Thursday, October 29, 2020

We are fine!

 Just a quick update to let you know that we made it through the storm without problem. 

Zeta tracked right over Demopolis. The wind was light all evening with some heavy rain starting at about 8 pm. At about midnight, the wind really picked up and we saw some gusts over 35 knots. The worst of the wind was from the SE, which was good because we had good protection from 2 large boats next to us.

We have a few leaks on the boat that will need to be addressed, but other than that, we are good to go. 

Now to get to work getting SHIFT ready to splash.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Approaching Hurricane

 This will be a real time update. We are still on the hard in the boat yard. Our bottom paint is on. We still need to put a special coating on the propeller to inhibit growth. Last year the barnacles were a problem, so I wanted to do what I could to help with that. The stuff is expensive, so I hope it works. The big news is that we decided to change our bottom paint color, so here is SHIFT with her new blue bottom.


It took me a while to get comfortable with the new color, but Kim likes it, and that is all that matters. 

Hurricane Zeta is expected to get to us in central Alabama about midnight tonight. The track was heading straight at us this morning, but now it is moving a bit south of us. We are expecting about 40 mph winds and some heavy rain. The good news is that it is moving fast at about 20 mph, so it will not stay long and dump tons of rain. We have large boats all around us, so we should have plenty of protection from the wind. We have taken all of the precautions that we can, so we will stay on the boat and monitor the weather and see what happens. 

We were planning to get back in the water this week, but we are not sure if we can. The marina is full beyond normal capacity. Many boats were coming down the river heading to the gulf for the winter and have stopped here to wait out the storm. Some of these boats are huge! We have two boats that are over 80 feet long. We heard a rumor that one is the comedian, Ron White's boat. 

Every foot of dock is being used. That Aqua boat is 85 feet long. I would estimate that there is more than 100 million dollars worth of boats in the marina.

Full Marina

I will try to post an update tomorrow after the storm has passed. 


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Life in the Boatyard

We hauled the boat out on October 14th. It has now been a week living here in the boatyard.  We have been working long hours to get all of the things done that are on our list. The largest project is the teak., but here is a list of what we want to get done before leaving the yard. 

1. Scrape and sand all of the outdoor teak on the boat.

2. Do at least 2 coats of varnish before going back in the water. The other 8 will be done as we go. 

3. Rebed the chain plates. 

4. Service the outboard for the dinghy. 

5. Clean all of the canvas.

6. Clean all of the running rigging. (ropes that run the sails)

7. Use wire brush wheel on drill to take old paint off of the prop. The prop is the correct size for this boat. 

7. Sand bottom, and repaint with new ablative paint. (To be completed by the yard)

This is the best shot I have of what the teak looked like. The old varnish was blistered from the sun and salt water. It all had to be stripped off and sanded to create a surface to varnish. 


This is kind of a before and after. The bowsprit forward has been sanded and the rail at the bottom has not. 


Propeller all cleaned up and ready for special paint to help with barnacle growth. It was a problem last year. 

Here is one of the chain . plates that needed to be rebeded. You remove the 4 screws and then remove the old sealant. Then you add Sikaflex sealant screw it back together and clean it up. All have been completed. 

After three 12 hour+ days from both Kim and I, we have the entire boat sanded and ready for varnish. 

Bowsprit

Looks pretty good. The ropes are the running rigging that are drying on the life lines. 

Our life in the yard has certainly been different. We sit about 10 feet above the ground. That gives us a nice view over the surrounding sea of boats. Some of the boats are very sad. All are someone's dream. I would love to know the story behind each boat. We purchased a small refrigerator. The only place to put it does not allow us to use our table in the salon, so we take most meals in the cockpit. Here is our view at mealtime. 

We wish that Semi was not behind us. We would be able to see the water. We understand that the driver has COVID and the yard owner is allowing him to keep his truck here.

We can see one small part of water and the marina.

This ketch next door was once a beautiful boat. She is badly in need of some TLC.



I like to walk around the yard and talk to the other folks working on their boats. I love the beautiful all wood Grand Banks. 



Here is a final shot for this entry of SHIFT on the hard with no lift around her. She is sitting on big wood blocks and 8 screw stands. It is very strange living in her like this.




I am sitting here in the boat writing this entry as the first coats of paint are being applied to the bottom. Kim decided to change to a different color. I am going to go down and take a look. In my next entry, I will tell you what I think of her new color scheme. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Some Boat Work Before We Get Moving

 We arrived in Demopolis on Friday, October 9th. The marina was much more busy than it was the last time we were here in late July. This marina is a major stopping point for boats that are heading south to the gulf from the midwest before winter sets in. We have seen a couple of boat arriving and departing each day. 

In my last post I said we had a pirate ship off our stern. Well it is not actually a pirate ship, it is a replica of one of Christopher Colombus' ships the "Pinta". This replica was built in Europe out of authentic materials. It does have an engine in it to allow it to move around much easier than the original square rigged ship. These ships could only sail directly down wind. 




In this shot you can see SHIFT just off the port bow of the Pinta.

