A trip to the docks. Atlantic city. More disappointing sleep. And maybe things are about to pick up.

Someone once said,

‘Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you had in mind’.

Who ever said that was clearly an idiot and had never had to sleep in the back of an SUV!

With news of Ruby’s arrival, we left the beach behind us and set off to the docks. We weren’t getting any form of useful information from the company we were apparently paying £500 to sort out the clearance and customs, and so decided we would just turn up and demand our van back.

Speaking to the man at the desk, we were given false optimism when he said that he knew our van and that it was good to go as long as we could provide a final delivery order from the clearance company.

Clearly the New York dock workers were no more helpful than the clearance company, as our clearance rep was very confused by my enthusiastic phone call informing him that the van was ready for collection. Apparently, he had spoke to the dock an hour ago and there was still a hold notice on the van.

Upon actually searching the computer records, the man at the desk noticed this and very bluntly informed us that in fact we couldn’t have the van and gave us the same vague time line of five to ten days.

Not wanting to say something that would antagonise Ruby’s release, I suprisingly left without saying what I was thinking.

With no van, it seemed we would be spending more delightful nights in Jeepy.

Trying to sleep in the back of a car in New Yok was not enjoyable, and so we temporarily said good bye to New York and headed south to New Jersey. Atlantic City our goal.

We arrived in Atlantic City around about the same time storm Dorian was starting to make it’s way north from the Bahamas. And it was no surprise that the wind was picking up.

As it was now out of season, Atlantic City was fairly dead. We had a bite to eat, spent a dollar in casino (still not millionaires), had another geeky movie moment…and then decided to move more inland, away from the wind.

Picking a spot to sleep is a completely lucky event. Often, somewhere that looks appealing on Google maps, mostly turns out to be disappointing. This time however, we found a real gem of a spot.

Lake Absegami. About forty minutes from Atlantic City. Here, being out of season was a good thing. We still had some nice weather, however the place was now empty as the kids had gone back to school. So we pretty much had our own lake side beach to ourselves.To lake offered us a relaxing walk, to try and take our minds off the fact that we would be spending another stuffy night in th back of the car.That night, we sat on the beach and watched the sunset, as an electrical storm brewed in the skies above us.Just like the previous nights, we had another horrendous night’s sleep, only made slightly better by a brilliant lighting stom that lit up the woods around us.

Unfortunately, Willow dropped her camera on the beach and the sand had seemed to break the lense, so we headed off to Philadelphia to get it repaired. At least here, I would get to do Rocky fanboy tour on the go.

Feeling physically sick at the thought of spending another night in the car, we ‘treated’ ourselves to an Airbnb that cost £29 a night. I say treated, but let’s just say, there was a reason it was so cheap! I definitely wiped my feet leaving the apartment, as opposed to enterting it.

It did have four cats though, and offered the much needed comfort of a proper bed.

In the morning, just as I was getting ready to run up the famous ‘Rocky’ steps, we received an email from Steve, the guy who arranged our shipping from England, informing us that Ruby was ready for collection.

In the whole shipping process, Steve had gone way beyond his duties to ensure we were alright. So obviously, the Rocky run was postponed, and we drove off back to the New York docks to collect our baby girl.

It finally felt like our trip was actually about to pick up!

We managed to arrive at the docks during their break time, so had to wait slightly longer, in the knowledge that she was lurking just around the corner from us.

Forms complete, she was finally back with us and our family was complete. All we had to do now was drop off Jeepy and then we were good to go…

We just had the slight matter of getting through Manhattan at rush hour! A journey that I would not recommend to anyone.

The roads were slammed, and somehow I managed to lose Willow in the chaos, and so after failing to locate each other, we both had to make our own way to the drop off independently. Willow trying to navigate the chaotic Manhattan rush hour, driving for the first time in the States, in our 1976 VW. Probably not the best time to acclimatise to new roads

We made it, but some colourful language was used on my behalf. I’m guessing equal amounts were used by Willow also!

We spent the night trying to find a suitable place to sleep, unsuccessfully, so we headed back to the abandoned house we had stopped at twice before. All we had to do in the morning was unpack and we would be good to go.

Just under week in and this experience had already taught me that we have the patience of saints!

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