12/15/2010: Saw this photo album of Alameda. Pretty good, it has pics of where we shop on the island.
Posted by a real estate development project a couple of miles down the estuary. Also, I added a couple of web cam links near Breezy, Houghton Lake and Kalkaska
(with wildlife photos).
By the way, here's another one of those songs, lots of hooks:
11/22/2010: Went to see Dave Mason at Yoshii's in San Francisco last night with Mickey & Natasha, Jim & Jo, and Lewis & Barbara. Nice place to see a show.
One of the founding members of Traffic, at 64 he still has his voice and guitar.
11/21/2010: Mission accomplished on organizing the storage unit and sorting out our Christmas stuff. Got lights put up on Spirit.
11/20/2010: Crab season opened this week. The first to hit the stores occurred Thursday. I got this 2.6 pounder yesterday.
"We were slightly over 22 miles from shore with no wind so we decided to try the engine and see if there were any problems, or if what had happened was just a paranoia caused by our senses in the darkness and lack of confidence over the engine because of recent problems. It had been running longer than we had ever run it. It started and after warming up, it sounded OK in gear, so we started motoring towards land. I went forward to examine the mess of halyards in the daylight. I undid the spinnaker halyard and went forward to lay on the foredeck so I could comfortably look up. After studying the mess for a minute, I flicked the spinnaker halyard once and it popped all of the lines free from the radar reflector. I tidied up the lines and went back to the cockpit. With that settled, I looked up at the mast head and could see no problem with the running lights. Marsha looked up and we were befuddled at the illusion from the night before. I was starting to appreciate the sensation of a change in the way I was viewing our vessel and all of the gadgetry we were what many times seemed like frivolously investing in over the past 5 years. Everything was no longer just an expensive toy individually purchased and played with once, everything was an integrated vessel, a machine, our home."
In the new plan, we are based out of Breezy. So far, we think the time to be there is from just before the first buds start budding, where you can still see the weather conditions fighting between snowy and sunny - sometime in April, until the last of the leaves have fallen - sometime in November. I can't think of any reason why we would ever want to miss a moment of that ever again.
That leaves an open period of time where we will need to hook Taylor up to the truck and go south for warmer weather. But where? Well, here are a few thoughts:
Follow the Great Loop, camping along the way following the weather south and then back north.
Drive south of Tucson, AZ 5 hours to San Carlos, Sonora,MX, then take the ferry to Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, MX and do the loop and hang out in La Paz.
On those trips, research a plan to follow an arts and crafts fair and take the exhibit in Breezy's garage and sell Marsha's jewelry.
By the, we'll likely have sorted out more ideas for the future.
To get started with the plan, we need to start preparing Spirit for sale, and us to be ready to move it all back to Breezy. It may look like driving the Honda, then flying back and driving the truck, towing a U-Haul trailer when we finally do it (or vice versa to do a bit of touring with the Honda).
Step 1. I need to prepare the storage unit, by tossing what I can, organizing everything that stays with Spirit in a box, and dealing with all of the Christmas stuff by packing what we want to keep for travel, and tossing the rest - starts this weekend.
11/17/2010: I've been having dreams with a consistent theme for the last week. They all involve moving, and dealing with a bunch of heavy old boat gear, coils of wire rigging, sail bags, etc. The moving part always seems complex, dependent upon choices to be made, dependant on other people and situations leaving me in limbo. Meanwhile, back in the land of the conscious, I've been sorting through, mentally, what to do with all of the gear on Spirit we added, or just purchased and have but would not need if we didn't have Spirit. Some things are perplexing in that some materials used in their construction may no longer be reliable. For example the life raft and sea anchor. Stepping back to reflect: we got back from cruising and went through and exercise of stripping stuff off the boat and painting hatches and the like to prepare Spirit for sale. We got rid of stuff via marine flea markets, ebay, and craig's list. But we ended up getting rid of the stuff we shouldn't have kept on board or didn't use and with the experience we gained, figured we'd never need. All except for one item, a spare, a spare main halyard shackle - I've regretted letting that go every since. Those exercises took place over 10 years ago. What we ended up doing by keeping everything else aboard Spirit intact, and then moving back on board rather than sell the boat and move onto land, was keep our mental escape rigged and ready. We could have sold many things back then when they were still modern, useful, or otherwise marketable, but we chose to keep our ship intact, rigged, and ready. I feel now that I can let it all go now, it was the price we paid to keep our (my?) peace of mind over the past decade. It is time to grow, and develop a new peace of mind.
