Planning

As much as I look forward to travel and exploration, Fall is my favorite season here at home and it is beautiful in Minnesota…oops, Wisconsin! ¬†OK, Equally beautiful ūüėĀ !! ¬†We are looking forward to our last few days in Bayfield, seeing friends, family and spending some time exploring the areas around our new home in Amery, before we head East. ¬†There are a few fall festivals we’d like to attend, including Lamont Cranston playing right on the river in Amery

Our new home is tucked in the woods and located on a beautiful tree-lined, narrow, dead end road; perfect for walking Miss Coconut. ¬†We are seeing changes in our maples and of course, the sumac. ¬†Joe reminds me that we will see “Fall” all the way East but something about cruising the roads along the rivers and lakes here and seeing all the color, just makes me happy.

 

Looks like we’ll be raking!!

In conjunction with clearing out our old home was the dilemma of what to do with the 100+ lb. anchor given to us years ago by some friends who are now cruising full time. ¬†We enjoyed it for all the years we had it at our home (great conversation piece) but felt it should go back to Bayfield, WI. ¬† The anchor was pulled from Raspberry Bay by these friends after they snagged it with their own anchor. ¬†How they got it onto their sailboat is really a question. ¬†We used a Bobcat to move it around our yard and a large tractor to get it into a trailer to move it to its new home, the Maritime Museum, in Bayfield. ¬†Thank you Heidi for coordinating this — we will miss you and Terry stalking us all summer ūüėȬ† ¬† ¬† ¬†The museum was very happy to receive this gift and we feel it was the right decision.

image
Anchor at Oak Haven

 

image
At Bayfield’s Maritime Museum

We are hoping on this trip East, it will work to see Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, if time allows, the adjacent Great Lakes Science Center. ¬†It appears there are several dog friendly hotels nearby so hopefully we can find some doggie daycare. ¬†Yes, Coconut is worth it–have you heard her Wookie imitation???

image
“When your cool, the sun shines all the time”

 

The remainder of the trip is mainly through Pennsylvania, which is a stunningly beautiful drive.  Hopefully fully ablaze in Fall colors.

Depending on timing, we may be able to hit the sailboat weekend of the Annapolis Boat Show.  In any case, we will be driving across the scary 301 bridge and head north around the Chester River and back to Rock Hall to prepare Pursuit for her Fall adventure.  Hitting a few of the restaurants we liked will be a nice end to the days preparing the boat.  We are hoping to see friends made while living in Rock Hall and a couple we met in Bayfield who keep there boat in a nearby Marina.

The best news regarding Pursuit is her former owner located some additional documentation and low and behold the manual for our auto pilot was part of the stash.  Joe spent a lot of time writing to the creator/builder of the autopilot system and inquiring on blogs and websites for cruisers requesting information or a manual.  We also received a response from the creator, Will, so we are now fully armed to try to operate this system.  The autopilot has several components and they all work; however, the boat zig zags.  Everyone agrees it is just an adjustment but no one knew how the various settings on the instrument box worked.   Hope!!!

image

We know Pusuit’s cover is still in place as she is in view of the marina owner’s home and he has checked on her. ¬†We imagine a day or two of cleaning and then “plop” into the water but you boaters know how this sometimes goes…..

Joe has been planning routes and “must see” stops in between all of the struggles of moving and trying to sell a home. ¬†We also know that several of the boxes in our not yet empty storage unit are earmarked for Pursuit. ¬†We will continue to monitor the ICW’s condition and watch the storms now forming in the Atlantic. ¬†So much to do!!! ¬†Not complaining! ¬†Hopefully, everything will fall into place making the hard work all worth it. ¬†After all, this is what we chose to do and I have a hankering for shrimp and grits.

 

Advertisements

Homes & Hurricanes

 

September 6, 2019

As we have done the last few years about this time, we begin to think of saying goodbye to Bayfield, WI and our sailboat Moonlight and hello to exploring the East Coast by truck and boat.  Dorian is, as I type this, ravaging the area we plan to travel in October and November.  This is hauntingly the same as last year.  Florence!  She did much damage to the coast but the ICW was open to us for our travels.  We will wait and see and pray these people are safe.   The horrendous damage and loss of life in the Bahamas is only now starting to become clear.

