Realtime Journeys

In 2011 Bob and Karyn Packard sailed the Sea Of Cortez, and, Mexico, then through all the South Pacific island groups, and finally to New Zealand. 2014 started their ashore phase, caring for homes & pets worldwide.

10 November 2015 | Grass Valley, California
10 September 2015 | Long Beach, California
21 July 2015 | Long Beach, California
29 May 2015 | Asheville, North Carolina
16 March 2015 | Village of Manley outside of Chester
10 February 2015 | Village of Staple outside of Canterbury
20 January 2015 | Brighstone
13 December 2014 | Colne Engaine, Essex UK
27 November 2014 | New York City - Queens
13 October 2014 | South Australia
19 September 2014 | Adelaide Hills, AU
01 September 2014 | Outside of Melbourne, Australia
13 August 2014
31 July 2014 | New Zealand
02 June 2014 | Bundaberg, Australia
18 May 2014 | on the Burnett River
24 April 2014 | Bundaberg, Australia
20 April 2014 | Bundaberg

Adriatic, France, Pacific Northwest, Long Beach, Grass Valley, CA

10 November 2015 | Grass Valley, California
Karyn cool, bright and sunny
I can't believe how much we have done/seen in the last two months. In the last blog, we had returned to Long Beach for a visit with our friends the Gidleys. We had a wonderful time and took care of lots of loose ends that haven't been possible away from home. We also had a chance to cruise with them in their new power boat, Mana Kai. What a treat!

Then off for a 2 week cruise in the Adriatic. We visited Venice, Dubrovnik, Split, Athens,Corfu, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Olympia, Santorini and Mykonos. We really got a feel for ancient times and places and saw some very meaningful sites archaeological treasures. Bob even ran the original Olympic track with his knee brace on.

Then it was off to France. One of our UK homeowners has a country home in Gascony. We stayed in it for 2 weeks exploring this special area. It is not one visited often by tourists and was especially beautiful because of the fall leaves. Check the gallery for pictures.

Back to Long Beach for a couple of days to regroup with luggage, etc. and off to house sit #20. Can you believe that it has even been possible? We are on a 200 acre ranch in Grass Valley, CA. We are getting the opportunity to be real ranchers for 6 weeks. We have chickens and a rooster, a Great Dane/Rodesian Ridgeback mix, 3 cats (two who are only 12 weeks old) and a tractor. You would recently have found the two of us on the ATV, pulling a wooden cart with the garbage cans 2 miles up the dirt/gravel road to where they can be picked up for collection. All of this in the rain. We will be hardier after this, I'm sure. Lots of the cruising skills are being used here.

We will be going to be with family for Christmas and then on to house sit 21 at the Lake of The Ozarks. Soon Hawaii!

Really enjoying Long Beach and surrounds

10 September 2015 | Long Beach, California
Karyn, very hot
We have been here in Long Beach since July. It has been such a delight! The house is familiar and we have been able to visit with the homeowners, the Gidley's during part of our stay. We will be joining them on their yacht Mana Kai at the end of the month. Previous to that visit, we will be in Seattle with Melody and Jeff (Double Diamond) and Carol and Ned (Frannie B), our cruising buddies. What fun that will be. In the meantime, we have visited with so many wonderful friends and had extended time with our families. We've been to Vegas to see Jacquelyn and Parker two times and had several visits with Matthew. We met his long-time friend Amy and our cousins Jennifer and Laurel. It had been so many years since we had seen them. What a treat! They made us laugh. I got to see folks from church, from the hospital, from the yacht club. It was nice to feel like we belong again. We had several doctors/dentists visits. My Mexico crown had to be removed and replaced. Bob's knee is coming along nicely. I've scheduled a surgery that is long overdue. We connected with a personal trainer, Kevin, and have been working out three times a week. He was referred by our good friends Charlotte and Bob. He makes sure we stay humble and does the most with our aging raw material. We thank him for his tenacity and patience.

