08/12/2009, Seattle WA
Yes, yes. It has been a while since anything was posted. It's not like we have been busy or anything. Just driving from house to house to family member to friends and back around again while waiting for Salt & Light to arrive via truck. And when the truck shows up with the bow cleats darn near ripped out, that has to be repaired and the bottom painted and the boat waxed, and so on. Of course when the trucker refuses to pay for the damage because he claims the teak was rotten (do not get me started there), and that they don't actually load boats, they only transport them so it couldn't be their fault. Well then of course we have to go around their worthless insurance agent directly to Lloyds of London to file a claim as well as prepare to file one of America's favorite pastime - LAWSUIT. Such fun being back in Seattle!
Well that is enough of a vent for now. The rest of the road trip you ask? It was awesome. So much has happened I can barely remember where we went after Sedona. It could have been the Grand Canyon (North Rim is much better than the South), staying on a ranch at Zion and riding horses, hiking Bryce Canyon, driving across the expansive and beautiful north of Nevada, 4th of July at the O'Connor's (above photo with the cousins!), staying at Dave & Molly's house in Eugene, but I'm not sure. Just one big blur that will surface into our consciousness sometime when we really need it. Like now!
We have had some serious fun back in the PNW as well. One highlight would be driving up to the Solange house (Kevin, Melissa, James and Caleb Clarke), to meet up with them and the High 5'ers (Gary, Janine, Tavish, Bradley, and Richard). The Clarke's live in Courtenay BC, right near a river that is great for floating down on an 85 degree day. The weather was perfect and the beer was cold. We had a blast exploring the area and the town. There is neat little gift shop in town that had all sorts of gifts, cards, and more. The name of the store? Uranus. Yep, it's true. Just let your minds wander for a bit to all the jokes, comments and gag's that 6 juvenile adult minds can come up with. And don't blame me for the depths you can sink to. It's not my fault.
That was a few weeks ago and they are all came down here for the weekend and stayed with us while we house-sat at Brian & Molly's. We thought about going for a sail Saturday to pretend we were all back in the Caribbean. Let's just say if we could have taken away the clouds, sweatshirts, long pants, shoes and socks, added about 20 degrees to both the air and the water, it would have been almost like being there.
We still had fun.
07/05/2009, Sacramento CA
The great road trip begins and continues. Salt & Light remains in Seabrook (still!), while her crew continues on without her.
So where have we been? Well, it took about a week or so longer than expected to find the right car. We had forgotten just how much fun that process can be. Dealing with car salesmen for days on end sure does make one wonder just how the US auto industry survived as long as it did before crumbling. What a ridiculously archaic and frustrating process. Thanks to the Texas style hospitality during our car search of Ken and Kelly Hutchinson, Bill and Mary Hallmark, and Ron and Judy Preston, we finally stumbled across the right land vessel and were on our way from the Houston area. By the way, not enough can be said about the kindness of Texans and the pride they have in their state. I think we can all learn from them in this regard.
First stop Dallas and the new home of our old neighbors Craig and Wendy Boyer and their 3 girls. Their older two, Ethan's buddy Kate and her sister Maggie, were off at camp (bummer!), which left 3 year old Olivia to be spoiled by all of us. The kids had a blast on the trampoline and learning to ride a rip-stick while the adults had a great time just hanging out. The only tourist thing we did was to visit the Sixth Floor Museum. Located on the sixth floor of the old school book repository overlooking Dealy Plaza and the infamous grassy knoll, the museum was very well done and a great history lesson for us all. Right down to X's marking the spots on the road where JFK's limo was when each bullet struck.
From Dallas we were off to Las Cruces NM to see the Kraft's, our friends from West Seattle. Liam had a blast with his buddy Solomon and it didn't take long for the rubber bands to start flying in an intense rubber band war. Dave and Marissa are just finishing up having a home built with an amazing view of the Organ Mountains, which do indeed look steep and craggy enough to rip your Organ's right out. Probably not why they got their name but what the heck!
The road north to Albuquerque and Santa Fe beckoned and we pushed on after a few days of hangin' with the Kraft's. Drove a little of the old Route 66 and saw a lot of the classic architecture along its route through Albuquerque. Along the back side of the city runs a huge mountain that had real trees on it so we decided to take a scenic route through the mountains to Santa Fe. Real trees, meaning something resembling a Pine, Cedar or Fir had been non existent during our drive thus far. The terrain is very dramatic and pretty but in a harsh, you're sure to die of thirst should you stray, kind of way. It sure gave us a new appreciation for those who settled the area. The trees were not quite as big or prevalent as they looked from a distance but we did stumble onto the former ghost town of Madrid. It is now a funky artist's enclave and was made famous by the movie Wild Hogs. It is just as it appears in the movie.
