Monday, October 9, 2017

Welllll, here we are... October 9th, 2017.  How is it that, as we get older, the years fly by faster?  It'd be fair to say, I've never experienced this kind of time-travel before!  But, none-the-less and n'er the more... here we are.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone.  We truly hope all your dreams are coming true (or at least taking shape), that all your wishes DO come true, and that you are able to keep living each day as the new marvel it is.

We, Kathy and I, have had a wonderful summer... filled with friends, old and new, and time to visit family.  The extra two months have really helped us to better enjoy our new home and the wonderful location we chose to set down our roots.  We are, of course, now in the planning stages for our return to Mexico.  It will be different... this year being our last season in the Sea.  And/but we will do the best we can to enjoy every minute, before returning our little ship home on a freighter... sometime early next summer.

As well....  having finished 'the fence'.... 'the book' is finally taking shape.  Women in Blue is actually starting to look like something a reader, or lover of history, or supporter of women in policing.. might actually like to read one day.  Stay tuned for more on that front.

For now, know we are thinking of you and all the folks in our life.. and wishing you the very best on this Monday, Oct. 9th, our Canadian Thanksgiving Day.

We will check in again once we're closer to arriving in Mexico.. let you know how the airplane trip (with two duffle bags, two computer bags, and two cardboard boxes :-) went.  SSpirit is apparently well and waiting patiently for our return.

Bye for now.. enjoy your turkey dinner... and stay well.

CJ and Kathy

Monday, July 31, 2017

Half way through the summer already... yikes!!

​Why is it that, even though the tudu list gets shorter... the days don't get any longer, at least with time for play?  ​I guess the alternative (death by boredom) isn't so pleasant. In fact the days are racing by and it's hard to believe tomorrow is August 1st.  Yikes!  

The neat thing for us is that, for the first time since 2011
we aren't already engaged in planning a September departure to begin our drive south.  Oh yes, we're still going.. but things are different this year. We have made that 'hard' decision to bring SSpirit (SV Shannon's Spirit) home next summer, after one final season in the Sea of Cortez. It's been difficult to figure out exactly when to come home. As Kathy pointed out a few days ago, if we'd done what so many others did... and headed out into the South Pacific after arriving in Mexico... we'd have been home two years ago. Instead, we stalled in the Sea and have enjoyed every opportunity possible to explore her beautiful shoreline
and people.  But now, realizing there will never be a day we can say "
k, enough, we've seen it all... time to go home", we have decided it is indeed time to head ourselves back to the sailing grounds of beautiful British Columbia... while they still exist and we're still young enough to enjoy adventures here. What this means is that we'll be flying down this year (carting the gear we think we need with us) directly to Mazatlan and SSpirit; 5 or so hours vs. 14 days....  quite a difference.  And, we won't be leaving until the first week of November.. another huge change.  We have, in fact, two full months longer here at home... and it's been pretty nice to know that; more relaxing having time with family, friends, and home-based adventures... something I confess we had been missing.  Our cruising plans for this final season include sailing south down the mainland coast, as far as we can for Christmas, and then heading back north and across to La Paz.  We'll spend the early spring months up in the Baja, gunkholing amongst the beautifu
anchorages there and then we'll return to La Paz for preparation to ship SSpirit home. All plans written, of course, below high water and in the sand.

Here at home, our hearts go out to our friends, and their friends, caught up with the BC wild fires; absolutely horrible, desvastating and terrifying. We've been in contact with many and they seem to be coping, although the threats continue and will do so for some time yet.  It's not even August (until tomorrow).  We all have our fingers crossed for their personal safety and their homes.

For those of you who have been wondering how the fence project is going...
​it's finally done and​
we've enclosed a couple photos.  I must say the learning curve was pretty steep and the hours (spread over 2 1/2 months) seemed pretty long, but it's very satisfying to look outside and see the fence upright and lookin' good.  Sure there are a few warts, and I know where they are :-) but over-all we're very content with the results of our labour.

So finally, I just wanted to check in and say howdy... to all of you who follow our (mostly winter months) Blog and thank you for doing so.  As a bit of a writer (yes, I do have a couple projects underway) it's always heart-warming to know your work is enjoyed by readers... so thanks for being there.

