Monday, August 22, 2016

Kin Beach Park - Cruisers Pig Roast -

Having a terrible time (not!)... yup, we ran away. We're in Comox at a Pig Roast set up for our cruising (via sailboat, not the other kind :-) crowd from the Mazatlan area. The roast is tomorrow, but we ran away today so we could get here and get Lucy set up early enough to enjoy the sunset.

This past Thursday we had a terrific reunion of some older (not too old) retired gals, along with some younger wonderful women currently working... and it went very well... so well, we've vowed to do it again in a couple years. The gathering came about as the result of some of my research for 'Women in Blue' and it went even better than we'd expected. We had been working on the planning for this event for the past couple of months (in all our spare time... along with house stuff and boat stuff and family stuff) and we were pretty exhausted by the end of the day.... Made it home on the late ferry from Horseshoe Bay.

One days rest and we were back at it! 250' of new anchor chain needed to be painted with the new length markers; 240' of backyard fence is failing and needed to be shored up to get through the winter; new parts for SSpirit (it never ends)... And, as we hope this will be our last year driving down... We want to make sure we get as much as we re going to need.... (won't be able to carry much on an airplane in future years).

And then we looked at the calendar...yikes! Only 23 days before we head south... Unbelievable. We have so enjoyed this summer, living in our new home, visiting with friends and family. It's hard to believe it's already time to pack up and head south.

Anyway, we re taking a couple days off and then we'll be back home doing what we do. IF the photo comes through to the blog, it's a picture of a neat piece of art work (pieces of drift wood 'knit' together on the beach at Kin Beach Park where we're staying).

We hope you are well and enjoying the summer... Adios for now... CJ

Friday, August 12, 2016

Will you look at the date?....

WOW.  That's all I have to say... wow!  We got home yesterday (didn't we??) and now it's time to leave (feels like tomorrow).

We have gone from 'glad to be home'; to grieving the loss of Miss Sophie; oh God, the fence is falling down; oops there goes the lawn with no water; bye bye Mojo; the rebirth of Women in Blue... the writing project; family stuff;  and pretty much everything else that involves friends and family.

Yes, we're tired... but we're also looking forward to a wonderful cruising season on SSpirit (for those that have forgotten... SSpirit is short for Shannon's Spirit, our boat in Mexico).  Suffice to say, we've met the neighbours and have a plan for the fence (which involves shoring it up for the winter and rebuilding it in May); a plan for the house (which includes just enjoying what we have and unpacking and sorting as we have time); and ourselves (newbies to cycling ... Kathy;  busy researching and writing... CJ; prepping both body & soul for a 'more fun' next year... Kathy & CJ).

By the time we're ready to sail, dear SSpirit will be spiffed up with a new windlass and anchor chain, a bunch of electrical stuff that Kathy feels necessary :-), a few mechanical upgrades that CJ wants to take on; the return of our trusty dinghy and outboard from SV Shannon, and all sorts of bits and pieces that have made the TuDu list.  We're really looking forward to a wonderful season this year.. and are excited that Sue and John haven't given up on us but intend to join us once we make it to La Paz.  All going well they'll join us for some cruising just north of La Paz and then cross over to the mainland aboard the good ship SSpirit.

That's enough planning for now... no need to tempt fate.  Suffice to say the next four weeks will be filled with preparing, building, ordering, organizing, packing, sorting, house prepping, and everything else that belongs in the 'going sailing for the winter' hand book.

We hope you are having an enjoyable summer and that your dreams are all coming true... or at least taking shape :-)  Take good care... Will write again once we hit the road ... mid-Sept.  Adios for now.  CJ

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Freedom to be who we are...

Kathy and I have enjoyed a loving and supportive relationship for almost 18 years. And, over those years, we have felt so respected and loved by our friends and family that, at times, we have forgotten the struggle so many others like us still face. We have let slip the horror of the violence and hatred faced every day by literally thousands of our brothers and sisters in cities around the world...some far too close to home.  On June 12, 2016, like so many others, we were jolted back to the ugly truth of what hatred and prejudice can spawn.  The killing of 49 gay men at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and the injury of 53 others... by a lone gunman armed with an assault weapon, has clarified for any who may have doubted... the existence of hatred so vile... and the risks lived every day by members of the LGBT community.

I mentioned we have been blessed by the support of many wonderful friends.  With his permission I am about to share with you a letter written by one of them.  We believe, in his own words, this fellow has captured what so many have missed... and we feel certain his message will speak to many more souls than the couple he wrote it to.  I have changed the names in the letter, not necessarily to 'protect' them, for all have invited us to leave them as they were, but because (in this day and age) it feels like the right thing to do.

