Phase II of our traveling has just begun. After a year spent traveling around S America, actually south S America, we had decided that phase II was to be up to a year spent traveling the backroads of the US. And use the backroads to see, taste, touch, and learn about, the Civil War, bourbon, country music, the outer banks, Alaska.
We left Denver on Sep 12th to pick up our camper in Jacksonville, FL; it was due to arrive the 13th. But, just to show that the US doesn’t always work better than S America, we received an email as we were changing planes in Chicago notifying us that the ship, the Lapis Arrow, wouldn’t arrive until the 20th. A little more advance warning would have been helpful…
The delay came with a significant silver lining, it allowed us to visit youngest daughter, Katriñe, in Miami; spend a couple of days on Miami Beach; visit Karen’s Dad and his wife in Winter Haven; and get together with some of Karen’s old sorority sisters for drinks, dinner, and stories. Couldn’t really have planned it much better if we’d tried.
Early on the 21st we were back in Jacksonville, having confirmed that the Casa was off-loaded on the 20th. had this been at the start of our travels, we would have used a broker to get the Casa released; we did use a broker when we retrieved the Casa in Buenos Aires. However, knowing more about how the process works, and having dropped it off by myself (Henrik) in Buenos Aires for the return shipment – despite my rudimentary Spanish skills – we figured we could handle this by ourselves.
And we did, thanks to six or seven helpful people in Jacksonville, whose help much more than balanced the one a..hole we also dealt with.
There were at least four different entities involved, whose hurdles we had to pass, before we could receive the Casa: the shipping line, the port, US Customs, and the US Customs team that inspects for contra-band. First comes the port: they provide the personnel that drives the Casa off the ship and parks it in the appropriate custom’s inspection line. Then, the contraband team has to inspect it. Then the custom’e office has to approve the paperwork that we had filled out. Then the shipping line has to see that custom’s has approved, plus verify that we had paid, then notify the port that all is OK. Then the port personnel have to deliver the vehicle from the secured port area to us.
And, then, finally, there it was. Undamaged – except for one lock inside that the contraband team cut off in order to inspect our closet. Time to travel…