We hope you are enjoying this summer... with your friends and family, and that all is well with each of you.  Take good care.  We'll write again when there's something to say.. likely towards the time we're heading south.
​  Adios amigos y amigas.... until we write again.  CJ​

Friday, June 9, 2017

A cruisers holiday...

​Now you may wonder what cruisers do when they're not cruising....  Well, first they get home one way or another.  We have, for six years, been driving.  A delightful, adventuresome, ​sometimes exciting, always challenging... way to travel from Mexico, through the US (aka tr__p (dare I say the word) ville) and back into Canada.

BUT, what do we do when we're not outfitting, refitting and over-fitting, our little boats?  What do we do to fill that time between Nirvana and preparing for Nirvana?  Well....  take a look.  Yup, we're building a fence.  Not just any fence, but a 6', yellow cedar fence... enough fence to keep the deer, the rabbits, the dogs, the kids (well, you know....), and any other creature not properly invited... out.  Oh, and it's replacing the falling down edition that was ready for retirement.

For now; we build.  In a month; we celebrate.  I must say though, building this fence is kind of a zen like experience.  Because of the never-ending slope to the back yard... one must first measure, then cut (chop-saw queen here), then place, make perfectly perpendicular using the level (that's a Capricorn thing), then measure and mark for drilling, then drill, then screw.... then repeat, and repeat, and repeat.  As in the Amazing Race... once we've "completed this task 457 times" we will have a new fence.  

As well..... we are really enjoying being home.  Time with family, time with friends.. and time for other projects...  yup,  we're likin' it :-)

Hope you are having a good early summer too.  And, hope your fences are all standing.  CJ

Monday, April 17, 2017

Home in lovely Maple Bay....

Just a quick note to let you know we are safely ensconced in our Maple Bay home. We were up as planned (at 0430 hrs) and slipped the tethers at 0600. Made the Coho Ferry with no problems and arrived in Victoria on time. Pleasant encounter with officialdom and we were on our way. TT Lucy is now tucked up in her driveway with Rikki watching over her. Tanks are flushed, gear has been transferred to the house, and we are happy to be home. The house and grounds have done well under the watchful eye of our home-keeper and we now join the rest of you in the rush to control Mother Natures energetic sprinkling of every kind of weed seed she can find :-). Oh well, it is good to be home and close to our family and dear friends.... all of whom we look forward to seeing real soon!

So dear friends, we close down another season of "sailing in the Sea". This one was very special. We actually made it off the dock, to some wonderful Baja anchorages, and shared time with dear friends Sue and John on board. SSpirit rests peacefully at her slip in Marina Mazatlan. She will be cared for by folks there who do that for a living and have done so for us in the past. We will return to her next fall, by airplane this time, and continue our exploration of the Mexican coast. Until then we will enjoy spending time in our new home and gardens, and with close friends and family.

We wish all of you a pleasing and enjoyable spring and summer. May your flowers grow where you planted them... or at least somewhere near, and may your summer be filled with fun times with friends and loved ones. Have a great year... CJ and K

Sent from my iPa

Friday, April 14, 2017

Driving into Spring...

It's hard to believe that, only a very few days ago, we were driving through barren, dry, and hot desert; certain we would have perished if not for Rikki's trusty air conditioner. Then we were driving north through shrub-like treed expanses drowned in sand and thrashed by desert winds, but still very hot... blazingly hot. Territories so dry you didn't need a hand towel; just wait one minute and your hands were dry. One day later we drove up into the snow zone where temps were in the low to mid 30's and snow graced the sides of the highway and up into the tree-lines. One could be forgiven for believing we were indeed returning to a land of winter.

I am pleased to announce 🤗 that yesterday we drove into spring. Temps were still low, and it even rained on us, but this morning the sun poked its way through the clouds, delighting us with patches of blue sky, and glimpses of beautiful Pacific Northwest spring scenes. Yup, daffodils at the side on the road, white and pink cherry blossoms everywhere, bright yellow forsythia in bloom... oh, and traffic jams cuz folks were out enjoying the drive...

We have just returned from touring the Bonnieville Dam and Fish Hatchery. Very interesting and informative. And now, as the 'spring' rains begin again, we shall tuck ourselves into the little trailer and watch a movie :-). Tomorrow we move on to Port Townsend for our last two nights on the road.

