Just a little side trip…to Aruba

After a fun post 4th of July cruise over to Sydney, BC and Butchart Gardens on the back side of the Sannich Peninsula, we parked Endless Song in Anacortes, drove to Seattle to pick up our son Christian, and headed to SeaTac Airpot. The time had come to see the Caribbean…specifically, to see One Happy Island; Aruba.

This jaunt to the warm breezy island off the coast of Venezuela may sound more like a wintertime destination, and in a way it was. Just not our wintertime. More on this in a minute.

It all goes back more than twenty years when my sister first hosted a teenage Uruguayan named Antonio Bazzino as a foreign exchange student. He was a great kid, and as he was here for a year he went to all the family events and we all got to know him. After she got to know Antonio, my sister Rebecca and the Bazzino family said, hey…we’ve got other kids…you’ve got other kids. And for a number of years…there were a lot of kids coming and going. One of my nephews, Jared, went and lived with the Bazzinos for a year, coming back fluent in Spanish. Antonio’s sisters Victoria and Laura had their turn spending a year on Ashmead ranch in Idaho. My niece Leah followed her brother down to Uruguay, again coming back fluent in Spanish. Another Bazzino daughter, Clara, came for a long visit, not a year, but enough time for us all to meet her too. My sister, her husband Jeff and others went to Bazzino family wedding in Uruguay. You get the idea. Lots of fun family contact that continues.

So today, Alvaro and Fiorealla Bazzino have a big happy extended family at home (all those kids are growing up and making babies)…and some folks they are very fond of in the US. They also don’t like the cold of wintertime in Canelones, Uruguay. For years they have been escaping the winter cold by staying in, you got it, Aruba.

Now our wintertime trip is making more sense. We normally have a big family event/reunion/campout in Idaho in July. We’ve moved the Galena Summit around in some years. This year, it was a really big move….Wet Galena:Aruba.

So with 19 of our family coming, we needed a lot of space. My nephew Jared pounded Air B&B and found a three condo complex, each condo with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. It also had a pool, BBQ center outside, sand area for kids, and a rooftop lounge for adults. It was a ton of money, but divided by all of us….not so much. But the space was perfect.

What can we say about Aruba. It really is “One Happy Island”. All the folks we met were the nicest, and just wanted you to love their home while you were visiting. We did a lot of our own cooking, and we explored all the nearby beaches for snorkling.

The week was a social whirl, with some days and evenings spent at our condo with it’s pool, and some days and evenings spent at the resort where the Bazzino family was staying. Since the two locations were only 7 minutes apart by car, it really wasn’t hard to get back and forth as needed.

We also found the time to wander Aruba to figure out where folks made a living if they weren’t in the tourism industry; oil refinery and, surprise, aloe farming. We also found historic churches and lighthouses to climb, and restaurants where the locals go to eat. Yes, we’re talking about you ZeeRovers

So will we go back? Hard to say. The Caribbean is large, and there are so many other islands to explore too. But if some large group of our friends wanted to get away somewhere warm, that was easy…we’d be back to Aruba in a minute.

Sailing Puget Sound for Labor Day Weekend

We spent much of August on the dock in Anacortes doing a few boat maintenance projects. That included a trip to Bellingham for bottom paint and a little fiberglass work to fix one of my navigational mistakes. 

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But one Monday, our friend Shirley said, “Hey, lets all meet at Scotts for dinner.” 

Sure, it’s a 1.5 hour drive down to Edmonds, but these are our best friend. Almost all of us are retired and on the road…a lot. We don’t get to see each other as much as we used to. You don’t have to ask us twice.

It was during that dinner when David Huntsman said, “We’re not going to be able to take time off to sail the San Juan’s this year. Why don’t you sail down to Puget Sound for Labor Day Weekend. We could go to Gig Harbor, I’ve never been there.” 

Now I was thinking, no, that will just get in the way of my boat projects.

But David said, “Hey, you’re retired. You can do anything you want.”

And the more I thought about it, it made perfect sense. I was thinking with my old, must get it done, brain.  I am retired and if I want to sail to Gig Harbor to see friends, dammit, I can.

