Last Inner Banks Southern FoodNice, not too cold
What you're seeing there are southern sides. I stopped at Kings again on the way back home. Those familiar with southern food will distinguish the various dishes. The rest of you, get ye to a southern buffet, preferably one in the actual south or southeast. I couldn't find it on the way in because we came a different way and because the Piggly Wiggly pig was on top of the Kings sign and that messed me up, coming from Tucson as I do. The food was even better this time, having accepted that North Carolina BBQ contains no red sauce and uses instead a vinegary concoction that is almost clear but is still tasty. I only made it about 190 miles west today because I stopped so many times for various supplies. We're presently in Mebane, North Carolina camped out at a Walmart. It's nice. Quiet. except I'm using the generator to heat the place and power the computer just like I did in the summer with the air conditioners. Aside from that I'm about to feed the dogs and then make foray into the SuperWalmart for something fun to eat for dessert. Wish me luck.
Back On The Original Magic CarpetCold and clear
11/11/2008, Oriental, NC
I'm enjoying a cup of hot coffee made on board as the morning light comes up on this chilly morning. Slept somewhat fitfully from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. At least it was warm and cozy and I didn't have to worry about the anchor dragging or the weather changing in the middle of the night. After walking the dogs this morning I'll fill up with water and fuel (and propane at some point since I'm using a lot of it to heat the place at night), do the final checks on the motorhome, and head off towards Omaha, where my sister and her family live. I mapped out the voyage from Oriental to Omaha to Tucson and it's almost 3000 miles without detours. Fortunately the price of gas is 1/2 what it was when I came this way early last summer. The engine oil looks good so I think I will forgo changing it at this time. The place in Bayboro can't get me in until later this afternoon and I don't really want to hang around waiting. The existing oil has 3000 miles on it but its all highway miles and I did some research on the net that indicates 6000 miles or more between oil changes in a traveling motorhome is fine. I'll keep my eye on it but it's not black at all right now - looks almost as amber as new oil. Other fluids look fine too. I've got the AAA RV coverage still active so if it breaks down on me or if I blow a tire or something, I've got some coverage to get it fixed or towed. Imagine what it costs to tow a 34 foot motorhome without AAA... Lets hope I never find out. For those of you who are looking for sailing adventures, I'm afraid I've got nothing more to share in that regard for a while. Having not received a single offer on my Catalina 25 for sale in Phoenix, I will likely retrieve it upon my return to Tucson for more sailing adventures in the Sea of Cortez or elsewhere since it sits on a trailer, which, thanks to Matt, is in better condition than when I bought it (Matt, we'll have work out compensating you for all your quality work). My effort to sell my GMC 2500 truck while I was gone was also a complete failure (thanks to the gas prices and the economy I guess) so I unexpectedly have a great truck when I return (as well as the two motorbikes I kept, one of which is on a versahaul on the back of the motorhome. I bought the truck mainly so I would have a vehicle big enough to tow the Catalina 25 (and transport the dogs, of course). So, as it turns out, I have a great trailerable sailboat and a great vehicle that will take it anywhere... maybe things have worked out for the best in terms of future sailing adventures. There are places I can go with the small sailboat that would be impractical to bring the big boat to right now (like the Sea of Cortez, Catalina Island off the southern, California coast, the lakes in far northern Arizona like Powel and Mead and Rosevelt, maybe Tahoe... anywhere near a road).Until then, its just RV adventuring for several more weeks at least. I'll try and take some nice pictures. Frankly, I'm happy to be off the boat and back in the motorhome. It's a nice change. The dogs appear quite contented too. Looking forward to seeing family, friends, and maybe even looking into working upon my return to Tucson. With this economy, I don't know yet how I'll be received in the working world, or vice versa.
Packing The Unused And Undonated Boat Food Into The RebounderPerfect
11/10/2008, Oriental, NC
I'm spending today getting the motorhome ready to travel tomorrow. Ed hooked me up with a place to get the oil changed along the way to New Bern so I'm going to try and coordinate that for tomorrow just as I get on my way. It's a beautiful day in Oriental and probably the last day I will be here in a long, long time. Back to unpacking, or packing, or whatever its called at this point. It's definitely weird to be back on the motorhome. Not bad, just odd. I'm so used to the responsibility of managing the boat, this thing doesn't require much attention while it is standing still, which is a lot of the time even while traveling. But I've got things to do to keep me busy and will be traveling again before long. After all this traveling, I still need to stay busy to be content. Just sitting around doing nothing... haven't mastered that. Back to getting ready for overland travel.
