Day 308 – Key West to Knight Key, Florida

Day 308 – Key West to Knight Key, Florida        06/25/11        Mileage: 53

I was a little slow out of the chute this morning no thanks to the beer and Jagger last night I’m sure. I lingered in the comfort of my air-conditioned and immaculately clean room that came complete with a flush toilet, hot and cold running water and a TV with English channels….luxury. But soon it was time to pack the bike and hit the road north. I made my way up to Knight Key where I found a nice RV/campground right on the water.

But what sold it was a cool little tiki bar walking distance away. So, after I setup camp I wandered over to the Sunset Grill for dinner and some drinks.

It is a cool place right on the water, the food is great and it’s a good spot to watch the sunset over the water.

This is not going to make my transition back into the “real” world any easier…that’s fro sure…

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Day 307 – Miami to Key West, Florida

Day 307 – Miami to Key West, Florida         06/24/11        Mileage: 166

It was only 160 or so miles from Miami down to Key West and the southernmost point in the continental US, so that seemed like something too good to pass up. Or, maybe it was Duval St that beckoned, but either way I packed the bike and hit the road south for one last time. The riding was hot but the scenery was more than making up for it.

I had a great lunch overlooking the water…

Once I arrived in Key West I made my way down to the southernmost point in the US for the requisite photo.

Got the requisite picture at the southernmost point in the continental USA…

….and in front of Capt. Tony’s Saloon!

Even though it was supposedly the off season, there was quite a crowd in town and I had a hell of a time finding a room in Key West, but did eventually track one down for $180…making it the most expensive hotel room on this trip so far…ouch. But, there was no time to dwell on that fact when Duval St. and it’s many famous bars beckon. So after quickly unpacking, I made my way downtown to commence a Duval Crawl.

My first stop was Capt. Tony’s made famous in part by Jimmy Buffett.

Next I stopped into Sloppy Joe’s which had 2 hilarious guys on stage singing songs you knew by heart, but with dirty lyrics…it was hysterical!

Instead of “I Have Friends in Low PLaces” by Garth Brooks…they sang “I Lick Girls in Low PLaces”…and that’s all I can say on the “G” rated blog!

I stayed to the end of their act and then made my way over to the Hogs Breath Saloon for a beer.

Straight to the point. And they did have good pizza…

Next I headed down Duval St. to Fogarty’s and then on the Jimmy Buffett’s Margaretville.

Next up was Willie T’s followed by The Bull and Whistle Bar, but ended up spending most of the rest of the night in Durty Harry’s. 

Inside Durty Harry’s….

For me and my buddy Erik…me an ex-Coastie…and Erik an ex-Naval aviator…

They had a great cover band, ice cold Jagger and PBR’s….nuff said….

Day 302-306 – Bogota, Colombia to Miami, Florida

Day 302-306 – Bogota, Colombia to Miami, Florida         06/19-23/11        Mileage: Local miles

I had an early flight out of Bogotá to Panama City where I caught my flight to Miami. It’s been 8 months since I left the US and it was great to be back…though they speak still speak mostly Spanish here…so that wasn’t much of a change. lol I stayed the next 5 days visiting with family in the area and with my parents who flew down from NJ.

From L to R: My Aunt Helen, Cousin Barbara, my mother, father and me…

My cousins Barbara and Murray were great hosts and staying at their place was like a vacation within a vacation!

The great view from my cousins house….

Barbara also helped me get the bike out of customs which was a big help, and gladly went really smooth.

Unwrap it and ride away…it doesn’t get any easier…..thanks Barabara for your help!

I also took some time to work on the bike and get her ready for the final leg of my journey home to NJ…

Day 300-301 – Bogota, Colombia 06/17-18/11 Mileage: 0

Day 300-301 – Bogota, Colombia        06/17-18/11         Mileage: 0

The last two days I spent getting caught up with blog and walking around downtown Bogotá.

I made it a point to stop by the street stand I got the hotdog from the other day to try out her burger….and it did not disappoint. It probably tripled my cholesterol, but whatever…it was freakin good!

Tomorrow it’s back to the good ‘ol USA after 8 months out of the country…

Day 299 – 300 – Bogota, Colombia

Day 299 – 300 – Bogota, Colombia       06/16 – 17/11       Mileage: 0

I met the Lyncargo representative at the airfreight terminal at 8:30am along with a handler from the airline, but not before making a D&D run!

