Monday, December 8, 2014

Sophie in action - video repost

Hi again, 

It looks like some of you may not have gotten the links to the two videos of Sophie that were included in that last post.   Hopefully you'll get to see them this time....

(if not... click here: )

And here's a view of our pup in action....
(turn up your sound before playing the videos)

Sophie - checking out her new yard in Maple Bay

and enjoying the smells

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A photo update...

We've been remiss in not sharing photos with you... photos of Sophie, photos of SV Shannon's Spirit... stuff like that.

Hope you enjoy.....

Can't find your dog?  Look in the laundry basket!

Sophie's new digs... we even have grass.

We love grass!!!!

Sophie's new ride (for those long walks) ...  fit for a princess.

And here's a view of our pup in action....
(turn up your sound before playing the videos)

Sophie - checking out her new yard in Maple Bay

and enjoying the smells

And not to forget... Shannon's Spirit....

Refurbished rudder and hull... beautiful!
Awaiting our return to Mexico

... what we are all waiting for ....

Five Legged Kayaking


Home is where you lay your head… when you’re ‘homeless’…

Hi everyone.. it’s been a little while since we’ve checked in; it’s been kind of busy around here. Ten days have passed since Sophie’s surgery; they (and she) have demanded our complete attention. Our friends Jo and Penny have cared for us as if we were part of their family (in a way I guess we are) and we are so grateful. They put a roof over heads, made sure we ate well and provided love and good chuckles for us each day.  It was a nurturing care we didn’t even realize we needed.  But we did and with their help we calmed down, grew stronger, and became ready for the next step.

The first week after Sophie’s surgery was tough.  She was in pain; she was drugged; she was confused.  And, like every other dog out there, she insisted on continually trying to chew and lick her wound as well as rip out the stitches.  This required 24x7 care and was very tiring for all of us.  Today, 10 days into recovery, things are much calmer.  The wound is healing well, she is getting around on three legs without complaint, and we have a balanced medication schedule which is finally allowing us to get up to 6 hours uninterrupted sleep each night (a lot more than before).

The princess continues to have a good sense of humour and is up to her old tricks, trying to make us laugh.  One night, 2 in the morning, having demanded to go outside… she began to play with the shadows in the snow and as a grand finale, she tried to chase her tail… resulting in her crashing to the ground. She’s getting much more stable now and amazes all who see her with her strength and balance.

Yesterday, Dec. 6th, we moved into our next ‘home’.  It’s the basement suite of the house we will be house-sitting for the winter.  Ron and Catherine are friends from the yacht club and, as luck would have it, were in need of someone to care for their home while they’re away.  It’s a cozy house, overlooking Maple Bay and smack dab in the middle of the area in which we want to live. Our plans for the winter include working on unfinished projects, finding our new home, and working with Sophie as she continues her recovery. One of the local vets we know is skilled in acupuncture and physical therapy and we have invited her over to see how best we can help the princess. She’s coming by on Wednesday.

And so, dear friends, that is the update for today.  I’m going to post this now and intend to follow it up with a collection of photos taken during these past few months. I know we’ve promised before, but stay tuned… they are coming.

Hope you are all well and enjoying a short respite in the continuing winter storms…. stay well, talk soon.   CJ

Note from the tripawds:  “It’s better to hop on three legs, than to limp on four".”

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Blue sky and sunshine…

Good morning all… today is a good day.  Sophie had her surgery yesterday and, while the whole ‘thing’ is sad… we feel relief.  We feel so very glad we didn’t lose her to the attack from the Mexican dog; glad she survived the long and challenging drive back to Canada; and glad she will very soon be back on her paws and enjoying each day.  Dragging the splinted, useless leg around was beginning to tire the Princess and we feel quite certain if she misses her leg at all, she won’t miss it for long.

Our Vet called last night to say the surgery went well.  He also confirmed that our decision to ‘lose’ the leg was the right one as the quadricep muscle had contracted in a big way and the leg would not bend at all. It would have been next to impossible to recreate the leg into something usable. So… we call this morning to confirm what time we get to bring our little tripawd home and our plan is to spend the next several days cuddled up on the couch watching movies.

Just wanted to let you know, as I know many of you are wondering.  Hope your day goes well and you too have a ray of sunshine to enjoy.  CJ

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sophie’s Run… Home, safe and [almost] sound…