11/14/2010: I met Russ and Isabella in Turtle Bay. She was working as an interpreter at the medical clinic in town when we took Marsha in. I asked her where I could do my laundry. She told me I could do it at her house. We got Marsha back into a ponga, then back to Hotel California, then Rick brought me back to shore with 3 bags of laundry. Isabella had the chief of police and his deputy waiting for me with their pickup truck. They drove me to her house, but her husband wasn't home so they continued on to his tackle shop. We met her husband Russ there. He is the only gringo in town except for one 70 year old guy living on a wooden boat in the harbor. He drove me back to their house. They have a beautiful 1 year old daughter Faith. He retired from a job at Safeway in San Jose. He met Isabella in Turtle Bay while researching where to retire. They fell in love, he took her back to the states where she got a job at JC Penney's and learned to speak English. They came back to Turtle Bay after he retied.
11/10/2010: Oddly enough, at the beginning of the rally, one of my biggest concerns was getting Marsha safely ashore for the beach party at Bahia Santa Maria. The surf is notorious. A few years back, 80 people got stranded on the beach overnight because it got so rough. Our last attempt 14 years ago ended with Marsha and our dog Cindy dumped in the surf. Well the surf gods were with us this time, but she wasn't quite up for the ponga ride in, so I shot this video to show her:
11/9/2010: Asked "How was the Baja-Haha?" Here was my reply:
The fleet had great time, with all kinds of conditions, including a couple of uncomfortable days - 10-12 foot seas on one, offshore cross chop on another, and some absolutely heavenly days. Leg 1 - 3 sunsets before an after dark anchorage in Turtle Bay, then 2 days of rest. Leg 2 - 2 sunsets before an after dark anchorage in Bahia Santa Maria, then 2 days of rest. Leg 3 - one overnighter then made the marina in Cabo before noon the next day. I can now say you develop a routine after about 3 days at sea. Marsha came down with a bronchial infection on day 2 and had issues with it the rest of the time. On midnight watches I realized it's time to sell Spirit so we can move on while there's still time to enjoy new things. In an airport on our way back we were asked "so what's your next sailing adventure"? We both drew blank stares, then started thinking about the cottage in MI. We're set now to start tooling around with Taylor the trailer, and can visit the great loop with it, without getting another boat.
10/12/2010: Almost done getting the new Windows 7 machine set up. Here's my morning coffee place in the nav station.
10/2/2010: Updated Spirit's enhancement log. The refrigerator problem is finally fixed, we had to replace the evaporator because of a corrosion leak. The Koolatron came in handy as a fill in fridge while the work was being done, and all of Breezy's leftovers came in handy, mustard, mayo, salad dressings, etc.
9/24/2010: Travelogue. We added 269 miles to the trip back by choosing Boulder, CO as a midway destination to take a break for a day to rest up and have fun. The total mileage according to goggle maps was 2718. We try to break up the driving into 2 hour shifts. We've adopted Escanaba as our first night destination, 245 miles from Breezy. No matter how much you prepare ahead of time, there is always a half days work shutting down a house for the winter, not including winterization that others will do. It's far enough away to push us to get that work done and still have time to pick up some fudge in Mackinaw City, then make it there and get settled in time for dinner at the Stonehouse restaurant. We were seated in the same section as last year, and our waitress, Cindy remembered us. They don't get many folks from California passing through. The prime rib is excellent, with delightful side dishes. We ordered an 04 Cabernet Sauvignon, Luis Martini. I told them I'm ordering it because it's an 04. They brought out on 06, I made them take it back, they brought out an 04. It was also excellent. We stayed at the Hiawatha Motel, .2 miles from the restaurant. At $55, it was a great deal. Ground floor room with parking in front of the room, so we can easily lug the Koolatron 12 / 120 volt refrigerator into the room and back. It's clean, roomy, has free wifi and a fridge in the room.
Day 2 destination, Des Moines, IA, 559 miles. We stayed at the Quality Inn just off 80 on Merle Hay rd. It was an old facility, even the biscuits and gravy at the continental breakfast looked stale. The apples we took with us were already brown when we bit into the. We had pizza delivered for dinner, the left over makes good road food.
Day 3 destination, Boulder, CO, 685 miles. Wind generators in the fog, then it turned to a moderate rain for hours, then it finally cleared, became sunny, and started warming up, into the 80s by the time we got to Boulder. We discovered a Motrin drip eases the discomfort of being on the road for hours, ** tremendously **. Take 2 to start, then one every 3 hours there after. Mental note, looked like a cool RV park on the river off exit 426 in Ashland, NE.
