Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Hello, Old Friend! - Los Angeles, CA – 8 June 2018

8 June 2018 – The Nissan Dealership called up and told my brother, Larry, that his truck was ready to go. The rebuilt transmission is installed and she’s ready to roll. We drove over there, walked in, and there it sat. Larry paid for the repair work while gritting his teeth. One of the technicians drove it out of the shop into the parking lot and gave me the key. I had to get his truck back home, so after the formalities were over, we walked out and I asked him if I needed to know anything special about driving this truck. He said, nothing special. I told him not to lose me in traffic on the way home because I didn’t have a GPS with me and I could get lost. So off we went. The truck and transmission seem to work ok to me.

I pulled into the drive way and parked. I got out and told Larry he should take his truck for a ride and see what you think. He really didn’t want to but he did. The bitter taste of the bill hadn’t gone away yet. We left his neighborhood and headed up a steep incline which lasted over a 1/4 of a Mile / .4 Kilometers. He couldn’t believe how well the transmission shifted and that it hadn’t shifted that good since it was a new vehicle. I never saw a guy so happy with his old truck. After a few more miles we headed back to the house. 

When we got back home, I checked my e-mail and my broker had sent an invoice and as soon as we pay my broker fees, we can reclaim my motorcycle. As I paid the fees to this broker I was gritting my teeth like my brother was gritting his while paying for the transmission repair in his truck. We put together a small list of tools were going to take with, such as a battery-powered drill motor, phillips screw driver tips, claw hammer and wrecking bar. 

With Larry’s freshly repaired truck and a few tools we drove down into Los Angeles to the Avianca Cargo Warehouse. We arrived at the warehouse and went in. We waited for the next available clerk. Eventually, we were helped. I provided all the paperwork to get my motorcycle out of the warehouse. The clerk compiled all the paperwork and said that before your motorcycle can be cleared out of this warehouse, there’s another fee of around $55. The next thing he said is we don’t take cash, credit cards or personal checks. Wow, that didn’t leave many options open to us. Larry and I looked at each other and said, is there a Post Office near here? The clerk said, there was. He gave us the directions. Before we left, we asked the clerk if Avianca took Money Orders. He said they did. We also asked who we should write the check out to and the official address of Avianca Cargo Warehouse.
With all our ducks in a row we tore out of there to get to the Post Office before it closed. It was now after 3:00 p.m. and if we get lost, I might not get my motorcycle out of jail. It was a bit of a struggle but we found the Post Office, purchased the Money Order and then tore back to Avianca Warehouse. They close at 5:00 p.m., or at least the office staff goes home at 5:00 p.m. We get back to Avianca with time to spare. Our paperwork is processed and we paid the clearance fee. My motorcycle is released and we go to the waiting area in the warehouse. A forklift driver will bring up my motorcycle as soon as it fits into his loading and unloading schedule. 

We wait about 20 minutes, and here comes the box with my motorcycle inside. The fork truck driver pulls up and asks if this is the box we are looking for. It was and I signed off on his form that I received it. I then ask the driver if he could drive down the ramp, across the warehouse parking lot, crossing a major parking lot thoroughfare / street to a row of trees which were on the edge of public parking. He said, no problem and drove to my requested spot in the shade. What a lucky break on that. I thanked the guy and he sped back to the warehouse. He probably drove close to 200 Yards / 200 Meters to drop off my motorcycle in the shade. He did it with no complaining. I was impressed. I know it wasn’t that hot but it was well into the high 80+ F / 27 C. 

Now box teardown must start. It’s already after 4:00 p.m. First, we take off the top and then remove the sides. Lastly, we remove the tie down straps and roll the bike off the pallet. And there she sat. It will take me a bit before I can start my motorcycle. The battery has to be reconnected and mirrors put back on. The battery was the most difficult. I had to pull off one of the side panels to get to the battery, then remove the battery covers and reattach the battery cables. I see my battery washer made it home ok. When I hooked up the battery cables, I will put that washer back where it belongs. The battery is hooked up, battery covers in place and side panel put back on. I dig the mirrors out of my top box and get a wrench out to tighten them on. That took 5 minutes and two minutes to set them correctly. Well, it’s time to see if my trusty steed will start. I turn the switch on, the head light lights up, the signals work, the tail light and break lights both work. Let’s see if it will start... The gas is turned on, it has oil in the crankcase, choke's on and I push the starter button. I hope you all didn’t fall for that “No gas”, “No oil” and “No battery” messages written on the tape on my gas tank. It always had gas, oil and a battery. It was just a way to speed it thru Brazil Customs. I learned a few things when I was in South America.

Varoom! My bike / my trustee steed is running! I install the GPS and it comes alive. I enter my brother's address. Together my brother and I loaded the broken-down wooden box and pallet into the back of his pickup. This is the Nissan Pickup he just had the Nissan rebuilt transmission put into. He’s already has driven in 60 and 70 Mph / 100 and 113 Kph traffic with it. I know he made the right decision about that. I did a happy dance around my motorcycle with Larry recording it on my cell phone. I was damn glad to have my motorcycle back. That concluded our work at Avianca Cargo Warehouse. 

It was after 5:00 p.m. and it was full blown rush hour traffic thru Los Angeles and I had to ride thru it. My motorcycle was running, my GPS was programmed, everything was picked up and I had Larry’s specific directions to his place. With me leaving Avianca Warehouse, my motorcycle paperwork is pretty much finished. I still have a couple of loose ends that I need to tie up with my broker but in the meantime I’m outta here.

I rode with traffic as long as the traffic kept moving. Several motorcycles passed me, splitting lanes or riding the shoulder. Eventually the traffic stopped dead. I then moved to the shoulder of the road and rode 20 Mph / 35 Kph till the traffic sped up. The first thing I notice is that most drivers were respectful of motorcycle riders. I didn’t always find that to be the case in Mexico and Central and South America. Anyway, I merged on to all the correct roads and exited on all the correct off ramps. I just got off the freeway when I saw my odometer turn over 50,000 Miles / 80470 Kilometers. That’s a milestone as far as mileage goes. I pulled over, stopped and took a picture of my odometer. I hope one day to see 99,999.9 Miles / 160,934 Kilometers. That day will be the last day this motorcycle will be ridden. After taking the picture I continued on my way back to my brother’s house. When I arrived, I rode it into his back yard and under his lanai where I will refresh my motorcycle starting tomorrow.

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