I also get to choose my own schedule.  Which is why, after our dental checkups, Karin and I headed South on a Monday on Endless Song. We could hard motor to Seattle in a day….but we didn’t need to. We wouldn’t me meeting David and Gyung until Friday.  We could go as slow as we wanted.

That first day we just plugged around in Rosario Straight, never losing sight of Anacortes. We checked James Island state park. No room on the dock? No worries. We’d cross back to Bowman Bay for a night.

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Then next day we’d head for Port Gamble. As we sailed by Port Townsend, we called into Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend just to see if they had any slips.

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We knew they’d be full come Labor Day Weekend, but it was Tuesday, and they had plenty of room.  I love this little Marina.  It’s the best place to be when in PT.  All the best marine services are right there, and it’s a short walk to downtown.

We were going to stop in Port Gamble the next day, but the wind and current was pushing hard into Puget Sound, so we just rode it down.

Side boating note. Whenever we’re out near the traffic lanes in Admiralty Inlet or Puget Sound we are always on the lookout for big freighters.  They move fast and can be up on you quickly.  When you see them, it’s easy to stay clear.  

If you ever see a big freighter with the word ONE written on the side be extra careful.

All freighters will have a big rolling wake, but there is something about this boat’s hull shape that creates a wake like I’ve never seen before.  This wake was huge, 12 feet at least. It was larger than any freighter wake I’ve ever seen on Puget Sound. And it had a curl. You could have surfed it. I’ve never seen that on freighter wake before. 

I was lucky that I spotted it in time to turn into it. Had it hit us on the stern quarter as it was going to do it could have done serious damage. Even turned into it, we still buried the nose of the boat in the wave, and it shipped green water all along the deck of the boat and up the cabin sides, filling up the area along the toe rail until it drained out the scuppers.   And yes, we had a few portlights open, so we got a nice saltwater bath in the head and one berth. Nothing major, just a reminder why we dog those ports down underway.

 We popped up quickly through that wave, and slammed down hard on the other side.  No harm done to the boat, but it was a big reminder to us of the power we’re dealing with out here.

 After collecting ourselves, and starting the drying process, we continued around Point No Point, and all the way to Bainbridge Island and pulled into Eagle Harbor. 

 I’d heard the new Winslow city dock was nice, and it was.  I was hoping that by getting in on Wednesday that the Labor Day Weekend crowd would not be in yet.  They were not.  We had a big empty dock to hit, and when we tied up at the end we even had a pumpout hose right there. 

While on Bainbridge Island, we walked the city and found lots of cool new shops and restaurants. Maybe too many.  A city can lose it’s soul.

Sailing a ferry to Seattle

 We also walked on a ferry to downtown Seattle so we could see what it looked like with the viaduct mostly gone.  Impressive.  After landing we walked up to the Pike Place Market to buy cheese and vegetables from Franks Produce….just like we did when the kids were small. 

Finally, Friday…the start of the Labor Day weekend…we sailed for Gig Harbor.  I wasn’t sure how many people would be crowded into the harbor, but I was surprised when we got there to find only a small number of boats were out.  It was easy to find space to anchor.  A few hours after we did, David and Gyung Huntsman pulled in and rafted up to us.

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 It was great to see them and to be out on the hook with them again. Great friends.

 We took our dinghies into the city dock, and walked up for coffee and then to 7 Seas Brewing.  After that we walked back to the dinghies so we could motor over to The Tides tavern.  This is a legendary bar in Gig Harbor with it’s own dock.  If you don’t feel like going in, they will serve you on your boat.  Sweet.   In truth, we walked by it on the way back to the boats, and could have just walked in.  But I told David it would not be the true Gig Harbor “Experience” unless he arrived by boat.

After we did I suspect David would agree.

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 Sunday morning we were off to head back North.  We were going to meet Christian and Kim Monday afternoon, and needed to get up there.   We could have waited until Monday to head North, but the wind was supposed to be right Sunday.  And when the wind is right, you go. 