This weekend, we are going to Salinas to see my sister Judy and her new grandson, Mohammad. Her daughter Gretchen/Shaymae is married to an Egyptian man. They have three lovely girls and this is the first boy. She returns to Egypt with the baby this week. So glad we can have a quick peek.

We go back to Europe for a cruise on the Adriatic for a couple of weeks and 2 weeks in a house in France. We will be near Francois, our shared cruising crew and plan to see him. I'll choose a few pictures that highlight this special time of reuniting with friends and family. The best!

Back to Long Beach for a while

21 July 2015 | Long Beach, California
Karyn, warm and humid/overcast
Well, we can hardly believe it. We are back in Long Beach until Oct 1st. Our old friends the Gidleys are cruising in their boat Mana Kai up in the Pacific Northwest. They have been so kind to have us stay in their beautiful home while they are up north. We have stayed here for short periods each time we have come through California. It is familiar and there is even a chance we might see someone we know. We are hoping for that! We have been gone 4 years...hope we are recognizable:-) Getting in touch with old friends, going to church, getting my hair done, seeing a doctor and dentist, going through boxes of clothes mailed back along the way...All plans for our near future.

We had a wonderful sit in North Carolina and were happy that Lissa and Jeff got home from their tandem bike holiday and reunited with their furry family. They were so much fun. We have no animals here. I'm sure we will miss them.

We had a wonderful time in Las Vegas with my daughter Jacquelyn and her family. She is currently playing "SoupStar" in Menopause the Musical. We got to see her perform twice and also had some time with the cast. It was a ball. They all can keep you laughing. Saw our grandson Parker with time to play, swim and see a movie. Nice just to be able to do regular things with him, he is six. Jason's son Miles (15) arrived at the end of our visit, it was nice to see him again. He has grown and is doing competitive rowing. We hope to see him complete soon. He lives in Newport Beach.

Ray and Roz, 2nd new owners for Realtime. We get ready to leave Asheville, North Carolina for points west

04 July 2015 | Asheville, North Carolina
Karyn, overcast and cool
First, I want to shine a light on yet another new owners for Realtime, Ray and Roz. Some of you may remember the first people (from Holland) who bought Realtime, had family health issues and had to put it right back on the market without ever sailing her. Ray and Roz are Kiwis and have big plans for giving her lots of love, care, and creativity. Please give them a special greeting when you see the familiar gray sheer strip coming your way. Our thanks to Jason Brosnahan, our broker in Opua. He handled both sales and kept Realtime in tip-top shape through it all. He must feel like she belongs to him by now. He's a great broker if any of you are wanting to sell your boat. It has been a long hall for everyone. Now the fun can begin for Ray and Roz. We wish them all the best. It makes us happy to know she is in good hands and getting the care she deserves.

Our time here in Asheville, North Carolina is now coming to an end. We have had a wonderful time in this area. The home is beautiful and the animals have given us great joy. You may remember that the owners Jeff and Lissa have been biking on a tandem through Germany for a couple of months. They are very courageous people. Jeff even had to arrange Chemo "en route". We have tried to help out from this end by taking good care of their beautiful property and their delightful "animal family"; Tucker, Luna, Peanut and Lily. It has been our pleasure.

Now we head west to Vegas to see my daughter who is one of the leads in "Menopause the Musical". We look forward to seeing her perform and visiting with our grandson Parker. It has been a long time coming. Then on to Long Beach. We will be caring for our friends Darlene and Jeff's home while they cruise their new power boat Mana Kai in the Pacific Northwest. We will join them for a cruise in September and see our old cruising friends Melody and Jeff (Double Diamond) and Ned and Carol (Frannie B). It should be quite a reunion. We look forward to it.

It will be nice to be back in Long Beach to see family, old friends, and go to the doctor, dentist, church (not in that order :-). It is so generous of the Gidley's to let us stay in their home. They have welcomed us several times before while we have been on this odyssey.

