This letter was ever hovering at the edge of my thoughts since you first asked for monthly letters. I think I will give you a brief tour of our Journey.
We left three days later and much more fatigued than we planned. We left four storage units plus things in the workshop with my brother and the BMW roadster on one side of his garage. Our friends came to the rescue and without them helping and keeping us moving we would not have gotten things done.
Finally, when the beds were out and there was just the garage and cleaning to do, Matthew’s Professor and our neighbor graciously offered us a room for the last two nights. Instead of departing early for a leisurely drive through Tennessee with a stop to overnight with Uncle Vernon in Virgina we departed shortly after lunch on Monday.
Our plane departed Thursday night and we needed to drive from western Arkansas across Tennessee and the length of Virginia with two dogs and a totally loaded Honda Odyssey. The dogs were champs though resisted riding in crates. We drove through the night to arrive for our Tuesday afternoon appointment with the US Department of Agriculture in downtown Richmond, Virginia for the Veterinarian Certificate for Bogart and Pippi Nostockings to meet entry requirements for the European Union. With a hiccup or two we drove on with proper documents for the last two hours to Arlington and our brief visit with Lydia.
She was recently returned from three weeks with Kawn visiting family and touring on the motorbike they keep in Morocco.They rode into the Atlas Mountains and then back along the coast to some beautiful cities. Kawn remained in Morocco a week longer so we were not able to say farewell in person.
We repacked, rested a bit and packed again leaving things we really wanted to bring, but being aware of our baggage number and weight we culled. Matthew was carrying his computer parts in his carry aboard bag while I had my own gizmos and gadgets; document files; and all the entry paperwork for the dogs. Finally, we had two rolling duffel bags, two large rolling bags, two smaller bags and two dog crates that we checked through to Paris. We still each had a carry aboard and a tote bag.
Today, I think some of what I left and some of what I brought were rather oddly chosen. But our airline, Icelandic Air, was super and although lengthy the check in and security screening (which included an inspection of the dog crates sans dogs) was relatively painless.
We landed in Iceland late and anxious that we would miss our flight to Paris or worse the dogs would arrive in Paris before or after us. We followed our fellow passengers down hallways and stairs and around bends and waited in lines until we showed our passports indicated our destination was Paris and were waved through. At the time we were a bit perplexed because the passengers bound for flights to Britain had an entirely different route. What we failed to comprehend until we gathered our bags and were hand delivered the dogs in their crates was that we went through European Union entry in Iceland. So our midday Friday arrival in Paris was a breeze even with two spendy luggage carts loaded with bags and crates.
Less than two hours after arrival we were in our rental car with dogs in lap driving through France on our way to Calais. Bright and early Saturday morning we were off to the French veterinarian for our appointment for an injection for tapeworms and the final signature on our pet documents. Twenty-four hours later we were queued at the ferry terminal to cross the English Channel assuming our entry process would be a simple routine similar to our Iceland experience. Not so. Matthew’s passport showed his two previous trips for his research and he now had a wife and two dogs in tow. Off to the border control office with you. After explaining twice again, answering questions from
two people, producing documents, and explaining that Open University does indeed have an actual campus where graduate students attend and scientific research is conducted we were approved.
Finally, we rolled onto the ferry where the dogs remained in the car but we did not. We enjoyed a fine English Ale and chatted with a nice couple for most of the ninety minute crossing. We arrived in Dover having crossed the Channel and moving back in time with only thirty clock-minutes after our crossing began.
Now here we were in Dover driving a left-side driver car from France in right-side driver Britain. We still needed to drive north around London and find our way to the small Buckinghamshire village of Winslow east of our ultimate goal The Open University, Milton Keynes. Fortunately each mile of our journey was competently guided by our distractingly unfamiliar and distinctly British satellite navigator .