In very tragic news, the Pinta's manager was badly injured the day we arrived when she fell down a hatch and hit her head on a counter top. The rest of the crew is taking care of the ship until it's future plans are determined. They brought it up to Demopolis after her sister ship, the Nina, was grounded near Pensacola after Hurricane Sally ripped her dock loose and it was left high and dry on a mud bank in the high water. 

As soon as we arrived in Alabama, the first order of business was to lift SHIFT out of the water and take a look at her hull. I wanted to take a good look at the rudder bearings, the cutless bearing and the condition of the bottom paint. All looked good with the exception of the bottom paint. We have a number of large paint chips that should be fixed. So, we had them move SHIFT to a spot in the yard. We have water and electric and can live on the boat. The only problem is our refrigeration and Air Conditioning systems rely on cooling from the water the boat is in, so those systems needed to be shut down. We made a trip to Walmart and purchased a $109 refrigerator to use for the time we are in the yard. We expect that to only be about 2 weeks, but most things in boat time have to be at least doubled. 

I have decided to let the yard do the work. I will watch and learn, so that maybe next time I may do the work or maybe not. We have many other projects to do that will be much easier while the boat is in the yard. 

SHIFT in the Travelift. They said she weighed 26,000 lbs.

Some of the many paint chips on the hull

More...

The lift had to be done twice, because they could not lift it high enough to get it on land due to our long bowsprit. We had to back out of the lift and go in backwards. 

Life in the boatyard is not too bad. We have met a number of new neighbors that are living on their boats and working on them. Some have been here for a long time and and doing some very cool restorations or builds. All have been very friendly and welcoming. We will work a few hours each day on our projects and hopefully be ready to head south at the beginning of November. 

I will end this entry with a nice sunset from the other night. It is back to taking the time to enjoy the beauty around us. 

Do you like the shot with or without the boats in it?




Sunday, October 11, 2020

Time to Start a New Adventure

 I have not written in this blog since the end of June. We did have a busy summer and early Fall, but I have a hard time taking the time to write. We are now back at the boat in Demopolis, Alabama. We are in the process of getting SHIFT ready to leave Kingfisher Bay Marina and head down the Tombigbee River to the Gulf of Mexico. We are currently planning to leave around November 1. The big question that we will try to answer in the next few weeks is: Where will we go?

The rest of this entry will be a quick recap of our summer. We arrived at the Ranch in Missouri at the end of April and stayed there until October 7. My last update concluded with our trip to the Great Smokey Mountains NP. In July, we started with a celebration of July 4th that is not only the birthday of the US, but the birthday of our daughter, Shannon. We spent part of the day out on Shannon and Brian's new boat. That portion of the day ended with a very strong thunderstorm. We then were invited to a friends house overlooking the Kimberling City Bridge. They had a nice fireworks show that we enjoyed.  


Look at all of the boats on Table Rock Lake waiting for the fireworks.

It late July, we were getting a bit stir crazy and felt it was time to go see our parents and as much family as we could. We took off in the Mustang and drove over 3000 miles. Our first stop was in Alabama to check on the boat and do some work on SHIFT. That all went well. 

We then headed to the Dallas Ft. Worth area to see Kim's parents and two of my brothers. We had the added bonus of spending time with a number of our Nieces and Nephews. That was an unexpected pleasure. They have all grown up a bunch since we last saw them, and they have turned into very impressive young adults. 

Kim's parents, Phyllis and Richie along their grandson, Eric, wife Elizabeth and twins Walter and Caroline.



My Brother Brian and wife Julie's new house has an awesome backyard pool area with outdoor kitchen. To the right is Brian's son Matthew, who is now at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh working on his Masters in Bio-Medical engineering and Daughter Katherine who is at OU. 

We then went on to my Brother Alan and Wife Denise's house, where Alan and I worked on his new to him Airstream Trailer. From there it was on to Colorado. We ran into a pretty intense hail storm in Colorado Springs, but suffered no damage to the car.

That is hail on the windshield.

We stayed at my brother Bob and Wife Cheri's house while in Colorado. We had a great time catching up with their family. We got our usual concert from the kids. They are amazing musicians. 

Daniel at the piano and Mom and Dad in the background. 

Mom has made an outstanding recovery after spending 4 months in the hospital last year. Dad showed me that he can still outswim me and 89 years of age. He is amazing. I then rekindled my love of golf with a fun outing with Daniel and Bob. I played a bunch more when I returned to the ranch in August and September. We then made the long drive back to the ranch. It was a long trip, but we are so glad we did it. 

I made a return trip to the Colorado mountains less than two weeks later when two of my partners and another new friend made a trip to ride dirt bikes in the mountains. I loved my time in the beautiful mountains and really enjoyed the cool morning air. 

My KTM 450 on top on Tomichi Pass.

We then came back to the ranch and prepared for three events. We had a Girls Ride Weekend over the Labor Day weekend that was well attended by 35 women riders. We then had an Enduro and a Hare Scramble on back to back weekends. After that, Kim and I were toast. We would have liked to take a rest before we left, but Hurricane Delta had other plans. We decided to move up our schedule to get to the boat ahead of the storm to ensure she was safe. The storm took a turn to the West and then went north of us here in Demopolis. We did not get any strong wind and just some rain. 

