KATIE & JESSIE on a boat

aboard lovely Louise…


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COVER GIRLS

Cover Girls

INCREDIBLY EXCITING NEWS as Captain Reggie, Katie, and myself are magically on the cover of a magazine!!!

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???

There are several people that were behind this, and if not for them we would not have had this opportunity.

RENEE & DAVE HERRINGTON (catamaran cruisers aboard Alegria): We met the duo at Stock Island Marina down in Key West, just days before Katie and I were to begin our trip north. We spent an evening getting to know eachother. Dave, who was having a war with their dysfunctional depth sounder, finally sat down, poured himself a drink and began laughing about it. While Renee, was equally as frustrated that her boat had been torn to pieces while trying to solve electrical problems. We bounced stories back and fourth, and shared the toughest and greatest moments with each other. In the end, we all agreed that it was problems like the ones they were having, where we gain our education, experience, and most importantly some of the greatest laughs. We traveled to Key Largo the following day together, and got to share one more evening before Dave and Renee were Bahamas bound, and Katie and I were East coast bound. Renee raved about a guy named Bob Bitchin, the creator of Cruising Outpost, and the current article he had written about attitude, and fear. A light went on in Renee’s head…. “Do you mind if I email Bob and tell him your story?!?! He would love you girls!!! “

JODY & BOB LIPKIN (creators of Cruising Outpost) A few weeks down the road… I receive an email from Jody, Bob’s wife. Jody finally had a chance to sift through our blog. She was thrilled, and asked If I would be interested in publishing an article in Cruising Outpost. “YES!!!!!” – was of course my answer. I wrote up a 700 word article and sent over several photos that week. A few more days pass… I hear from Jody. They loved it, and wanted more. They asked if I could add in another 500 words, and more photos. I wrote more, kept digging up photos, and sent them over. I receive an email from Bob, he wants to use the article as a “feature” and starts asking me questions about a particular photograph (the cover photo) in which I refer him to my friend, and photographer Pat Bonish

PAT BONISH (photographer) Pat and his wife Cindy have played an enormous role in encouraging and supporting our journey. Our friendship began back in Cedar Key, Florida, where they run a badass tiki bar/motel. Both of them are fabulous photographers, adventurers, and humans. I’m not kidding when I say consider yourself lucky if you know them. They are honestly that cool. Any-who, Pat and Cindy visited us in Savannah, GA this past spring. Pat snapped several photos of Katie and I on the bow one afternoon while we decided to have a “Redneck Yacht Club” day at the docks. I am not at all surprised that Pats photography is gracing the cover of a magazine, however I am shocked that it is Katie and I who are the subject!!!

If not for Renee sending an email to Bob…

If not for Jody and Bob taking the time to look through this blog…

If not for Pat Bonish taking that photo…

If not for having a really pretty friend who owns a really pretty dog…

You get the point. The pieces fell beautifully together. And here we are, on the cover of Cruising Outposts light hearted, and down to earth magazine.

Pick up “Cruising Outpost” at your local West Marine, and/or order one online to read the article.

Smiling ear to ear with unexpectedness, and appreciation. THANK YOU GUYS YEEEEOWWWWWW !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Sparky and JoJo

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The last day on the Trent-Severn waterway and only one more nights’ rest before Lousie becomes a sailboat again. I can’t even call it a nights’ “sleep” because there hasn’t been too much sleeping going on these days. Just rest. I don’t know If I am nervous, or excited. What do they call that? Nervited?

Another gray day passes over, but not even dark skies can hide the superb landscape. Low stratus clouds sweep the tree tops. Leaves and branches dampen the blow so Louise can glide forward with ease through the wooded channel. Surrounded by large mossy rocks, blueberry bushes, and handcrafted cabins sitting cozily alongside trees, we wind around the channel towards the Georgian Bay. Each cabin makes me daydream of living inside one some day. The nervousness fades. A house… I wonder what that will feel like. I forget that I am shivering.

The water is deep with ambiguity, but black with clarity.  The depth sounder dances over rocks and boulders far below, while cormorants are camouflaged for only moments until breaking the surface. If I focus on reading the depth sounder its  inconsistency stresses me out. It reads as if we are floating over a mountain range. I remind myself to look up, focus on the channel markers. Katie and I refer to concentrating on “real life” versus “fake life”. Sometimes, like now, it is important to focus on “real life”. What can I see ahead of me? Below me? Beside me? What obstacles are visible? Other times, in a low-visibility situation or overnight passage, we rely on “fake life” AKA electronics, for navigation. Paying close attention to our Simrad chart plotter is often the only way to get from A to B safely. Most of the time, one of us pays attention to “real life” while the other monitors “fake life”. Now, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of our system considering we have run into many things, however we are still afloat.

