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Slow Sailing
Hurry up & wait
10/19/2011, Harpswell, ME

From Trip South Fall 2011
Well we are floating again and essentially ready to go but there is a gale warning right now so we are sitting in the basin in Harpswell near the marina. It is really beautiful and yesterday we saw a loon, a seal and some pretty sea ducks near the boat. This afternoon, the rain has set in and it is supposed to blow tonight.

It feels funny (and pretty darn sad in some ways) to have put away the camper, our truck, Jon's MGB, said goodbye to our land and all of our accumulated non-boat possessions, plus goodbyes to family- AGAIN as we embark on yet another southbound trip.

You might think we'd be relaxing now but there are always plenty of last minute projects & new issues to deal with as we try to start using each system after 5 months of sitting. After having what felt like a honeymoon this summer traveling around in the camper, we find ourselves weary of the hassle & expense that goes with getting ready to go cruising- especially up here in New England. Everything from seemingly endless rain & fog that made it impossible to get a decent finish on our mast paint to having to pay ridiculous prices for boating equipment to the increasing tug of family and simpler pleasures makes it hard to keep the focus. More than ever, this choice that we have made costs a bundle. In this economy, this is a rich man's sport! We are well aware of the price of what we're doing and hope it will unfold to be what we hope it will be. Getting on our way to Vero Beach would be a nice start! We will keep to our motto of as long as we're having fun... we'll keep going. But I guess we can't start that just yet as we're not going yet!

Yesterday, we finished putting the sails on, installed a new windex at the top of the mast since we broke the old one off by accident when the mast was down, ran the generator for the first time since replacing the exhaust hose and had to get back in there and re-tighten the hose clamps, ordered up a new Yanmar engine that we plan to install in Florida in late November (oh goodie, more projects), continued to mess with the wiring on our SSB to get get less interference, filled & polished our fuel, changed filters and wrestled with other little projects. I took a nice run and since we have excellent free internet here, we blobbed out with the heat blasting & watched a movie last night. Today we worked together on getting our new wind generator going and it is now making us power, we rebuilt the head sink to make it safer and drain properly and then we took a long walk ashore.

So that is where things stand right now. Can't wait to get south.

10/21 Looks like we have a window for tomorrow. Yahoo!

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The fun is done (for now)
09/13/2011, Harpswell, ME

Well, it is back to boat projects and we wonder if that camping trip really happened......
We had a nice but quick visit in Vermont with both of our respective parents and then we headed right for the boat to start getting it ready. It feels overwhelming and the camper so simplistic. The boat, with all of it's complex systems and the need to go over every part of it very carefully before setting out on our planned trip, seems like it will take a lifetime, not the couple of weeks that we would like it to take. While the weather has been beautiful so far, we know all too well that the fog & cold will set in soon and then the later it gets, the more miserable a trip we'll have leaving here. So it is a big push right now.

Anyway, that's the update. Will restart this blog once we get rolling sometime in October.

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09/13/2011 | John
Hi Guys
Welcome home. It's a lot of work but it will be so worth it! Hopefully we'll see you before you head south.

The end is drawing near!
09/04/2011, Toronto

From Badlands and Indiana Dunes
We visited Badlands National Park a few days ago- back into the heat for sure. It was around 100 degrees while were there, much hotter in the camper! This late in the season, the prairie grasses were mainly tones of brown and then the hills were shades of white, yellow, pink and gray. We walked nearly all of the trails and enjoyed the openness of the park campground to take in the views. We saw bunnies, a rattle snake, bighorn sheep, lots of frogs and some colorful birds. I love all that free space where you can see forever.
From Badlands and Indiana Dunes
From the Badlands, we did a long day eastward stopping by the SPAM museum since we were going right by it. A can of SPAM is cracked open every 3 seconds and in Hawaii, SPAM is one of the major food groups. Not having ever gotten seriously in to SPAM, I couldn't get excited about it but Jon of course loves it. Since we would tire of foil packed tuna for lunch while backpacking we did get a few packs of spam to break up the monotony and it was pretty good. So far we've hit it pretty good with campgrounds on our Passport America membership but that night we stayed at one in Wisconsin and it was pretty dumpy. No problem hitting the road early the next morning!

We spent the past couple of days at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore which was just on the other side of Chicago in Indiana. It was a perfect way to spend Labor Day weekend with a blast of blistering heat that for once, we could spend at the beach! The park runs for something like 30 miles along Lake Michigan and it is really beautiful with high dunes all along the coast. We walked the beach and just kept getting in the water every so often so we could stay wet. Then we walked the trails- yesterday we summited 3 "peaks"- each one was about 180 feet high! A little different than a few weeks ago. Of course we ended up running from another thunderstorm, this one swept across the lake- a huge black mass that made me glad we weren't on the boat. I have grown so fearful of lightening after that runner was struck dead in Boston.
From Badlands and Indiana Dunes

Since there wasn't a campground spot open anywhere near the park, we stayed in the local Walmart parking lot for 2 nights. We stayed at one a couple of weeks ago for the first time when there was nowhere else to stop and we were among about 20 other campers there. It is a known fact that Walmart welcomes campers & truckers with open arms to camp in their parking lot. And I learned that it is absolutely fine with me if we're enroute someplace or there's nowhere else to stay. Last night our can opener broke and we were craving ice cream...... well, just stroll across the parking lot and get what you need! With the amount we're spending on gas, it feels good to not be forking out money for campgrounds anyway. I'm converted! Whatever I have to do to continue this lifestyle is OK by me.

This morning we left the lake and are almost to Toronto. We plan to just spend tomorrow there to check it out and then make our way to Vermont the day after. We can't believe this segment is over; it'll be hard to put the camper away. But it'll be good to see ol' Evergreen & our families too. If all goes well, we can get the boat ready for the trip south & have a good amount of time afterward to hang out some before heading on down the coast. We've been using the driving time to try & organize ourselves, making lists. I don't suspect I'll have much to write here until we get going in October. I sure hope we have an Indian summer!

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09/09/2011 | Heather McLean
Ya know, the Smokejumpers make a delicious SPAM cooncontion by glazing it with Gatorade powder and grilling it over coals. The height of outdoor cuisine I understand!

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