Hope all is going well for you and spring is showing her head in your neighbourhood. CJ

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Farewell Bend State Park, OR

Thankfully we beat the rain. Arrived here about 1530 hrs (or 1630 if you wanted local time... which we didn't as the sun was shining and where we were heading was the earlier time too). Donna and Liz had arrived ahead of us and selected their site so we pulled in right beside them. The park is almost empty as it doesn't officially open until mid-May. For those of us not afraid of a little colder weather the park folks have allowed a 'first come first served' site selection system, along with an 'honour system' payment set up. Worked for us and in quick order we were set up, organized for a joint dinner and enjoying a great view of the river over snacks and a libation. We played some cards after dinner and, good news Dee, I now understand Uno :-)

Farewell Bend State Park is one of the parks, set up along the Oregon trail used by the early settlers and paralleling the Snake River. Just like Three Island Crossing State Park, a visitor can look out over the river and surrounding terrain and begin to imagine the fully loaded wagons, along with kids, parents, and loners trudging their way slowly west. As we drive through the flat barren land, crossing vast distances of dry uninviting desert, we can only imagine the damage done to the horses and oxen by the thorned and prickly cactus. The rugged terrain along with the lack of shade and water must have demanded a heavy toll in both equipment and life. As we drove our route up Highways 93 and 84, we spoke often of those brave, courageous, and stubborn people who managed, against all odds, to find their way west. Me thinks very few people today would even consider starting such a journey, never mind continuing with it once the hardships became obvious.

The clouds began moving in (the forecast looks like rain off and on for the rest of our journey (rats 😖) and by 0230 it was raining on our parade. I'm delighted to report that this morning (0700) the rain has stopped. Fingers crossed it stays stopped until we're at least packed up and maybe on the road. We have pretty much perfected (to our standards anyway) the 'touch and go' method for one-night stops. First we find a site long enough to accommodate our whole 'rig' (that's RV talk for whatever you're driving and whatever you're towing or carrying on your back). Our rig is 35' overall and we can usually find a site long enough to back into and stop without having to detach the truck. Then we pop Rikki up onto a single board under each rear tire and (voila) TT Lucy is level for and aft. And, to make it even easier, most State Parks have paved sites or very flat gravel ones, so the side to side levelness isn't an issue. Easy peazy.

We leave this morning (Thursday) to head for Ainsworth State Park just outside of Portland. This will be a two day stop as we're one day ahead of schedule and have a bit of shopping to do in Portland. As well, with luck, we'll get to see the Cascade Locks this time.

So, while we are cooler, at least we're sleeping better at night and did actually think to bring along a pair of long pants and some fleece tops. Just have to dig out our rain coats now.

Hoping all is well with each of you and your days re filled pursuing your dreams. Adios for now.... CJ

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ

The eve of departure approaches... sigh. As if to help prepare us for the soon-to-be arctic temps ahead of us, the wind and cloud cover has increased and the daytime temperature has dropped to 77 brrrrr. 💨🌨☃️ Can't wait to face the mid-50's (as daytime highs) that await our trek north.

Oh well, we've had a grand time here at Cattail Cove State Park (just outside Lake Havasu City, near the western border of Arizona) and today is our last day for R and R.  The truck is tidied (the trailer not, but we've still a few hours to tuck things into their proper place... ship-shape as it were) and, after one last dinner with our friends we'll be heading out early tomorrow morning.

Here are a couple photos of the park.  One shows the lovely little beach and the other looks back over the campground.  If you look very carefully you'll see Lucy tucked away under the trees - about dead centre of the photo.  The trailer to the left belongs to friends Donna and her mom Liz.  We four have had a great visit, hiking in the mornings, swimming in the afternoons, sharing dinners and .. well, just sharing the beauty of the desert.

Tomorrow we head home via, if the weather allows, stops in the following order: Cathedral Grove State Park; Welcome Station RV in Wells, Nevada; Farewell Bend State Park, Oregon; Ainsworth State Park, Oregon; Portland; Port Townsend, WA, and finally the Coho Ferry to Victoria on Easter Monday morning.  That's the route we've mapped out and we hope the trip will unfold flawlessly...

Won't be doing much writing on the road so remember no news is good news...  Hope all is good with each of you.... will write again when it's time.  CJ