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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,127

    Default When things don 't go as you envisage - my 2018 trip.

    Since this was my ninth trip to the United States (to see family and catch up with friends), and especially as the last eight trips all left me with wonderful memories, there was no reason to think that this trip would be any different.

    How wrong I was!

    It started at LAX, where security would not allow my carry-on, which had just come off a 15 hour flight across the Pacific, to continue to Boston. A bit of a kerfuffle. Soon resolved, and I was on my way.

    On arrival in Boston, one of my checked suitcases was missing. It would have to be the one with four months of my medication in it. Daughter met me, and was not at all perturbed - I was frantic. "Happens all the time," she said. It was a relief to see the suitcase on her doorstep the next morning.

    Daughter, unlike her brother, who also lives in Boston, likes to get to know the place where she lives, and take visitors on tours to what she thinks is the most interesting/important. So for the first time I went to Boston Common, the adjoining gardens, the beautiful avenue which leads up to them, and all the other places in Boston which I had not seen.

    We spent a whole day walking along the Charles river, with all its features and attractions. When I say 'walking', I have to emphasise that she was walking and I was on my small scooter.

    Another day we went to the John F Kennedy library and museum. This was particularly interesting for me, as I recall all those events so clearly. Was like going back more than half a century.

    On Patriots Day she took me to Concord, and all the happenings there, and between there and Lexington, where she lives.

    Other days we went further afield. There was a place, not all that far away, where there was a yarn mill and store. Not that I need more knitting yarn, but I still bought up big, just because it was different to what I have at home. We also went to Salem one weekend, and saw all the witches trail and museum. Did some tours, and really had a great time. During lunch one of my lenses fell out of my spectacles into my lunch. I had not noticed that the frame had broken. Exactly what I needed (not!) - a new pair of frames. Fortunately grandaughter's spectacle maker was able to fit me with a new frame, the very next day.

    After two weeks with my daughter and her family, I went to visit my son, and his family. His older daughter was about to have a birthday, and it was just on Easter, so we all celebrated together.

    About four weeks after my arrival I made a trip to North Carolina, and organised for the van to go to the mechanic, and get attended to. The insurance had not yet come through, so we had it taken the short distance from the storage to the mechanic by towtruck.

    Thirty nine days after my arrival, I finally had confirmation that the van was insured and road worthy. It was the 29th April when I flew back to Greensboro to pick up my van. Picked it up on Monday morning 30th, and spent most of that day getting organised to hit the road. By now, my feet were itching to get onto the open road and see a bit more of the lower 48.

    Lifey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,802

    Default Lemons = Lemonade

    Congratulations on taking everything life threw at you and making it all work out. If everything always went as planned, there would be no need whatsoever for individual RoadTrips. Everyone could just book nice, safe, predictable cruises and bus tours of the If it's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium variety. Serendipity and the chance to deal with something unexpected, and learn from it, are at the heart of many successful vacations. Indeed vacations and travel should be about having adventures and doing the out-of-the-ordinary. Some of my 'worst' travel moments have turned into my very best.

    Just one example: While visiting Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the early 70's I managed to get myself 'detained' by the British Army (King's Own Scots Borderers, to be precise). After a few hours of questioning, the officer in charge quietly dropped my passport into a desk drawer and 'suggested' that I return the next day. Not having much choice, I did as instructed. It turned out that what he really wanted was for me to see The Troubles through the eyes of his soldiers and so for the next two days I patrolled the streets of Belfast with the unit that had originally picked me up and got some great pictures and even greater memories - still with me now, almost 50 years later.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    351

    Default

    I'll second that! I learned a lot from all of my travels, especially when I was younger, but it was always the most troublesome trips that taught me the most. All of that said? There's quite a lot that I honestly wouldn't want to repeat!

    I'm sincerely sorry that your most recent foray didn't go smoothly for you, Lifey. I'm looking forward to reading the details; it may not have been as pleasant as usual, but I have no doubt that it will be an interesting tale well told!

    Rick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,127

    Default The Lemonade turned rancid.

    Thanks Buck.

    Yeah! up to that point I was coping. The lemonade was quite successful. Did not keep long though. It was önly hours later, it all started to turn rancid.

    My rough plan was to drive the US highways as much as possible, and as little on the interstates as I could manage. Wanted to make it to Big Bend N.P. and the Gulf Coast in Texas. And of course any attractions and places of interest along the way. I had 12 weeks to accomplish this, and call in on other family and friends further north.

    But one day at a time. That first night I stayed at a large TA truck stop in Mocksville NC. Enjoyed my meal in their restaurant and was glad I could charge my scooter battery and laptop, and check email. It must have been well after nine, when all batteries were fully charged. I installed the battery back in the scooter, packed up my computer and headed off to retire for the night.

    After a wonderful night's sleep in my trusty van...... next morning I was looking for something which I knew was in my bag........ but I could not find my bag. Then I realised that I did not recall bringing it back the night before.