North and West of Santa Fe and up in the mountains is of course Los Alamos and all of its labs. Even better is Bandelier National Park and its Indian cliff dwellings. We stumbled across one section that sees very little traffic and we were able to hike in, around and through the caves with no one else around. The difference between the ruins near the visitor center that were 'managed' was amazing. Having decided the scenery in the back roads was infinitely better than the interstates we decided to concentrate our efforts on the scenic route. Let's just say it paid off. High mountain plateaus and peaks that go on and on and...
We stopped along the way to Sedona to see the ice cave and volcano crater in Bandera. Not quite as hands on as we hoped but fun. The kids had fun picking bits of 'jewels' out of the sluiceway set up for 'real mining'. Further down the road and out in the desert is the Petrified Forest National Park. Calling it a forest is a bit of a misnomer as you are out in the middle of the desert. However the petrified trees are lying around everywhere. Thousands and thousands of bits and chunks strewn all across the 100 degree desert. Strange and eerie.
Pulling off in Flagstaff brought more trees. Real Ponderosa Pines that smell incredible in the hot sun. Or goal was Sedona and the venerable Hampton Inn where we were to meet up with the Gifford family. Jamie and Behan, along with their 3 kids Niall, Mairen, and Siobhan are buddies from Seattle who also chucked it all to go cruising down the Pacific coast and then on to the South Pacific. They have been in Mexico for a while and are spending the hurricane season road-tripping off to see family around the country. We discovered we were in the same region and of course had to hook up. Of course it makes perfect sense for two cruising families to meet up in the Arizona desert. We had spent time together back in Seattle planning our respective adventures and it was great to compare notes and experiences over a few dark & stormies. A bummer that they will be back cruising in a few months while we'll be working again, but that's the way it works!
Well that catches us up all the way through Sedona. As we are now in Sacramento we'll have to stop here and finish up the road trip with another post or two. Yes, and a bunch more photos!
06/19/2009, Gulf of Mexico
Yes this is long overdue. We've been stateside for almost 2 weeks and are swimming in the process of plugging back in. To say it is overrated would be a gross understatement. Thankfully everyone in Texas is so friendly that we're not sure if we're dreaming. So let's step into the way back machine and return to the long passage to the great state of Texas...
With apologies to Dr. Suess...
Oh the things you will do and places you will go, for it's a great big world out there, don't you know!
You know what else? It's true! We have been blessed beyond belief to go and see, to touch, taste and feel many places on this amazing journey.
We are now somewhere out in the Gulf of Mexico heading back to the states. As I look back on this past 20 some months of sailing 'round the Caribbean I am frankly in awe of how God has guided us and protected us. Sure we have tough passages that we wouldn't care to repeat anytime soon, but really very few. No harrowing events to make us fearful.
From our first night passage leaving North Carolina with Solange and Slow-Mocean (frost on the decks!), to the 'big' crossing of the Gulf Stream to reach the Bahamas. From our first multi-day passage to the Dominican Republic with Wandering Dolphin to braving the north coast of the DR and across the much feared Mona Passage with High Five (we motor across in a calm). Hopping our way down the Leeward and Windward Islands to reach Grenada for hurricane season. Transiting the outer islands of Venezuela to the ABC's with Independence, Alegria, and Fruko. Then taking on the tough coast of Columbia for 3 days, with no autopilot, to reach Cartegena for Christmas with Independence, Uliad, Coqueliocot (everyone should go to Cartegena - amazing place!). Leaving Cartegena (finally), for the San Blas Islands of Panama to catch up with Migo again. A long slog to reach the magical island of Providencia and on to the Bay Islands of Honduras (Guanaja, Roatan, and Utila), Guatemala, Belize and then through Mexico. I could go on and on about the experiences of each and every place, and perhaps I will at a later date. For now I just sit in wonder at it all.
And now we head home. We do so with glad hearts as well as sad hearts. Sad as we know this wondrous door the Lord opened for us to make this trip possible is closing. We trust He is opening a new door for us as we 'plug back in'. We have no idea what will be in store, but we know it will be filled with as much fun, love and adventure as this one. I'm also sure it will eventually involve shoes, socks and pants.
Salt & Light docked at: 29 33.29N 95 01.52W