Winds were funky at first, but finally filled in from the South and we were able to play with the spinnaker and still make the boat move. 

After a night on the hook and Blakely Harbor on Bainbridge Island, we crossed over to Bell Harbor Marina on the downtown Seattle waterfront.  You have to love a city that has an all transient marina right below the Pike Place Market.  You could not ask for better.   Weather was perfect for our one evening stop.  Christian and Kim came by for a few hours to chat in the cockpit and have drinks.

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 Then it was bedtime.  We had to get up at 5am to push off for Anacortes in one day.  We needed to get back to begin the transfer to Endless Song, Due….our trailer to begin the fall sailing….on land.   Idaho, Yellowstone, Teton and Moab…here we come.

Winking smile
Winking smile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruising in British Columbia in the Spring

Last summer as we returned from Alaska in August we found the fabled cruising grounds of Canada’s Desolation Sound a bit, how to put it, overcrowded.


Here we were pulling into legendary Prideaux Haven Marine Park only to find a traffic jam.  We were lucky to find one of the last stern tie rings off in little Melanie Cove, one of the side coves off the main basin.

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I know what you boaters out there are thinking. “Well, duh. You went at the height of the summer cruising season when Yacht Clubs will send someone out early in the week to anchor, and others will show up later and they’ll all raft up.”  In our defense, we were returning from Alaska, and the timing was what it was.


The point is, it’s hard to enjoy the wilderness with a hundred other boats all crammed in every possible anchoring spot and stern tied next to each other all around the rim of what is a lovely protected bay. And no matter how well we all get along out there, if you get 100 boats together, one of the skippers is a jerk who plays music loud and parties late. 


I get that July/August is vacation time in Vancouver and Victoria. And also it’s cruising season for all the American boats that come up here too. All the guides and January boat show seminars will tell you, “Yeah, it can get a little busy. Desolation Sound ain’t so desolate in July or August.


So this year, part of the reason we’re up here in May and June is to see just how much less crowded it is when you play just off the main summer season. Are there services? Can you get into marinas without a reservation? 


Our working theory was that if you come early, you get all the great cruising with a lot less of the crowds. Friday night, June 7th, we pulled in to popular Prideaux Haven and found this. There are 11 other boats here tonight. There is plenty of room. You don’t need to stern tie unless you want to. You don’t need to anchor near anyone, unless you want to. (There was pack of four 25 foot express sedan boats back in Melanie Cove who were hanging out together)


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And this has been the story of our trip.


We’ve had no trouble getting into marinas when we want or need to. We’ve just called on the phone or VHF Radio as we approached and they said, sure come on in….lots of room. We haven’t had to wait at any fuel dock.  Every one we approached was wide open.  Makes sense if we’re coming in right in the middle of the afternoon.  The fishermen and commercial folks are usually filling up early in the day, but in the afternoon it’s mostly cruisers.  And there just aren’t that many out here with us in May and early June.


The other cool thing about cruising this early is that traffic jams at the best destinations, or tricky rapids and narrows, aren’t as much of a problem.


Malibu Rapids, the incredibly dangerous tidal rapid at the head of Princess Louisa Inlet intimidates the heck out of boaters; as it should. In the height of season there can be a lot of boats trying to get in and out at the same slack current.  And that slack is only so long.  Going even 15 minutes early or late is a real challenge for a sailboat or slow displacement cruiser.


First timers are nervous anyway.  With all that summertime traffic in an amazingly narrow gap (especially at the low tide slack) your “I don’t know what the heck I’m doing” meter is now starting to peg over to the right, in the red warning area.  And in the back of your mind you’re still thinking to yourself, “I wonder if there will even be any room on the Chatterbox Falls dock? If there’s not, I’ll have to try to pick up a buoy at MacDonald Island (Note: The park has added 5 additional mouring bouys up by the falls). If they’re full, Oh God, I have to try to find somewhere to stern tie in here? No not that.”


Spring cruisers don’t have to worry like that.


