The sad day of departure has finally arrived.
A variety of sentimental farewells to the Fishers, Linda Cannon, Steve
Kellerman and his brother, the latter two sacrificing their safety in
getting the cars onto the highway as we departed - thanks!
Rene and Uli had left early at 10.00 in view of the “status” (close to
terminal) of Rene’s car – I gave them my US mobile number just in case. We
all finally got the instructions and map that Elaine had been valiantly
trying to produce so departures were in dribs and drabs.
Kemosabe & Tonto were riding as sweep so we were last to depart at 11.00
The journey to the shippers was OK, if a little challenging on the
instruction front, but with only a minor deviation off piste we made it.
My trusty US mobile and participants list were to serve us well!
After careful checks and count we find Cressy, Parkes, De Vicq & van der
Straten cars are missing. They had followed Jim but had dithered and taken a
right exit and not to the left! Calls to the Cressy's phone go unanswered.
And we have no other mobile details. In continuous liaison with the Phil &
Elaine over the predicament and by 12.30 we find the coach driver is also
lost. Meanwhile the mid day sun beats down on us all in the dusty shipping
The sad convoy finally turn up at 13.15 - yes they had taken wrong exit, had
done so may extra miles one had needed more fuel and then they had got a
taxi to show them the way – that’s the spirit of MOAer initiative for you,
or was it desperation?
The coach arrives at almost the same time and shock and horror it is a 28
seater for 30 people and only minimal baggage space. My hot line to Phil and
Elaine is at melting point by now and poor Elaine is frantically trying to
sort things out with the coach operator – and finally a substitute coach was
in the way and would meet up at our lunch stop to do the transfer. Sad
farewells are made to those staying on.
Possession being ten tenths we cram 28 on board and stack bags everywhere,
then Kemosabe & Tonto load ourselves and the residual cases etc into the
taxi – the very friendly driver had hung around appreciating the potential
dilemma and clearly anticipated a fare. Being a local lad he knew the area
very well but it was only at 14.30 that we finally arrived at the reserved
restaurant – in the meantime we had alerted Elaine to the fact that the Herb
Singe museum visit by show of hands was definitely off!
On arriving at Don Pepe’s restaurant and after scurrying in Kemosabe returns
crestfallen, indeed a broken man – they speak little English and the
reservation for Morgan and thirty people is down for 20.30 this evening.
Elaine is almost reduced to tears by my hot line call to her, as she had
only been speaking to them earlier in the morning to finalise and then
confirming the delay.
We return and whilst waiting for some one to appear a scan of the book
confirms the situation – 20.30 Morgan 30 but alleluia in small print much
further up the page is 13.15 Fisher 30 so crisis is over and we are all
relieved. Jeremy tried to capture this on film as I am sure Elaine was
convinced we were winding her up, but such are the coincidences of life.
A decent meal kicked off with sangria and as a nice touch the manager had
taken pity on us so all the drinks were free in the end – choices of sole,
paella, veal everyone very happy and content. Mid meal the replacement bus
had turned up and it was a quick team effort by some to do the luggage
transfer, thanks Arthur and Jim.
Leaving at 16.30 for the Newark all 30 present and shortly after arriving
there is a massive storm – we dread to think of our predicament if this had
happened at the shipper’s lot. Only a twenty minute wait for the check in to
start, a minor glitch being that the Norwood’s had lost their tickets, but
this was sorted by the helpful Virgin supervisor.
Idled away the time before boarding the flight for return home…… and so ends
the MOA IV Tour Diary.