Sunday, August 5, 2007

Ohio 4 Aug 2007

After marking time for the last two weeks while the Bambino enjoyed it's
sea voyage across the Atlantic, we are on the road again. We were reunited
on the dock in Newark, New Jersey on Friday 3 August, with the car looking
as good as when we left it in Zeebrugge.

Lang and I arrived back in New York late on Wednesday and Lang went
straight to the customs office in Newark. He had feared that we may have
trouble clearing the car but he was gone barely half an hour when he came
back beaming with everything stamped - first hurdle crossed. Apparently
everyone in the office was a car buff and after being shown a few photos
they were extremely enthusiastic and helpful.

This just left the clearance from the shipping company who had already
told us that we would not be able to take delivery until after the
weekend. Lang rang Dudley Waterman, Operations Manager of Wallenius
Wilhelmsen who had his staff make a special effort for us and we drove
out of the yard at lunch time on Friday, only hours after the ship

On Thursday before the ship arrived we went into the city to see the
sights. Lang's patience for such things faded after a few minutes so I
headed off to go to the top of the Empire State Building while he went off
to do something "more constructive". Two and a half hours on the open-top
bus allowed me to get a shallow but wide-ranging "must see spots" overview
of New York – far from the cleanest city in the world.

After collecting the Fiat on Friday we then had to return the hire car. So
we ventured across the middle of New York with me driving the hire car and
Lang following in the Bambino on Friday afternoon with the temperature at
100 degrees. Thank heavens for our GPS and the lovely voice that, when
you make a wrong turn, just so calmly tells you that it is recalculating,
no gritted teeth or raised voices - a truly marvelous invention. It took
us hours to drop off the car, repack the Bambino and then retrace our
steps back into peak-hour traffic out of New York. Quickly across New
Jersey, by 7pm we had crossed the border into Pennsylvania, where we
stayed for the night

For a number of reasons we have now decided to cross USA on Route 80.
Today we have driven right across Pennsylvania and are overnighting in
Cleveland, Ohio. In all we will cross twelve States.

In the owner's manual, written in 1950's, there is a whole chapter on air
conditioning, and as it was another hot day today we put it into practice.
First you roll down the window, then you position the quarter glass window
at an angle so you get a breeze, then the third step is to open the
sunroof – which is counterproductive in 100 degree sunshine. Actually when
we renewed the original sun roof, before we left Brisbane, Lang attached
an extra lining of light carpet, and today we decided that it was a very
smart move, as it has provided great insulation.

The reaction to the car here is amazing. Everything on the road is huge.
Unlike Europe, all the vehicles seem to be big pickups, large 4WD's,
monster Winnebago's and plenty of armchair style Harley Davidson's so we
really do stand out as "gee that's the smallest car I have ever seen."

From the web site written on the side of the car we have already had
people e-mailing who have seen us on the road, and one person, "Gooose (3
O's)Chicken", stopped and took a video and has already put it on U Tube. I
think that by the time we reach the West Coast we will have an incredible
following. As Gooose Chicken said it's all about putting a smile on
someone's face.