Oriental HarborCold and clear
It was a cold night but I had a down comforter, propane heat, and Anne in bed with me, so I slept well. I also put the blue comforter from the boat on top. It smells like sailboat - a marine, light musty smell. It was very comforting somehow - familiar, like a small part of the sailboat lingering with us. When I was here last it was all about the air conditioning. When I plugged in the electricity last night the air conditioner came on, which means I kept the air on until the very last moment before I departed for a summer and fall of pure elements. This morning I drove the dogs to the Bean to get coffee as it was too cold that early to walk. I'm heading out in a few minutes for New Bern to return the rental car. Ed is picking me up at 10:30 a.m. I've got all my stuff in the Bounder and I'm about 2/3 of the way done packing it away. Making some oat meal before I go - fast food binge is over.
Going On The HardNice but cold
11/09/2008, Ft. Pierce (I'm presently in Oriental)
It's 48 degrees here in Oriental. Supposed to get down to 40 tonight. Fortunately the Rebounder has a great propane ducted heating system so we are nice and cozy. It's surrealistic to be back on the motor home, yet it feels almost like being back at home. It's been a decent couple of days since putting the boat on the hard. As usual it was a lot of work getting the boat ready to store. They did a great job spraying and scraping the growth off the hull. That cheap West Marine bottom paint did just fine for the 4 months I was in the water. My main zink wore completely off. Still need to check the engine zink - I bet its gone too. No blisters that I could see. I could be cruising again on Tropical Dreamer in less than a week when and if that happens. I went as far in 13 total hours of driving as I went in a month or two cruising down the ICW. Different trip altogether on the way back. Stayed at a hotel with the dogs last night. Tried to listen to the radio while driving north but most everything sucked. Rental car broke down on me 92 miles from Oriental and I had to get a tow to the New Bern airport to get a replacement and then unload and re-load all my stuff into the new car. Jake and Anne had to stay in the old rental for over on hour during the tow while I had to stay in the cab with the chatty driver. We all did fine. After what we've been through, we can handle most anything at this point. More unpacking to do tomorrow morning, then off to return the rental car to New Bern. I'm planning on departing Oriental the next day, but you know how Oriental can be when it comes to departures. I'd like to find someplace to get the oil changed on the Rebounder before I drive it another 2500 miles but Oriental probably isn't the place for that. I'll ask around. I managed to obtain a ride back from New Bern tomorrow so I won't have to take an expensive taxi. I have to say it's mighty nice to be on dry land for a change. Less exciting... less damp too. I imagined the motor home to be much roomier than than the Catalina 36, but it's really not so much roomier. The sailboat has the deck space that really makes a difference and the boat appears wider or at least uses that space better. Regardless, it's nice to be back "home." Even the dogs are resting comfortably. Jake is sleeping on my bed, which he hardly ever does. He must be ok. Goodnight.
Packing OutNice, getting warm
11/08/2008, Riverside Marina
There simply isn't enough room in the car. I took so much stuff with me sailing because I didn't know how long I would be gone. A lot of the stuff I'm leaving will be useful for continued cruising, whether long or short. But things go bad on a stored boat pretty quickly so who knows how much of it will last since it will be at least 3-6 months before I'm back on the boat... maybe more. I managed to get plenty of sleep last night except for waking up at midnight to drag the dogs inside the cabin because they wouldn't stop barking at something that got too close to the boat. Awoke at first light, put the dogs in the car (they are already getting the back seat sandy and nasty), and headed to Dunkin Donuts for a well-toasted everything bagel and creme cheese and a coffee with creme and sugar. Yum. Jake hasn't left the car since we got back. Anne is hanging on the boat with me while I work to get the all the final details tied up. There is another boat in the travel lift space so I gather my 9:00 a.m. haul-out is in jeopardy. Oh well, I could use some more time to get the boat ready. Means I will be driving at night some to make it to Oriental within the 3 day window. In the meantime, there are several BBQ places in this town that I've been eying. I tried one yesterday for lunch. It was good, but I think there's better. Seems like I'll be here until least lunch. Well, gotta keep on the packing. It's not hard, it just takes continual effort until there's nothing more to do but put on the locks.
