If "being helpful" has a name, then it is called Don Siewert.
"I pick you up from the airport and we get your bike out of customs, then you can stay in our place as long as you want."
This was his answer to an e mail I sent to the Hubb-motorcyclists community of Washington State, asking for a place to sleep for a night when I would arrive and the drinks would be on my bill. A couple of helpful guys replied, but Dons offfer was unbeatable. And indeed, when I arrived at Tacoma airport from China, there was the tall guy in the Hawaiian shirt, as described for better recognicion.
The bike out of customs didnt work right away, because I was missing the important ISF filing, a document only a professional broker can put online before any goods arrive in the USA. Another safety issue which unfortunatly misses the point if you bring your naked motorcycle on a ship into the country.
Thanks to the wonderful Miss Paradise, no joking , thats her real name, it worked out the next day, since she knew a broker who did the favor for me free of charge, Miss Paradise got a bunch of flowers for that.
Poor Don was going back and forward from and to the port of Tacoma and his home for two days, just to help another biker who travels from continent to coninent. I felt so sorry for him, but for him it is a pleasure to do this, even more, it is a question of ethical human behavior, helping each other, making sure all goes right with this stranger.
With him I only met helpful people, the described Miss Paradise, the tire dealer, who gave good percentage off the price, and also the guy who handed me finally the bike over on his guarded parking lot at the port.
We asked for the closest gas station, because I nearly had to empty the tank for the cargo. Only for five more kilometer I had gas.
"So, you are one of these rich Europeans touring the world?" "Instead of me, Don answered: "No, he is working on his tour to keep going!"
"So, how much does your tank take?" "Just 20 Liters." "Ok, we will fuel you up."
On that parking works another man, who is in charge to make all the vehicles going again after their cargo to the USA. He drives around with a truck full of equipment for jump staring and canisters of diesel and gas. Indeed within a minute I had a full tank, my first in Amerika! For free!
To make it short, I was staying a whole week with him and his wonderful wife Joni, and their other guest, the great Wilma.
They did all they could for me, while I tried to get rid of the jet lag, meaning no sleep at night, but being up all day, maintaining the bike, getting tires on with the help of half of Dons family, I could show my skills of frog hunting for the jump-competition one day, our frogs were of cause the best, I helped out to make the photos of a wedding of one of their friends, and I could go fishing with Don. What did I forget? Oh:
"Anything you see, use it!" Don is a professional car mechanic, of cause he has a garage full of tools and several BMW´s next to some of other brands.
When he saw me just using anything without asking, that made him really happy. Can trust go further? Yes, I got the key for the whole place when everybody else was out.
Brothership pure, I will return to Snohomish, and we will go fishing again. Very rarely I was so quick so close with people, but I know what you think, what is said in Germany and maybe elsewhere about the contact with Americans: quick but not lasting. No you are wrong, it is on you what you make out of it. I will return on my way down from Alaska and give at least a little back.
It is easy to criticise a country for their politics or for whatever, but it is much more effective in my opinion to MAKE lasting and meaningful relations with the people all over the planet. Where ever I arrive in the world and talk to people, my standard words are: "I meet good people in all the countries, in fact I only meet good people, there might be some mean ones, but so far I didnt meet any who wanted to be mean to me."
Dale, Jonis Brother, who changed my tires and didnt want anything in return for that, said it after battling with the rubber on and off the wheel: "Talk good about these Americans!" Yes I will!
Don has another side job: he is the representative of a motorcycle journey agency. If you think about making travels with a bike in Bulgaria, check out this links: www.balkansorangeadventures.com