Ride Overland With Kanchan & Nick

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October 7, 2011

No other name for this post other than, ‘Shipping Sucks’

Ok.  I know I always say in every blog that we’re runinng around crazy…but its really true, thing have been BTTW (see earlier posts for meaning).

So let’s start with the crating of the bike…

We decided to crate the bike on Oct 25, the Tuesday before we were supposed to leave.  I will have to give this credit to Nick, he was the brains behind the shipping and making sure the bike was good to go.  We took the bike to Gulfcoast BMW to be crated–in usual form, Houston rewarded us with a scorching hot day with the sun bearing right down on us.  We now have really funky tan lines.We asked the dealership to save the original box that the bike was brought in from BMW.  So that was basically a wooden, crate-like bottom and tough cardboard siding with ‘windows’ that the customs officials could peep into.  BMW definitely wanted to go cheap, so they tried to save every square inch, meaning we had to scrunch that bike down low!  For anyone who has seen this bike before, it’s big.  Once we brought the handle bars down with the straps, my 5’3” happy ass could have sat on that bike and had my feet touch the ground!  I was in charge of bubble wrapping the parts we had to take off like the windshield, side view mirrors etc etc in order to fit the bike into the box.  We tried to take some stuff in efforts to fit it inside the crate so we wouldn’t have to pack crazy stuff in our luggage.  Well…we managed to stick in Nick’s friend’s shocks in the box, two panniers, a couple of other small things but most we couldn’t fit, including the big back pannier.

We had to rent a U-Haul trailer to load the crate on so we could take it to the shipper.  Just a reminder to anyone ever planning on renting a motorcycle trailer from U-Haul…make sure you can get to your wires for your car/truck lights…they will only let you take the trailer if you can hook up the trailer electrics to the truck electrics.  We have this crazy Land Rover so we couldn’t get to our lights, but the lady did let us go after alot of convincing.  So Nick rode the bike to the dealership and I drove the Rover with the trailer on the back.  First of all, if you’ve ever seen our Land Rover, it’s a monstrous orange-yellow blob (Nick: “It’s Tangier orange damnit! Get it right!”) that poeple see approaching in their peripheral vision.  I’d be scared too.  At least poeple see us I guess, theyre probably wondering who are these weirdos and do they think they’re going on a safari and why do they have a shovel and ax on their roof?  It’s worse when I’m driving that thing.  So that morning I was driving it, I had two people slow down to get parallel to me to take pictures of it.  That was nerve-wrecking because I get nervous driving that thing…and plus a trailer?  Leave me the hell alone!  I had to give ghetto hand signals out of the window when I was turning because the blinkers wouldn’t work with the trailer.  Do people driving on 45 even see those or acknowledge those?

Once we felt like the bike was secure in the crate we loaded it up and set out for the shipping agency.  Now begins the horror.

It all seems to easy…crate the bike, drop it off at shippers. We did just that.  We gave the carnet to the shipping lady to get it stamped, not that we absolutely needed it to get stamped here in the US but we wanted proof that it left the country so we don’t have to explain it all to some idiot at the border crossing.  We get a call next day that the US customs office will not stamp it because they’ve never seen this carnet before and that we got the carnet from the Canadian Automobile Assoc. because we want to go to Saudi Arabia (which is untrue).  No where on that carnet does it mention Saudi Arabia, but I guess there’s some treaty where Canada agrees to ship to Saudi and America doesn’t, who knows.  Not about to look it up.  So Wednesday morning Nick and I went to the customs office.  The customs officials act like jerks fromt he get-go with the whole ‘Saudi connection’ and procced to talk to us like we’re mentally challenged and accused us of making up this carnet.  I was going to lose my sh*t.

They didn’t stamp it so oh well.  But moral of the story is that Kanchan needs a Xanax before dealing with bureaucratic types at customs and border crossing or we will never see our bike again and we will be in a dirty jail cell.

We dropped the bike off Tuesday, it was supposed to be shipped out Thursday.  But let’s fast forward to Sunday.  We are at the airport security line.  Already exhausted from packing, winding up our affairs in Houston, stressing out about our luggage.  Now the airline charges for a second bag to be checked in, $75.  And if you go over the 50lb. limit, another $200 is smacked on you (that was $800 since we had 4 bags).  We had to shuffle our luggage around once we got to the airport.  Shuffling our luggage to get the right weight costed us time, we almost missed the flight. In the midst of all this the shipping lady calls while we’re trying to sort this out and tells Nick that our bike was never shipped out Thursday.  We get to India on Oct 4th and bike won’t come in until Oct. 6th.  The bike was supposed to be there already once we landed in India.  It was supposed to get there Oct 3rd night.  So you can only imagine this was another sh*t show.

We’ve come to terms with the bike cutting it so close to the Raid de Himalaya start (we need to be in Shimla on the 9th).  So far shipping has been an absolute nightmare.  Let’s hope for the best.

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