Docked at RiverviewNice
11/07/2008, Ft. Pierce, Florida
The photograph is of a man fishing off the beach off the Ft. Pierce inlet. He was actually kind of a jerk and told me to leash the dogs so the picture didn't make the first cut, but I didn't take any pictures today and I needed material. It was a very busy day. Filled up with fuel, did the final pump-out so the head is officially closed, and enjoyed a nice short cruise on perfectly calm water to Riverview. This place is an old school everyman-type marina. Few rules, not altogether organized, people working on their boats, people living on boats while in dry dock, lots of activity with boats going in the water for the season. There is a close-knit community of people who are essentially living here under the guise of getting their boat ready to cruise. The problem is some of them have been doing it for years. Got a ride with new friends to the Hertz outlet about 7 miles away (good thing I didn't try and walk). They are former professionals and now living aboard after having sold the house and most of their worldly possessions. They are happy, as are almost all of the cruisers I've seen. She pointed out at dinner that all the working people drive over the bridges but the cruisers cruise under them. They stress out in traffic on those bridges, we simply do not. Of course, I may very well be driving over the bridge before too much longer... The rental car is really nice. A Mazda small SUV. It will be comfortable and safe to drive the 800 some miles to Oriental. There isn't enough room to take everything I want in the car so a number of things are being left on the boat. I gave away several bags of food and packed several more bags away in the car. I've devoted the entire back seat to the dogs even though the seats fold forward to make more space and I could use the space. It's a long way in the car and I don't want the dogs to suffer. They've been through so much over the last 6 months and have adapted remarkably well. No need to push it. When Jake saw that I was packing the car with our things, he jumped in and refused to leave pretty much all day and part of the night. I guess he's ready to go home. We all are. As I pack to go home the cruisers around me are excitedly getting their boats ready to splash. I've met many cruisers recently and I'm sure if I stayed around for another few weeks I'd meet a ton more. Met a solo sailor who said he had so many friends among the cruisers that he never felt alone. Had new friends over for beers tonight (they don't have a refrigerator in their boat so it was a treat for them). Then they treated me to salad and pizza at the local place down the street. I'm back on the boat now. Still lots to do tomorrow morning. Lots and lots. Don't know if I will be ready by my 9:00 haul out. Some things I can do even after it gets hauled so I should be ok. Once the boat is out of the water, it's too far of a climb for the dogs. They are evidently fine in the car for a while. I need a good night of sleep tonight so I'm going to head off to bed soon. Tomorrow I'll be writing from dry land.
Celebratory Feast11/07/2008, Ft. Pierce Marina
Yesterday was, among other things, a day of gluttonous eating. Pizza for lunch, grilled shrimp and chicken for dinner. I've been cooking for myself so much over the last 6 months and with the marginal food in the Bahamas, and all the canned food (boat food Rob calls it) I was ready for some American eats. Ate myself into an afternoon nap. Ft. Pierce is a nice town that caters well to boaters. It was pretty busy at the City Marina last night but that didn't keep me up. No, Anne kept me up. I don't know whether it was something she ate or if she got bit by something or if she was sensing something from me, but she threw up in the middle of the night and then couldn't settle herself down for hours. She kept getting up, turning around in circles, laying down, then moving around while laid out. If I left her sight she started whimpering. We took a few walks throughout the night but that didn't help. By morning's light she settled down and now appears fine. I, on the other hand, need to sleep tonight so I can be fresh for the road trip. I'm leaving the dock in a few minutes to drive the boat the short distance to Riverview marina and boat yard. I'll dock there, get the rental car, load up the things I'm taking off the boat, spend the night on the water with the dogs, haul the boat first thing in the morning, and head off. We'll see how that all goes. Should be an exhausting day.
My Last Stop Before Dry DockPerfect
First Light At Faber Cove AnchorageNice, but chilly
11/06/2008, Ft. Piere, Florida
I'm in this fully protected anchorage along the inland waterway so it was nearly smooth as glass last night and this morning. When I arrived I spent time on the computer studying boat storage options in the area and finding a rental car. There are basically two places I can store the sailboat without taking down the mast. There is the fancy Harbortown marina and the not so fancy Riverside marina. Harbortown has all sorts of rules and regulations and hoops to jump through before they will store the boat and naturally they are more expensive. Riverside has a do-it-yourself yard for pre-departure boat prep and they offer full service repairs and bottom painting and such as well. I think I'll take the everyman's yard. It turns out that after the fees for hauling, powerwashing, and blocking, their monthly rate is way less expensive than what I was thinking of paying in Daytona Beach when I almost got off the boat after the hurricane and less expensive than what I was paying in Oriental. Rob recommended coming here for storage and he was right about the price. And Ft. Pierce has a class A inlet so it is easy to depart from here to west end, a mere 80some miles. The choices in car rental were similarly limited. All the major car rental companies now have hubs at the New Bern, North Carolina airport but only Hertz was willing to rent a car from here to there. I have it reserved. The largest I could get was a small suv (like a Rav-4 or Tucson). I'm trying to time things out so I can pick-up the car at about noon, pack that afternoon, stay on the boat that night with the dogs, haul the boat first thing in the morning, close it up, and head off for a full day of traveling, stay at a motel (with the dogs), travel another full day to Oriental, stay on the motorhome with the dogs, drive back the next morning to New Bern (with the dogs left on the motorhome), drop off the car, and get a taxi back to Oriental. If I can do the entire operation in three 24 hour days, it saves me like $100 bucks. Not that $100 more matters that much after all it took to get me this far, but I like to create little adventures for myself and... well you know.
Singer Family Adventures
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