08/18/2010, still stuck in Aurora
It's been a year since we took off from Port Townsend and we've covered a lot of miles since we left. Out Juan de Fuca and down the west coast of the USA and Baja. Up into the Sea of Cortez and then the trip home to Colorado.
First the intermittent fog as we made our way out Juan de Fuca and then our first sighting of a whale right beside the boat(I could have jumped on his back). Heading south along the coast watching for crab pots and freighters and enjoying the sail. Into Newport, OR and meeting up with friends and fixing things that went wrong during our first passage--transmission cooler and a broken propane hose. The transmission cooler wasn't broken, the transmission was(later repaired in Los Angeles) and the broken hose leaked propane all over the inside of the cabin. We're lucky we didn't go boom on the trip. We put big fans blowing lots of air down into the bilge to make sure all of it was out. The hose had been replaced earlier as the original wasn't up to current code. I put the original back on and it has served us well ever since.
Off for parts farther south--Fort Bragg, Crescent City and on to San Francisco where we met up with our son for a few days. Off again for Santa Barbara and The islands off the coast of California where we spent several weeks.
At Catalina Island, we blew the oil cooler for the engine and I luckily had a replacement after listening to sound advise from another boater(Jay Wiggins on Moon Angel) to always have spares on board as you never know when they will break. Ours developed a hole and allowed sea water to get into the engine oil(really bad for the engine). We had the transmission taken out and repaired for the third time while in Los Angeles. It's been fine ever since(YEA!)
On to San Diego where we installed our short wave radio so me could make contact with the outside world as our cell phones wouldn't work in Mexico.
There were lots of stops along the coast as we made our way south. We even got a shoreside view of Pebble Beach golf course.
In November, we crossed over into Mexico and made our way to Ensenada for checking in and getting used to the ways of Mexico. On down the coast as we made our way toward Cabo San Lucas. Along the way, our hydraulic steering blew and we had to limp into Cabo where we spent the better part of a week getting the parts and fixing it.
Around the horn of Baja California Sur and up into the Sea of Cortez. Trapped for 6 days in Los Frailes by strong winds from the north and then on to La Paz. Our son joined us for a nice Christmas holiday where I got stupid and poured water into the diesel tanks. That slowed down the festivities but we got it cleaned out and took off for the islands just north of La Paz. Back to La Paz to let our son off so he could go home and then slowly up the Baja coast toward Escondido and on Bahia Conseptcion. Back to La Paz and over to Mazatlan.
Up the mainland coast to Topolabampo and on the Guaymas and San Carlos for our haul out and our trip home in Mid June.
It's been a great year of exploration and adventure and a tremendous amount of learning. We had a lot of great times(seeing our son and exploring the many towns and villages we stopped at) along with a few bad times(things broke). We are lucky to have a great boat to sail(and motor) on as we have covered well over 4,800 miles in the last year and over 7,000 if you throw in our trip to Juneau in April of last year. Not bad for some novices who knew so little about the realities of really sailing the big bad ocean. Having been lake sailers for so many years(since 1981), let me tell you, there is a big difference between the two. Yeah, the sails pull the same but moving up from a 26 foot boat with systems that can be counted on one hand to a 46 footer that I'd have to take my shoes off to count all the systems on her has a real learning curve. It's been a steep hill but we've made it so far and have no intension of turning back. We'll be in Colorado till the hurricane season ends and then return to San Carlos and do a few more jobs and repairs and then head back out for more places south.
It's not all been fun and games and relaxing as everyone imagines, but the good has far out weighted the bad with the bad being a distant memory and the good still being what is remembered so well. We hope that what comes next will be as good as what came before.
Oh, the picture at the top is my hat. I bought it a couple of years ago at one of the boat shows and it finally started coming apart when it got washed(boy was it dirty) when we got home. I guess only the salt residue from sailing was holding it all together.
08/17/2010, still stuck in Aurora
We're in the home stretch!!! The trim is just about done. We walked around the house on Sunday and looked at each remaining piece of old trim to see if it had any swelling and needed replacing. Only one window is now under observation and one piece between two windows. We had to judge each since we are quickly running out of the 3.5 inch wide boards while we have a good bit of the 5.5 inch board left. We'll make the decision as to wether they will get done or not today. Then, all we have to do is go back and touch up all the paint around the house. Some of the paint on the siding needs a second(or third) coat. Most of the trim needs another coat but I doubt it will get it as we are quickly getting over this long and tedious job. Every night, our best friend is Motrin or Tylenol.