Malibu Rapids still needs to be respected, wait for slack. But even at mid day slack you’re unlikely to run into more than an handful of boats coming with you….or coming out as you come in. That means everyone will get to go through at or near slack water.  When you’re at slack, it’s just a narrow S-curve by the nice Christian youth camp. You even have time to think, “Oh, that’s such a nice looking facility. I bet the kids have a wonderful time up here.”


And when you get up to the head of the inlet, there’s usually lots of parking room for you.  If I can’t land it on an empty dock that long….I really shouldn’t be out here.

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So, are there downsides to cruising this early in the season?


Well, as we all know, weather in Washington and BC is more unpredictable in the Spring and Fall.  You can get some cool rainy days.  But you can also get epic weeks long periods of sunny blue skies and balmy temperatures.  If you’re prepared for that, and have the time to hunker down if that’s what the weather calls for, the rewards of spring cruising are enormous.


The only other thing to remember is that North of Lund on the Sunshine Coast, mainland BC, and North of Campbell River on the Vancouver Island side, the earlier you are the more likely you’ll run into seasonal resorts and small marinas that aren’t quite up in full operation yet. After Memorial Day you should be fine, but before that it’s worth a phone call while you still have cell service to make sure the place you were planning to do a fuel stop in three days actually has any.




What, the RV trip is over? Well, for now.

Gee, has it been a month since that last post? Yes it has. Wow, time does fly. So lets play catch up

After Sante Fe, we dropped down into Texas. We went through west Texas pretty fast, stopping only at a winery for the night (see previous post about Harvest Hosts). We saw wild turkeys on the way out of Lubbock, so that was cool.

Then to another winery in the Texas Hill Country, which Karin found stunning in full spring bloom of wild flowers…and we mean everywhere. So this whole trip has been eye opening for Karin. As we passed through Arizona, New Mexico, and now Texas, she continually exclaimed, “This is so beautiful, and not at all what I was expecting.” I finally turned to her and asked, “What did you think that the entire US Southwest was an unending parade of brown dirt, sand and scrubby bush?”

“Yes. I thought it was all like Southwest Idaho.”

OK, it’s not. Especially in the spring when all these areas are to some degree putting on their magic flower shows.

Spring in the Texas Hill Country

We dropped down in the San Antonio and had the chance to see niece Sarah, her hubby Ryan (Congrats again on the new Masters Degree), and the kids; Brooklyn, Jaxon and Ryder. What a hoot it was to hang with these kids. And a reminder of how much work toddlers are. Sarah, you are amazing.

It was also nice to see how Ryan’s Mom Kathy, Boppi and the girls are settling in after the move to Texas. (Sorry about the Unicorn thing Gabby, you’ll get used to it.)

After playing around, touring the Alamo and Riverwalk, and such, we were off again to Austin to catch up with House Darby-Smith (Amanda, Brandon, and the kids; Eleanor, Henrik and Lennox). Yet another awesome family we are blessed to play with from time to time.

While the kids were in care and parents working, Karin and I got to see a little of Austin. We toured the Lady Bird Johnson Wild Flower Center and the Johnson Presidential Library. OK, we also found cool Austin breweries

It was also fun to hang out in the cool neighborhood in Austin where the kids have built a home. With the explosion of tech jobs in Austin, the Meuller Neighborhood is an interesting experiment in what you can do with an old airport. In this case redevelop it into a mixed use neighborhood that is designed to be walkable, transit oriented, and have a mix of housing styles and priced….to try to make sure it’s not just a home for the rich. We’ll see how affordable it is in the long run, but they are trying. The mix of shops and restaurants, all in walking distance is awesome. They need it cause traffic in Austin general is terrible. Ugh. Price of success and notorious Texas aversion to taxes that might pay for solutions. Good luck on that.

One of the highlights of our stay with the Darby-Smiths was what we all thought as a wine tasting and a local farm. But it turned out to be a tour of the most amazing urban farm, while we drank champagne with the owner. I’ll let Karin explain….

