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2007 Adventures My dream adventure - To motorcycle across the USA!

Oh what a day!

USA | Tuesday, 27 November 2007 | Views [893] | Comments [1]

Well what an interesting day - full of sheer delights and pure frustrations!  The day started magnificently with one of the best night sleeps I have had on the whole trip and awaking to a beautiful morning right in the middle of the Yosemite Valley full of the most spectacular cliff rock walls and formations you have ever seen.  It wasn’t anywhere as cold as I thought it was going to be, so I was off to an early start to get some photos before I left back to Oakhurst to see if I can get the emergency money being wired to me by Visa International – as organised the day before.  Today I wanted to get things squared away early, so I could ride to San Francisco and get a picture of the Golden Gate bridge and me at sunset.  After spending a few too little hours photographing Yosemite’s (by the way, is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen on this earth!) I raced back to my previous hotel in Oakhurst to see if Visa had left any messages about my money and hopefully I could just pop up to the bank and collect it and be on my way.  Well this is where the frustration part began.  Yes they had left a message, but the news was not good.  Bloody Westpac (my bank) had denied the clearance of the emergency funds – which was money already in my account.  To make it even worse, they gave no reason.  I couldn’t believe it because yesterday I had made about 3 phone calls to both Visa and Westpac to make sure everything was going to work.  So after calling Westpac (on Skype through the internet on my laptop, because  a) I still don’t have a mobile after some prick in Brasil pick-pocketed it, and b) the return charges telephone number to Westpac doesn’t not work in the United States, as the operator refuses to connect the call, and c) the hotel wouldn’t let me call them without paying and I didn’t have any money) and explaining the whole situation for the 4th time, because you cannot speak to the same emergency assistant at Westpac and they don’t take very good notes – the Westpac assistant tells me that the transfer was refused because it was higher than my daily cash advance limit.  Well you could of knocked me over.  I couldn’t believe after all the phone calls I made yesterday and even spoke to them about the transfer amount, that they failed to pickup on this problem.  Unbelievable!  Absolutely pathetic Westpac, if you are reading this.  So after going around and around the hoops again between Visa and Westpac on an internet telephone line that only works 50% of the time, I believed I had made new arrangements for some money to be transferred.  Now I had to wait 2-3 hours for the fax to be sent by Visa USA to Westpac Australia and back again with approval.  Surely it couldn’t fail this time, right?  So I thought I would make good of this time and blast off west towards the coast and get closer to Los Angeles.  As it was now 3pm, there was no way I was going to make it to San Francisco for sunset, so I decided to cut my loses and head a bit more south west for the start of the Pacific Coast Hwy and decided to aim for Santa Cruz on the beach.  Also, I haven’t mentioned that my North Carolina buddy, Larry, had kindly offered to charge the hotel room to his credit card in case I had problems getting the money in time.  So I had a backup plan.  Oh yeah, I am now out of money, apart from $40 after spending that unscheduled night in the most expensive hotel in Yosemite’s.    So considering I have to ride 180 miles, which is 1 tank of gas at $14, I definitely had enough money to make it to the coast, with spare change for a couple of beers! ;)  So I hit the road.  To my pleasure, the GPS had chosen the most magnificent sweeping back roads and there wasn’t hardly any freeway riding the whole way.  I made good time and nearly 3 hours later I arrive in Santa Cruz at around 6pm and well after dark.  I thought the best thing to do would be to go straight to a hotel and explain my problem and ask if I can use the phone or internet to call Visa or Larry to get his credit card number.  The first hotel wanted $150 dollars for the night which was too rich, so I got advice where some cheaper hotels were located.  After an 8 mile ride I entered the second hotel, the price was perfect at $60, but after explaining the situation, the owner got all worried and said he couldn’t help me unless I could secure the room with a major credit card.  Nor would he take a credit card number over the phone.  Well I couldn’t do this either, because my Visa card expired 3 weeks ago and Westpac didn’t send me the replacement in time before my trip (Yes - I notified Westpac  4 weeks before I left and they still stuffed it up).  By this time I was getting a little annoyed and it was about 7pm.  I then thought the 2-3 hours had well and truly passed that Westpac and Visa needed to clear the funds.  So I gave Visa a call (from the hotel carpark using the hotel’s wi-fi internet and skype) and was told that Westpac still hadn’t responded to their fax request!  Man I just about blew a fuse.  After explaining virtually the whole story again to Visa (you cannot speak to the same person there either) I convince them to phone Westpac and find out what’s going on.  Visa do however confirm that Westpac have approved the issuing of an Emergency Visa card and now they needed an address to courier it to.  But they needed to know an address in 20min otherwise the card would not be sent that night.  So I hang up and try and figure out where about I will be tomorrow night in Los Angeles.  Then when trying to book a Los Angeles hotel, they won’t let me book because I don’t have valid credit card!  Jesus!!!!  So I start explaining the whole story again for the 20th time that night.  After pleading with the hotel guy, he finally shows some sympathy and lets me reserve the room.  I quickly call back Visa and give them the details so they can send the card.  While I was doing all this, Visa had contacted Westpac and got verbal approval to clear the funds.  Yippee!  Now I had to find a Western Union outlet so I could collect the money.  The Visa lady gives me an address that is close by but is still about 7 miles away.  So off I blast, I’ve got 20mins before they close at 9pm.  The GPS is spot on takes me right to the door with 10mins to spare – except the lights to the shop are turned off and the sign on the door says they close at 8pm, not 9.  Arrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!  I jump back on the bike and find a coffee shop just around the corner that has wi-fi.  After buying a coffee, I log onto the internet and call Visa again.  The lady says ‘sorry’ and gives me another address.  Melissa’s Video is an outlet and they shut at 10pm and they are only 1 mile away.  So I blast off on the bike again, but this time the fuel light is on and I am now low on fuel.  The GPS says to pull over and the shop should be only 50ft ahead – well it isn’t and there aren’t any shops at all.  Now it’s 9:50pm.  I have no power left in my laptop, hardly any fuel and $20. Now things are getting a little tough.  I ride off and see a Travel Lodge motel down the road.  I pull in and ask the hotel guy for some help and explain the whole thing for the 21st time.  I tell him that I have a buddy that I can call that he will charge the room to his credit card.  The hotel guy says he cannot do any telephone transactions.  My blood pressure is rising now.  I stay calm and ask for his help, can he suggest anything.  He thinks and says the other Travel Lodge down the road might have a different policy – so he gives them a ring and explains the whole story (again).  Yes – they can help.  Off I go, 4 miles this time, Yellow fuel light blazing.  I walk into the reception.  The back door opens and a little Indian young man walks out.  ‘Can I help you?’  I tell him I am guy he just agreed to help on the telephone.  He asks me to explain the situation again because he didn’t really understand the phone conversation.  I thought - You have got to be joking right?  So here we go again!  He says in a curry voice, ‘Well that is sounding a little difficult Sir, unless you have a major credit card I cannot give you a room.’  I had to walk outside and take a couple of deep breaths , I think his life was in danger.  Barely remaining calm, I asked him to rethink the situation and if I walked out of there I didn’t know what to do next and would probably go to the closest police station.  He then called a name and another young Indian came out the door.  What is the problem, Sir?  Oh my god, if I have to explain this again I think it will be worth hitting these guys and getting free accommodation for the night in a lock up!  After going through the whole thing again, this other guy finally agrees to book the room on Larry’s credit card.  I wake Larry up (who is in Florida) and as usual he’s sounds happy to hear from me and is pleased to help.   They give me the keys and I have a bed for the night.  Phew!

