Sailing with Allegria

24 October 2020 | Zion Nat Park
13 October 2020 | Grand Canyon
07 October 2020 | Carlsbad, NM
10 April 2020 | Anna Maria
22 March 2020 | Anna Maria
24 December 2019 | Anna Maria
21 November 2019 | Cayo Costa
27 October 2019 | Charleston, SC
28 September 2019 | Annapolis
09 September 2019 | Port Jefferson, NY
26 August 2019 | Snow Island, ME
18 August 2019 | Rockland, ME
14 July 2019 | Ort Jeff, NY
11 June 2019 | Annapolis
26 May 2019 | St Mary's, MD
13 May 2019 | Belhaven,NC
15 April 2019 | Titusville
19 March 2019 | Palm Beach
11 January 2019 | Anna Maria

Grand Canyon

24 October 2020 | Zion Nat Park
After spending one more morning in the Petrified Forest, we headed west on I40 past Flagstaff and up to the Grand Canyon. Since we always do things more or less last minute we were unsuccessful in getting any reservations to say in the park campgrounds, so we decided to try "Boondocking". It's camping on National Forest or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, of which there is a lot in the west. There are no services (water or facilities), but the price is right as it's free. All that is asked is that you use previously used sites and treat the land with respect. We pulled into fire road 688 in the Kiabab National Forest just south of the canyon and found a good spot and set up the tent and settled in for a few days.
The next morning, we went into the park and to the visitor center, which was closed due to the pandemic, but had set up visitor info outside and set about exploring this incredible place. The canyon was formed by the Colorado River passing over an old seabed which through geologic uplift has attained an elevation of over 7,000 feet. The river, over the millennia has cut though all the layers, creating a wonderous site. We walked the Rim Trail all the way from Mather Point to Maricopa Point, marveling at the indescribable beauty of the place. We had heard all the superlatives and seen pictures, but this is one of those places that you have to see to appreciate completely. I think it is the immensity of the place, that can't be described or photographed. It's a constantly changing color palate that varies with the time of day and location as the sun passes overhead. You just need to sit and take the view for a time to even begin to comprehend its magnitude of the place. We came back a second day and walked the trail from Maricopa Point to the end at Hermits Rest and became completely enthralled with the place. Getting around is made easy by free shuttle buses that run along the Rim Trail every 15-20 minutes.
One of the things we wanted to do here was walk down into the canyon and spend a night or two by the river at the Bright Angel Campground next to Phantom Ranch. Camping overnight in the canyon requires a back country permit. When we first thought of coming out I had tried to get one but none were available. I had heard that sometimes limited walk up permits were issued if they become available and so I gave it a try and we lucked into a three day permit to walk down the South Kiabab Trail to the Bright Angel Campground for a night and then up to Indian Garden Campground on the Bright Angel Trail and then hiking back up to the rim the next day.
We caught the 6 AM shuttle to the South Kiabab Trailhead and started our descent down into the canyon as the sun was rising. As the sun began to light up the canyon walls we saw an example of nature's magnificence. We had a 7.5 mile walk down into the canyon to get to the river and the campground. Molly and I do a lot of hiking, but we have not carried backpacks in a long time and so this was a real test of endurance for us. The rough trail followed a lot of exposed ridges and ledges and the wind was fierce, sometimes almost knocking us off our feet. Around every turn though, was a grand site as the sun did its magic on the colored rock layers.
We reached the bottom and the campsite at about 1 PM and set up camp by Bright Angel Creek and took a rest. I think both of us were totally spent and couldn't have gone any further. I walked over to the Phantom Ranch and got a couple of lemonades and nut bars to rejuvenate us. The Phantom Ranch is a rustic lodge, serving customers who ride down on mule trains from the rim. Reservations must be booked far ahead. They do however have a small snack bar available to everyone.
That night after an early dinner we slept like the dead. It was surprisingly warn in the canyon at night even though we had seen temps in the 30's at night on top. During the day, however, it rose into the 80's and we had to be really careful about dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
The next morning we were up early and on the trail at 7 AM for the long climb up the Bright Angel Trail to the Indian Garden Campground about halfway up. We got there at around 11 Am and set up camp and hung out watching all the mule deer that inhabit the place. They are all used to people being around and are very tame, actually wandering through the campground.
The next day we were up early again for the walk up to the rim. We were on the trail at 6:30 and got another round of sunrise over the canyon. We were anxious to get up and out before it got too hot. The rangers had told us a lot of stories of people being hauled out dehydrated and sick, and despite all their warnings and signs, we saw quite a few day hikers coming down with no water or supplies.
As we climbed up we saw a bighorn sheep along the trail seeming to smile for all the cameras. After much exertion, we hit the rim at around 10:30 AM, happy to be back up and out, but so thankful for such a rewarding experience. It was a total climb of over 2,000 feet from the bottom. We rewarded ourselves with a night at the Bright Angel Lodge and the luxury of soft beds.
We plan to head back out to the forest to camp a couple of more days and then we're off to Zion. Many more pictures will be found in the gallery.

