame? Thanks taking a look.
Here is a short vid. I have some improving to do on my clip transitions and holding that go pro a little more steady when filming from my hand. But hey, it is my first attempt and I have some great Central America footage that I am working on for the next one!
Uploading to Vimeo really compromised the quality I will try to upload again with better resolution soon.
<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/73339462" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/73339462">My First Project</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user20486857">Joshua Smith</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
As for me the struggle of being a working stiff continues. I think there is a statistic that a guy thinks about sex every 7 seconds. I think about quitting my job and going riding way more often than that!!!!
I am scheming my next plan. It feels like this job and I will not be part of each others lives much longer...I HOPE!
Maybe I don't know what I'm looking at but I think your 1st vid is fine.
Thanks man. Takes some time but nice to have it once its done.
I love all the mainers representing worldwide! My wife and i will be down your way and look you up as well!
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I'm in Maine right now (we have a log home in Bristol, on Pemaquid Penninsula), but I leave for Peru on Sept. 3rd. How far away are you?
Im up in Bethel (the mountains) but headed to Castine for a few days. I will Pm you as we are planning a Peru trip for next year! Good times and glad Smitty did such an awesome writeup!
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Hey guys glad to hear you scheming a plan on catching up. My Mom has a place on Pemaquid Lake. Been a bit since Ive back but my bike is on the east coast (TN) these so you never know.
Charpa hope to be taking you up on your offer this winter or next.
Sounds like winters in Peru and summers in Maine...are you hiring?
I wont let my job steal my soul much longer
The dragon 2 weeks ago. Had to keep stoping and let the cruisers get way out ahead.
Later fellow Mainiacs!! Be sure to let me know if you decide to do an AK ride some day!
Us mainahs are a crazy bunch aren't we!? Explorers to the core!
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Small world! My bro-in-law lives up in Homer and is a a Port Pilot for all the big ships coming into southern AK! Haven't been yet, but I have more than one excuse now.
I often need friends to come down and help me move bikes from one place to another in Peru. Just cover your expenses and I pay for the moto and fuel!
I was just up in your neck of the woods as a Tech with our Saab for the New England Forest Rally!