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DiabloBlanco 04-03-2009 10:32 AM

Summer '09 - Venezuela to Minnestoa
Starting to get the ball rolling on writing, updated 26-29 June about dealing with Vzla customs

Thank you section:
Right up top, I'll be having a list here of all those that deserve a big thank you for their help throughout this trip.

I'm jumping the ball a little bit, but it's got to start somewhere....

So at 29 years of age I'm finally getting ready to gradumate from collemagege. Unfortunately at the end of this spring semester I'll be 4 credits short of graduating and 9 credits short of a minor in Spanish. I also have a brand new F650GS twin. Hmm... what to do?

So late fall/early winter I came to the decision to do a study abroad in Venezuela for 6 weeks from mid May to the end of June which kicked off a winter farkling party of epic proportions. The original plan was to ride down after this semester ends buuuut after comparing schedules and realizing this semester ends May 10th-ish and the Venezuela summer session starts May 18th, it just doesn't leave a lot of time to ride 5,000 miles to make it there in a timely fashion.

So I spent a little time on HUBB looking at advertised shippers and came across APX ( and I've been in contact with them for quite some time. Gini is a dream to work with, even though the paperwork stack is huge. Total price to ship to Venez: a lot. More than this college kid wants to pay. But I always tell myself you can't put a price on life experiences, so I gotta do it. So how it's going to work is in late April I'll ride from Minneapolis to Chicago to drop the bike off with a crating company, who, for 570 bucks will crate it and transport it to APX who will then truck it from Chicago to Miami and will then fly it to Venezuela. About 2 grand for that once it leaves the crating company's hands. Lotta dough! But the other companies I received initial quotes from were no cheaper and up to 2 grand more expensive :eek1

Other than that it's just been a farkle party of epic proportions. Here she is stock with only 500 miles on her:
I'd like to take this opportunity to tell my friend Brian to suck it, when, the day after I bought the bike (with 0 miles), and the odometer was then 75 miles, he paints my house with a paint gun... with the garage door open... so little flecks of paint ALL OVER my new ride. Thanks. :becca

And here it is now: (sorry for cell phone pics)

Lots added, so I might miss a thing or two:
Jesse Odyssey II panniers - BMW oem bash plate - Holan crash bars - Wunderlich mud hugger - Wunderlich radiator guard - Adventure Spec luggage plate - BMW eom hand guards - Metal Mule screen - TT tank bag - TT front brake reservoir cover - TT locking mount/RAM swivel mount for Garmin 60Csx - Holan headlight protector - beak extender from F800 - GS black reflective logos - adv designs tool kit (with allen wrenches added since BMW uses hex and almost all aftermarket uses allen) - accessory socket air pump

Still to put on
CANbus power cable for GPS - devise best way to strap down Northface 70L duffel bag for rear in a manner that is secure, but easily removeable - Anakee tires - Sargent or TT seat - SPoT sat messenger - Wanderlust V2 GPS software

For personal gear:
Still waiting on my Vendramini Desert Alp boots.. have the BMW city pants, summer2 pants, and Boulder jacket with Arai XD3 helmet, couple pair of Rev'it gloves. Dell mini 9" laptop to type papers, play with GPS software, and kill time on this wonderful site when I'm not busy learning (drinking) :1drink

So in a month and a half the trip to Venezuela starts and I'll update this as things happen and as I toll around Venezuela and then go in depth about my ride back home, so I'll be paying special attention soon to the process of getting over the Darien and the best hotels to stay at.

A side mention, if anyone will be traveling north through South/Central America in late June/anytime July and would like to meet for drinks and some riding time give me a shout! (and I'm always open to advice, so thanks in advance for that).


Oh and I'd love to give a little shout out to all the naysayers in my life who just don't understand my need to do this. I appreciate how much everyone cares for me, but I'm starting to get sick of those trying to talk me out of it or trying to put fear in my head about all the evil-doers I will encounter.

ajgerdes 04-03-2009 02:52 PM

sounds like a fun trip:clap :clap

GB 04-03-2009 04:53 PM

Sounds like a great adventure :thumb Any chance to see pics of your trip?? :lurk

DiabloBlanco 05-01-2009 08:29 AM

So la-dee-da... things like to get screwed up. Now instead of the bike being in Venez when I arrive I just had to push the ship date back, so I'll be in country for a couple weeks before she arrives. Maybe give me an opportunity to get a feel for the place first...