For the first time, maybe ever, not having a shower has not been a problem. The fresh water provides us with a daily polar bear plunge. Frantically we cleanse. Surely it looks like we are swatting bees and running from a disturbed hive before one would assume “Oh, she is bathing”.  Also, for the first time ever, it has been cold enough to not sweat through clothes and sheets. In fact, so cold that I think I have been wearing the same outfit for over a week. Undecided if I am impressed with my dirty laundry bag consisting of only underwear and socks, or if I am disturbed to know how infrequently I have changed my outfit. I justify this by the cold temperatures forcing me to wear everything I packed all at once.

Safety we’ve arrived in Penetanguishene just ahead of a nasty storm system that we outran by maybe an hour. After docking and heading to the nearest convenient store on foot, walking turned to sprinting as cold rain morphed into frozen pellets. It was hailing. Huh. We must be in Canada. Happy to be on land and off the boat, everything is dropping. Visibility, temperature, rain, and hail continue to fall. But not our spirits. Somehow we’re having fun, we’ve made it to the Georgian Bay. Alive.

Reuniting with fellow Loopers and waiting out atrocious weather, made it easy to put all boat projects on the back burner. Plus, Mark (Sparky) and Jo (JoJo) Simpson are not just any looper friends, they are family. Katie and I have been looking forward to this day since we said goodbye to them over a year and a half ago. Back in Fall of 2012, we met the duo at a “docktail” happy hour when Jo introduced herself as a spy, secretively revealing her gadgets one by one. A flashlight, a knife, and bottle of wine were not just items in the bottom of her purse, but tools to help her solve the latest mystery.  I don’t think we even knew her name before she forever became”the Spy”. We spent a month traveling towards the Gulf of Mexico, laughing, bitching, drinking, eating, and rafted up to one another on the rivers. But mostly laughing. Katie is funny, she makes me laugh. But Jo has a way of making me laugh so hard it hurts. There is no couple on the planet comparable to Mark and Jo. It is a privilege to have friends like these.

Mark works at a marina in Penetang where we docked Louise and rented a crane to re-step the mast. When the rain decided to relax for one damn second, we hopped on the crane. With the help of Mark and Jo, we had enough limbs to handle the project ourselves. For 40 dollars, Louise became a sailboat again. A process that once had me stressed to the point of hives, was  accomplished this time with grace, ease, and FUN…all adjectives I would have never deemed appropriate prior to this occasion. Gosh Louise looks beautiful. She can breath again. I can breath again.

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The BIG CHUTE

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I grew up going to Michigan’s Adventure, an amusement park in Muskegon, MI.  My memories of the park are vague, I don’t recall having any feelings towards my experience there.  No excitement, no fear, just ridiculously long lines for ridiculously short rides. EXCEPT, for one ride…. it was called the “Log Ride”.  I’ve never forgotten the “Log Ride” for it was the only one at the park worth the wait. Buckled into a piece of plastic shaped like a log, a water slide/roller-coaster combination had you cranking up steep tracks so slowly that you completely forget you are sitting in a plastic log. Once you reach the peak, and are pissed off because it took so long, you launch forward down an enormous water slide screaming as your stomach tries to jump out of your mouth. I remember leaving the park thinking how cool it was to have rocketed down a mountain in a log. Whoever designed that ride, really had it figure out… or had me figured out at least. Since then, I’ve been convinced there is no ride in existence that could top the “log ride”. Until, I found myself on the Trent-Severn waterway at lock number 44. Also known as the “Big Chute”.

The “Big Chute” is the only one of it’s kind in the world. The guide books have pages upon pages describing how it works and preparing you on how to enter the chamber. We have traveled through over 100 locks, but I admit to being slightly nervous about this one. I was hoping to watch several boats lock through first. Turns out, we were amongst a few of the first to arrive that morning. Louise was called over the loudspeaker to enter the chamber front and center. Slow enough to avoid damage, but fast enough to overpower the current, I stopped Louise as directed in the middle of large straps that wrapped around her belly for support. Resting on solely on the keel, and supported by straps, the carriage begins to move up the tracks, and out of the water. Four, 200 hp electric motors provide traction on a cable, delivering you from one body of water to another. The men operating the lock were as fascinated by our enthusiasm as we were by their jobs after asking if they were hiring. I suddenly remembered exactly what it was like to be on the “log ride”. Smiling ear to ear, Katie and I felt like little kids. We wanted to ride on the “big chute” over, and over, and over again and seriously considered asking the employees if we could just stay parked where we were. It was kind of… well.. amazing.