Carlsbad Caverns and Petrified Forest

13 October 2020 | Grand Canyon
We left around 4 AM and headed up I75 to I10 and headed west. A long day saw us pulling to a small town west of Fort Worth for a little rest and a cheap motel and then up and going again early the next day , driving though West Texas oil country, flat arid desert with old oil pumps and tanks dotting the landscape to Carlsbad NM. Some of the wells looked old and in disuse, but most were pumping, apparently enjoying resurgence in production due to fracking technology. The land is flat and arid, with scrub and dry grass dotting the landscape. Describing it sounds bland but it has a stark beauty that is difficult to describe. We were here to see the Carlsbad Caverns National park.
The next day we were up early to get to the park as the rangers were restricting entry because of the pandemic and apparently tickets sell out very early. We were the first there and watched the sun rise from the crest of the butte at the cavern’s entrance. Driving into the park, we passed a series of rocky buttes, made even more spectacular in the rising light, because of the starkness of the surrounding desert. The drive climbs up to the top and the entrance to the cave is at the crest.
Using my senior pass to get in saved us $30, and we were in the first group walking down the entrance to the cave. The walk in is about a mile and a quarter, and it gets more amazing as you go. Areas of the cave that are subject to water seeping in are covered and filled with innumerable flowing sculptures of minerals deposited over thousands of years, each one unique. Other parts of the cave which were dry were more stark and what you would expect a cave to look like.
One cannot conceptualize the size of the place. Once completely down into the cave, we entered what is known as the Big Room. At more than 600,000 square feet it is certainly big. It is also filled with a veritable museum of nature’s sculptures that are beyond description and even though seem amazing in the photographs, must be experienced in person to really appreciate them.
The next day we were up early again for a drive north through Roswell (of UFO fame) and to the Petrified Forest. We saw deer, coyotes, and antelope but no Extraterrestrials. The drive took use north though New Mexico across more arid desert where when cresting a small rise you could see the road stretching seemingly to infinity straight ahead, We hit I40 and headed west passing into more upland terrain interspersed with red rock buttes and mesas. Very interesting landscape.
We pulled into the Petrified Forest National Park and a stop at the visitor’s center got us oriented and we picked up maps and info. In the Jurassic period this area was at the equator, as a part of the original continent, Pangaea. During that time it was covered with huge trees and filled with life. Many of those trees, when they fell, became covered with sediment and rather than decomposing, they became calcified as fossils and now dot the landscape around here. This park is filled with their beautiful remains and also remnants of civilizations that inhabited the place prehistory. It is also adjacent to the Painted Desert, a collage of colored sediments exposed by erosion yielding a palate of wondrous beauty.
For the night we stayed in Holbrook, at Brad’s Desert Inn, a throughback place dedicated to Route 66 and filled with memorabilia. Then, the next day we returned to the Park to check out Blue Mesa, notable for its blue layers of sediments. Then we were off to the Grand Canyon. Check out the Gallery for more pictures

Trips. Tales and Troubles

07 October 2020 | Carlsbad, NM
Well, it’s been a while since enough has happened to want to talk about it and, as you all know the news is not good. We have been doing well however, surprisingly well considering the current state of affairs, I thought I’d take this opportunity to do an update on what’s up with us.
We have been hanging out in Anna Maria, pretty much keeping to ourselves for this entire year, unfortunately watching too much TV and news. We succumbed to the admonitions of our rental management company that we needed to do some upgrades to the house so we embarked on a plan that evolved over time but resulted in the place getting a huge facelift. The outside was stuccoed and painted, a new fence was installed and we did a some major improvements to the landscape. On the inside, we resurfaced the walls in the bathrooms and painted all the bedrooms, and the kitchen underwent a makeover with new counters, appliances, and raising the ceiling. The project was rounded out with replacement of the AC system and ductwork, and all new furniture.
Mol and I did a lot of the minor work, but the kitchen reno was left to the pros. While that was going on, we spent a month in North Carolina camping and hiking, looking for cooler weather. We had a great time. All this time spent in Anna Maria has caused us to realize that it has changed now that it has been “discovered” and is not a place we wish to spend a lot of time. We while in North Carolina, may have found a new home. We own some property there and are now considering building a place there. Stay tuned for further developments in that regard.
After returning home, I had surgery on my left hand to repair a Dupuytren’s contracture and have been recovering since and doing a lot of Physical therapy.
Also an update on Wings in France. Construction stopped for several months due to the pandemic, and then restarted very slowly. The result is further delay, with the target now being April 2021. We are disappointed, but understand that things are out of our control and we have to accept reality, even though we hear the biologic clock ticking away. With all this extra time we have decided on the only reasonable alternative. ROADTRIP.
We’ve packed up our camping gear into the Ranger and are heading to the southwest to see what we can see and visit all the National Parks in Arizona, and Southern Utah. So I’ll be posting a few new blogs on what we see and do and maybe even try to do a few videos to boot. Stay tuned for more.

