The electricians turned up on monday and began installing the inverter, which meant mounting it in the engine room and running a couple of cables to the AC/DC panel before leaving after 2 hours because they were "still waiting for a few parts.......which (hopefully) will be in tomorrow". I also rang Customs and Border Protection in Milwaukee to arrange for a cruising permit and was told that we had to make an application for enrolment in the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS), and make an appointment online to have a face to face visit in a couple of days. We did this, and even though the CBP website clearly states that elligibility is restricted to Canadian residents, all of our data was accepted. We made an appointment for Wednesday at 11am and as it seemed unlikely that we would be departing on Thursday as scheduled, we contacted Hertz and arranged to have the rental car for another couple of days. I also ordered 150ft of 5/16" chain online to go with the anchor when it arrived. Apart from the anchor, everything I had ordered from Amazon so far had turned up on, or ahead, of due date. We dropped the girls off at Walmart in Waukegan while Charlie and I went to a military musem up the road in Russel. It was shut on monday's, but the owner was there working on a "new" 1942 Jeep he had just obtained, so he let us in for a look (but still charged us the full $10 each admission)
Tuesday, the anchor and chain had not arrived, and neither had the parts for the inverter installation, so we continued shopping for provisions and other miscellaneous "stuff".
Wednesday we were up bright and early to begin the 40 minute trek to CBP in Milwaukee, checking first at the Marina Service to see the status of our installation. "Still waiting for parts which (hopefully) will be in today"...so we left the boat open so they could get aboard should the errant parts arrive. There is lots of freeway construction going on around Milwaukee which thoroughly confused Carmen (our GPS has a female voice, so we have nicknamed her Carmen) and it took us an hour to find the CBP office. We were still a little early for our appointment, but by the time we found the department we were supposed to talk to, we weren't that early at all. The officer we spoke with took our passports and ships papers and looked up our SVRS application on her computer before calling us into the office for the interview. All the usual questions were asked (had we ever been arrested? did we transport drugs? etc etc) and at the end we were told everything was in order and we would get an email confirmation that we were signed up in the system. When I queried that I understood that the SVRS only applied to Canadians, she told us that it now applied to any country in the Visa Waiver program. I asked for a Cruising Permit, and she said I didn't need one as this system integrated with Coastguard as well, and as long as we filed a "floatplan" online, it eliminated the need for a Permit. This sounded pretty good to me, despite the fact that their website clearly said the opposite and when we returned to the boat we had a confirming email from CBP that we were approved and, as directed, we went to their website and set up passwords so we could file float plans and passenger lists online. She also told us that extending our stay on our passports would be difficult so the easiest thing to do would be to go shopping in Canada for a day and get a new date on re-entry. We will probably do this from the Michigan side, as it's closer to the border. All good stuff!!!
After the CBP visit, we took a drive down to the Milwaukee Riverwalk where the girls had their photo taken with Fonzie (Henry Winkler from the old TV series "Happy Days")....well a bronze statue of him, anyway. I didn't find the likeness that good, in fact up close he looked rather creepy!
Yesterday morning the techs turned up at 8.30am and began further installation, although they were still waiting for one fuseblock and two 250A fuses. (I later checked these out on Amazon and they were in stock if several places and could have had them the next day on priority delivery). Charlie and I were going to West Marine to get the necessary swivels etc to connect the anchor and the Girls were going to tourist around Kenosha. Before we left Carolyn wanted to go to a Doctor as she had left her asthma medication behind in NZ and needed to get more, so we dropped her off at the emergency room of the local hospital. A while after Charlie and I left, we got a call to say Carolyn was having a chest Xray and ECG....which is what happenes if you tell the doctor you have a tightness in your chest. After Charlie and I got the parts we needed we returned to the hospital as Carolyn was being discharged and as by this time it was almost 3pm so that was the sightseeing over for the day. The girls went for a swim in the pool, while Charlie and I returned to the boat and installed the anchor and chain. As Chris, the electrician was still working on the panels, we couldn't use the windlass, so we put the chain in the dinghy and fed it by hand into the chain locker through the pulpit. We then took the anchor around and pulled it up manually, as well. When the anchor had arrived, it looked huge and its size and shinyness impressed everyone who gazed upon it. When it is installed, it looks normal and because of the design of the pulpit and retrieval system, you can't even see it....very disappointing.
At 5.30 I checked my emails to find one from the interviewing officer at the CBP requesting that I phone her "regarding our application for the SVRS". As it was too late for that day, I rang Friday (the 13th!!!!) and she said that we had to have a cruising permit, and could we come back to Milwaukee and get it. We said we would be there at 10.30 and then waited till the Chris turned up at 9am to see whether the parts had turned up, or not.
NOT........ So I suggested that as we were going to Milwaukee, we might check some marine or RV suppliers and see if we could source the errant parts. Off we went to Milwaukee and arrived on time at the CBP to have our fingerprints and digital photos taken and a cruising permit issued which still has the same requirements for reporting as we would have without being in the SVRS system, which we didn't need to join. We left there and went to West Marine and found a supply of the errant parts, which we bought, but found on our return to the boat, that the errant parts had also finally turned up at Kenosha. So we now had $85 worth of errant parts that were superfluous to requirements, so we took them back to West Marine in Winthrop Harbor and got a credit.
The remainder of the day consisted of visiting a hunting store (lots of guns and other goodies) to buy a pair of binoculars, and on to Woodmans (for provisions and grog) and WALMART ,for sugar free candy (overconsumption has a laxative effect) and toilet rolls (for after the effect). Return to the boat found an unfinished installation, as there were issues with the wiring which are yet to be resolved as I write this. It had also rained heavily while we were away and we had left a couple of portholes open which had allowed water ingress onto the polished cherry woodwork, so it was decided that both friday 13th's (here and NZ time) were poop days. Suffice to say that we have reserved the rental car for yet another day and departure has been further delayed. By the way Hertz, have been real good so far about extensions of the rental! On the way back from Hertz, I did order a Key Lime Pie from Paiellas for tomorrow. Supposedly the best in the Universe - Bert and Hilary bought us one during their visit and it was pretty good!
So, here we are still at Kenosha - but its Saturday 14th tomorrow, and its GOT to be a better day!
I have been asked to supply a recipe for bacon and egg pie and, as most Kiwis will know, these can be as varied as personal tastes dictate. However, here are some guidelines:
Line a pie dish (round or rectangular...it doesn't matter) with thin puff pastry. Hard to find here, but it does exist.
Lay strips, or pieces, or chunks of bacon in the bottom. Use thick sliced bacon but try to avoid heavily smoked strips as it will overpower the pie - you can also use ham if you want a more delicate flavour (we did that on the one we cooked for 4th July)
Add eggs...the number will depend on the size of your pie. There are several ways of dealing with the eggs, depending on how you like your bacon and egg pie. You can stir them up and they go like scambled egg, you can leave them whole like fried eggs, or you can just break the yolks and let them layer in with the whites, which is my preference.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cover the filling with a thin layer of puff pastry.
Cook in a preheated oven at 340F (170C) for about 1 hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling has "set". You can usually tell this by gently poking it.
That is a very basic B & E pie, but you can also enhance it by adding other ingredients. Onion, of course, tomato, thin slices or grated cheese on top of the mixture, green peppers (capsicum) even peas and carrots and potato...the choice is yours, but don't overdo the veges as it can make too much liquid in the filling.
Serve it hot or cold in slices or squares, depending on your pie dish. I like plenty of ketchup on it too.