At Kit’s parents house we had no car, giving us an option of either working on our bikes or watching tv, and we definitely spent a lot of time doing both. Luckily all our valves were in spec so no work was required there.
Our shipping agent (NMT lines), told us that even though we were shipping RORO, they wanted our motorcycles on a pallet (for some reason). So we set about making one. We knew that for international shipping all wood needed to be bug stamped, and that for that to occur the wood had to be heat treated. Unfortunately we left this to the last minute, so we did not speak to any local pallet builders, and ended up making it out of heat treated wood purchased from home depot. The bikes were custom fit so that there would be 2x4s to chock the wheels.
There was a significant holdup in making the booking with the shipping company, and at this point we did not even have a dock receipt from our agent (the equivalent of a boarding pass for the cargo), but with the cutoff rapidly approaching at the port, we decided to push forward anyway.
Eventually we had all our bikes, the pallet, and panniers filled with equipment that we wouldn’t need for the next 25 days or so.
Waking up 3 hours later, the Ricks hit the road down to Houston, narrowly missing rush hour traffic. Our pallet had local mill heat treatment stamps however there was no international bug stamp, so as the workday finally began, Kyle made some calls to local pallet companies to ask if they would stamp our pallet with their bugstamp.
No pallet company would take the risk to be responsible for allowing pests to destroy Senegal’s forest, so at that moment we thought we were dead in the water, until a quick call to our agent proved that they didn’t care about bug stamps.
Once we entered the port, we realized we needed a security clearance, and that someone would have to escort us since we did not have it. (obviously from this point forward we were unable to take pictures). For 50$ an hour some guy essentially both watched us and guided us as we went through the process. First we stopped at the office to drop off the dock receipt. This is when things got a bit weird, and they looked at our pallet and our bikes, and laughed at why we wouldn’t just ride them onto the boat. This essentially lead to us chucking our pallet in the trash that we had spent the whole morning worrying about getting a bug stamp for. From there we rode our bikes into the warehouse, attached the panniers to the bikes and saran wrapped them for some sense of security (suggestion, don’t take personal items with the bikes, the dock workers thought we were insane).
After the bikes were taken care of, we went back to the office and were handed two signed dock receipts (since now the single pallet with 2 bikes had turned into 2 pallets). At this point we also realized that we had to give our titles to customs so they could process the export paperwork. The port people told us we could have given them the titles at the beginning of the process so we didn’t have to deal with that, but now it was too late. We rushed down to the local government building to try to catch the officers before they left for the day.
Once we arrived at the customs office, we handed over our titles and gave them an explanation of what was happening. They were very kind and made copies of the titles before stamping them so that our original titles would not show that the bikes had been exported. Theoretically the bikes would return to the US and one day, we would want to sell them to another party, and having that stamp would put someone off. At this point we were very happy that we had dealt with customs ourselves. With a quick call to the port, we told them customs had been taken care of and that the bikes could be loaded on the ship.
At this point we could not believe we had managed to pull this off. So many issues had cropped up at the last minute and both of us were in a slight stage of shock. We also were dead tired from getting 2 hours of sleep the night before, so we went down to the beach to take a breather.
Theoretically on the 22nd of August the bikes will arrive and our customs agent will have temporary import papers ready. Stay tuned.