Welcome Back to USA: Disaster & Ripped Off.

Well, it should have been an easy task. First, get my brother Jon to take some time and shuttle me up to the Port of Baltimore, where Doc would be waiting for me. I had locked my boots, helmet, and riding pants into the top box and Jesse Bags. My jacket was sent ahead for some repairs under BMW warranty, so with that, I’d just pick up the rest of the gear and ride back to Virginia to spend some time with my brother and his family before embarking on the cross-continental USA leg of my WorldRider journey.

Not so fast.

The freight was sent freight-collect. So I sent my final payment to WWL a few days earlier. All I needed was to get my final bill of lading stamped by WWL at the Port of Baltimore and then get customs cleared. Simple enough. I was just about through the whole process when the U.S. customs agent asked that I bring the bike around to verify the VIN#. He pointed to the warehouse where I’d find the bike.

But when I got to the bike, this is what it looked like:




On top of that, the key that I’d left with the WWL agents in Istanbul was in the ignition, the handlebars were locked, but they were locked in the first position. That is the position that locks the bars and puts on the “parking” light. The battery was dead. A port mechanic tried to help me jump the bike. But when the cables were pulled off, the bike just died. The battery is a goner.

But that’s not all. A closer inspection revealed that the locks were pried off my Jesse bags. My Aerostich Tank Panniers were slashed (I had small padlocks on the zipper pulls). Pulling the key out of the ignition, I opened the top box. My helmet was gone.

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That’s not all. My riding pants were gone. But oddly enough, my boots were still in there. Nearly anything of value was stolen:

$499 BMW Rallye2 Pants (gry/blk size 42R)
$279 ea. BMW GoreTex Rallye II liners (sold with riding gear; I packed in a stuff sack in a pannier. Replace jacket only; liner comes with pants $279)
$250 Caberg Justissimo Helmet (sadly no longer available in the USA)

$200 BMW Heated Vest

$159 Held Steve Gloves (size 7.5)

$130 Held Hawk Cold Weather Gloves (size 8) no longer available replaced new model

$127 Aerostich Ultralight Bike Cover (lg)
$117 Aerostich Tank Panniers (std. blk.)
$ 80 Held Air Gloves (size 7)

$ 79 Petzl Myo XP Led Headlamp
$ 47 Digital MultiMeter (mini)
$ 44 Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes (2 half; 2 qtr)

$ 25 Craftsman Screwdriver Set, Ratcheting
$ 25 Sears Digital Tire Gauge
$ 15 Silk Bacalava
$ 12 Silk Glove Liners

Minimum Loss To Date: $2,088 — from what I can remember.

Then add the cost of a new battery of about $60, and we’re over $2,100. Hey, if there ever was a time you’ve thought about putting some gas in my tank through my “Buy Me A Coffee” page, now is a good time to add to my kitty, as I’m going to have to replace most of this stuff for my journey across the United States. It makes me sick to my stomach and pains my brain to think that this happened just before I got home.

And thanks to all of you who have and many who’ve donated multiple times — I’m blessed to have your support and cannot thank you enough.

Thankfully, I had packed all of my electronics, GPS, camera, iPod, and clothing, among others things, in my duffel bag, which made it back to the States safely.
While I know this stuff was ripped off at the Istanbul port, it is extremely hard for me to believe. I’m saddened that the end of this part of my trip came down to the most significant breach of my journey. I’ve been to the purportedly most dangerous and unstable places in the world, and never have I been ripped off. Oh, yeah. I got pick-pocketed in the Buenos Aires Subte. But that was sans motorcycle.

Truthfully, this trip has reinforced my confidence in the good of humanity and the notion that with a good blend of attitude, streetwise, prudence, and common sense, danger, and rip-offs can be avoided — anywhere. Here I thought my bike was in the good hands of the largest auto shipping company in the world. But perhaps that is where I let my guard down, and it came back and bit me.

I’m told here by WWL’s NYC office that their liability is limited to $500 in damage – unless I have marine insurance. Items not “part” of the bike are not covered. I was never offered insurance by the WWL agent in Istanbul. I had no insurance on the bike as the most common domestic policies don’t cover vehicles when they leave the country.

1 reply
  1. MotoHippie
    MotoHippie says:

    Assholes. My 650GS was stolen last weekend from right in front of my apartment. They pried off the left side Jesse bag, ripped off my Cee Bailey’s windscreen (and broke it in the process), took the mirrors, and f’d up my aux lights. Strangely enough, as well, they left my boots which were in the right Jesse pannier that they had pried open. Oh, and they took my Gerbing. These guys can’t even appreciate that stuff.


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