Beaufort NC looks like Dorian’s next target. ¬†Joe and I spent lots of time there last Fall as we worked out details to repair and sell the SeaRay RJ. ¬†We can picture our daily walks with Coconut, taste the food and recall the friendliness of the people. ¬†Our plans this year include a stop there on our way South. ¬†Hopefully.

We were sad to see Charleston’s historic district underwater. ¬†Joe and I were married there in 1994. ¬†There are so many beautiful areas along this coastline that we have visited and so many more we hope to explore by boat.

Pursuit, the trawler we purchased last year (who can forget the riveting tale of the fuel tank replacement!) is in Rock Hall, MD, on the Cheasepeake, directly across from Annapolis.  The plan is to move her leisurely South through November, come home for a bit then continue the exploration in February.

Most of you know the drama in our lives is selling our beloved Oak Haven, the custom built home where we have lived since 2002. ¬†“Oak Haven” you ask??? Well, there are abundant oaks but for those of you who remember the fabulous Soap Opera, All my Children, it was the name of the mental institution where Erica, Brooke and Phoebe all did a stint. We thought it fitting for the craziness in our lives.

image

We found our new home in Amery, WI, right across the street from Bear Trap Lake. ¬†It fit almost all of our checklist (except for the 3-car garage) and will reduce the work and expense of the larger home. ¬†We will not feel so guilty for leaving a large home empty almost half of the year. ¬†We moved at the end of June and are really liking our home, neighbors and exploring the area. ¬†We are hoping the “less work” part shows up soon. ¬†Moving is very hard work.

Coincidentally, I have these two sweet bear chainsaw wood carvings that my dad bought for my mom.  Karma!   Our new address is on Bear Trap Lane!!

image

For any of you contemplating a similar move, my advice is to get rid of “stuff” — Lots of Stuff!!!! ¬† We thought we did but are still making many trips to donate to thrift stores, Habitat for Humanity and selling things on Craigslist. ¬†Our prior home is almost empty and under a contract for sale but with a contingency for the sale of the buyers home. ¬†We will continue to show it and hope for results soon.

So, as you can see, we are a bit up in the air.   We hope to move Pursuit our trawler South sometime in October as conditions allow and finalize the sale of our old home as well.  Its all been a bit hectic and stressful but nothing like facing a hurricane.

 

Home

We are home safe and sound.  We arrived home yesterday afternoon. The last 4 hours were rather hellish, driving in driving rain!!! Out route home was via Cleveland as we were going to check out the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However timing and doggie kind of nixed that idea. We will try again in the Fall with a more thought out Plan.  We did walk around a bit and drove the water front. Unexpectedly, a beautiful, clean and green town.  It reminded us of driving along Mississippi Blvd or London Road in Duluth.

image

 

Next driving East along Lake Erie we visited Sandusky.  Somehow we missed Cedar Point which contains 17 roller coasters!  We saw it from afar as a picture below shows.  Apparently the second largest roller coaster in the world is there, the Top Thrill Dragster!!!

We drove out to Marblehead and thought the area was like a mini–Door County but with more of a blue collar feel. ¬†Many of the establishments were not yet open for the season. ¬†Lots of cabins and campgrounds and of course, boats. ¬† There were cruises out to Kelley Island, Put-In-Bay and along the shoreline. ¬†We think the place probably rocks in the summer. ¬†We did find a nice waterfront restaurant named Cleats open!

 

So, it appears the storm we missed here at home was every bit as brutal as indicated.  Two things were blown off our side porch that have never before budged.  Lots of branches down too.  It is very nice to be home as we get to see another Spring springing!    We look forward to another summer on Lake Superior and then returning to pursue the ICW on Pursuit.

Last days

[monday]

image

We left Rock Hall this morning to head for home. I was wearing sandals. We are now in Northern Pennsylvania, it is super windy and 40 degrees. Back to shoes and socks. I know, no pity from readers!

Yesterday, we cleaned off the boat and got her covered. She will be stored in the same boatyard she wintered and where we worked on “the project”. ¬†It was suggested we winterize the water system just to keep it fresh, so we took care of that as well. The truck is again full. Maybe this is a good thing as we are taking some things home.