Yesterday was spent cutting and manicuring the grass around the house. I'd put another layer of fertilizer on it just over a week ago(just before a big rain) and it took it to heart and the growth took off. It took two plastic bags to hold it all. Normally, it only takes one. I even took an edger and cleaned up the edges and then vacuumed around the sidewalk to get up what was left of the clippings. I'm sure my parents are laughing(some where up there) as I hated mowing our grass and doing yard work growing up and now I'm out vacuuming my grass! I have to admit, our house and grass looks great this year. We've now been back just about two months and it shows.
Today, I go in for my physical to make sure all is well and get prescriptions refilled. Boy what fun. Then off the pick up parts we ordered(more spares)for our Honda Generator. Another mufflers(last one is on its last legs) as well as a new pull cord mechanism as I'm sure one of these times I'm going to pull on the cord and the mechanism is going to fly apart. She's well over 10 years old and the salt water over the last 2+ years has taken their toll.
The rudder for Sloop to Nuts(our local boat) is almost ready for her bottom paint. Probably this afternoon. After 6 coats of epoxy, she's all sealed.
And the jobs just keep getting clicked off.
08/14/2010, still stuck in Aurora
And so goes the trim. Rip off the old(carefully), scrape off the old caulk from the siding, measure the old board, cut the new. Then Tracy puts the first and many times the second coat of paint(rotten paint-don't buy Valspar paint) on it(easier that way). Then hold the board in place and fit it--recut--fit it again and nail it up and move on to the next board. Once we have a few windows done, and Mother Nature starts thinking of raining, we start to clean up the back deck(where we work) and I start applying caulk to the edges and seams of the boards. I got lucky and found a caulk from GE that matches the color Tracy picked out for the trim boards so that makes the last touch up paint job easier or not necessary. I like this caulk much better as it doesn't leave a big mess and wipes off my hands easily. It dries to rainproof in three hours so the rain threat is lessened. The last thing we do is remove all the nails from the old trim so we can stack the boards so the trash man will take them away. I have to cut them into three foot lengths so he will take them(not that Waste Management is picky mind you) plus bundle them with twine into easily manageable piles.
The worst job was doing under the sliding glass door on the back deck. We'd built the deck back in 1997 and luckily had used stainless steel screws so they came right out(most of them). I had to custom fit the new trim board as it had to be jammed between the bottom of the door and the ledger board that fastens the deck to the house. As with most boards, it was 2.25" on one edge and 2.75 on the other end of the board. No saw(not circular nor band saw) I had could cut the board lengthwise(this is a HARD board) so I had to use a hand saw to do the job. Being a rough cut( I couldn't cut a straight line if my life depended on it with a hand saw-line or no line on the board), I had to use a belt sander to smooth it out so it would fit properly. Then on goes lots of caulk into the area and in goes the board with lots of nails and it was done. Re screw the deck boards and on to the next window. The nice thing about this stuff is that it will never absorb water so there will be no more split boards around out house where water is prevalent(North side).
We're about 70% done with a few more windows to do and a few edge boards needing attention but we have lots of trim left so we will probably change out some boards that while they don't look that bad, could use replacement. Why not if we have the boards just sitting there. Better us that to sell them to the neighbor and then find we need them in a year or two when we return home again.
I think we may take today off as the past week has been tough on both of us(it sucks once you are past 50). We were both pretty well wiped out yesterday by the time we stopped working and got the back cleaned up and tools put away.
Oh, to be back on Zephyr enjoying a nice quiet deserted cove some where along the Baja coast. Yeah, I know it's hot and humid there but the jobs are easier.
The picture at the top is of one of our local friends that goes in and out of our yard. We've had them for years so I keep them well fed when we are home. Tracy took out an ear of corn a week or so ago and one(a mother squirrel) came right up to her and urged her to get that ear of corn out for her to nosh on. She was less than a foot away from her. No fear!
08/13/2010, Still stuck in Aurora
Out came the saw and nailer and up went the trim. Window by window we went. On Wednesday, we had planned an early start and got everything ready. Suddenly the front door bell rang. It was the window company here to replace the kitchen window that had gotten damaged in a hail storm(we get them big here in Colorado)that had come by last year. They had finally gotten the window in and since we had just gotten in the trim, the timing worked out just fine.
