Yep, after 6 years abroad we bit the bullet and returned to the US. Commuter cruisers have it a bit easier. They cruise for 6 months at a time. But 6 years. Whew.
After close to 24 hours in the air we landed in New York and were found by my nephew’s father in-law in a pack of cars. Truth be told: W/ had the greatest desire to visit family and friends. I’ve been of the opinion that they could visit us! That never seems to work out well. The only visitors we’ve had in 14 years of cruising have been one of my life long friends, Mike; and my mom. Both visited us twice! And Covid struck another friends list. Jim and Sue had tickets to Oz when the pandemic hit. Happily they didn’t lose any money and sadly they didn’t get to see Oz.
Anyway; after completing medical checks in Kuala Lumpur we made the two stop trip to NYC. Clearing in to the US was a non issue. We are after all US citizens. We left the plane and thankfully had wifi. I contacted my nephew. He was our ride. They were near and expected to arrive by the time we had exited with our luggage. Picked up our bags and attempted to contact my nephew again. Either the network was overloaded or the airport doesn’t have free wifi at the terminal entrance. We’re now in a pickle. A big one.
They knew what gate we were at; International arrivals. But the people. Whew! It was like we had been dropped in a can of living Sardines. We looked around hoping to see my nephew. We didn’t see him. W/ stayed with the gear while I looked for a phone card kiosk. Didn’t find one. Looked around for my nephew at the doors. Didn’t find him. I returned to W/ and told her I was going to do a sweep. I walked the length of the terminal inside then headed out to the pickup area. Wall to wall vehicles is all I saw. I wasn’t expecting to find them but maybe; maybe, he would see me wandering. As I made my way back to W/’s terminal exit weaving in and out of the cars, my nephews father in-law (FIL) starts yelling at me. Whew! He said he was looking for a tall guy and saw me wandering between the cars. Together we headed back to my nephew’s vehicle. Once located. Steve (FIL) and I headed back to the terminal; found W/ and hauled our gear to the truck. We have arrived. Tired and safe. Next I need to get a gun! We are after all in the US of A. Just kidding.
SIM cards tomorrow! At T-Mobile we pay $50 / month per phone. In Indonesia the cost was much less. And of course as we don’t expect to be dirt dwellers for long we are stuck with the pre paid plans. As far as internet for the computer and tablet, most every place we hang / friends families, AirBnB’s, or hotels have wifi.
The final order of business; was wheels. I researched while in Indonesia. There I narrowed it down to a Hyundai Tucson Limited with grey interior. There weren’t many around. I was scanning the Eastern US. Found one in Tennessee but lost it by a day. That set us back another few days. One was listed near by but then the dealership said it wasn’t certified and they would send it to auction. Found another in Western NY state. Bought that. Rented a car one way. Picked it up drove it back to our nephews. It has all the bells and whistles; meaning all the safety features I wanted. The learning curve is steep. After all, we will be doing another Eastern US circle.
Buying it was easy. Getting it registered and licensed and insured, that’s another issue. We have a lease on a place in Vermont so that is our new “temporary” abode. Back to Vermont twice to get the details taken care of. Finally with the Vermont license we discovered one more “Gotcha”. An inspection. After driving to Vermont the second time and getting the state paperwork completed, I needed an inspection. Damn! One more trip back this time. Maybe not. We will be returning here around the holidays for our families gathering. We can get it then.
Insurance: that was another thing. We’ve been traveling out of the US for 6 years straight. During that time we’ve owned two other vehicles. We bought one in NZ, insured, drove, no accidents and sold it. Same in Australia. But the US insurance market doesn’t care. If you don’t have continuous insurance they want to reach further into your pocket and get more gold. What can we do? With the crazy drivers in the US we need insurance. So I empty my pockets, bit the bullet and sign up.
And for those wondering where I’ve been with my blog; I’m not sharing the general life minutia in the states. I’m limiting the posts to how / what a cruiser could experience. Till then…