SLOTH heads west

20 January 2019
Fall and the land yacht.... For those that may not remember, we named our rig SLOTH for Sailors Living On The Highway.

Back in the motorhome after hauling our boat in the Chesapeake Bay and driving south from Hurricane Florence. We wrapped up some appointments in Florida where we had the motorhome stored and started our trip. Epcot Food and Wine Festival was first. We were invited by friends we met at one of our regular campgrounds and it was a special treat. Lots of options for small plates and wine pairing, with a short concert by Starship. Just a very enjoyable day with perfect weather and good friends.

Next stop was family in Tampa and a chance to spoil my granddaughters just a little bit more. One of the sad part of our nomadic life is time away from the grandkids. We also had wonderful visits with old sailing friends, then our usual stop in New Orleans as we headed west. As soon as we hit Texas we rustled up some lunch with sea and land cruising buddies Chris and Barb. They winter near Houston and after several attempts we finally arranged a visit.

The season plan was 2 months in Texas checking out several RV resorts to consider for a winter home. Then we would move on to visit the last few National Parks that we haven't been to yet in Arizona and California, along the way checking out more RV resorts and visiting friends. At the end of the season we would decide which area we would purchase a park model unit and become snow bird residents each winter.

In Texas after touring several parks we found a wonderful community at Llano Grande that met all of our criteria, had fun people, and an 18 hole golf course. Weekly dances, nightly card games, shuffleboard, almost any craft or hobby, this park checked off every box on my spreadsheet and more. DeeO'gee enjoyed the dog park with a dog wash station! I even joined Steve on the course golfing in the two best ball scrambles each week. Now add that my grandson could join us from Austin for holidays and we decided to look at some housing options. We close on March 1st on a lovely park model and look forward to becoming an even bigger part of the Winter Texan community. After 2 months we said a temporary goodbye to friends and headed west again to complete our planned adventures.

Arizona was great, what a beautiful state with so much to see and do. We visited 2 sets of sailing friends, a high school friend I hadn't seen in decades and my Milwaukee bestie in the Tuscan/Phoenix area.

Doug and Meyka took us to Kartchner State Park for a hike and cavern tour. We enjoyed a day trip to the historic town of Bisbee and toured the mine there as well as stopping at Tombstone. Add food, wine and several games of Pegs and Jokers and you have a recipe for a great time.

Kim was a gracious hostess and our tour guide for Tucson. One afternoon we spent a few hours taking in Sonora living desert museum. I never knew there were so many varieties of Cactus, now I want to plant a cactus garden!

We then visited Saguaro National Park during the shutdown so the visitor center was closed but the road through the park was open. The entire area is populated with saguaro of every shape and size. It takes these magnificent succulents 75 long years of growing before they begin to sprout the arms and live to be over 150 years old. Hmmm, did i mention food, wine and several games of Pegs and Jokers?

Moving north we visited with Kitty and Bill in their new winter home near Phoenix. This time we mixed things up a bit, food, margaritas and cards! I just don't want you to think we aren't flexible.
Petrified Forest National Park was gated due to some vandalism so we will visit that one on our way back through to Texas. Hopefully that will be before the next government shutdown.

A great car tour is on the scenic old Apache Trail stagecoach route. Stopping at several vistas and lunch in Tortilla Flats makes for another lovely day.

Last but not least was meeting up with Bill and Colleen on the north end of Phoenix. A day trip to Prescott with a stop at the Arcosanti
artist community. Don't forget the food, wine and Pegs and Jokers each afternoon...are you seeing a pattern here?

So much to see and so many friends...

When it was time to move along we took a route that would let us visit Quartesite, all full timers head to check out this area eventually. This area has free and almost free desert camping on BLM land. Many events take place over the winter that draws hundreds of RVers. Motorhome rallies, rock shows, swap meets, etc.

Our last stop before leaving the state was Lake Havasu. While summer is a better time to visit, we had lovely winter weather and enjoyed the sights. I'll have to put a summer visit on the bucket list.

