Argentina to New Zealand

This is an info post for riders, mostly.

Well, it all starts here, at Dakar Motors in Buenos Aires. Rather than ship with a freight forwarder I met with in Santiago who didn’t inspire confidence, I crossed SA to the experts. It seems they handle 90% of the bikes flying in and out of Argentina and I had a special recommendation from Adam Shani. Also, they shipped for the famous ‘Radioman’ and the equally famous Sherri Jo Wilkins.

So I’ve been emailing them getting an idea of how it all works and I show up to get the paperwork started. For riders, the GPS coordinates are S34 32.474 W58 30.998. Here are Javier and Sandra, the owners

They’re hilarious. Anyway, Sandra is waiting for me with all the paperwork I have to complete and we work out a schedule. She has a complete printed itinerary of events (as it’s a bit complicated) including maps and names of various people involved.

The thing is that shipping to a first world country like New Zealand may be a corruption-free process, as best as we know, and no-one is going to intentionally try to ruin your day or your life, like they do for fun at Latin borders, but there are rules about stuff. For instance New Zealand has extremely strict quarantine requirements and the bike must arrive ‘as new’. Spotless. Same as your helmet, boots and riding suit. Plus there are regulations about bike fitness-for-the-road, etc.

First thing is to do a first-clean. Lucinda’s first pro-clean ever in her life. She likes it.

Back at the hotel we spend hours with toothbrushes, rags and sprays of various sorts finishing the job. Ditto the suit and boots in the hotel room shower.

Then off to the airport to be weighed

Air out of the tires, strapped down and palleted and off to a sniffer machine by forklift where they check her for drugs, bombs or firearms

Then wrapped

Then off to pay for her flight. Cash only, $2100 US in Argentine pesos, about a 3 inch stack. This is always a weird thing, doing a transaction with a big stack of money, but the Latins of course are used to it and love it. Dakar’s fee for making all the arrangements was less than I expected.

That seems like a fair price for this distance
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Then a few last days in Buenos Aires before heading off to the airport myself

We’ve flown into and out of a bunch of Latin American airports and sadly Buenos Aires International isn’t a great one. That prize goes to El Dorado International, Bogota.

At the other end we’ve picked TNL International to receive Lucinda. So there you have it, Dakar and TNL, no matter which way you go, east or west, and you’re in good hands.

Here’s Deanne at TNL Auckland working on the paperwork with me. She seems to handle everyone with a motorcycle as she knows the big names who have come through. As a result she knows all about bike quarantine, the WOF and all the hassles ahead

Then, 3 days later, because it takes that long in NZ, Lucinda has passed quarantine, is through Customs and is ready to pick up. A bit of a pain. I prefer corruption to bureaucracy because it doesn’t take as long and is cheaper.

Here she is, and she’s thrilled to see me. We maul each other a bit

Then it’s off to get a WOF, which is a certificate you need here which shows your bike is road-worthy. There are WOF stations scattered around Auckland

And here’s the inspector. He makes a long list of little things that need to be attended to within 28 days. Lucinda says bullshit, just three things and we’re already on top of it. Atta girl.

Then he says he has to take her for a road test. I look at him in horror. He’s only got maybe a 30″ in-seam and Lucinda, being the world’s most gigantic enduro has a 37″ stand over height. I ask him if he’s sure, he says it’s the law. He takes a while to figure out how he’s going to do it and I steady the bike for him as he climbs on. He takes it for about a 50′ loop in the parking lot before I catch him and he calls it quits. Scary.

Anyway, we’re here. It’s a major culture shock and we weren’t expecting to be this affected by it. Leaving Latin America has been hard. But this is the way west and we’ll get over it.

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