Day 294 – Caracas to Tinaquilo, Venezuela

Day 294 – Caracas to Tinaquilo, Venezuela        06/11/11       Mileage: 135

This morning I would say adios to Ian who was off to Cartagena to rendezvous with John and from where they had arranged to put their bikes on a cargo ship home. I would head southwest through the Andes mountains towards Bogota where my bike had an airplane reservation to Miami. Like John, Ian is a fun and easy guy to travel with and I hope this will not be the last time we share some miles.

Adios mi amigo, buen viaje…

But, I wasn’t back on my own just yet, Silviu and Nelson came by on their bikes to take me around a bit and show me the way to the highway. So, shortly after 9 they showed up and they took me up to a great overlook not too far from Silviu’s house.

Nelson, me and Silviu with the skyline of Caracas…

We took the requisite photo’s after which we went to a local bike shop where and found a cheap taillight lens until I can get a proper replacement back in the US. We swung by Silviu’s house where they helped me fit the new lens with the help of some duct tape and an empty Motul bottle.

Silviu, being the prankster that he is, also picked me up a Mack truck sticker in honor of my wreck. Bastard.  lol

We also sat down with the map and he gave me more great information and waypoints for the various Venezuelan and Colombian border offices…something that will save me tons of time crossing the border. So with that done, we got back on the bikes and after a nice little ride on some twisty mountain roads, showed me the on ramp for the highway west. Muchas gracias mi amigos!

Silviu and Nelson waving goodby, ADV style…   lol

On the highway I ran the bike up to speed and it felt fine…which is hard to believe given the hit that it took. The only thing I had noticed is a small antifreeze leak after the accident, which was now slowly getting worse. I kept an eye on it as I made my way west but soon it became apparent that I could not put it off any longer. It was mid afternoon so I figured I would stop now and find a hotel while I still had daylight to fix the bike.

Once settled into the room, I stripped the left side fairing off and loosened the radiator mount to get a better look. It appeared the leak was coming from between two cooling fins…so not easy to pinpoint exactly. So, it seemed there was only one fix…JB-Weld to the rescue!

It’s steal reinforced two part epoxy that you just knead and apply….presto, job done! I carry two sticks of it…and it is the greatest thing since duct tape. Tomorrow will be the true test to see if it holds, but so far it looks good…

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Day 293 – Piritu to Caracas, Venezuela

Day 293 – Piritu to Caracas, Venezuela        06/10/11       Mileage: 169

I felt like I was run over by a truck this morning, perhaps because of all the beer I drank, or maybe it was because I was actually run over by a truck? Either way, I was slow out of the gate but luckily we only had a short run to Caracas ahead of us. Ian gave me a hand bending my handlebar back as best we could, and after giving the bike the once over and tightening the chain, we hit the road.

The Peruvian flag took a bit of a beating….

The bike ran great and aside from the visible damage and the side racks being all bent to shit, you wouldn’t know it got rear ended by a semi truck the day before.

We made it to Caracas and made our way to a hostal that a fellow motorcyclist had recommended. His name is Silviu (ADV name: SS in Vzla) and he has been a great help with information about Venezuela and even helped my track down a flight for my KLR to get back to the US. Silviu swung by the hostal that night with his friend (and fellow motorcyclist) Nelson and they took us to a great pizza joint.

Afterwards we went to a hopping outside bar where we gorged on beer and smoked a few of Silviu’s fine Cuban cigars (one of the perks of living in Venezuela, besides the cheap gas!).

Me and Silviu smoking one of Fidel’s finest…or is it Raul now?

L to R: Ian, Nelson, Silviu and me….

We had a great night and to top it all, Silviu and Nelson wouldn’t let Ian and I pay. I’ve been humbled several times on this trip by people’s boundless generosity towards what nearly amounts to a perfect stranger…Scott, Becki and Glenn in Alaska…Santiago, Pablo and their family in Medellin…Gustavo and Helena in Buenos Aires to name a few…and to that list you can add Silviu and Nelson. Muchas gracias mi amigos! I hope one day I’ll be able to return the generosity….