The fact that London Bridge is in the Arizona town just doesn't seem to make sense. The bridge was purchased from London in 1968 for over 2 million dollars, it took 3 years and another 4.5 million to transport and reassemble the bridge. It would be interesting to talk to the city father's to see if the bridge was worth the cost.

We enjoyed Arizona so much that we are glad we have to pass through again to return to Texas.

The Dismal Swamp and on to the southern Chesapeake Bay

03 September 2018
finishing up the 2018 season
After finishing up the Albemarle Loop in Elizabeth City we started our route north again. The Pasquotank River took us to the south lock to enter the Dismal Swamp Canal. This journey was 38 miles of scenic waterway that reminded me of our small creeks off the lake I grew up on in Wisconsin, but so much longer. Picture turtles sunning on logs in water smooth as glass and birds flying over their own reflection in an area barely wide enough for two boats to pass. It's a bit too long to travel in one day as the entire length is a no wake zone and several free docks are available.

The Great Dismal Swamp canal is on the edge of the 750 square mile National Wildlife Refuge of the same name. The canal is the oldest continually operating man-made canal in the United States as it was opened in 1805. In 1859 the Albemarle-Chesapeake Canal opened rerouting commercial traffic away from the swamp leaving it for recreational boaters. Hundreds use this route for the annual spring and fall migration of snow birds. Depending on timing there can be so many boat tired up to overnight at the Visitors Center free dock that they raft up several boats wide.

At the north end we rejoined the ICW at the city of Chesapeake. One night in a marina and a couple of Uber rides refilled the larder and we were off to our last stop before entering the Chesapeake Bay.

Mile marker 0, the official beginning of the AICW, is smack dab in the middle of the world's biggest naval base. Naval Station Norfolk was established in 1917 and covers an area of approximately 3,400 acres. The USS Wisconsin is one of the largest and last battleships ever built by the U.S. Navy and sits proudly for the visitors to tour. This is a mighty impressive area to travel through in a little 32 foot boat surrounded by massive battle ships, aircraft carriers and supply ships.

We stopped to enjoy two free nights at the Portsmouth Town Dock. We were fortunate enough to arrive in conjunction with a street art fair and a farmers market. We toured the Portsmouth Lightship, walked the colonial streets and ate at a sidewalk cafe. This was another really charming town! It is obvious why the east coast has so much history, being where everything started, but to a Midwesterner it all seems awe inspiring.

This truly is a trip to remember. We finish this year on the southern Chesapeake at historic Cape Charles. We planned to end our incredible season with the MTOA Northern Rendezvous there but Hurricane Florence had other plans. Several boats had arrived before the event was canceled so we were able to participate in docktails and pot lucks before we all scattered to save harbors. We hauled our boat, secured it for the winter, rented a car and headed back to out motorhome.

Splash, Cruise, Haul, Repeat!

Be sure to look at more pictures in the gallery.

174 days since launch
1719 miles traveled
Vessel Name: Nomadic Spirit
Vessel Make/Model: 32' Island Gypsy & 36' Monaco
Crew: Janice & Steve
This adventure began in October of 2007 when Steve came to look at a boat that Janice had for sale on Craig's List. Steve wanted to learn how to sail and Janice needed a new kitchen. [...]
FAVORITE QUOTES: 'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do then by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.' Mark Twain 'We went cruising not to [...]
Nomadic Spirit's Photos - St Martin
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One for the sea, One for the land...... Living the Nomadic Life is our plan

Who: Janice & Steve

Click: Where are we now?

'OMG It's Almost Time' in 'Getting the Boat Ready' attempts to describe my excitement of our impending departure.
Check out our Favorite Anchorages and best snorkeling spots in Blog Catagory 'Our Favorite Things'
And our thoughts on the completion of our first year in 'Our Cruising Advenures'!
'You're lucky if YOUR LOVE loves what you love the best' Eileen Quinn