Day 2158 Sunday 11th September
The traffic after the border was hectic. Six lanes in each direction, of swiftly moving vehicles. I watch in dread as two SUVs’ started to merge into the same lane, the one, slightly in the rear must have been in the other guys mirror blind spot. As they saw each other they pulled sharply away, the front one looked like it was going flip, the turn was so sudden. A few other cars around them also moved away, it just looked to me like a fifteen car pile up was in the making. All this time I was braking slightly and dropping back, the car behind me did not so I was soon on his front fender. Thankfully they all sorted it and carried on, speeding back up to twenty above the limit!
About thirty clicks further on a five car smash slowed the traffic big time. I was relived and thankful to be off the highway and putting up the tent at seven. Writing this by oil lamp light I realized I could see my breath!
Day 2159 Monday 12th September
This camp reminded me of the New Orleans campsite. I woke a couple of times to the rumble of huge freight trains, rolling by for what seemed like an hour and now at five thirty the steady rushing sounds of fast traffic. While not wanting to leave North America I’ll be relived to be back in Europe, no more large bodies of water to cross, just ferries.
Well, I had an awesome morning, from nine till three, went to meet the guys at air Canada cargo, mostly to know where I’m heading for in the morning, they are typical hands on shipping guys, just workers like normal folks.
All sorted I went to the people freight, to pay my fare. I called a week back and was told 650$ yesterday was told 2075$ should have pre booked it, bugger, is what it is! The guy on the desk coughed and said “whoa man that a lot” oh well can’t be helped said I. He made a call to head office who, over forty minuets said tough poo. He explained this to me, then said that he had an idea. With a line of thirty customers he spent close to two hours getting my flight to 760$. I told him that saving would pay my passage through Europe and maybe back to the uk. He smiled and said “they made me dance for a job that I would not get, but they have to show they advertised, bastards”. During our two hours he often passed me the phone while on hold to the bastards while he sorted out his ever increasing line, when HQ came back I called him over. He also said he enjoyed taking his family out for a burger, he had eleven year old twin boys. He gave me his email address, and contact to leave feed back at air Canada, as I asked for. I gave him a hundred bucks and shook his hand. The man had gone beyond the call of, and saved me a heap. By cancelling my refundable ticket and rebooking another cheap, refundable ticket three weeks away then changing it, costing me three hundred, down from 2075$ to 760$ how cool is he!!
When I parked the bike in the airport I was still surprised that I had got to the correct place, the roads in were like a plate of spaghetti. Entering the building I thought where was the bike, glancing back a saw a huge number five on a column. Getting back I realized that five was the floor, where on level five? It was the size of a football field, and full. Starting to walk and look it was only two minutes later I found the bike. Without thinking, I said out loud “what you doing there, how did you get to be so close you could have been anywhere”. A couple coming toward me, the guy looked back and asked “are you talking to us sir”. I said ” no sir, to my bike over there, I thought he had moved while I was away”. He took his wife’s elbow and hurried inside!
Later back on camp, with beer, I was unsure how I felt, I was booked, and passage paid. Under the shade of a berry tree, gentle breeze blowing the leaves. Aside of the demise of my relationship I have enjoyed my time in North America, though a few times in the cafe were less than enjoyable, but that’s part of running a bar, good and bad. Mostly good though! Very strange to think in two days I I’ll be riding in Portugal. After an email from a friend in Britain I have decided not to head south and see the popular Algarve, but continue north into Spain and across the bottom of the Bay of Biscay into France.
Day 2160 Tuesday 13th September
Got packed this Tuesday morning pushed the go button, as yesterday it was slow on the go, today, less so. Much less so, no go! I asked for a boost start at camp office. I turned the bike to face the sun and by the time they came to boost it, it had gotten started on its own battery.
I phoned the freighter forwarder for advise, he told me Canadian tire for a replacement, I rode there however they did not have my battery in stock. He advised me that Interstate Batteries might have one. They did! for 200$. The bike should have a fourteen amp hour battery, the one from Moto City in Guatemala was eight and a half. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.
With new battery fitted I headed to the cargo shed and swopped my riding gear for stubbies and open foot wear. The bike was weighed, with five liters of gas it weighed in at three hundred kilos! One hundred kilos of STUFF, unreal.
I had my beers left over from the previous day with me to drink as I waited to fly. Asking the fork truck driver if there was a plastic bag to carry them in, he went to the office and returned with a new hold all with a wide shoulder strap. He said it had been left there ages back, and it was large enough for my beers! I said I would try to find a deserving home for it in Lisbon. Once again, how kind are people!
I walked round the airfield to the cattle gate, to sit and drink beer in a dark corner. While walking there I got picked up by a local bus who said it was not safe to walk with the traffic. She dropped me at a road junction to the airport, and kindly gave me another bus ticket to get there. Though I walked,
So at the airport now, no bike, just like every one else, cattle in line, as always it felt wrong leaving my bike in the hands of strangers, however I felt they were good guys.
I stayed the city side of security and check in, and drank the rest of my beer from the day before and managed to get on the internet and send a few emails that I was unable to do on the camp site as the wifi was so poor.
Trying to buy some food the lady said the string net of cheese was ten bucks, as I like cheese, and it was a lump I said that was ok, however the one hundred mil long sandwich was fifteen bucks, twenty five bucks for a roll and cheese, I was hungry but not that hungry, I slept on and off and drank some of my Jack Daniels.
As normal in an airport one just sat around till your number was called, I slept on the floor and got woke often with the loud announcements.
Giving up on sleep for a while I went for a walk, I found my correct gate and sat and watched the line get shorter, then checked in.
Later on the plane waiting on the tar they said they were having problems getting unusual cargo on board, was it my bike?
As the airplane accelerated to take off and leave the tar I wondered when, or even if I would return to North America. I had to get out of the States, and Canada was careful in only giving me a seven day return visa, it was either Mexico or Europe for the winter, need to check in with my family anyhow!!!!!