The Joys of International Air Travel

December 29th and 30th, 2011

I had only spend a few minutes looking at flights when I got to Santiago, since I was more concerned about getting Curiosity shipped and I didn’t want to leave until the bike was gone. That didn’t quite work out, and as I was dropped off at the airport in the early afternoon (my flight wasn’t until 10, but I didn’t want a rush and the hotel check out was noon) Curiosity was still on the ground and I was getting annoying emails about this and that. My opinion of DHL, which had been high, was dropping fast.

Getting my boarding pass and getting through customs was easy, and I found a place with power and wifi to sit and people watch. I haven’t flown much in the last decade or so, but I am convinced there is little difference the atmosphere of an airport, although the old guy watching porn with neither discretion or concern was amusing.


I passed on the pisco, never acquired the taste.

Dinner was in a Ruby Tuesday, though they didn’t have half the stuff on their menu so it wasn’t quite like home, then I walked over to my gate.


Got on the plane and sat for another hour waiting to take off. Actually, we only really took off a few minutes late. It was supposed to be a nine and a half hour flight, and there were little TVs we could watch if we wanted. I planned to sleep as much as possible.


Around the time I woke up. There was a dinner and breakfast, but I had eaten before getting on the plane, and the food-goo in the little dishes wasn’t appealing.

I had given myself two and a half hours for the first connection, in Mexico City. We landed about 20 minutes late, so I was already behind schedule. I also had forgotten boarding was earlier than departure, so I lost more time. Then I learned I had to go through immigration into Mexico.

Lets just say I got to the Continental desk for my boarding pass about the time the plane was taking off.

Props to them, though, since they quickly had me on stand-by for the next flight so I would still make my next connection in Houston. If I hurried anyway. So I did. I had planned on lunch in Houston, something smoked and covered in tangy sauce, but it was not to be. Still I managed to make the connection (after re-entering the USA and, for the first time, having to take my shoes off to go through security).


Milwaukee. Cold, raining, and the coke tasted funny.

Once I was on the ground, had showered slept and eaten real food, It was time to refocus on Curiosity. In the end , the bike flew out on Sunday, so that’s good, right?

I sent an email on Wednesday asking the status of the shipment, and the next day received one saying the bike had shipped, but there was no tracking number or other information. Friday morning I called the Milwaukee DHL office to ask if it had arrived. They told me they had no idea where the bike was.


I expressed my opinion on this news for a few minutes, and the person on the other end assured me she would track it down and let me know later where it was, and would an email be okay? I guess I was being cranky.

Later in the day I got a message that they had found Curiosity, in a storage warehouse in Milwaukee. A final bill was being emailed me, and I had to pick the bike up no later than Monday or face storage fees. It was 2pm, and I was 3 hours from Milwaukee. Customs closed at 4:30, so there was no way I could get the bike that day. Customs in Milwaukee wasn’t open on weekends, so I had to wait until Monday.


Unlike all the other customs places I had passed through (Aduana, if you are ever looking for the sign in a Spanish Speaking country), the customs officers here did all the paperwork for me. I just handed over title, airbill and passport, waited about half an hour, and was all set.

Oh, and this is Mark


And his truck and trailer, which were here to help move Curiosity to my storage locker until I am ready for the rebuild.

It didn’t take long to figure out why the price had jumped so high.


Two bikes could have fit in that crate, and since when was it even going into a crate? And it got better.


They had run the straps through the bottoms of the wheels, which had completely failed to hold the bike up (both the side and center stands were up when I got it), and it fell over inside the crate. Not hard, all that happened was mirrors being knocked loose, but what a crappy job.

Mark had thoughtfully packed a couple hammers and I took out my frustration on the crate, which wasn’t up to the abuse as soon came apart. Then the bike and the crate bits went into the trailer.


Blue discussed some finer strap-down points with Mark


And we were off to the storage. I completely forgot to take a picture of the bike put away, but it is kind of sad anyway so I am okay with skipping it. This trip is on pause for now anyway so instead I will close out with one of my more favorite trip pics.


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4 Responses to The Joys of International Air Travel

  1. TriumFox says:

    Good to see you made it home safe.
    Here’s to the first leg if your journey, (I’m sure I can say this for many of your readers) and here’s to looking forward to the next.


  2. Dave rankine says:

    Hey it’s only 1850 for my GS out of BA. Hope to hear from you in your ever near Reno.


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