Gringo in Paradox - Travels in Colombia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Champe, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    That is some strange stuff. I do not get the local news so this is new to me. It belongs here though so thanks for the contribution.

    I am hitting some personal speed bumps that I need to work out. My visa extension went sideways so I spent much of yesterday trying to fix it. I think it is ok now but am not 100% sure.

    The process is supposed to be online, which I tried many times without success. Finally I got the hostel host to do it for me and it seemed to go through. Only there was no confirmation. Yesterday was two days past the deadline so I went to the migration office to see what is going on. The line was incredible. The guard let me cut the line though. The lady official tried to pass me off as not having submitted the form and wanted me to deal with the airport people. Well, I know that involves a fine, and possibly not being allowed back into Colombia. So I insisted that I did send in the form. She finally figured out that the email was wrong on the form, and that the boss had not signed off on the application yet. She took my money though and said it was back on track. Now I need to make sure that receipt does not get lost.

    I also had the chain and sprockets on the bike replaced yesterday. It was done by a sidewalk mechanic in front of the parts store. I went to get a drink while they worked. Unfortunately someone walked off with the front sprocket cover and the bolts that hold it. Minor, I know. Only one of the bolt holes is leaking oil now. Gotta fix that.
  2. JuddS

    JuddS Been here awhile Supporter

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    I've been dealing with colombian officials on paperwork a lot over the last few months. I speak spanish fluently so it has all been going through email. What I've found is that they have a national decree which basically allows them to bend the rules to whatever they see fit. I've broken several laws by leaving the country and keeping my bike down there is storage. I lost my temporary import permit and during normal times they were not supposed to re-issue me a new one, especially since I left the country and the bike stayed down there (USA Plates). However, I went though a few dozen emails back and forth and submitting forms that got denied and then I just kept persisting and finally they extended my bike temporary import permit until 2022. I really hope the border opens up before that so I can get back to riding, but at least I'm covered until then. What I've found is that they always deny a request the first time and then I go back and keep mentioning the national decree and then they say no and I keep persisting and then they say yes. Mind you, this is all being done with DIAN and not immigration, but I believe it may be the same. These are public officials who at the end of the day dont want hassle in their lives so they deny first and then if they see its going to be more of a hassle to keep dealing with me that to just sign the paper, then they end up signing it. It does seem to take persistence and keeping on it and doing the customary denial, denial, waiting, form filling out and then finally someone gets sick of it and signs the paper. That is just my experience. Good luck!
  3. JuddS

    JuddS Been here awhile Supporter

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    And by the way, the guy who changed the sprocket or his friends are the ones who stole the stuff. Offer them cash to "find" it.
    Pete_Tallahassee and falcofred like this.
  4. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    First of all the migration website if you elect to do it in English it won't work you won't be able to fill out all the prompts ,Boxes to move on to the next page
    It is a simple format but you have to do it in Spanish
  5. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    that's how it works down here you get what you pay for Next time go to a shop
    I dont let any body touch my bike I do all the maintenance The quality of work here is piss poor
    Although there are good shops in the bigger cities the ones that usually have 200 thousand dollars or more of bikes waiting out front for something
    Make sure you check the work on your sprocket change and make sure the master link clip is not installed backwards
  6. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    Have you looked into trucking across the border to Tulcan then fly to Ecuador Look up Aduana agents in Tulcan
  7. JuddS

    JuddS Been here awhile Supporter

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    What???!!!!?? I had no idea this was potentially and option. I would definitely do that if possible. Do you know how this works? Would I have to ride the bike to somewhere near Tulcan and then put it on a truck and then get back to Bogota to fly to Quito and then get down to Tulcan to pick up the bike?
  8. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    well if you are in Medellin or Cali the flight options to Ecuador are good and shipping from Cali might be better
    Manta equador and Esmeralda equador are not far from the Colombia border they have international migration they are port cities Manta has a international airport I know of, so these 2 cities may be a option to truck the bike to Tulcan is a city across from Ipiales
    cali Quito looks like your best bet or Medellin Quito trucking from Medellin wouldn't be much more cost to truck it
  9. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Keep us posted on your progress JuddS. This might interest a few other travelers who want to do this, including me. Do you have a bike here already or are you shipping one from the states ?

