Deaf Rider's solo journey exploring Americas

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WhicheverAnyWayCan, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Hello from Cartagena. Just arrived here this morning by the plane and having a latte at Juan Valdez. It is 8:40am and I have few hours to kill before going by the Maritime office to pick up Bill of Lading and begin the process of temporarily importing the bike. I thought I would take the time to write my observation and my thoughts/opinion about the border crossing. You might agree. You might not.

    Like many of you, I have read many riding reports and hear many stories about how chaos it is at the border. It seems that the price and procedures of documents and visa is never the same. I read some stories about riders being worried that their item may be stolen they secured their bikes with best security equipments their money can buy, whether it is a top of the line Touratech GPS holder with keylock or a pelican cases over saddlebags.

    But after doing few border crossings and talked with Marko, my new deaf friend that has been riding around the world three times since 2009. He explained that when he passed through Central America (northbound) in 2010, he remembered that it was a breeze getting through border with less paperwork and how easy it was getting visa and importing bike without complications. There was way more motorcycle, traveling vehicles, and RV crossing borders and it was faster back then. When he travel through again couple of years ago using the ferry from Colombia to Panama, he explained that it has gotten more complicated and more expensive. Less traveling vehicles compared to 2010. And this being his first border crossing southbound.. he said its about the same as two years ago but somewhat less traveling vehicles than couple of years ago.

    Based on his story and our observation, we have determined that half of documents are all bullshit. #1) It is just government’s way of helping some people to make money. #2) It is just a scam to make money off gringos. #3) It is to help immigration and border officials to process paperwork the lazy way.

    We observed that depending on the border they want a copy of your exiting document is because they do not know or understand English/German language that they depend on exiting document from previous border to input your info into their system. So we have to pay for copy of the document for them to do it. Fuck that! They work the job so they should learn. It is not like we are the rare visitor making rare appearance. They have frequent visitors from all over the world so they should learn! It is not difficult to figure out what is what after repetitive of doing it few times a week or month. How many of you have been told you need 4 copies only to find that 2 copies were used and you end up keeping 2 copies? It is just a way to scam us and they get to share a piece of pie.

    So we arrived at the point we made our stand and fought at each crossing. Sometime we would make big attention getting the crowd to look at our way and we use sign language explaining to the crowd what is happening in hope to apply pressure to the officials they cave in and let us win. We were threatened to be arrested if we didn’t cooperate but we scoffed and called their bluff because we believe that our passport (USA and European) is stronger than their we stood our ground. We had strategy in plan that if we were to get arrest and how we would deal with it if it comes to that but thank goodness it never happened.

    You guys might not want to stand your ground and fight, but if this continues then border crossing can become more painful and more expensive. We stood our ground and won most battles.. Some battle we didn't win because we realized it was not bullshit but a standard procedure so we cave in depending on the situation. Be sure you are watching other people making the cross to be sure they are paying or not paying, and ask them why if other people are not paying when they are asking you to pay.

    And lastly, we left our bikes unattended without taking away our GPS, camera, etc. Nobody even came close to our bike to take anything away. Don’t know why but nothing bad happened. We were asked few times to tip if they watch our bikes but we kept saying no. We think it may be a code thing that if someone steal something at border crossing, it can be bad for business for border helpers and others but that’s just a guess so you take the risk if you decide not to spend money on security stuff to protect your gear/equipments. We were successfully at getting border helpers to buzz off but eventually few of them offer to help without money because they realized that we were deaf and helped us.
    Tijustme2 likes this.
  2. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Hi Len,
    Thanks for well wishes. I used the shipping agent I got info from Vicmitch when he rode his salvaged victory from Brooklyn to Ushuaia last year. I can send you info via PM if you like because Vic gave me his friend email address and that is how I got her info. She is agent from Argentina and her price info has been spot on so far. I'll update when I finish importing my bike today or tomorrow. I'm expecting $107 port fee on Cartagena end so let's see.
  3. Len