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Razor Throat

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Just a few miles shy of the town of Trenton, in Lake Ontario, Louise was pushing forward bucking bronco style head into wind chopped waves. With the mast on the deck, I was completely focused on holding it in place with my eye balls. I swore with some kind of hocus-pocus my concentration would prevent the mast from flying off the deck. Pretty sure it was working. But with my focus on the mast, and no where else, Katie was driving and she pointed out that suddenly… we weren’t moving forward any more. We had been holding a steady 3.5 knots throughout these final nasty miles. I looked down at our speed and surely, we were at a standstill. We had become a rocking horse sitting outside of Walmart, someone was feeding us pennies and we weren’t going anywhere.

We couldn’t put the sails up, because obviously, we were not a sailboat at the time. I could see our destination in the distance, but it sure as hell wasn’t getting any closer. The engine sounded fine.  Nothing else sounded weird. Nothing felt weird. I had flash backs to the time we lost our transmission in the Bahamas. I was swearing a lot in my head. Those words don’t need to be relayed to express my concern. We turned around surfed the waves instead of fighting them, as we messed with the throttle and shifter to figure things out. Some masts were hiding behind trees not far from us, we pointed Louise in that direction hoping to get somewhere protected. It is not easy to dissect an issue when you are violently bobbling around. Louise only moved at 1 knot. Luckily, we were able to throw our lines to a nice young man at the Trenton Yacht Club. I got in the water to look at the propeller. Where was the propeller? I only saw weeds. I began hacking away. A bundle of weeds was so tautly wrapped around the the shaft and prop I was actually impressed nothing snapped in two. Poor little Louise just had her panties in a twist. Problem solved.

The next morning Katie woke up sick. She referred to her sickness as “razor throat” explaining in detail what it felt like to swallow razors. I was not envious of Razor Throat, and did my best to stay on “my side” of the boat that day. However, when one of us is sick, its like both of us are sick, so it didn’t matter. Because she felt like crap, I did too. The day was young, and we had plenty of time to turn our frowns upside down. We fired up the engine and pulled some enthusiasm out of our behinds to enter the Trent-Severn waterway.  The Trent-Severn waterway is made up of 210 miles, and 44 locks, of intertwining lakes and rivers. This protected, shallow, and narrow waterway zig zags you from the town of Trenton, on Lake Ontario, up to Port Severn in the Georgian Bay.

The engine puttered out just as we were about to release the dock lines. Damnit. I crawled into the basement, and bled air our of the lines as Razor Throat cranked it over. With more air bubbles in the system than normal, we didn’t have enough battery to start the boat after bleeding it. The docks did not have 30 amp electric, so we could not plug into shore power to start the boat. We did not have an adapter. We found the nice young lad who worked at the yacht club to see if he had an adapter. He didn’t, but instead he removed the battery from his own boat and delivered it to Louise as if were as light as a bird. When he passed it to me, I pretended that I too, thought it was light as a bird. In reality, the battery pulled me into the basement head first. We jumped Louise and had smiles on our faces once again. Why thank you for your battery young lad.

Not even a mile into the Trent- Severn, I was playing “chicken” with a small fishing skiff. There was a fork in the river. One way leading to our first lock, and the other leading towards a rushing damn. The skiff was in the center of the fork, slowing reeling in lines as they saw us approach. When I got closer and saw their lines were not reeled in completely, I chose to loop around the right side (the side leading to the rushing damn) in hopes to leave them with more time to reel in their lines that were drifting in the path I was supposed to take (the side leading to the lock.) CRRRRRUUUUUNNNNCH. I had run Louise up a mountain and parked on the highest rock. I swear I could hear fiberglass crushing beneath us. It was an awful sound that I wish upon no boater. I looked in the bilge, we weren’t sinking. It took several attempts to get off the mountain until we had to ask the two men in the skiff for help. We had an audience of fisherman on nearby banks.

Outwardly I was smiling, and even laughing (laughing?!?!) with the two fisherman who were about to pull us off the mountain. At the time, making light of the situation was the only way I could handle it. When actually, I felt like a complete asshole who clearly chose the wrong side of the path, who could have potentially sunk our house, and who wanted to crawl into the v-berth and not come out until next spring. The men on the skiff cleated off a line, and pulled us down from the mountain as we listened Louise rearrange the rocks under her keel. Razor Throat was on the bow the entire time, silent, her eyes piercing through me with. Not frustrated that I had hit rocks, but that I hit rocks and was pretending that it was totally fine.

