Manuel waiting to be loaded onto the ship at the port
After a 2 day, 2,500 km trek across the Southwestern United States (with the last 1000 kms through frozen rain and sleet), Manuel arrived in the port city of Galveston, Texas on Sunday, November 29. Galveston is not only the departure point for our vehicle, it also happens to be the home of Jimmy Collier, a fellow flatlander who we met on Kilimanjaro in 2010, and also accompanied us on our climb of Aconcagua in 2013 (you will see a lot of Jimmy if you click on our video and pictures from the Aconcagua portion of our website). Jimmy and his wife, Regena, also took some time out in the summer of 2013 to come visit us up in Canada. It was great to see Jimmy again, and although he was unable to make it on this trip, we hope to be sharing a tent on a big mountain with him (and his pink sleeping bag) sometime in the future!
After a day of sightseeing, it was time to drop Manuel off at the port. Bob (and his wife Joanne) headed down to the port facility, where they showed their ID and Dock Receipts issued by the shipping line. From that point, they hired an "escort" at the port entrance, most definitely a first for both of them. The escort is an accredited official who accompanies the car and passengers around the secure port facility to make sure they aren't going to enter places they shouldn't. At Galveston, the escort can be hired on the spot, but in a lot of port facilities, you must hire a company who sends out the escort from their offices.
Originally, we were scheduled to leave from the Port of Houston, where you must hire an escort from a logistics company as explained above. David spent some time on the phone calling a few of these companies to get quotes. Some quotes were quite high - after little success, David made a phone call from his office to Bob and stated he was still working on getting an escort for his father in Houston, but they were very expensive! This conversation was overheard by one of David's secretaries and you can imagine the opinion that was formed about what kind of father-son trip this was going to be! After explaining what an escort meant in this context, David's reputation remained (relatively) intact...
Back to the port - Bob was directed to a line of cars and told to put Manuel behind a limousine. Bob noted a wide variety of cars waiting to be shipped, from old beaters to classic cars. After removing the license plates, the radio face-plate, and all personal items, Bob and Joanne were directed to a tiny shack where they waited for someone to take their keys and their paperwork. After 15 minutes of waiting, a port official pulled up in a beat up old vehicle, took their paperwork, stamped a copy for Bob, and that was it. A nice tip to the escort got Bob and Joanne a ride out of the port and to the nearest Starbucks.
Manuel is scheduled to be loaded onto the Medea on December 11, with the ship leaving later the same day. We will post an update shortly after to confirm that the ship has departed. We are getting excited!!!
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain