North AmericaPosted by Espen Fri, March 26, 2010 06:02:13

Finally has the adventure started. Well... almost. I'm now in Jacksonville waiting for the car carrier Hoegh Tropicana, arrival scheduled to Saturday the 27th - 2 days from now.

I flew in via Chicago, and as expected the immigration officer wasn't very impressed when i didn't have a return air ticket out of the U.S. Still, after some waiting (i suspect that they checked my norwegian "file" and financials) I was called into another office and got my 3 month turist visa, and a "have a nice trip". The last officer was even interested in the type of car and modifications, as the Nissan Patrol in not available in U.S.

After the immigration was sorted out, I flew from Chicago to Jacksonville, where I had booked hotel and a rental car. A minor challenge came at the airport as the name of the rental car company was not printed on my reservation....and not mentioned in the email.....and there were a lot of rental car companies.... Walked around asking if they could recognize my reservation number, and at the LAST desk i got a "we have been waiting for you, sir". Phew... And guess what?? When I asked about upgrades it turned out that an upgrade from the smallest and cheapest Chevrolet Aero to a full size Dodge Charger was only about 35 usd / 200 kr - for 6 days!! Hmm.. what to do......? :-) Well, now I'm cruisingaround in Jacksonville in a Dodge Charger STX 3.5 l High Output with 250 Hp. Niiiice..... :-)

Today I emailed in the last (i think) forms to the Customs Broker, and I hope that I will get a positive feedback tomorrow about the prepared paperwork. The vessel will arrive on Saturday, so I guess that nothing will happen before monday. Hopefully, the process will be smooth, but the local Hoegh Autoliners office has warned me about the things-take-time factor... We'll see.

After all, waiting in Jacsonville isn't too bad. Temp is about 23-24 degrees celcius, and here is a nice beach. Haven't checked out the shopping yet, but drove by a huge 4WheelParts store yesterday. I'll definitely have to check it out before leaving town.

Plan for tomorrow is to see if I can find the Hoegh Autoliners office, and pop in to say hi. And perhaps the same with my customs broker Sims Waters. And if the sun is still up after that - BEACH!

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