    Len Long timer

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    Hi Ken,
    That would be great, I followed Vicmitch's report, he had a great adventure with the big bike, it was an awesome trip with a few big challenges. He really was amazing with his repair of the wiring harness problem. Which way are you headed after you clear customs?
  4. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    I took first plane out of Medellin to Cartagena and arrived at 7am. Didn't need to be at Seaboard Ocean to pick up the Bill of Lading until 2pm so I head to Juan Valdez at El Centro. 12noon came and Marko sent me a video chat so we can set up a place to meet. I walked over to Mall where I met with Marko and we took taxi to Seaboard Ocean to pick up documents. There we met with two vehicle owners that share containers with us. We all took taxi to Dian office to get paperwork done. After that, we went to get soat for our vehicles. From there we went to port office to talk with Ivan, who handles our paperwork. He took our Bill of Lading paperwork and that was all for first day. Next day we went back at 9am to finish paperwork and paid 999,500 cop ($78 each) port fee. We went out for lunch together and came back at 1:30pm, and was told they were unloading and bringing our container to wait. After they brought the container, Ivan walked us over to it and they opened the container for us to look at it. Marko's bike and our helmet had minor damage and the crew of Seaboard Ocean processed to fill out damage report to file claim on it. We returned to the office to pay 315,000($25) unloading fee and that is it. Total costs for shipping bike came to $416 plus $150 airfare. We waited almost 1 hour to get permit to exit our vehicle out of the port and left port closer to 6pm.

    Port ID:




    Our container:






    Marko's right signal light was damaged and his helmet came loose in the container. My helmet visor had minor scratch from door hitting it.


    Group photo of vehicle owners:
    OtterChaos likes this.
  5. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    This will be end of Phase 1 for me. I'm going to explore Colombia on bike and on car for next 2-3 months then store the bike here and head home. Coming back here in Medellin August 2017 to check out their Fiesta de la Flora. In Oct I'll continue south to Ushuaia and do a loop.
  6. GoMotor

    GoMotor Adventurer

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    You may want to exit to Equador and return to Colombia before you leave to get a new Temporary Vehicle Import Permit to avoid the problems associated with an expired permit when you return.
  7. STBNE

    STBNE Yamaha ADVenturer

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    Hello..I am deaf too...I am not some deaf HD biker dude..I too live in NC..I just started reading your thread but i had to skip ahead to tell you i have found it...I will spend a couple cold days reading it...I am too old to be travelling like you are but i do enjoy living it through your ride report...Thanks for sharing...:beer
    BTW I take prednisone too...it keeps my arthritic inflammations down...without it i couldnt move without extreme and chronic pains...
    Ben
    Foiler likes this.
  8. RoaringTodd

    RoaringTodd Adventurer

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    We need to have a Deaf ADV riders Rally. Who's in?
    WhicheverAnyWayCan likes this.
  9. STBNE

    STBNE Yamaha ADVenturer

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    every deaf friend i have rides a Harley...ADV bikes? Fugheddaouditt...:lol3
    RoaringTodd likes this.
  10. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    Seems that way... very few ride the Adventurous roads with exception of Ken and me! Other Deaf's only hop from Bar to Bar and stay on paved roads the HD way... My wife and I who are deaf have almost totally covered the N. Americas!

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    cheers...
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  11. STBNE

    STBNE Yamaha ADVenturer

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    refreshing to see deaf riders who arent perpetuating the HD pirate clone biker dudes who dont wear any saftey gear because it will upset their rough tough harley image...
  12. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

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    Hi Ken, :wave

    Good to see you out there still motoring southward. :thumb Even though it's cold and I'm ass deep in snow, I'm still following along.
    It'll help keep me sane. Thanks for posting up your adventure for all of us!
    Safe travels, Rob
  13. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Libre & Cuato road in Mexico. Cuato is a toll road and Libre is a toll-free road.

    Have a look at this picture and tell me if you notice anything missing? (Hint, look at the rear)

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    If you have keen eyes, you will notice that my NC license plate is missing.

    I entered Mexico at Nogales border and as I continue south on 15 Cuato, the road is pretty good with several section of single lanes because they are doing new improvement to the highway and paving new road. As I progress south, cuato road is becoming noticeably bad. Too many potholes and zero road workers.

