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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by crashmaster, Aug 31, 2009.
Now I'm shaking my head! Balls is not descriptive enough.
Ilhabela reminds me of parts of the Hawaiian Islands. Warm and tropical, the lush forest spilling right down into the ocean.
I agree, the first shot reminds me of parts of Oahu
Dude....you've got balls as big as church bells.... Nice ride from Macapa bro!
Awesome mud bogs!! and nice vid.
Can't wait to see the Lethem road
Hey Crash! Great RR! Sure hope you got to hook up with Throttlemeister aka John. One hell of a Dude! How did it feel when you crossed back north of the equator? Kind of depression?
Looking forward to "Little France"
Great video, I couldn't imagine it during the rainy season.
Gracias amigos. Actually it really wasnt that bad, just a little wallowing around in the mud and some comical moments trying to pick up the bike while I slipped around in the mud and cursed loudly. I'm sure it would have been hilarious to have on video, but unfortunately the camera was not running at those events.
Oiapoque, Brazil is on the Oiapoque river, and is the end of the road in Brazil. Time for yet another border crossing, this time, into French Guiana.
Oiapoque is a small unremarkable jungle river town, but sizable enough to have several choices for hotels and plenty of eateries.
A bridge between Brazil and French Guiana has been under construction for quite a while, and was supposed to be finished in 2007, but its not even close to being complete. People told me it would be finished before the 2012 World Cup, but given how far behind schedule they are now, I wouldn't anticipate it being finished before the 2016 World Cup. :huh
So, after doing the usual Immigration and Customs checks out of Brazil you have a couple of choices for crossing the river. First is a large ferry that starts running about 9 am first leaving from the Oiapoque side and will run maybe 3 crossings a day. If other vehicles want to use that ferry the same time as you, its fine because then it will only cost you about 5o Euros. However, when I was there, I was the only one wanting to get on the ferry at the time. Price? How about 200 Euros! :eek1 Since there was no way in hell I was going to pay 200 Euros for a 15 minute boat ride I opted for a plan B.
Along the river in Oiapoque there will be a line of guys trying to sell you a boat trip to French Guiana in long motorized canoes. They also assured me that they were capable of taking a motorcycle. Well, lets see how that works out.
So, I negotiated a price of 40 Reais for the trip thinking wow, thats cheap. However, when I showed up with the bike, the kids balked, saying no way were they taking me and my moto for that price. when I said moto, they must have pictured a Chinese 125. OK, fair enough. they wanted 100 Reais but we finally settled on 60 I think. They did earn their money lifting the big Katoom into and out of the canoe.
Once over into St. Georges, French Guiana you simply have to go to the police station a few blocks from the river and get your passport stamped. It was not necessary to do any paperwork or to procure any kind of permit for the motorcycle, which was a nice change. However, they will tell you that you need to buy insurance when you get to Cayenne. OK, well that sounds easy enough.
Once out of St. Georges (a very small but pleasant village) the road to Cayenne is a pleasure to ride. Enjoyable pavement twisties all the way to Cayenne through scenic, uncut jungle. Before I crossed the border, The Brazilian Police warned me not to stop for anything or anyone along the road to Cayenne. I got the same warnings from the French police as well. OK. Well I really dont know what to make of those warnings because I didn't have any issues at all. I did however see a few recently stripped and burned out cars along the road, but like I said, I dont know what to make of those warnings, so normal solo travel precautions apply.
I pulled into Cayenne which is a nice enough town for a few days. Everything is just like France. They use Euros, the cars have French license plates, the phone numbers are the same code as in France, TV is in French, News is from France, people speak French and are quick to remind me that for all intents and purposes, I am in France. Its France in the jungle. Even more bizarre was that the prices of everything are higher than in France. I did not expect this. The good news is that the food and wine is excellent and credit cards are accepted just about everywhere.
First order of business while in Cayenne was to procure my Suriname visa. So, I swing by the Suriname Consulate, wait in line for an hour, fill out a form, wait for another hour, go get a passport picture a few blocks away, come back, fill out another form, wait another hour, then pay $105 Euros, leave my passport and go back to the hotel. All of this takes about half a day. They gave me a receipt that had a date and time to return to collect my passport which said to come back 6 days later at 1400 hours. Usually, its only a 2 business day wait. But, I showed up just before a 4 day holiday weekend. Doh!
Now I had time to kill while waiting on my passport for 6 days. So I figured that I would try to buy this French Guiana insurance that everyone said that I needed. I must have gone to over a dozen insurance places but all I could find was a year long policy which costs 800 Euros and up. The places that used to sell 3 month policies stopped that practice several months prior and all that was available now was a 1 year policy. Needless to say, I did not spend 800 Euros on insurance. More on that later.
