01/24/02 THE TRIP ENDS FOR ME My adventure ended in Santiago, Chile.
My KLR was in bad shape, tires shot, both sprockets shot, chain stretched beyond saving, and etc. It was also very pavement-worn from being down so much, (darn). I took hwy 68 out of Santiago to Valparaiso and arrived there at dusk, too late to get anything done to get my bike shipped to the states. So I checked into a hotel and didn't get much sleep because I was so upset that I wouldn't be completing my trip to Ushuaia.
Next morning, I started the process of arranging passage for my bike (a nightmare). I found a policeman who was wonderful and willing to help, but after 2 hours of following him around, (and my bike was in bad shape, and on reserve), we finally located a shipping company, Flamingo, ....talked with, ‘Claudia’, on the phone, with much difficulty. She and the policeman agreed that I couldn't negotiate anything unless I had a domicile,...meaning I had to return to the hotel I had checked out of. So the policeman helped find the hotel from my receipt. Claudia was to call me there in 10 ‘meenits’.
After an hour and a half, I got the hotel lady to call Claudia; this resulted in Claudia calling me back about 20 times, (maddening). She said I had to get my bike to the aduana in San Antonio, about 2 hrs away. I told her my bike was disabled and wouldn't make it. She said she would call me back.
She called back and said she would have my bike picked up in about a week.
‘What am I supposed to do in the meantime?’
She said, ‘You can make the shipping arrangements then.’
I had been at this for about 5 hours now. When I hung up the phone, I was depressed. I started adding up the dollars. About $1,000 for shipping, $200 or $300 to pick it up in Houston in a couple of months, the necessary repairs, the hotel expense to stay to make the arrangements; I started questioning the effort.
I asked the hotel lady, as best I could, ‘Adonde moto vendor?’
She understood, and picked up the phone and called, handed me the phone to try to talk to another lady, at the moto vendor. This took 15 or 20 call backs before I finally got the idea that the vendor was only 2 blocks away, and that they wanted me to bring it over there.
I drove my beloved KLR over there and parked on the sidewalk in front of this awful looking place. A young man approached me, and said ‘Quantas?’
(How much do you want?) I said $500 US dollars. He went into conference with some of his associates, returned to me and said, ‘Ok, but you have take to the aduana in San Antonio to get the paper.’
I said: ‘I want to leave today, and I don't want to go to the aduana's office.’
He said: ‘Dis a beeg a prublem.’
After awhile, he approached me and said, ‘Sell for parts.’
I said, ‘Ok, how much?’
‘$300 american dollares.’ He then said, ‘Un moment, par pavor.’ After some more discussion with assoc., ‘Beeg prublem, legal prublem.’ ‘Eeets eemposible.’
Ater several minutes of doing nothing but standing and fretting, I started unloading my bike with things I thought I could carry to the bus station 4 blocks away (so frustrated, I was ready to just leave it).
He approached me again, ‘Maybee solution, un momento.’
‘Otre hombre say he,....200 american dolla'ers, and 100 euro.’
I said, ‘Fine, and took the money.’
I gave them the title, and walked away from my wonderful KLR, parked in front of this awful place, to be cannibalized.
I caught a bus to Santiago, booked a flight for that midnight, and was home in Omaha at 11:00 next day.
My KLR didn’t deserve the ending it received! The engine still ran great, always started, such a reliable friend. If it had gotten the maintenance, the tires, the proper chain lube (Frank told me it was the wrong lube).
I slept well last night and am happy to be home with my Kath. My right knee is still giving me pain and I suspect I'll have to get an x-ray to see what needs to be done.
I loved the ride and experiencing the people and the scenery. It was an exhilarating experience! I'm glad I did it and I wish my friend Frank success and good health to his Ushuaia goal.Posted by Dale Thornton at January 31, 2002 12:00 AM GMT
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