From the corner of 4th Avenue and Spokane I decided to walk, the Customs House is on Klickitat Avenue, .... no more than half a mile away, it should take me ten minutes. I'd forgotten, or had never realised, that here in America, .... folks tend to drive and not walk.
I arrive at the rail crossing, it is on my map, I was heading in the right direction. The train was long, ... very long indeed. It stopped several times, .. it pulled forwards and then reversed, .. and then forwards again before stopping and blocking my path. Twenty minutes later, I finally walk across the rail lines, .. heading west. My destination is on Harbour Island, ... the pedestrian walkway ends but there is a cycle track that will take me safely across the water. Thirty minutes later, I arrive at Marginal Way West, .... I've walked too far, I've somehow managed to overshoot Harbour Island, I'm not 'lost', I'm just in the wrong place. I can see exactly where I need to be, I could easily ride or drive there, ..... but walking is difficult, there is no pavement, ..... is 'Jay Walking' still a crime in the USA?
I backtrack and find a staircase leading down from the cycle path onto the island below, .. I walk down and find myself on Klickitat Avenue. I have a choice, North or South. I choose North and set out in search of Building D, 1021. Another thirty minutes pass and I'm back at my starting point, this time heading south. I see a postman, ..... I ask for the Customs House at 1021, ... he points to the building just ten feet behind me, the large sign announcing 'US Customs' ... a wry smile on his face.
Inside the office, I introduce myself to the two immaculately uniformed customs officers, .... they seem to be expecting me. The Brazilian rider Roderigo has been here already, he has telephoned several times .. he has left an impression, .. an impression of great urgency. They ask me how my 'Race' around the world is going, ... I explain that for Poor Circulation it's more 'Reclining' than 'Racing'. My papers are stamped and the procedure for collecting the bike is clearly explained, ... however there is a small problem. The Tiger's are part of a larger consignment; three individual motorcycles and a crate of reading glasses from Korea, ... no part of that consignment can be collected until the entire load has been cleared. We are still waiting for Customs Clearance from one party, ..... and the container is still awaiting a 'Customs Inspection', ..... possibly Friday, more likely Monday.
We're already on first name terms, Jennifer asks me to wait for a minute, ..... she busies herself on the telephone as I chat with other customers. Minutes later the news is slightly better. Jennifer has contacted the Customs Inspection Team, .... they hope to move the container onwards tomorrow, Wednesday 20th August, ... it is not a guarantee, ..... but every little helps. I thank them sincerely and begin walking back towards 4th Avenue. A horn sounds behind me, a fellow customer from the office pulls alongside in his car, ....... 'can I give you a lift?'.
At this moment in time, I do not know exactly when the bikes will be ready for collection, ... but I hope that it is soon. Seattle is experiencing unseasonal storms at the moment but the forecast for the weekend is good, .... warm air and sunshine. It will be nice to begin riding south towards Boonville under clear skies, ........ I can only hope.