20.06.16-21.06.16 Leaving UK and arriving in USA
My Mum very kindly came to take us to the train station, for our grand send off. Of course, in true UK style, it was pouring, and where was all our rain gear? Oh yes, packed in the bike which was, as far as we knew already in the USA, waiting in New York, at JFK airport.
After taking the train to Victoria Station, it was the Gatwick Express to Gatwick airport, and a quick check in before heading through to the lounges.
Boarding was quick and efficient. Paul had found some very reasonably priced flights with Norwegian Airlines, which gave ample leg room,most important for very tall people. The flight passed quickly and super efficiently in true Norwegian style, on arrival our clocks both went back five hours, and despite it being 1am in the UK, we had to try and keep going to get into U.S time.
Despite our reservations, and also what other people had told us, we were welcomed through Homeland Security at the airport within about 10 minutes. Queuing for hours in London back in December for our visas had turned out to be time very well spent.
After taking the Air Train to Federal Circle, we were collected by the Holiday Inn bus, which took us to our beds for the night.
Surprisingly, we had both slept very well, and awoke just before the alarm at 6.30. Today was the day to go and find our bike in it's cargo home. We knew that it had flown with Virgin Atlantic, and that it was now in their Import section, at building 21 on the Cargo Service Road.
At 8am we were ready to return on the bus to Federal Circle, where we searched for the Cargo Service bus. This bus seemed to be mainly used by the employees working in the sprawling airport, which is 5,000 acres big, and has over 30 miles of service roads.
We took the service bus to Building 21, which was right at the end of the road, so off we went with our wheelie suitcases. After one misdirection, we found the correct office, and yes! our bike was there, but no! we couldn't have it until we'd been to customs (Homeland Security) and cleared the bike with them. This turned out to be miles away, and we could do the reverse journey on the bus, or take a cab- we took the cab.
Once we had found the building (the cab driver hadn't a clue where it was), we were directed to the second floor,and there the wild goose chase began......
After a long and drawn out hoo ha at the Customs Office (Homeland Security ) where the office was circa 1976, we finally had our vehicle accepted into the USA. They wouldn't believe we weren't coming here to sell it, and wanted us to pay Import Tax, buy a bond and sell our souls to the devil. Luckily, Kathy and Roddy at Moto Freight came up trumps helping Paul to persist with the officers, until at last success, to hours later.
After taking two separate service buses to return to cargo building 21 , we finally were allowed access to the crate. Paul charmed an employee into using a crowbar to open the crate, and out popped our bike. Fantastic.
By now the heat was scorching, 32 degrees and we stood in the sun, stuffing in all the extra things we had bought on the plane, toiletries, all liquids, some food etc, before launching ourselves, somewhat flustered and very overheated into the New York traffic. The Sat Nav chose a wonderful route for us right crawling along through traffic jams in the Bronx and over George Washington Bridge, before heading into New Jersey.
Thank goodness, at last about 6.30, we were turning onto tree lined beautiful green roads, another country indeed, in fact Vernon, Sussex county was our destination for the night at the Appalachian Motel, our first of many.............