If you are wondering what is going on with the blog and why it isn't being updated regularly, please understand my schedule. In early September it came to my attention that the number of sail boats transporting motorcycles from Panama to Columbia dropped to exactly two: the Stalhratte and the Independence. [Recall there is no road between Panama and Columbia, so an alternate to overland travel must be organized]
It became clear that a reservation had to be secured quickly, then I would need to get to Panama per the reservation date. I had roughly 33 days to cover five thousand miles, check in and out of ~25 hotels, and cross seven frontiers, visit family, have fun, and lots of stuff in between.
Crossing a frontier includes securing visas, temporary import of motorcycle and buying insurance, exchanging money from dodgy guys on the street, then cancelling the paperwork as you leave a country...) Its all a bit stressful and the time spend crossing border doesn't really move you down the road much. The time lost at border is simply a sacrifice to the gods of bureaucracy.
Some borders are really easily to cross and sometimes nothing goes right. Case in point, we arrived in Cartagena, Columbia, by sea only to find it was a holiday, so no paperwork could be processed until the next day. Motorcycles off loaded from the schooner and at Customs at 8:00 AM, we wait for our "fixer" to bring our passports and motorcycle documents from Immigrations. The Fixer arrives 90 minutes late for unexplained reasons. This delay causes a cascade of delays. We miss getting the final sign-off importing the motorcycles from the "Big Boss" because it is now lunch time...return to Go and lose two hour.
Next the insurance lady meets us, yet fails to process all of the policies the same afternoon. Torrential rains hit the city that night, networks go down breaking the link to the insurance carrier and halting the "binding" of some of the policies. A set of policies are ready, but no clear office address available to pick them up. At 2:00 PM on the third day in Cartagena the insurance lady arrives with some of the insurance certificates. Is mine one of them? Happy dance, my insurance certificate is in the small stack. The moto stands packed and staged to leave in the front hall of the hostel, After quick goodbyes I am gone in ten minutes. Total time waiting to officially enter Columbia, two and a half days.
Now I am in Caracas, Venezuela, as a guest of a fellow rider. I met Cenair at the Horizons Unlimited meeting back in September. He offered to put me up and here I am. I will be in Caraas for a few days, attending to moto maintenance and other pressing needs. Must close here to organize my day. Hang in there dear reader. So many stories to tell...it will be worth waiting for them.