Before the roadtrip.
Even though we touched down in LA on 17th May, it has taken me a few weeks to settle down, visit with family and get the van organised to hit the road. Not much has gone smoothly up to now, but hopefully from now on things will stay on-track.
After a most wonderful flight from MEL to LAX - not a bump, no seatbelt sign - just a smooth glide 30 - 40000' up in the sky. LAX to BOS with Virgin was another story. I was tired and waiting in the departure lounge, when I must have fallen asleep. When I awoke the lady from Virgin told me my flight had left 40 minutes ago. Nobody bothered to wake me. They knew where I was going, they had asked.
Supervisor was called, and I was put on a flight to SFO (an airport I had never been to). With my scooter and now wide awake, I made the most of it, and spent the four hours just looking around the shops, getting something to eat, and speaking with other travellers.
The flight SFO - BOS was now scheduled to arrive in at 6am, not exactly a convenient time for a family with 3 school age children. I took a cab.
My week in Newton was great. There were three concerts to attend in which the children took park. One dance recital, one Newton combined choir concert and a school concert. Things I normally miss. I made the most of my new mobility, and took a full day to check out all the shops at Newton Center, and went for a ride all the way round the lake near son's home - places I had not seen.
All too soon it was time to check-in for my flight to Raleigh NC, to go pick up my van. Once again the gremlins were at work. Flight was more than an hour late leaving, and even later arriving in Raleigh. The brightest thing that morning was seeing Foy at the airport. By now, it was too late to get the van all ready and get to the Ford dealership in time for them to start work on it same day. The appointment was changed to the following day, and I spent the night in quite a nice motel (with coupon).
Foy had ensured that the van was fine for me to drive the next morning, to the dealership where they were going to check it out and make sure it is roadworthy. When Rick and John came with the list of jobs to be done, I figured all my holiday funds would be gone. In the end the new radiator, two new tires, two lots of brakes, shock absorbers all around, as well as the normal service - fluids, hoses and belts, etc. came in at just under two grand. She certainly drove lots better back to Raleigh.
Turned out that they could not get all the parts and complete all the work that Thursday. Another night in a motel was in order, in one of only two motels in Eden NC - only a couple miles from the dealership. The tiny town of Eden looked interesting. I hopped on my scooter and checked out all the stores. Sadly most were empty and starting to look neglected. One did not need to be told that a new Walmart had popped up not far away.
Next morning Robert came to pick me up from the motel at 11an. I had told Rick not to send anyone before checkout time. I wanted to sleep in.
It is at this point that I noticed my phone missing. Having charged it in the motel, it was in my pocket on my tour of the town. Assuming it had fallen out of my pocket somewhere in town I gave up searching, and headed for Raleigh, and my night's destination. [Arriving at daughter's place two days later, I gave her my laundry. "There is something in these jean's pockets." Three days of needless worrying!]
That first night (Fri) I spent at FlyingJ, exit 106 on I-95, It may sound strange to some, but instantly I felt at home. It was as if I was back home. There were several other similar vans there, as well as three large RVs. FJ now have free Wifi, albeit only inside the building.
Following evening was at another FJ at exit 29 in southern Georgia.
The run down I-95 Raleigh to Ft Lauderdale was a dream run, considering I was expecting lots of holiday traffic, traffic which I had hoped to avoid. Arrived at daughter's place in time for dinner on Sunday. Two easy days of (co-incidentally) 377 miles each.
It has been a wonderful week in FL, especially been able to get around with my daughter. Here I have had the the last couple of things attended to in the van. A new windscreen and getting the electronics for the fridge fixed. Has taken days to find a good auto electrician, but I expect a call any minute to say that it is all fixed.
OOoops! I forgot to mention that Foy put on a free fireworks show.... with lots of smoke and smell.... when he tried to reconnect the house battery the way (he thought) it went.