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Old 31 Jan 2009
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Cool Early May Minnesota to Venezuela, July/August Vene-Minne

Hey all, my travel plan probably won't work for many people, but if anyone wants to meet up and ride for a section or a day or two (or meet up for my ride back), here's me and my plan.

29yr old, riding a fully farkled F650GS twin.
Spring classes at the University of Minnesota end around May 4th and I'm taking a 6 week summer session in Venezuela starting May 18th. That gives me 14 days to either ride 4500 miles from MN to Venezuela OR I'll ship the bike to TX, meet it there, and have 14 days to ride 3500 miles. We'll see. Either way I'll be probably going further per day and stopping to smell the roses on the way down less than most riding partners would be willing or wanting. Then fly bike from Panama to either Columbia or straight to Caracas if possible, depending on if I'm behind in time.

On the way back, classes finish in late June, so late June/early July I'll be looking to take my sweet arse time about riding back home, either directly back from Vene through Central and up into the states, or possibly dink around a bit in SA, maybe go see Macchu Pichu and take a side excusrion to Easter Island or something.... a small chance I'll just do the whole SA while I'm there, but that's not the main focus right now.

So anyone in the neighborhood that wants to ride a section down or all the way back up, or even if you're just passing through Venez while I'm there studying, let me know and we can touch base.

Cheers, happy trails.

PS, most people that have given me suggestions on GPS map data to use on this trip haven't actually used the data in the area... I have a Garmin 60csx... so who HAS used a Garmin WITH map data and can give me positive or negative feedback? Thanks!!
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Old 1 Feb 2009
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: California
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Your planning would be of interest to me

I'm planning my own trip to South America and like you, I'm unable to leave at the most oppurtune time as far as the seasons are concerned. I'm considering leaving in Mid-March and arriving in Panama in late April. I'm concerned with the weather conditions and would be interested in what you've heard as far as riding conditions, road conditions, etc.
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Old 1 Feb 2009
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Wow...I thought Venezuela would be off limits given the current relations with the US. It seems like everyone bypasses that country. Maybe I should consider shipping my bike from Panama to there instead of Columbia?
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Old 1 Feb 2009
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Nah, just like many other countries, the Bush administration and Chavez administration may have hated the hell out of each other, but that doesn't necessarily mean the people hate the people. I have a couple friends that have been down there for the same study program I'm going on and they rave about the experience.

As far as road and riding conditions, people do it all the time so I'm not altogether too worried, just gotta ride safe and steady. That being said, May is the start of the rainy season I found this thread on ADVRider:
Central America weather/rainy season - ADVrider
This guy put together a pretty good website in preparing himself for his trip this summer, rain and climate tables along with POI's for bikers. I'm going to keep my eye on it as it progresses. I was thinking of doing something similar, but no need to recreate the wheel.

For flying into Caracas, well, I haven't actually seen anyone who has done it myself, but someone suggested it to me as a possibility, so in another few weeks or so I'll track down the airline and call/email them and inquire about flying into Caracas. But where I'm going, Merida, it's pretty much equidistant whereever I fly in to 350miles from Caracas, 360 from Bagota, 400 from Medelin. So we'll see what happens to be more convenient. All things equal I'd take the flight to Cara, but if it was to add another day or two I'd might as well fly into Columbia. I'm not put off by either as everyone I've heard from has loved their experiences in both places, with most people saying Columbia was the best country of their entire trip.
Here's a thread from a Venezuelan that rode into Columbia, lots of beautiful pics...
11 Days Through Colombia - ADVrider
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