Since the JNC forum crashed and we have gone back in time a month, we need to bring this thread up to date again! Fortunately, I keep backups of everything I post, so the following is almost exactly what was posted!
(Note: "======" indicates a break in the original posts.)
The car is getting closer and closer! It went south past California and paralleled Mexico. During it's trip along that part it got close enough to a port that I could catch it on the port tracking system. As you can see, the closer it gets to a port, the more it has to dice with a ton of boats!
Now, it's down next to Guadalajara and not too far from hitting Panama.
The boat has meandered it's way on down past Mexico and right up to Panama's front door!
As you can see it skirted right along the South American border and is now turning into the Gulf of Panama.
It should be showing up on Panama's AIS (Automatic Identification System) soon, which means I'll be able to track it's movements much more closely as it passes through the canal. With some luck, I may even be able to catch a snapshot of it on a webcam or something!
The boat is so close now I can hardly sit still! I'm sure the tracking website I'm using is getting tired of me spamming the refresh button. I did manage to grab some good screenshots of its travel through the Canal though.
You can see that it has to contend with around a hundred different boats. I imagine it's chaos! As it was passing through, Kel was on the ball and managed to grab this snapshot from a webcam of it's passage through the Canal.
Nicely done! Thank you very much for that, I've showed it to just about everyone I know, haha. Here it is as it meanders it's way out of the Canal.
Then it jumped across the blue and went on vacation in Jamaica.
After a day of dumping cars in Kingston, it was back out into the blue with the next destination set as Galveston, Texas!
Almost there! Hopefully everything continues to go smoothly!
Well, while I've been sitting here in a desk, 6,000 miles away, the boat has been making steady progress! Once it got about halfway across the Gulf, it was picked up on Houston's AIS and then I could start tracking it in earnest.
It slowly wove it's way through the masses of ships in the port and made a bee-line for Galveston.
If we zoom out a bit you can see it practically drew a straight line between Jamaica and Galveston!
The eagle has landed, I repeat, the eagle has landed.
Final dot added right on top of Galveston!
It was a long, arduous journey (mostly long and arduous for me, not the cars), but the ship has arrived and the cars unloaded!
Now comes the equally stressful bit of trying to get the cars from the boat to our garage. We have several hurdles that we're going to have to overcome, chief among which is getting into the port to pick up the cars. Since we don't have the appropriate license, we're not allowed on the port without an escort. Unfortunately, the guy who can escort us works on a first come first served basis, so we're mostly at his mercy. Then, we have to load both cars onto a trailer, and tow them back across the great state of Texas for 5 hours. Everything should hopefully be 100% settled and the cars in my father's garage by mid next week at the absolute, everything-went-wrong, latest.
Talk about an exciting weekend!
Let's jump right into it! We used GLC Associates as a customs broker and I have to say, they were fantastic. They were more than happy to walk us through the process and supply us with well more paperwork than we needed, just to be sure. The cars cleared customs on Wednesday, my father received all paperwork he would need to get the cars on Thursday and set off for Galveston that night.
He stayed the night just outside the port and woke up bright and early the next morning to head on down, arriving at the port at around 7:30 A.M. In order to get into the port you need either a TWIC card or an escort. Fortunately, the wonderful GLC Associates supplied us with a contact at the port that we could arrange to escort us. He arrived at 7:45 and my father and him went over our paperwork.
The port doesn't actually open until 8:00, so they killed 15 minutes and were first in line to get through the gate, which was good because behind them there were tons of massive car carriers waiting their turn. My dad handed the port agent all his paperwork and the guy laughed, saying that he had far too much. Just a few minutes of reviewing paperwork and the cars were now his!
After going through the gate they had to locate two tiny Kei cars among thousands and thousands of imported cars. Fortunately, the workers knew the two little Keis were something special and moved them around to a different lot near the front with all the heavy machinery equipment (forklifts, backhoes, etc.). My dad pulled up with an 18 foot trailer on the back of his Chevy pickup and loaded the cars up with no problems whatsoever!
He loaded the Carol first and propped the front tires up on blocks so the lower valence could clear the front of the trailer. This also put the heaviest part of the Carol (the rear engine) right over the wheels of the trailer. He then loaded the Mitsubishi right behind it. This put the heaviest part of the Mitsubishi (the front engine) right over the wheels of the trailer too! The trailer was balanced extremely well. It doesn't look it in the pictures, but there's a good 10 inches of space between the cars.
With everything strapped down and ready to roll, Dad was ready to set off, but couldn't just yet. A guy has to come by and make sure that you've loaded the correct cars before you can leave the port. Once that guy showed up, they were all locked in deep conversation about how awesome the two cars were, haha.
Everyone on the port knew that the two little Keis were pretty rare and everyone wanted to talk about them and figure out what they were. They were a huge hit, everyone loved the cars!
Dad finally pulled back out on the road home after just an hour at the port. That has to be a world record for shortest customs trip ever! On the way back he said there were tons of people pulling up beside him to snap pictures while driving and everyone at toll booths always made a comment. After a 5 hour journey back up to Hico, he finally pulled into our driveway and our dog was super happy that Daddy was home!
Both cars cruised at about 65 mph the entire way back, faster than they ever gone in their entire lives!
Absolutely no dents, dings, scratches or anything rough at all (aside from what was already there on the Carol).
Most likely the only Mazda Carol 360 and Mitsubishi 360 in the entire US and both of them are relaxing in the crisp, cool, 104 degree blaze of the Texan sun!
You can see here how the front of the Carol was boosted up to clear the front of the trailer to give him just that extra bit of room needed to fit two cars on a single 18 foot trailer.
After a short breather, it was time to unload the cars in their new home: the hangar.
Dad just barely fits in both cars, but he said the Carol was particularly hard to get into and out of. The suicide doors of the Mitsubishi really help getting in and out.
Welcome home, Mitsubishi-san!
And the coolest dad in the world who made it possible!
Thanks mom and dad! I love y'all!