11.05.2010

Dude- what are your plans tonight? We gotta get to Baltimore!




Our shipping company (who shall remain nameless) altered the terms of our agreement. Now, they won't give us a reliable window for when the ship arrives, so if we get to the port in Mombasa on December 27th and it's been there already for __ days, the Kenyan goverment has themselves a new Land Rover. OR we might get there and sit around in Mombasa for 10 days because the ship hasn't made it! Lame!

It's 2:00 PM on Wednesday and I hung up the phone with Jason. He's in a hurry to drive to Topeka to try to get a hard copy of the title for the vehicle, becuase UNLIKE WHAT THE OTHER COMPANY HAD TOLD US, the copy of the registration alone wouldn't work!

In addition, all the other shipping companies he had called (except for about 3) told him there was NO WAY that we could get a vehicle there by Christmas! What is happening?!? If there was any hope of getting the vehicle out, it had to be on a ship by Friday. We had to get to Baltimore!

I got off the phone with my boss and verified that I could move everything on my schedule back, keep up on emails and drive that night to Baltimore. We would be negotiating and working out a deal on the way and on a hope and a prayer, we would have something secured when we got there.

We drove for 20 hours straight. Jason, myself, and Charlie (who is going to Africa in January for the first time) arrived in Baltimore Thursday night with no idea where to stay. After driving around aimlessly we finally arrived at a hotel and crashed.

This morning, we went to the harbor. We were told at the first place we stopped that we had reached the military wing of the shipping yard, and that we would have to forfeit our licenses, have a search of the vehicle done, and then turn around and proceed to the next entrance.

Charlie "Chuckles" K.


We got to the next entrance and were then told that despite the fact that we had arranged passage and had confirmation manifests, we would have to find an "escort" in order to get the vehicle into the port, inspected and finally put on the boat. Again, the vehicle was inspected and directed back out of the port. 
 
OK... at the nearest gas station, one lady looked at us cluelessly when we asked about an escort (probably didn't sound the best), and the other said "I think there's a place around the corner that you can find someone." 

Jason eyeing the port with chagrin.

We knew time was running short as we had to get this thing on the boat. The contact with the shipping company who had gracefully arranged everything ahead of time told us the deadline was TODAY. We pulled around the corner into a suspicious-looking gravel lot. A dingy trailer sat
near the entrance. Next to the door, a chalkboard had the following scrawled in chicken-scratch next to an awkward smiley-face:

DRIVERS CHECK IN HERE ---->

We were kinda weirded out. Jason went in, while I tried to pretend I didn't notice the portly guy standing in the window staring at me like I was going to steal his bike. 10 minutes pass and Jason returns. "It's getting a little weird."


Randizzle

He proceeds to tell us that he has to drop us off and he has to return, alone, to the office where some guy with a thick Russian accent is going to help him. He would have no ride back from the shipping yard, and there was no telling how long it would take.

We went to the nearest hotel, got a room, and sat in a McDonald's, waiting.


ANNNNND the rest of the story is anti-climactic. Jason went back, the inspection went super-smooth, and now the vehicle is on the boat waiting to go. He didn't work with the Russian guy- instead, he got the big dude who was standing in the window staring me down. His name was Elvis. No joke.

We spent the rest of the day drinking copious amounts of coffee, eating seafood and sushi, and checking out all that downtown Baltimore has to offer. Very cool town! We definitely plan on coming here to ship all of our vehicles! Sorry- no pictures of the dock. It was crawling with intense-looking people and I didn't care to run the risk of getting my wife's camera taken from me.

It was a surreal feeling, getting this vehicle here and getting it on the boat. We won't see it again for another 7 weeks, when we pick it up and begin the psycho road trip. We are so excited and grateful to see all of this come to fruition. Thank you so much for your continued support. This just gets cooler and cooler by the second! 

Until next time,


Randy Jason Charlie

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