Yesterday, Bob celebrated his 70th birthday. We had some new friends (retired Marines) over for lunch with good food and conversation. It was a nice day. He is aging well. He had his knee repaired while we were here and has had a good outcome. He wears a brace now part of the time for added support. We are so glad that we cruised when we did. It seems impossible to imagine doing it now. It was a good ride. We are booked with places until January. Still looking for January - June, when we can get into the Hawaii house. The researching of properties keeps me busy. Stay tuned.

We end our time in the UK and return to the US

29 May 2015 | Asheville, North Carolina
Karyn, raining
On March 27th, we moved to our last house sit in the UK in Chipstead. It is a lovely setting. The owner is a structural engineer and they have remodeled an old home on a lovely lot that backs up to the golf course. This is a young family with two children, Ashleigh and Callum. They also have a vacation home outside of Toulouse, in France. While the family goes to France, we are looking after their home and their two cats Bill and Zoe and the rabbit Bela. During this time, we are near London by train with lots of opportunities to revisit places we've enjoyed and see some more of this fascinating city. After the sit, we had a few more days, so we became more familiar with London than we might of as tourists. The gallery has lots of beautiful pictures of spring coming to this part of the world, both at the home in Chipstead and in London itself. We have seen a lot of winter, going from winter in New Zealand and Australia on to winter in Europe. Flowers were a beautiful blessing and they were everywhere. We sought them out, going to gardens, etc. We took a side trip to Windsor Castle, the countryside was lovely and the Castle a real delight. While in London, we stayed in a room in a penthouse flat. There wasn't much privacy, but it was centrally located and the owners were very nice. It gave us an inexpensive way to stay in a very expensive European City. We have used Air BnB several times now when between sits, and never been disappointed. The UK has been wonderfully welcoming to us. We have made great friends and seen so much of the country. We would go back in a heartbeat. We're saying that about winter engagements; think how much we would love it in the spring/summer/fall. Hoping some of our homeowners will have us back someday. House sitting has been a great way to be residents rather than tourists.

We were happy to return to the US. There is a lot ahead of us there. We had a wonderful house sit in Reston, VA with Liz and Gil and their pets Clay and Sammy. Gil is quite a landscaper and Liz a beautiful decorator. We were so lucky to stay in such a beautiful place, right on a lake. We loved the animals, but lost the cat the first day. Whew! we made posters, walked miles and prayed a lot. Can you imagine homeowners coming home to only 1/2 of their animals. Don't think the reference would be very good after that performance. When Sammy came home, we were so glad to see her, we cried.

While there, we took a day to shop for some new clothes. We haven't bought any for quite a while and needed to spruce up for Bob's Basic School Marine Reunion I found the closest Chico's and Bob went to Brooks Bros and Jos A Banks. It was frantic being in all the crowds. We are no longer used to that kind of shopping. It has been years since we have been to a shopping center. But we were happy with our new duds, and they fit our slightly larger sized bodies :-(

The Marine Corps reunion at Quantico was very meaningful and great fun for Bob and me. These guys all went to Vietnam 47 years ago, and most hadn't seen each other since. I signed on to do lots of jobs as I really wasn't part of Bob's military life, but I found there was plenty of use for a Chaplain. Bob & I were both shocked to see the struggles many of these men and their families have endured from their injuries, both physical and mental and from exposure to agent orange. Bob is so fortunate not to be carrying these burdens from his tours of duty in Vietnam. We've had many discussions since about just how unfortunate it is that military service during wartime actually means a lifetime of war exposure for both the soldier and his or her family. Much to think about. The people were wonderful. It ended with a small ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial in DC. Everyone was affected and they are planning a trip to Vietnam in 2016. Good job to all who worked so hard to organize and to find their comrades after so much time had passed.