This urban farm was created and worked by a woman who owned a restaurant in East Austin for 25 years and now supports area restaurants with organic food from her farm. It’s a beautiful spot with herbs, greens and fruit growing in every spot imaginable. They raise ducks, chickens and rabbits. They have 2 donkeys to eat garden waste and create compost for the garden. A self sustaining enterprise. It was wonderful. Plus we got to drink French champagne during the farm tour. The gander’s name is Gustavo and will give goosey kisses to everyone. It such a such a pleasure for me (I really miss my garden) to hang out and talk plants and pet the critters.

After Texas, we decided to run over to New Orleans. Our friends Deborah and Marty have been living out dream….of moving there for four months to get the feel of the place. We figured, we’d stop by for a weekend.

You can drive from Austin to NOLA in a day….but we don’t have to. So we found a winery again South of Houston that was great (The woman who is their head wine maker got her start in a winery in Nampa, Idaho…small world). Then we stopped at a brewery in the middle of nowhere in Louisiana. Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville. It’s a small place that makes a big brew. They also have a wood fired oven for making pizza. And it’s good.

One thing we came to understand in Louisiana is that what ever they are doing with state tax revenues, it’s not spent keeping the roads smooth. Holy poop. The long miles on causeways over gator filled swamp is one thing. You expect those expansion joints to have a little bump. But when you’re on US90 from Lafayette to New Orleans, on dry land, the road was so crappy, I got off and drove on the frontage road. It was in better shape. Sheesh.

It was better in New Orleans cause we just parked the rig and took an Uber into the quarter to meet Marty and Deborah. We had drinks in the historic Roosevelt Hotel, then walked to dinner at Nina Comptin’s Compere Lapin….awesome. Caribbean- and European-accented takes on New Orleans flavors. It was fabulous.

The next day, based on Marty and Deborah’s recommendation, we wandered the Quarter, and went over to Frenchman Street for music at the Spotted Cat Music Club. No cover, just by a drink during ever set and you keep your seat. The music was great, and the beer was cold.

But time waits for no one. BD was having a health scare back home so we had to start back.

We skittered North, up through Mississippi and into Arkansas, stopping briefly at Hot Spring National Park. Lovely, and we’ll be coming back here….to take the treatment. But we wanted to get back should BD need us, and we went through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and into Wyoming in just two days.

We stopped at a Bison ranch south of Cheyanne for a night, and that was tasty done up all BBQ. We then shot across Wyoming, cut the corner on Utah and rolled into the Camas Prairie to see Rebecca, Jeff, and all the nephews and nieces. And it was here that we learned BD was on the mend…so we decided enough time on the road. We’re going to stay a few days. Besides, that lets us put on our hat and boots and see if we can be useful at all.

There was also that track meet on the following Tuesday, and Braydon, Briana and Levi were all competing. We had to stay for that.

After the track meet, we rolled on, stopping a night in a remote campground in Eastern Oregon, at a winery in the Tri-Cities, and then for a couple nights at a pretty state campground near Winthrop, WA. You have to love Winthrop. They had to have a meeting one day decades ago where they said, “Well, that Bavarian thing is going well for Leavenworth. What can we do?” And the western theme town was born. It’s very cute, you just want to put on your boots and mosey down the wooden planked sidewalks to the Saloon for a whiskey. In our case, the Old School House brewery.

Finally, it was time to get up and over the North Cascades Highway, which was beautiful and still had lots of snow at the top. There were lots of hardy outdoors fold strapping on their backcountry skies with moleskins on the bottom so they could climb up, and then get some last runs of the season in on the snow.

And just like that, we were home. Well almost. Our engine mechanic on the boat was still doing a few tweaks on our engine, so we camped in sight of Anacortes at Bayview State Park for 3 days while he finished. It was not a hardship in any way. It was peaceful and allowed us to wind down from 6+ weeks on the road on our first RV Adventure.

What did we learn. That we don’t like driving so much. In future outings, we’re going to design the trips to get us somewhere…..and then we’re going to stop for a few weeks…or even a month….to poke around and see the area. I wouldn’t be surprised if we spend next winter in Florida or New Orleans…head to the Texas Hill Country for a month from Mid March to Mid April…adjourn to Santa Fe…then wind up through Colorado and Wyoming to Yellowstone. But you can’t get up there too early. None of the good camping spots opens until May.

