The last time I posted I was waiting in the the customs office not sure if my motorbike was ever going to be released from Canadian Customs!
Well, after spending all day in the Canadian customs office they finally took pity on me at 3.55pm and stamped my paper work and released my bike from the system!!
I let out a big whoop whoop and ran out the building on the phone to the dock manager asking him to keep the office open for me as I was on my way!
I ran down to the waterfront and briefly said hello to a Hells Angel from Ontario having some lunch with his (young) old lady at the waterfront cafe I then caught the Halifax ferry across the water to Dartmouth. I sat on the top deck, sat down next to a man and just started talking to him about what I was doing.
His name was John, and he was catching the ferry home. He drives to the Dartmouth side to avoid the bridge crossing traffic and catches the ferry across the water! During the conversation he very kindly offered me a lift to the carport where my bike was being kept!
I happily accepted and within 15 minutes of the ferry docking in Dartmouth I was at the carport sign the documents to collect my bike! I checked her over ( my tool box had been opened on the ferry or at the carport and somebody had stolen my air pump, puncture repair kit, torques spanners and gaffer tape-bastards) other than that she was tip top and ready to ride away!
I rode gently back to the hotel where I left my bags in the morning and they kindly let me have a shower in the gym showers as I was hot and sweaty from the long days hanging around. After I packed my bags into the bike, got myself sorted and fired her up and head out of Halifax around 6pm and on to the USA border at Houlton to get through to Boston by daybreak!
Around 11pm it started to rain so I pulled over at a Timmy Ho’s and popped on my waterproofs, by this time I was only a half hour away from the USA border, I grabbed a cup of coffee watched a huge chicken truck roll by me and rested a while before heading out in the rain!
A years worth of planning and research was paying off and I was just a few minutes away from seeing the whole of the United States!
I pulled up to the border as slowly and as quietly as I could with the loud pipe on my bike, slowed right down as the US Border Guard raised his hand for me to come to a complete stop. I stopped.
His attitude was one of immediate hostility and bad attitude toward me.
Something I’ve rarely seen or encountered when riding a motorbike.
Me- Good evening sir.
Him- What? What? Who are you? Why are you here? From England? Why are you trying to enter the USA at midnight? Is that camera recording? You must delete that right now in front of me, it’s an offence to record at the border.
Me- yes sir, straight away. Sorry. I was not aware that recording was not allowed. (I’ thinking …..Why the fuck would it be???) (oh yes, it’s the USA)
Sir, I am riding here all around Canada and the USA and right now I’m heading for Boston.
Him- What? Why the hell are riding a motorcycle at midnight?
I explained everything to him. He asked me to push my motorcycle around the corner and step inside.
I stepped inside.
He ran my passport. Asked me if I had applied for ESTA before traveling here. I said yes. He said was it approved? I said yes, he said God knows how?!
That’s when it went wrong. All my plans and ideas and dreams and things I wanted to do in the USA fell away from me like a man who’s skeleton suddenly disappears.
Sorry son, you have a record on here for possession of marijuana so I won’t be letting you I today.
How did you get ESTA? Well, I said it was only ever a caution from my youth, I was never convicted of it.
Doesn’t matter son. We treat a caution as a conviction. So sadly for you, you won’t be coming into the USA.
I could hardly believe my ears. This whole trip had been about the USA and all it held. Now. Well, I just didn’t know what to do.
They don’t just turn you around if they refuse entry. They make you wait, and wait, and interview you, and fingerprint you, and blacklist you. Try and attempt to enter the USA son without a no immigrant visa and we will arrest you, impound your motorcycle and send you home at our convenience. Clear?
I didn’t cry. I was not rude, I was polite until the end. I kept my chin up, shook his hand and after three hours they let me go, I rode back into Canada and had a think about what to do.
My flights from JFK was now never going to happen as I can’t fly home from there now, will have to cancel it.
I can’t ship my bike home from NYC as I had arranged, will have to cancel it.
My bike won’t be getting a free service by BMW Long Beach California, will have to write to them and let them know. What’s happened.
now I have to arrange & spend money on another flight, and arrange a paid service which will now eat into my already limited budget. Great!!
All fixable things though and not the end of the world. Just have to find a way through it.
Let’s see what happens.
For now though……sleep!