Feel some sort of accomplishment as the bike limped into Brasil about 5 pm local time from Venezuela, after almost turning around. God I'm so glad I took a chance and got to Brasil...... my bank card worked finally and I'm staying in a nice hotel. Boa Vista, Roraima, Brasil. we're 3 1/2 hours ahead of vancouver time here....... so it's fricken midnight in about 1 hour 3/4!!! should try and get up and do SOMETHING!!!!
And in earlier news, so close to the fronterra, after coming through Santa Elena, the last town in Venezuela, I stop unceremoniously at the 5th military checkstop, stalling out accidentally, and unable to start again. After a few questions, it push the bike back around, and take off some bags, and clothes to get ready for a push up the hill to jump start it. First attempt no luck in 2nd gear. Push it up a much bigger hill took me about 5 minutes to do it, nothing in 2nd, but vazoom in 1st. Raise my left arm in triumph to the 6 military guarding the side of the road, and they return the fist pump. I stop and open up the battery side, only to check the fuses thinking the source of problem was there. As soon as I pull out the fuse for ignition, Bonnie stops dead. Up the hill I go, in the lesson that I should not be pulling that fuse out again (they were all fine). After a 2nd successful attempt, and one of the cops holding the throttle on while I gather all of my stuff up and jump back on. I tell him i have to go back to town to repair the bike and will see him tomorrow, or tomorrow tomorrow or tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow.
I get about 1 km away and start thinking about what my journey is about. Take the safe route, do what’s reasonable. Yes, this would be the time. A bike that’s limping badly, and the threat of another night on the road can’t afford another costly tow truck. But no, my trip is about taking chances, and going for what I believe in. I still had a border crossing to manage, but why couldn’t I just keep the bike running? I learned that my bike could be jump started in 1st with very little speed, in fact on a straight and narrow and flat road I could do it. I turn around with a vengeance, and back at the military check stop I tell ‘em I’ve changed my mind, and off to brasil.
I get to the crossing, and as usual multiple buildings to enter but thankfully empty of people and pretty chill. After 10 countries and 20 borders, I was looking for the right buildings, and had gotten good at locating them quickly. This time, customs was first, and two beautiful venezuelanas were working, i found out after loudly crying out ‘ola?’ to bring them out of their offices. Needed to charm, couldn’t afford a rough border crossing so close to my destination. She looks at my paperwork and notes that i should have been out of the country yesterday, the 30th. “I’m sorry” I said “I had moto problems and spent 2 days in bolivar.” When I entered the country I had thought 7 days would have been plenty, but it’s a big one and takes a while to get through granted. Do I have any proof of this she asks. “Yes”, I have a card, one I barely accepted but thankfully had in my bag somewhere of course unable to retrieve it when i needed it. She returns to the office, and I keep searching finally success yelling out my find. I’m free to go. Thats it?
I head out of the building, and enter brasil searching for Venezuelan immigration almost receiving a brasil entry stamp before getting a Venezuelan exit. Not good. Turns out the office was right across the hall from customs, and I didn’t have to even leave the building. I had made it harder on myself than was necessary. The immigration fellow was his usual cheery self (sarcasm inserted here) but another stamp and i’m outtie.
Back to the brasil office a stamp from an unusually friendly (smile and nice questions is all it takes to be unusual on these borders) lady and now customs brasil. A nice young man with braces and a friendly female coworker and i’m running on all fours.......... unlike my moto. After keeping it running all this time (a good 20 minutes) it stalled. Damn i was angry oh well i made this choice to enter the country i can get it going again. The young guy took forever and suddenly we were looking at the bike. “do you have any documents proving your license plate number?” oh here we go again. No sorry i don’t. Somehow he goes back to work without it as a result of my charming convo? A family of 10 show up and whisked away back to Venezuelan immigration, failing to go there first. Words from the gods “listo”. I’m ready to enter Brasil with a bike that doesn’t start unless it’s jumped.
2 hours on an open road with big bugs, and big bats flying through the air but a road with less than 3 holes the whole way, a distance unequalled in a km in some areas of Venezuela. I’m starting to love my choice to push for brasil, and enter the new year in the country of my destination. After the odometer hit 2oo km or so, I start seeing a warm glow on the horizon, signs of a town coming up. Boa Vista? I knew little of this place, except that is was big enough to show up on the map. 5,000 people or 500,000 no idea. I get into town on the last day of 2010, with an empty feeling here; clean, and safe but empty. Everyone stayed home but i found a gas station and later a bank machine that worked! Strange feeling, a week in a country where my bank card ceased to function would i have money would i be begging for food? Such a relief.
Then, some more searching and unbelievably a hotel comes out of the woodwork but visa didn’t work. Needs a 6 digit code..... don’t worry you don’t have to pay until tomorrow. I pull all the bags off the bike, and spread my stuff out through the hotel room. This was to be my home for how long. Running out of money, i had to take a stand somewhere and decide what i was going to do, how i was going to survive 12000 km from home as the crow flies. Found a gas station and a bottle of wine but unable to find an open restaurant, so returned by a quarter after 12 to lay down with my glass of wine and pig out on chips. Woke up to myself spilling that red wine all over my shirt and the bed. Couldn’t muster much more than to take off the shirt, and move to the other side of the bed. Memorable? Time will tell.