Today we need to get the bikes sorted to fly and we got a Grab cab for the 21 km drive back to Motowerks. Here the service was done (or so we thought), except the oil filter issue. The shop guys had all the plastics off for a super clean. This left some time for us to get some lunch and run some errands. Nearly every time we got back in the car Dan made for the right “passenger” seat.
We headed over to Faizal’s house for some rest before meeting the Swede downtown for some tapas and then a visit to the Whisky bar KL.
After the fact we found a number of things were not done or were not done properly at Motowerks. If the small stuff was messed up then what about the valves!!! The 650 still seems to have a stutter on start, but it is too late now we will have to deal with this in NZ.
We also found out today that despite the promise of a booking on Dec 31 on MA we do not as there is no Cargo space until Feb 1. The options are 9000 Ringet per bike to send the bikes Dec 29, 4500 Ringet to take the bikes out to MAS cargo and leave them open ended and hope they get on, or find another airline. This was a very stressful day as we already have flights booked Dec 29. In the end we managed to get them on a Thai air flight from KL to Bangkok and then from there to Auckland for 3500 Ringet per bike, BUT now they have to be crated.
Now it is packing day for the airport. We went to BMW to pick up a metal palette for Dan’s bike (he already had a wood BMW one for the 650, but it is for a much smaller bike!) and 2 dozen tie downs. Faizal’s dad also showed up with one of their trucks for the transport. We had a lot of help from the shop guys, Faizal and Orvar to get them crated, loaded, and onto the flat bed. This meant mirrors, windscreen, and front tires off as well.
The next issue today is that Mohadin now says we have to pay cash unlike with MAS which takes Visa. There is no way we can get that kind of cash from an ATM in one day. We will get what we can and try to get him to sort out a Paypal account for the rest.
We finally set out for the airport at 445 pm. We arrived to the cargo terminal, obtained day passes for us and the truck, and entered the secure zone. Mohadin the agent met us inside and he dealt with the carnet exit stamps. We had “inspection” , which was a check of the VIN and then we moved the bikes over to the loading bay for final “volume” measurement and wight 315 and 324 kg (bikes, luggage, helmets, and gear). Mohadin worked some magic on the numbers to get us the best deal. They are flying Thai Air Cargo tomorrow to Bangkok and then TAC to Auckland on Dec 31.
This is a very brief description, but does not really describe the huge hassle and stress that is involved in the shipping. The issues of getting a booking, getting the best rate, making the smallest volume, being told a different thing every few hours, being told you could roll on and then that you need to crate, being told you can pay with visa and then at the last minute you need to pay cash, trying to organize money international transfers for the next day when transfers will take several days…..We were finally in bed at midnight and up at 5 am for our flight.
We had met the agent at the hotel set up a PayPal account for him, paid him all the cash we could get from the ATM daily limit, and sent the rest by paypal. In the morning we get a message that the payment was sent back by the agent as he clearly did something wrong on his end. The bikes did go to Bangkok, but several hours before we had a message that the agent that we needed to get the money to him ( it is sent, but as he refused the last one they are holding this one) or the bikes will not fly tonight (we have a way bill that says paid), but Faizal to the rescue again and he guaranteed the payment.
We arrived to Auckland airport at almost 1 am. Here you have to go thru several layers of customs screening after immigration. It is important to declare any food or items that may contact soil. If they find something you did not declare (even a candy) the fine starts at 400$. We handed over our tent for fumigation and had the luggage X-rayed. They spotted something in the bag that turned out to be a Vick’s candy we had forgotten about and they let that go. After all this we used the SIM card purchased in duty free to contact the hotel shuttle and finally fell into bed at 2am. You know you are in the first world when your room is as booked, there are towels and 4 pillows, there is a bar fridge and it is already cold and has fresh cream in it for your coffee.
Janet and Charlie Russel who we finally met in Osh after a lengthy on line friendship have kindly offered to host us until we get the bikes (very kind as it may be 4-5 days). They arrived to pick us up about 11 and drove us to their home in almost rural Albany.
