Slow Sailing

13 August 2018 | Thetford, VT
02 August 2018 | Thetford, VT
13 July 2018 | Thetford, VT
12 June 2018 | Hurricane Boatyard, Bayboro NC
29 May 2018 | Cumberland Island, Georgia
14 May 2018 | Vero Beach, FL
29 April 2018 | Dragon Point, Melbourne
02 April 2018 | Chub Cay, Berry Islands
24 March 2018 | Farmers Cay, Bahamas
12 March 2018 | Grand Turk
28 February 2018 | Culebra, Spanish Virgins
21 February 2018 | St John
01 February 2018 | St Pierre, Martinique
17 January 2018 | Marin Marina, Martinique
08 January 2018 | Fort de France, Martinique
01 January 2018 | Atlantic - Still!
26 December 2017 | Atlantic Ocean
19 December 2017 | Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
17 December 2017 | Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
07 December 2017 | San Sebastian, La Gomera

All About the Truck

13 August 2018 | Thetford, VT
Heather
If you aren't in to truck refurbs or custom RV's our lives would seem pretty boring right now because they are wrapped around this project pretty tightly these days without many interludes.
Have you ever really studied the interior of your car from the headliner to all the little pieces & parts that make up the dash and side door coverings? It seems so perfectly fitted. It isn't to be taken for granted. After several days of affixing Rattle Trap top quality sound deadening material (we felt we needed the best there was!), we started putting the interior parts back in. Not easy! After Jon got me started, I did most of the sound deadening which involves fitting & cutting sticky back rubbery material to most of the interior and then using a special roller to flatten each piece out so that its tightly bonded. We ordered 2 big rolls of it and had just barely enough to cover. After prepping the headliner and rear panels for vinyl and headliner material, we sprayed on contact cement and then Jon tried to smooth out the fabric on the panels without wrinkles while I held the material up. This whole thing is very hard to do! It took over 4 hours yesterday for the rear panel and the best we can say is we did it ourselves! We got some wrinkles.... But it still looks nice and it is installed now. The headliner material looks spiffy too. Parts of the dash are in and there's more ready to go. So many little pieces.
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The fuel tank is now fitted and Jon added a secondary fuel filter. We still intend to get another 50 gallon or so tank but are not in a rush as there are other priorities. The fenders, flaps and steps are painted and reinstalled. We got a new tailpipe and painted up the heat shield on the muffler. I've been working on prepping and painting the parts of the chassis, mainly the undersides of things, that couldn't be gotten with the dustless blaster which is a real pain because part of why this truck has very little rust is because it was undercoated with a thick, waxy substance that is difficult to remove.
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Jon has now entered the world of welding. He welded up some new plates for the fender holders that were rusted out. I think he looks really tall in his helmet. He said he thinks it is either the fact that he has to run the welder off our generator or the reality that he is brand new to welding that makes his welds a little rougher than he wants but they are holding up the mud flaps now and seem up to the task. I'm sure he'll get a lot more experience before this is all over.
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We dropped off the new shocks for bushings to fit the truck, are having new sway bar fittings fabricated and the truck seats should be in this week. Jon even found a license plate converter to fit USA plates because the truck was set up for European ones. The holes& backing plates are drilled for a front overhead roof rack that is in the planning stages. It will hold a set of driving lights and be able to accommodate some roof gear if we need it. Jon hopes to finish getting the new hose run for the fuel system this week so that we can get the truck running again to position it under the subframe. It would be nice to get that back on.
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Got an update on the fabrication of the fiberglass CNC cut panels for the Total Composites camper box and here are a couple of pics. The box is being made in China and is almost ready for shipment. Apparently, it will ship to LA then be put on a train to perhaps Albany, NY where we'll pick it up with our truck. We have to iron out those details this week. We're pretty excited for the box, Jon especially since he designed the whole thing. Hopefully it'll be as he drew it.
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We took a day off from truck stuff and painted all of the eves on my parents' house. Now they're as white as our truck! It's been fun spending time with my parents and getting a homemade dessert fix since we have no oven in the camper and I miss by boat galley.
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And Jon is getting to meet some of my high school classmates. Its looking really good to rent a building here in Thetford from a classmate Darren that would work beautifully for putting the camper box together, we caught up with Jessie & her family, met up with Cory at a firemen's BBQ, and hung out with old friends Becky & Mike over a campfire at our Bradford compound. I just can't believe its been 30 years but then again, we haven't spent this much time in this area in all those years either. All good fun and a welcome distraction from hovering over the truck.
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We've also discovered some decent bike loops in our area. There are plenty of offroad tracks that make for quiet trails and we've found that a ride first thing in the morning while the dew is drying helps us stretch out without making us too tired to put in a full day of projects. Its very hilly around here though and our driveway is one of the steepest ones! Anyway, it keeps my head on straight. For now.