So, now I am caught up to real time. I will try to write on a regular basis to document our travels. We would like to haul the boat out of the water this next week to check the bottom and fix a small chip below the waterline. It will be the first time that we have done that, so that should be interesting. Check back to see how things go. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Catch up Post

It has been about a month and a half since I have last written in my blog. When we got back to the ranch, I was tired and ready for a rest from everything including writing. I have continued to take pictures of our many activities, but wasn't sure if I would ever write about it. I have decided to put this entry in the blog as an update to all of our friends and family and to publish a few pictures that I like.

We enjoyed a very wet spring at the ranch in Missouri. We stayed there from April 18 to May 14. We mainly spent time with our children and grandchildren. 

This is a picture of the creek at the ranch after a hard rain. Just to the right of the rocks is the swimming hole. It is about 8 feet deep in this picture. As I write this it is totally dry. 

On May 15, Kim, Our granddaughter Isabella, and I took a trip to check on the boat. We stopped off at our Son, Michael's house to see his family. When I arrived, our grandson, Connor had a list of all he wanted to do in the one day we would be there. There was no way to do that, so we decided to stay an extra day to complete the list. We played games, went for walks and hikes and had the best nerf gun war of all time. 

Michael, Audrey, Cameron and Connor in front of a waterfall we hiked to. 

We also stopped in to see our friends, Dick and Cathy for a too short visit. Then we headed for Alabama to check on the boat. I did a number of maintenance tasks and tests and determined that the engine was good to go. We then motored up the boat up the river about 7 miles to anchor out for the night to show Isabella what that was all about. We had a blast going on a dingy ride and playing on the river bank. Isabella even found some "quick sand". 

Isabella at the helm.

Isabella - a straight A student

SHIFT at anchor on an oxbow of the Tombigbee river

Isabella and Kim playing on the river bank.

Our Daughter, Shannon and family decided to go to the Great Smokey Mountains while we were in Alabama, so we decided to join them. We had a great time hiking and doing some of the tourist stuff. The bad news is that our Grandson, Jake broke his leg when he crashed on a scooter the first day we were there. He is now in a cast and should be good to go by the end of the summer. The crowds were smaller than normal because of the virus, but most outdoor activities were open. The other bad news was that Kim and I had to stay 5 days longer than planned to get a new turbo installed in the truck. We took advantage of the additional time and did some hiking on our own and saw some more remote areas of the National Park. 

We saw 9 black bear on the morning that we drove the Cades Cove loop.

A homestead in a beautiful setting along the loop. We enjoyed all of the short hikes.

Our granddaughter, Amelia found a waterfall and had to show Grandpa. 

The whole crew at another homestead. Brian, Shannon, Amelia, Isabella, Will, Kim and Eve.

Kim made the hike to Laurel Falls

Eve, Amelia and Isabella behind Grotto falls. The second hike of the day.

We finished off the day by hiking up to Clingmans Dome, which give you a 360 degree view of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and surrounding area.

What a view!

This old couple made the hike to the top.

Now on our own we did the 4.5 mile hike to Hen Wallow Falls. It was worth the effort. 

The trail was empty and we had the falls to ourselves for a while.

We drove from Cosby to Big Creek on highway 32. I believe it was the curviest road I have ever driven. We saw a family of Black bear in a tree along the side of the road.

Our dinner view along Big Creek

Soaking our feet in the cool water after all of the hiking felt so good.

We arrived back in Missouri on the 5th of June. We made it in time to meet up with fellow blogger, Mark from Missouri. Here is a link to his blog: ourfutureinanrv He is a new RV full timer and has a very informative writing style. Mark and his wife, Karen took a tour of the ranch. We had an awesome time and can't wait until our paths cross again. 

 
For the past month we have been going to our grandson Will's baseball games. He loves to play, but his team has had a tough year. They had lost all of their games until last Thursday night. They had a double header with two of the better teams in the league. They ended up winning both games! Yeah!!!

Not a great picture, but Will at Shortstop. He is still pretty small, but he is a great fielder and when he uses proper footwork, has a strong arm. 

Fathers Day weekend was awesome! I was able to see all of my Children and Grandchildren. We all met at the ranch for some riding and then a float trip. Michael's family and Scott could not make the float, but it was still plenty of fun. We were very glad that Mark's girlfriend, Callie joined us. We are very impressed by her and would be happy to see her stick around for a long time. 

Beautiful, cool North Fork of the White river.




















Isabella in the closest boat, Mark and Callie in the canoe, and SIL Brian and Eve in the two person kayak. Yes, Mark has been working out.

When I sat down to write this entry, I did not know what I would write about. I did not know how much we have done until I started looking at the pictures. We are now talking about our future plans. Just like everyone, our plans are very uncertain. I will write about that in my next entry, whenever that is. For now I will leave you with an awesome rainbow that Kim, Isabella and I saw in the Marina in Alabama.