We need to get some gas in La Grita before we head closer to the border. Because Venezuela is trying to discourage/prevent people from buying the nearly free gas and driving over the border to sell it for a profit, all vehicle owners are required to have a pass on their car which activates gas pumps in stations within x-number of miles of the border. I was hoping we were still far enough away in La Grita that it wouldn’t be a problem, but they have them here too. So we sit in line hoping someone will let us use their pass. Our friend Paul Stewart was hear a couple of years ago and said that some very kind people would just pull the pump out of their car and hand it to you but they couldn’t shut it off as they are only allowed so many uses of their card each month, so gas sprays out onto the pavement and on your bike as you try and get it into your tank. Well, whatever works. I hate the waste and environmental affect of this crazy gas situation. Everybody drives gas guzzlers here and wastes it since it’s basically free. So far since coming into the country we have paid something like 4.5 CENTS each for our fuel for the week we have been here. And we’ve ridden several hundred miles while here.
I’m the girl, and thankfully, as chivalry would have it, some farmer takes pity on me and allows me to take the pump and fill my bike without paying a single cent for the gas. He has treated me to 3 cents of fuel out of the kindness of his heart. I pull ahead and park. Brian doesn’t have chivalry working on his side and after a few people pass him up someone finally lets the attendant put some in his tank. We try to pay but we get waved off since we are only slowing the whole line down. Brian didn’t get a full tank as they were really busy, but whatever he got was free.
Off we go to San Cristobal, the place everyone warned us not to go last spring when all the protests were going on. Things have settled down now and the closer we get to the place the more people say it’s fine. We spend one night there before heading toward San Antonio to cross back into Colombia.
In San Antonio we are supposed to stop at the Migracion office, but first stop and buy an exit stamp across the street which allows us entry to the Migracion office for 127 Bolivares.
Then into the office which is to the right of the highway leading through town and toward the border, about 3-4 blocks from Plaza Bolivar.
We head toward the Venezuela Aduana to check the bikes out and park on the sidewalk on the outgoing side of the road.
As we walk across the street we get stopped by a soldier requesting our passports. We provide them and he asks a few questions. He wants to know if Brian has a gun on him and Brian replies no that he doesn’t have a “pistola”. We are waved ahead then and some super kind man in the office who was explaining where we needed to go to get our exit stamp for the bikes, walks us out onto the street and around the block to show us. We get what we need to go and ride out toward Colombia.
Getting stamped in to the right of the toll booth-looking entry gate is a 2-minute process, but then we ride over to the Aduana to get the bikes processed back into Colombia only to find the office just closed for its two-hour lunch break about 15 minutes ago.
At least we are first in line. The process is pretty painless when the office reopens at 2pm and off we go back into Colombia. About 20 miles in we stop for fuel at one of those roadside stands that sells some of the fuel that is being smuggled in from Venezuela. The guy has a filter sock on the funnel which gives me a tiny bit more peace of mind…and I worry the bike won’t run well, but it seemed fine. Wish I could buy truckloads of that stuff.
Welcome back to Colombia.