Friday, September 12, 2008

It All Fit!

Looks like the puzzle from hell: how to fit that eight-foot-long tandem into those two suitcases. We'd seen it come out of the suitcases when R&E Bikes in Seattle, the folks who made our bike, cut the packing pads and took it apart to demonstrate it for us. But actually doing it ourselves was a bit nerve-wracking.

Well, the disassembly of a thousand parts starts with one pedal,
so off we went with just these tools and the stack of velcro pads you see
(the plastic parts in the case are "compression members" that we inserted at the end of the process in the center of each case to help protect against sideways squeezing of the cases in transit, plus two black plastic axle protectors for the second wheel).

Pretty soon we had an impressive pile of parts, small ones in plastic bags and all the larger ones wrapped in form-fitted velcro pads.
Once the bike was stripped clean of everything removable we got out that large funny-looking wrench and loosened the S&S couplings to turn the frame into suitcase-sized pieces.

The next photo is the whole bike wrapped and ready to fit into the boxes.

With the help of some very detailed instructions emailed to us by Steve and Janet, our friends from Seattle who have an identical Rodriguez tandem, we knew which part to put in which box
and in what order, and it all fit! In fact, fit so well that we were able to add our bike shoes, a fair amount of our biking clothes that we obviously don't need while the tandem is indisposed, and extra books for the many hours we'll have on the Volendam.

Yesterday we dropped off the two grey cases with the bike plus one more box containing our panniers, bike helmets and more bike clothing at FedEx, to be held for us at a FedEx place in LA. We'll pick it all up en route to the ship. Another three more cartons of things that we don't need until Seattle went off to Steve and Janet's for storage -- thanks goodness for good friends! -- and we're now down to Amtrak-travel-mode, one suitcase and one medium-sized soft backpack each until we reach the cruise ship 13 days from now.

It's been so nice reconnecting with our family in Ithaca,
Lisa and Ray and our two precious grandkids. Now off to more family in New York City and Austin, then next April our final family get together with Matt and Akiko and baby Tyler in Tokyo. You know you have quite the global family when it takes 8 months and 10,000 miles of travelling to see them all!

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