Sailing with Allegria

28 October 2020 | Bryce Canyon
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

Zion Canyon

28 October 2020 | Bryce Canyon
We headed out from the Grand Canyon and had to head south back to Flagstaff due to a road closure and then up to Zion. We came in from the east side on highway 9, the Zion Mt Carmel highway, which goes through the park. It has to be one of the most scenic stretches of road in the country. It exits the park into the town of Springdale, a touristy place, full of motels, eateries and shops. We stopped at the park visitor’s center and found the place swamped, no place to park, and people milling about all over the place. They have instituted a system of online tickets for the shuttle busses that go into Zion Canyon. These need to be purchased ahead of time and you get assigned a 1 hour time window to get on the bus. We got some for mid day for two days in a row.
The campgrounds in the park were all full, so we headed through town and down the road a ways to the Kolob Terrace Road, which leads through some BLM land and we found a good site to pitch our tent and set up camp. The next day we were up and into the park before daylight to get a parking place and did a hike on the Watchman Trail in the morning and then got on the shuttle to go into the canyon at noon. We rode up to the north end of the canyon and to the Temple of Sinawava, sacred ground for the original indigenous people here. When riding up the canyon, it becomes evident that everything is vertical here. The canyon walls are straight up and very dramatic. The road runs along the river that formed the canyon, and at the end a walk runs along the river up to the Narrows, where the canyon becomes only several yards wide. The big two things to do here are to walk up the narrows and walk to Angel’s landing, When we reached the narrows, the place was infested with hipsters all doing the Narrows thing, all decked out in the waterboots and drysuits. It was like a herd of cattle all headed up the stream, just to check that item off their list. Another complication was the fact that the river, has a toxic algae growing in it that produces a neurotoxin that can be fatal if ingested. All of this caused us to take a pass on the Narrows thing. We hopped on a shuttle and went to the Emerald pools trails and had a nice walk there.
The next day, we were back early again for a walk on the Pa’rus Trail, and then back on the shuttle at noon for a ride up the canyon to the Angel’s Landing Trail. This is an iconic walk up the wall of the canyon, culminating in a scramble out a narrow ridge with chain handholds to a lofty perch with grand views of the canyon. There were more than a few people who elected not to risk the climb with the attendant 1000 foot drop-offs, but plenty did make the trek. Apparently people do fall off here but usually due to stupidity.
We were fortunate to score a backcountry permit to hike into the Kolob Canyon, in the less visited northern part of the park. Our plan was to walk down the La Verkin Creek Trail 6 or 7 miles to our assigned campsite #10, and also visit the Kolob Arch while there. We had a great walk in and very nice weather. The fall colors were in force and added to the beauty of the canyon walls. We spent a good night serenaded by the rivers song and the next day got an early start to do the 1000 foot climb out of the canyon. We were up and out before 1 PM and rewarded ourselves with a couple of nights in the Zion Park Motel in Springdale.
We did a few more hikes over the next couple of days. One to Observation Point for spectacular views of the canyon, Canyon Overlook Trail for another great view of the canyon, and one to the Northgate Peaks off the Kolob Terrace Road. This is a truly spectacular place, but has been incredibly crowded. It seems a lot of people are here running around to check off doing sites on their bucket list or on some Trip Advisor list. Be sure to visit this place, but also be sure to allow enough time to appreciate the spectacular scenery and natural history of the place. Most of all spend some time in reverence of the sacred ground of the original people of this place. The most that can be gained is from quiet contemplation here and not running from place to place taking selfies on a phone.
We are next off to Bryce Canyon and more adventures. Look for more pictures in the gallery.

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.
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 - A Walk on the Beach
Photos 1 to 5 of 5 | Main
Pelicans flying in formation
The plovers scurry about
Sandpipers pocking about
The ubiquitous seagulls
Royal Terns with their punk hairdo