A bear has visited our Scamp camper when we weren't home and left her muddy paw prints on our door. Haven't seen hide nor hair since but there's still time!

I guess I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
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Rugged Luxury

02 August 2018 | Thetford, VT
Heather
I thought I would catch anyone up who's following the build while I have a minute. We've been working hard and have made good progress. We're starting to put things back together now!
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After many hours of sanding the outside of the truck, and then masking, cleaning & degreasing it, it is now sprayed white, supposedly the same shade of white that the box will be. Jon started out with the door jams which I guess is how you proceed. They turned out well, except there was a lot more overspray than we anticipated! It even got on our car, which was parked some distance away. So we had some cleanup to do afterward and everything looked good from about 15 feet away! Then more sanding & masking for the main cab since we had to get all the overspray off. We ultimately ended up rushing to get things done on the last fair weather day. We got some runs and a little orange peel texture, but that comes off easily with fine sanding, which we did the next day in the rain. Now all we need to do is buff it out and it will be complete. In the end it should be a good 5 foot paint job, which is pretty much the same as the varnish on our boat. Not perfect, but passable and we did it ourselves.
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The subframe is pretty much done too. Jon did get his second new saw which did the last of the wing cuts easily without breaking. This makes the subframe a little lighter, sleeker and easier to put things under once its on the chassis. All the paint is on now despite a few metal splinters.
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With the cab painted, we started coating all the little interior trim pieces and dash with our new 2 tone color scheme of black & gray. The SEM auto paint that Jon found is fantastic and coats so evenly and easily. Out with the brown... It feels good to be putting things back together now and to have less little pieces kicking around. We started putting the sound deadening material in the cab and I've been working on cleaning & painting the bumpers and steps with a fresh coat of black. As you can imagine, we've been spending a lot of time with paint cans in our hands, or for Jon, the spray gun.
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My parents' 1972 daysailor sold to the first person who looked at it with a bunch more lined up with interest. This is a testament to the way my dad took care of it and while it was bittersweet to let it go, it needed to happen and now Ken, the new owner from Barre, VT can sail it like it's meant to do.
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A couple of weeks ago, thanks to facebook, we found out that our long time friend Joe was in the Adirondacks with his family, and he was getting married on a mountaintop! While we couldn't make the wedding day itself on such short notice, we did drive over the following day. It was a pretty drive westward over the Green mountains to New York via the Champlain valley. Gorgeous fields and old Vermont barns. My dad said that often when you drive outside your usual area in Vermont you rediscover how beautiful a state it is all over again. We had a great time catching up with Joe on the past 20 years that we've been apart and hiked up Mt Colden in perfect weather conditions. And he's still as good on the grill as the old days. We're hoping to spend some more time with him & his wife Suzen and maybe hike another mountain there.

The box is ordered and we're sweating when it will arrive as we can feel the season marching on and the summer waning. While we do supposedly have a decent workshop reserved to rent to glue the box together, we are still nervous about how cold it will be and also worried about our boat down in NC. Meanwhile, Jon got the leaf spring packs put back on all freshly painted and the fuel tank is all polished up and mostly mounted but we're waiting for the rest of the bolts. One thing that is a lot of work is lining up all the little odds & ends you need for something like this. It takes a constant ordering stream in order to receive what we need in a timely way with few hold-ups. Right now we are waiting on an order for new shocks, we picked up the batteries yesterday along with metal bits for welding. We're hoping to get the truck moving again soon so that we can position it to slide the subframe back on the chassis. That will feel good to have that back on and the truck driveable again.

