Back in March, right before we left Germany, we said goodbye to our car (The Gold Nugget). It was stressssful, probably one of the most stressful parts of our PCS. We had an appointment to turn our car in on a Thursday, just a few days before we were flying out of the country. If our car hadn’t passed inspection, there would have been no time to fix whatever needed fixing and turn it in before we left. We would have had to have gotten a friend to turn it in for us, which would have required power of attorney. I’m not sure how we would have done that during Easter weekend. Bonus stress: we heard that there were no more appointments available for the entire month of April. Gulp.
What, you might ask, happens after we turn in our car? How does the Nugget get from Grafenwoehr to El Paso?
When you turn in your car, you are given a date that you can expect to receive it back. Cars are moved on a priority basis in terms of their due date. The Nugget and its comrades with similar due dates were loaded onto a truck and driven to an ocean carrier. The cars on the ship are all covered and protected. This stage takes a long time and there is the potential for mold and other bad things to happen, so the shippers take a lot of precautions. (This is also part of the reason they are so picky when you turn your car in.)
The ocean carrier makes a sloooooow voyage from grand ol Europe to coastal Georgia. The shipping and receiving area in Brunswick, Georgia is huge. Thousands of cars are going in and out on a regular basis. Again, cars are moved based on the priority of their due date, so it’s possible for your car to hang out there a while. The Nugget, thankfully, did not. He was loaded up on another truck and driven to the Dallas Vehicle Processing Center. We got really lucky that there was a vehicle pick-up place in Dallas (our home town) as there are only 18 in the country total. (Some people have to travel much farther than we did to get their cars.) Bonus bonus: the car arrived right before Great Strides weekend. Bazinga! I flew out early since the VPC isn’t open on the weekends (seriously?) and I picked up our coche the Friday before Great Strides.
I inspected the Nugget before getting the keys. I thought everything was honkey dorey. Imagine my surprise when a few miles down the road, I realized that the mirror part of the driver’s side mirror was nowhere to be found. (Actually, I thought the mirror was there and just really dirty. Turns out I was looking at the stuff that is under the mirror.) I knew the pick-up process was too easy.
Le sigh. That means a few million rounds of paperwork to file a claim and get reimbursed. I’m one part really annoyed that there was damage, one part really annoyed at myself for not realizing it until after I left the lot, and one part really thankful it was something so minor.
Following Great Strides, Stephen and I drove the nugget from Dallas to El Paso. (If you are tracking, that’s our fifth time to make the 9 hour drive.) Not far outside Abilene, our other side mirror popped off. (Don’t worry, we got temporary side mirrors from Auto Zone so we aren’t driving blind or anything dangerous.) Again I felt annoyed, but I kept reminding myself that it’s no big deal in the grand scheme of things.
I’ve since then I have gotten the nugget inspected and we are working on getting it registered. (Luckily registration is a tad easier since we are already Texas residents.) Once we wrap that up and take care of our claim, all this car craziness will be dunzo. Thank goodness too because I get exhausted just thinking about all of it!