    When I went with Mexican bikers to Leon MotoFiesta 2016, on return trip I noticed many bikers were without license plate. They said they intend to gun past toll booth without paying. I was reluctant about doing that. The vivid imagination of being stuck in a Mexican prison with a chance of my pie being dipped in, :lol3 I decided I would not partake in this event so I continued to pay toll while lot of bikers ran through toll booth without paying.

    The more south you get in Mexico, you will find that government is very corrupted and they do not put toll money back into the road. The condition of road is beyond terrible. It's a disaster and very bad! Lot of vehicle and semi would zip zag through the road and that can be dangerous especially if you are on a bike traveling faster than other vehicle because it is easier for bikes to zip zag than vehicles. As it turned out from the locals, they are angry with the government and they are protesting about government raking money in and not paying workers enough to do their job, and other workers such as toll booth workers and essence employees such as police, rescuers, ambulance, etc are not being paid enough there were a protest making people to drive through toll booth without paying (see pic above in other post). But there were plenty of other toll booth still in operation so after getting fed up with paying and paying toll only to see bad road, I decided to have a protest of my own. Yes, I decided to take my license plate down and ran through many toll booths. I probably end up saving over $100 USD on that, I shit you not!

    Few funny incidents.. when I ran through the booth, worker screamed and woke police officer up from his nap running to the road trying to understand what the worker is saying, I already passed him and hightailed out of there.. I saw in rear mirror he turn and went back to his nap without doing anything about it. At other booth, when I saw the semi paid and process to get through, I calculated my timing and gunned it perfectly getting through before the swinging arm comes down.. the booth worker saw my intention and tried to reach out to grab me but I was like 5 feet away from him there is no way he could catch me.. behind him was a cleaning lady who decided to use her mop trying to hit me but did not even come close. Few booths, I was surprised some worker saw us gunning for it and they do nothing but thumb up so I think they didn't care much for it. One even raised the swinging arm just as it was getting ready to come down although we didn't pay.

    But we ran into more serious incident where we were almost shot at by a rent-a-cop. Between Tuxtla and Tapachula we were told by a biker there are three toll booths then we would not see anymore for the rest of the road. We gunned past first booth with no problem but they called ahead to next booth so when we got to second booth, the security guard got to the middle of the lane and pumped his shotgun ready to shoot us. Seeing how serious it is, we slowed down a bit and they said we ran past first booth that we need to pay double fee. We asked them to prove it and they asked us for our receipt and we told them we don't keep receipt.. after heated debate and taking pictures of them, which they hide behind avoiding to have their pic taken, they told us we will pay one fee instead of two so we paid and carried on. Seems that camera was the mighty sword here. We decided that since the next booth would be the last one, we paid and that was it.
  14. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    If you are unlucky on many things then it might not be wise for you to enter Mexico without paying for tourist visa or Temporary Vehicle Permit, or you may have to cross the river on the raft supported by two super-sized tire tubes!

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    My friend was traveling through USA and Canada then when he returned to Mexico, he decided not to pay for visa or TVIP. As we were making our way to Guatemala, he discussed his situation with Mexican bikers. After they made several phone calls and coordinated with a biker of Guatemala who would meet us at the border. We followed few bikers to the border town in Ciudad Hidalgo. As we were making our way through street, they led us up the ramp and through the pedestrian bridge where we would come to access to the river. People were smuggling things when crossing the river. You see wheelbarrow loaded with cases of coke, water bottles, buckets, etc. Our Mexican friends told my friend to get his bike on that rafter so it will get him and his bike over to the other side. In the distance of this pic, you see the bridge that would get you crossed to Guatemala. My friend wisely decided to take his chance riding through that bridge instead of taking the rafter.

