Monday, December 20, 2010
New Adventures Part I
It's December and we've had a huge change in plans. Since it's not that enjoyable to write about failures, I haven't written much lately about our experiences...We started off biking (full gear packed) from Dub's Mother's house. It was a good start, we rode 43 miles that day. Unfortunately, the wind and a bit of denial were against us. 20 mph winds pushed us back in time and when we finally decided to stop we were still about 2-3 hours from our camping destination for the night. We called Dub's family and they picked us up in the dark about 8 o'clock pm. Dub's knee was hurting excessively from tendonitis and we came to the full realization that this wasn't going to work.
Over time we decided that this weather was only going to get worse, and healing tendonitis was now the goal. We focused on Florida. Back up plan #1 was to head south and buy some R & R time at our family home in Daytona Beach. So that's what we did. Here we are, over a month of rest and relaxation, still in Daytona. We've had some great experiences learning to scuba dive, play with surfing, rescuing a green sea turtle, swimming with manatees, diving wrecks and reefs, and generally enjoying the Sunshine state!
Long story short, we have jumped head first into our sailboat search. We've now embarked on another adventure of a different kind. We're going to master the wind and water.
Our search began months ago when Dub was working for the Grand Canyon and scanned the internet for sailboats. It was hard to look face to face at any sailboats when you're land locked. Now we're fully able to travel and check 'em out in person. We left out on Monday afternoon, for Fort Lauderdale. We stopped in on a gentleman from New York. He was selling a California 27 boat. The boat was in pretty good shape. Nice and clean, nice layout. Gallery on one side, benches on the other. Very, very clean. We said we'd talk about it. Asking price was $7,000, but he'd take $6,500. That’s about our limit on the budget, so who knows.
We lined up another boat just in time for the "no-see-ums" to come out and eat us alive! At dusk the guy came up and we had already seen the "Stars and Stripes" boat. Quite the fixer-upper. No thanks. That evening we dinned at a seafood place ad somehow in the commotion we forgot to pay our bill, oops! We'll be sending them an envelope with some cash. Should cover the Dolphin/Mahi Mahi sandwich, 10 shrimp and the 2 Coronas. It was good-Tack's, I think was their name.
We spent a few hours looking up a place to camp for the night...nothing. Then we thought about a hostel. Nope, $70. So there we sat on the side street in Miami Beach, trying to decide where to stay...
-Hostel and go explore the Miami Beach night life?
-Drive around for a hotel that we could afford?
-Find a cheap hotel near the interstate?
-Drive about 2 hours to the Everglades and save some money camping.
Ok, the plan was to camp, so we took Route 1 through ALL of urban Miami, down to Homestead. All the while questioning where to stay. We're poor decision-makers sometimes.
We pulled up to Lone Pine Campground at about 11:30pm. It was sprinkling. We decided to quickly put up the tent. Rain picked up and we froze still: should we put up the tent or sleep in the car--one more decision..couldn't do it! We put the tent up in the only 20 minutes of rain all night! Here we are: soaked from the waist down, hoping to craw into bed. Well, we dried up and slept soundly in the sticky humid Everglade's air.
The sun woke us up at about 7am. By 8am we need to get OUT of that tent. Humidity and dampness were not our friends with the sunlight. We doused ourselves in repellant and braved it outside. Now, more decision-making --boo. We packed up and went back to Miami and saw another boat #5 (this was the fifth boat we'd seen). A Catalina 27, 1970's or something. We got our kayaks out and paddled to the boat. Christina and her friend were whistling at us and we made our way aboard. Little did we know, she was living aboard. Kinda interesting. Boat was nice and we seriously thought about getting it. Now more decisions...buy it, don't buy it? Stay in the area for another night? Head home? Visit folks in the Everglades? In Tampa area? OK- We headed west to look at more boats. Stopped over at Shark Valley Visitor Center and asked for my friend Eric from Glacier. By luck, we found him - with out using cell phones or any other modern conveniences. We grabbed some beers and enjoyed the warm evening in the Everglades.
The next day started with a great breakfast of Bagel with Peanut Butter, Fruit and nut muesli with Pineapple, Banana dried cranberries and dried apricots with Pine nuts. TASTY! We made our way west towards the Gulf Coast. We zig zagged up to Fort Meyers and dodged a closed Interstate. We were headed for Boca Grande. We heard through the grapevine from some folks up in King’s Bay that there was a man by the name of Danny who had a nice sailboat for sale. They told us... “Oh just ask for him at the Hudson’s General Store.” So we risked embarrassment and asked for him. No Luck. Then we went looking for a marina. No luck. We found some parking next to a few private docks and saw about 6-7 sailboats anchored out in the channel. We parked across from the Pink Elephant Restaurant. They allowed 2 hours for parking. Dub got his kayak off the car and went to ask if anyone knew Danny. Jackpot! We found him-- I call it luck, for sure! Dub climbed aboard to look at boat # 6. No thanks, but it was a fun man hunt!