My national guard unit got called up to help North Dakota (ew) with some floods, so I missed the date I was supposed to ride to Chicago (which was a beautiful 82 and sunny that day). Instead I got home from NorDak and tried to ride to Chi the following morning.... 39 degrees. Got 15 miles from home and then a torrential downpour kicked off. Screw that. Cold I don't mind; rain I don't mind; cold and drenched to the bone and unable to see out of the helmet, suck that. APX is cool with the ship date switch though so things are still all good, plus it gives me a little more time to get the recalls on my bike addressed.

Anakees mounted, duffel bag is in for sewing so I can attach/lock it to the bike. Got the Garmin fully powered on the bike. That CANbus system is pretty slick, me likey... And I downloaded the Wanderlust maps. I don't know if "impressive" is the word, but they're definitely better than the Garmin alternative, half the price, and run by a fellow rider...

Also ordered SPOT and I'm a loser and just dropped 60 bucks on nationality stickers so that with each border I go through I can add that country's sticker onto my panniers. Like I said, I'm a dork. Whatever.

I'm just damn excited to get this thing going! :1drink

Tim-Rodriguez 05-01-2009 08:58 AM

I got back from Venezuela a month ago to visit family in Margarita and Los
Roques, also had plans to visit my grandma in Caracas but ask any one about Caracas and they will tell you its I avoided it.

Heres some photos...

DiabloBlanco 05-01-2009 09:05 AM

Great photos. Our study abroad program actually discourages us more from going to Caracas than Colombia, so I'll probably only deal with Caracas when I fly in and when I go back to pick up the bike a couple weeks later...

So how was it? Great times?

Tim-Rodriguez 05-01-2009 10:17 AM

The place is really beautiful and people there are friendly and and happy.
My sister got on my nerves loads of times but always I didnt let that get to me and ruin my time.

I definatly recomend going there and if you speak spanish then it helps.

SS in Vzla. 05-10-2009 09:26 AM


Originally Posted by DiabloBlanco
so I'll be in country for a couple weeks before she arrives. Maybe give me an opportunity to get a feel for the place first...

Excellent idea!
PM sent :freaky

Nata Harli 05-10-2009 11:30 AM

Good luck
Well it's May 10th-ish and you might be on your way. Then, again ....

Here's hoping your bike catches up with you before you have to come back home. :super

And, if'n you're not doing anything the first part of August and find yourself bored and needing to hop on your bike and ride, feel free to join us for SALARR in south central Colorado. Link is with my signature.

DiabloBlanco 05-13-2009 04:13 PM

That's right around the time I should be coming back home and up through Texas, I'll keep my ear to the ground on that one....

I LEAVE TOMORROW! Sometime in the a.m. I'll hit the highway for Chicago, spend a few days in Chi, catch a Cubbies game at Wrigley and then hop the plane to Vene :D

D.T. 05-13-2009 04:38 PM

Jeebus, what a trip! Have a great time! Keep this thread updated.

I live up here also. Weather is just getting nice. I would have left a month ago if I was you.

FotoTEX 05-13-2009 04:49 PM

If you are in Texas in August all I can say is dude it gets hot here that time of year. Guaranteed. Keep Hydrated. I am located SW of Ft. Worth and if you need a free place to stay along the Brazos River-PM me.
Have a great ride. Do it now, later is always iffy...

DiabloBlanco 05-13-2009 06:16 PM

Yeah I hear you guys, I can't lie, I have my own doubts about it and excuses to push it off, but it's like one of those cheesy cliches to just do it now or life will just slip by and you'll be full of regrets for what you haven't done..

And yeah I know all too well about the Texas summer heat, I've got a couple friends in the DFW area, but if I don't take you up on your couch offer I'm definitely game for a ride since I'll be there a day or two...

JaiDee 05-13-2009 06:33 PM

Have a great time DB! You should have quite an adventure. Where will you be studying in Venezuela? I'll be traveling to the Maturin area next December, probably staying a couple of months and haven't been able to find any information on motorcycling there. I'll be watching closely, anxious to hear your impressions of the country and possibilities for riding.

Safe travels!


DiabloBlanco 05-16-2009 06:33 AM

Well, made it to Chicago, fun little ride:
Barely missed the dead deer in the left lane that I didn't see until the last minute when the car in front of me swerved to miss it, then its blood and guts were all over the road so the car in front of me kicked it all up on my screen helmet and bike. Thanks.
But at least I got lucky and it rained for the last 120 miles of the ride so it got nice and clean. Showed up to the crating company wet and freezing my ass off. Oh well, bring it.
Tomorrow Cubbies game! Sunday a plane heading south!

[IMG]<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>[/IMG]

If you're wondering about riding in Venezuela I'll forward you some of SS in Vzla's emails to me, he's given me a very good invaluable picture of what to expect and how to ride...

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