The Grand Tour. South America in 100 days.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by muf722, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. muf722

    muf722 Muf

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    160
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    Scandinavia
    The Grand Tour. Big title? Yes, I understand that many riders here go longer and spend more time, but to me, this is by far the most ambitious ride of my life. Until now I have taken rides on vacation for up to 4 weeks, but this time I have chosen to take leave from work, so that justifies the bigger title to me.
    Im a dane living in Sweden. I'm 51 and came late to the game of riding motorcycles being 40 buying my first bike. A 2007 Suzuki DL650. I always knew that Adventure riding was for me, and after 4 years riding the V-Strom, it took me to North Cape and back. In 2012 I traded the Suzuki for my dream bike. A BMW R1200 GSA. That's the bike I now plan to ride through South America during the next 100 days.

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    I have produced this sticker to hand out to anybody who takes an interest in my journey. The red routes are what I've done so far in the past 10 years. Many rides have been on rental bikes.
    The web address on the sticker links to a picture gallery of all my trips.

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    My bike in Hamburg and the last time I saw it 3 weeks ago. Ready to be loaded in a crate for sea transport.

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    The route have since changed, and this is a map of my circa 62 day GPS routes i have planned. More than 22.000 km of road with a mix of dirt and tarmac. My routes often change on the fly, but the main plan is to start in Cartagena, Colombia. Then Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and finish in Valparaiso, Chile.

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    I track the Cargo ship carrying my bike and it's on the last leg to Cartagena. Arriving today, so I'm packing the last stuff and fly out on thursday 16 Nov 2017. Lets see how long it takes to get the bike out of customs. Wish me luck.

    Flemming M or muf722
    #1
  2. bigboyxl

    bigboyxl Been here awhile

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    I’m so into this Ride Report, as I plan to do something similar next year.
    Will be following you!
    May the force be with you and good luck!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #2
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  3. Michael_P

    Michael_P n00b

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    I'm in on this one :-)
    Have a great trip
    #3
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  4. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Have fun!
    #4
  5. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Im in Colombia. I first flew with KLM from CPH to AMS . KLM have a more or less direct flight to Cartagena with a short stopover in Bogota. At the gate in Copenhagen I noticed my boarding card was complete all the way to CTG but my bagagelabel only to AMS. I asked the gate dispatcher to change my label to save time in Amsterdam and they did. Well having a handwritten label should not cause a problem, but it did. In AMS the flight left on time only to return to gate to offload bagage travelling without a passenger. This is normally taken care of at the gate before departure, but we did taxi for 30 min. Now we also needed a refuel and when finally ready again, traffic was heavy and total delay was now 2 hours. Flight was uneventfull and before landing in Bogota we were told that the same aircraft would continue to Cartagena after a short groundstop. Unfortunately KLM then decided to cancel the short flight to Cartagena to allow the delayed aircraft to return direct to Amsterdam. All Cartagena bound pax were told to do the immigration process in Bogota and then fly on various domestic flights to CTG. Some on them on the next day. That caused a big upset amongst delayed pax and police was called to the gate. I think you guessed my bagage was lost and so it was.
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    In Bogota without luggage.

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    The first day in Catagena in heavy rain. The streets flood in minutes since they lack sewers. My new umbrella could not handle this kind of rain, but I enjoyed the entertaining colombian traffic culture or lack thereof. Shoes off, and walking barefoot to the hotel.
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    Food is great and the beer is cold.
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    Nice buildings in old town
    #5
  6. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Colourfull caribbians charge 5000 pesos for their pictures.
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    After 3 days my bag finally shows up. Slightly damaged after a detour to Panama City. The internet tracking site still report it lost. Well I really needed my ralley suit, so better late than never.
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    Bocagrande beachfront. My hotel for the first 4 days in the second row.
    #6
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  7. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Sunshades on the beach.
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    Old town from the Caribbian sea.
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    Bocagrande as seen from overhead Old town. By now you should know that I have a drone. I plan to let it shoot 4k video and pictures as above.
    #7
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  8. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    The weekend is best spend as a tourist as all important offices to import a motorcycle is closed. I have moved to Manga Island to be close to the harbour and the relevant agencies. I hired an agent to help me. I speak no spanish and they speak only spanish. The amount of fees and invoices are staggering and be prepared to take taxis around. I found the app “IOverlander” very helpfull as it lists locations and hints for everything. This is how I found my agent.
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    From todays unboxing. The crate from Germany was fantastic. It took more than an hour before the harbour storage worker could get in to it. Very safe.

