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March 7, 2015 | Appointments in the northeast

Before heading off for our prime objective of Dayton Ohio, we visit Clariant in West Chicago, a global producer of liquid and solid colour masterbatches and additives for the plastics packaging industry and in particular we look at their Colorworks division. Here we are privileged to experience the whooshing sound of the dyes within a packaging environment. The impression conveyed by the dyes is still ringing in our ears on the 500km-long trip to Dayton, OH.

Dayton marks a changeover within the team, with Tony coming in and Theo departing. As usual, things don’t go as smoothly as expected. Tony has problems with his connecting flight in the US and he arrives a day later than planned. It’s not all bad news because it means that I can drop Theo off at the airport and pick up Tony at the same time. The next planned change cannot be put off for too long, because Rolf is now at the US/Canada border with the Editourmobil and needs a Broker’s Bond to get the vehicle through. This has to be applied for which entails a further few days delay. At least it gives us the opportunity to pay a visit to Electra in Dayton, who specialise in preform moulds. News then comes through from Rolf that thankfully he has obtained the entry documents and is now on his way to meet us.

To avoid Rolf having to do the entire journey himself, we decide that we will meet him halfway in New York, the advantage of this being that we can then fit in an appointment with PepsiCo in New York. From Dayton, OH to New York is a distance of about 1000 km, so we set off at 2 o’clock in the morning, just as the weather forecast announces a severe storm between Dayton and New York. The road conditions were excellent and after what seems to us a reasonable time of 11 hours driving, the winter weather duly catches up with us in the New York area, which, as things go, is relatively good news.

We spoke too soon! The hotel we have booked is located near the Bronx, but the satnav takes through downtown Manhattan. With the onset of the wintry weather the streets are blocked and the satnav is unable to get a signal through the mass of skyscrapers so we end up going round in circles. After one and a half hours of aimless driving, we finally give in and get a taxi driver to show us the way. Moments after arriving at the hotel, there is a massive police presence around a nearby shop, and the taxi driver warns us on no account to leave the hotel that evening. That was the final straw. We up sticks and drive on to Newark. We locate a hotel near the airport, having spent 14 hours on the road. On the following day the Editourmobil should at last be handed over and we drive north for a further 3 hours. Suddenly, and we can hardly believe this, the Editourmobil comes into view.

With an expression of pure relief, Rolf jumps out of the vehicle and is absolutely delighted to be taking over the rental car, which will take him back to Canada, and the flight home to Germany from Toronto. Now finally at the helm of the Editourmobil, we drive back to Newark. On our return to the hotel in Newark we now make the acquaintance of yet another variant in the weather: a torrential downpour. Next day it goes back to heavy snow again and a temperature of minus 15. Driving is out of the question so we content ourselves with a short telephone conversation with PepsiCo. Hopefully this will be the last bout of bad weather on our tour. We spend the weekend at the hotel as the facilities in the Editourmobil are still frozen solid. The weather forecast for the coming week offers us the slight ray of hope that on the next part of our journey spring may be in the air.
We are keeping our fingers firmly crossed.