We are now in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a beautiful home above Asheville, NC. It is huge, with lots of exposed wood inside and out. The owners Jeff and Lissa are tandem biking in Germany and Holland for 2 months. We are caring for their property and their pets: two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Luna and Tucker; and two cats, Lily and Peanut. You can see their pictures in the gallery. Once again, we love them dearly and are really enjoying them. Unfortunately, Peanut is elderly and in kidney failure, so he gets regular fluid infusions at the vet, which he deals with admirably. We take the dogs everywhere we can. They are so well behaved and lots of fun to hike with. Yesterday we went to Lake Lure and climbed to the top of Chimney Rock. Jeff, the homeowner has been battling lung CA. He is an avid biker and in great shape and making this trip has really been a dream come true for them. He had Chemo the day before they left and will have it again in Europe. Such courage these folks have.

We are happy to be back in the US. I'm especially happy to just be able to pick up the phone to talk with my kids and my friends. It really puts a smile on my face to hear my phone ring again. We are here until the middle of July and then we will be returning to a home in Long Beach owned by our sailing friends Darlene and Jeff Gidley. So we're covered until January 2016 for housing. I'm on the daily hunt to fill Jan -June. Then we can move into the Hawaii house. Who knows what adventures await us in the meantime.

Oh yes, we are here long enough to see doctors. Bob is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday. You might remember he took a fall walking the dog in Essex, UK. I am having a pre-melanoma removed on Wednesday. We should end up better than new!

Aloha for now. Karyn

From Kent to Cheshire and a few places in between

16 March 2015 | Village of Manley outside of Chester
Karyn cold and cloudy with occasional sun
Hello again from the UK. As I downloaded our pictures, I realized just how many places we have visited since I last blogged. Challenges or not, we are seeing lots of the world on this adventure. We loved our time in the little village of Staple, Kent. We were halfway between Sandwich and Canterbury which gave us lots of opportunity to see interesting things. The house was lovely and the owners more than hospitable. We attended the little C of E church and also the Canterbury Cathedral. They were both moving experiences. The folks in the village entertained us and we loved the Springer Spaniel, Juno. She was so much fun. It was a nice experience, and when you look at the gallery you will see beautiful places like Leeds and Dover Castles.

We had three days between sits and chose to stop in Oxford, Gloucester and Stratford on Avon. This being the 50th anniversary of Churchill's death, we wanted to see his childhood home, Blenheim Palace.

We loved Oxford. We had a wonderful guide who took us through the University and told us how it functions here in England. It is a very interesting educational system and would be a wonderful place for anyone to be educated. Our room was right on the River Thames. Leaving Oxford, we drove to Blenheim and spent the day at the Palace. This is the current home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Churchill is a direct relation. They can no longer keep the whole place, so they live in part and have tours in the other. The grounds are beautiful and the family stories fascinating. I bought the book written by the 9th Duchess, Consuelo Vanderbilt. Not a great read, but an opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day goings on of the aristocracy here in the UK.

That night we were on the hill above Gloucester, in a lodge created from an old stone home with views to the sea. We met some lovely people and shared dinner with them. It was a nice evening. Then off through the Cotswolds to Stratford on Avon. I had always wanted to see the Cotswolds. We weren't exactly sure how to do it, but went to the first little town "I" center and got a driving/attractions map and some friendly advice. It was a very nice day and we hope to get a house-sit in that area sometime. It is beautiful. Some towns have narrow rivers running through them with little bridges all along...very quaint.

We were at a B & B in Stratford and the young woman who ran it was remarkable. She had recently lost her husband and had a 6 year-old daughter. She was trained as an OB/GYN, but felt at this time she needed to be home with Rebecca...thus the B & B. She did it right, and with her help we were able to get tickets to see the Shakespeare play "Much Ado About Nothing" or as it is more recently called, "Love's Labor's Won". The period for the play was changed from Elizabethan to Post WWI. During this year's 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war, we've seen much done here in the UK to honor and remember it. Of course we did the regular tourist things as well.

