The adventure begins (again)
Since the motorcycle was dropped off at the shipping terminal yesterday, I did not log any miles on the bike today.
|Mississauga, ON, Canada
|Toronto Person Intnl Airport
|Miles Driven Today
|Total Trip Mileage
|New Countries visited Today
|Countries visited on trip
The morning started, and I quickly discovered that my cell phone was not working, or at least was very intermittent for voice and data calls. Even though I had purchased the all-encompassing, all-over-the-world, be-all-that-you-can-be plan from Verizon, I was unable to get a single bit of data to flow through my phone. The WiFi path was working, but when not connected to WiFi, I got nothing, nada, zip in the way of data.
So, after some troubleshooting, I managed to get to a level 2 Verizon technician, who made a few suggestions, which thankfully, worked perfectly. After about 3 minutes, the changes took effect, and I was able to get data for all of the required applications.
And so, with that problem solved, it was time to move on to the next problem.
Picking up the part at BMW
As I noted yesterday, we were able to order the part from Budd’s BMW, but because we were in Niagara falls until past 7:00 PM, we missed the chance to pick up the part yesterday, so we made the pilgrimage this morning.
Now, you might want to think of Canada, and perhaps even Toronto as sleepy little cities, where nothing much happens, and the corresponding cities in America are where it all happens. But, anecdotal evidence would suggest otherwise. In fact, in the 60 mile journey from Niagara Falls to Mississauga, there are at least 6 or 7 towns or cities with a population over 100,000 People. In fact, several of these cities are larger than 500,000 people.
This was not at all what I expected, and it seems like the traffic patterns are as you would expect, if you’re driving through cities of 500,000 people. That is to say, there is a shitload of traffic, most of the day.
But, we persevered, and arrived at Budd’s by about 9:20 AM. We picked up the part, and then headed to a few auto-parts stores to find a few tools, needed to address the “missing tool syndrome” which I was experiencing.
Parts have been picked up, tools have been purchased, its time to get to the airport.
Final thoughts – Approaching Airport
Early arrival at airport
I booked a first class ticket to Gatwick, airport expecting the full Monty of service available. But, I was surprised to discover that my airline, British Airways runs a limited schedule, and as a result, does not allow for check-in before 3PM, for any of that evening’s flights.
So, while I arrived at 12:30, I was going to need to wait until 3PM to check in. Can you say bummer?
So, I sat down, ordered a glass of water, and a bowl of Thai Chicken Curry, which was delicious. While eating the soup, I finished up two posts that have been lagging a little bit behind the rest.
At about 3:30, I checked in, turned over my two pieces of checked luggage, and made my way to the 1st Class Lounge, where I sat and read emails and other things for 3 more hours.
The plane trip
While on the plane, I had the chance to meet a very nice couple named Dan and Sue, who seem to really embracing the travel bug within. At more than 70 years old, they were on their way to the Netherlands, after which they were going to do a cruise, for aout 14 days. I must admit, it sounds great.
I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy the travel, but I also really enjoy meeting new folks, and this was not an exception. They were great, and they were experienced travelers. Both Don and Sue were sharing their experiences, and asking lots of questions about my trip.
Clearing customs at Gatwick airport
I arrived at the airport, and after very briefly clearing the immigration station, I also cleared customs by simply failing to declare that I had anything for customs. A very simple process indeed.
It was a brief 11 pound cab trip to the Freight Terminal, but because I did not have any British pounds, I paid the man a $20 bill, and considered it as a tip for his services.
I walked up to the customer service kiosk at the freight terminal, and the woman informed me that I needed to work with a customs importing agent, who would have to cast a spell, in order for me to continue. Technically, this agent wasn’t going to cast a spell, but they would complete the paperwork that imported my bike into the EU from the US.
It took about 2 hours in total to get everything squared away, at which time I was given access to the bike. Now, her’s the point where I admit that I should have taken more pictures. But, I was so tired, I could barely get the bike packed, and ready to depart. Remember, I had to take the side panel off of the bike, reconnect the battery, and test the bike to ensure that it was still working, which it was.
It took about 30 minutes to pack the bike, and I was on my way. The video below shows my departure from the freight terminal.
The video below shows the departure from the freight terminal and customs at Gatwick, and also the traffic jam, and subsequent reroute on my way to Harwich. Pay special attention to the narrowness of the country lanes.
The road to Harwich
The road to Harwich is not an especially complex path, but British motorways are constructed, and organized in such a way that it seems that each exit, attaches to another highway, and that none of them actually exit the highway system, and end up in a town. So, as I’m traveling along, I begin to realize how exhausted I am. I felt myself falling asleep, numerous times along the trip.
At first, I tried screaming in my helmet, breathing hard, and anything else I could think of, but none of worked, and with over 85 miles to go before I reached Harwich, I was going to really need to find some sleep.
I finally found an exit, which lead to a small town, and I pulled into a housing complex, parked the bike on the sidewalk, and took a nap on the front lawn. My time on the lawn was brief, but it felt great, and after about 20 minutes or so of sleep, I jumped on the bike, and continued the journey.
The Bottle Kiln Whetherspoon
The hotel was pretty nice, but very confusing. I needed to insert the key into a slot by the door, in order to make any of the electrical outlets work, but the shower was also a problem.
After a few beers, and some delicious Fish and Chips, I headed to bed, where I slept about 10 hours.
What will tomorrow bring
Tomorrow, I’ll be waking up early, and heading to the ferry. I have a 9:00 AM ferry, and I’m told that I should arrive about an hour before departure. But, we’ll see how that goes.
The ride to the ferry is only about 2.5 miles, and the ride to Amsterdam after my arrival in the Netherlands will be about a 50 mile ride or so.