We wandered north through marinas and small waterside towns, headed for Seminole, Florida. We arrived to Brooke and Mike Certa’s house at about dusk. Nice place! We met the new baby, Eddie! We went out to eat at this amazing Tapas place (not to be confused with topless). Lobster, humus, smoked artichoke hearts, ceviche, and lots of wine--even a bottle hand picked from Napa Valley. The corking fee allowed us to BYOB. We stopped at Sloppy Johns’s Bar on the way home- crazy place with a lot of junk- even a mountain goat on the wall. They had a fire going inside too- crazy! We enjoyed ourselves!
The next day we got up, headed to an open market, with arts, crafts & food and visited Tom Whitworth. It was nice catching up and then we headed to see our next boat, #7. One hour north to Hudson, FL. Found our way to the place, checked it out (Catalina 27, 1974). It looked good! An interesting owner who’s Austrian and living here in the U.S. Good guy, little paranoid. He’s our age, so it was neat to see someone who could afford a sailboat. So we left to head back to Daytona. We made it home in the evening and talked about all the boats we saw. #7 will do! Needs some cleaning up, but we can do it!
New Adventures Part II
Reality Sinks In
We decided to “celebrate.” In a way we were really excited about the purchase of a new sailboat (only new to us, not really new). Then we started to realize what this meant. The cost, what to do with it when the summer season came along, where we’d go, how much we knew, etc. Let’s face it, our experience level is Novice! We’re definitely the newbies and we’d be happy to admit that. So, we did...to ourselves. Then we got scared. A light bit of regret came along and before long, we were coming down from our celebration high. We continued the mantra...We can do this, right?
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
St. Mary Valley in the Afternoon, Glacier National Park
In the afternoon I went for a walk in the woods. I took my trusty bear spray and headed west. I hit the trail at a brisk pace and quickly sunk into rough snow. The freeze and thaw had created a hard bit of snow to walk over. But it was comforting that I had snow at all, being that the snow pack is so much less than average this year. I hiked fast over the snow and felt my knees slowly give in to the tenseness of hiking over an uncertain surface. I would probably be sore the next day, and somehow that was comforting. I passed by meadows with dormant flowers, into forests that are nearly 500 years old.
Douglas Fir Cone
I saw many elk paths weave through the forest. I'd never noticed them in that area before...interesting. I continued hiking, calling out "EEEEoooooHH!" and "Cooooomin' Through." The instinct of calling out for bears came back instantly, as did the fear of seeing a bear when I was by myself.
I tromped through forest, prairie, and burned areas. I passed the "Beaver Pond" and for the first time I had seen it, it frozen over. I usually sneak up on this area, preparing myself for viewing Mergansers or Barrow's Golden Eyes. But nothing was stirring and I continued on. At the trail intersection (where I was to turn back on another trail), I inspected the bear "Rub tree." Last year they put up barbed wire to collect the hair samples that would tell us "who was who." I didn't see any bear hair snagged on the wire, but I slowly traced the five scratch marks that adorn the tree...you guessed it, bear claw marks. The bear permanently left it's mark on the tree.
I turned back east and looked down the old road bed. This road bed tells a story, a story about young rugged rangers and fire fighters traveling back and forth. There used to be an old fire tower that sat on an open bald. If you hike out to it, you can still see the foundation blocks. Near the end of the road there were a few cabins. I've heard that you can still find it today, if you know the old trail. At the beginning of this old road was a ranger station. It was one of the first staffed stations on the east side of the park (probably second to East Glacier's Ranger Station). Now called the 1913 Ranger Station, we've decided to dedicate a restoration project to it, as well as exhibits and programs about the Good Ole Ranger days. Days when families were practically on the payroll, and days when horseback was the way to travel.
I turned down that road and headed towards that cabin and saw three white-tailed deer. Their tails went up immediately, but then they paused. One took extra care to watch me as I approached, closer and closer. The others had already run away and it still stared me down.
White Tailed Deer
I walked around a grove of Douglas Fir and spotted them again. This time they didn't mind as much and let me walk by slowly, at a distance of 30 feet. They used caution as they nibbled on grasses and watched the horizons. I used caution not to fall as I took photos, zoomed in. It was interesting to watch them, as they watched me. It was like we had an agreement, an understanding, and we did. I left them alone.
White Tailed Deer
I made it back down to the lake's shore, where I found willows budding out, in all their fuzzy glory. The beautiful red and yellow stems of the water’s edge intrigued me. I took some more photos.
Willows Bursting out with Buds
I completed my loop and made it back to where I had begun, both on the trail and here at Glacier. Full circle, and better for it.
St. Mary Lakeshore, Red Eagle mountain as the most prominent peak.