Hi there… sorry for the delay in this last instalment of Sophie’s Run.  Yes, we are home… Chuck, Lucy, CJ, Kathy, and even the Princess have arrived without any further ‘excitement’. We did have to wait out the weather.  Just like cruising on a sailboat, we had to check the forecast each day (often twice or three times) and then adjust our plans accordingly.  The major winter storm that swept across the coastal and mid-west US stopped us in our tracks.. but, after 3 days it finally swept by and the weekend (last) was very obviously the time to carry on.  We knew it would be cold (down to 21 degrees overnight) but the path north was the only way home… so we bundled up and headed up the I 5 Saturday morning.  Knowing there had been gusts of wind as high as 60+ MPH at ‘the Gorge’ (Columbia River running between Portland and Vancouver, Wa and our next destination) during the previous days, and that the winds were scheduled to pick up again by  mid afternoon, we left early enough to arrive at the 99 RV Resort by early afternoon.  It was cold, it was small, it was right beside the freeway… but it was a place to park for the night and we were grateful.  The next day we were up early and on our way to our next (and last) RGV park for this journey.  The Pacific Border RV Park just outside White Rock, BC was quite nice, although not particularly dog friendly (you have to walk your dog off the property to do their business).  Again, we parked for the night and were on our way early the next day (Monday), caught the 1015 Duke Point Ferry and were home in Crofton/Duncan by early afternoon.
Now for the news of our little pal’s future.  While there are lots of details I could rattle on about… I think I will just say the following.
We have an excellent Vet in Duncan and he has been ‘with us’ for most of this past ‘journey’ with Sophie.  We’ve kept him up to date with respect to her injuries, the treatments and her condition.  And, we’d asked him to confer with the Victoria-based orthopaedic surgeon and specialist with respect to the options for Sophie’s future. There were many, serious considerations in discussing both the injury, the success likelihood of a complicated surgery, and the less than stellar quality of life Sophie would most likely have to endure over the next year or so, should the repair of her knee be attempted. 
The good news is (yes, there is good news) that Sophie will be happy, free of pain, and able to live out her life without continued visits to the vets and without the complications that would arise as the result of major complex surgeries.  She will do well, and she will be able to continue with some of her favourite hobbies (like walking, playing, sailing, hanging out, and learning Spanish).  The sad news is the vets agree that with the kind of damage she has suffered to her leg… the only surgery that might (and they stress might) work is a complete knee replacement (and that is still in the experimental stages)… and they agree that kind of surgery on an older dog could be fraught with problems and lead to ongoing follow-ups etc.  The vet specialist said that while he has, in the past, done dog knee repairs in cases like Sophie’s(where all ligaments have been severed), they have not been successful and he doesn’t do them any more.
Discussions with our Vet, and our own research, have convinced us that dogs do get along quite well with three legs; dogs are not emotionally attached to limbs like we humans are; dogs make the best of each day as it arrives… and don’t worry about the past or the future… and Sophie has certainly proven she is capable of that.  As well, she’s had over a month of practice at getting along on three legs and, in fact, her ‘not so good’ leg just gets in the way quite often. Our vet posed the option of amputation to us several days ago… and after some time in complete denial mode, we started to think about Sophie and what her life would be like dragging around a half-cured appendage, and the continuing visits to the vets offices.. etc.  vs. a clean ‘break’ from the broken bit, a solid healing, and getting on with the rest of her life (no one can believe she is 13… and she apparently isn’t aware of that fact either.. carrying on like she does.. as if she was maybe 7.  Who knows how many good years she has left).  Once we got over our fears, and after speaking with the vet, our decision was pretty obvious, and has been made with Sophie’s best interests in mind.
Sophie will soon join a very special group. They call themselves tripawds… seriously.  You can read about them at and please do.  We’re going to take a lot of their advice to heart… about how to help her adjust and about how to support her in her new life.  So friends, we hope you will join us in being ‘happy’ that Sophie will not suffer any more or any longer than necessary… and that she will continue to have a happy and healthy life.  We remember all too well that we almost lost her completely.
So, that’s our news for now.  The Princess was to have her surgery today… but we have just received a phone call to say the surgeon is ill… and so we wait, assuming there will be a delay of a few days.  TV anyone?  With the rain coming in, we’re going to hunker down on the couch and catch up on our movies….  aaaaah,,,   ‘tis good to be home.
Adios for now…  CJ
PS:  In case you were wondering (and I know some of you are) between September 16th and November 17th, good old faithful Chuck added 13,007 kms to his resume.  Phew!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Update to travel plans… Nov. 12th

Good morning folks… Well, we’ve just checked the weather forecasts for the road(s) ahead… and it ain’t good.  Nope, rain, freezing rain, snow and high winds… just about everything you can imagine… is forecast for the various legs north of us.  And then there’s the weekend, which is about when things are going to lighten up.  Sooo, yes, there is a new plan.

It’s quite nice here at Seven Feathers :-)  Good thing cuz this is where we need to stay until the roads ahead of us look warmer and dryer.  If the forecast stays about the same, then we should be able to head out of here on Saturday and drive to Vancouver, Washington.  Then Sunday we hit Bellingham and Monday we head home.  That’s if the forecast doesn’t change too much.  Only time (and Mother Nature) will tell.

So, for now, know we’re safe and cozy in our little Lucy (I gotta tell you, between Lucy and Sophie… we’re never short of folks to talk to and who ask us about our story…).  We hope all of you are cozy too and enjoying the changing seasons.  We finally got to see Maple leaves changing to fall colours (not just dying because of lack of water).  They were gorgeous… and we’re surrounded by some now.

