Buddies along the route... Charleston, SC to Benning - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old August 2nd, 2012, 09:14 PM
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Buddies along the route... Charleston, SC to Benning

Hey Folks,
I'm about to hop a bus to the Airport (where I'm going to sleep tonight) and then catch a flight at 0500 to Charleston to pick up my 86' 110 SW. I know the long-drive home of a never-seen untested rover isn't the most practical thing to do - but I've read of plenty of folks on this forum doing it and I've got all weekend to get it back to GA. I've got a pretty thorough PMCS checklist I'm going to go through before I even leave the port parking lot. Plus I'm young and still pretty dumb and it might make for a good story if its an absolute fail.

I'm trying to mitigate as much risk as possible. I've packed tools, a cooler, and other road-side amenities. I'm looking for a list of potential buddies along the route from Charleston, SC; through Augusta, GA; through Macon and onto Columbus/Ft Benning. Please PM me your # if you are along that route and would be at all willing to lend a hand with a short tow in exchange for lunch, or have garage space you'd be willing to trade a beer-an-hour. This is worst case scenario - but it never hurts to plan ahead. Thanks folks in advance!

Dave
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 09:52 PM
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there's also the Birmabright Brotherhood
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 10:02 PM
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I have also heard that the birmaBrighT BroTherHood is good.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 12:53 PM
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I live in Americus, about 35 miles from Benning, and work in Macon (actually in Warner Robins close to the base) several days a week...up and down I-75 a lot...

If you have trouble on the last leg of your journey give me a shout..

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Old August 3rd, 2012, 02:10 PM
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Dave got turned around @ the port. I got full clearance /release on his truck 8 days ago. He shows up this morning and a USDA officer puts an "emergency hold" on his truck and says it needs to be decontaminated via steam cleaning for $1400. This is unprecented- the time for this would have been during the clearance process. This would have never happened if Dave had been able to pick the truck up last week when it cleared but being a Captain in our Army he had to apply for and be granted travel leave. To add further injury to the insult the contractor that handles steam cleaning @ Charleston couldn't get it done today while he waited, so Dave is going to have to go through all of this again. Days like today I have little positive to say about our government. The fact that they would pull like this on an active duty US Army Captain really twists my shorts. Dave is a perfect gentleman and handled this major setback far better than I would have. This truck was purchased from a UK dealer and wasn't some dirty "just off the farm" ebay purchase.



Another example of our smart guy government @ work. Last month I had a container loaded and it was on the quay waiting to load on a container ship. As part of the export security filing US Customs gets my filing before the ship loads. US Customs in Liverpool England decided they wanted to do an "Intensive Exam" on this container before even allowing it to be loaded. They cut the seal off and inspected my cargo and allowed it to load. While the ship was en-route I got an email alert that Customs was going to X Ray (vacis exam) this same container they had already opened and inspected- but wait it gets better ! After unloading from the ship but before the X ray happened I get another email that US Customs will be conducting an "Intensive Exam" on this container. Intensive exams on this side cost appx $1700 and are dreaded more for their cost than the actual inspection (since my imports are of course above reproach). I flipped out on US Customs (which I have to do through my broker) and accused them of doing everything possible to grab as much money as possible and that clearly these exams had nothing to do with inspecting the cargo since that had already been done by them. @ that point they backed down and cancelled both the Vacis and intensive exams. This stuff is all tracked on a computer system, they knew damn well what they were doing and had I not reacted like a man possesed they would have done three different exams on the same cargo and charged $thousands.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 02:55 PM
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Dave got turned around @ the port. I got full clearance /release on his truck 8 days ago. He shows up this morning and a USDA officer puts an "emergency hold" on his truck and says it needs to be decontaminated via steam cleaning for $1400. This is unprecented- the time for this would have been during the clearance process. This would have never happened if Dave had been able to pick the truck up last week when it cleared but being a Captain in our Army he had to apply for and be granted travel leave. To add further injury to the insult the contractor that handles steam cleaning @ Charleston couldn't get it done today while he waited, so Dave is going to have to go through all of this again. Days like today I have little positive to say about our government. The fact that they would pull like this on an active duty US Army Captain really twists my shorts. Dave is a perfect gentleman and handled this major setback far better than I would have. This truck was purchased from a UK dealer and wasn't some dirty "just off the farm" ebay purchase.

Shit! That's some BS! Let me guess - they don't give any reasoning or probable cause to do any of this, do they...
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 03:32 PM
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Over the last year or so most of our containers have been x-rayed. Seems to be happening more and more.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 03:54 PM
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dirty rovers

I guess I was lucky, I have removed at least 20 pounds of dirt from mine now, couldn't see the fuel filler hose for cakes of mud.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 05:17 PM
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Wow. Seriously. I love the three jillion gobment agencies that are there to ensure we stupid folks are protected. USDA, EPA, and OHSA are my three favs.