Just had a great weekend here with our dear friend Cindy doing Vermont fairs, local walks and had a campfire on a beautiful night here. We even zipped over to Barre to see Jon's high school buddie Sean Greenwood play in his band and sat with his cousin Lulu until we got run out by a rainstorm. We never took a single picture the whole weekend.
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Jon told me that his vision for the camper box is a term he coined as "rugged luxury". That the truck will be tough & able for where we want to take it but in a measure of comfort & luxury that we think we deserve at 50! I am enjoying being here this summer and using our land & small camper while we build out the RV. Because we've never gotten to do this previously and because it is a pretty spot to do it. We have our own Barred owl that calls to us at night from a tree right next to the camper. And by day the hermit thrushes keep us company as we work on making the truck what we want. We get to see my parents every couple of days and they help us replenish with water & clean clothes. Being here is its own version of rugged luxury I think.

Finally an Update

13 July 2018 | Thetford, VT
Heather
Hello from Vermont where its high summer, our favorite time of year. Because of the sailing seasons in the various places in the world we sailed to, we haven't been here for any of these months for 7 years so its nice to see it again. It's been great to catch up with my parents and do some Vermont things like bike rides, parades and chicken BBQ's.

We'd been chomping at the bit to leave N Carolina because it had gotten so hot there and we were ready to move the truck north to start work on it but were waiting for the tire rims to arrive at the port in Baltimore. As soon as they did, we left to go pick them up. Everything went smoothly with that and the trucking company loaded the palate on our truck and even helped us tie everything down. It is a bit nerve racking to have things tied to the chassis rails going over all kinds of bumps for hundreds of miles. But we made it here with our cargo still attached and didn't kill anyone. We stopped in Philadephia to visit friends Kevin & Claire. Being on their boat right in downtown reminded us of all the years we lived aboard in downtown Boston with the city at our doorstep. It was great to catch up and see something of the city. I was envious of their new camper, all ready to have fun.

We had some issues with sludge in the fuel tank on the way up which required a fuel filter change and some stress. Jon had already changed the filter before we left to be sure it was all ready to go. That will be corrected with the new tanks and fuel lines that we'll be installing. Along with A/C and a new interior truck cabin, it should be a lot more comfortable for the next long haul in the months to come. We've just ordered some new air suspension seats too which will be welcome!

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It took some time to get our lives somewhat in order to spend the summer here working on the truck. Getting our car back on the road, the Scamp camper resurrected & registered (it's so cute I love this thing) and setting up a workshop for the build were first priority after getting caught up with my parents. We spend a lot of time dreaming of having the ideal place to do a project like this but we know it isn't going to happen so we are making do. We did arrange to rent a hangar at the airport in Newport, VT for September/October when the fiberglass camper box is due to arrive so that we'll have a well lit, indoor space to assemble it. We couldn't find many options close by to where we are now. And going up to look at the space meant we got a weekend in Newport to use the Scamp for what its meant for and see some of Jon's cousins and aunt. It felt so funny to be staying in the lakeside campground that we've run by hundreds of times and wondered what it would be like to stay at.
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The reason why I haven't written in so long is we've been very busy struggling to line up the things we need for the RV build but we also don't have internet when at our land in VT which makes things more of a hassle. We are about 4 miles too far from the nearest tower! I always think that is incredible to contemplate given all the crazy remote islands and locales that we've been to which might not have screaming fast internet, but there's something at least! Oh well.

So we have quite the compound going here with all of our tools set up, the truck torn apart, and our camper & grill set up. I tell Jon I feel like I'm backpacking & camping minus all the fun of hiking all day! We finally had to attack our storage building that we have on our land that has received lots of donations from us for the 21 years we've lived aboard our sailboat, but virtually no cleanouts! Because we needed to find & get at all of the tools in an organized way, we took a couple of days to go through some of our stuff and pull out what we'll be needing. I feel much better knowing things are somewhat more organized.