Bye bye for now… will let you know if the plan changes (again)….  CJ, K and PS.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sophie’s Run… Nov. 11th

Good morning folks.. just wanted to let you know we’ve checked the weather and road conditions and decided that, rather than lolligagging here in cool but sunny Red Bluff (Durango RV… which remains quite beautiful), we are going to press on.  The next leg involves Mt. Shasta, Siskyou Summit, and then Grants Pass before we arrive in Canyonville, OR at the Seven Feathers lovely RV Resort.  There’s enough heavy rain in the coming days to motivate us to get up, get going, and get through the next two legs (hopefully then to Vancouver, WA) before the heaviest rains fall.

So, that’s it.. we’re on our way… will check in later, tomorrow or the next day (remember no news is good news).  Take good care.. enjoy your day.. CJ

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sophie’s Run… days 5,6,7 and 8

Hello there… thought I’d check in and let you know how far we got before throwing out the lunch hook, and then doubling it up with an overnight hook :-)  We’re sticking to the plan and so packed up and left beautiful Patagonia Lake State Park (PLSP)after a day of rest for the Princess and ourselves. 

It sure is good to have her back, although she looks like she was dragged through a harvester backwards… what with needing to wear two ‘preventers’ (one inflated collar and one 'cone of shame’) to prevent her from attempting self medication (licking) of her wounds. And, we’ve discovered that the wound isn’t as healed as we’d thought so we’re now bathing and wrapping it each morning (which also helps deter the licking). She seems to be doing really well, despite her owies.  In fact, yesterday morning, while out for a ‘nature break’ I caught her trying to chase her tail (one of her favourite ways of making people laugh).  This is one happy puppy and her spirit is shining through.  She’s much calmer now and just seems happy to hang out with us (like she could do anything but).

We left PLSP and headed north and west, to Saddle Mountain RV Park in Tonopah, AZ.  It was a comfortable drive (about 246 miles) and we arrived in time to enjoy a sit in the sunshine. This is an older park with mixed reviews on Trip Advisor, but we thought it was just great and met our needs very well.  The washrooms were older but clean, the sites flat gravel with not too many trees, but they were just fine (power, water and sewer). AND, it was a Passport America site so the bill for overnight was $16.00….  tough to beat. Even a pool, tennis court and pickle ball courts for the energetic.

The next morning, yesterday, we were up and on the road by the early hour of 0930 (funny how the definition of ‘early’ changes from time to time :-) And, after another comfortable drive (212 Miles) we pulled in to The Outdoor Resort, in Cathedral City, CA where we were met by our good friends Ron & Dal.  We’re here now and all set up.  We’ll be here for a couple of days and plan to pull out on Sunday the 9th.

So, for now, know we three are safe and relaxed. Once we leave here we’ll be doing the “stop and go” method of travelling.  That’s where you pull in, don’t unhitch, run the trailer up onto a couple of boards, spend the night, and leave quickly the next morning (cuz you don’t have to do the “hitch it up two-step”).  The planned (and plans can change) route for now is ORPS to Bakersfield (Orange Grove RV), then to a resort in the Fresno area, then Durango RV in Red Bluff, Seven Feathers in Canyonville, OR, then Vancouver, WA. then Blaine, then home.  I’ve only bored you with this list in case we get abducted by aliens along the way.. at least you’d know where to start looking.

I must admit, we’re a little nervous about coming home to a BC winter.  We’ve become kind of used to perpetual summer. Guess we’ll have to break out the fleece wear….

So for now, adios….  talk to you in a few days… CJ, K and PS.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sophie’s Run… Tuesday, Nov. 4th

There we were (yesterday) reading your emails… so many loving messages… as we drove south towards Nogales, MX.  Your words brought tears to our eyes.  Thank you so much to all of you (and there are many) who have continued to support us with your messages and thoughts over these past weeks.

 Sophie is well.  Dr. Tere met us when we arrived and the Princess joined us shortly thereafter (right after the groomers had finished fluffing her up).  After many hugs (and some teary eyes from the Vets, Dr. Tere and Dr. Jessica) we bade farewell to Sophie’s home and friends for the past 23 days.


The vets and their staff cared so well for Sophie…we were blessed to have found them in time.


Soph’s ordeal isn’t over yet.  First she has to endure the long drive home with us and, once there, she will undergo specialized surgery to re-connect her right knee. After that she’ll need to rebuild her muscle strength and general condition. But for now she’s getting along very well.  Her back wound has healed, but for one final spot where the drain was located… and cuz she’s a lickin’ kind of dog, she has to wear her cone collar for most of the day and night… for now.



 Today our plan is to hang out and rest up.  The sun is shining and we’re grateful to have the ‘family’ back together. Tomorrow we’ll be heading to a place called the Saddle Mountain RV Park in Tonopah, AZ., which is about half way to Cathedral City (Palm Springs). Hopefully we’ll have internet connection there… it’s been difficult without it here at Patagonia. Thursday we’ll be heading in to The Outdoor Resort (Cathedral City) for a couple of days (more rest and a visit with Ron & Dal, and maybe a grapefruit or two :-).


