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Jun 20 2013

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Not Quite to Plan

Just a quick update. Things haven’t quite gone to plan over the last few days.

We had a really pleasant Monday morning chatting then I called the air freight company – Forward Air – to confirm the bike was really there. It was and they needed a $40 fee to process it. No problem except they wouldn’t take cash, they needed a cashier’s cheque or a money order. We managed to get one of those with some help from Paul. Then we picked up the waybill from the freight office and eventually found the customs office which was about 10 miles away from Forward Air and not actually in the road the address says it is.

We’re not sure how anyone makes any progress in San Diego as there are stop signs or traffic lights every 100 yards or so. The traffic was very light though and everyone was very helpful: the cafe owner who warned us about the parking, the lady who overheard us being lost and showed us the right direction and the workman who went out of his way to enable us to park in a ‘no parking today for tree cutting’ zone.

The customs guys were a bit disconcerted we didn’t have our passports with us and so were we as we always carry them when we’re abroad, we’d just forgotten to pick them up, but they too were very helpful and were happy with the International Driving Permits as proof of identity.  20 minutes later we were out of the office with the customs release documentation and on our way back to Forward Air.

Forward Air also wanted to see our passports so we explained and offered the IDP again. Unfortunately “My manager won’t take these documents as proof of identity.” and they wouldn’t release the bike until we showed them Kevin’s passport or licence. Rats! We think ‘My Manager’ was a bit of a jobs-worth as the documents we offered were good enough for customs but I guess they have their procedures and we should have had our passports with us so it was our own fault.

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This Mormon church is quite a landmark, as we saw…several times!

It was 30 miles back to Carlsbad to pick up the passports and rush hour was just beginning (oddly enough, it was towards the city, not away) so we decided to wait until Tuesday morning to get the bike. Having the right documentation does wonders for easing the process and we were soon waiting for our package to be delivered to the back of the depot ready for us to unpack.

As Kevin was going to be riding the bike back to the hire car drop off, I would have to drive the car from the warehouse to the airport. I wasn’t very keen but it had to be done so I got in some practice the night before. Actually it wasn’t too bad. Paul was directing me where to go (some last-minute purchases at our favourite gadget place, Fry’s) and it went OK. Both Kevin and I have a tendency to drive to the right of the lane but on the whole driving over here is no issue. My biggest concern is getting lost but we had the SatNav so my fears were unfounded. We both found our way to the Airport and dropped of our car (which co-incidentally had KW as its registration).

Trying to get US SIMs working in the phones was ‘fun’. T-Mobile have an automated system that doesn’t cater at all for someone who doesn’t have a US bank account and it’s difficult to get hold of a human being. After a lot of perseverance I eventually managed to get accounts set up only to fall at the last hurdle when we realised our ‘phones are locked. We meant to check this before we left but forgot. Vodaphone want three days to unlock them so that task is on hold for the moment.

The good news is we have our National Park pass as well as our first stamp, from the Cabrillo National Memorial, and we have some regional maps (thanks Mona and Tom). A couple of fireman signed as witnesses on our IBA forms and we were ready to leave early on Wednesday morning.

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The National Park is on Navy land and has acres of Memorial graves. The views across the bay are spectacular.

Do you ever get the feeling someone is trying to tell you something? We did today. We left Paul and Mary’s at around 02:30 this morning heading for San Diego and then planned to head for Texas. The Zumo 665 was spontaneously rebooting for a while before we left then settled down. I went out of the back door and fell down a step landing quite heavily which resulted in a scratch on my lid and a huge black bruise on my thigh; good job I had the armoured bike gear on. We got to the beach at San Diego, took a couple of photo’s then headed for fuel and our start receipt. The Zumo 660 then decided it was going to crash and continued to do so whenever Kevin tried to get it to take a route or waypoint it had been quite happy with earlier. After about ten minutes of this we decided to heed the hints and headed back to Carlsbad and bed.

San Diego Try One

San Diego Try One

Both SatNavs were fine this morning. Back to San Diego to get more witness signatures as they’re only good for 24 hours to find no-one at home at the fire station we were at yesterday. We eventually found another one (no thanks to the POI in the Zumo which appear to be incorrect), had our form signed and now we’re chilling ready to try again tomorrow morning.

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Hopefully, the next update will be from Florida.

Stop Press: Just heard a bridge has collapsed in Arizona. Now quickly looking up the route!

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