With the bike unable to start the reality of the situation began to sink in. It became apparent that if i was to have any chance of reaching Claudia on time i had to leave it behind. It was an inevitable but difficult prospect to deal with, In one way it had become a friend. We had certainly helped each other out of all sorts of difficult situations but this time i let it down.
I offered to sell it to the workers at the gas station and when they wont interested so we began going through the phone book to see who else might want it.
It was inspected later that afternoon by some local boys that didn’t want it because their passion was with road bikes. They did give me the name of a guy who they thought could be interested.
I rang CJ immediately, he was in Fairbanks and wouldn’t be back until 11pm.
I began to use the remainder of the evening sun to organise my possessions and let things dry.
I cooked what would be my last meal with the beer can cooker.
I also took many photos and video of the bike from different angles.
CJ arrived as expected and we soon realised that we were both ADV inmates and traded stories on biking through South America.
The bike was in worse condition than he imagined and the fact that he wouldn’t be getting my pelican cases made him reluctant to make any offer.
We decided to talk in the morning after i investigated the bus time table.
The gas station where i was stuck also rented trailers. This one became the perfect dwelling for the required shut-eye that evening.
In the morning i found out that the next bus wasn’t leaving until the following day but i did recall CJ mentioning an old Volvo that he was trying to dispose of.. I went to check it out.
Hours later I had caught up with CJ and we had come to an agreement on a swap for his 1978 Volvo station wagon with 264 000 miles (425 000km) on the clock and about 20 days left on the registration. I had to give $100 more to quicken the process and sweeten the deal, I really needed to get going.
I realised he had a passion/love borderline obsession for these cars when I discovered about eight other Volvo’s of varied condition in his front yard.
A new chapter opened and i hit the road with the panniers and my number plate for memories in the back.
I picked up a hitch hiker as i left town, i removed my half eaten can of peaches from the passenger seat as he jumped in. He was a British fella who needed a lift to the turnoff to Dawson City. It was a such a car novelty!!
I continued towards the border.
Cutting a long story short…
I was honest with the Canadian immigration which resulted in an intense hour or so. I explained what i had done, that i was blinded by the fact that i had ridden 50 000 km to get to Alaska and would do anything possible to finish my journey.
They questioned if i realised the severity of my situation and the consequence for such actions. I told them that i lost my passport and bank cards in Canada and all i wanted was to go home.
Eventually i was given two options..
1) Return to the USA and be processed by their system…
2) Stay and you will be detained, taken to the jail in Whitehorse where you will await your trial in Vancouver. The most likely scenario would be issued a one way ticket to Australia never to return.
I thought about this for a moment and eventually chose option (2). My logic was that the US would probably do the same but with a Canadian detainment i had a chance of seeing Claudia in Vancouver before i was extradited.
I was told to sit and wait while the officer rang superiors to begin the process, it gave me a good ten minutes of thinking…
During this time I decided that I wanted to go in the opposite direction from Whitehorse jail!! I decided then to take my chances with the US???
Id always wondered what really happens in Guantanamo Bay.
The Canadians had rung ahead so the Americans were expecting me. The officers took it upon themselves to plant fear in my mind. They orded me to take a seat and announcing that I had entered The United States Of America… ILLEGALLY!! and will be processed accordingly.
I waited patiently but concerned for the following hour while another officer was due to arrive and process me.
I was very fortunate to leave after a four hour border ordeal. In my hands with papers that allowed me to travel to Anchorage, Alaska’s capital to contact the Australian embassy.
Fortunately there is an understanding between individuals who share the passion for adventure. It is the fundamental reason why this venture was possible. Without it, i would not be here, so i am forever grateful to all i have met with this trait.
I drove into the night towards Anchorage (9 hours). Naturally, not everything worked on the car and the bonnet nearly flung up at me at one stage but we had movement and hummed towards something….
I was forced to sleep when the rain got heavy and the bald tyres and windscreen wipers wont handling it.
In the morning i stopped at a phone and rang the embassy based in Los Angels, they told me that i couldn’t get a travel document in Alaska and would have to fly domestically to the west coast to see a consulate to prove who i was….
Convincing the airport security and airlines with my photocopy’s was my domain.
Disappointed i headed for Anchorage airport.
As i neared Anchorage there was a loud knocking from under the bonnet. It got louder and louder so i took my foot off the throttle and coasted to a stop under the 17 mile mark.
I popped the bonnet to have a look.
The engine was completely out of oil.
It had somehow lost it all through the night.
I took my stuff out of the back and stuck my thumb up…
It took about two minutes and i was in the cab of a pickup heading towards town….
21st July 2010… Only hours before Claudia arrived in Vancouver.