Adrift at last, we were thankful for the fisherman who ruined and saved our lives in a matter of minutes… I continued towards the correct spoke of the fork.  But it wasn’t over yet. We throttled up, and just like the day before we weren’t going anywhere. Weeds. Damnit. Voluntarily I stripped down, threw on my goggles, and got in the water to remove the weeds from the prop. I was the one who got us into the situation in the first place. I felt it was my job to have to plunge into the icy waters at 10 am. With our Canadian riverbank audience watching the whole thing, I was slightly embarrassed of our American flag.

Like our moods, the sky remained gray. I spent the remainder of the day wondering If there was a hole in the boat. After a few locks, the sky had reached it’s saturation and overflowed with sheets of rain. Which was exactly what we needed, pouring rain to raise the morale. We parked at the next lock, safely connected to the wall that time, not the ground.  I went below and pulled out a moldy tortilla, and cut in half a brown avocado and ate it in my wet clothes. It was not our day. We called it quits at 2 o clock, and agreed to try again tomorrow. Hoping that Razor Throat would feel better, and that I could make a come back after my horrendous grounding.

That night, we became friends with a girl named Sari, a lock operator who was so enthusiastic about our trip and wanted to know more. We invited Sari aboard that evening. After whining and bitching to her about our day, we were all laughing. Comparing the problems Razor Throat and I face every day, to the ones of your typical 25 year old female, is in fact a laughing matter. She distracted us with great conversation and in a matter of hours, she kind of felt like a sister. Sari probably had no idea she had turned our frustrating day into one worth having. Yet again, a reminder that we are always rewarded with good people in the end. Always. An unexpected constant that keeps us going. We put the day to bed, and started over the next morning.

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Coolest water elevator EVER. We were lifted 65 feet in 90 seconds.

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At the top of Peterborough lock, we met a man who gifted us this wooden instrument handcrafted by his grandfather. It’s used as a reminder to indicate which side the bouys to go on. One of my favorite gifts to this day.

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In lovesick lock we met an amazing and entertaining family… we let the girls go wild with sharpies on our ceiling. I told them to write their favorite quotes. We could have hung out with these 13 year old girls for days. They were smart, and asked us questions most boaters don’t even think to ask.

“Everyone has a place to fit in, you just have to find out where it is” – Breann

“The wind can you anywhere, you just have to guide it.” – Tay-dog

The next morning, they left us this note… Thanks girls : )

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Mommy hair cut

First off, I would like to dedicate this post to my sister, Alex. It is her 28th birthday today. As children we shared connecting rooms, yet somehow managed to live completely separate lives. Mine involving dolls, playing house, wearing pink, dancing around in leotards playing “boyfriend/girlfriend” with all my friends. While Alex galloped on all four’s playing animals when she wasn’t digging into my dads tools, getting dirty, or inventing something brilliant. Naturally an artist and an engineer, she taught me how creativity, brains, and curiosity, are what makes someone beautiful. As her little sister, I was jealous of her inventions, her brains, her solitude, and imagination. I made up for this by being a socialite and pretending I didn’t have a brain. It wasn’t until we were adults, that my sister helped me find these traits I had been hiding all along. Thanks sis, Happy Birthday.

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Lake Oneida is hot dog shaped, and shallow. We were aware of it’s shallow depths before crossing it, but having family in the area steered us towards a lake front property where Joe, a friends of my cousin Erin lived. Joe offered us his dock space in which there was of course, no turning down. When I asked if there was enough depth at the dock, Joe said “Well, I’m just over 6 feet tall and the water’s up to my chest… so I think you’ll be all right.”

When nearing Joe’s property we bumped bottom a boats length from the dock. With some tiller thrusting, throttle wiggling, and ballast readjusting we were afloat again. In a field of weeds my height, the depth sounder was picking up the dancing plants instead of the ground, leaving me with inaccurate readings. Time and time again we tried different ways to approach the dock, but we never made it those last 30 feet without the earth blocking our way. Finally we said, “Okay, this is fine then.” Dropped the hook right there, and ran a line to the dock so we wouldn’t swing circles into what could have been even more shallow. Gently Louise snuggled the lake floor as mini wind-waves rose her up and back down again kissing her keel.