    With the missing parts I don’t think my team took them. They put on a very good act if they did. El Jefe did not do the work but he is responsible for collecting the money. So I gave him my card with phone number and told him I would pay him when I got my parts back. He was fine with that. Really I have no hope of seeing them again.

    Getting parts here is not so easy. The dealer normally does not do parts. I get KTM parts fast, cheap, and easy in the US so that is what I have done so far. There is a great dealer nearby in NH and the internet works well. I can live without a sprocket cover for a while...just not an oil leak.

    I have to agree that the mechanics generally suck. They almost always let me sit close and watch though. I did coach them on the chain tension since I know they are famous for overtightening. I usually do my own work too but my main tools are not here. I could carry more I suppose, but my supplemental tool bag is already pretty heavy. Another consideration is how cheap the labor is. Why get sweaty and dirty on nasty jobs like oil changes when it can be done for you for practically nothing ? Ok, I know.. it is possible to screw up anything, including an oil change.
    MikeS, roadcapDen and GringoRider like this.
  10. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    If your on your way to Bucaramanga there are lots of KTM Dealers here They are partnered up with Auteco hell these bikes have the sam engine as ktm singles street bikes and made in the same factory I'm sure
    Santa Marta doesn't have the volume of sales compared to bucaramanga there are 600000 bikes registered here Maybe Baranquilla or Cartagena
    On shipping your bike by land is just a thought I came up with It may work I can't see any reason why not although it sounds like a real pain in the ass But what isn't now a days
  11. JuddS

    JuddS Been here awhile Supporter

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    I have a great rode near bucamaranga for you. Its an old mining road down to a river with a small barge that takes you to the other side. If you get up that way, ill find the gps xoordinates from my spot and pass it on. It was one of my favorites in colombia so far.


    Im in the states and left my bike in Medellin in a storage unit. I plan to fly down there as soon as i can figure out how to get it over the border.

    On the advice if @AlMostThere i contacted a customs broker today and he said it is possible to ship it via truck to ecuador. He asked me for a bunch of papers like my temporary import permit and a few other docs i had from when it arrived via container. He sent them to his team to quote and get me a timeline and cost. I hope to hear back from him in the next few days.

    I am a little hesitant about this as ive found shipping bikes can result in a week or two at the point if arrival to get the paperwork done and bike released. I don't want to spend a week in a ecuador border town waiting for paperwork, but perhaps they can ship to quito and i can hang out there while waiting if it comes to that.

    He also said he had a guy who can do it illegally, but i dont want to mess with that and then who knows if they will actually do it.


    If you really are interested in this, please let me know as im sure the price would come down the more bikes we ship in a truck. Im working on this right now.
  12. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    Im a expat Colombian id licence registration ill wait for the border to open some time in the future
    I have been exploring the Chicamocha Canyon for a couple of years I know exactly where the ferry is and there is a bridge just upstream from the ferry where the 3 rivers are there's a beach just down steam from the ferry the second photo is below the mine you have to go to Villa Nueva to get to the other side Its where the 3 canyons merge I dont go down there on week days TRUCKS and dust
    Sundays is the best no traffic I am going to purchase a DR 350 some day to explore my back yard my F700 is large and heavy but I still explore tempImage0SjQRL.jpg tempImageNEqSSP.jpg
  13. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    here's a santandariana pussy in Bucaramanga very large 9 kilo tempImageGbe66l.jpg
  14. JuddS

    JuddS Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thats crazy that i mentioned a random area in the middle of nowhere and you know all about it! Cool.