    Panic set in! (Yeah! I am an expert at panicking.) I rushed (on my scooter) into the restaurant to see if anyone had found it, but none had. The more I thought about it the more I realised it was not there when I left. I would have seen it. It was on the seat next to me, in the booth where I was sitting. All I can think of is that putting the battery back on my scooter left my other possessions completely unattended/unguarded.

    Police were called to check the CCTV, but to no avail. They could not identify anyone. Frankly the attitude of the police, even though they were friendly enough, was much like 'we've got better things to do'.

    My bag contained everything. Purse, with more than a thousand dollars in two currencies and numerous cards, phone, camera and all those other things we females throw into our bag. [The bulk of my cash is kept in my anti-theft bag in a safe spot.]

    So now I was without phone and without cards including my driver's licence. I noted my son's, my daughter's and a friend's phone number off the computer, before I hit the road. But try finding a public phone these days.

    That morning I had breakfast, for which a truck driver paid (without my knowledge), and several people came and offered me assistance. I made one phone call for help using my computer. Help came directly and regularly thereafter, via emails, which I checked twice a day.

    All plans were now out the window. It was I-40 all the way to I-49, and on to Joplin. I had my route and stops emailed each day. All I had to do was drive. But, as Murphy would have it, even that run was not without further issues.

    In northern AR I realised I did not have enough fuel to see me through to Joplin. The first place I saw I decided I would just get $10 worth, and fill up at Pilot when I got to Joplin. It took some ten minutes to pump $10 fuel. I was told they were having a problem with the pump. In reality - and the young man in charge was not aware - the tanks were empty and I was pumping the dregs out of the bottom. Now the van would not run at all. It just hopped a few metres.

    No phone, no public phone, no wifi in the immediate vicinity. [How did we ever become so dependent on all this technology?]

    A gentleman from CO saw my distress and offered to help. Got him to dial glc's number, and together the two men worked it all out. A short while later I was on the road again, but not until the gent had spent something like $100 dollars buying the required items to fix the fuel, and fill the tank at another pump. He would not take any money, and a later attempt to reimburse him was rejected.

    On my arrival in Joplin I was greeted with the words ....... "Do you get the feeling that maybe you should have stayed home this time?"

    I was ready to throw it all in.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,363

    Default A tough time.

    Yeah, that's a really rough start and hard to read, I really feel for you. It's good to know there are always good and kind folk around to offer a helping hand, not all heroes wear a cape !!

    Dave.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,127

    Default Not my cup of tea.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    .... bus tours of the If it's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium variety.
    I know exactly what you mean. Years ago a friend at work did a Trafalgar Tour of Europe. On her return I asked if she had been to Holland, and which cities. She had to look up the itinerary to tell me - had absolutely no recollection of the place.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,127

    Default Thanks, but can't say I am 'happy' to share.

    Thanks Rick and Dave.

    I know it was/is an adventure, but at my age I am not too eager to have too many new lessons to learn. Would just prefer things went smoothly, without hassles.

    Am still waiting for the replacement of some of the cards lost - my automobile club, my taxi card and my health insurance membership have not yet turned up.

    Driving without a licence became very stressful, despite the police having told me that if I was pulled over to give the Mocksville police card and tell them to call it for licence details. It was only when I came back through Mocksville and picked up the police report, I noticed it did not mention a driver's licence at all despite me having given them the details. So if anyone had called, there would not have been any information. Thank God it was never needed.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,127

    Default Gps

    Keithg's thread just reminded me, I too had to buy a new GPS when I found that I had brought my Australian GPS with me. Bought another basic Garmin. It served me well.

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,127

    Default Joplin

    The few days in Joplin helped clear my head and get out of panic mode. It really helps when you have someone who is not emotionally attached to the situation and can think clearly.

    First up was a phone, $30 at Walmart. At the AT&T store we were able to get my number, my prepaid plan and credit restored. That was a great relief. Later this phone started making phantom calls at any hour of the day or night. I recall picking up the phone and seeing it was already making a call - all by itself. As funny as it sounds, it was not funny for the recipients, when calls came in the middle of the night and no-one was there. Eventually after some investigations, I had to get the phone replaced.

    What else did 'Murphy' have in store...... what more can happen?

    Not knowing how the finances would work out, I left getting a camera till later. (Bought a new camera in Melbourne two weeks ago.) All the photos I had taken in Boston were lost.

    Several short trips to the shops saw me fully equipped to hit the road. We spent much time discussing routes and destinations. I really don't know why. Few materialised. By the time I left Joplin, I was well rested and relaxed.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,802

    Default Two Quick Notes

    One: Most people know Murphy's Law: "If anything can go wrong, it will." But few people know of Callahan's Corollary: "Murphy was an optimist."

    Two: I realize this doesn't apply in your case, but if someone has a GPS for one continent (North America, say) and will be traveling on another, often you can just replace the memory chip with one that has the appropriate data for the second continent. I also think that Garmin can re-write your chip over the net (with your GPS plugged into your computer, but I don't really recommend this as then you would have to re-write it yet again when you get back home.

    Lifey, my sympathies for all your trials and tribulations, but at least you are letting others learn from your experiences which, come to think of it, is the whole point of this website.

    AZBuck

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