After two days visiting with family and new friends in Lake Oneida, we excavated Louise off the ground and passed through the remainder of the lake until being funneled into the Oswego canal. The Oswego canal held the last series of locks before entering Lake Ontario. Just a few days from being able to dive into the Great Lakes once again.

In between Oneida and Ontario we found ourselves oddly entertained. Lock walls to tie to every night for free. Fresh water to bath in. Peculiar towns that fed my ravenous appetite for ice cream. We found trees to climb and trails to walk. As well as an exceptional hike through mossy forests and ancient rocks crafted by glaciers. When running out of entertainment, I let Katie cut off my ponytail. My hair met my chin, and I spent days mocking myself for having a “mom” haircut. Katie kept reassuring me that I did not look like a mom. I think it was because she was the one who gave me my new “do”, and was proud of her hair cutting ability. In a weird way, I was too, she actually did pretty good. However, when I saw the reflection in our standard paper sized mirror that cuts me off at my chest, I only saw one thing – my mother.

Not a day later we were tied to a lock wall in an odd upstate NY town with plans to walk 3 miles to Walmart purely for amusement. A tattered woman walked by with a grocery cart, and looked to Katie who was standing on the bow, “Honey, do you have any empty cans? I am collecting cans.”

“We don’t, Im sorry. Check back later, we might have some” she responded knowing the day would most likely end with beers. The woman continued to push her cart in my direction. This time she looked to me, smiled, and said

“If it’s okay, I am going to check back later to see if you have any empty cans. I just asked your daughter, and she said you don’t have any now.”

I smiled back, and in my most motherly voice I responded “Of course it’s okay.”

Katie and I died laughing. She thought I was Katie’s mom. Later that day, I got my mommy-hack-job hair do, trimmed up by a gal at Walmart who did not have the most fabulous hack job herself.

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Reaching the Great Lakes…

In the center of Lake Ontario…possibly overflowing with pride knowing how far we have come. It was nearly two years ago we waved goodbye to these lakes. And now here we are re-entering them as different people. As women who confidently move forward aware of consequences, with a full understanding of what we have left behind and what could lie ahead. Without words Katie and I operate. Without questions we carry on. Without answers we are eager.

We could not have chosen a better day to cross this lake. The mast still lays on the deck. It wouldn’t take much to stir up this massive body of water and test the durability of the cradle holding it in place. Instead, we are drifting over a sheet of glass that only presents itself as a body of water based on the ripples Louise leaves behind. I can barely find the seam where the water meets the sky. If I didn’t know any better, I would assume we were on a different planet. One where horizons do not exist.

Multiple species of bugs, have hitched a ride in the cockpit since sunrise. They don’t look to be making moves any time soon. Like me, they look in every direction and see nothing. A different planet. Why would they leave? Everything we need to live is right here. At first I was perturbed by these bugs, but then my mom haircut helped me understand that all the little bug children just needed a place to rest. I could hear them crying at me in octaves higher than a human can even register “Can we stay? Please? Mommm, is it okay if we stay? We have no where else to go.” And then silently, I responded in my motherly voice “Of course it’s okay.” I suppose we can all check into Canada together.

 

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Hours pass like minutes. Miles pass like years.

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A dry crumbly muffin, fraction of a stale bagel and a brown banana fall apart in my lap. Yum. Not the meal I had been dreaming of, but I am too delighted from a full nights rest to complain about my rockstar breakfast.

The sun this morning is already bright and obnoxious as the one on “Teletubbies” who wears the face of a yapping baby. The air is so chilly that Katie and I both have leggings, hoodies, and slippers on for the first time since I can remember. The bimini is pushed back to feel the warm sun through our clothing simultaneous to the cold air sneaking through layers of cotton and fleece. Bur. I love goose bump weather. We must be reaching higher latitudes. The last time I felt this fabulous dry chill, was at altitude in the rocky mountains.

Speaking of altitude, we seem to be gaining it and loosing it in dozens of feet as we travel through a series of locks. Every couple of miles, large doors open welcoming Louise into a chamber similar to how I imagine prison. Upon entering the large cement box, and connecting to vertical cables, a pool of water elevates the house with ease. For a while, the locks are an entertaining way to break up the day… but once the hours spent become greater than miles traveled, you may or may not catch one of us napping in a lock. Hours seem to pass like minutes. Miles pass like years. Only 12 more locks until reaching the Great Lakes. Just the thought makes the corners up my mouth turn upwards.