Dave, you're probably going to try attempt two next weekend, but I'm going to be driving up to Columbia on the 19 Aug, then back to Benning on the 24th. If you are still waiting for clearance till then, I'd be happy to take you up to Charleston or follow you back down on the 24/25th. Also can assist IVO Atlanta to Benning.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 05:30 PM
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Ok, unless the D had 500 pounds of mud on it, this is straight up extortion. Was not the USDA involved with clearance 8 days ago? Wow, this irritates me.

This sounds more difficult than clearing military equipment for rail/air/ship.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:14 PM
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Shit! That's some BS! Let me guess - they don't give any reasoning or probable cause to do any of this, do they...

Nope. They don't offer any explanation.

In today's case we finally got the USDA agent on the phone @ 3pm after Dave was on his way home. He wasn't appolgetic @ all but said he "felt for Captain McLain's situation".
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:38 PM
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unreal...I has apples in the bed of mine when it got here...
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 07:03 PM
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That sucks and irritates me. Also, random, but I have a friend (who I haven't spoken to in a couple years) who is a captain and a Ranger at Ft. Benning... Josh Jones. Real nice guy. I know Ft. Benning is huge, but if he is still around let me know.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 02:53 PM
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I am a bit south of ATL near the airport on your way to Benning. I am lousy mechanic but would be happy to help in any way if needed. maybe a cooler of beer?
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Old August 4th, 2012, 03:36 PM
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Hey folks -
Unfortunately, Doug's update is true. I just arrived back in Columbus via my awesome rental sub compact. Not exactly how I planned on pulling into the driveway this afternoon.

Here is the 'long-story' re-cap from my perspective. I share this just to spread some light on it and to vent. Maybe someone can pull some 'lessons learned' from the whole thing. I haven't been able to yet.

I took a shuttle to Atlanta Airport Thursday night at 10:15 and arrived at midnight. I had to do this because the earliest morning shuttle wouldn't have got me to the airport in time. After an awesome hour or so of sleep I caught my flight to Charleston. Once there I got a cab to the port. The very moment that I handed the folks at the desk my delivery order they started quietly freaking out. I practically had to squeeze the bad news out of them - no one wanted to tell the guy that just flew in that he was completely screwed. I was informed that the USDA had "JUST" quarantined my truck the night before. It took a minute for this to be explained to me 2 or 3 times for me to understand how my released vehicle could now be back on hold. I then asked how much it would be to have the vehicle steam cleaned. When the guy said $1500 (on average) I almost fell out my chair.

He made a number of calls with me sitting there. He called the USDA inspector himself and got no love. He called the cleaning company to see if they could get it done that day and they said they could get it done in the afternoon. However, the USDA couldn't make any promises that they could re-inspect before the port's COB. Unfortunately I couldn't wait around until 1700 just to find out that my truck wouldn't clear until the next monday. As Doug mentioned, I had a pass in to travel and I was unable to stay through Monday. I was advised that if I waited until another ship came in that other vehicles might be quarantined and I could 'split the cost' with those as equally screwed as me. I decided that was a decent option. I was then informed that there is a 'storage fee' at the port. So let me get this straight... you are going to quarantine my vehicle (not my choice), force me to use one of two civilian companies that charge exorbitant fees to meet your regulations, then charge me $10 dollars a day to store my vehicle there? Holy crap.

This led me to the woman who handles the billing for the port. She was very helpful, but couldn't get any more done than the port administrator. She called all the same folks and got no love. She then called me a cab.

I went back to the airport and then Doug called and I heeded his advice to wait there a while before renting a cab to let the situation develop a little more. After about an hour I decided to call the inspector personally. He was like many government employees I've worked with in the past who always walk around wielding power with a book of regulations in one hand and a pen in the other. He seemed very righteous. I tried talking sense with him, then I just spent the last part of the conversation trying not to lose my temper. He ultimately blamed me and my broker. He said if I had it cleaned before it left the UK then I chose a bad cleaner. He said I should have been there to inspect it before it got on the boat in the UK. He tossed around the words 'doing my job' and 'enforcing the government's regulation' and 'its not my standard, its the government's' a whole hell of a lot. He personally confirmed for me that he was 'down there' to look at another vehicle and 'noticed' my truck was dirty. I asked if I had come a day earlier and picked it up I could have driven right home with it and he shamefully replied 'yes'. I asked how it is that one of his battle buddies cleared or at least saw my truck up to 2 weeks earlier and then he comes around by chance and suddenly isn't ok with it. I informed him that he and his pen-stroke are going to be directly responsible for costing me roughly $2500 out of pocket by the time it is all said and done.