 We hope all is going well with you folks.  Our hearts go out to friends (several) who are going through their own personal tragedies and challenges. Life, it seems, continues to roll along… dishing out the good with the bad… in no particular order.  Stay well, look after yourselves and keep loving, laughing, and living.  To all of you from all of us…  CJ, K and PS.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sophie’s Run…

The next 10-14 days are dedicated to “Sophie’s Run”.  That’s how long we figure it’s going to take for us to get her home safely.  We’re currently in Patagonia Lake State Park about 20 miles north of the border crossing at Nogales, AZ and we’ve been here a couple of days now (without internet). The good news is that Dr. Tere feels certain she will clear the Princess for travel Monday morning.  Her wound has finally reached an infection-free state and the stitches and drains will have been removed. We are all very happy and proud of our little pup.  The vets are both amazed at how well she has recovered… claim she’s responding like a puppy half her age. 

I know some of you have probably wondered about how and why we would spend this amount of time (and money) saving such an old dog… but, those of you who know Miss Sophie and those of you who have known her long enough to be part of her pack… well, we know you understand.  And, I guess if professional vets can see the value in hanging on to her…well, enough said.  This creature, who has given us so many years of joy and unconditional love deserves to live out her life in the best way possible and that’s what we’ve set out to provide.

So, today we move sites in the park… to a site with a bit more privacy.  We’ll pick Sophie up on Monday and then give her a day to catch her breath (Tuesday) before starting her run home. We have a plan (of course) about the route we will take as we head north and, unless weather stops us, it should get us home by mid-November (including a couple of times where we’ll take an extra day to rest up).

The next two weeks will be devoted to keeping our families and friends up to date with our progress… sorry but it will be a little dry. Better stories will follow once we’ve reached home and settled in. A lot will depend on the Princess as she still needs serious surgery on her right hind knee.  For now, we’re just darn glad to be getting her back and heading her home.  Talk to you soon.  Bye for now.  CJ

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Yahoo! Yipee! There's something happenin'...

Okay folks, here it comes...We have a green light! Sophie had her 'sew 'er up' surgery today and came out of it looking like a puppy! Vet said she couldn't believe she was her age... she was all happy and rarin' to go... (like if you could speak "poodleeeze" you'd know she was saying.. "okey doke... we're outa here! bring on Chuck, we got places to go!!").

Anyway, seems the princess is ready to continue her long lineage.... Vet wants to keep her for 7-10 days to make sure no more infection is going to raise it's ugly head... but, truth is, with all the vaccinations and drugs we've pumped in to this here puppy over the past 13 years.. it'd be hard for the common cold to survive... really...

Okay... it is true that Kathy and I have been driving each other crazy...waiting for the call.. Ok maybe not crazy but at least and mostly nuts. I admit, I'm not much of a nurse.. and Kathy has been the model patient (according to her... and I'll leave it at that, seeing as without her kind navigation I'd be driving in circles for months... talk about circumnavigating).

Okay.. the plan.. First a STATUS REPORT:

 THE BOAT: (SV Shannon's Spirit) is tidy and clean and has a new bottom. She's going back into the storage yard Monday morning. We'll see her when we see her and, if not before, then next October.

THE TRUCK: (MV Chuck) is going well for an old guy. Threw a hub cap the other day, but it didn't even slow him down. He just looks more like an old Mexican "gentletruck" now. Anyway, he's ready to go... and he's getting fabulous mileage, like loads more since he's not carrying the weight of our load and towing Lucy (svelt thing that she is).

THE TRAILER: (TT Lucy) doesn't even know she's waiting for us... but she is.

KATHY: Her knees are getting better each day... as is her pain level. We've had to replenish the first aid kit, and have a new respect for burn pads, non-stick gauze pads, and good adhesive tape... and, she's rarin' to go too.

CJ: as always

MISS SOPHIE: came through todays surgery (sewing up her back wound) with bells on and, if there's no sign of infection in 7-10 days, will be released for travel to her Canadian vets who are waiting to fix her leg.

THE TRAVEL PLAN (remember plans can change):

Monday - Oct 27 We'll head north, across the border to Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico. (we'll stop at the vets for a puppy dog hug on the way through.)

Tuesday - Oct 28 We'll drive to Yuma and book into the Microtel Hotel. We'll stay there the following day and night while we ready the trailer and we'll enjoy a visit with our friends MJ and Leona,

Thursday - Oct 30th We'll drive across to the Patagonia Lake State Park and we'll stay there until we get the call Sophie is ready to travel. Once we get the green light we'll be able to hop across the border and pick Sophie up. We'll bring her back to the State Park for a day so she can catch her breath... and then we'll head north... Likely up the I 5 and/but watching the weather and road reports so as to, hopefully, avoid any snow and ice along the route.

