Thursday, August 25, 2011

Watching the Tropicana

As I mentioned last time, we are shipping my car (a 2000 VW Jetta w/ 37,000 miles on it) to France, specifically Le Havre.  We plan to pick it up there in September. It is supposed to be shipped on the Hoegh Tropicana, a Norwegian ship that transports automobiles.

We left the car in Baltimore a few weeks ago, because we were expecting company here and couldn't do it later. We have been watching the progress of the Tropicana through the ship tracking site  http://www.marinetraffic.com.

We watched it go into and out of Jacksonville, Fl. Then it went out of range for a day on its way up to Baltimore. Wednesday morning as we were having our breakfast it reappeared on the tracking site. It was just outside the Chesapeake Bay headed in to Baltimore.  We tracked it off and on all day. By supper time it was getting close.  Then Jim discovered a traffic web cam on the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore. In the background we could see the bridge and make out ships going under it.  By the ship tracking site we could tell that the Tropicana was close to the bridge. We watched both sites and sure enough there was our ship!  We actually saw it in real time go under that bridge! Soon after that it was joined by the tug Donal G McAllister and docked very close to where Jim left my car.

Now we are frustrated that we can't track or watch it load my car, but we haven't found any port web cams.

HOEGH_TROPICANA2

Here's another picture of "our" ship. We will be able to track it leaving Baltimore, but then it will be out of range until it arrives in Bremerhaven, Germany, which is its first destination in Europe. We think it will be away from the east coast before the hurricane gets there.

Jim got e-mail at 2:00 am this morning from the "Notaire" asking for James' new passport information, because the one he sent before expired at the end of July.  James had just received his new passport yesterday, so will scan and send the info to Jim today.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Preparation continues

We have been busy providing all the documents required for the formation of a company and purchasing this house. We hope to close on the house on September 6th.  We leave here on Saturday, arrive in Paris (Charles de Gaulle airport) on Sunday September 4th.  We spend one night near Paris and a second in Domfront. Then we hope to be in the house on Tuesday.

We drove my car to Baltimore earlier this month. We left here August 5th, spent one night in Tomah, Wisconsin, the next night at my brother's in Oberlin, OH.  He was the only one home. His wife and daughter were coincidently both in Minnesota.  He and his wife are two of our partners in this adventure. We showed him more pictures of the house and left some Asterix books with him, that he is going to bring over to the house.

So here is the location we drove to in Baltimore.

chainlink fence

That's it. Just a chain-link fence.  They wouldn't let two of us go in, so Jim drove the car following a TWIC escort, who took him to all the offices he needed to go to to set the car up for it's overseas voyage. Then she dropped him back at our hotel, which was only a few blocks from here.  We took our suitcase - we just had one- on the free shuttle into the inner harbor in Baltimore, had some lunch there at one of the food courts of the shopping area. Then took a train out to the airport, which cost us $1.65 each. From there we flew to Duluth and took a taxi home. We are sharing a car this month, which has been working out fine. If I need the car I drive Jim into work, but I can get along fine without a car most days.

 

We are now tracking the vessel that will be carrying the car to Le Havre, France.  It is the Tropicana, owned by Norwegian company Hoegh.  We have been able to track it's progress on this site. Today it is in Jacksonville, Florida. It is supposed to be in Baltimore tomorrow. We are hoping Irene (Hurricane) doesn't interfere with these plans.  We want it to arrive in Le Havre as scheduled, so we can pick it up there on September 9th or 10th. We are scheduled to leave for Poland on the 13th, so we don't have too many extra days in our schedule.

Here is a photo of the ship.

HOEGH_TROPICANA

So keep your fingers crossed for us that all goes as planned. :-)