I don't have many pictures and my plan to do a weekly update on the progess of the RV build is sadly not really feasible right now given our lack of internet. Not to mention any free time we have we use for exercise or something fun! But, things have been happening if not at the brakeneck speed we'd like them to.
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Jon tore the interior of the truck apart in preparation to redo the interior. This required lots of baggies of screws and fittings that we hope he'll remember where they live when we put it all back together. Now I am cleaning 30 years of grime and undercoating off of it. He got the last of the lights and antennas off the roof that we won't need and plugged the holes. The truck cab is in the process of being sanded for its coat of white paint that will match the fiberglass camper box. And we got the paint & supplies. The fenders are off too for paint. Twice we went to the parts dealers to try out seats since we wanted to make a good decision on which to get. I finally ordered them yesterday. They'll have an air suspension since we know from riding all the way up here from Florida that not having it is a bumpier ride. We have the interior paints, headliner, sound deadening, vinyl and carpet to install.

Jon got the subframe off the truck and slid back onto sawhorses which amazingly he didn't lose a limb doing and he started cutting off wedges off the wings of the frame to make a slimmer, lighter profile. We could have had the welder who built the subframe do this if we'd have had a fatter wallet. But the metal cutting saw that Jon was using from Eastwood broke on the first day, he got a replacement part, used it for like another hour and then it broke again, so we got another one under warranty and we're waiting for that to arrive. There aren't really a lot of options for tools to make these cuts. When he gets the rest of the wings cut we can prep & prime it for paint. He also removed the leaf springs from the truck so we could have those sanded & painted. In doing so, one was broken, so we we made a trip to a spring shop 2 hours away and got a replacement made in minutes.
I painted the new u-bolts today that we had made in Florida.
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A big hurdle was getting the chassis of the truck sand blasted and ready for paint. We hired Matt from Vermont Dustless Blasting to do this and he came right to our place for the day and worked like a dog to get it done. All the parts that he did looked great and we only wish his equipment would allow him to get in all the tight spots that we now have to prep ourselves to complete the job. The media is crushed, old bottles and it smelled like dirty old bottles when he was blasting. But what a nice finish those old bottles give! We have decided that it is really dust less blasting, not dustless, for we will be removing the sandy bottle dust for quite a while...
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So the past 3 days we've been painting a lot! Jon sprayed the primer & paint on the chassis & leaf springs, I did some touching up on the Scamp camper and now I'm prepping some of the chassis parts before they go back on.
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The fiberglass camper box or "habitat" as they call it, is ordered. We are excited about the design that Jon worked really hard on and although there will inevitably be things that come up that we wish we'd thought of, it seems like it'll be really nice. 17 feet long by 8 feet wide. Queen size bed, nice sitting area with enough room to stretch out our legs with table, kitchen w/ 3 burner stove & oven, small washing machine, probably composting head, wet bath, over 1000watts of solar, good sized windows and hatches, lots of nice things to make a comfy home. Hopefully it will all come together well.

We also pulled out my parents' O'Day daysailor, the boat we had while we were living in Miami so long ago. We all have lots of great memories sailing in this boat, eating BBQ chicken, fritos and mangoes and snorkeling around in Biscayne Bay. All four of us have been working on it the past few weeks spiffing it up to sell and I listed it tonight. Here it is all shined up!
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So we're hoping to get the chassis paint completed, the springs reattached with new shocks and the subframe painted & back on & bolted. The truck cab painted, the interior re-done with new nagivation/stereo installed and then hopefully A/C but that will take some more research and planning and we might run out of time. We also plan to get tires put on the rims and those installed, which will convert the rear wheels to singles rather than dual. Then be ready to receive the habitat kit and put it together so that it is bolted on the truck (with an empty interior) before the snow flies!

We plan to continue the building out of the interior in NC over the winter. And amid all this, we hope to spend more time with family & friends! So as you can see, we have our work cut out for us.
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Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
Extra:
Over the years, we've explored much of the Caribbean Sea & Atlantic East coast on 3 different long term trips. In January 2012, we left the USA and headed for the Pacific. We visited the Galapagos, French Polynesia, Samoa, Cook Islands & Tonga before heading to New Zealand. We've enjoyed thousands [...]
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