It doesn't seem to matter how much planning you do, some things are just out of your control. My Pan-American cycling adventure didn't get off to the greatest of starts…
Flying from the UK to Alaska
This is a brief recap of the first few days cycling from Alaska to Argentina. Not that these days involved much cycling!
Steve picked me up at about 04.30 on Wednesday to take me to the airport. It meant having a few hours to fill in before my flight, but I had a decent book so it passed quickly. I checked in at the earliest time I could, and my mountain of baggage went through with no problems. A meal and a pint later, it was time to get on the plane, and off I flew to Frankfurt.
A problem at Frankfurt Airport
It was at Frankfurt baggage collection that I had a problem, and its a problem who's knock on effects are pretty unknown right now. BA had managed to lose one of my bags – the one with all the camping gear and clothes in it. After an hour of queuing up, the woman behind the counter said that it had missed my flight, but that she would put it on the next one. No worries then, I could just hang around the terminal and collect it when it arrived. Three hours later, I went back, only for the woman to say that it had also missed that flight. This was not good news. I arranged for it to be delivered in Fairbanks, Alaska, struggled over to terminal one with my slightly smaller mountain of baggage, left it all in an overnight facility, found a quiet corner, and tried to get some sleep.
After sleeping at the airport
Next morning, I zipped back over to terminal two to reconfirm the address I wanted it sending to, and went back over to terminal one to check in for my Condor flight to Fairbanks. Check in went without a hitch, and I eventually boarded an uneventful flight. Customs was a breeze in Fairbanks, but when I had collected what was left of my baggage, my second problem occurred in the form of the US environmental agency, who insisted they wanted to sterilise my bike and trailer. This meant unpacking it all whilst they washed it and hastily assembling it back together – which took about two hours.
Warmshowers in Fairbanks
By this time, i had missed my ride with my warm showers hosts. Luckily, the airport had a wif-fi point, and I managed to get the details I needed, and got back in contact with them. Chase and Phyllis came back out to fetch me, and took me to their house just on the outskirts of Fairbanks. Its a really beautiful house, and they've put me in a great room with shower opposite – something i urgently needed after 48 hours on my feet. They cooked a meal at night for me and a couple of their friends who were visiting, and i headed to bed around ten.
Baggage update – Through a German number redirected to an Indian call centre who's computers are down, the BA website, a number for BA in the UK and other means, I have determined that theoretically, it is on its way to Fairbanks. If all goes well, I will get it today, so fingers crossed and positive thoughts!!