Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Adventure Starts

RobT: After tearful goodbyes at home was on the road before 11am hoping the border crossing will be smooth and uneventful.

Didn't even get out of the country and it started .... stopped to pay the bridge toll to cross over to Port Huron so naturally ... gloves came off to rummage around for the $3 Canadian to pay the automated booth.  Wedged the gloves between my torso and the tank bag ... shouldn't move, right?

Tossed in the coins ... nothing .... red light stayed on, gate down.  Glanced over to the teller at the next booth.  He comes over, explains the sensor won't pick up the bike, i'll have to drive around the gate.  No problem except for the fact that i have to ride on top of the median to get around.  Cool.  First bit of "off road" and doing it at the border!!  Up the curb, down the median, down the curb and back onto the road.   Over the bridge at the same time thinking i'll put the gloves on after customs.

Some things just dont work out as planned.  Somewhere on the Port Huron`bridge lay a pair of $250 Alpinestar waterproof, all weather gloves.  Shit!!  Can't turn around cause I'll loose at least 2 hours crossing the border 3 times not to mention trying to stop on the bridge if i found the gloves and i still have to be in Grand Rapids by 5.  Well .....  i did say i packed too much.

No, it doesn't stop here.  The customs officer decides to take an interest in my adventure so bike gets shut off, glasses off and helmet off. We finish out a 10 minute dialogue and i turn the key.  Click ... click ... click.  Bikes dead!!  He motions me to push it over to the customs inspection lot where I'm given some space to figure out my dilemma. Inform Rob of the delay, he gets hold of Grand Rapids BMW mechanic Paul and he basically tells me what I know I need to do.  First thing I need to do however is to answer to mother nature so i ask an agent for the use of a washroom.  He reaches to key in a code intoa customs building door, turns and asks,

"Do you have a gun.`"

I look at him and smirk, "A gun ... no".

He keys me in past 2 doors to get to the restrooms.  Syd calls as I`m in the bathroom.  All good kiddo.

Back to the bike and I`m informed i need to move it to the other lot across 4 lanes of traffic coming out of the customs booths, of course, the customs agent runs blocker for me.  Park the bike and I pull the cowling off, get out the tools and check the battery with the multimeter, check , check the connections, check.  All looks good aside from gear lying all over the customs parking lot. I try a few more things and finally walk back and ask for a boost.  20 minutes later a Michigan Department of Transport pick up rolls up and we boost the bike.  The BMW fires up no problem.  Repack all the gear and I`m off and hour later but now i need gas and dread turning the thing off but i do, fuel up, cross my fingers and turn the key.  To my surprise it starts.  545 i roll into Grand Rapids to a grand reception of old friends and new ones.



  1. Sooo,glad you're safe, just next time you might want to think about attaching a kiddy-string to your gloves and feeding it through your jacket (grammy's idea). Andrew says you should be used to idiot-proofing things by now ;) lol
    Love you.

  2. What a start off. It reminds me of my trip from Minneapolis to Toronto in middle of winter. Not more than 10 miles from home, I bounced off a snow bank, knocked the filament in the lamp out then, after stabilizing a couple of minutes later, spun out and hit the snow bank on the opposite side then flip upside down in sub-zero weather...
    Hope it goes smoothly for you from now on.
    charlie, vancouver