Back to the USA
It’s actually been a bit over a month now since we have been back in the USA. I only thought we went non-stop while in Europe! We’ve been a whirl-wind of “doing” for the past 30 days. I’ve come to realize that it’s the transitions that take so much energy. That was true in our travels and remains true now.
From Dublin to Western Massachusetts – We had a great flight from Dublin to Baltimore with one stop in Boston. Apparently pretty much every plane that leaves Ireland headed for the US lands in Boston (as we also learned pretty much every one in Dublin has a relative in Boston or so we were told.) We flew through the Boston airport the day after the marathon and it was full of runners and supporters. It was inspiring to see how joyous the entire region seemed to be. And what joy there was after the previous years’ bombing. After an uneventful flight to Baltimore we called the hotel shuttle, checked in and went to bed. Another long day of travel.
The next day we took a taxi to the office of Seabridge International. They were the freight forwarding company we hired to ship our camper and truck back to the US. We had to pay them for dock fees and import fees and then we were on our way to the port to get the camper. We had been told that our truck had a flat tire and that we would need to take care of it before we could drive it. This added another layer of stress to our plans as it’s a big truck and next to impossible for just one of us to change the tire without help. Only one of us was allowed to enter the dock area to retrieve the truck so we were in a bit of a quandary. Turns out that the folks we worked with at Seabridge had called the garage on the port and made arrangements for them to take off the tire, fix the flat and put it back on. Yeah! Not strangers this time but the kindness of people continued to accompany us on our trip.
In the United States there is a level of security in place at all of the ports so in order to enter a port you must have a security clearance which we don’t have. In order for us to get our truck we had to hire an escort with the security clearance to take us to the truck so that’s where we went next. I stayed at their office with both kids and our luggage while Kay went to the port to get the truck. After about 2.5 hours she returned to get us, we did a thorough visual inspection of our truck and camper to make sure there was no damage and then we were on our way. From what we could tell we had not had any items stolen from the truck or the camper either. I’ve heard stories of all sorts of items getting stolen but we did not experience that either coming or going. The dock workers only had keys to access our truck and we only had safety equipment in our truck. We were never told to give them keys to the camper so they had no reason – or way – to enter it. We were told that we could not have any personal items in the camper or truck but from what I could see, they never inspect the rig to see if that is the case. I suspect they tell you that because they won’t cover the loss of any personal items. They never even inspected our propane tanks to make sure they were empty.
By now it was about 12:30 pm, too late to make it to Massachusetts in one day. We drove for a bit, got gas (Woo Hoo!!! Only $3.69/gallon – quite the pleasant change after paying European prices), grabbed some lunch and hit the road again. We only went as far as southern New Jersey and pulled into our first American campground in over 11 months. Boy was it different. We could easily pull into the entrance without stressing over whether or not we would fit, we were able to fill our propane tanks right there at the campground, we had a pull-through site which we truly just drove straight into and parked, we just had to plug-in one outlet, we had water right on the site, and we could dump right there as well. We even had cable t.v.! Very different and so easy. Kay and I did a grocery store run (which was also really easy as I could read the labels and find the specific items we were looking for.) And then found a bank so we could get a bit of American money as we knew we had lots of toll roads ahead of us. We did some unpacking of basics (dishes, cookware, towels), had a good night sleep and were on our way the next morning.
Last year when we drove the camper from Massachusetts to Baltimore to ship it to Europe, we routed ourselves so we did not have to go through New York City. That felt like the right thing to do even if it did add about 4 hours to our drive. After 10 months of driving this rig through the streets of Europe and even taking it through downtown Zürich, we decided we didn’t need to add those hours to our trip. We drove right through New York City with no problems. Interstate 95 was the most direct route so on we went. On the other side of New York we had to contend with the major construction work being done to I-95 though Connecticut but oh well. It was still relatively easy driving with big lanes, signs we could read and understand and wide shoulders. After about 7 hours we pulled into a campground in Westhampton, Massachusetts, not far from our old home. We would spend two weeks here visiting with friends and family, getting our belongings out of storage, doctor appointments, hair appointments and making arrangements for our next big trip - our move out west to Oregon. For now we were readjusting to life back in the United States. The biggest difference – everything was just so much easier, not better mind you, but definitely easier.
Posted on May 26, 2014, in adventure, airport adventures, cargo ship, European travel, family travel, Ireland, Kindness of Strangers, luggage, packing up, RV travel and tagged Baltimore Port, Dublin, Massachusetts. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.