"Dearest Paul,

We talked by phone a couple of months ago to arrange a coffee together.  Life got in the way and we didn't meet.  But I wanted to apologize to you.

Several months ago, I watched a "Front Line" (I believe it was Frontline) documentary on the history of the "gay" movement in the US.  It was excellent and very thought provoking.  Its focus was on the late 1970's through the 1990's.  It prompted me to reflect on the time we have known each other and whether I was "sufficiently supportive" to you during those difficult times through the 1980's and 1990's. Honestly? I don't think I was. We...(me and my heterosexual male colleagues) did not understand the circumstances of what you and your community were going through: your struggle for your proper rights and place in the community, as well as the AIDS epidemic.  We sat in the background, chuckling at inappropriate jokes. While we never would have thought we were homophobic, in fact we were, by remaining silent.  While your friends were dying of a horrendous and painful disease, we went on with our own lives, without thought; complacent.

I find that my acceptance of the LGBT community has been a journey.  My point of view and opinions have evolved.  Wisdom perhaps?  In particular I have been both challenged and influenced by close friends such as yourself, Chris, Kathy and Carolyn, as well as some of Sue's quilting friends and workmates friends. You have shown me what is, and what is not, appropriate and for that I must thank you, because I believe you are "quiet heroes" to me as well as to the struggles in your community.

My first introduction to a gay man was a fine music teacher I had at West Vancouver High School.  He was an excellent teacher: kind, caring, nurturing to his students, and had a great sense of humour.  I'm sure he heard and was hurt by some of the comments and inappropriate jokes that were made behind his back, but he remained steadfast in his commitment to all of us.  Outside of the school activities he played oboe in my woodwind quintet I had formed. After I graduated, I heard that he was the subject of slander, but his fellow teachers came to his aid and he was exonerated.  Sadly he died of AIDS sometime during the mid 1980's.  I think of him often.

I had thought that the time of hate is past, but sadly the hate crime in Orlando, reminds us that the LGBT struggles are far from over.  Donald Trump would have us believe this is a Muslim Terror act but who is he kidding?  It was a blatant and hateful attack against gay men.  We all must continue to fight and shout down oppressive and hateful thoughts.

Love, as always! John "

Please take a moment to consider these deeply important words from an extraordinary man. His message speaks to us all.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sophie had a darn good run... (sad news)

Claydon Casts a Spell (officially), Sophie, Miss Sophie, and The Princess (to her friends and fans)... by whatever name you knew her... after many years of adventures near and far, our dear little Sophie left us on Friday night. 

As many of you know, she had suffered from numerous things over these past years, the most recent being re-occurring bouts of pancreatitis. This organ might be small, but the devastation it can cause is not.  What had been the beginnings of another bout, turned into a full-blown assault on her little body on Friday afternoon and, with little hope of recovery, a very tough decision was made in consultation with two of our wonderful veterinarian Doctors. 

This little dog did have​ a darn good run (14 years and 8 months), with lots of adventures, and many terrific beaches.  She accompanied us on journeys that even people might have balked at and certainly had more nautical miles under her collar than most sailors can boast. ​

​After sailing down the coast of North America, from Victoria to Mexico, she became adept at riding in kayaks and enjoying the wildlife of the Sea of Cortez; and she thoroughly enjoyed her beaches, Isla San Francisco being her pawns-down favourite.  A​s long as she was with us, she seemed content to tromp down every path, up every hill and across any patch of desert we should select. ​And, right to the last day, she did her best to keep up with us an​d to​ make us laugh with her crazy stabs at humor.  

She has been part of our life for a very long time and we will miss her very much.  But, as they say, she's in a better place now... no more pain, no more throwing up, no more discomfort.  Kathy always said the contract we make with our pets is that we'll make the tough decision when we know it's time.  

Friday, May 27, 2016,​ was her time... to move on with dignity after living a full and colorful life and after touching so many other lives along the way.

​Thank you for your continuing support of our adventures and our stories.  And, thank you for enjoying Miss Sophie's story as well.  Also, a special thanks to those of you who have, or will be, making a donation to your local SPCA in her memory.  

Carolyn & Kathy
SV Shannon's Spirit

Sunday, April 24, 2016

HOME... Safe and sound

Port Townsend... A very special place

What a beautiful place to stop!  Not only  are the RV sites right at the Port of Port Townsend marina, they have full services and a fantastic view out over the water. There's no privacy amongst the sites... we're basically parked side by side, but "oh my" it is sooooo good to smell the salt water air again, and to hear the cry of sea gulls... and to walk docks ogling all the beautiful boats.  We have a real soft spot in our hearts for the old traditional woodies.. and they're here... just like eye candy.

