Monday 15th April Miles Today 16 Total 16
Well the bad news is that the jackets still haven't arrived, so we have arranged to stay another day here in New York. Ray made contact with the company our jackets are coming from and they have assured us they should be with us later on today.
He has gone back to JFK airport, the Virgin cargo depot to collect the bike, and I got to do the washing and ironing. We know how to live even as intrepid adventurers....
Today is sunny so far, but still very cold and rain is in the forecast and likely to be with us as we travel to Philadelphia and Boston. However that is very mild compared to other parts of the US who have had 17 inches of snow in the last 24 hours, with more expected.
New York has been great, but we are both getting itchy, as well as achy feet and want to be back on the road.
Later that Day.....(Ray)
Customs: That was a piece of cake once I had found the correct office after getting on 3 trains and a bus. The customs officer was a bit suspicious as to why we would want to bring a bike into the land of hope and glory. He changed his tune when he asked what I did for a living. On answering that I was a retired police officer, he asked me if I had an ID card to prove it. I of course said no but was armed with a photo of Karen and I, in full uniform, with medals at the Cenotaph. On seeing this he then said, "OK I'm convinced" and Wallace was released from custody.
Virgin Cargo: Not so easy. After a long wait in the queue I was served by a very nice black lady who wanted to steal the bike. We settled on her having a look at it when unpacked. Once the paperwork was all done I went into the bonded warehouse where I was repeatedly told not to cross the yellow customs line. After a 10 minute wait a fork lift arrived and deposited a very large box on my side of the line. They were extremely helpful...Not. When I asked if I could uncrate it there they said no. I explained that I intended to ride it away and needed to get it out of the box. Not my problem sir, was the answer.
In the end I managed to get permission to strip it over in one corner and but was told that I needed to take my own rubbish away. How they thought I was going to take a 7 x 4 x 3 feet flattened box and frame away on a bike I'll never know, but clearly, they did not care either. I expected to have to give someone a "tip" but not to be blanked completely. Anyway, when it was almost stripped, a delivery truck turned up at one of the cargo doors so I asked the driver if he would take the box away for $20. Job done.
The next problem was getting the bike out of the warehouse. There was no ramp to the public side and driving it over the dreaded Yellow Line and past a lot of taxiing cargo planes was unlikely. In the end I had to strip all the boxes off and after showing the bike to the nice black lady in the office, just managed to squeeze Wallace through an alarmed fire exit door.
It was then, program the sat nav and set off for the New York rush hour. The 16 mile journey took over an hour. I was stopped at every set of lights which in a grid system of streets was at every intersection (about 100m intervals). Once back at the hotel, I called Karen down and we again unloaded all the boxes and took them upstairs. I then took the bike to the secure car park as recccommended by the hotel and was told. We don't do bikes sir. Then the guy mellowed and after I told him it was only for overnight he relented and wallace had a roof for the night. The good news was that the jackets had arrived.
We were now free to roam the North American Continent...Yeeeha.
The hotel room looked like a Chinese laundry, Karen having lovingly hand washed all our clothes, had decorated the room with them and skillfully put the air con on full blast towards the ranks of damp socks.
Then it was off to a pub for dinner and a few drink so say goodbye to New York.