A Walk on the Beach

10 April 2020 | Anna Maria
Molly and I are well prepared for dealing with the stay at home orders, since we are used to living together on a 42 foot boat when we have been cruising on Allegria over the past years. Staying here at our house seems luxurious in space and convenience. Plenty of room, fresh water, a pool to jump in to, a grocery store close by and a wonderful beach to walk on. We are fortunate to have access to the beach which has been closed but where residents are allowed to walk.
We usually try to get out and walk a few miles every day as much for our mental health as our physical health. We see our old friends the plovers scurrying about,
the sandpipers pocking about,
the ubiquitous seagulls,
Pelicans flying in formation,
And Molly's favorite, the Royal Terns, with their punk hairdo's.
We get a chance to renew our relationship with the ocean, the wind and the earth.
The tide comes in, the tide goes out
The sun rises, the sun sets
What a wonderful world
Life goes on
It's great to be alive

Moving Forward two steps and one step back

22 March 2020 | Anna Maria
Sorry about the length of time since the last post, lots going on. Since the sale of Allegria, I have been somewhat lost, since it's the first time in 38 years I've been without a boat. We've substituted the house for the boat and have been doing multiple projects and are planning a renovation to keep up with the rest of the rental market here in Anna Maria. The character of this place has really changed over the past few years and it now has become an "in" spot with much new construction and renovation of old properties. The amount of work going on is staggering and the nature of the place has changed so much that we are beginning to rethink our long term plans for the place. However we will continue to rent it over the next few years so we are embarking on a plan to upgrade the kitchen, bathrooms and generally give the place a face lift to keep up with the market. So far we have applied stucco to the outside (with painting to follow) and trimmed all the trees and are in the middle of a major landscape project. Coming soon are renovations of the bathrooms and then finally the kitchen.
Another project that is ongoing is the Swedish death cleaning in the shed out back. Those that know me, know what a packrat I am, and in the interest of Lisa's mental health, we have decided to examine everything we squirreled away in there and get rid of anything that doesn't make sense to keep (a lot). With all the random boat equipment and furniture that we are replacing, we have enough for about 6 garage sales. We did sell a bunch of stuff at the JSI (Island Nautical) flea market and had plans to sell more at the Gulfport nautical flea market, but it was cancelled due to the viral pandemic. At some point we'll have a huge sale or give away or both. We also have shipped 2 pallets of stuff to France for the new boat.
We also managed a trip to France to once again enjoy Paris and then Treguier, and also finalize the electrical and electronics for the new boat. I also brought some cables and antennas to be installed before the interior is completed. The boat has a name now, Wings. Here is the name and logo as it will appear on the boat.
Wings has been at the paint shop over the past several months but now is back at the main factory and getting ready for the interior installation. We found out that there have been some delays and so our splash has been pushed back to the end of June, which has crimped our style as to our cruising plans for the summer. (Now the yard is closed due to the virus and all bets are off as to when we may get in the water.)While we were in Paris we managed to sightsee a bit and saw the Musee' deOrsay
, Versaille,Mol in the Hall of Mirrors
and the Palace Gardinier (Opera House which inspired Phantom of the Opera)as well as enjoying wandering the streets and reveling in the sights and sounds and cafes of Paris. We had a great visit to Treguier and the Boreal yard and spent a couple of days with Jean-Francois and Brice ironing out a few last details and specifications.
Our B&B in Tregueir
Breakfast every day
We also took a day to drive over to Mt St. Michele and had a great visit there.

