A Cross Ocean Experience

Seven thousand miles of outstanding cruising since November 2008 means it's time to do a little renovation and more planning for the future. Find out what ...

20 February 2013 | Fishtail, Montana, USA
15 March 2011 | Swallow Falls State Park, Garrett County, MD
07 January 2011 | Deep Creek, MD
01 January 2011 | Tacoma, WA
17 December 2010 | Sierra Madre, CA
12 December 2010 | Leucadia, CA
12 December 2010 | Leucadia, Ca
12 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
06 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
06 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
20 November 2010 | New Orleans, LA
13 November 2010 | Lexington, KY
09 November 2010 | Louiville, KY
05 November 2010 | Lexington. KY
01 November 2010 | Deltaville, VA
29 October 2010 | Deltaville, VA
22 October 2010 | Deltaville, VA
08 October 2010 | Deltaville, VA

End of the road

07 January 2011 | Deep Creek, MD
Montana was breathtaking - need to come back

Two months after we left Deltaville in early November we pulled into Deep Creek, MD to begin our new assignment as innkeepers at Carmel Cove Inn.

The Inn's a little nippy right now

For the numerically inclined we drove 11,500 miles in portions of 25 states (VA, WV, KY, TN, AL, MS, LA, GA, MD, AR, TX, NM, AZ, CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, NE, IA, IL, IN, OH, and PA).

Kitsch and underwhelming in situ these old rock heads are photogenic

Our ancient (200,000 miles when we started) pick up behaved flawlessly, drinking only fuel and the winter weather, which has been brutal in parts, never got us in its grips. We had balmy days in New Orleans, torrential rainfall in Los Angeles and cold but good conditions for the cross country trek.
The purpose of the trip, to visit our three sprogs, was fulfilled in spades.

The Sea, The Sea

01 January 2011 | Tacoma, WA
In 400 B.C. Xenophon accompanied Cyrus the Younger's army of Greek mercenaries on their mission to seize the throne of Persia. Through the inevitable disasters of war "the Ten Thousand" were left lost and stranded in enemy territory without food or supplies, a mission or a leader. Their re-organization, and discovery of a way back to the sea, which they know is home, is the core of Xenophon's "Anabasis".
We have over the last two years met and grown to know some wonderful people. It is no surprise that most are, shall we say, in their mature years, and in order to be out larking around in a boat have, by and large, for want of a better term, got their shit together. Also on our drive across the country we have had the privilege of staying with many old friends and for a brief time being a part of their lives. With the proviso that for all of us misfortune or disaster can be merely an accident or illness away, these people have for the most part carved out a dream and lived at least a small part of it. We all develop an internal life narrative and the ability to get the most out of our lives can depend on how we fulfill that narrative, or adjust it as circumstances change. It may be illusion, but a degree of stability and security is tangible in these lives.
Twenty-somethings, our children and their friends, for the most part have not attained this stability and would probably be horrified if they had. Nevertheless it is surely the trajectory they are on for we are all not so dissimilar from the beasts in our basic needs of fire, bed and bone. But for them, post college, is a time without much stability and with room to experiment where relationships, jobs, careers and location are all in flux. For us this is disquieting even unnerving, but surely it is a process as necessary as Xenephon's journey. He could not find his way before, for it could not been revealed until he had been lost. It can be excruciating to watch, but there is little we can do than wait to hear the yell "The Sea, The Sea".

Old Couch Surfers of the World Unite.

28 December 2010

COUCH SURFING - Participating in creating a better world, one couch at a time. Connecting travelers with members of local communities, who offer free accommodation and/or advice.

It is the newest thing in the world traveler's vocabulary. Hostels are passé and B & Bs are positively out of the question for many in today's economy, but couch surfing opens up a whole new world of possibilities. It is a win/win situation for the couch surfer and the couch host, not to mention the benefits of sharing knowledge of the world and connecting to other cultures in a most organic way.

We have joked as we have traversed the country staying with our family and close friends that we have joined the ranks of couch surfers united, for we have been making the most of free places to stay and participating in some unusual activities, such as knife making, fox hunting, polo support team, Fringe theatre audience, competitive cycling and racehorse training (again). In exchange we try to give back by cooking meals, gardening, dog walking, home repair work and telling some choice yarns from our past two years at sea.

We have slept on some couches as well as beds of every description. We were actually prepared for sleeping on the floor where ever necessary and packed sleeping pads and sleeping bags in the truck. We are not accustomed to a high degree of comfort; our double berth on MANDY is on the narrow side, but is firm and cosy. In a rolling sea we have the pilot berth where the lee cloth holds one person cradled in safety while asleep. It is with some pride that we can both sleep anywhere we lay our heads but, it is especially sound sleep when it all comes free.

The population of today's Couch Surfing Culture appears to be solidly in the under thirties age range, so including ourselves may be pushing the envelope somewhat. Before long (9 days) we will be in Maryland and we will be able to choose a bed for the next couple of years in the Inn Keepers apartment. I also plan to get a comfortable sleeper sofa for our family or friends who come to visit. When we eventually reach Galicia, Spain to renovate our farmhouse there, I am seriously thinking of signing up to be a couch surfing host. Until then we will be practicing our hosting skills for the future in the old fashioned B & B industry.

Mandy Minor enters the 21st century - sort of

12 December 2010 | Leucadia, CA
Many think these are not worth keeping, even as a spare anchor. Others say the best day of their life was the day they got rid of their Seagull. One fellow on the forum said that he knew where a fine Forty-plus was available ... on the bottom of a bay in Tortola where he hurled it in disgust. But fools rush in where angels fear to tread, so when our old slip neighbor and boatwork guru Barron offered to give us one we jumped at the chance, for how cool will this look on Mandy Minor. We will dress it up this winter and give it a go next spring. When we get a few miles up a mangrove river and then have to row back when it takes a holiday I will let you know how much we love it.

New gig

12 December 2010 | Leucadia, Ca
January 7th we will be back in the workforce, as innkeepers here. It is in the mountains of western Maryland (think W. Virginia) two hours from Pittsburg, four from D.C. Beautiful scenery, skiing, fly-fishing, a large lake and miles of hiking and cross country trails. Five hours from Mandy it all seems to be the right thing at the right time.


We're all artisans now

12 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
Here's the result of those knife making lessons. A long way from perfect, but a good start. Ready to slice and dice.
Vessel Name: Mandy
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol Channel Cutter 28 - http://www.capegeorgecutters.com/BCC28/index.html
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA USA
Crew: Richard & Virginia Cross
Having spent 30 years in the racehorse business we felt it was time for a different kind of adventure. Both originally from England we have sailed for fun for over 30 years. We have owned MANDY for five of those and are planning to head south for Mexico etc. in November 2008 - ready or not. [...]

There Goes Mandy!

Who: Richard & Virginia Cross
Port: San Diego, CA USA