We finally returned to Ahwahnee on January 24 and found her batteries still happy and interior dry. We were told by the yard staff that there was a lot of rain during the summer and we know of one boat that had standing water inside when the owners returned this week. Ahwahnee knows rain from the PNW and kept the wet stuff outside.
Cruising has ruined us for serious work. We've noticed over the past few years that we have about four hours of work in us a day - at the most. We get up at a reasonable hour, but over coffee must spend at least an hour reading. Then there is the morning cordialities that take place with neighbors and about 10:00 am action starts on the "plan of the day." At 12:00 lunch is assembled and an hour break ensues. Finally, we get back to the project and finalize no later than 4:00 pm. When near a pool the work day stops at 3:30 pm as a good swim and happy hour is mandatory before returning to the boat around 6:30 pm for dinner.
Having now disclosed our work day, you'll understand why we haven't made much progress. We did the first day find and rent a 5 x 10 storage unit within a mile from the boat and Tom has spent a great deal of time keeping it organized and sorted: items to sell, items to take home and items to return to the boat should we splash next year. Our reasoning for the storage is that when we fix the water tank, finish the floor and refurbish the v-drive we won't be working around so much equipment.
Originally, we were driving the motor home to Florida and life would be so civilized working on the boat and returning to our little home in the RV park with hot water, a shower and flush toilet. Those luxuries were at a high price and reality is that should we be doing these repairs in Central America we would not think twice of staying on the boat and "dealing" with it. So, we brought down our ports-potty and placed it in the shower (we are old), dump dish water in a bucket and walk to the showers at the club house. The yard is a "cruiser hangout" and has a large clubhouse, kitchen, laundry, TV, books, West Marine catalog and live bands and potlucks.
First cruisers we met are from Spokane, Washington. They saw our license plate on the truck and boogied right over to meet us. (Note: A man in the Walmart parking lot came over and asked if we really drove all the way from Washington. Not sure how he thought we got the truck here otherwise.) They've been cruising the Eastern Coast and Florida for several years and seem pretty normal, other than the parrot that rides on her shoulder and yells "help" or takes a shower and sings "Singing in the Rain." Our neighbors are from Quebec, Uta and Bob, and have been coming down to Florida for six years. From what we have gathered, the Canadians and Northern US folk leave their boats here in the yard, come down and work on them a couple of weeks, go cruising to Key West, Bahamas or Cancun for two-three months, return to store their boat and go home. Year after year the same folks come to this yard and do the same circuit. Not unlike what we experienced in Mazatlan. The difference is they don't invest in blue water equipment. No solar panels, water makers or wind generators.
So now you know where we are and what we are suppose to be doing. However, we really can't start a serious job until next Tuesday. There is Super Bowl on Sunday and Monday we are going to St. Petersburg to meet Heather and Chris from Legacy. Some of you may have met them in Mazatlan. They are returning to the Pacific leaving mid-February. And, we understand there are large junkyard type part places in both Sarasota and St. Pete for boaters. Gotta go see what treasurers we can find.
As in the past, the summer seems to zoom by and before we know it we are on our way back to the boat. May have something to do with all the fun we have with family and friends. First item of business is to get with Wendi and Jody and start reserving dates on our calendar. Everything from baseball games, graduations, parties, garage sales, vacations (from our retirement) and family and friends visiting Bear Run.
The 6th annual Memorial Day celebration at Bear Run was again a success with the 26-mile long garage sale for the ladies, campfires and beer for the men and clams and oysters on the BBQ for all. Already looking forward to the 7th annual get-together.
Cameron's baseball team again went to State and we sported the appropriate shirts - thank you, Wendi - and made the trek to Albany. Elaine graduated from 8th grade and was awarded a Citizenship Award.
The four of us again spent a week camping at Ft. Stevens and riding bikes, attended Aunt Carol's - do we dare say - 50th birthday bash and attended a Seattle Mariner's baseball game where Cameron got to run the bases. Of course, no visit to Seattle is complete without the Underground Tour and a ride on the Bremerton ferry.
Jody and Dave seem to keep coming back to Bear Run for more punishment and this year we added a beautiful bathroom in our older building. It is stunning and everyday I am in wonder. Having lived on the boat, in boatyards, marinas and countries without such facilities, I am still amazed. They threatened not to come build something this next season but rumor has it they are coming for a smaller project.
Another building highlight this year was our KWH. Translates to Kathy's Wash House. Our friends, Jerry and Cheryl, gave us a wash machine/dryer unit from their boat and Tom had to build an outbuilding for it. Another luxury to be able to do laundry and not go to a laundromat. At least in Mexico I had Jorge and I was thrilled to pay him to do our laundry. Now I just go out to KWH, plug in and no pesos are needed.
Letterboxing continues to be an adventure we all enjoy. Just about every woman in the family is now converted - including Tawni. Jody is the tough one to stay up with as she is a master carver and finder. David even plans our outings and week vacation together around letterboxes. He knows how to appease the women folk. We are constantly surprised at the places we find the boxes. Hard to compete with the Crack in the Ground in Central Oregon. Scenic, great hike and beautiful day.
Our neighbors, Susan and Pat from Perpetua, usually arrive at their place next door the first part of June. We quickly get out our calendars to compare when we will have visitors, can play cards and have campfires. Never often enough as we are both too nomadic. However, having two sailors in the same location does mean we gather numerous other sailors that we have met in the past. Always fun to have them arrive in their motor homes.
So went the summer of 2011 which this year lapsed into fall and winter as we celebrated Christmas with the Oregon/Washington family. Getting cold and time to go to Florida!
05/18/2011, Orlando, FL
Ahwahnee is on the hard in Florida and "put away" for the season. The weather kept getting hotter every day and we were glad to see the end. We've instructed her to stay put and we will be good owners and start an update next winter - upholstery, dodger, diesel items and jib - before the continuation of our adventure.
We left our hosts (Kip and Kathy) in Englewood on Sunday morning and are now staying with our youngest daughter, Tawni, in Orlando. We've been to Disney World twice and last night enjoyed the fireworks at Epcot.
Back to the Pacific NW tomorrow!