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Escaping Boston

by Pamela Blalock and John Bayley

Things were incredibly hectic leading up to our departure for New Zealand. We sold our house in Massachusetts and moved out at the end of August. Due to various timing issues with required rabies tests for the cats and vaccines for ourselves, we couldn't actually leave until mid-October. So John planned to continue working until September 20. For some reason, he just couldn't bring himself to finishing up work on Friday the 13th, so he gave himself an extra week to help train his replacement.

Our friends, Bob and Lee, took pity on us and our poor homeless cats and bikes, and graciously allowed us to stay with them while John finished work. They even let the cats hang out while we travelled off for a few family visits before heading far far away.

Once John finished work, we made a couple of whirlwind trips - one to Ireland to see John's family and friends, and a second to North Carolina to catch up with my family. We got back from NC Friday night before Columbus Day weekend. We had planned to do the Great River Ride on Sunday, but for some reason John wouldn't let me book a hotel in Westfield Saturday night. He told me that our friends, Jack and Susan, would be away all week, so our only chance to see them before leaving was Saturday night. All was revealed when I rang the doorbell at their house and a crowd of our friends jumped out to surprise us - except the bigger surprise was it was my surprise 40th birthday party as well as our going away party. Of course this came as a great surprise to me, since the birthday in question was some 15 months prior. It was a fabulous party and a great chance to see lots of folks one more time before they come visit us here in New Zealand!

Jamie brought along a camera and got some great shots. Here is Pamela showing great surprise!


Jack and Susan

David and Zach

John and Rose

Paul and Cheryl

Mark and Connie

Larry and Diane

Ken and Jan

Rick, Teresa and Tim

The Newlyweds

The 40th Birthday Cake

Pamela with over the hill deely boppers

Bill contemplating 40 years!

Ken and Lynn

Jamie and Lindy

A Kangaroo is missing something important!

A gift from Jamie and Lindy
view its fate


So after a late night we got up quite early to head out to Westfield. The weather was a bit damp, not unheard of for this ride, but we had a grand time as usual.

The rest of the week was a blur as we got together with more friends and tried to pack! We'd kept entirely too much stuff and it became quite evident in the end. We had my trusty laptop computer, our s&s tandem, and two s&s mountain bikes, what should have been minimal clothing and camping gear to get us through a few months of bike touring and hiking. We filled two giant duffles on wheels, two s&s cases for the tandem and two bike boxes for the mountain bikes. We had arranged to have two excess bags. But when we packed everything, we found we had a lot of stuff left over, and needed a third excess bag! Fortunately, we had rented a van when we got back from NC, so we would be able to take all our gear to the airport, and then return the van at the airport. We had it packed to the gills!

Our drive in to Logan was going well, until we hit the carpool lane. Suddenly traffic came to a standstill and stayed that way. We watched as others, not trapped in the carpool lane escaped on exits, but we were stuck. Within a short while, all traffic stopped. It took 2 hours to go 2 miles. Of course, we missed our flight! We got in to the airport and rebooked for the next day, but unfortunately ended up having to go to LA quite early resulting in a 7 hour layover there! The actual flights weren't bad. We ended up with nice roomy seats for both the long flights. It took a while to drag all our stuff through customs in Auckland, so we missed and had to rebook the flight to Christchurch a second time, but we eventually made it all the way to Christchurch.

We are finally here, and it is finally starting to feel real!