We had dinner Sunday night at Pearl on Main, a restaurant we were saving for our last night. So sad, they were out of Prawns and the two dishes that caught my eye contained prawns. They made up for it, by giving Joe a larger steak than he ordered but really, the only one who benefitted from this was Coconut as she will get the left over steak. Like most everyone in Rock Hall, the waitress was friendly and full of good humor and local stories. Turns out she and her husband (the other wait person) own the place. We will go back next Fall. Hope they have prawns.  Very nice evening.

Saturday, while walking doggie, we met another couple walking their white dog, a Bichon. ¬†Coconut had on her snarly, growly face at first toward the dog but soon she and Sam were sniffing and exploring. Turns out Sam’s parents, Lillian and Gary, are sailors having sailed to the Bahamas. Their adventure after sailing was to explore our National Parks in a Sprinter van and next they will be cruising down the roads pulling a large Airstream! Ok, these two really had our attention. They had travelled down the ICW from exactly where we were docked and traveled the country in a van. Questions were flying!

Fortuitously, Lillian invited us to come over later to talk! Now, this invite was just before Gary produced a shameless plug (his words) about the book they wrote about their sailing experience aboard their Island Packet, Toucan. Ok, ok, I agreed to buy the book, then we were invited into their beautiful bayside home! That’s not really how it went but they’ll think its funny. We stood in the road talking for quite awhile and since we seemed to have so much in common, it was great Lillian suggested getting together later.

Their home is spectacular–right down the road from the marina. I wrote previously about admiring these homes. Theirs looked out at the Chesapeake from pretty much every room. It was beautifully decorated and very comfortable. ¬†Plus, right out front was a very long dock where at one time their boat sat. ¬†I could so live there!! ¬†We¬†talked about a lot over some wine and then went to dinner. Truly a fun night sharing stories and adventures. We encouraged them to add Bayfield to their itinerary.

I just have to add that Coconut went crazy at Sam’s house. Of course she tried to eat his food, she always does that but she acted like a dog starved for playtime. ¬†Sadly, she was while we worked on the boat.

Rock Hall was really a wonderful place to spend a month. Now back on the road seeing Walmart, chain stores and fast food restaurants in every town, tells us even more what a special place it is.  People hang their laundry out here and trust you are going to pay your marina bill.

 

 

Last days

We feel fortunate to have missed the last vicious snow, sleet and wind storm.  We feel we paid our dues in January and February and deserve this bit of Spring!!

 

 

 

 

On Thursday morning we woke to a sunny but windy day and decided to drive to the Coast.  If you look at a Map, straight east from Rock Hall is the city of Dover and Delaware Bay so we would need to drive southeast to see the ocean.  We spoke to a local bartender (our usual tourist guides) about the best spots.  He suggested three towns: Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City.

While stopping for coffee on in Chestertown, a young woman approached us and noticed we were from Minnesota.  She was from South Dakota and was attending Washington college in Chestertown.  She was about to graduate with a business and marketing degree.  She really wants to live in Minneapolis!   She told us she was the first student from So. Dak to attend Washingon College.  Amazing, since it was established in 1782.  We enjoyed talking to her very much; she was very excited about her future and loved attending college here.  She indicated she ended up here after recieving an email from the college.   She also gave us her opinion on Oceanside towns to visit negatively saying to avoid Ocean City a/k/a Ocean Shitty!

We headed out of town driving to the Delaware border going through farmland that reminded us of Minnesota/Wisconsin.   There were many old, historic Eastern towns.   A lot of the buildings reminded us of Annapolis. Great drive.

Close to the coast we drove by Dover Airforce Base.  A very large and sprawling complex.  First Beach town was Lewes; it looked like many Florida towns along the ICW.  We walked on the beach a bit.  It was windy and cool but we got our necessary foot in the sand photo!

image

Next stop was Rehoboth Beach. ¬†This town’s main road ran perpendicular to the beach and was lined with candy shops, French fry stands, t-Shirt outlets, upscale clothing stores, kites, jewelry and sea shells. ¬†There was also a boardwalk running parallel with the beach. You get the picture. ¬† Coconut did not want to be on the beach due to the wind–very strange for her as she loves beaches. ¬†We had lunch, which included the best corn and crab chowder, and headed back to Rock Hall.