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    It looks ready to ride, but there is still a few insurances, stamps and bribes to be made. I hope tomorrow is the day.
    #8
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  9. jtoro

    jtoro n00b

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    [QUOTE
    It looks ready to ride, but there is still a few insurances, stamps and bribes to be made. I hope tomorrow is the day.[/QUOTE]

    Sorry to hear that you come to our country to bribe our authorities.
    #9
  10. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Sorry to hear that you come to our country to bribe our authorities.[/QUOTE]

    No I would never do that. But my agent told me he had given the customs guy a bottle of brandy to speed things up. And I said to my agent that in Denmark, known to be the least currupt country in the world, even a small present like that is considered a bribe.
    #10
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  11. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Curious to know how your purchase of SOAT (obligatory insurance in Colombia) went. I have read that the insurance companies have been less than efficient in selling it lately in protest of the little, if any, profit they make on it.
    #11
  12. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    True. My agent told me that he could arrange insurance (SOAT) for my bike and for a minimum of 3 months. Before it was possible to get insurance for 1 or 2 months but is has recently stopped. Also many of the SOAT providers has been closed by the authorities or perhaps by the reason you mention. With the help of the app iOverlander, I found an office in town (SEGUROS DEL ESTRADO) that sells SOAT for only 2 months for 78000 pesos. You need title, passport and DIAN (customs paper). They can make it in 2 hours or just pick it up the next day. Friendly and efficient.
    #12
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  13. Flflyer52

    Flflyer52 Adventurer

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    I’m following your adventure as well. Hope to do something similar next year.
    #13
  14. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    Sounds like a great trip good luck and safe travels
    #14
  15. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    IMG_2679.JPG Finally I have the bike. Arriving on a thursday evening, its now wedensday late. So 4 full working days to get it out of port. A total of 970$ in fees incl. the fee to my agent Jose on the far right. This is after a discount from the shipping company in Bogota who clearly overcharged me. This refund is still to be setteled the next day, so I set my departure to Friday morning.

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    24 nov. On the road south. First lunch stop. Food is plenty and cheap. Prizes vary from 6000 to 14000 pesos (2 - 5$) for a 2-3 course meal inclusive beverage. Lots of attention to the big bike and many start a conversation. Now I feel terrible for my poor spanish.
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    First days are flat and fast down to Medellín. Speedlimits are not followed, but the very aggressive speedbumps must be respected.
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    In front of the entrance to what was Pablo Escobar´s Hacienda. The plane was the first of many to smugle cocaine to the US. Now the hacienda is a zoo. Hence the zebra stripes.
    #15
  16. steveh2112

    steveh2112 Been here awhile

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    are you saying it cost $970 just to get the bike out of the port? or does that include shipping too?
    #16
  17. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    My initial plan was to ride south to Honda after the Escobar hacienda, but I´ve chosen to go east over some mountains to visit Villa de Leyva instead. About 70 km is dirt gravel and stone.
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    And some mud as well. The mud caused me to veer off the road to the right and then the rear wheel succeeded in overtaking the front.
    Undramatic and no damage other than to my pride.
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    As soon as its back upright, I meet a couple from Poland. They have the company ADVFactory and ship bikes. They know Olaf from Hamburg who shipped my bike. They are coming from Villa de Leyva and have been riding all day. I now know its impossible to reach my goal and will have to stop short.
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    It did become dark before I was out of the dirt section.
    #17
  18. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    I paid 2300 EUR for the shipping and was warned that the port/customs fees would add approx 400$ to that. So yes. It hurt a bit.
    #18
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  19. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Good stuff. Villa de Lleva is beautiful. If you get to Cali, stop by Motolombia and say hello to the owner, Mikkel, from your country. He knows every good road to ride on in Colombia.
    #19
  20. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Way ahead of you. I was in Cali yesterday and met up with Mikkel. I had to admit to him that most of my routes in Colombia are lifted straight from his website. I promised to put a Motolombia sticker on my bike to do some advertising.
    Pictures will follow.
    #20
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