Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back in North America

I got through US Customs after a few questions and in Miami it was a refreshing 28C - welcome after the sweltering humidity of the Caribbean coast of Colombia,  I met up with Gaston who has been helping me out with sorting out the shipping, he was good enough to meet me at the airport and  he graciously offered to let me stay at his place - we were hoping that the bike would arrive on Thursday and that I could hit the road Friday. We sank a few beers and had a good chat, then headed back to his place to meet his wife Patty and his daughter Camille.

Gaston comes from Santiago in Chile and Patty is from Lima in Peru, which is an interesting combination as the two countries have spent a considerable amount of time either at war or disputing territory over the years. In the middle is Camille, who was always giggling at my British accent every time I mentioned to Patty that her cooking was 'lovely', throw in their 2 dogs and the cat and it was a busy house!

On Thursday morning Gaston called up Tampa Cargo, no good news though, there was no flight today, so Sammy was going to arrive early Sunday morning - not leaving me much time to scoot the 4000+  kms from Miami to Phoenix to meet up with Stan who was due to head home to Canada on Wednesday.

Patty fed me up really well, lots of yummy meals including arroz con leche - rice pudding, my favorite! and I hung out with Gaston as he was doing some other work, we managed to go to the local bikers meet held in a shopping centre car park, with several hundred bikes there - everything from Harley Davisons with flourescent lights illuminating the engine and wheels to tricked out sports bikes and BMW 1200GS adventure bikes. There was also a Triumph motorcycles semi trailer from Georgia, touring around with the latest offerings including the new Triumph Tiger 800 XC - which looked rather nice and sounded even better,  I nearly had to prize Gaston off it !!!

On Saturday Gaston checks with Tampa again and finally we get the good news that the bike is on its way, arriving at 0130 Sunday morning. Gaston wants to save the crate, so he rents a small trailer and we head down to Tampa to pick the bike up. We have to head over to US Customs and get them to sign the paperwork to release the bike, however the Customs lady says that they only process perishable goods paperwork on Sunday's...... I tell her that I am hoping to leave for Arizona today and would they be able to help me out, she hesitates for a moment and finally agrees to do the paperwork - which takes her about a minute. We head back to Tampa and the guys fork the crate onto the trailer, we head back to Gaston's place.

It takes a while to uncrate the bike, the carpenters used a nail gun and lots of nails so it is slow going pulling it apart and trying to salvage the wood for re use in the future.

Gaston, Camille and Patty with Sammy
By the time the bike is back together, the crate stored and my gear packed up its gone 5 pm, a bit later than I was hoping for, Patty makes us a lovely meal and we snap a few photos and say our goodbyes before I head West over the Everglades and then North towards Tampa.

Gaston on his immaculate BMW
I must say a Huge Thanks to Gaston, Patty and Camille for their hospitality, you guys are always welcome to stay with us in Canada!!!

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