Off came the old trim(we had planned to replace it any way) and out came the window. These windows are nailed to the frame of the house when it was built so the guys just cut through the vinyl trim that surrounds the perimeter of the frame and out it came. There was lots of caulk around the edge so it was put in very snugly and had never leaked a drop. They cut the trim off the new window and slid it into place and put screws through frame and she was attached. I grabbed our saw and the old boards that made up the trim and was going to make the new boards the same but decided to measure(measure twice-cut once). Well, the measurements of the new window were different that the original, so we measured the new window and cut the trim to fit. We pulled out the nailer(loaned by our neighbor) and the guys put the boards in place and nailed them in. Out came the caulk and the job was done. All in all, three hours from start to finish.
By now it was lunch time so we broke for lunch and started up about 1300. Off came the first trim and with the saw on the back porch deck, we measured and cut the boards. We "dry"fit(no nails yet) each set of boards to make sure they fit. Tracy pulled out our saw horses and painted the boards while I pulled off more boards. Once the paint was dry(new paint-top of the line Valspar)--it still took two coats, I nailed the boards into place. On to the big sliding glass door. More boards and more sawing and painting and nailing and it was done. Mother nature decided to try to rain so we stopped there and stowed all the gear. No rain of course.
Yesterday, we started off again. On to the next window and on and on. Again, Mother Nature looked like she was going to rain so we stopped about 1500 getting several more windows done. I spent the rest of the afternoon putting caulk around the new window trim to make sure it was water tight. Late in the afternoon, after Aaron(our great neighbor) returned home, I borrowed his drill and removed the deck boards that have to come out so we can replace the trim under the sliding glass door. I'd put the deck in back in 1997 and yet there was no rust on any of the screws. I'd used expensive stainless steel screws and it paid off since they(for the most part) came right out.
Today, off with the deck boards and I'll have to cut a new board to replace the existing one under the door and get on with the other windows. The fun never stops here in Aurora.
08/10/2010, still stuck in Aurora
Time marches forward as do the jobs.
The trim finally showed up this morning, only six days later than the last promised date of delivery and only 50 days from the day we ordered it. Not bad since they had told us it would be here within three weeks(21 days) but if you have been following our blog you know the story so I won't go into it again. Tomorrow starts the installation as you can't buy 16 gauge finish nails in a 2.5 inch length. They only sell those for nail guns. Aaron, our next door neighbor is going to loan us his Dewalt nail gun so we will be in business. I'll measure and cut while Tracy paints the boards and up they will go. Of course, the fun is going to be ripping off the existing boards and getting the old caulk off the siding without ruining it. With luck, we should have it done in a week or less depending on the weather. It's been clouding up and pouring over the last few days.
I took care of another project while we waited for the trim. When we are out sailing, as Zephyr tilts or heels when the wind hits the sails, things in the galley tend to side across the counter(making a mess). So we went to Sam's (just joined) and found a plastic cutting board. I bought some dowels and a drill bit and we were in business. If you looked at the picture at the top of the post, you will see what I made. A board with holes drilled in it for short lengths of dowels that will hold plates and cups as well as cans and keep them from sliding around on the counter. Many boats have these installed inside their cabinets to hold all their dishes in place. With my drill press and a ruler, it didn't take long to do the job.
Meanwhile, more coats of epoxy have been layered on our rudder for Sloop to Nuts(our local boat). It's now time to varnish the top half to finish sealing the wood so it won't be affected by weather. Once this is done, bottom paint(stops marine growth) will be painted on the lower section and it will be ready to go. We're getting closer to being ready to put Sloop to Nuts in the water. I have to get the outboard up and running first.
To answer your question in comments(Karen), no we don't get much time to put our feet up.
I did some computer surfing and found a site on Craigs list in Washington state selling folding mast steps. I need 24 to get to the top and they had 22. A deal was struck and they arrived yesterday in a very heavy box. They even came with the screws to install them and that made what we paid for them that much better. While used, they look just about new and much better than the ones I already have installed on our mast. Corrosion has already taken a toll on them.
Tomorrow, one way or another, the trim job starts.
I've added another blog for you to read about. We ran into Cetus way back when we were traveling around near Friday Harbor well over a year ago. They were at anchor when we passed them and were flying an SSCA(Seven Seas Cruising Association) flag. We looked them up on the internet and made contact though we didn't get to meet them till we were much farther down the coast(Port San Luis, CA). We've bumped into each other every now and then ever since. Their blog is well worth reading as these folks have traveled all over the Pacific and even written a book as well as several articles for different sailing magazines.
While they had planned to Summer over in the Sea of Cortez, like us, plans are written in sand(or Jello) and they ended up just going home for a few months.
Give it a read. I'm sure you will enjoy it. We do.