So, that's our plan for now.... or at least the best we can offer you. It's all good and there's sunshine ahead. We feel very lucky to have found a good Vet in Mexico and to have a wonderful Vet at home.(Sophie's glad too :-) Will let you know if plans change, but that's where we are today...

Hope all of you are well and enjoying your life. Here's wishing Nick a Happy 30th Birthday (on the 24th).... Love you all... CJ

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quick trip to Mazatlan and update on Sophie …

Howdy.  It’s Monday afternoon and we’ve just returned from a ‘fast’ trip to Mazatlan.  You’ll remember we had stored some gear there a year ago when we sold Shannon…  Well it was still there and getting lonely.  We heard from Dr. Teresa (Nogales Vet) on Thursday night that Sophie had some infection starting to show and that she had taken a culture and sent it to the lab… and it would be Wednesday before she got the results. This meant that Sophie would not be declared fit for travel for at least another two weeks… so we decided (rather quickly) to run down to Maz and pick up our stuff.  It was high time that all our boat stuff be gathered under one roof and, having just rented that roof in San Carlos… this turn of events presented us with the window we needed to collect the Mazatlan gear.  So off we went.. at 0600 Friday morning.  Ten hours later we pulled in to the Mar Y Sol Bungales and were greeted with hugs and kisses from Migelina, the grandmother who owns these charming little bachelor style apartments.  We spent Saturday and Sunday meeting up with cruising friends, loading up Chuck (again) and meeting Shannon’s new owners (we’d met Bill of course, but not his wife Juliana).  They are both great people and they seem to really love Shannon. It was great to answer a few questions for them and see them happily sitting amongst all the gear that constitutes a cruising boat in Mexico.  We will no doubt see them in an anchorage sometime in the future as they plan to stay, sailing in the Sea of Cortez for several years now.
I’m sure you’re dying to know how Miss Sophie, The Princess, Sophia the wonder dog and PS is doing….  Well, she may have a wee infection but the Vet says she’s doing very well.  She sent another video showing Sophie, up and responding to the staff… even asking to go out if I’m not mistaken.  It’s clear to us that she has not only bonded a little with the staff, but she’s been teaching them to speak her language.  You can see the video here.

Sophie in recovery from Kathy Mulholland on Vimeo.

Some of you have asked why we haven’t been up in Nogales with Sophie. There are a few reasons actually… the first, and foremost, is that if we were sitting outside in the waiting room all day… so that we could have a wee visit with her from time to time all we’d be doing is exciting her when she’s fragile and disappointing her each time we left.  And then there’s Nogales itself.  A border town in Mexico (which is not a good thing these days) and even the Vet and her husband feel it would be dangerous for us and our truck to be ‘staying’ in town…  Now add the fact that the sailboat is half repaired and in need of some of our tlc before we can leave it to come home… and you see the situation.
We have altered our plans somewhat tho’.  We were originally going to stay in San Carlos working on the boat until we got the call Sophie was ready to travel.  We’ve realized that would be a two full days then before we’d be able to pick her up (one day to tidy up and lock up here, and one day to drive up).  Soooo, our latest draft plan is…..  we will spend this next week working hard on the boat.  We will then put it back to bed until next season, tidy up our rented house affairs, and head north.  We will stop in Nogales long enough to give Sophie a hug and stir her all up :-) and then we’ll keeping going.. .north to Yuma.  We will recommission Lucy (you remember Lucy the trailer) and bring her back to Patagonia Lake just north of the border crossing at Nogales… and then we will rest and wait. When we get the call Sophie’s ready we’ll be only an hour away.  We’ll be able to cross over and pick her up, receive all our nursing instructions, and have her back at the trailer within a few hours.  And then we can start our journey home from there… already two-three days closer than if we’d started from San Carlos.
So that’s the plan (today).  Only time will tell.  Kathy’s knees seem to be a bit better but they are the worst skinned knees I’ve ever seen.  We’re pretty sure she and Sophie will both have scars to show off along with the story to tell.  So Kath needs a rest too and hopefully she will get that rest over these next couple of weeks.
So for now, know we are healing and we have a plan (of course :-)  Will let you know, when we know, what dates we will begin our trek north.  Take care everyone…  and if you stop for coffee in a Mexican gas station, please don’t forget to carry a big stick.  TTFN  CJ

Friday, October 17, 2014

You have all been so wonderful…

You folks can’t know how special it is to hear from you at this time of extra-ordinary (even for us) stress and chaos.  Some of you have been so bold as to suggest it’s following us… we can only scream a resounding “NO!” to that suggestion… and do what we can to turn this year around.

Before I go any further, I want to thank Al.  He noticed the font was getting very small… and for those of us with aging eyes.. well, stand back, I just found the Font button and hopefully this is better.

