So, its now October and where is my Fatboy I hear you think…. well… as far as I know she is still in New Jersey… yes I know, bloody rubbish!
Then miraculously on the 3rd I get an email…
‘I wanted to let you know the good news that your bike is on the water, and on it’s way back to the UK. Your bike sailed from New York on 26thSeptember and is scheduled to dock in the UK (Felixstowe) on 20th October. The container is on vessel Ever Lucky, just in case this is of interest to you.’
I am so relieved. I download a ship tracking app and immediately see my ship, the Ever Lucky is just leaving Charleston on it’s way across the Atlantic.. how exciting.
I can’t resist checking every day to see how far the ship has come, but every time I check it is still showing as just off the coast of Charleston… boo hoo the app doesn’t seem to cover the trip across the pond.
On the 11th October she reappears approaching Southampton due to dock on the 13/14th, ahhh wonder if I can pick the bike up from there? I email Kathy at Motofreight, but she says its probably not possible to change the offload port as the container is bound to be under several others… bit obvious really, but am clutching at straws here.
I am due to ride to France for a long weekend with Dykes on Bikes London from the 26th October and am staying over in Folkestone night of the 25th; I really would love to take the Fatboy with me so need to pick it up on the 24th latest. The ship stops at Southampton on the 13th and then sails to Antwerp so am hoping it will go to Felixstowe next.. nope, Rotterdam must be Felixstowe next… nope, Bremerhaven…. am getting a bit anxious now as it’s the 19th and the bike is due into Felixstowe on the 20th but will take up to 5 days to be ‘de-vanned’ i.e. unloaded from the container and processed through customs. It must be Felixstowe next!!
It’s now the 21st and the Ever Lucky is docked in Le Harve on it’s way to New York… it hasn’t even stopped at Felixstowe… omg I hope the bike is not on its way back to the US. I am now seriously panicking… I email Kathy, did she give me the wrong ship name?…. it appears that ships often swap cargo and this may have happened to my container, she will get back to me asap with confirmation of where my bike is.
Next day Kathy emails to say the bike has been transferred to another vessel, the Tokyo Triumph that docked at Felixstowe on the 20th and my bike is there… whew! She has spoken to the agent in Felixstowe and they have moved the de-vanning of my container to the 23rd so I can collect it on the 24th… yippee!!!
Early on the morning of the 24th I take the train to Felixstowe and grab a taxi to the shipping agents warehouse. There she is ready and waiting for me. I just need to sign some paperwork and she is all mine, but where is my paperwork especially my V5C (title), I really need that to be returned. I am told that they do not have the paperwork here it is with Schumachers in Bishops Stortford.. blooming miles away!
I unpack my riding gear and start her up… nope won’t start, seems the battery is dead after being inactive for almost 3 months… bugger. One of the guys at the warehouse brings a forklift truck and some jump leads round to get her started…. I unpack all the luggage and take off the seat so we can connect up to the battery, but nope she still won’t turn over… that’s odd. He leaves the forklift running to give the battery time to charge up.
There is another guy collecting his harley at the same time as me, he is an American and is moving over here to live, he’s been here before as his wife moves around with her job. His bike is also misbehaving but he eventually gets it to start and leaves it running to charge his battery.
All at once it occurs to me that the problem is not my battery, its the immobiliser, the battery in my key fob must be flat… I ask Tony, the other harley owner, if I can borrow the battery out of his fob to see if I can get my bike started, he doesn’t hesitate, what a great guy. We put his battery in my fob and hey presto the bike starts…. what a bloody relief… I have to leave the bike running while I put it back together and repack all the luggage. Tony needs to get petrol and so do I, but neither one of us wants to stop our bikes as his battery is low and I don’t have a working fob… I check out petrol stations and there is a Morrisons Supermarket about a mile away so we can get petrol and then I can run into the shop to see if they have the battery for my fob. We fill up with the bikes running, a bit naughty but needs must. I then ride around to the shop and Tony very generously offers to come with me and watch my bike as I still have to leave it running until I have gotten a new battery and they may not have the right one.
I run into the shop and YES, they have it.. I buy two packs of two, don’t want to be without a battery again.
I come out of the shop and take this photo… that’s Tony and his lovely bike..
here’s a close up…
what a grand chap…
He is riding all the way to Guildford, the other side of London, but we ride together for a while until I decide to pull off for a cup of coffee and he says his farewells.
I am a little bit anxious about the bike not starting after I turn it off, but I needn’t have worried, she starts first time… so relieved I can tell you.
A fairly uneventful ride home… the handlebars take a bit of getting used to again and the vibration plus the cold is affecting my hands making them very painful.. should have brought the heated gloves.
Once home I can unload the luggage and enjoy re-discovering some of my souvenirs including the knives I bought and other memorabilia from my trip.
Home at last and now the USA Part 2 trip is finally over.