Day 4, lay day in Boulder. We stayed 2 nights at the Quality Inn on Arapaho Ave. This one was privately owned, and it was excellent. Also parking near the ground floor room.
It was right next door to Daddy Bruce's rib shack. We took a taxi to have dinner at Sushi Tora downtown just off the Pearl Street Mall. Excellent, that night all of the chef's were white people. The next day, we drove up Flagstaff mountain to visit the Boulder Amphitheater where we got married in 83.
We drove by, and took pictures of the house we used to live in out near Gunbarrel,
then drove out to Niwot for lunch at a great Mexican restaurant we used to frequent, Ajuua. Next we drove up the Boulder Canyon to see if the Red Lion Inn was still there - yup.
Afterwards, we went back to the room to relax for the afternoon, and have Daddy Bruce's' Barbeque chicken take out for dinner, and crashed early.
Day 5, destination Elko, NV, 728 miles. 12-1/2 hours on the road, long day. We used almost all of the available daylight on the road. It took a bit more martini to shake the road fatigue. We stayed at the Red Lion Inn, and had dinner in their newly opened Aspen restaurant.
Their web site still says coming soon, but it opened last Thursday.
Day 6, destination Spirit, 503 miles. We did a little shopping at Cabala's in Boomtown
before crossing into CA. Heavy road construction at the border delayed us a half hour. It looked more like an hour for the folks leaving CA. After driving over the passes, we switched drivers for the last time at the Park and Ride off the Penryn exit, just past Auburn. Marsha drove the last leg. Of the vehicles we saw doing long crossing like NV, WY, and NE, I think we saw more pickup trucks than cars.
9/23/2010: We're back on Spirit, made it at 5:30 last night.
9/22/2010: We'll make the last leg of the return to CA journey today, currently in Elko, NV. We took a lay day in the middle of the trip to rest and play, in Boulder Colorado. We visited the Boulder Amphitheater where we got married. Here's a photo below. Wedding photos here.
9/18/2010: We're on our way back, here comes the dot:-)
It's static, so you have to refresh your browser (F5) to get the latest data.
8/9/2010: We're back in MI for the rest of the summer, moving discussion to Breezy. See you back here at the end of September.
8/7/2010: We fly back to MI tonight. Breezy update. Marsha and Pam pretty much have the Baja Haha costumes ready:
8/6/2010: This appears to be the summer for getting things fixed at one home while you are at the other. We'll be driving our truck north towards Breezy from Bay City in about 48 hours, and it still looks good for the basic bathroom functions to be working by the time we get there. Meanwhile, Spirit's refrigeration system has been having problems. Neil, from All-Marine Electronics has been working on it and thinks the problem has been isolated to a saturated filter dryer. It's allowing moisture to get into the system that is freezing, and blocking proper flow of the refrigerant between the evaporator and compressor. He's ordered a replacement part, and will have things on Spirit pretty much torn apart for a while replacing it, then getting the system working again after we leave.
8/3/2010: We flew back to CA on July 24, and will be returning to Breezy on a red eye flight this coming Saturday. We're praying the bathroom will be in a functional state of being remodeled when we get there on Sunday. We're planning on picking up some corn when we arrive, since the Midland, Saginaw, Bay City airport (MBS) is in a corn field. We're also thinking about stopping by the A&W in Bay City for lunch, they still bring your order out to your vehicle on those trays that mount on your window. It was good timing to come back to sync up with Rick and Pam on Hotel California. They had just moved on board full time, and will be heading out the gate and turning left in September. We are going to be crew on their sailboat, Hotel California for the Baja Haha XVII race, the last week in Oct. and first week in Nov. We plan to fly to San Diego to meet up with them, then return from San Jose del Cabo. Marsha and Pam are working on the costumes we'll all be wearing for the start of the race.
We were on the Baja Haha III roster, but didn't make the start because of delays getting down the coast from San Francisco, as documented here, here, and here. It looks like Spirit will be getting newer house batteries. Rick is switching from Gel to AGM, his Gel batteries are much younger than Spirit's Gels, arguably at over 14 years old - it could be time.
7/25/2010: While at Breezy, I scanned these postcards. Found them in my filing cabinet while rooting around looking for our FM3s. They are from my mom when she and my dad drove to Texas to visit her mother. I was 3-1/2 years old - before there were zip codes.
