Eleven months, and we have only completed half of America’s Great Loop. If you asked me if it was what I expected, I don’t think I could answer. I don’t think I had any expectations at all. I’d say the both of us were pretty clueless as to what we were getting ourselves into. What I did think was that at some time over the course of a year, I would have an epiphany and discover what it is I am supposed to do with my life. That never happened, and I am still trying to figure that one out. But what I do know, is that the list of things I learned about myself and the world of cruising is extensive. Towards the end, I admit, I was itching to get off of Louise. Yearning to get back into a “normal life.” One including a real bed, running water, flushing toilets, ice, and various other items most would require to stay alive. Until I found myself there… in a warm home tucked away in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. As far from the ocean as I could be. The funny thing is that I didn’t find myself anywhere but aimlessly wandering. Unsettled. Slightly confused. Spending every moment thinking about getting back aboard, and all the work required before we can do so. Constant conversations in my head about boat life, or things that occurred over the last year. There was no one in the mountains I could have these conversations with. No Katie. No Reggie. No Louise. I love the mountains, and I love the woods. But what was once my version of a “normal life,” changed.
My normal life is it wake up and pee 12 inches from Katie’s head. Have Reggie jump in the v-berth and wag his tail as it smacks you in the face. Boil hot water, and make strong coffee in my french press while rocking back and fourth. Hang up all the wet stuff to dry that had gotten wet from the rain the night before. Check the bilge. Sit in the cockpit for endless morning hours, focusing on nothing but the caffeine and what I had dream’t the night before. Writing down thoughts, and observations. Watching weird creatures swim around Louise. Jumping in the salty water to bathe. Occasionally picking up my guitar, playing the same things over and over again. Sparring with Katie over engine issues, and where we were going to go the next day. We managed to stay busy. We just did everything really slow, at the pace of a 90 year old. We had all the time in the world to do so. This is my normal.
Since being back I have disturbed myself with how I’ve spent time. I discover my fat ass on a couch, with a large, bright, stimulating television in front of my face. I scroll facebook as if it’s important as the NY times. I haven’t picked up my guitar, let alone the journal I typically write in every single morning. Most importantly, my camera has sat in it’s case barely touched. Sprawling mountains and land to run, surrounded by a new kind of beautiful that I only am enjoying from behind the window pane. I am more scared of a moose than a shark. Plus, the couch is really comfortable… All of the above indicators of being uninspired and unmotivated. My brain hasn’t quit going wild with plans and ideas, but my body doesn’t want to keep up. This being said, I’m trying to find where it is I am supposed to be. Seems I should be seeking a body of water. I need to surround myself with like-wise beings, people who understand my kind of “normal.”
These next couple months are vital to the following leg of the journey. Obviously we ran out of money again, and we don’t care to be cruising the ocean while mother nature needs her season to hurricane. We think of Louise every single day. Already stressed about what needs to be done, but thrilled to get back and start the process. If you have kept up with the stories, you are aware that Louise has been through hell and back. Therefore the list of things to fix when we return to Fort Lauderdale:
-sand / re-paint the bottom
-fix prop shaft (we think it is just a matter of replacing the “locking nut” or whatever it’s called)
-cracked rudder (re-fiberglass)
-cracked tiller (re-laminate?)
-re-place stanchion that ripped off
-re-place all engine fluids/filters
-paint transmission (forgot to do this before new one was installed)
-lets not forget to mention cleaning out the mold that will be covering every square inch, amongst many other odd growths and peculiar scents.
SO, we have some things to do. Meanwhile, I am going to soak up life’s current amenities. I am not going to count the seconds in-between lightning. I am not going to hang up my clothes to dry, I will put them through a machine that makes them warm and fluffy. I will not use the restroom in a bucket. In fact, I may flush the toilet twice for each use to make up for all those times I never could. I will not struggle to stand while making my breakfast in the morning. I will move freely about the stable ground without holding on to something for balance. I will bathe myself in water not containing salt. I will chop all of my hair off for it has become rather nappy over this past summer. I will not sweat myself to sleep. I will put ice in my drink. I will drive my truck, faster than 5 knots. I will wear shoes!!! I can do all of these exciting things, while working to save towards not having all of these things. Isn’t that great?
Here are some photos of my whereabouts and activities since I have been a land-lubber.