The other thing we accomplished, which we were dreading, was trying to fit RJ’s cover onto Pursuit. ¬†This cover, made of a lighter weight fabric for warm climates, was custom made for RJ. ¬†Any of you who have boat covers know they cost thousands. ¬†I think we have blocked the actual cost of this cover from our memories. We did not want to get pennies on the dollar by leaving it with RJ.

I was going to “make it work” even though two canvasmakers I spoke with wouldn’t touch this project. What the heck, the boats are of similar length and both have a flybridge I was determined. ¬† Now the boat is in the water and it was kind of a windy day to be dealing with a large piece of fabric but with clips and rope, we managed to keep it out of the water. ¬†Tom said he wanted to come and watch the comedy show! ¬†Oh, and his brothers are sailmaker’s and said it probably couldn’t be re-configured. ¬†Well, they were all wrong. ¬†It will work with a few tweaks. ¬†The plan was to bring it home and work on it on the patio. ¬†We won’t even have to do that, it can be fixed here. ¬†Great, more room in the truck!! ¬†Things are really working out.

image

We will be leaving for home on Monday.  Sure hope the snow is gone!!   Pursuit will be put to bed for the summer here in Rock Hall. The time that we spent here with the boat has allowed us to do some projects and become familiar and comfortable with the boat.  We are looking forward to continuing this adventure in the fall.

image

 

She’s All Ours

We had a great day on the water yesterday cruising South toward Kent Island.  Kent Island lays at the East end of the 301 Bay Bridge.  On the West end of the Bridge, you would find Annapolis.  We could see a wreck in the distance that was marked with a buoy but a quick search shows there are 1,800 wrecks and abandoned ships in the Chesapeake! Our friend, Tom, lives on Lawyer Cove, off the Chester River, right next to the Rock Hall Yacht Club. If Tom wanted to sail to Rock Hall, he would have to head down the Chester, sailing past 7 wrecks in Lawyers Cove and down around Eastern Neck Island and back up the shoreline a distance of 19 miles to Rock Hall. Yet he only lives 5 minutes from town by car. Lots of water here. We wish we had time to explore even half of it.

 

Another thing that continues to amaze us is how shallow these waters are even when you are far from the shoreline. ¬†We cruised in an average of 18′ yesterday. ¬†Since our normal cruising grounds is Lake Superior whose depths reach over 100′ almost immediately when leaving bayfield (and beyond the depth reading ability of our antiquated depth gauge), this seems shallow. ¬†One day when Tom was on board, Joe asked about the depths in an area near our marina. ¬†Tom said “you’re good until you’re not.” ¬†ūüėܬ† ¬†We love the use of the language here.

The saga of the Autopilot continues. ¬†We are trying to get a hold of the gentlemen who created the W-H Autopilot System. ¬†The small company does not make them anymore but the creator supports those systems that are still out there. ¬†We feel, and so does Tom and Scott (technician) that we should not give up on this system. ¬† We just need more information on it!! ¬† ¬†W-H was used on a lot of larger boats with great success and are suppose to be bullet proof–when working. ¬†Joe thinks the famous Lake Superior cruisers Ron and Bonnie Dahl had it on their sailboat Dahlfin II. ¬†So we are trying to track down a manual and the creator, who lives in Washington State. ¬†In the meantime, we need to get this issue settled with the PO (“previous owner”) as Tom wants to finalize the deal but there was suppose to be a working autopilot included in the price we paid.

Update:  Tom negotiated with the PO for the price of a new Garmin Autopilot $$.  This will update the electronics and operate the in-place mechanical portion of the system if we cannot get the old one to operate.  We are quite happy with this outcome.  This also is the final step as the escrow account can now be closed.

We did finally have our toast and christening on Pursuit. Normally, you would do this with a group of people and have a bit of a party, but during the week, Joe and I have this place to ourselves. So we sat up on the bow, poured a bit of champagne in glasses, on Pursuit’s rail and toasted to many more happy times. We are getting very comfortable on this boat. We never felt this way about RJ so we are pleased with our choice. The saga of the fuel tank project is in the past!