    Because I had TVIP, I was the last person in the group to cross that bridge. The rest of them and my friend went ahead to try and take care of his situation while I took care of canceling my TVIP alone. When I got to the immigration building, my friend was not having any luck because they were refusing to let him through. Mexican and Guatemalan biker were trying their damn best getting the immigration people to let him in and give him the TVIP. To help my friend's chance, I hid my Mexico TVIP and showed the immigration people my passport that I stamped out and said I didn't get a copy of exiting TVIP from Mexico. For a moment there they weren't buying it.. but they finally caved in and decided to give my friend the visa and TVIP. A huge relief was given out by everyone.

    But then I had a problem of my own. Apparently somehow I lost my registration so that was another battle. Oh boy! Although I had a motorcycle title and a copy of registration, they still insisted on a original registration. So as a solution, Guatemalan biker was willing to sign in his name taking full responsible of me in any event something happen to me. We had to go to the police station and get the paperwork done before coming back to the building so I can get proper paperwork done.

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    It was almost 10pm when we finally left the border town.. all of us starved so when we got to our new friend's house his chica cooked us something delicious to eat and we were working on friend's bike trying to re-route fue line bypassing fuel pump to the engine. Miraculously I found my wet registration paper hiding inside the National Geographic Mexico map! Whew!
  15. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Hello Paul,

    Yes, I'm planning on that. I also need to reset my days in Colombia. The plan is to stay until April then return in August and be here for 2 months leaving for Ecuador after my birthday on Oct 21. Problem is that if I stay here until April without exiting Colombia then they will look at my stay from Nov to April as a continuing visit therefore it will be difficult for me to return in August as 183 days is the maximum stay. If I leave for 3 days then they will reset my days for 2017 calendar year. At same time I can get TVIP reset but it is for 90 days maximum however I can request DIAN for a temp stay and get new permit for Aug-Oct. I've made friends with Colombian so I am sure they can help pull some strings too. So I need to leave Colombia first week of January to reset y visa. I'm riding with group of Colombian down to Manizales Jan 3rd then they will return to Medellín while I go south to Ipiales.
  16. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    I'm in for deaf Adv Rally!! :thumb. My Harley days is done, for sure! I've already decided to buy Super Tenere as my next bike after this trip and going to ride to Alaska with deaf friend who was inspired by this trip he is already looking into adv touring bike. I think S10 will be a good bike for Alaska trip in 2020 and I'm looking forward to spend more time in Alaska. 2020 seems like a good year for us because he had never been to Sturgis so he would like to stop by on a return trip to NC. My friend is done with Harley also he is very happy with his 1100cc Vulcan.
    RoaringTodd likes this.
  17. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    After getting visa and TVIP at El Salvador border, we rode into next town and two police officers told us to stop and get off the road so we pulled over. He said we both have to pay $5.00 without explaining why. My friend looked at me and I said it is bullshit. My friend nodded in agreement so we got off the bike and used sign language telling him he is trying to steal our money. In defense, the officer said it is town fee. We laughed and called his bullshit then he pointed to the building to our left, it was official building of the town so three of us walked in there. He led us to the gentleman that was wearing neat business suit. He is secretary and he was on the phone when three of us walked in. He was confused and somewhat dumbfounded as to why officer and two motorcyclists walked in so he got off his phone quickly to attend to our problem. Everybody in the building was looking at five of us and had concerned looking on their face. I took out my TVIP document and passport then used translator on my iPhone explaining the situation to the secretary. He looked at the document then used his cellular phone to call someone (We were wondering why he is using cellular when he was using office phone earlier). After a few minutes on phone, he got up and gave me the document then said no $5.00 fee that we could go. My friend and my I pointed at the officer using sign language that he asked for $5.00 and Secratary told him to go to back of the building.. we left the building and got on our bike to leave. That moment had us wondering what we might run into down the road.
  18. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    After we stamped out and exit Honduras, we got to the border of Nicaragua. There were three border officers. Two guys and a young gal. The leading guy was fat and in charge. He asked us to see our passport so we got off our bike, took off our helmet and pulled out our passport to give it to him. He started to speak to us and my friend interrupted him to tell him that we are deaf. He speaks again and again my friend said we are deaf. Again he speaks and again my friend told him we are deaf. I jumped in to tell him we are deaf in different sign language hoping the border guy would understand better. Fat guy looked at other border officer and said something to him then look back at us.. he skimmed through our passport then look at us and speak to us again. My friend said in sign language I told you we are deaf 1, 2, 3, 4 times and you still not understand me and he pulled out his disability card to show it to the fat guy. The fat guy looked at disability card and looked at us.. he gestured that deaf people can't ride motorcycle! My friend and I looked at each other, and we let out a good laugh. It made fat guy mad he told us he can have us arrested. We told him to go ahead and arrest us.. we were already thinking ahead that if he arrest us we will be sure to make a big news story out of this. So the fat guy took out his CB radio and after he was done he said police is coming to arrest us. We laughed and we weren't worried.