We spent an extra day here.  It felt pretty good to be surrounded by boats again... And sailors... And even a couple of friends we hadn't seen for a few years.

Saturday, April 23rd.    WE ARE HOME!

Oh yeah... Feels wonderful.  Up at 0400 and on the road by 0600 (it always takes longer when you have a dog to prep :-).  We had a nice drive to Port Angeles, an uneventful crossing on the MV Coho... And the best ever experience with Customs.  A really nice Customs officer welcomed us home and after a short but pleasant chat... We were on our way.

By 1500 hrs., we had hit Save-On for groceries, had lunch, pushed Lucy up the driveway into her home-based parking spot and were well and truly home.  Phew!

This has been yet another season with a multitude of experiences.  We are so very glad to be home, safe and sound, with all the creatures we left with in tact :-). And we are very much looking forward to seeing our friends.  This living two different lives can be wearing... and it takes a special kind of friendship to put up with us... dropping in and dropping out.  We are blessed and steeped in those special friendships.  Thank you ... you know who you are.

So, for now, we wish each and everyone of you... who have been so kind as to come along with us on our most recent adventures; we wish you all a wonderful spring and summer.  And, all things being in balance,  we'll be back when there's new adventures to report.  Adios for now.  CJ

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Another great campsite...

We feel so very fortunate to have been guided to such beautiful locations.  This one, Casey's Riverside RV Park, in Westfir, Oregon, is gorgeous.  No golf course, no pitch and put, just good old fashioned rugged, natural beauty.  The site we have chosen (Site #51) is just a few feet away from the middle fork of the Willamette River, and it looks out directly to where the north fork meets up with and joins the middle fork; a huge volume of river water, rushing past our doorstep.  The campsite is nicely set up with large, spacious sites.  Each site has a nice, flat cement pad and full services. There's even a swinging bench seat positioned for a perfect viewing of it all and we three enjoyed a moment or three there after we arrived. Oh, I should also mention a train runs along the other side of the river for just a little bit.  And, once you realize it, the sound of the horn is quite romantic (in a nostalgic kind of way).  This RV park is another we will be sure to return to. Thumbs up and a B+.

We have a full day today, starting with a three hour drive into Portland where we need to return the oars we had purchased for the first dinghy (1 of 3 that passed through our inventory this past winter).  Then we'll head back out onto the highway and, three hours after that, we should arrive at the Little Creek Casino and RV Park ( in Shelton, WA) where we will spend the night.

All is well with us.  Hope your day goes well.  Adios for now.  CJ

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On top of the world...

Or at least that's how it feels as we seem to be at eye level with the peaks of the mountains surrounding us. We're at the Likely Place Golf and RV Resort and it's really quite special.

The Golf course portion reminds me a combination of the Nakusp golf course back in the early '70's (that ran beside an old friend's father's pasture), the Ladysmith golf course, with all its ups and downs, and a Summerland golf course that has so many hills and gullies everyone has to use a golf cart just to get around. Course fees for 18 are $30 and that includes the golf cart :-).

The RV part is flat, spacious, clean and most sites have water and electricity. There are no trees or shrubs on the sites but that's OK cuz everywhere else you look is forested wilderness. It also has BBQ areas and special viewing sites for the night sky, reputed to have some of the darkest skies in the country and, therefore we assume, amazing stars. Unfortunately there was an almost full moon all night so poor star-gazing :-(

I forgot to mention the drive off the main highway is about 2 miles... So we're definitely 'out here'. Oh, and the brochure says you can rent a "villa". Not sure what they are but there are some nice looking, modern cabins on the periphery.

Did I mention it's beautiful here (maybe I' m just smitten with the evergreen surrounds... It's been a while). We walked the nature trail yesterday afternoon. It's 1 1/4 miles of winding trail through the surrounding forest and it has numbered posts every so often with a corresponding informative brochure. Miss Sophie enjoyed it as well. It was her first hike involving a combination of being on her own three feet and hitching a ride in her new puppy-holding backpack.

So, it's a new day and we'll be off again soon. We're heading to Oakridge, OR to a place called Casey's RV. It's on a river and apparently quite nice. We shall see.

PS. I've started making notes in the side-blog called Land Cruising camping sites. It will take a while to catch up all the past places, but at least the details re these new ones will be there.

Have a great day everyone..... CJ

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