There are some days when you just want to lay yourself down in the middle of what ever floor you happen to be on and howl and kick and scream at the top of your lungs. Oh for those toddler days when such behavior was expected…
But now I’m an adult, so I have to at least attempt to behave myself.
Yesterday was just one of those days. A simple day at the car wash turned into a nightmare. But enough about me. This post is really about shipping your POV. Because now that I’ve actually done it, I can talk about it. I was going to call this post The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but I didn’t know if people would get it 🙂
So if you are moving overseas, the government will ship one car that you own–or are buying–for free. There are a couple of websites that you can go to. The main one is http://www.pcsmypov.com.
On that website, you’ll find a list of all the things you have to do to get your car ready for shipping–like clean out the inside.
Well, in case you didn’t know, I drive a Scion iQ. I used to have a Mercury Grand Marquis before that, so as you can imagine, my tiny Pearl (that’s her name) took some getting used to. My coworkers teased me endlessly about both cars. They called Georgia (the Grand Marquis) the land-yacht, and they called Pearl the skate. But I’m the one laughing all the way to Italy now…
I digress. Anyway, you have to clean out your car, make sure it’s in good driving condition, etc. I actually got the front brakes done, the back brakes cleaned, a fuel system cleaning, two new tires and a wheel alignment. I probably didn’t have to do all of that now, but 1) Pearl needed some of them (I’m still not convinced about the fuel injection system cleaning) and 2) I know, or at least I’m told, that anything I get done in Italy will cost twice as much.
I made an appointment online to take my car to the Baltimore Vehicle Processing Center (VPC). That’s the place you have to drop your car off so that IAL can ship it. IAL is the company DoD contracted to handle car shipments.
I was planning to drive from New Jersey, so I made the appointment for 1pm and that gave me plenty of time to leave about 8:30, drive relatively leisurely, grab lunch, and still get there by noon.
One thing I will caution you about: be careful that you have the most current and updated list of VPCs. There used to be one in New Jersey, but it closed down awhile ago, which is why I had to drive to Baltimore. So just check online or call to make sure the place you plan to take your car is still in the government car shipping business.
So today, I showed up for my appointment and it went pretty well. Everyone was actually very nice to me. I called a cab company (I-95 Taxi) from the VPC and Dave, the driver, took me to Baltimore Intl Airport. Just so you know, a cab ride from the VPC to the airport is a flat $25. Given that its barely seven miles away, that is a little expensive, but what can you do?
Please, please read all the instructions carefully as there is a list of paperwork you’ll need. I don’t own my car yet, so I had to get a letter from the bank authorizing me to take it overseas. If you still owe, you’ll have to do the same for your vehicle. They will also want two copies of your orders and there’s a pre-shipping form you’ll need to fill out. You could do it there, but I’m a big fan of doing things early. Besides, it makes you look like you’re on the ball and the employees appreciate it. (At least I think they do. They may not care).
You’ll also need to show them your CAC card. So make sure it’s easily accessible.
And make sure you have cash on you. Philly cabdrivers have been coerced into accepting credit cards, but I’m not sure Baltimore is there yet.
They actually want you to ship your vehicle six weeks in advance, but that just wasn’t an option for me. I was commuting to work at the base from Philadelphia. And I just felt like it would be a lot easier to get rides from coworkers at Aviano than trying to do it here. So I’m literally shipping the car the same day I’m leaving.
I’ll let you know how that worked out for me 🙂