Peddle, Sail, Motor Your Way–new prototype
While the epic children’s song wishes the rain would go away, this adult is hoping it stays. I want a day to be by myself, to write, to read, to think. Typically I schedule things to that involve other people. Mostly, I enjoy thecompany of others. Sometimes, though I want to make writing a priority. On this road trip between boat shopping and visiting, I have let my fitness and writing routines wane.
My lack of staying physically fit reared its ugly head yesterday. A sailing friend, Phil lent me his sunfish so I could participate in a regatta held at the Melbourne Yacht Club. Ten women entered the competition. Several I recognized from my sunfish racing days nearly ten years ago. Several new faces emerged on the course. Whereas it should have been a delightful time, and whereas I did pride myself in not flipping over in the 25 knot gusts, at the end of the day I retreated to my mini home. I just felt out of shape.
When morning came I boiled water for coffee, went inside the clubhouse to take care of ‘morning business’ then returned home. With the forecast for thundershowers I thought about packing up the boat but decided to wait for a lull in the rain.
Being out of synch with the boat’s instability, especially when having to jibe in windy weather, made the racing more of a learning experience than a competitive event. Dinner’s typical regatta food of reheated thick noodled, cheese laden lasagna sat in my stomach like a lead ball. Everyone but me seemed content to sit and chat. No doubt they were tired from five races and enjoyed sharing their personal wins and losses of their day. Feeling emotionally disconnected from crowd, and to ease my bloated stomach, I went for a stroll around the neighborhood.
I didn’t even put my headphones on and play itunes. As I walked around the familiar territory I yearned for days gone by. The yacht club, racing, and interacting with these folks used to drive my every day’s plan. Thoughts of Bill, my sunfish coach and dance partner, who passed away a few years ago, wasn’t here. Danny, who died on Nov 17, 2010, wasn’t at home waiting for me to share our day’s events, and Ronald, that big smiled guy who brought organization to my life left me to finish our life together alone. And, now with the rain washing the road dirt from the top of our van, tears trail down my cheeks. Maybe, just maybe the rain will stay today to flood my plans with happy thoughts of yesterday. And maybe, just maybe I will get some exercise and writing done,,,
I am compelled to copy a short paragraph from page 56 of Deb and TJ Akey’s book, “How NOT to buy a cruising book. Just two days ago I cried for for an hour after rejecting an offer I made on a CSY 33. I convinced myself it was the perfect offshore cruiser for me. A thorough inspection was done by a professional surveyor and by two experienced circumnavigators on a CSY 44. Reading the surveyor’s report and hearing what my CSY expert friends told me, I knew I had to decline the purchase at the agreed upon purchase. Before I put my phone back in its case after telling the broker I was cancelling our contract my eyes welled up with tears. For the next hour I cried while driving away from Miami’s Dinner Key Marina to visit a sailing friend in Port Charlotte. I finally calmed down when remembering the Melbourne Yacht Club was hosting their annual adults in prams race that night. I changed course and headed north.
The next day I resumed my internet boat buying search. I also looked for more information on buying a used boat. When I read page 56 in the book by Deb and TJ Akey I decided to reprint this paragraph in hopes of reminding myself and others that walking away is the ticket to finding the perfect boat.
Yup, walk away from that first real prospect.Shed a tear if necessary, but
walk away. It is good practice. It will set the proper head, harden the heart,
and give the broker a chance to earn his or her cut. Look at some other boats.
I’m not saying that the first boat can’t be the boat in a week or month.
In all likelihood, it will still be around. …. Good boats do grow on trees.
Another deal will be along shortly If the broker is any good he or she will
know about it.
While staying at the house of my sailing friend, Dorie, I picked up a two year old copy of one of her professional journals. A picture of a handsome bearded man caught my attention. Apparently he was a journalist turned screenwriter. His name is Mark Boal and like me he asked himself a rhetorical question, “Am I confident?”
Unlike Mark’s answer to this question, which was ‘no,’ I am at least somewhat confident. Mark asked himself this question during an interview with Vanessa M. Gerari for a Fall/Winter 2016 article in the Columbia Journalism Review. Mark explained his position in these words. “You hit your thirties and you go fuck it. It’s now or never.”
Considering that I am 70, I had to laugh at his youthful spirit. If an interviewer asks me if I am confident about continuing my quest to sail alone to faraway places, my honest answer is ‘well sort of.’ My confidence is a mixture of yes and no. I am certain I can afford to purchase a seaworthy sailboat. I am certain I can leave my house for a few years. I am certain I can sail.
Sailing and seamanship are different. I can make a boat go upwind, trim for speed, tack, jibe and drop an anchor. Seasmanship requires much more than that. Am I smart enough to predict counter currents, weather and foreign aids to navigation? Sure, I safely entered and exited harbors alone while I transitted the Bahamas, Turks and Dominican Republic. My GPS was dependable. What if it breaks and I have to rely strictly on visual navigation? Just writing about my seamanship insecurities is causing stress.
Pardon me while I take 5 deep breaths.
In through my mouth, hold a second or two, exhale slowly.
Again and again then two more iterations.
Wow, now in a more relaxed state I remember what John Marples, designer of my previously owned trimaran advised. Unhesitatingly he said, “Buy 2 or 3 portable hand held GPS units for back up.” Sounds like a simple solution (as long as the batteries stay charged).
Speculation about the myriad of wrongful possibilities leads to prevention planning. What better place to plan than here inside my 24-foot land yacht, outfitted by my beloved Ronald O, which his family generously left for me. So it is that my indomitable spirit proclaims it is now or never.
