HAtea Lift Bridge, Whangarei (photo archdaily.com)
After the rude New Year’s Day awakening we had a good and windy sail back to the main land to the Whangarei River. We motored a couple hours up the river carefully missing the last opening of the Hatea lift bridge. The bridge stays closed from 4pm to 5:30pm for car traffic. We called the bridge tender at 3:45 and asked for an opening. He said sure, but he had to do an inspection first. He got back to us at 3:57 and said it was too late for an opening, so we tied up to the waiting dock and spun our wheels till 5:30. Then we headed to the small Riverside Marina and were greeted by a number of cruising friends to help us slide into our slip. Since then it has been whittling down the boat work list.
We left NZ for the USA on Air New Zealand from Auckland to Houston. A top notch airline. Good seats, great service, free beer and wine. The great service came to a screeching halt when we hit Houston and needed to pick up our connecting domestic flight to Ft Lauderdale on United Airlines. First they announced a two hour weather delay. Then a half hour later they sheepishly announced that it really wasn’t a weather delay, it was a mechanical delay. Anyway our flight finally gets ready for boarding.
The boarding process has gotten absurd. There are something like a half dozen different boarding groups that they run in some magic order: Premier Platinum Members of the First Order, Partner Gold and Golden Elite, Eagle Scouts from Northern States, Active Duty Military directly involved in Seal Team 6, ……. Things would go a lot faster and smoother if they broke it down to two groups: Those that consider themselves special and entitled, and All others who paid for a seat.
We landed in Ft Lauderdale and did some marathon relative visiting. This included a fair bit of driving. The driving has inspired me to create a new app just for Florida drivers. It will be a Bluetooth enabled app that works with traffic lights. The second the traffic light turns green it will automatically honk the horns in the cars that are in the second and later rows. This will take the pressure off of those drivers and better coordinate the horns for higher volume and greater effect.
You can’t be in US now and not feel the vibe for the presidential primaries. Most of it is a pretty raw vibe, but none the less it is there. I could go on in great detail about our current politics, but then this wouldn’t be a cruising blog. I do have a preferred outcome for the primaries that I think would be really good for the country. Out of the primaries I’d like to see Rubio on the Republican side, Sanders on the Democrat side and Trump and Bloomberg as independents. This way for any one of them to win in the general election they’d have to run on platforms that the majority thought was right for the country, not on fairy tales that appeal to the party faithful.
Next up, visits to South Carolina, Georgia, Washington (Bellingham), and Southern California.