Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fredy and Franzi

Fredy and Franzi are originally from Switzerland. They exchanged the Swiss mountains for the Costa Rica mountains some 8 years ago and seem happy enough with their decision. Franzi runs a bakery in the small town of Orosi, south of San Jose. Fredy runs a motorcycle tour company and rents out motorcycles. They also operate a small campground and have Swiss style cabins for hire right in their front garden. We thought it might be a good place to pitch the tent while we organised the shipment. As it turned out we didn't pitch the tent there at all… or anywhere else for that matter!

Our home away from home...
So what happened? Well, Fredy is a motorcyclist too and therefore offered us his 3 person cabin for half price! We didn't have to think twice about that one as it is a very good cabin! The day before we had found ourselves sheltering from torrential rain under a palapa, now we had a cabin with our own bathroom, a shower(!)… with hot water (!!!), air conditioning and… a fridge! No more molten cheese and sticky chocolate goo! I guess from the luxury we suddenly had, the fridge was our absolute number one favourite! Just imagine… cold Coca Cola whenever you want one :-) Aaarrgh too much to handle after months of warm Coca Cola. To top it all off Franzi runs a very good Swiss bakery in town, at walking distance!

We used it as a base from where to arrange the shipment of our motorcycles and ourselves. Seatrade is not a dedicated motorcycle shipper, but they are dedicated to shipping. We had a meeting in the office on how we were going to do the shipment and within minutes we realised the discussions were simply about how to do it the best way. Several options were openly discussed, even shipping on just two pallets bolted together as their boats are setup for pallet shipment. In the end it became a dedicated container due to the boat arriving on Sunday and the Customs bonded warehouse closing on Saturday afternoon. That would have meant the bikes would be standing in the harbour on pallets overnight which we didn't feel comfortable with. They offered us a container and allowed us to strap the bikes ourselves in it.

BMS Triumph, San Jose, Costa Rica. They had only just opened in new premises.
The team at BMS KTM, San Jose, Costa Rica.
Second from right is a 26 times national motocross
champion of Costa Rica!
A container has lashing eyes around the top and bottom of the side walls, perfect for strapping bikes! All we had to do was park the bikes sideways, strap the front wheel to a lash point, strap the triple clamps to the lashing eyes, strap the rear wheel to a lashing eye and then strap the rear frame to the lashing eyes. The straps on the side made a perfect almost 45 degree angle. Containers are made for strapping bikes! No need for crates and no need to take anything off the bikes, we simply rode up there, tents and all camping gear strapped to the bikes, parked them in the container, hung our helmets to them and strapped them in! We even could have sailed with the motorcycles on the same boat too. We thought about it for a while but Mike protested heavily. He has quite a bit of seasickness problems, so do I by the way, and 14 days on a boat would be too much, he reckoned. Still, he was slowly getting used to the idea… until Pieter from Seatrade Costa Rica showed him a movie of what it's like on a boat in pretty extreme stormy waters… That was all Mike needed! From that moment the boat trip was out of the question…

Jeanette trying a Scrambler for size in a beautiful new Triumph T-shirt she received from BMS Triumph
He reckons he looks good on the Tiger 800XC...
Of course we needed a lot of straps to strap the bikes with. A minimum of 6 per bike, one for each wheel, 2 at the front and two at the rear. In total 18 straps. We asked BMS Costa Rica and were met by a really friendly and helpful Adrian Robert, second from right in the photo. He looked everywhere for straps and even pulled them out of their trailer! All for free and he wished us a good trip! Later we heard that he is somewhat of a legend in Costa Rica as he has won 26 national motocross championships… Twenty six!

So the bikes went to Europe with a banana boat while we flew with a Condor via Frankfurt to Amsterdam. Why did we go to Europe? That will be revealed in the next post!

A BIG Thank You! To Fredy and Franzi for offering us their beautiful cabin at half price, to everyone at BMS Costa Rica for the straps we used to get the bikes to Europe safely and of course to everyone at Seatrade Costa Rica and everyone at the Sislocar bonded warehouse for letting us pack and strap everything and photograph it all too. Very much appreciated!