We contacted Brad and Gina first thing, and arranged to go over to their place for a BBQ in the evening.  This gave us the day to get the washing done, find some distilled water for John’s battery, and check out the Triumph/BMW dealership.

We asked directions at a gas station for a Mall with a decent bookshop, and ended up travelling miles out of town … coincidentally arriving in Brad and Gina’s leafy suburb a few hours too early.   Conveniently, this also brought us to the street where the dealership was.  It was closed.  We found a laundromat which was open and, for the hour or so while the washing was doing, we called at every gas station and hardware store, trying to find some distilled water. 

We soon discovered that distilled water is something that Americans drink.  It is therefore sold in gallon containers.  Car (and bike) batteries are generally sealed, and do not require topping up.

We arrived at the Dunillo/Chirillo household in Sunnyside relatively promptly to find Brad giving rides on his Harley to their two new ‘grandchildren’.  Both children were decked out in doo-rags, and Brad was definitely the hero of the hour!

Over dinner we mentioned how hard it seemed to be to find distilled water … and how every gas station in England sold litre bottles complete with a plastic tube, especially for topping up batteries.  Brad’s son-in-law, Tony, started to laugh.  He and his mates were on shore leave in Portsmouth several years ago, and were thirsty. They called at the nearest gas station to find something to drink (in the US every gas station has at least one chiller cabinet full of soft drinks and beer).  Needless to say, being England (and several years ago), apart from chewing gum and cigarettes, there was very little to sustain a tired or hungry motorist.  However, on a shelf near the spare fuses and fan belts, there were some bottles of distilled water with plastic straws. Tony and his mates could never understand why everybody laughed at them as they strolled around town, sucking their bottled water through the straws …

Natalie and Tony were due to leave the following day, and Gina kindly suggested that we stay with them.  An offer which we quickly accepted!