So all in all….it was a great first test of our land cruising as a complement to our water cruising.

Nice test cruise in Dewey

Get Your Kicks On Route 66…..

So, Santa Fe. Sure, you’ve got your sun baked adobe downtown teeming with upscale stores and locals selling silver and turquoise off blankets around the historic central square. You’ve got Georgia O’Keefe’s Museum, and several others all in a tight walkable area. There are restaurants galore (go to Café Pasquale and order the Carne Asada).

But where do you go to really feel it? And I’m talking about the road; the travel; how far you’ve come to get here?

There is a song that’s been humming in your head since you turned left at Bakersfield (Hey, we’re from the NW). You keep running into these cities, and you tick off the lyrics, in reverse order. Kingman, Arizona, don’t forget Winona, Flagstaff, Gallup, New Mexico. That’s right, you’re on Route 66.

So when you travel the “Mother Road” you are bombarded with signs saying, “Historic Route 66”. How do you know if it’s going to feel real, or if it’s going to be another of those places with more cheap trinkets?

Karin and I were driving into Santa Fe when we spotted it. The El Rey Court. Yep, a motor court that stepped out of every 1940’s Black and White movie you’ve ever seen of people rolling down the highway in the west. Family vacation movie, screwball road comedy, noir murder mystery/chase. If they had anything to do with travel in the west, you know they all stopped at a motor court. That’s the El Rey.

The El Rey Court

After touring Sante Fe, and making dinner, Karin and I headed out to the El Rey to soak in the atmosphere, and have a drink at their great bar, Le Reina. The bartender there focuses on agave and mezcal cocktails, but they pull a good microbrew as well.

When we stop in Santa Fe again….we’re going to check in for at least a night.

Clearly giving visitors a feel of the old Route 66 motor court was the vibe the owners were thinking about when they bought and remodeled this thing. As they say in this article, it was more about peeling back they layers and letting the adobe do the talking.

https://www.remodelista.com/posts/el-rey-court-santa-fe-new-mexico-hotel/

Hey, It’s Not All Camping at a Winery Sipping Merlot. Mostly…but not All.

In all the research we’ve done about rolling across the country with a travel trailer everyone always says, “Look, it’s an earthquake in there as you roll down bumpy roads, and things are going to break.”

So, early report, we’ve had two minor issues with Dewey (our 30 foot Arctic Fox travel trailer). First, and most humorous, on day 2 of testing near Anacortes Karin was locking the back door. She carefully put her key in the door lock, turned, and gently pulled the key out. Then she looked at the key, and saw that the entire locking mechanism was still on her key…no longer in the door. Minor issue as the door still had the deadbolt for locking purposes. Humorous as Karin swears, “I was being so careful.”

So we called our dealer, and he said, “That’s not good.” We were about to leave, going by the folks at Apache in Everett, so he asked us to swing in on Saturday and they would put a new lock on. Took more time to get off the freeway than it did to get the lock replaced. The tech did it so fast, you could miss it if you blinked. So far, high marks for Apache.

The second issue was a little more troublesome. We stopped at my brothers near Astoria, Oregon for a night, setting up in front of his house. The next morning, checking tires (pressure and lugs ever day you move) I noticed the right rear tire was down to 60psi. It should be 80. No worries…we’ve got a compressor and I pumped it up. I checked during the drive to Cape Kiawanda that day, and we didn’t loose air. Three days later we were getting ready to leave, and again that tire was low. Hmm. I pumped it up and we drove to Suzi’s ranch in Yoncolla for a night. Again the next morning….low. All other tires were great. More hmmm. This has to be looked at.

Did I mention I love Les Schwab Tire Centers.

We pumped up the tire and took off South to visit Angelo near Medford, but Karin looked up where we could find the first Les Schwab. Turns out it was in Sutherlin, about 16 miles ahead.

