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December 27th, 2010 | Asia

Boxing the Big Fella…

Mohammed of Access Freight Services arrived promptly at 10.00am as promised, and I followed him through the streets of Al Abdali to the warehouse where the Big Fella was to be disassembled (in part) and put into his crate for the flight to Dubai…

I kept a close eye on my Fuel Management System, having noticed that I had a range of barely 3 km left in the tank… My calculations of the previous day had been perfect…!! There would be no need to siphon any petrol out of the tank… Fumes yes, but petrol… no…!!

The crate arrived on the back of a tired old pick-up, and at first glance looked a little flimsy… It took just two guys to lift it off the pick-up and place it on the ground next to the bike…!!

"Knew I'd be on the podium one day...!! But what's this all about, GB...??"

I began removing the panniers and top-box, and then we manhandled the Big Fella onto the base of the crate…

I removed the wind-screen, lowered the handle-bars and began the long process of getting the front wheel off… The reason for this was in the main because the last guy who had attached the front wheel had clearly torque it above and beyond what was necessary…!! I refer here to the beefy mechanic in Warsaw, Poland, who had fitted my new tyres…!!

We struggled for over an hour to get the axle loose so that we could get the wheel off… At one point we gave up and tried to move the bike into a position which would allow if to fly with its front wheel intact, but then discovered that because the crate had been made according to the size of an identical bike which had been flown out a few weeks previously, it was not high enough to a fit the bike with the front wheel on…

"Er... I don't recall you mentioning any maintenance scheduled for today...!! My front tyre is still good for thousands of k's...!! And why exactly are you fiddling with my windscreen and handlebars...??"

We found a pipe with which to get more leverage on the spanner, and eventually with a loud creaking noise, the nut was loose…

I had to remove the protective nose cone as well, in order to get the bike to fit perfectly into its temporary home…

It was strange to see the Big Fella on his knees…!! It seemed disrespectful somehow…!!

And I am pretty sure he wasn’t too pleased with the feeling either…!!

"What the hell is going on here GB...?? I don't like this game...!! Untie me while I can still find it in my heart to forgive you...!!"

We packed all my gear around the bike and then strapped it down onto the base of the crate…

Once we had lowered the crate over the base frame, we discovered that it was a touch too small… The roof of the crate pressed down onto the plate that held the top-box and Moheili al Din, a friendly and helpful employee from Access had to get up on top of the crate to push it down enough to get it shut properly… It only struck me later when we were in the car on the way back to my hotel, that I should have let some air out of the rear tyre, which would have reduced the height of the bike by the few centimetres that was required to make it a perfect fit…!!

"Ok, ok...!! Jokes aside...!! Let me outta here NOW...!!"

Mohammed insisted his carpenter put additional screws into the frame to secure it, and advised that the Carrier, Emirates, would place two large metal bands around the crate before it was loaded onto the plane…

Once we were all done, I posed for a photo with the crate, ignoring the mumbles that came from within…

"Hello...... Hello...!!! Anybody out there... It's bloody dark in here...!! GB, you got some 'splaining to do...!!"

I handed my Carnet over to Mohammed who assured me that it would be sent with the Airway Bill to his correspondent in Dubai…

I can only hope that all goes well, and that both Big Fella and his “passport” will be in Dubai when I get there…

Due to the upcoming New Year holidays, we decided to avoid any storage charges that might be incurred over this period by getting the crate onto a flight on the 31st, and I should be able to have my prized possession under me again on Sunday the 2nd of January…

Back at the hotel, I stood looking around my room, feeling strangely naked without all my gear scattered around…

I had kept the barest minimum with me, wanting to board my flight with hand luggage only…

Access Freight Services, Amman, Jordan...

All I could now do was to have faith that all the arrangements made by Mohammed and Access Freight Services would go off without a hitch…

I sent an email to the Super Freight in Dubai, advising them that the “package” was on its way to the airport, and to stand by for the arrival of a very precious piece of cargo…!!

For those of you interested to know how much this little endeavor cost, here is an approximate breakdown of the charges:

Crate, transport to the airport, and Access Fees: $500.00

Dangerous Good Certificate: $125.00

Airport Documentation Fees: $100.00

Weighing Fee: $35.00

Airfreight Cost on Emirates Air: $490.00

Total: $1250.00…

The crate measured 2170cm x 1060cm x 1235cm…

©GBWT 2010

4 comments to Boxing the Big Fella…

  • Charmz

    I can only imagine how “lost” you are feeling without your trusted “iron steed”. I pray that all goes well with both your travel plans and that the two of you are re-united on the 2nd January 2011.

  • Blimey, that a lot of money! You could buy a new bike over there and just took the stickers “big fellow” with you.
    Hope all goes as planned and you make a wrong turning and then ….. arrive in Cyprus he he he.

  • Mark Behr

    The cost of things is prohibitive. Hope the journey goes well.

  • Åke

    That’s amount of money you don’t ” talk away “….
    But that’s what an Overlander has to have in
    mind and in the budget.

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