Step 1 Saturday morning Nov 20. Tomorrow we board a flight in Orlando for San Juan but first we need transportation from our temporary residence in Punta Gorda. We leave a car for our friends Jeff and Cynthia at the Fort Myers airport and pick up a rental car. ( rental car number 1 of the trip) This means missing our morning pickleball games in order to get our rental by 10… maybe 1030.
What’s with car rentals these days?? There are fewer and fewer availabilities and trying to drive from one location to another is a premium cost.
So we park Jeff’s car and walk to the rental facility near the terminal. Considering it’s the Saturday before Thanksgiving and the airport is crowded, we’re lucky to make it out in under 30 min. $132 for 24 hours use to drive us 130 miles. We chose a Hyundai Elantra, something big enough for our two 40 pound bags and small enough to maximize fuel economy.
Today’s win… we have a surveyor!!! Yes, as difficult as it was to find someone this close to the holidays we did it!!! Now we hope he shows up.
Sunday morning 0500. It’s pitch dark, but the bags are packed and in the car except for the clothes we will travel in and the sandwichs we prepare. The sheets are changed , coffee made and doors locked. We make the 2.5 hour drive to Orlando Airport and hope that when we check in our scale for weighing the bags is correct. We’re blessed to check in with exactly 77 pounds collectively. SPIRIT allows 40 each. Whew. I wade through security as Mike breezes with our carry-ons through TSA. ( a benefit he still holds from business travel days) By 1130 we are on time and taxiing to the runway.
1400 We arrive in SanJuan. Another car rental debacle. We claim our bags and walk to the arrivals waiting area for Dollar rental van….and wait. I finally call and the noise level is so high andbthe person on the other end doesn’t speak loud enough and all I hear ( even with my headphones on is be there right away and yelling. I tell Mike to look for a yellow van. Not one arrives. I approach another car rental van to inquire, as they must all know the secret… oh he says get on the van with the smiling YELLOW sun!! We have seen that go by and stop, what 5 or 6 times in the last 45 minutes!!
Two and a half hours later, it’s too late to get into the boatyard to see Lost Loon, so we drive straight to our AirBNB in Ceiba PR, just 2 miles from the marina.
With several hours of exhaustion under our belts, we opt for a trip to Amigo ( Walmart’s neighborhood store) and pick up a few provisions: beer, coffee, sandwich fixing. For dinner we picked up local fare… Chinese!! When in Puerto Rico?? But guess what it was delicious . And unique to PR each entre comes with not only a side of fried rice but… French fries?!? Seriously. We bought roasted chicken from the same place the following day… comes with fries! No potato shortage here!
We spent 4 days getting the boat bottom painted, waxed, and stainless polished. We organized areas inside and out. Our surveyor showed up and spent 3 meticulous hours on, around the boat and up the mast! We shopped at Walmart, Walgreens, and West Marine. We crossed tasks off one list and started others.
We worked all day Thanksgiving in a quiet boat yard. Only a select few who were going in the water were fervently getting boats ready. Our other major task today was to return the Dollar car rental for a local rental with Thrifty. Which meant picking up the Thrifty car and then driving to Dollar to drop it off at the San Juan Airport. ( definitely not one of our most convenient decisions but the only way to manage having a car in our location ). A shout out to Walgreens for being open and having a small food section, where we purchased some instant potatoes. I already had some canned veggies and a can of cranberries I needed to use on Lost Loon, to go with our left over roasted chickens, but we were told Pueblo( a real grocery ) was open all day, they were not.
Black Friday morning. We were like early morning shopper’s. We arrive at the boat before 730, where hardly a mouse was stirring. We needed to get organized for the big float day. After 3 hours of messing about lines and fenders, and putting things in order we routed back for a quick shower and lunch then checked out of the AirBNB. We made one trip for more beer in Fajardo and then we were back to the boat.
The boatyard crew surprised us at 130 by showing up to get us ready to go. We had a launch time of 330 but we’re glad to get going early. After she was placed in the traveling sling and the bottom of the keel painted, we were on our way to water. By 330 we had routed off the lift and around the marina to our transient slip getting used to the great feeling of being on the boat again.
Next up… Back in the USVIs!!!!