So we called ahead, and they said, “Sure, just pull around the building and line up on the big bays for trucks and RVs.” We got there in minutes, and while Karin talked to the desk, I pulled around. We had to wait….about 5 minutes. Then John the tire tech motioned us forward.

Dewey in the dock

He crawled under to carefully place the jack, lifted Dewey just enough and popped off the tire. He dropped it in the water tank to find the bubbles, pulled it out and headed into the shop.

Five minutes later, he was back, bouncing the tire beside him. Bottom line, we picked up a nail somewhere and that was the cause of the slow leak.

Needless to say, he plugged it, and now it’s holding pressure like a champ. John spun the tire on the hub, pulled out the torque wrench to get the factory setting right, and said, “Just check those lugs in about 50 miles to be sure nothing comes loose.”

When I said, “ok, I’ll go inside to handle the bill.” He just laughed and said, “No, no charge for that. Just enjoy the sun today on the road.”

Did I mention these are factory installed Goodyear tires. Yeah, no worries. Now, of course, you know why everyone in the NW eventually ends up at Les Schwab Tires.

That’s it. Those are the only early mechanical/technical issues to report. I know other things will go wrong….but not yet.

The rest really is camping at a winery sipping Merlot.

Consumnes River Farm, Lodi, CA

Now we’ve really done it.

Well, there’s no going back now. We’ve hitched up Brunhilde to Dewey and are now “officially” on the road.

Brunehilde and Dewey together at last, oh right…and Dan and Karin too.

Those first few days after picking the trailer up where really just the “getting to know you” days where we loaded….and rearranged all the stuff for the trailer. Turns out, there’s a lot of stuff. And, of course, the cupboards and drawers on a travel trailer are not really normal sized….so normal sized stuff doesn’t quite fit in there. To make our lives easy, we drove it from the dealer to the Swinomish Casino. The tribe has a little RV park out back that’s flat, has wide lanes, and full hookups. It was the perfect place to go play with systems. It’s also near both our boat and our storage in Anacortes.

Of course not everything was smooth. That first night, as it was getting dark, we couldn’t get the hitch to open. We struggled a bit…then said…ah the heck with this. “Let’s go home to the marina; leave this in the parking lot, and come back Wednesday morning to fiddle with it.”

Needless to say, the next day…all rested…we had no issued getting the hitch to open. So we played that day with systems, then on Thursday we moved over into the casino overflow lot. There we got to set up again, and practice dry camping.

Finally on Saturday, we were ready. We hooked up, checked all systems, and headed out for Oregon. Well, with one pit stop back to the dealer in Everett where we bought Dewey. That was prompted by the first part breaking. Karin was locking the back door, and gently pulled her key out. The whole tumbler came with the key. Nice….but not secure. The dealer laughed when I called, and said swing in on Saturday. We did, and a technician ran out and in 5 minutes we had a new door lock.

Then we headed South for a night at my brother’s near Astoria. We leveled up in front of his house and spent a quiet night. Then it was for reals. We headed out for Astoria and highway 101 South. It’s when you pull away from all you knew that you get that nervous feeling in your stomach; and the questions? Will everything hold together? The road seems a little damn bumpy. Where will we stop tonight? What if we pull into that parking lot will we be able to get out?

It’s a million little things.

Lunch stop

But then you see a wide spot along the Oregon coast and realize, “Hey, we could just pull over right here and go in the back and make lunch. So we did.

Sure the road is a little bumpy, but you learn to see it ahead and slow down.

We got to Pacific City near Cape Kiwanda, South of Tillimook, by 3:30 and found Harts Camp. That’s a little RV park right across from the Pelican Brewery that Jim and Shirley told us about. And the two of them are going to arrive today from the South. They’ve been playing snowbird for several months, and are on their way home to Seattle. We figured it would be fun to meet for a day or two as we head out, and as they head back in.

