The car return was straightforward and, it being in a multi-level parking garage, there was plenty of room and shade for the tricky bike re-assembly. We got some bemused looks, but nobody questioned what were doing. In fact, I’d guess we weren’t the first people to pull bikes out of a rental car at the airport.

Deb with the bikes in the car rental return lot at the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

We had a fairly good idea about how we could ride to the port, and the weather was clear and hot. We did have to tramp across a patch of grass which turned out to be  bit of a swamp, so Deb started out with soggy shoes.

I actually quite enjoyed the ride. It was shorter than we’d anticipated, and we had no trouble getting through the security gate at the port.

Waddling about the boarding area on our bikes was a chore. We annoyed some other passengers, and several security people. “This is a first,” one gentleman told us. Some expressed doubt we would be allowed through. More than once we were told that our bikes would not be allowed out of our cabin. Finally we were waddling through the ship’s huge atrium. I stopped to get a bit of video of Deb, and a couple stopped to ask me many questions. Deb got ahead of me and (of course) ran into the one and only Princess crew member to give us a hard time. He shouted at her about how she was breaking the rules. He refused to believe that we had contacted Princess to get permission. He said she should not have been allowed to board. By the time I caught up to her, it was all over. It’s probably a good thing I missed the excitement, because I likely would have lost my temper. And, as it turns out, the rude officer was the Captain. 

The bikes are safely stored in our “closet area”, more or less out of the way. It’s now our fifth full “at sea” day. I’ve spotted one cargo ship, a couple of birds, and what might have been a whale. Otherwise, it’s lots of sky and water. We’ve had no trouble filling our days: taking full advantage of our drink package and packing on some extra belly weight that I’ll probably regret when we’re riding.

Tomorrow we finally reach our first port: Ponta Delgado, the Azores.

Distance: 7 km (car return to the ship)

April Fools

On March 31st we finally began the real journey. The bikes were already in the back of my parents’ car, but we had to fit our gear, plus three people around them to cross the border. It was a tight squeeze for me.

The border guard didn’t seem at all surprised by our strange arrangement. We were at the Buffalo Airport car rental desk in no time (thanks, Mom). It was cold and drizzling as we transferred everything, except my mother, into the Dodge Charger. It fit pretty well.

Our stuff in the rental car.

We were on the road by 11:15 AM. It rained all the way to Virginia, but we didn’t run into much construction or any other problems.

Where would we stop for the night? It’s about 21 hours of driving time to Ft. Lauderdale, and we had a hotel booked for April 1st. After dinner (Cracker Barrel), the rain finally let up. We kept going. And going. Eventually it seemed to make more sense to keep driving, with frequent stops, than to get a short, and expensive nights’ sleep. We did nap briefly in a restaurant parking lot in Florida as the sun came up.

April 1st was hot and sunny. We reached our hotel almost exactly twenty-four hours after we rented the car. We had to wait for our room, but shady loungers by the pool were a big step up from car seats.

Tomorrow we return the car, reassemble the bikes, get to the port, and (hopefully) get them into our cabin. A couple of big hurdles remain, but about ten hours of sleep comes first.