I know some basic French phrases from school so I was looking forward to using that knowledge that had been rusting away in my brain for so many years. However, I found that when I tried to talk to some people in French, they would ignore me. OK, fair enough, my French sucks. At this one insurance place I told the guy over and over again, in French that I was looking for a 3 month insurance policy. He kept saying that he didnt understand. Then in English, he tells me that if I want to do anything here I must speak better French because this is France. That was the first and last English sentence he spoke to me. Nice attitude. So I left.
On another occasion I went to an internet place to print some stuff out. I ask the kid working there, how much it costs to print a document. He simply looked up at me and shooed me away with his hands and a scowl on his face. LOL! If I was at home I would have smacked the kid upside his head. I had several more similar incidents like this over the next week. Really strange. Anyway, there were friendly people too, but it seemed that it was about 25% chance that a person would either ignore me or just be outright rude when I tried to speak or ask them a question. So different from friendly Brazil.
Since I had to wait a week for the visa, I figured that this was a perfect opportunity to go check out the Space Center and maybe do a Devil's Island tour. While leaving Cayenne to go to the Space Center, I was stopped at a police control. The French police all speak excellent English and were without fail polite and professional. Remember, I dont have my passport, its at the Suriname Consulate. I explain this to the cop and show him a copy of my passport with the French Guiana stamp. He then tells me that I must have the original passport with me and says that I need to return to Cayenne and stay there until I get my passport back from the consulate. Well that's just great. So plan B was to just book a tour that left from Cayenne. That seems easy enough. I go to book a tour and the first thing they want is to see my passport. Seems that I have to carry it with me on the tour. OK, well scrap that plan. So I basically sat around Cayenne and did nothing for a week. I did however manage to buy insurance for Suriname, right across the street from the Suriname consulate in Cayenne. Then, when I finally got my passport back, I just wanted out of France. No pictures, no tourist stuff, nada. (I know, bad blogger) I simply headed for the Suriname border. Then came the problem with the insurance.
Some useful waypoints:
Oiapoque: Brazil Police station (passport control) N3 50.591 W51 50.100
Oiapoque: Brazil Fazenda (Customs, moto paperwork) N3 50.943 W51 49.887
St Georges, French Guiana Police (passport control) N3 53.428 W51 48.268
No entry or exit customs formalities were required for my U.S. registered bike in French Guiana.
Suriname Consulate in Cayenne (Suriname Visa) N4 56.482 W52 19.934
Suriname insurance (required to enter Suriname) is available across the street from the Suriname consulate in Cayenne. 3 months for 30 Euros.
Great pic of the 990 in the launcha! You're schooling me...and thinking about the Guyana's again after thinking I was sure I was going the Manus route out of Brazil...descisions...decisions...
IMO, the Guyanas route is far more interesting than spending 8 days crammed into a boat, sleeping in a hammock right next to 50 of your closest friends and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes the whole time.
Seriously, its well worth doing the loop, do it.
Ha...I hear ya on that!
I'll see which way the bike goes when I get to Brazil...
Unless for some reason you enjoy river boats, I would either ride the Transamazonica or the Guyanas loop. Its just a little mud, nothing to worry about.
Good to read your updates again. As always it's a great way to get through another day of being tied to my temporary bed in the TV sala...
Yesterday I saw the doctor and apparently my shoulder is all infected, but I'm allowed to start therapy and in a few days I should be able to start walking around without the crutches... Finally. I lost a lot of time screwing up that first surgery, and even now, being a very good boy, I managed to move the screws a little...
I see you're still carrying the tire
Take care dude. Stay safe... I need you to come back to Brazil (where everybody is so friendly, remember?
Good to hear you are healing up amigo. Not carrying the tire anymore. My knobby was shot after the Guyanas so I put on the sirac. Kinda wobbly at over 100 mph though.
I thought it might be cool to float the Amazon...and it sure would be easier. Wait, did I just say that???
Hi my friend, just elated to read (and watch!) the latest posts! Having a lot of fun huh? Remember, you owe me a $1. Abraços,
Cool ? Yes, probably for the first few hours it might be cool.... Maybe even for the first full 24 hours... but 6 to 7 days ? Naaaaah!
I have a couple of friends that called this "The Love Boat"... they said after the second day, you just want to kill anybody that looks at you the wrong way
Crap...you guys are really talking me into the Guyana's. What, do you have a kickback worked out with the border officials??
Yeah...6-7 days seems like a bit much in the tropical heat and mosquitos...I'm not a big fan...