June 14, 2010

Home Again!


For those who don't know about it yet, I am safe and sound and back home again.  Arranging for the bike for to be shipped back to Canada was rather anticlimactic compared to getting it out of Calama.  I arrived in Santiago on Friday afternoon, so did not return to the airport until the following Monday.  I had just planned to find out where everything was and prepare myself for the ordeal that was sure to follow, based on my experiences to date.  As it it turned out, the bike boxes were waiting for me when I arrived and it was a relatively simple matter to arrange for having them transported to Canada.  LAN Cargo gave me a choice of three Canadian airports, Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary.  Calgary is a mere 3 hours south of Edmonton, so that is where the bike will go.

According to the LAN cargo tracking thingy on the internet the bike left Santiago today (the 14th), so it should be in Calgary by the end of the week.  The cost will be a bit over the USD 1500 and change LAN Cargo charged, as I had to pay additional fees for having it shipped as 'dangerous goods', which involved having a third party prepare paperwork and labels.  I also had to pay a warehouse fee to the warehouse company LAN uses.  No doubt there will be additional fees when it lands in Calgary as well.  It seems like a lot but it would have cost more, (a lot more) to ride it back, and I was running out of time, as I would only have medical insurance until the end of June.

As soon as I had the bike taken care of it was a simple matter to arrange for a flight back.  My flight left late Wednesday and landed me in Toronto the following morning, where my good buddy Ken was waiting for me, he dropped me off at my mom's house where I could rest up from the 10 hour flight before catching a plane to Edmonton late the next day.  Saturday and Sunday were unwinding days, catching up with the kids, and watching the sun go down at nearly midnight.  Yes it will be summer in the North, and with daylight savings time there is still light in the sky at midnight.  Quite a switch from South America, where it was pretty much a 6 to 6 daylight no matter the season.

So what to do now?  Obviously the KTM will be getting some attention when it arrives, as there is a lot of riding to be done yet.  I also dusted off the old Norton Commando and fired her up (first kick!) after it had been placed in suspended animation for the last two years.  It sure is a fun bike to ride around town, but it is a bit of rat, and it needs a lot of work before I dare to ride it a greater distance than I can push it home, not to mention the limitations of a 2 gallon gas tank.

I will be maintaining the blog, turning it to less about my days and more about my thoughts about bikes, in particular old bikes and old bikers.  I will also be overhauling the South America blog to turn it into a beginning to end narrative instead of the blog format where the last post is first.  I have well over 3000 photos to sort, some of you have said that you liked the pictures I have taken.  I hope to do something with the best ones.  My secret for getting a few good pictures is the machine gun strategy, take enough photos and one or two will hit the target and turn out not bad.  I would certainly appreciate your suggestions and comments on the pix, especially the ones you liked the best.  My two favorites are posted at the head and tail of this post.

According to the counter thingy I put on the blog in April some time there have been about 1600 page hits on this blog, so somebody is reading this stuff.  Don't be shy, email me with suggestions on how to make the blog better and what will keep you coming back.  I already know that frequent posts makes a huge difference, and I apologize for taking a break and leaving everybody in the dark. 

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