Departing Barbosa early, I was bound for Bogota. This large capital city of Colombia has a population of approximately eight million people and my destination was the airport and to find the offices of Veronica Mosquero Oviedo (311) 223-7841, the shipping broker for Lyncargo S.A. Numerous bike riders had posted messages on Horizons Unlimited attesting to Veronica's knowledge and skill in shipping bikes to destinations throughout the world at reasonable prices. As I departed Barbosa I was still undecided about whether I was going to ship the Goose to Miami or to Panama City.
Pointing the bike south, we were off. Traffic was heavy. The hotel in which I spent Wednesday night was right on the road and throughout the night I had listened to the steady groan of large diesel trucks on their way to Bogota.. As I made my way south, I was surrounded by large trucks and busses. The road continued to be curvy, up, down and through mountain passes. Tight curves with trucks filling both lanes. Once we were totally run off the road by an oncoming truck passing a bus. Someway the Goose managed to stay upright.
Forty miles north of Bogota, the road suddenly was blocked with construction. Heavy machinery filled the road and all that was moving was foot traffic crossing a temporary swinging bridge that had been built over the river and ravine that lay before me. A worker pointed to the narrow swinging bridge and I decided to go for it. Crossing over the mud and rock, I was able to ease my way up on the foot bridge and slowly crossed over the river, reaching the south side, while holding my breath and resisting the urge to close my eyes.
The ride from that point on into Bogota was fast and I arrived on the outskirts of the city at 10:00 A.M. I did not know how to find the airport but knew that it lay 15KMs northwest of the city. Taking an exit to the west, in a few miles I suddenly saw a sign indicating "aeropuerto" and within minutes I could see El Dorado International Airport. Finding Veronica's office was simply a matter of hiring a taxi to go to her address while I followed.
Arriving at Lyncargo's offices, I met Veronica who assured me that shipping the bike to either Panama City or to Miami would be no problem and that the costs were similar. I decided that Miami was the wiser choice. Both the Goose and I were tired and needed repairs. We had completed the first portion of the adventure and had ridden all of the countries in Cental America and most South America that weather and the roads allowed. While I really do want to return to Costa Rica and spend time with Art Smiley and Gary Pitts, I do not not want to battle the traffic and border crossings of Central America. I can return to Costa Rica later to visit Art and Gary.
Veronica calculated to the costs to ship the Goose to Miami to be $911 and quckly filled out the necessary forms. Sending me with a member of her staff to Centurian, the international cargo carrier with whom she works, I spent the next four hours dealing with the bureaucracy of exiting Colombia and getting the necessary military and police inspections. No one asked me to disconnect the battery nor to drain the fuel tank. The Goose was going to be tied down on a pallet and placed on a flight without being crated. It all seems too simple.
I was driven to the passenger terminal and purchased a ticket to Miami on Avianca, Colombia's national airline. Morning finds me in Miami. I do not know when the Goose will arrive so I am anxious, wondering if I may have to return to Colombia to retrieve my mount. The earliest I can hope to receive the bike is Monday and then I have to clear U.S. customs here in Miami. Then a 1500 mile ride back to Texas.
It seems odd to be back in the States. I can actually speak with anyone I see and they seem to understand me. Traffic flows at a normal and orderly pace. Large and beautiful hotels are on every corner. And prices are high! Two nights ago, I paid less than ten dollars for a hotel and parking in Barbosa, Colombia and tonight at the airport in Miami, there are advertisements for hotels near the airport at a cost of $150 or more.
Now I will simply await the arrival of the Goose and then will be off on the 1500 mile ride back to Texas. The bike is in dire need of mechanical attention. The last oil chage was completed by Ken Duval in Buenos Aires. My tires have over 18000 KMs on them and they are normally good for 12,000 KMs. Ken had left me with a long list of repairs that were needed before the BMW would be back in top form so the next few weeks will find the Goose back in the shop being rejuvenated.
I will continue to update this blog until I arrive back in Texas and complete this first segment of the adventure. Over the next few days, the scores of photographs that I took on the Amazon will be posted.
And we still have to ride to Alaska and the Artic Circle. New Year's 2009 was spent at Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city of the world and it seems approapriate that I reach the Artic Circle sometime in during this same year. Who knows which of my frends I will run into on that leg of this adventure?