Africa Blog

The Ride to Half a Million Miles


With all my travels and border crossings one thing I have learned is that there is nothing consistent about crossing a border (even if it's the same one) or shipping a vehicle.   This time was no different  and it was with shipping the bike.  The standard routine is to remove about 90% of the fuel and disconnect the battery.  Secure and lock everything on the bike as its know that items have a way of walking off when not well secured.

    The first sign of troubles was when I was told that the ship I had scheduled left before my bike could make it on board because of a mix up with the shipping dates.  Not good but not surprising.  The next sign of troubles was when I get a call from the shipping agent telling me that an inspector was there to inspect the bike.  He needed the keys to turn on the ignition to see that the fuel gauge was showing empty. And also wanted to check (search) the bags to make sure I wasn't carrying that was dangerous.   I had several problems with these two things.  One,  the battery was disconnected as instructed so for the inspector to check the fuel gauge I would have to remove the fuel tank to reconnect the battery.   Second, I was very sure that items in the panniers were good as the bike as traveling by sea and not by air.   Third,  I was 300 miles (five hours) away from the  shipping yard and up to my eyes in bike work.

     So five hours later , stuck  in Houston's afternoon rush hour at times I finally arrived at the shipping yard.  I was let into the holding warehouse only after putting on a Hi Vis vest as the place is busy with forklifts buzzing around in all directions.   I removed the fuel tank,  connected the battery and then waited almost two hours for the inspector to arrive.

Francisco (my agent) was kind enough to keep me company most of the time.  Finally the inspector arrived and gave me the thumbs up with the fuel level.   But when checking the tank bag,  Houston we have a problem.  See, the first aid kit had some alcohol packets that could catch on fire,  so they had to go.   The when checking the panniers they found that can of bug spray I snuck in.  That was a no no!   The final no no was the go pro camera,  it has a battery that is lithium and they have been know to catch on fire (the giant batteries, not little camera ones).

    All this was done by the shipping company's inspector.  Now if US Custom's gives me the green light,  the GS should be good to go!

Waiting for the inspector!