    The immigration truck of Nicaragua pulled up. There were two guys that appear to be a superior officer. One of them were much fatter than the fat guy and he approached the fat guy to listen to him. Then he took the passport and scanned through it to find exit stamp of Honduras and showed it to the fat guy. Apparently the fat guy thought we did not exit Honduras legally or something. So my friend explained in sign language what was happening how we told him 1,2,3,4 times we are deaf and he still don't understand us and told us we will be arrested because we are on bike (pointing to our bikes). 3 of European backpacker saw the problem and one of them speak Spanish well so they tried to offer help. Superior officer told them no and to leave so they left leaving us to try to communicate. My friend has a military friend in Nicaragua so he took out his iPhone and showed pictures to superior officer (military official pictures that he can't post on Internet or etc) and that was enough for Superior officer to give us a thumb up and told us to follow him..

    We went to the immigrantion building and he invited us into his AC office and he apologized to us profusely for fat guy's behavior then offered us water to drink. That is when we realized he is probably trying to save fat guy's face by acting as if he was doing his job and apology to us privately. He process to tell us the fee of tourist visa ($12) and he personally input our info into the computer and stamped our passport then direct us to TVIP people down the hall. No hard feeling from us and getting TVIP was easy then we were on our way.

    My friend warned me I will have harder time with Chile because they do not allow deaf people to ride motorcycle in Chile. Chile law. He has been in Chile so when he tried to get in Chile the second time, his passport stamp and photos made it easier to get in Chile than the first time. He advised me to try and get disability card from my government so that is something I need to try to get.

    On separate note, deaf people of Argentina are fighting their government trying to legalize deaf people to ride motorcycle. Like Chile, they can drive car but can't ride motorcycle.
  19. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    A weekend fun with my new Colombian friends at Guatape before Christmas. I befriend with Jose who is a doctor and he has a friend that own a apartment in Guatape so we had a place to stay while enjoying a colorful and vibrant town. A christmas light (navidad luz) has made it interesting to walk around at night.

    Small firefighter truck
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    El Penon de Guatape need no introduction. It is an enormous rock outside of Guatape and you climb almost 750 steps one way to get to the top for a speculating view of lake and part of Guatape. At every 200 steps, I would stop to catch my breath but I was not alone. There are other people catching their breath too, and we all would look at each other catching our breath and laugh. It was fun. Getting to the top is quite rewarding and make the kodak moment worth it.

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    Waiting for our lunch, I caught my amiga Claudia off guard she was surprised. Claudia and I have been friend since we met in 2014, and she is the one who introduced me to Jose. Juliana, behind Claudia, is a hot KTM babe and she sure could ride hard and fearless weaving through traffic I had fun following her on her KTM Duke.

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    My bed for the weekend.
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  20. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Sancocho: New Year Day tradition of Colombia

    Claudia invited me to go to her "Al Campo", where her family is having a New Year Day tradition dinner. Generally, Colombian will have a home in the city and a place in the finca (farm) to escape from city life and do things with relaxing attitude. Sancocho is a stew that has meats of chicken, cow, and pig with vegetables of potatoes, carrott, and cabbages.

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    Small yard didn't stop Claudia's cousins and nephews from playing soccer
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    Beautiful view from Al Campo
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    Sancocho cooking in aluminum pot
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    Sancocho served
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