Sunday, March 13, 2011

Barranquilla or Bust....

So after a pleasant but not overly productive week in Cartagena, a few jobs done on the bike and some sight seeing,  I packed up the bike and headed to Barranquilla early Wednesday  morning and straight to an appointment with Coltrans Shipping Company in the commercial sector. The air conditioning in the office was cold and the coffee was hot, which was nice and the  temperature along the coast has been a rather toasty 32 ish degrees today, factor in the high humidity and it feels like 38 C - the riding gear does get a bit warm.

Luckily for me - and them,  one of the girls in the office speaks excellent English. My Spainish, though improved on this trip is still rough and I still tend to miss some of the details in a conversation while generally getting most of the information.

Flying the bike looks feasable, though more expensive than sea freight, it will however put me back on track to meet up with Stan in the Southern USA in a reasonable time frame. We are aiming for a flight this weekend or early next week, Ive still yet to find out if the bike needs to be fully crated or if it can just be put on a pallet and strapped down, Im hoping for the latter which is both cheaper and quicker, both here and in Miami - ride on and ride off the pallet 5 minutes, job done.

Straight after the meeting, I head to the Suzuki dealer in town (the one that actually opens in the morning!)
and buy a new Pirelli rear tire/tyre for a very good price,  I head down to the closest tire fitting shop and get it fitted  in about 15 minutes for another bargain at  $2.66 US.

I didnt hear much back on Thursday, so Friday I got hold of the girls that were helping me and got some bad news - their head office in Bogota had told them that they were not to handle 'personal' dangerous goods - only larger consignments linked to companies....great, another dead end.

The girls in the office were a bit put out with their orders from Bogota, especially after promising me they would be able to help. Also I have been getting some help with getting  from the bike out of Colombia from  a guy in Miami - Gaston, who runs a company called SAmericaXlplorer, he is Chilean, but has been living in the USA for quite a while now. Gaston was on the case straight away looking for another agent and I went to see another agent with Neudith, one of the girls from Coltrans - no go with this agent, but we ended finding one in the same building as Coltrans - just four floors below!

Johanna with MasterFreight said that she should be able to help out, so more photocopies of the bikes papers were taken, its back on currently for a flight on Tuesday - lets see if this time it will work.

There was still some other jobs to get sorted out, Neudith took me along to the DIAN (customs) offices, and we spent quite a while there trying to push through getting the bikes temporary importacion cancelled before the flight on Tuesday. If I had been on my own I would not have got very far, luckily Neudith used to work for DIAN and knows pretty much everyone in the office!!

It turned out that I needed a letter explaining that I was going to export the bike, with the frame number and my details on it,  thinking that I'd have to split back into town to an Internet cafe and bash something together in my dodgy Spanish, Neudith just sat down and used a DIAN computer and typed up a letter in 2 minutes and printed off three copies!!! Nice!

We then headed off to a carpenters shop to sort out a crate, after some discussion we arranged that I would come back on Saturday and the guys would make up a crate - they would also deliver it to Tampa Cargo on Monday, so we can put Sammy in for his trip to Miami.
Sammy Gets Fitted up for a Crate

Saturday comes and we get going with the crate, I take the bike apart - just as we had done for the flight from Edmonton to Santiago, front wheel and mudguard, windshield, mirrors, top box and Lisas pannier off while the base is made, we lift the bike on and the guys take some measurements, then take the bike off again and then they make up the frame for the top while I put the bike back together again.

It was cheaper getting the crate sorted out in Canada, but the guys here made it up from scratch and its going to get delivered to the airport, so I cant complain.

Sunday morning I was up early and did some more jobs on the bike, I adjusted the valves, cleaned the spark plugs,  put on the 15 tooth front sprocket so the bike cruises better on the US Freeways and did some more cleaning and general tinkering.

Lets see what Monday brings.......

1 comment:

  1. I have not read the whole page but I'm surprised no comments here to an awesome epic journey of an enduring couple. Trip like this will be in good memories for years.
    Keep riding!