Posted By Bill
Frequently, non-cruisers want to know what it is like to live like this. Yesterday was so typical that I thought it was a good thing to blog about to help people understand the lifestyle.
If you follow the blog you know we have a battery issue. I did all the research and decided to go with Full River AGM group 31 batteries, and buy them from a discount battery dealer in Miami called DC Battery Specialists. Our friends, that we consider family, Jim and Linda, have been wintering and doing a cruise in the Fort Lauderdale area during the last 3 weeks or so. They wanted to stay in Marathon for a few days to see us and are on their way as I type. Now you have the back ground info.
Our original thought was to rent a car in Marathon, take the current batteries back to Walmart, get our money (if we can) back, pick up the new batteries in north Miami, hit a Costco, and come home. This will take all day, and the refrigerator and freezer on the boat would be without power . Not a huge deal, but less than desirable.
Then Tricia’s friend, who lives in Key West, offered her car to us for several days so we didn’t have to deal with a rental…very generous. We made a plan, and then her daughter had some car trouble and we had to abort…no problem…she would set it up for another period.
Yesterday, Jim called and asked if they could pick something up for us on their way down. I asked which way they were going to go, and it turned out that DC Battery is less than 1/2 mile off their path. So I call DC and ask if someone else can pick them up…yes they can. Then check with Jim to make sure he is ok with going there…yes they are. In the mean time, DC sends me an invoice and tells me that the batteries have to be paid for before Jim picks them up. Oh…and they don’t take credit cards. We can pay via money wire, ACH transfer or depositing a check into their account at a Bank of America Branch. I try a money wire or ACH from our bank accounts, but all of them have a 2 day process. Then I try brokerage accounts, which allow you to wire for no charge. So I call DC back and tell them that a wire would be the mode of payment. They told me that it would probably be a day or so before it processed through their system…bummer. Finally, I see on Google that there is a Bank of America branch in Marathon a couple of miles away. I call them to make sure they are open, then call DC back to see if that will process fast enough, and it looks like it will work.
As an aside, we have been hauling 40 pounds of rolled coins that we grabbed in our haste when we left Ohio 5 months ago. So I get a backpack, load up the coins, ride my bike in the 28 knot winds to the bank. They take the check and gladly exchange the coins for dollars (and didn’t even charge me a fee). I stop by the grocery since I am right next door and pick up as much stuff as I can carry back on my bike. I ride home in the 28 knot winds, call DC to make sure the money hit the account and that the batteries would be waiting for Jim, and let Jim know that we are all set.
I started this process at 9 AM and it is now 4:30 PM. It has taken an entire day to buy batteries and go to the grocery.
We will still have to get a car to take the existing batteries back to Walmart, but having the replacements ahead of time will allow us to run the boat systems while we do the return. As crazy as it sounds, I feel really good that I got all of these things to line up, and save the crap in our freezer and refrigerator when we make the return at Walmart! It was a very satisfying day!