It’s been ten days since we first stepped off the South West Chief train into the Los Angeles sunshine. It was 6am and we were bleary eyed. Our get-away from Wisconsin involved a torrential down-pour that soaked our bike boxes and belongings, a 15 minutes-to-spare arrival at the station, a few desperately insulting Amtrak employees, and a mad panic that left Charlie and I separated, unsure of where the other was, each jumping between the closing doors, hoping like hell the other was onboard.
As the train pulled out, Charlie found me a few cars up, still struggling with our 6 or 7 bags. We threw our arms around each other, giddy with relief. Then he explained the bad news: our bikes hadn’t made it. They’d be on the next train (if only their boxes could hold together long enough). Finding our seats, we settled in for our three-day rolling adventure across America, finally able to relax.
John was waiting for us on our arrival, and sped us through the busy streets of building rush-hour traffic, to our new home off Palawan Way. With typical graciousness, he then found somewhere else to be for a few minutes, while we walked down the dock, to our floating dream. There she was. All beauty, all beat-up, all strength and character, as I had imagined. We stood together in the cockpit, disbelieving. Then we ventured down below, into the cosy cabin. It felt like home already! We giggled and sniggered, like a kid on a brand-new bike, unsure of how to express such joy.
We ought to have slept, at last able to rest horizontally, but at 9pm, after a day of sorting and cleaning, we looked around, saw it was dark, and wondered where the time had gone. Our first night was spent in perfect slumber, in the bow and belly of our boat, with the warm understanding that a new fire and adventure was now beginning.
Our bicycles arrived (somewhat unexpectedly) the next day, and since assembling them in the Amtrak warehouse, we have seen L.A on two wheels. We still haven’t ventured very far afield, but so far bike lanes and courteous drivers seem to be the norm rather than the exception. Our first priority has been to repair the engine, so many days have seen us scuttling around from shop to shop, looking for one part or another. We’re getting closer to the climax, and hope to hear the sweet puttering of diesel soon. That will be cause for celebration!
Which, speaking of, we’ve found no-lack of excuses for. Our first day marked a memorial of course, then the electricity hook-up (not as easy as it sounds on a floating home), then our bikes arriving safely, Charlie finishing his final class paper (and at last a free man) was another, then our week anniversary etc… etc…
And with only having finally hooked up our stove today (relying on the microwave until now), cafe breakfasts have been the logical and welcome feast for all our celebrations. Tomorrow though, to honor our propane efforts, it’ll be home-cooked eggs and bacon, with freshly brewed coffee! And our new little home will never have smelt so good!