(PS, that is BEAR in the picture. He is my land yacht companion gifted to me from Colorado friend, Norine. He certainly looks better than a selfie of me at this hour of the morning).
About 15 days have passed since I ventured into this journey from my comfy country cabin in southern Colorado to the world’s best humidifier (Florida). Boat shopping and hanging with girlfriends and family has been a whirlwind. Regardless of how my days are being planned the norm is driving a minimum of 100 miles.
This journey’s purpose transformed from a vision into reality on September 28. After two days of drive/rest/drive/east in an iterative relaxing rotation, Bear, Teddy and I safely arrived at the Blue Water Bay Marina Complex in Niceville, Florida. Spending the night in their parking lot provided a welcome respite. I have all the essentials in my 24 foot long Mercedes sprinter van. The twelve day preparation period for this journey, as you may have read on my previous blogs, was an emotional nightmare.
From the daily trauma of waking up each morning in widowhood to budgeting for a preferred future, to appreciating family and friends, the journey reminds me I am a lucky gal. Those who I believe are my friends, are acting like friends. These woman live intriguing lives. From my sister who has become my best friend, to my sailing/dinner making friends Pat, Linda n Maryanne, to my ladies coffee and wine Wednesday crew, to my teaching colleagues and to my newest, most musically inclined cowgirls n hiking buds, Debbie, C. Phyllis, Marsha, Polly Judy, Mary, and Deb G.,,,,I am blessed. —oh yea and my cousins Ann, Necee and Nori are the best!
Just so everyone knows here is the immediate plan.
Nov. 4- 7 dentist and friends
Nov. 8- 11 sailing conference
No. 15 – 18 sailing conference
Between dates I am shopping for the next legendary sailing craft and visiting folks not yet on the schedule.
Also so you know this is the minimum boat criteria:
35 to 45 feet in length
bluewater, structurally sound
ready to sail,,,NO fixer upper
1stchoice – trimaran 2nc choice – catamaran 3rdchoice – solomaran….:-)
Well, it’s too late, now, baby it’s too late to post anything with 1 day til Departure because I already left,,,
Here are some words to live by:
It’s not about the place, it is about the people.
You can return to the place and the people you cannot return to the time.
From a young poet, Liam, “stay put and keep going.”
There is no cure for love, Leonard Cohen
Quarrels amplify misunderstandings.
Men and women can discover new shores when they garner the courage to let go
sight of the shore they have been clinging to.
At the Wonderful World of Chinese where I had my last lunch in SOCO with my hiking friend Polly, here is the fortune that was tucked inside my crispy dessert cookie:
If it is meant to be, who are you to change that?
The pix below is where I am at the Luv’s Fuel and Sleep Over somewhere between OK City and the infamous Dallas, TX. Happy Trails,,,
With less than 48 hours until departure the sentiment I have for our cozy comfy cabin is welling up. Locking the door behind me when I venture out to the van Thursday night will be packed with emotion. Seeing this house was love at first sight. Like the first time my eyes met Ron’s, a flow of adrenal ran rapidly through my veins. “Look,” I squealed, “a salt box house.”
Ron stopped the van alongside the ditch on the right side of the road. Slowly he backed up to the driveway. A realtor sign was shadowed next to the wooded lot. Without hesitation we bolted out of the truck. Immediately I ran to the back door then all four sides of the house. I cupped my hands around my eyes to glimpse at the interior of the house.
Knotty pine planks lined the walls and ceiling. Stairs led to a loft. On the front side of the house two rectangular shaped windows adorned the upper level. “Ron, Ron, where are you?” I called out. I took a few steps back away from the front porch. There he was checking the planks and nails on the metal roof. I continued to sneak peeks inside. The fireplace was centered in the living room. There were two bedrooms downstairs and the kitchen was plenty big for the two of us.
Climbing back down the ladder Ron suggested we leave before we get in trouble for trespassing. Quickly I dialed the phone # of the realtor. “Wynell?” I asked when a voice answered. “Hi, um, we are interested in the house you have listed. I’m not sure exactly where we are. The house is grey with a loft and a slanted roof.” She said to wait there and she would meet us in about an hour.
From that day on Ron and I did all we could to make life in southern Colorado the best place we ever lived. Now, in about 16 hours I will lock the door behind me and drive back to whence I came, maybe forever, maybe for just a visit.
Only 3 days and two nights until I depart for my other home, Florida Today’s entry is going to be a speed blog. Besides this statement I am posting that make me happy. I have a gazillion more but in ten minutes I have to meet with someone who will help take care of my comfy cabin while I am gone.So, here is the list, Chanakah with family. My fav lifetime companions: Toodles, Teddy & Sassea, Friends from Everglades City, and Polly my hiking mate. A super fav pix of you know who during one of our marathon sleeping bag chronicles. Lastly, a model couple, Philip and Lisa who just completed their round trip Alaska excursion.
It is still dark, pitch dark. The only lights are distant headlights traveling along US Hwy 160, the southern route across Colorado from Walsenburg on the east, (a town few have her of), to its polar opposite in the west, Durango. A caveat for living in this rural community is its thundering silence. At this hour, 4:20 am even the rabbits, deer, and occasional bobcat are lying dormant. Only the swish of a fastly moving car breaks through the muted air.
Stars are so faint it makes me think my cataracts have grown back. A house light across the valley twinkles from the gently swaying trees. Our yard is abundant with pinion, juniper and cedar trees. Hundreds of live trees as tall as our two story house decorate the landscape. There are many dead trees waiting to become firewood.
Ay, FIREWOOD, I better quit writing and get the already chopped firewood in the lean to I had built. With only five days til departure, I gotts a lot to do. See you tomorrow. Thanks for reading,,,