The morning after my flight, I woke to a lovely blue sky and made an early start. I got to my storage unit, got the bike out and re-connected the, now 6yr old, Odyssey battery.
Fingers crossed, I hit the starter, turned her over twice, she coughed all that 9 months of inactivity clean away, then fired up, all on the first twist of the key.
The mileage on the bike at the start of the trip ……
I set off back to the motel, and told them that I would not be needing the extra night.
Next, I got in touch with Larry, of GT Motors, in Lansing, Michigan to tell him I would be arriving Sunday midday, and he told me to call him on arrival.
I thought that was a bit strange, call him on a Sunday? Well, ok, will do.
I got my wake up call, at 05 30, grabbed a quick breakfast , cleared the room, and set off.
Last year, I tried the Sombra – Marine City ferry, from Canada to the USA; it only takes 12 – 15 mins to cross the river there as it is one of its narrowest points. But, last year, I got sent back to Canada, due to the computers being down. So I could not be processed. It went better this year – the computers were ‘up’
The Sombra – Marine City crossing, is great, due to the fact that the small ferries can only carry about 9 cars, and a couple of motorcycles.
If you cross the bridges, either Sarnia – Port Huron, to the north, or the Windsor – Detroit to the south, you end up stuck behind all the big trucks and usual traffic, so it can take a long time to get to the offices, that start your clearing in process, whereas, mid way twixt the two, is the small Sombra – Marine City crossing.
Boarding went without incident, and we were quickly ferried across to America.
There’s swallows nests in that there ferry roof
The USA Beckons – if they let me in.
As all the other vehicles were either US or Canadian, I let them go ahead, so they would clear quickly without being delayed by my processing.
I was waved forward, and pulled up beside the Homeland Security chap. He looked like a young Charlie Sheen, with his hair and sunglasses .. ‘Just So – M-mmm’.
Ahead, some people were getting into a car, having been cleared, and were getting ready to leave. So I tried to move out of the way, but Charlie didn’t want me to move, ‘STAY THERE!’ he bellowed.
I got off the bike, removed my helmet, and proceeded to dig out my papers, to hand to him.
He now became aware of the car behind him trying to get out, so I had to get back on the bike and move it; guess he got a bit miffed at that. Anyway, I got off the bike again, so I could hand him my papers
He then said, ‘DON’T COME UP TO ME LIKE THAT!’
I asked what he meant ? Thinking about all the cars he had just waved towards himself???
Apparently, as he didn’t know me, I should have let him move the half a step closer to me so he could reach my passport & return ticket, rather than me, talking a half step closer to him! My quick movements might had rustled his hair, I guess.
Before the ‘security breach’ was fully explained, a window of the booth opened, and a guy stuck his head out and said, ‘I want the vehicle registration’.
All this is in the open, with a wind blowing, and Charlie Sheen berating me for trying to give him my papers.
I am not joking, when I say the guy now wanting my registration, was the deputy from an American TV programme, lets call him ‘Mayberry’.
So, Mayberry repeats he wants my vehicle registration. I have my passport & return ticket in hand. Now, instead of taking my papers, Charlie also tells me to get my registration.
Not having anywhere to put my papers down, without risk of them blowing down the street and into the water, I said to Charlie, ‘well ok, can you please hold these?’.
He straightened his arm and took hold of my papers.
Mayberry then asks… ‘why should he hold your papers?’
By then I was getting a bit rattled, so I quipped, ‘well, mainly because he wants to see them!’
Mayberry didn’t have any fast reply to that, so nothing more was said, as I took out my vehicle docs from my traveling pouch.
Charlie then tells me to go inside, with my registration, while looking at my passport.
As I got to the door, Charlie says, ‘STOP! Are you carrying any weapons?’ Initially, I said no. But then remembered, I did have a pocket knife, and I told him so.
Charlie then asked, where is it ?
I said, ‘er … in my pocket!’
Right well come back here, and put it on the bike.
I put it on the seat, and Charlie picked it up and put it in one of the saddlebags.
After that, it was the usual fingers and eye scan, and I was finally ‘done’.
Now, I asked, ‘what is the fastest way to I-69?’
Mayberry was so hilarious, he must have been waiting all day for that one, and he answered:
“BY RIDING ……..cos it sure beats walking!”
I said, ‘Er .. yes, but I was thinking more on the lines of… Left … or …Right?’
Charlie, gave me a terse ‘Turn Right’, and off I went. They let me in – but I half expected to turn a corner and come across ……
But I was ‘OK’ and so on I rode to Lansing arriving at around 1400, and found a motel close to the workshop.
I was a little taken bemused by this sign above my bed (not that I smoke). I wonder how many hotels have had bed fires in this township!
Straight a way, I phoned Larry, and he wanted me to offload and get the bike to the shop. He had a bike show coming up in Wisconsin and he needed to get off the next day, so he wanted to start on the bike service straight away.
Armed with trail mix, jerky and a six-pack of Busch, Larry dropped me back at my hotel and he returned to start the bike service.
I lay back with the telly on, and it was full of weather warnings. A dangerous storm front was approaching, with golf ball sized hail, and strong wind. Going to pass over Lansing around 1400, next day.
Thankfully, Larry completed the service, by 1230 next day, and I set off straight away, no hanging around to get hit with that band of bad weather. I was glad of the new tyre too
I headed straight South, then East on the Ohio Turnpike.
Got to our mates place, at 1600 and quickly got the bike in the garage and my bags off.
This view of garden is as familiar to Christine and I as our own garden (if we had one) We have seen the trees blow down and gradually be chopped down for safety. One of the barns has been blown away and the remaining one will surely follow soon.
And at 16 30, the rain started, but was nothing like the storm and hail, that went over Lansing and surrounding area.
I will be spending a week with Pete and Barb, get to see some special friends and generally chill out.
Hi Homer my darling. Wish I could have been there to cook quiche and get a bear hug!Only you could capture this…
Mike and Roanne – I miss you two too. Love your new trike Ro – I could do with one of those 🙂
But next year, I shall be there for a beer and a few bear hugs. And Mike – I need a model for some portraits. Take care of the beard