In Search of Families In Search of Adventure
A Family on a Bike Tour: New Zealand, Samoa, USA and Canada 2004/2005

All Boxed In

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From:       Kirstie, Stuart, Matthew and Cameron
Subject:   All Boxed In
  Date:         14th November 2004
     Invercargill, South Island, New Zealand


The going was good for our journey in a horse box to Manchester airport. The hurdles appeared on arrival at check in desk 10 where the 32kg rule caught us out. One box passed the test but two caused a steward's enquiry weighing in at 4kg over. One hour, two Singapore airline chilled meal boxes and a roll of packing tape later we were finally checked in, but our three large boxes still needed to negotiate security checks. Too big for X-ray machines they needed to be individually swabbed. Then three loaders were summoned from the airport underworld to take the boxes to baggage land for onward transit, hopefully to be reunited with us at Invercargill. We waved goodbye, crossed our fingers and went for a coffee.

Three bike boxes ready for the loaders to do their trolley dash

The boxes reappeared unexpectedly at Christchurch airport, where no-one knew quite what to do with them. We spotted them lurking abandoned on a lonely trolley on the runway. The trolley was collected several times, taken to a plane and then returned to its original spot. Apparently too big to fit in the cargo hold of the plane to Invercargill. As our connecting flight took off, Matthew pointed out the boxes still on the runway beneath us. We wondered if we would ever see them again.

Abandoned at Christchurch Airport?

A call came from the airport three hours after we were settled into our Invercargill homestay with Russell and Marion Miller. Our hosts chased the airline mercilessly to deliver our precious cargo which eventually followed us down on a later flight. "We'd deliver it to you but we don't have a vehicle big enough" said the apologetic Head of Baggage, "You'll have to collect ." Nothing was too much trouble for Russell who borrowed a trailer and took us back to the airport for an emotional reunion. "You know mate, you were real lucky" said the loader as he opened the giant freight doors, "We got these in the hold with just an inch to spare."

Trailer trash?

Casually strapped on with bungees the bikes were trailered to their final destination to await unpacking and assembly ready for the real journey to begin. They spent a happy evening basking in the late spring sunshine on the balcony while we were finally able to rest easily and prepare for the chaos of reassembly.

Reunited after all these miles...




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