Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Adventure Will Begin Soon, But First a Storm

I know in my last entry, I said that the next entry would be the beginning of our trip south for the winter. I decided to add at least this one entry to chronicle the last two weeks before we leave the marina.

We arrived back in Palmetto, Florida on October 17. We rented a car at the airport in St. Petersburg to be dropped off at the Enterprise office in Bradenton. After stopping at the boat to turn on the refrigeration, we headed to Walmart to buy non-perishable foods. We were hoping to buy enough food to last us most of the winter. We filled two shopping carts. The bill came to right at $500. Our rent car was actually a small 4 door pickup. We filled the back seat and covered the floor of the bed.

Kim was not sure it would all fit, but this boat continues to amaze us. It all fit with room to spare. We would need that additional room.

This picture shows about half of the non-perishable food we purchased.
On Friday the 18th, we were up early and on the road to St. Pete to pick up our sails. That went well and then we hit the West Marine and Home Depot for a few needed hardware items for the boat. Then it was off to Walmart again for the perishable items. We spent another $200 to bring the total on food to $700. We put a lot of thought into what to buy that would be in good shape as we travel. I hope it all works.

When we arrived in Florida, there was a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that was soon upgraded to Tropical Storm Nestor. The storm was going north of us, but we were expecting some storm surge and wind and rain. We were up a few times during the Friday night/Saturday morning checking dock lines and watching the water rise. We only got about a foot of storm surge and some hard rain, but not much wind...yet.

All looked good, so we headed over to Tampa to by a wetsuit that I had found on Facebook Marketplace for about a third of new price. It turned out to be in perfect condition and should be perfect for me to get in the water when it is cold to do what needs to be done. On our way back, we noticed the wind had picked up significantly. By the time we crossed over the SkyBridge it was blowing at least 30 to 40 mph. When we arrived at the marina I did not like what I saw. The wind was at the worst direction. Right through the mouth of the basin. Our boat was right in line with the wind and we had no protection, because we had no boats on our starboard side. We were getting pushed hard into our port side pilings and had a small scuff mark on the rail. We spent a few hectic minutes tightening our lines and getting our fenders in the best possible places.

Here is a shot looking down to the mouth of the basin. 
The wind gauge showing 30.6 knots. We saw sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts about 35. 
The wind lasted most of the rest of the day, but thankfully shifted to more out of the south and that gave us more protection.

We now have a new boat behind us when we back out. This is an even larger sport fishing boat. with a jet ski and a skiff on the bow.

We invited Don and Kim, the former owners of our boat, out for a day of sailing. Wednesday, October 23 looked like a perfect day. We had a nice north wind that brought in some cooler weather. We had a strong wind at between 15 and 20 knots. It was an exciting ride as we crossed Tampa Bay a few times. The wind eased as we headed for the marina, but the perfect direction allowed us to sail right up the river to the marina for the first time. We had an awesome day with great people. I really liked having the experienced extra hands. We need to do more of that.

Don and Kim, our new friends. We certainly hope to spend more time with you as our path cross in the future. 
Today, we had lunch with Mike, our former broker and now our good friend. Mike has been so great to work with and has kept up the great advice. We had heard he was having a health challenge and wanted to say. "See you later" before we left. If you read this, All the best, Mike! Thanks for everything. We asked Mike to take our picture on our boat before he left. It seemed fitting for him to take it.

This will be the "Before" picture. You can see how calm the marina looks on a normal day. 
It looks like we may have one more little adventure before we leave the marina. I may get to write about that in my next entry.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Month Away From the Boat

It has been over a month since I have written in this blog. I am writing this entry from our boat in Florida. We are about to start our time cruising on our boat. It all became very real yesterday when we turned in our rent car. We now have no transportation other than our boat and our dingy. Before I write more about that, this entry is about how we spent our last month.

 We left Palmetto, Florida on September 13 and made the 16 hour drive back to Missouri over two days. We had a very busy month. We decided to not move our trailer from the storage location by the shop. It worked out ok, but we probably won't do that again.

Our campsite by the shop.
This site does have the advantage of a nice view of sunsets.
We spent some quality time with the grandkids, but in the end it did not feel like enough. It never does. We went to soccer games and tried to make it to as many activities as we could. We also enjoyed having Will and Amelia out at the ranch for a couple of nights. 

Amelia is just so cute!
One of the main reasons we went to the ranch was to help out with two motorcycle events that are held each fall. As is turned out, I did not do much on the first event until the day of the race. My son Scott and I, worked a checkpoint. We had an enjoyable day together. 

One big piece of news is that our youngest son, Mark moved back to Ozark, Missouri. That is the town that our daughter, Shannon lives in and the town that all of our kids went to most of their years of school. That is why we have Ozark as our hailing port on the back of the boat. It is about as close to a home town as we have. 

Mark accepted a job at O'Reilly's Auto Parts home office in the IT department. It was great to spend some time with him while he got situated in Missouri. He had to buy a car because he did not need a car in Boston. He decided to buy a very nice Mazda S3. 

Scott also was getting a new car that was a gift from Kim's Mom and Dad. We had to make a trip to Oklahoma to pick it up. That trip turned into an awesome road trip. Mark was available to go with us because he had not started his job and when we talked to our son Michael to ask if we could stop by his place in Arkansas on the way south, he decided to also go to see his grandparents. 

Our three sons, Mark on the left, Michael in the middle and Scott on the right.
From the left, Mark, Kim's Dad Richie, Kim, Scott, Michael, and me.
I have to include one picture that includes Kim's mom Phyllis. Maw Maw is awesome!
We got some bad news while we were in Missouri. My mother was in the hospital in Denver and not doing well. Kim and I decided that we would let Scott drive the three boys home and we would make the trip to Colorado to see Mom and Dad. Mom is doing a bit better, but as I write this she still has a way to go to get her health back. 

I sadly did not take any pictures with family in Denver. We had a great time staying with my brother Bob, and his awesome family. We spent some quality time with Mom and Dad. We love the mountains and just had to take a quick trip up to Echo lake. The Aspens were at peak and it was beautiful. 

The high range in the distance. I love the contrast of the green pines and the golden aspen.
We ended up driving 2400 miles on our big loop. It was certainly worth it. 

We made it back in time to help out with the second event. I spent a few days in the woods, stapling arrows to trees. It is exhausting work, but I really do enjoy it. The day before the event, I had a strange problem with my shoulder. I think it was a pinched nerve. I ended up running the event from the pavilion rather than my normal job of riding my motorcycle marshaling the course. I think it all worked out well. My shoulder is fine now.

After the event, we had 4 days to be ready to return to Florida. This time we flew and rented a car. We have spent he last three days spending over $700 on groceries, picking up our sails and getting ready to go. We had dinner last night with the former owners of our boat, Don and Kim. What an awesome couple. We really hope to spend more time with them when our paths cross in the future. Tonight, we enjoyed having our former slip neighbor, Janice over for dinner. 

So that brings us to the start of our great adventure. In my next entry, I will begin to tell the story of living on a boat, (not in a marina) and traveling down the west coast of Florida to the Keys. If we make it that far. Come back to see how we do.