Now then, you have all been so wonderful… writing to express your horror and concern and support… we are so thankful for the dear friends and family we have… without which this would be something very different.  I know you’re waiting to hear how the Princess is… the Vet hasn’t called us yet today, but she sent us another video last night showing PS out and about on a leash, hopping along like a three-legged wonder with her bright red bandaged leg just kind of ‘coming along for the ride’.  We’re pretty sure we even saw a little tail wag… not a big one, but a little one, that was so uplifting it made us laugh (and then our eyes leaked again.. oh well).

Kathy called the office yesterday morning and spoke with the Receptionist (who doesn’t speak a word of English, but she did her best). She told us there is no sign of infection (as far as she knew).  The staff are cleaning the wound and re-dressing it each day, and they are going to keep her for four more days. That’s pretty much what the original plan was and, barring any unforeseen change, it means that we should be able to pick her up on Tuesday (the 21st) and high-tail it north.  Our journey home will be faster and more direct than the journey down.  We’ll probably go up I 10 to where it meets the I 5 and then continue N/NW from there.  We figure, with a bit of a tail wind, we might make it home in 7-8 days… But first we’ll spend two days in Yuma, apologizing to Lucy, waking her up and preparing her for the trek home.

Most of you have asked how we’re doing and specifically how Kathy’s injuries are healing.  She’s a trooper too and her knees are the worst part….  they were quite literally skinned off and weeping, but are finally starting to look a wee bit better.  We bandage them every night so she doesn’t stick to the sheets and then we rest them and air them during the day (as much as possible, except when her other duties call). Speaking of other duties… we have not just been sitting around moping.  No sirree, we have been hugely busy going about the business of concluding the paperwork for having a boat in Mexico (not an easy task these days), watching over George, Edgar, and Francisco who (under the supervision of Eduardo) have been working on the boat bottom.  The bottom had blisters, and needed to be sand-blasted and then re-surfaced (in layman's terms).  It’s a large job, not cheap, but in the end we will have a boat with a newly surfaced bottom, that should last us as long as we feel like sailing… and hopefully longer.  There are other jobs that need doing too, repairs we discovered inside that, had our plans stayed firm we would be working on now in preparation for launching the boat.  But, that is not to be; and so we head north with Miss Sophie, determined to give her the balance of life she so richly deserves (for putting up with us of course).

Over these past few days we have been unloading Chuck into a rented storage locker.  There’s also the first load we carried down.  And… there’s the gear we have stored in Mazatlan.  We decided (just today) that we were far enough along with what we could do (given our departure day of Tuesday) that we should get on down to Mazatlan and pick up our gear that is stored there. We leave tomorrow morning, in Chuck, to drive to Mazatlan (about a 10 hour drive).  We’ll be staying at our old haunt the Mar Y Sol Bungalows, and Liana has kindly agreed to come in on Saturday to open the store for us to collect our stuff. It will be a nice break and it will also feel good to have all our gear.. finally.. under one roof – awaiting loading onto the boat.

As for Shannon’s Spirit, she will be moved to the storage lot once the bottom work is completed.  Sophie’s recovery is going to take quite a while so, we’re hoping that sometime, maybe, I can slip away and come back to complete some of those projects awaiting us.  Time will tell.  First we have to get home, help Sophie through another operation (on her leg) and then find ourselves a new home.

Over these past two weeks, we also lost a dear friend… a woman who meant a great deal to us.  We are missing her and mourning her loss and wanting very much to get home to support her husband… also a dear friend.

So, who knows what the next few months will bring… but we figure as long as we keep closing the door behind us, and moving forward, we will succeed and life will calm down and peace and love will prevail… what do you think??


HA HA just kidding…. it’s now tomorrow, er today.. make that Friday, Oct. 17th.  Late last night we contacted the Nogales Vet to see how Miss S was doing…  Turns out there is now signs of some infection and she needs to take a culture and identify the varmints causing the infection.  Then she will be able to tailor Sophie’s treatment to fix the exact problem.  It also means she’ll need to stay in Nogales (Sophie that is) for at least another two weeks.  So,,,  the sad news is, she’s not out of the woods yet and we can’t leave on Tuesday as we’d planned.  The good news is… we have this house rented till month’s end and will stay and work on the boat, moving towards prepping SSpirit for the next sailing season in the Sea of Cortez. 

We’ve just arrived in Mazatlan, having driven 11 hours to get here.. We’re here to pick up our gear and visit with some friends.  Will head back up to San Carlos on Sunday or Monday.  So for now…. plse keep your fingers crossed for the Princess… she really is a tough little thing and we feel confident she will sail with us again.  There’s just too many beaches left to explore…

Adios for now amigas y amigos.  Take good care… and make every day count.  Arms around you… CJ and K

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I wish I was writing to tell you we had a great trip up to Yuma, collected our gear, put Lucy to bed for the winter, and had a trouble-free border crossing.  I wish I could tell you we were happily ensconced in our San Carlos home, working hard on Shannon’s Spirit in preparation for a fabulous cruising season.  Oh how I wish I could tell you these things.  But, I cannot.

