Tuesday, March 3, 2015


The container ship has arrived! 

It sailed on January 18th, 2015 from Laem Chabang, Thailand, via Singapore, China and Japan and is finally here in the U.S.! A five week journey comes to an end, including the wait time in the Bay of San Pedro due to the strike of the Longshoremen.

Now just a few details are left to be solved: X-Ray of the container, customs clearance, warehousing, trucking to Chicago, warehousing there, truck to Champaign!

Will see when I can welcome the motorcycle in my garage again!

I will keep you posted.

NYK Argus moored at its anchorage site at the port of Long Beach, CA.
behind it is the container vessel "City of Aachen" (Stadt Aachen), registered under the flag of Barbuda&Antigua, not Germany. This conatiner ship travelled in the last weeks up and down the coast, the last port of call was Los Angeles.

Below: Container vessel at 'Terminal Island, Port of Long Beach, CA, south of I 710, Seaside Freeway.

Terminal Island from the air.

The red square show the position as of today, March 3, 2015.

Monday, February 23, 2015


My last blog entry of January 28, 2015 stated optimistically that the container ship "NYK Argus" which carries the crate holding my motorcycle would arrive at the harbor in Long Beach, California on February 13, the scheduled arrival time.

Since then it became apparent that the shipment will be delayed by quiet some time.

Thousands of container ships dot the entire Pacific coast, from Canada to Mexico, eager to land and be unloaded at American ports however the union of the Longshoremen is in tough labor negotiations with the shipping companies. Billions worth of goods are unable to reach the shores, The ocean at Long Beach/Los Angeles looks like the coast of Normandy on D-Day, like one of the journalists writing about this major strike reported it.

Some shipping companies divert container vessels coming from Asia all the way through the Panama Canal to harbors on the U.S. east coast.

"My" vessel, the Argus took it slowly and is now about 400 miles off coast. The revised arrival is scheduled for March 5th, some three weeks later than originally planned.

Additional delays can be expected since the shipping company already notified me that the container holding the crate with my motorcycle was selected to be X-ray-security scanned, according to the 2007 rules by the Department of Homeland Security.

This is a random, port side X-ray; one has to imagine the enormity of the task when in 2016 each and every container entering the U.S. will need to be X-rayed.

Yesterday, February 22: Leisurely speed of 0.2 knots. A course of 196 degrees, away from the coast (?)

Nippon Yusen Kaisha "Argus" close to the California Coast

Truck security screening by X-ray

Image result for container x-ray
Mobile x-ray scanner: In 2016 each container will be screened.

On the positive side we have to note that at present the winter here in Illinois is still pretty much in full swing; unusual temperatures of (today) -19 degrees Celsius prevail; the forecast for another week or so doesn't note much change. 

I am not too unhappy that the shipment of the motorcycle is delayed so much. It saves me from a rather frigid riding experience.

2015: Frigid Spring in Illinois

I like to end with an image from climatically more pleasant places. Here is an image I received from my friend Dave in Phnom Penh. He took it while out and about in the remote countryside. (His KTM can be seen in the back, on left).

The image shows the ingenuity of Cambodian motorcycle owners: here someone welded an enforced steel frame and additional suspension featuring a total of eight (!) shock absorbers to the rear of a 125cc Honda. 

Dave writes: 
"My next dream bike: Honda 125 with rear suspension mods. This bike routinely hauls 500 pounds of freight and gets 75mpg."

An image such as this makes me forget the snow, the ice and the cold here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NYK Argus passes by the Japanese island of Shikoku

Today, the 75,000 ton container vessel 'NYK Argus' passes by the smallest and least populated of Japan's four main islands, Shikoku.

It travels with a speed of 14 knots at a draught of 35 feet.

The last reported position before was in the East Taiwan Straights (Taiwan Banks) at height of Quangzhou, China.

This was four days and about 1,000 miles ago.

It will arrive in Los Angeles on February 13, 8:00 a.m., 16 days from now.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Trip Part 2: Phnom Penh, December 2014-Bangkok, January 2015

Overview Trip Part 1: October 2013-March 2014

NYK Argus Container vessel in route

Quick update on the large container vessel NYK Argus' route after it picked up the motorcycle in Laem Chabang port, south of Bangkok.

The container ship went in short sequence from Bangkok, Thailand, on January 18 to Singapore, the containers were NOT reloaded to another bigger ship, then, surprisingly, the ship went in short order from Singapore to Hongkong to pick up cargo, then to Shanghai were it was moored for two days, now it travels north along the Chinese coast.

If you enlarge the picture you see the little tag, 50 minutes ago was the last recording (January 25, 2015) traveling with a speed of 14 knots (16 mph, 25 km/h), soon reaching the northern tip of Taiwan.

The ship has traveled since my bike was loaded already some 2,500 nautical miles. I think this is amazing.

It is assuring that the tag says: Destination: Los Angeles.

Friday, January 16, 2015

NYK Argus

The newly built crate has already cleared Thai customs, is loaded LCL ('Less-than-Container-Load') into a container and was trucked to Laem Chabang where it awaits loading on board the container vessel NYK 'Argus', sailing under the flag of Panama, Singapore-bound.

Maybe the motorcycle is in this container I've seen on a road in downtown Bangkok? Who knows.

NYK 'Argus', currently in Singapore.
Will take cargo and sail from Bangkok on January 18, the day of my flight back to the U.S.
This is only a intermediate ship, cargo will be reloaded in Singapore to sail to Long Beach California.
For those curious: Ocean freight from Bangkok to Long Beach CA is a mere $540.-, this amounts to about 4 US Cents/km. (13,500 kilometers)

The way this was handled by Prompt Shipping Company Ltd. in Bangkok can only be described as "perfect". A visit to their offices today on busy Rama IV. Road, a last meeting with Khun Nikorn, the General manager, and all is done and settled.

The NYK 'Argus' sails to the port of Singapore on January 18 where the container will be transferred to an even larger container ship taking the cargo across the pacific to Long Beach, California.

We will see how everything goes with U.S. Customs; it shouldn't be a problem looked at the transaction from a rational standpoint, but Customs isn't rational, sometimes.

The journey will take four weeks, instead of the three months it took to get the motorcycle here.

I paid my bill, say Good Bye! to friendly, professional Khun Nikorn, and head out for even more important issues, such as getting the 'best haircut in the world', from a young tomboy at a salon where I have been before. And taking more pictures, of course.

My wine loving friends from the U.S could probably be found here, I guess.

My architect friends here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Walking the City

Without too much comment just some impressions from my walks through Bangkok. There isn't much to do for me anymore, I will have a last meeting with the Thai shipping agent tomorrow afternoon, my flight back to Chicago via Tokyo is on Sunday morning. I am not looking forward to the cold at all.

The temperatures here were wonderfully mild, little humidity, at least much less than in the coming months here.

Enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed finding the subjects and taking the image.

Police motorcycle

Japanese tourists

Military dictatorship 

Gift to the Shi, the Guardian Lion in the Buddhist temple, Foo Dog in the West, Komainu in Japanese.

Covered arcade in Chinatown. THis image reminds me a lot of the famous Paris 'Passages', I took an almost identical photograph there, Passage Brady, Paris.