Countdown to invasion

One week to go and everything seemed to be in hand.

The days of the final weekend were spent gathering the last bits of kit – dry-bags, lightweight camping gear and a new intercom for the bike. The evenings were spent in the good company of the Edinburgh crew for impromptu food, drink and music.

I should mention the guys in the wrenching department at Edinburgh Harley-Davidson have been great. I must have been into see them at least half a dozen times since I’d bought the Trooper – for the saddle-bags to be fitted, little bits of extra kit and advice, and a service. They even arranged a last minute fitting of the intercom system on the Monday morning before the Trooper was dropped off at the airport. So thanks Simon and Rob.

Dropping the Trooper off at the airport proved to be a more interactive experience than I’d anticipated. I’d expected to just turn up, disconnect the battery and go. I was a little surprised to find out that I had to ride the Trooper up makeshift wooden ramps into the x-ray machine. I wish I had caught the guy’s name at Servisair who handled checking the Trooper in. He was a fellow biker and was extremely helpful in getting everything sorted. I felt as if I was leaving the Trooper in safe hands.

One thing that was a little disappointing was that it seems that I could have sent the Trooper over with full saddle-bags. The pallet the Trooper traveled on was booked by weight – 330kg. The Trooper was 25kg under as I had left a buffer for luggage. From what the Servisair guy told me, attitudes toward flying a laden bike may vary from airport to airport, and I guess that Gail in her instructions was being cautious. But at Glasgow it seems as if it wouldn’t be a problem and it would have saved me a £40 excess baggage charge when I checked in my bags 4 days later.

All that was left now was to pack my bags and to head off to Glasgow for a fitting send-off – Iron Maiden! I went across with Alex Rattray from Tribe Tattoo, and we met up with Erik Tricity and some of his Orcadian buddies who’d flown down for the gig. The Irons were on top form and I was right at the front when the distinctive opening of the Trooper blasted out. The crowd went wild. My send-off was complete!

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