So where does this leave me? I've got to pay up I guess. After that - I need to figure out a way to get the truck out of the port ASAP and then a way to get it to GA. Aside from the waste of time and effort, the sad part is that I am, for all intents and purposes, decreasing the value of the truck. Like most who chose to import a truck, I was trying to save money in the long run. Unfortunately, this extra $2500 bucks adds to my total acquisition cost and moves it pretty damn close to the stateside value of the truck is. And I haven't even driven the damn thing yet. I explained it to my wife by saying that $2500 on a new engine, or a roll cage, or a re-paint actually would increase the value... but this is just money in the trash. If I had wanted to spend 'X' amount on this truck I probably would have just bought one locally or better yet, got one in better condition from the UK!

<end rant>

I'm open to advice from anyone. If anyone in the Charleston area is willing to be put on a power of attorney to pick this thing up next week and keep it in your driveway I would pay you in beer/kudos/handshakes and would be forever indebted to you.

Also, there is a potential that I will sell the damn thing outright. Probably not, but unfortunately its on the table as an option. You may wonder how someone could spend the time and money on importing one of these trucks and then get knocked on their ass by another 2500 bucks. First, I was stretching it to buy the truck right now and paid for the shipping on credit. I pulled the trigger to buy it now because it looks like I'm deploying again next spring and I wanted to enjoy it a while. Second, lets just say that right now I hate the damn thing - I'm sure I'll get over it when its in my possession. Right now the waste of money is just sort of nauseating.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 03:47 PM
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unreal...I has apples in the bed of mine when it got here...
Half the trucks I have seen come in have had moss growing in the window tracks!
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Old August 4th, 2012, 04:09 PM
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I asked how it is that one of his battle buddies cleared or at least saw my truck up to 2 weeks earlier and then he comes around by chance and suddenly isn't ok with it. I informed him that he and his pen-stroke are going to be directly responsible for costing me roughly $2500 out of pocket by the time it is all said and done.
This just gets my blood boiling!!!
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Old August 4th, 2012, 05:07 PM
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I'm unclear here. Did the truck sit at the port too long? I see in Doug's post that the truck had been cleared for 8 days, then Dave showed up on day nine to find it quarantined? Or was it on day 8? was the fact that it had been on the ground in Charleston for over a week part of the problem? I ask cz Dave writes that the agent told him that he could have gotten away clean if he had been there a day earlier.
Is this typical of Charleston? Is Baltimore easier due to more volume?
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Old August 4th, 2012, 06:35 PM
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I'm unclear here. Did the truck sit at the port too long? I see in Doug's post that the truck had been cleared for 8 days, then Dave showed up on day nine to find it quarantined? Or was it on day 8? was the fact that it had been on the ground in Charleston for over a week part of the problem? I ask cz Dave writes that the agent told him that he could have gotten away clean if he had been there a day earlier.
Is this typical of Charleston? Is Baltimore easier due to more volume?
Doug can explain better than me the hierarchy/bureaucracy of port operations... but this is how the port administrator explained it to me: He (state employee) runs the operations of the port itself. Customs and the USDA (Federal) operate, or have 'jurisdiction' within the port itself and dictate how it is run, what comes, what goes and what gets crushed, re-exported or quarantined.

The inspector said that I could indeed have taken the truck a day earlier because I asked him a pointed question: "Wasn't my truck 'clear' to leave yesterday?"... his response was "yes." I reply: "So, I could have picked it up yesterday and driven it right home?"... he replies "yes.". So what happened? He was inspecting another vehicle and noticed mine and thought he'd have a looksie... I can't punish myself by playing the what-if game, but IF I had somehow foreseen this issue and had a local or friend pick it up and park it right outside the gate, this would have never happened. Too bad I didn't see this coming.

Is there some sort of unwritten/unspoken 'punishment' if you leave a vehicle there too long? I don't think so. They (The port, and USDA) are two separate entities, and from my foxhole it didn't look like they were allies. The administrator had lots of horror stories about them (USDA) making his life very difficult with way bigger players/customers at hand (ie. entire ships of military equipment being quarantined, single items being quarantined because of unknown 'seeds' found in them that then have to be sent off for lab work, etc.) The difference here is those stories are the GOV f'ing the GOV or some large corporation, and in my case its the GOV f'ing me.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 06:51 PM
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So the lesson from this is to be there the moment when the rubber hits US soil so as not to allow these second looks?
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