I was leaving Maine fired up to ride again but I had a long trip ahead of me and lots of wrenching to do on the bike. Started out with getting up at 230 to catch a bus, then Logan Airport in Boston. First flight delayed due to a mechanical but we were already loaded on the plane. After over an hour and a bunch of excuses I arrived in Chicago in time to see my plane push back.
Now here’s the real issue. I am unemployed and homeless totally by choice, hence balling on a budget. Old budget boy(me) here bought a roundtrip ticket from La Paz to MIA and then used miles to fly from MIA to BOS roundtrip. So if I miss my plane in MIA to La Paz (via Lima) I am severely screwed because you know what, no one will give a rats ass because its two different reservations. Oh and American Airlines won’t always check bags all the way through so I usually just go out and back through security. No big deal with a 4 hour layover. Now becoming a big deal! Ive already lost 2 hours because of delay and missed flight.
We get just outside of MIA and I think that I can pull it off. I should have about an hour and a half. At least an hour. It will be close but doable. Intercom comes on and captain says “ Due to sever thunder showers we are being diverted to West Palm Airport for fuel and to wait out storm.” Oh shit I am done.
Lots of phone calls to LAN and trying to get it sorted. It getting complicated and hard to figure out on a plane when it is hard to hear. Once I finally arrive in MIA I get on the line with LAN again. They tell me they can get me to Lima the next day. Ummm ok but I need to go to La Paz. Insert awkward silence. They tell me they will call me back. While waiting for their phone call and dragging around about 80 pounds in moto parts I decide to go to AA and vent my frustrations. I walk up to a lady that appears to be pretty grumpy and not take any bullshit so I think this should be a short conversation.
I tell my story and she genuinely listens. Then says well its two different reservations and we got you to your destination. I politely say I understand but I could really use some help and that a hotel voucher would be huge while I sort it out with LAN. She tells me to hold on a minute and goes to talk to her manager. I am on the phone with LAN when she comes back and she asks who I am talking to in a funny but direct manner. I say “LAN” She looks at me and starts pointing down like to a landline saying “hang up, hang that phone up, hang up on them!” Umm err ok. About 45 min later she says here is your window seat direct from MIA to La Paz and that we will check both of your bags for free. My face is blank! “Seriously? I didn’t even know there was a direct to La Paz?” It’s a done deal she says. I tell her I want to hug her and she tells me its not necessary and I respond “oh yes it is!” I give a big hug to Guadalupe, yes Guadalupe and say thank you. The MIA patron saint of travelers as my friend Dennis put it.
Just absolutely amazing the amount of time and effort she put in and what she made happen. On two phones and her computer, just way above and beyond. I went and talked to her manager to give her recognition and thank him as well. So thankful and grateful.
Took us 5-6 days of wrenching, repacking and a ride of the death road to be travel ready again.
Here is Mauricio. He has a bomb coffee shop called Roasters in La Paz. Very Southern part of La Paz near Oscars Moto B and B. Yes its becoming official Oscar will be open for biz soon to overland travelers. Both Mauricio and Oscar are awesome guys and I recommend that you look them both up when you are in La Paz
The Death Road Loop. The Death Road is something that I think can totally be skipped. But the loop we did was amazing. Lots of fast dirt and it took us about 10 hours. Only about 2 hours of that on pavement. The highlights were the other roads and the crazy construction site that we had to cross. A great test ride for suspension rebuild and just an epic day. We were all exhausted. Thank you so much Mauricio!!
The well maintained not so deadly death road
The boys having a chat
Where we brought the bikes through. You same place as wheelbarrow. Had to get creative.
Some not death road scenery
Didn’t get as many picture as I should have. We were light and riding hard. It was really fun!! Probably a little faster pace than we needed but we all ended up home in one piece. Just a wonderful day of riding without luggage.
We took a rest day and I picked up my Brazil visa and then it was 3 days of riding to the border of Brazil. Very few pics and not much to write about. The day I picked up my Brazil visa I did have lunch with some old friends!!
Team Poland(Martin and Kasia) who I spent a lot of time in Huanchaco Peru. So nice to see you two and thank you for the awesome lunch!!
The highlights to Brazil were the Suzuki’s acted up a bit and we could’t figure out why but it turned out to be just too much bad Bolivian gas. Just need to run them to get it out. Mirko had one crazy close call with a trailer truck that got everyone’s heart rate up. We were all pretty fired up and stopped to take a break. The guy drove by a little while later and gave a very sincere heart felt apology. He truly just didn’t see him. It was a very nice gesture as all the crazy driving of Peru and Bolivia was wearing on us all.
We stayed in the small town of Santa Ana de Chiquitos to make cross the border tomorrow. While checking out the plaza we met a nice girl from Europe named Sarah. She is now living in Chiquitos and invited us to her and her boyfriends house for coffee the next morning on our way out of town. They have a very cool house where they grow a lot of their own food and make their own booze. Very resourceful and super giving people. Their kindness and passion for life is contagious and such a warm feeling. It was such a wonderful morning. We could have hung out with them all day but the border was calling.
Oh yes its true!! A new country and its Brazil!!
For whatever reason we struggled to find a hotel. As we were standing on the side of the street a nice young Brazilian guy and his girlfriend walk up to us and asks if we need help, in English. He tells us to meet him in ten minutes and he will take us to a nice hotel with a good price. After negotiating the price for us and making sure we have everything that we need he asks if we would like to go to dinner. Erick and Samia show back up in their truck and take us to a very nice Brazilian restaurant. We have a wonderful meal with them and can’t thank them enough for their generosity. Toward the end of the meal they ask us what we are doing tomorrow and we say we hope to check out the Patanal. Erick then offers to take us in his truck early in the morning to try and see some of the wildlife!! Ok!!! So a few hours in Brazil and we get escorted to our hotel and a private drive thorugh the Patanal!! Amazing!! Pics of the critters in the next post!!