Sailing South on Solitude

John, Penni & Timmy

Packing up is never easy

The last couple of days have all been about packing Solitude up ready for 6 or 8 months in storage. She will be secured and prepared in case a hurricane comes through. We prepared sails and lines by rinsing the salt water off them. John took an Uber to Jacksonville and returned with a rental truck. I organize items according to what would stay on the boat and what would come with us. John emptied filters in the engine. We filled the water tanks and put a little bleach in. We cleaned to make sure their was no food or grime to attract bugs. All this and more in 90 degree heat that forced a halt work around midday. We continued into the evening and collapsed in bed exhausted. We woke up at 5 am today so that we could do the last minute jobs- finish packing the truck, wash bedding and empty the boat. We then set the cockroach bomb and left the boat for two hours as we completed jobs on Solitude’s exterior. We finally got Solitude ready for haul out but unfortunately they told us they would not get to her until later in the afternoon. We could not stay to watch because we had to get the truck to Hilton Head by 4pm. We were finally ready to leave at 12:50. 50 minutes behind schedule - we had a 3 1/2 hour drive ahead of us. John took the keys to the office, but they were gone for lunch until 1. John called the rental company to see if we could have the truck for another 2 hours. Sure, they said, but it will cost you another days rent. Ughh. We flung the keys to the manager as soon as he got back and got on the road. The navigation told us we would be 35 minutes late so we just hoped the person at the rental company would be feeling kind. The journey was a straightforward trip up I95. I drifted off to sleep without realizing it. John was happy he got to drive in peace. When I woke up we were approaching Savannah. Only an hour away. Wait - the navigation system says we are 2 1/2 hours away. We could not understand what was going on. I brought it up on my phone and it was clear that if we continued on the I 95, it was indeed going to be another 2 1/2 hours. It predicted a 6 o’clock arrival. There had been an accident. The best alternative route would get us there at 5:00. So we took that. We got there 1 1/2 late. We paid an extra $50 for being late but did not have ti pay for another full day. We shrugged our shoulders, just glad to be back on Hilton Head. We arrived at Bill and Debs, who have gallantly offered to put us up for two week. I was so relieved, tired and grateful that I felt like crying. I can’t say, at this point, that I am sad the adventure is over. I am ready to be in a ‘dirt home’ as cruisers like to say. Bill and Deb have totally renovated their home while we have been gone. It is fresh, gorgeous and spacious! And the toilet flushes with just a push of a handle. I don’t feel the need to wear flip flops in the shower. Wait- we even have a bath. It’s all ours for the next too weeks. We won’t have to check to see if the shower is free. We won’t have to clean up someone else’s mess before using the facilities. Yep, the adventure was amazing. I look forward to the next one. But now, I am really happy to be as close to home as I will get for a while. Before we left Solitude, we removed the carpet from the salon. This carpet takes up all the floor that we can walk on in the boat. The other areas are where we sleep. Looking at the size of it, I cannot believe that we happily lived with such as small space for 4 months.