Riding on a slow boat from China – Cliche’?
It’s been a bit more than a month since I wrote the last post for my trip (halfway around the Earth). Since I dropped my bike at the shipping and customs broker in Thailand, the bike has been prepared for shipment, and placed into a container, which was itself placed on a container ship.
Having read all of the updates from the various parties involved, it seemed as though the bike and container seemed to change ships at some point during its journey, and the bike slowly made its way to the port of NY and NJ.
After reaching the port, the container was unloaded, and eventually my motorcycle was determined to be of low or zero risk, and so it was allowed to continue through customs, into the hands of the “local shipping company”, a trucking company headquartered in Philadelphia.
The bike was transported by this company to a warehouse in Charleston, SC, where it arrived on Monday, December 30th. I was notified on the 30th, and I immediately called the warehouse to see if I could make arrangements to pick up the bike on Jan 2nd, the day that the warehouse would reopen to the public.
And so it was that I had seen my motorcycle travel from Bangkok, Thailand, to Charleston, SC, USA, and now, in the final phase of this odyssey, I would need to travel to Charleston, and retrieve my beloved beast of burden.
I arrived at RJ’s house at 7:30. Since we’d be taking RJ’s SUV to Charleston, SC, I would leave my new AMG with Ashlee, who would use it while we were en-route to Charleston to get the bike.
We left RJ’s house, and headed to the nearby town of Rock Hill, SC, where we would pick up the borrowed trailer.
We arrived in Rock Hill by 7:30 AM, and RJ carefully backed the SUV up to the tongue of the trailer, and we hooked up the trailer, to the SUV. At this point, you might think that we’ve done all that was necessary, and we’d simply drive out onto the street, and be on our way.
Unfortunately, there is an issue with the AWD coupling on the SUV, and as a result, only the front wheels were providing pulling power. As we tried to drive out of the lawn, back onto the driveway we found that the SUV could not pull us up the slight incline, over the muddy and wet lawn, onto the driveway.
So, we unhitched the trailer, pulled the car forward (while I pushed from behind) and then the two of us pulled the trailer onto the driveway, and once again, attached it to the SUV. And now, after a minor delay of about 4 minutes, we were on our way to the warehouse.
The drive to Charleston
The drive to Charleston was predominantly over Interstate highways, and I had estimated the drive to Charleston to take about 3 hours, to travel the 183 miles. We arrived at the warehouse within 5 minutes of our expected arrival time. So far, so good…
Arrival at the warehouse
So, we get to the warehouse, and since I’m not a truck driver, and am actually a motorcycle enthusiast, it’s a bit disorienting to be treated like a truck driver. Nothing negative about truck drivers, no, it’s not that at all. It’s just that the desk clerk starts to ask me questions about customs, transportation, forms, etc, and I had very little knowledge about any of this.
Processing the paperwork
Nevertheless, after waiting about 10 minutes for the other drivers to get their loads processed, I was processed in less than 2 minutes, and was off and running. I was told to to back my “truck” into the ramp at the end of the warehouse, and the forklift drivers would meet me there.
We waited at the end of the warehouse, at the entry door, and when no one showed up to help, we walked inside, and started to look for my bike.
Now, this warehouse is a bonded warehouse, which is also part of the customs release process, so apparently, it’s really important that only properly credentialed individuals are allowed to enter the warehouse. This fact became apparent to us quickly, as the folks in the warehouse started to yell at us, telling us to stay outside.
Well, it was only another few minutes, and the forklift had my bike on it, and it was scooting across the warehouse towars us. The forklift delivered the bike to the loading dock, and we began to disassemble the crate, and prepare the bike for the final leg of the journey.
Disassemble the crate
We grabbed a knife, and a crowbar, and within about 8 minutes, we had taken the crate apart, and were loading it onto the trailer.
Breaking down the crate
Report from the road
Well, I guess there is no longer any doubt about whether the trip is over or not. After traveling 14,000 miles, spending 120 days on the road, and waiting another 10 weeks for my bike to arrive back in the US, the two of us are reunited, and the trip is over.
And so now, it’s time to consider what comes next. Currently, I’m planning a trip to Montana in June, to attend the BMW MOA rally. Toni will be joining me on this trip, which we expect to take about 2 weeks in total.
Thanks for all your support
Until next time…