It feels like both more than a week and less than a week since my last post! I think we’ve travelled something close to 15,000kms from Canberra to Sydney to Dallas, TX to Minneapolis, MN and now to Evansville, IN via lots of other places… I’m going to split this up into ‘stuff we did off the bike’ (this post) and ‘stuff we did on the bike’ (next post) so if you only care about the riding then please feel free to skip this one 🙂
The drive to Sydney was uneventful, and my parents gave us a lovely send off at the airport. Being school holidays (!!) it was a little busier than the last time we travelled but nonetheless we boarded QF7 in business class and had a very relaxed trip to DFW. We even had a glass of wine to celebrate being on holidays! Boy was it good!
Now that we’ve flown business class I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to go back to economy, at least not for the long haul flights! It was great to see Takashi (my Japanese teacher many years ago), sitting just a few rows in front of us and all in all it was a very pleasant trip.
Arriving in Minneapolis late on Saturday we were welcomed by Joe and Lori which was lovely! Lori is a wonderful friend whom I have known for many years and she has kindly adopted me as her third daughter for which I am incredibly grateful! Her partner Joe was corrupted by the Kiwi last year when the Iron Butt Rally started and finished in Minnesota and Joe took the R1200 RT for a ride. Lori and Joe kindly stored Kiwi’s bike for us all of the past year and Joe bought his own (newer model) BMW R1200 a couple of months ago. We get absolutely spoilt by the two of them each and every time we visit and this visit has been no different to every other.
On Sunday Kiwi and Joe did ‘man things’ in the garage while Lori and I headed out to do errands with Meaghan (one of Lori’s biological daughters who happens to be my age and who has been a friend since high school!). This included some clothes shopping (necessary bike undergarments) as well as the purchase of two sim cards for our phones to keep us connected while travelling. The clothes purchases went well, perhaps too well but when there’s a sale on at a consignment store, what’s too well???
The purchase of the sim cards, on the other hand, turned into a nightmare! We spent 90 minutes in the Verizon store and only one phone would connect to the network. Two hours of computer time connecting to iTunes on Sunday afternoon yielded no outcome and even a further hour on Monday morning left us with a big fat zero and a trip back to the Verizon store. It’s a long, boring and frustrating story but after spending 45 minutes trying to get the phone to work with the network, and another hour trying to get a refund for the sim card that wouldn’t work we went to AT&T where in less than 20 minutes Mik had us ready to go with a new number and a data plan. Imagine a 4 year old’s best tantrum with feet stamping and yelling and punching and you’ll understand what the inside of my head looked like at that point. Lori was a legend, can I just say… Without her I might still be in that damn shop!
Anyway, onto nicer things… Over Sunday, Monday and Tuesday we had some family time including a BBQ and a ride down to Mankato, MN with Joe and Lori and then packed our things for the bike. I’m just going to say that right now I’m feeling particularly righteous about my ability to pack light. I have clothes for time off the bike, clothes for time on the bike, a minimalist toilet bag and the laptop. It all fits in the clamshell pannier with room to spare. I even have Peter Green’s Minties in there… 🙂
It’s been a pretty big week, including a Saturday that went for I think close to 40 hours. I feel like I’m mostly over the jetlag (though I still want to stay awake until midnight and then sleep until very late in the morning), we’ve had a great time with our American family and we’re ready to go!