26th July 2018
OK last day today… flying home to London later tonight, but first some domestics and drop the bike for shipping.
First thing is to get my washing done. I am leaving almost all my stuff packed up on the bike and just taking a carry on to the plane… well that’s the plan.
I look online and there is a laundromat a mile or so from the apartment, I make my way there and put my washing on… mmm there’s a lot for some reason. I have loads of quarters ready as every laundromat I’ve used, both this time and in 2016 has required quarters to operate the machines, but of course this is New Jersey, for some reason they have to be different… like not allowing self service at gas stations. This system requires you to buy a card for $20 then the machines deduct the money off of the card. But I don’t want $20 worth of laundry. So now I’m stuck. I can’t pack dirty clothes, the bike might take a month to come home… yeeeew! Well, I’ll just have to swallow it I guess… grrrr.
Anyway, the wash will last about 25 minutes so I think I’ll take the bike for a quick clean ready to drop her off for shipping. I ride around the area in search of a jet wash. Nope, nothing… there are a couple of car washes, but these are drive through so not suitable for a motorcycle… well not without wetsuit and snorkel 😂
Back to take the washing out and put it in the tumble dryer… they are also card operated. I put two dryers on to try and get them dried quickly as time is a marchin’. I think to ask the young attendant if she knows where there is a jet wash nearby… well, I might as well be speaking Mongolian for all the good that does. Ok I have to give up I guess and she’ll be a dirty girl til she comes home. Drying done and as I fold and pack my things I think there must be about $5 left on the card… mmm well I certainly don’t need it so I approach the elderly lady at the next folding table and ask her if she wants it… she looks a bit nervous as I walk over, (to be expected), but absolutely beams when I explain about the card.. I feel very good.
Back to the apartment to finish packing and load it all on to the bike. I am running out of time as I should be out of the apartment by 11… it’s now 10.30 and still lots to do so I message the owner and she very graciously tells me not to worry and to take my time… how kind of her.
At 11.40 I am ready to leave.. at last. I make my way over to the address for dropping the bike. It’s actually pretty easy to find and a very smooth transaction. I meet Christian who takes some photos of the bike, all my paperwork including the original V5, (title document), which I am slightly anxious about as I was expecting him to take a photocopy but he explains that US Customs needs the original. I’m not in any position to argue so leave it with him. I order my last Uber to take me to the nearest station.
I arrive at the local station and find there is little to no information about how I get to JFK airport. There are a couple of guys standing chatting so I ask them and it seems I have to catch several trains, one from here to Penn station in New Jersey, then another train to Jamaica NY and then the airport train from there. I buy a ticket to Jamaica and wait for the train.
It is boiling hot and the sun is beating down.. not much shade on the platform and the wait is long so am grateful for the cool air on the train… in fact I fall asleep and when we arrive in Newark Penn station the conductor has to wake me up, he doesn’t look best pleased!
I find the Red line which will take me to Jamaica and am able to board a train pretty quickly, but there are no seats so have to stand all the way. Once at Jamaica station I look for the information regarding the train to JFK… right I need to get a ticket so I queue up. It is all via machine and as usual there’s no information. It seems the ticket is $5 but I only have a $20 note so I put that in to pay… the machine asks if I want a $19 multi-trip pass, (it’s $1 for the plastic card, bit like Oyster in London), no don’t want that just the one way ticket… it goes back to the beginning, spitting my $20 note out at the same time. I try again, one way ticket to JFK via the air train, cost $5… do I want a $19 multi-trip ticket… NO… spitting out again!! There is now a queue of impatient people behind me. Once again I try, I’m obviously doing something wrong, maybe if I say yes to the multi-trip it will ask me on the next screen to confirm. I try that and it gives me a plastic multi-trip ticket and no change… I have just paid $20 for a $5 journey OMG am I angry!!
I see two women who seem to work here and I make my way over. I try to explain to one of the women that the machine has just over charged me.. she is not sympathetic, in fact she almost ignores me saying ‘ya have ta get a complaint form over dare’ pointing in a vague manner towards the end of the ticket hall, I explain I am a tourist and flying home so I can’t send in forms… She shrugs her shoulders and looks at me with obvious distain, ‘well that’s what ya godda do’ and turns away to resume her conversation with the other woman.
This is really such a shame as it has spoilt my last day in the States… I’m now stuck with a travel card I don’t want…. grrrrr.
I catch the train to JFK and am soon in the departure terminal. I have a Harley bag on my trolley wheelie thing and a small carry on.. I see a guy with a plastic wrap machine so I think that would be a good idea, I can wrap the bag and trolley together and put them in the hold as I have a baggage allowance. It costs $15 but well worth it methinks:
Looks like a huge blue poo on a stick doesn’t it, but does the job-bie.
The young man on the wrapping machine is very pleasant so I ask him if he lives in New York… stupid question I suppose, but anyway… yes he says, so I give him the $15 and the travel card.. well what am I going to do with it!
On to the plane and of course I have forgotten to book a seat and find myself next to a very large man who over-flows the middle seat… luckily I do have an aisle seat so I can at least lean out of the way. The flight is only 7 hours, but I have terrible back ache after about 4 hours so have to get up and walk around quite a lot.. there isn’t that much room and the flight is rammed. I try to sleep, I even bought an eye mask at the airport, but it’s impossible so mostly give up and watch a couple of films.
We land at 11am UK time, my body is still at 6am, and by the time I am out of the terminal it is almost 1pm.. down to the tube and on my way home. I can’t face a bus from the tube station so order my last Uber this trip and am home by 4pm. There’s no one home as Glo is in Gibraltar with her daughter and grand-daughter and the dogs are still at the dog minders, but thats ok as I am so tired I just want to get to bed. I actually have to go and pick up my V-Rod from the garage as tomorrow I am joining the club for a ride up to Wrexham for the second Worlds Largest Female Motorcycle ride in record attempt… bonkers!!
I drop my bags and jump on the scooter.. it is so weird to be riding it after 40 days of non stop Fatboy… and I automatically ride on the right side of the road, which is spooky.
I exchange the scooter for the V-Rod and that is even weirder as she is much more powerful and longer than the Fatboy. I need petrol and just as I am approaching the petrol station on the way home, the heavens open… seriously!!
I mean welcome home or what!!
I get myself a coffee.. natch… and something to eat while I wait for it to subside. It doesn’t take that long and am home again by 6.30.
I try and stay awake as long as possible to try and counter the jet lag but am in bed snoring by 9pm.
I came across these posters when I was walking around NYC yesterday… I love the slogans – obviously they are advertising something but whatever it is doesn’t really matter.