We did have a good trip to Yuma and we did pick up our gear and put Lucy to bed.  And, on Saturday morning, we even crossed the border without any difficulties, got our new Visas and the TIP for the truck.  It was early in the morning and we hadn’t had our coffee so we decided to stop at a Pemex/Oxxo (gas station / store) about 20 miles south of Nogales.  That’s when the day fell apart.  That’s when our journey crashed to a halt.  That’s when everything we had been planning fell away.

While I was in the store getting coffee, Kathy put on Sophie’s leash and lifted her out of the truck.  They had taken only two steps when, out of no where, a large black dog attacked Sophie from behind. Kathy was able to hang on to Sophie but she and the dog engaged in a battle… Kathy’s goal – to save Sophie, the dogs goal – to very obviously ravage and kill her.  This is not one of my stories.  This is real, so real we are haunted by the visions every hour.  So real we are both in shock and Sophie is at a Vets hospital in Nogales, fighting for her life.

Kathy here…. as Carolyn said, we are both still in shock about what happened last Saturday.  It is so incredible how quickly a day can change from one of celebration to one of complete horror and a fight for survival.  I remember how it started.  I had just clipped on Sophie’s leash, picked her up out of the truck and set her down on the pavement beside me.  We had just begun the short walk together, she at a close heal, as we headed to a patch of scruffy grass over at the side of the Pemex parking lot, as CJ went into the adjacent OXXO store for coffee. It was then that I felt the presence of another dog up close behind us.  Knowing that a surprise approach from even a friendly dog is never a good thing for Soph, I tugged on the leash, pulled her closer to me, and turned around to command a firm “no!” to the other dog.

It was a black, medium sized dog, and it looked like many other street dogs we had seen in Mexico over the last three years.  Looking back, I’m pretty sure there was a fair dose of pit bull in there, but that wasn’t my first thought. I wasn’t even that concerned at first. But the dog ignored my presence entirely and snarled at Sophie, who snarled back.  Microseconds later, the black dog had grabbed Sophie on her back, somewhere near her tail and she was yelping.  I yelled louder and before I knew it I found myself on my knees, on the pavement , a few feet behind our truck, with my right arm wrapped around Sophie’s waist, my hand up under her chest, holding on for her dear life, while the black dog snarled and tugged and tried to pull her away  from me. His teeth were firmly locked on to the loose skin of her back and he attempted that side to side motion that dogs at play use with their humans at the other end of a pull toy.

In the midst of the panic I noticed another, smaller, brown dog standing just off to our right, about 5 feet away. It was a spaniel cross, watching us intently, but thankfully, amazingly, did not even attempt to get involved.

I was screaming now, as was Sophie, and I know now that if I had let go for even an instant to hit, or punch, or kick that evil dog… he would have had her. With his powerful jaws he would have held her and shook her until something snapped.  At one point, incredibly, he lost his grip for just a moment and I tried to scoop her up. But before I could get her out of his reach, he bit on hard again, somewhere under her tail this time, on her right haunch.  At this point I could feel Sophie giving up and I went into a complete panic, unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life.  “Help me! Somebody please help me!!”  I had the terrible, desperate feeling that this was the end and there was nothing that I could do about it.  Then, out of nowhere someone appeared beside us, made a motion of some sort and said something loudly in Spanish…. and then…. suddenly…. Sophie was free.    It was a man, I think.  I can’t see his face, but I remember his voice, asking me “are you OK?”.  With the adrenalin and the abrupt arrival of relief, my voice exploded…. “F#*K!!… “  Then…. “Oh, sorry, yes, I think I am. Thank you.” 

I carefully picked up Sophie and tried to hold her in a way that wouldn’t disturb her wounds.  The rip on her  back was massive on such a little body. I could see open flesh on her back and some blood under her tail, but not a massive amount.  At first I thought that those viscous teeth had ripped into her anus. Fortunately, the vet later found that not to be the case. The blood was from puncture wounds on her right haunch.

As I carried Sophie over toward our truck and the OXXO store, several people approached us, speaking earnestly in Spanish and offering to help. They tried to direct me to the restroom, making washing motions, with their hands and opening the locked turnstile that is in place to collect each customer’s 5 pesos before entry.  In broken Spanish, I tried to tell them that I could not use contaminated water on these wounds and that “mi amiga”, (my friend), “una mujere “ (a woman) , was in the store, and to please call her.  Not understanding me, they kept asking did I need “agua” (water) and one of them went in the store and came out with a gallon bottle of pure water.  I finally made it to the store, pulled open the door and shouted “Carolyn!”, “Carolyn!  Sophie’s been attacked!”.  With huge relief, I heard her voice, and then she came running out to us. 