6/22/2010: Introducing, Taylor the Trailer. Won at auction on eBay last night (Steve's Birthday), the rig is located in Strawberry Point, Iowa. We'll be driving through there, and picking it up around July 4 on our way to Breezy for the summer. Though it may end up with it's own web page, for now I'll move the discussion to Breezy's page. See you back here in September:-)
6/18/2010: We'll be on the road in less than 2 weeks. My birthday is 3 days away and the iPad is on order. Those lead times are murder...
It's static, so you have to refresh your browser (F5) to get the latest data.
PS: Whatever was causing refrigerant blockage in Spirit's fridge is back, still debugging...
6/10/2010: Had the refrigeration system fixed this time. Neil Calvert of All-Marine Electronics & Electrical Systems did a fantastic job. He's a marine electrician that knows Adler Barbour Cold Machines from working on his own boat. Added a more complete entry for this in, and finally spell checked Spirit's Enhancement and Repair Log.
6/2/2010: Spirit arrived safely back in Marina Village early last Saturday morning. Here are some photos of the haul out event. Also, Breezy page update.
5/26/2010: Spirit was hauled out of the water on Monday, at Grand Marina. It's been 4 years and 2 months since our last bottom paint job. Our diver informed us we were out of paint. Also, we're having the stuffing box repacked. I forgot to have it done last time, and it's been leaking too much. We're staying with Jim and Jo in Belmont. Looking back, we've stayed with Jim and Jo every time Spirit has been out of the water since coming back into this country 11 years ago. So far, reports of progress from the boatyard are good so it's likely Spirit will be splashed on Friday and be back in Marina Village on Saturday.
4/24/2010: In less than 24 hours, we traveled from Spirit to Breezy, removed the tarps from the furniture, dusted, inspected the new furnace vents, shopped for the first groceries, cleaned up, then grilled a nice steak dinner. Amazing, according to logmein.com, it had been 224 days since I had last booted the computer in my office, also named Breezy:-) Sadly, we weren't able to let anyone from the family know we were coming because the mission is to get the new decks stained and design the bathroom remodel with George, and won't have time to visit. We only have 2 weeks this trip, we'll be back again in July. My Delta frequent flyer miles got us here - Catie drove us to West Oakland Bart, Bart to SFO, then we got a good deal on a Prius in the Midland, Bay City, Saginaw Airport after a layover in Detroit, $302 for 15 days. It took us a while, flipping through the owner's manual (that had come unbound from too much abuse), to learn how to start a hybrid car and drive off. I suppose we should take this discussion to Breezy's page now.
4/20/2010: A reminder all is not well, a senseless murder in broad daylight 3 blocks from my office.
4/16/2010: Things have started settling back down to normal now that the kids have gone home. Last weekend was a small get together, Marcy's sister Cheris and her husband Jerry Dunlap were in town, we were celebrating the crew of the Rum Runner in the Virgin Islands 22 years ago. See chapter 4 in the book.
4/6/2010: Two fun filled weeks later, on the day they would be traveling back to Michigan on a red eye flight through Atlanta, we take another stab at sushi. We lucked into finding a new, better sushi bar on the island, Sakura. Everything was great, except the fish eggs didn't go over so well.
3/22/2010: Updated the recipes page. Also, great niece Hillary and friend Jeremy from Michigan are here visiting. We started with a trip around the Bay, on an amazingly clear day, and had sushi for lunch in Sausalito. Here are a couple of pics.
3/7/2010: Every now and then, a song finds you, and haunts you. Here's one:
3/3/2010: Another Photos page update. This update is a photo album I shot with my Canon G2 back in April of 2003. We took Harvey the RV camping with Jim and Jo Callan. The destination was the East Entrance to Pinnacles National Monument park. April is a good time of the year to see the many wild flowers in bloom.
2/7/2010: Dinner at Quinn's Lighthouse Friday with Rick and Pam, and their friends Dave and Ashley.
2/5/2010: I updated my dungeness crab recipe to reflect how we've been preparing them this season, which by the way is still going strong. I'm still able to get live ones over 2.5 pounds. This one was dinner last night:-)
1/29/2010: Looks like we've made it through January, that went fast. There was a gate 11 get together at the Pasta Pelican last Saturday inspired by visiting cruisers Doug and Carla Scott. They left here over a year ago, and are currently based out of La Paz. The restaurant is walking distance from our dock. I plan to post some photos soon, here's one of Marsha and I that Pam took.
1/26/2010:Music update. Moved 2009 content to previous posts. Added update notification mechanism in and slightly modified left column.