Sunday, 19 May 2013

Chilling in Florida

Well Monday came and I did the last minute meter readings and handed my house over to Wendy and Jeremy :-)
My friend Tony and Stella came to take me to the train station, it was a very emotional send off as I suddenly realised I was off once more !

I did struggle with my over laden bag, which contained most of my camping and riding equipment, I had already posted out a 10kg box to Doug's with my tent and some of my camping equipment.
I don't think I realised how hard it was to pack! normally most of my gear is on my bike.

The train ride was quite uneventful and finally arrived at my hotel. The food was really overpriced at the hotel so I did what I normally do... went to find a chippie!

Tuesday morning found me awake at dawn, don't know what it was but I just couldn't sleep!
On arrival at the airport I found there was a delay on my flight but they did not have a take off time.

I had stuffed my motorbike jacket pockets with any thing that would fit, I also had a huge bum bag stuffed with equipment as I was struggling to meet the 20kg luggage restriction. Then I found that my bag was too big for the check in and I had to take it up to oversized luggage, I was a bit sneaky here and took off the oversized bum bag and put it back into my bag.
I managed to get away with taking my helmet on the flight as well as my backpack as I said it was like a handbag! So I slung it over my shoulder just as you would a handbag!

I know now for the return leg I will post all the stuff back and travel with a small bag.

After a 4 hour delay the flight took off and I soon had my ear plugs in and slept for most of the flight.

We arrived at 7 Florida time (midnight UK time) and it took about a hour to get thru Immigration. I asked for another 6 months and was granted it with a nice big smile.

I then picked up my bag and headed out of the airport, I was then stopped at the final Customs check. He asked me where I was going and what I was carrying, thats where all the problems started. As soon as I said 6 months he started grilling me!
Then he took me to another desk and they opened ever single item I was carrying.
I have to laugh though, when he opened my first aid kit he asked if they were all prescription items, I said Yes, then he said "what will you do when you run out". I said "no problem I can get most of the stuff from Walmark, however the COCAINE may be a problem.... of course I meant to say CODINE!! I very quickly corrected myself!
I then went thru a further 2 interviews, they were concerned at how much time I had spent in the states and how much time I was wanting to stay this time.
So I will try and find a consulate and check whether I can do Mexico and South America and of course be allowed back into the states.... If not, I will have to do plan B...... your right I really dont have a plan B at this time lol

So finally at 10 o'clock they say I am free to leave the airport and I head off to find my rental car.
I had rented a small cheap car and they were pushing for me to upgrade, I said No happy with a little one.
Then they said they had no small cars and gave me a mid sized one, however that one wouldnt start and then it took another 2 cars till they found one that actually worked!
I got myself a little Ford Fiesta and headed off for a 200 mile drive to Dougs house. I think by this time I was running on overtime! funny thing is, I was wide awake while driving.
I finally arrived just before 2 in the morning (which I worked out at being 6 in the morning in the UK).
The first thing I did was throw my leg over my Suzuki DL650 Wee strom.... only then did I remember how tall these bikes are!

Oh I cant wait to ride

 Thankfully I have brought some Dog bones with me so I can lower the bike a little... looks like I will have to look for high heeled riding boots lol.

Its now Sunday and I have been pottering around doing little bits and pieces to the bike, Doug also let me use a little Honda v twin so I was able to get into town and do some shopping.

Yesterday was my 51st Birthday, it was great to read all the greeting on facebook. I spent it almost on my own.... I did have the cat for company.... and oh boy, did we party lol

Doug's back in the next few days, so its a case of loading the bike onto the trailer and go to DMV (think DVLA for the UK readers) and get the bike registered and get a plate for it.....
and then I will head out somewhere :-)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

I wonder what Alaska looks like ?

Well I have been home for almost 6 months and I have to say, once the initial excitement of seeing my family and friends, I was feeling down in the dumps and missing riding my bike everyday.

So about a month or so I manage to find a Suzuki Vstrom DL650 out in America and with great help from my friend Doug I managed to buy it.
Though there was lots of hassle with the bank transfer it was eventually all sorted and Doug picked it up the bike and  brought it back to Florida.

It still needs registering which fingers crossed I should have that all sorted out in the next few weeks. Mind you if I wanted it easy, I would have booked to go with Ewan and Charley on their next adventure lol

My 2007 ABS wee strom with 15,000 miles on it.... wonder how many miles will be on it when I have finished

My original plan was to head out in July, then I found out that Doug was away and I didn't have a working bike to go to Finland, so I had to cancel a few things and ask my future Tenants if they were happy with an early move in and they were.

So I took the plunge and booked to fly out on Tuesday the 14th of May.

Then it hit me that the last time I left on a packed bike, this time I would be flying out with all my kit. The trouble is my riding and camping gear came to well over 30kg  so I sent a box out to Doug's with all my camping gear. 
Though I have been unpacking and repacking and re-weighing my bag quite a lot!!

My rough plan is to get to Florida, sort out the bike and make my way North to Alaska for June/July.
Then head South to Sturgis, then back along the West coast to the Californian HuBB meet, where I will give a presentation on my Gambia Scooter trip in 2012.

By then my 6 months visa will be up and I will head through Mexico towards South America for the Winter months.
Return to USA in 2014 and end up back at Doug's, where I will probably leave the bike for him to sell for me (unless I get a crazy idea and decide to ride back via Russia!).

So that's it so far, tomorrow morning I will hand my house over and take a train to Manchester, right now though I am still busy packing storage boxes.

oh and I also thought I would just keep adding to this blog rather than start a new one :-)