We returned to the docks on Wednesday, 16 January, 2008.
We were scheduled for an inspection meeting involving three of the parties that operate on the docks: MARVAL, the overall operating company; TPS, the German company that operates the portion of the docks that our ship came into; and San Francisco, the subcontractor to TPS that unloads the ships.
On the bus ride back to the meeting I spotted the lift frame that should have been used to lift out our rig.
It is stored about 150 feet from where the crew unloaded our rig.
Large lift frame.
My task was to uncover the rig so we could inspect the camper shell to see if it was compromised, i.e. destroyed, by the improper equipment used to lift our rig off the ship.
Top corner of camper that was pinched in by the lift cables.
Drip rail / rain gutter bent in by lift cables.
Camper top cargo rail de-bedded by lift cables.
Dent and scratches on cab from lift cables.
I could not find any cracking or crushing of the camper. Until I get a hose and some water on it I will not know if it is leaking.
My conclusion is that Bigfoot builds very strong 3000 series products.
I think an aluminum camper shell would have folded up like a beer can if exposed to the crushing forces of four lift cables holding the weight on our rear axle.
TPS signed off on a document detailing the damage and accepted responsibility for same. If we are lucky, we may be compensated within a few years.
After waiting for the paperwork to be processed, we were finally released from receiving storage.
All four us us (Steph, Jorge, Mario and myself) climbed into the Fuso cab.
We then ran the gauntlet of the docks.
Next stop was customs, where the inspector needed to verify our three VIN numbers (Fuso & two bikes) and issue us our temporary importation documents.
She wondered at the sacrifice we were making by traveling for three years. That’s the first time we’ve heard it referred to as a sacrifice.
The last hurdle was the exit gate. They were taping a scene from a Chilean soap opera just outside the gate. I thought that was fitting, considering what we’d been through the previous week. It had been, in some respects, a real soap opera. And here the Fuso would be in the background, an extra, in a real local soap.
The gate inspector came out and eyeballed the two bikes in the garage, and finally we were through, released into freedom.
At approximately 9PM / 21:00 we rolled through the exit gates of the Valparaiso docks.
Our first stop was the plaza in front of the Chilean Navy building & monument.
Our next stop was the local Fuso body shop, where the door will be repaired.
We pulled in about 9:45PM. The manager had stayed and waited for us. Had that level of service in the U.S. lately?