Then on to our next sit, where we are now. We are in the Village of Manley in Cheshire...just like the Cheshire Cat. It is an old farm house that's been turned into a make-shift B & B. The folks have gone on a cruise to Norway and beyond to see the Northern Lights. We have a kitty here: "Bubbles". She is wonderful and has adjusted well. We first visited the close-by old Roman Town of Chester, with its city walls and interesting architecture. On another day, some people who we met on the Danube Cruise took us to Liverpool, his home, and we had a great day with them. Yesterday, we drove to Wales. It had been on Bob's bucket list and it did not disappoint. You will see pictures of Conwy Castle and some of the countryside in the gallery. It was really amazing. We have about 10 days left here and have several excursions planned. We are seeing HMS Pinafore this weekend. Keep in touch. We're getting closer and closer to getting back to the US and can't wait. More later.
Vessel Name: Realtime
Vessel Make/Model: Norseman 447
Hailing Port: Long Beach
Crew: Bob and Karyn Packard
About: Bob and Karyn departed the security of Long Beach on 10/20/2011 for extended cruising in Mexico and the South Pacific. Although no longer at sea, they have not returned home: they are now traveling and house-sitting from wherever the invitation comes.
Bob and Karyn retired from their jobs at the end of April/2011. They have extensively cruised Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. They have sailed extensively in the South Pacific, arriving in New Zealand in November 2013, where a new phase began. Having put Realtime up for sale, Karyn and Bob are now [...]
Realtime's Photos - Adriatic cruise, France, Grass Valley
Photos 1 to 84 of 84 | Main
view of the Pyrenees
inside of sanctuary in Lectoure
Hill town of Lectoure
botanical gardens Le Romieu
town of Lourdes, France
many come for healing waters in Lourdes
Beautiful drive in the Pyrenees
fall leaves make Lourdes more beautiful
two young boys pray in Lourdes
traditional cottage
colorful leaves
shower curtains for sale at the open market
Countryside of Gascony
folk picnicking in France
house Caillaou, in Gondrin,France
mattresses for sale at market
The circular square in Fources
beautiful fresh fruits
Castle at Le Romieu
Moat surrounds Fources
Alpacas in the Pyrenees
View from tram La Mongie
Karyn with Hitch
The beautiful scenery on the morning walk with Coty
Bob and Coty
Bob the rancher on the ATV
Bob with Boo
Grass Valley marina
Beautiful drive to tahoe
Grass Valley home
Coty and his new toy
Fancy chicken house in Grass Valley
longest covered bridge in America
South fork of Yuba River
Visiting with Francois our cruising buddy
beautiful fall leaves in Foix
Two tram rides to the top
observatory at the top
Fortified castle in Foix
Pyrennes in the fall
Duck duck goose in Toulouse
Picnic on the side of the road
A couple doing the Campostella Trail from France
Fall look at Mont Siguer
Chateau Beumont
Skyline of Venus from the ship
Beautiful canals of Venice
Ancient city of Akrotiri: on the island of Santorini
Beautiful island of Santorini
Formal night on the Jade
The famous lions in Delos: Island off of Mykonos
The basilica in Lourdes
Beautiful leaves on the way to Lavardens
Opera House in Bordeaux,  France
Wonderful display of glass making in Murano, Italy
The chateau at Lavardens
hand crafted figures
Sunset at Caillaou
Chateau du Lavardens
Sumbol of unity in archaeological museum in Olympia
wonderful dog in Olympia Archaeological Museum
Split, Croatia
Roman Bridge in Condom
Market in Condom, France
Wisdom is always portrayed
Bob and Greg run the track at the home of the Olympics Greece
Lace makers in Burano, Italy
Norwegian Jade
Bob and Karyn Dubrovnik
aeral of walled city of Dubrovnic, Croatia
Bob and Karyn at the Acropolis
Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Acropolis Hill Athens
Mars Hill Athens: Where the apostle Paul spoke to the pagans in Athens
Athens Archaelogical Museum: Sarcophagus for a mother who died in childbirth
Ephesus, Turkey
Levant tells us about toilets in Ephesus
 where the Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Ephesus
Turkish women weaving rugs
Lunch with Levant in Turkey
Terraced Houses at Ephesus: Ephesus
We hope you've enjoyed the posts we have assembled and provided for you. Please comment and tell us your reactions. Bob & Karyn