The day was supposed to be filled with rain, but turned out beautiful while we were there and it turned out the first Sunday of the month is a free day, so we visited free of charge. There was a Yellow vest protest going on, and a large police presence, but the French are very civilized even when protesting and so it was a wonderful day. Look for many more pictures in the gallery.
We were very lucky to have been there when we were and to have gotten back when we did, as soon after our return everything went to Hell with the virus. While we were there, we nervously watched the news as the stock market fell apart and caused our net worth to tumble and begin to wonder what has happened to people's common sense.
Since we've been home we have seen the images of people with piles of toilet paper and water in their carts, hoarding all sorts of items, and making things difficult for everybody. We also have seen all the people at the beach, ignoring pleas to avoid close contact with others and thereby avoid spreading the disease. It reminds me that this world is made up of givers and takers, and hopefully the givers remain in the majority. I think after all this is over, a lot of people will be ashamed of themselves. All this has reminded me of a quote that we came across, that I have used in the blog in the past. It is by Ernest Hemingway in a letter he wrote to friends who had lost their son, but seems appropriate for this time as well.
"We must live it, now, a day at a time and be careful not to hurt each other. It seems as though we are on a boat together, a good boat still, that we have made, but that we know now will never reach port. There will be all kinds of weather, good and bad; and especially because we know now that there will be no landfall we must keep the boat up very well and be very good to each other. We are fortunate to have good people on the boat."
Molly and I will be at home hunkering down, fortunate that we have a lot to do to keep us occupied, and waiting for this to pass and looking for rays of sunshine in all the darkness. Be safe, be kind and as generous as possible, be a giver.

Home Again

24 December 2019 | Anna Maria
After a few idyllic days of walking the beach and relaxing, not spoiled by the end of the red tide epidemic, we headed out Boca Grande Pass and north to the Venice inlet. The algae in the water had only prevented us from swimming, but the water was a little cold for our thinned out constitutions anyway.
We had heard that work was going on at the Longboat Pass bridge with restricted openings so we elected to come inside at Venice and spend a night or two in Sarasota Bay. We waited out a frontal passage and spent the time starting the process of getting Allegria ready for her transition.
John, who had looked at Allegria in Annapolis, had made an offer and after a little back and forth, we accepted. We came in to the dock at the Seafood Shack in Cortez and began to get Allegria ready in earnest. We reinstalled the AC units and unloaded all our personal gear and cleaned things up in preparation for the survey. The survey went well and we spent a few more days correcting a couple of items noted and then closed the deal with John. This past Saturday we helped deliver Allegria to her new home at Maxima Marina in St. Pete and said good bye.
There's a lot of emotion associated with all this for me, the old saw about the happiest and saddest days of a sailor's life. I certainly have a sense of relief that Allegria has found a new home, since we have a new boat about to be born. I also have some sadness about her and am missing her already. She has taught us many lessons, what true freedom is and the glory of being self sufficient. I think she may have saved my life. Lisa, when she was 4 or 5 years old said to Molly that she wanted to visit Daddy at his house, meaning my office. I was up and gone before she awoke and home again after she was asleep. We were all caught up in the materialistic culture and trying to keep up with the Joneses and both working ourselves to death. I realized that I was missing out on my daughter growing up and so we hatched the idea of going sailing and being together, and that is when Allegria came into our lives.
She helped us learn what was really important in life, and what we really needed to live. She helped Lisa learn that there was more to the world that just her little sphere and brought us all closer together. We reveled in the magic of nature and what an incredible world this is. The feeling associated with moving through the water, propelled by the wind alone and feeing one with the earth and natural forces is indescribable and is very addictive and I can't imagine not feeling the wind and tides and weather.
All this talk of the boat's personality is hard to accept for the uninitiated, but sailors who have stood a night watch alone and had a conversation with their boat will understand. A boat will tell you how she is feeling and what to do to make things better. All you need to do is listen. If you're lucky, she will teach you much more. We will always cherish what she has taught us, and I'm sure she has many more lessons to teach.
At this time of renewal and the birth of a new year, we are excited for the future and what lies ahead, a new boat, new places to visit and new things to learn. We wish all who read this a wonderful Holiday season and the most wonderful things in the New Year.
Vessel Name: Allegria
Vessel Make/Model: Whitby 42
Hailing Port: Tampa
Crew: Dee and Molly Strickland
Dee grew up in central Florida and was sailing if the wind was blowing and skiing if it was flat. During his residency for oral and maxillofacial surgery in Cleveland he met the love of his life, Molly working as a nurse in the E.R. [...]
Extra: Dee, Molly and daughter Lisa left Tampa Bay in 1994 and sailed to Trinidad and Venezuela, and then back up the US east coast. Lisa was home schooled and then we returned to Tampa Bay where she skipped 4th grade and moved to 5th. She is now studying for her PhD in Art History at SUNY at Stoney Brook.
Allegria's Photos - Hurricane Island
Photos 1 to 8 of 8 | Main
Hurricane Island
The old steam boiler used to power the quarry equipment
A partially carved granite block
The other side
The quarry
Lots of blocks left unused