 

This beautiful photo was taken last night at sunset.  There are two sister boats sitting side-by-side.  However, this one has a squirrel residing in her sail cover!  We noticed a squirrel coming down the dock late one evening but lost him in the dark.   Yesterday morning,  I again saw the squirrel coming down the dock so I watched to see what he was up to.  Well, he came to the finger pier right behind us, leapt about 6 feet to the boat and crawled up the mast right into the mainsail cover.  The sail cover is not tight and has openings on the bottom.  How in the world did a squirrel find this spot??? I cannot imagine what damage it is doing in there!  We did alert the authorities.

image

 

 

Marina Life

image
Sunrise

 

The big news in Rock Hall is the Tiki Bar is open at the Wheelhouse restaurant! ¬†It’s the little things in small towns. ¬†They have a giant beer pong game with red garbage cans fashioned to look like red solo cups. ¬†Fun!!! ¬†BYC event??

image

Also, the crab season must have started.  We had no idea they put the cages on top of the boats!

image

Ok we were wrong…we do have to wax. ¬†In front of the bridge, there is a portion top sides that isn’t covered with Awlgrip. ¬†ūü§Ē ¬† Got to wonder why they didn’t do it all???

We continue to practice with the boat. ¬†Tom came down for a run with us one last time–we think. ¬† He can’t possibly spend this much time and energy with each client. ¬†Either he really likes us or feels a bit guilty about the condition of the fuel tank! ¬†Remember, we were told by the surveyor and Tom that the rust spot could be fixed! ¬†Glad we checked it out ourselves! ¬†Anyway, Joe continues learning to maneuver Pursuit. ¬†Darn, he was so good with RJ’s big twins and now back to a single prop! ¬†Laura, we are backing in! It’s much easier for Mona & Coconut to get off the boat from the cockpit!

There is an issue with our autopilot. ¬†It makes the boat go down the waterway like a drunken sailor! ¬†The guy who came to look at it a few days ago doesn’t want to work on it as it’s an older system. ¬†It’s actually an industrial system created by a gentleman in Bainbridge Island, WA. ¬†He wondered if it’s the flux gate compass and we are trying to determine if it’s installed properly. ¬† The brand is W-H. ¬† This is a multi component system and most likely needs new electronic components. This will need to be worked out with the previous owner as the boat was sold to us as having a working autopilot. ¬†This is part of the escrow.

The Swan Creek Marina is beautiful. ¬†Apparently it’s been in the same family for four generations. ¬†We dealt with Chris at the boatyard a mile down the road and his Dad Lee here in the marina. ¬†More boats are coming in every day. ¬†The weather is gorgeous. ¬†We watched the people on the boat next to us put their sails on while we replaced a broken electrical outlet in our bridge; they seemed a bit tense ūüė¨ ¬† I am sure Joe is looking forward to going home and working on another boat. ¬†Such problems.

 

 

We are on a very small peninsula with Swan Creek on one side and the Chesepeake Bay on the other.  The road coming out here is narrow and lined with gorgeous eastern style homes.  Everyone has a dock and either a spectacular sunrise or sunset depending on which side of the road you are on.  We are told that very few locals own these homes now.  They are mostly vacation homes for people from Baltimore and Philly.  For us it makes for a great morning walk for Coconut.  We are actually in the town of Gratitude now, which consists of an Inn and Marina, condos and a boatyard.   Fitting name!

 

Today we are cooking a small roast in a little crockpot. ¬† ¬†We still haven’t done a lot of cooking on the boat (as our credit card statement will prove) but we are getting there. ¬†Putting a boat together and making it yours makes for some long days!!

We continue to do little things to make the boat more comfortable. ¬†Also yesterday, we couldn’t finish the exterior cleaning as they shut off the water on the docks. ¬†I guess it was leaking and water is extremely expensive here. ¬†Apparently, there was ¬†20% hike in water rates last year and 15% this year! ¬†So, we cleaned the boat using water from the Creek–it doesn’t look like Lake Superior water ūüėö

So, with repair delays, weather constraints and time spent learning and putting the boat together, we pretty much have decided to stay here and enjoy sitting on the boat a bit, doing some traveling by water and by car.  We will pull her out of the water here, have her shrink wrapped and come back in the Fall when we can have a more leisurely cruise.

Besides, we hear it’s going to snow at home; we might as well be here. ūüėô