Larry, sorry for waking you up buddy – but I surely appreciated your help tonight.  I owe you big time.   Hopefully you will get a laugh out of this story.  It’s all good fun and adds to an adventure like this.  Thanks again mate.

 So there you go... a challenging day.

Tomorrow, I am up early and riding the Pacific Coast Hwy down to Los Angeles.  It will be a long ride as I have to cover 350miles and 85% on one of America’s most famous scenic drives.  Hills and Cliffs on one side and Armco, Cliffs and Sea on the other with a million bends in between.  What a way to finish my cross USA motorcycling adventure! 

And hopefully I can find Western Union on the way and get my cash and my emergency Visa card will arrive at my hotel destination and on Thursday I can do some serious shopping before I leave on Friday..

Wish me luck.

Cheers

James

Tags: Adventures

 

Comments

1

Hey Mate, have been having a great read of your blog!! Sounds like yesterday was fun.....NOT!!! we have some great (Aussie and American) friendds in LA if want somewhere to stay and MJ in Orange County is one of the funniest guys you'll meet. Text me, if you want their contact details on +61 410 165 755. I am in London, leaving for Bangkok in about 6 hours time. Also, please have a think about about a best time i could come to visit you in Brazil next year, as it's "Holiday Bidding time" for me, for hols between April and Nov. TTYS. Cheers.......Stevo!!

  Stevo Nov 30, 2007 10:32 PM

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