I must be getting closer to home….

…..though the signs were still in Spanish…

The national police were also there and they went through my bag and side cases, presumably looking for drugs or other contraband. They even made me start the bike while one of the officers had his nose in my tailpipe….whatever floats your boat, fella! I tried to take a picture of him but he gave me the wave off which was too bad….it would have been a funny picture. So with that complete and signatures all around, the bike was cleared for export.

That done I made my way back to the hotel where I hunkered down to update the blog which was now over 2 weeks behind way back in Manaus, Brazil! That night I walked around downtown Bogotá and had the best hotdog…maybe ever.

It goes like this….put onions on the grill, smothered in ketchup, mustard and mayo, then put a big fat hotdog in a bun huge bun, cover it with said grilled onions, then a healthy (or unhealthy as the case me be) layer of crushed potato chips, then 3 more unidentified sauces, followed by diced tomatoes and relish, smother it with a big layer of mozzarella, steam it for a minute to melt the cheese, then top the whole thing off with pineapple sauce. I didn’t make it up folks…that ‘s just how I watched it being made! 

The following day was more of the same…walked around the downtown, more writing and updating the blog,…

The police here ride Suzuki V-Strom650’s…pretty cool!

Day 298 – Bucaramanga to Bogota, Colombia

Day 298 – Bucaramanga to Bogotá, Colombia        06/15/11        Mileage: 257

Today was all business on the mountainous road down to Bogotá and despite the great scenery, I didn’t even stop for a picture…sorry folks. I arrived at the outskirts of Bogotá mid-afternoon and made my way straight to the Lyncargo office near the airport.

Fortunately they were still there and got right on finalizing my export paperwork for the bike. Once done I followed one of the Lyncargo staff over to the airfreight terminal at the airport where I prepped the bike for its flight home to the US.

No girl likes to get weighed…..    😉

The ‘ol girl weighed in at 247 kilo’s, or just under 550 pounds….lock, stock, barrel, boots…everything right down to my Aerostitch gear…

I handed the bike over, but will have to come back tomorrow morning for a final police inspection and to finish the paperwork. That done I hopped in a cab to the El Cafeceito hostal where I got a room and some dinner.

Tomorrow it’s back to the airport to finish processing the KLR for export…

Day 297 – San Cristobal, Venezuela to Bucaramanga, Colombia

Day 297 – San Cristobal, Venezuela to Bucaramanga, Colombia       06/14/11       Mileage: 173

It was supposed to be a short run to the border, only 22 or so miles, but it took over an hour as the road was mountainous, full of slow moving trucks and largely in disrepair. Thankfully I had Silviu’s GPS waypoint for the immigration office that was buried in the border town maze of streets instead of being on somewhere on the road like usual. After getting stamped out I made my way to the border but had to wait for the aduana (customs) officials to return from siesta in order to cancel my import permit for the bike.

I paid this cute kid to watch my bike while I was in the aduana office….he got a kick out of sitting on the bike…

Once that was done, I crossed back into Colombia for the second time on this journey. The immigration office for Colombia was right at the border, and I had my entrance stamp in under 15 minutes, but the Colombian aduana office was 10 miles away in a small city called Cucuta and it would have been impossible to find had I not once again had Silviu’s GPS waypoint for it. (Thanks again bro!)

The aduana process was painfully slow and took over two hours…..and what made it worse was sitting there watching helpless bureaucrats chit-chat, drink coffee, flirt…pretty much anything but actual work…while me and the rest of the people waiting in line were losing our f–ing minds! By the time that was done it was mid afternoon and I still had many miles to ride if I had any hopes of dropping the bike of at the freight terminal tomorrow in Bogotá, so I got on the gas. The road was twisty and great fun to ride, but very slow going which was not helping me make progress.

I had it in my mind that I wanted to at least get as far as Bucaramanga, which I did eventually do…but not without 4 hours of riding in the dark on twisty and foggy mountain roads…a calculated risk for sure. Tomorrow will be my last day on the road in South America which is kind of hard to grasp…a sure sign that this journey is nearing it’s inevitable end.