Several times a day we wonder why we are the only people around. Where is everybody? We miss the companionship and camaraderie of traveling with boats. We must be too slow. Too late in the season maybe. Just Katie, Reggie, and myself, enjoying places in America I never even knew existed. Places that remind me of nowhere I have ever been, leaving me with a big question mark if you asked me to pinpoint my location. I am oddly okay with never knowing where I am. Having no expectations or previous knowledge of what streets I may wander that day, make it far more interesting. Plus, if I think back to some of my greatest memories, they all happened in places I never even knew were there to begin with.

To see places or to meet people for the first time, without having had anyone paint a picture or leak a bitter opinion prior, is the best way to experience anything new. Having a pre-conceived idea of what you are about to see, makes it a lot more difficult to see it your own way. I think this is why I enjoy, and often prefer not knowing a thing about my whereabouts.

Two deer, a bald eagle, and a fox expose themselves on a rural walk up a winding hill outside a town I can not even pronounce. Lock walls have become our parking lot every night on the Erie Canal, free of charge. The TV series “Friday Night Lights” is a new addiction that pulls us like magnets to the V-berth way before the sun goes down. Fresh water in the canal has Louise’s raw water-cooled engine joyously chugging along. The parts of her engine that had turned green and blue with corrosion from the oceans salt, have faded.  The only woman who misses salt water on this ship is Katie. Fresh water means two things – we are almost always clean, and we are almost home.

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I hid behind a tree and cried.

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Well why didn’t anyone tell me that the Hudson River was going to be like living a scene from “The Sound of music” ?  I could hear Julie Andrews singing from the depths of the hills. Mountians, cliffs, forests, castles, winding through a river and cutting through canyons. Are we in Austria? Where are we? I have never really heard anyone talk about the Hudson River with enthusiasm, were they trying to keep it a secret? Or was I just never listening? I love surprises.

Finally I am beginning to feel like myself again. Like I am living the life of a musical where everyone sings instead of talks. Coming back down several notches after running around the east coast trying to keep up with people that move a lot quicker than me. The last two weeks swept by faster than any of them yet. The speed of life is slowing back to down where I am most pleased – to that of no ones but Katies’ and my own. But lets be honest, Louise sets the pace here not us. A 35 year old woman, who travels at 5 knots in her prime, dictates what can be accomplished in a day. It is safe to say that for us girls to work in harmony with that woman, Katie and I quickly had to tack on ten years of patience and understanding. We must all be on the same page, if we weren’t, at least one of us wouldn’t be in the picture anymore. I am only 25 years old, but in order to operate peacefully my mental state parallels Louise’s’.

A few days up the Hudson and all of the sudden I am hiding behind a tree holding back my tears. “God, I am such a girl” I scream in my head, embarrassed and trying not to let anyone notice. Before I even had the chance to register what we were actually doing at the marina in Catskill, NY, the backbone of Louise was being hoisted up by a large crane, and surgically re-positioned sideways on the deck.  Straps, ropes, stays, spreaders, and a large wooden cradle had completely taken over our home. No longer could we walk anywhere on the deck, it was a confusing mess that interrupted half of our very small living space. A in-penetrable maze. The large wooden cradle embracing the mast, took away any nautical beauty replacing and it with an imaginary sign saying “en route to ‘Burning Man’ “.

If you are confused about that entire paragraph, let me explain. Shortly after Catskill New York, there bridges on the Hudson River, Erie Canal, and Trent-Severn waterway with a vertical clearance of 22 feet. Meaning that the mast on our boat, with a vertical clearance just shy of 40 feet, must come down in order to travel under these bridges. This was a process we also had to go through in the beginning of our trip, to travel the rivers. But that time, we shipped the mast on a truck with all of it’s working parts. Which in return, left us with an empty “patio”… extending our living space with lots more room for activities. Like handstands, cartwheels, guitar playing and fishing.

So yes, I am the first to admit that my emotions got the best of me after our beautiful sailboat transformed into a sad, sad looking trailer park. About a week after, we pulled up to a dock in Oneida Lake. There was a single handed man who had been cruising for 14 years. Without me even touching base on the subject, he mentioned how he teared up when his mast was recently un-stepped. I smiled, and told him I completely understood. I felt like less of a “girl” knowing that a grown man also got emotional over this silly part of life aboard.

After smashing foreheads into the wooden cradle, stubbing toes on newly exposed hardware, and tripping over ratchet straps enough times, we learned our way around the maze. Accurate hand and foot placement was discovered the hard way, via injuries. But then again I am pretty certain there is no other way. It is what it is. Burning man here we come.

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