    These fuya crossimg on the cable asked me to go fishing for the day with them and i almoat went. 20210322_112117.jpg 20210322_113924.jpg
  15. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    Santander has the best off-road in Colombia next is Huila I lived there for a year. I know this Country well I dont need GPS I use local maps which every department has they are just hard to find and purchase
    Mapy.CZ is best app the maps are from Russian archive way better than google or what ever you are using I have tried them all
  16. Ohio_Danimal

    Ohio_Danimal If I die trying, at least I tried Supporter

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    I’ll agree about Colombia and maps. Early in my ride through Colombia I was looking for detailed road maps and found them literally everywhere. One street book market had hundreds and the one I bought was spiral bound fold-out waterproof and showed every single dirt road and track. Helped me find many stealth camp spots.
    caribryder and roadcapDen like this.
  17. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    There are literally millions of km in the mountains every where you go you see lights in the mountains at night.
    I spent a year flying in Colombia low level and in the day and flying this country at night
    it is amazing to see so many places

    50 million people here and most places are not on the map If they grow something there must be a road . wonderful place I can't think of a country better to explore I am accustomed to the Canadian north 4 5 6 hours of nothing until you are at a destination you must land no more fuel
    no motos we use aircraft
  18. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    You guys just keep right on filling the gaps. I can only experience the tip of the iceberg here.

    My progress has sort of stalled. I was sort of ill for two days. 90% over it now. I think it was food.

    And the bike is not running. When I parked it last time it was when they replaced the chain and sprockets. Well, the lost cover had a bolt hole that leaks oil. I did not notice until I got to the hostel. We are a bit down on the sight glass.

    So just get a bolt, right ? Not so easy. I made 3 walking trips all over town. First bolt was too small. Second one too big. Third one right size but thread pitch is wrong. I give up…walking, that is. I need to ride the bike to a good ferretería but I can’t have it leaking oil all over the place. So now I put the smallest bolt in the hole and covered the head and surrounding case with epoxy putty. So far so good. Finished it this afternoon…supposed to be 24 hour cure. I want to ride again. So on my travels on foot I was at a Bajaj Parts store and asked for a Dominar 400 filter. Now I am ready for an oil change. I see a nearby oil changer has Mobil 1 for bikes in a good viscosity, so I think I will now deviate to a non factory recommended oil.

    My watch stopped a couple of times but continued when I reset it. So I gave it to a street watch guy that had a big cart full of them, for battery replacement. He had a real hard time opening it. It is a real diving watch. He got a new battery in it but it did not work. So he put another one in and it still did not work. Then he had some trouble putting it back together. The gaskets are a pain in the rear. But now the stem will not physically move. The guy who broke it suggested I take it to another guy across the street. Uh , no. This is not an expensive watch worth much work. Time to part with it.

    Well, just a few more speed bumps. They have one kind here that is a bunch of smaller bumps close together. With a real dirt bike you just power through. I usually have to slow a bit. So I think that is it for speed bumps in life and now we resume.
  19. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    The Magdalena Revenge sea food sucks in this region My cast iron stomach can take the worst of it but the coast is down right dirty Costenos are dirty people in Colombia they prepare meals of seafood that the fish could of been on the street for 24 hours after it is caught prepare for the worst. Colombians know how to dance Well
    Dont expect anything to go well when getting anything Fixed
    You have the wrong bike It amazes me that you went to northern La Guajira and did not go to Punta Gallinas the northernly most point of land in SA you were so close
    Its like going to Inuvik NWT Canada and turning around to go south THE road to Tuktoyaktuk they built this road 5 years ago and it is as far north as you can go in North America the arctic ocean Or Beaufort Sea with out restrictions its a public Hyway . USA Alaska doesn't have this luxury you need permission to do the Dalton to go to the Arctic Ocean Its not a public road
  20. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    In a rut

    The stomach problem has gone away but it turned into a light cold. Gotta shake that so they don’t mistake it for Covid later.

    The epoxy putty did not work. The finish on the motor is quite slick so the putty did not stick well enough. It is still leaking oil, past the putty. It is not leaking as much as before, but the plug will likely fall out sometime. I am going back to the place that did the work and offer money for my original parts. I can sort of ride the bike to a hardware store too. The thread of the bolt is uncommon…I have a handful of bolts that do not fit.

    Next issue is the cooling fan. It is blowing fuses. The fan was stuck but freed up when I moved it with a finger. But it blew a fuse again. I can ride it at speed but it overheats in traffic. There are no full service KTM dealers here so I may have to ride it out the way it is.
    Pete_Tallahassee and GringoRider like this.