Just a note for family who like to follow our ramblings, yes we mean you mom. We’ve turned back on the Garmin In Reach Explorer device that we were using on the trip to Alaska. That’s the cool little device that tracks where we are, and where we’ve gone and puts it up on a fancy TOPO map so anyone with a link can follow along. It’s easy to find. If you are on EndlessSong.net there will be a link under the title that says “Where are We?” Click that and you’ll find the page with a link to Garmin’s In Reach Map. That’s where you’ll see us appear, and it should show our general track. It looks like this. (And yes, there’s no track yet. I didn’t turn it on until this morning…so it missed the drive from Anacortes)

So now we’re off to see people and places who aren’t near a seaport. We’ll be rambling to Texas and back over the next month and a half. We’ll return to Anacortes in May, and then transfer our flag back to the boat for more sailing. The Waggoner Cruising Guide has asked us to be correspondents this summer to check out some of the amenities along our sailing route to make sure the guide is still accurate.

Endless Song, Due…aka, Dewey

Well, it’s been an eventful winter.

First up, we sold Terrace House. It went on the market on Thursday February 28th, and a lovely young couple made a no inspection, no contingencies, all cash offer way over the asking price that evening. Friday morning, March 1, we said, “Yes please.”

Then it was the rush to get all the last bits of our furniture out of the house so the new owners can move it. We signed final paperwork just 10 days later. And just like that, we don’t have a home any more. Just a boat.

Well, that’s not quite accurate. We decided last year that if we were going to sell the house we’d need something that could get us around on land. We have people to see and not all of them live in port cities. That something else, is a brand new 30 Foot Arctic Fox 25Y travel trailer. We looked at all the options, and all the manufacturers, and we think this coach built in LaGrande, Oregon will fit the bill.While we were fighting snow and loading boxes at Terrace House in February, down in Oregon the crew at Arctic Fox (Northwood Manufacturing) was busy building our little home away from the water. A few days after we signed the papers on the house, Dewey arrived.

Endless Song, Due….”Dewey”

We have christened our new trailer Endless Song, Due (Italian for 2)….but will forever know him as Dewey. I had some other, more colorful, ways to say Part Deux, but Karin nixed them all. So Dewey it is. He’ll be pulled by our new RAM 3500 diesel pickup. He’s a BIG boy…and we’re still working on a name for him. It may end up Huey…since we, like the McDucks, are Scottish! “Late breaking news. My brother Dennis…who knows about these things…has informed me that,  “…You silly boy, the truck is a she, and she is the younger sister of Helga. Her name is Brunhilda”   Since he is the guys with the college degree in diesel things, and will help me keep this Cumins purring, I’m not going to challenge this name thing.  Brunhilda its is. You would think she would have told me by now. Playing coy. They do that, right up until they call down lightening bolts on your head.)

So, now that we have trailer, and since its still a little too cool for long sails into the BC interior, we’re going to hit the road for 6 weeks to do a shake down cruise on the RV. We’ll be hitting Oregon, NorCal, then cut across to Texas to see the Wingers in San Antonio and the Darby-Smiths in Austin. I’m trying to convince Karin to make a run all the way to New Orleans….but she’s hesitant.

That was some trip to Alaska!

Sorry there’s been such a long pause in postings. That’s what happens when you “get back to the real world” I guess.

In any case we wanted to take a moment to pause and remember what a great trip we had this summer to Alaska.  We retired and left on May first….and didn’t get back until mid-September.

So, how to summarize.  We’ll…there’s too much.  So we’ve made a few video montages that show going up, playing around in Alaska, and then coming home.  I’m not actually asking you to watch my home movies. 😉   These are really more for us to remember.  But if you want a peak, you are welcome too.   Just click on the red titles and it should open the videos. 

Part One; Getting from here to there

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Part Two; Playing around In SE Alaska

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Part Three; Mid Summer in Alaska

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Part Four; Coming Home

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Well, that was some adventure, and we already know we’re going back.  But first we have a few chores to complete.  This fall and winter we’ll be splitting time between the boat (which is home) and the house near Seattle (which while comfy no longer feels like home).  We’re doing the cleanup and projects needed to sell Terrace House, which will happen in the spring.

After that, we’ll be sailing on the waters of the Northwest and when we’re ashore we’ll be venturing far and wide in a land yacht (Basically, we’re buying a trailer and a truck that can pull it).