We are quite shattered today, but rested up here at the Russel’s. Well the bikes have left Bangkok and arrive to Auckland today at noon Dec 31. The cargo company Menzies says that we can come at 2 pm (Saturday) and “all the paperwork with be done”. We did drive all the way over there again only to find the paper work done, but customs is closed for the next 3 days!! AGH. We did pay our 113$ NZ ( import international terminal fees and document import fees plus GST)
It is Dec 31 and so the Russel’s have organized a BBQ for tonight and we will finally get to meet TINTOMKIWI who are Tina and Thomas that we missed by just a few hours in Brazil and by a few days in Vancouver. It is so nice to finally meet up and we all enjoyed talking to others who understand the journey.
Well we managed a bit of sight seeing around the city by car and the weather held out for us. First we made for Muriwai beach and then we drove into town to see the view from Mount Eden and then from Battery Point.
It is finally “pick up your motorbike day” January 3. We loaded up the trailer again and Charlie drove us back to the airport. We arrived to customs at 930 and they seemed a bit confused about what to do. This is a Carnet country, but very few bikes arrive here i would guess. They did manage to stamp and sign the papers, but it took them over an hour.
They told us “you do not need to go to inspection”. From here you go back 200 m to the shippers Menzies with your document from customs and they then told us we did (of course) need inspection and had to drive 3.5 km to the new MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries) office to get our inspection even arranged. Because customs did not enter the info the officer here had to redo all the data and after the long wait in the cue we finally left after 11.
We called to book the inspection, but they could not do it until 1. We did not know how lucky we were until they told Orvar it would be 3 days!) Lunch it is. We arrived back to the warehouse area and just had to wait 15 min for the inspection officer to finish with the last customer. We were of course worried the bikes would be clean enough and that we would not have any banned items. He unwrapped all the saran and opened the bag with the boots and suits, Dan’s tank bag and one of his panniers….10 minutes and both passed. Now we just had a few minutes to wait for a fork lift driver who lifted the bikes onto Charlie’s trailer. We unloaded the luggage and strapped the bikes in for the drive the 46 km back to Albany.
The weather held out all day and there was just a sprinkle starting as we arrived home. Charlie has all the bits and pieces that we can use to set up a good ramp. We all worked together to lift each bike on the centre stand and get the front wheel back on. We managed to get them both unloaded before the predicted storm hit.
We had planned to try to leave today, but it got too late and then the next day the 4 th it was gale force winds and pouring. There is a severe storm warning and they have evacuated the beaches and camping on both the central coasts. It is Sara’s birthday so we went out for a birthday dinner!
By 11 am on the 5th there was a window where the storm looked less severe and we set out the 147 km to Tikipunga where Tina and Thomas live.
It was pretty windy, but not raining that hard until our lunch break in Wellsford. After that is was Patagonia windy and pouring. The traffic our way was not too bad , but there was a continuous line of vehicles coming towards us.
We arrived to Tina and Thomas’s to fresh baked rhubarb cake.
Well the weather has improved quite a bit today as it is cloudy, but not raining. We set out from Tikipunga on the small windy roads. It is ideal riding weather at 23 degree and even on a Saturday there is almost no traffic.
We made for the coast road and rode thru Matapouri before turning inland again.
There is a loop road back to the highway 1. You only go a short distance on this main road and then exit again on the narrow country lanes to Helena Bay where you can stop at an art cafe for a coffee.
The coast road continues around the point to Russel and we stopped in here for some amazing Red Snapper fish and chips. It is a short and 5$ ride on the ferry across the inlet to Paihia.
We made a brief stop in Kawakawa to get a photo of the “famous” Hundertwasser toilets here! There are public toilets in almost every NZ town. This may be why there are sort of unfriendly signs on the door of all the shops and restaurants warning ” toilets are for guests only”!
From here we rode on some small roads thru the woods and then on some gravel cross country to arrive south west of Whangarei again.
Tina and Thomas have been very kind to host us for 2 days here. They also looked over our map and gave their suggestions on our route.