CJ back… having just read Kathy’s story.  It’s her first real recanting of the event.  We’re both still… well, still in shock I guess.  I can’t begin to describe the pandemonium.  People trying to help, no one speaking English and our meagre Spanish hampered by adrenalin and panic.  Several people helped us.  Some were staff from the store, and one woman and her two teenage daughters (who spoke a little English) really helped us by finding a Vet… the nearest one… (20 miles back up the highway in Nogales)  They even called ahead to tell them we were coming.  And so, numb with shock, we put Sophie’s skin flap back in place as best we could and wrapped her in a blanket.  Kathy held her tight while I drove north to the Vets.  It seemed like hours but in about 30 minutes we were there, they were waiting for us, and they took us right in.  The Vet was wonderful.  She even called in her brother to translate as he spoke English.

Sophie’s assessment included several x-rays and discussion amongst the staff as well as with us.  As you may know Sophie, Miss Sophie, The Princess, PS… is not a puppy.  No, she has 13 years of livin’ life under her belt.  She is a sailor, a track star, and a comic.  And she just adores her fold out camp chair. She is a trooper in every way… and, without this kind of an incident, has at least two good years ahead of her.The back injury was the most serious and required immediate attention. After being cleaned as best as possible, Sophie was taken in to surgery and sewn back together.  The Vet told us that the leg does not need to be dealt with immediately.  In fact it will require specialized surgery to create new ligaments for the knee… surgery that could wait. First, the back injury and puncture wounds need to be clean and dealt with.  Drains are installed to allow the skin patch to clear and now we wait.  We wait to see if Sophie will escape serious infection. If she does, the Vet feels she will be stable enough to travel in ten days.  So, provided she’s still with us, next Tuesday (the 21st) we will be picking her up and high-tailing it home to Canada for her knee surgery.  Sadly, a small sailboat in Mexico, is not the right place for a princess to recover (as much as she’d think she could recover just find thank you very much, sitting on her chair on the beach at Isla San Francisco).  We must be the bad guys and take her home in order to give her a fair chance.

So, while our girl is in Nogales, recovering from major surgery and fending off infection (her leg is now splinted and she can even stand on it, sort of… the Vet sent us a video).  We are back in San Carlos tidying up our affairs here.  The boat will need to be put back to bed (once the bottom work is done) and our gear needs to be stored, etc., etc., etc.,  We’ll get it done and be ready to travel early Tuesday morning.  I should also tell you that Kathy saw first a Doctor in Nogales and then we checked in with one here, in SC.  Her knees are pretty messed up but are beginning to heal, and her forearms are looking much better.  It’s the trauma of the whole thing, the re-occurring night and day mares, and the deep sadness that this should happen… that we are dealing with now.

Who knows what the next little while will bring… but we will do what we can for Sophie…. and will let you know when we know, what the next chapter of ‘life’ holds.

Well, it’s now Oct. 14th.  The internet connection has been down since yesterday morning.  It’s up now but still unreliable so, while we have the chance… we’re trying to give you a post and an update.  Sophie continues to improve… at the same time we are all waiting to see if the skin will survive and/or infection will kick in.  We continue preparations for leaving here and are happy to report that, finally we have acquired a Temporary Import Permit…. for the ‘new’ ………………………Sailing Vessel….Shannon’s Spirit. It’s a huge deal, and will be the subject of another Blog post… something to learn for others ‘changing’ vessels at sea’.

For now, we wait…. with fingers crossed…  will update you when we know what our plans are… for now they are as firm as tapioca pudding.

To all of you from all of us… please… live each day, love each day, and each other.  From our hearts to yours.  CJ and Kathy (& PS)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Been here two days… must be time to move…

You guessed it, circumstances have developed that make the next few days… good days… to go on a little road trip.  As you know we left some gear in Lucy, parked in Yuma, to be picked up on a second trip.  This gear is pretty much all for the boat and there just wasn’t enough room to stuff it all into Chuck. Add to that… tropical storm Simon (about to become a hurricane) whose path is projected to cross the Baja about half way up, heading east, and cross over top of Guaymas/San Carlos.  Not good; back to back storms for the Baja…. not fair.  By the time it gets to here (if it comes here at all) the storm will be more about wind and rain and it won’t be anywhere near hurricane or even storm force.  It will just be, well, windy and wet; which is not good for working on boats, and not good for driving on highways.  You’ve probably already figured out where this dialogue is headed.
Yup, we’re going to get out of Dodge before the rains hit the roads… we need to go to Yuma anyway…it’s a good time to get it over with. We’ll leave tomorrow and be back here as soon as we can and after any ill effects from Simon have passed by; likely by next Thursday or Friday.
Now some of you might think this is just a sneaky way to get to visit Esplendor Resort again and I’d have to admit we’ll be staying there… oh darn :-)  Maybe this time we’ll figure out how to use the pool… maybe hide Miss Sophie under a large sombrero or something… :-)  or dress her up like a cactus and make her sit and stay.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know our plans… in case you’re following the weather ‘n all.
Take good care of you and yours… adios for now.
CJ and Kathy

Thursday, October 2, 2014

We have arrived…. hot, tired, and in time for happy hour!

Indeed… we have arrived.  Left Yuma (a little late but a lot lighter on the shoulders… will explain later) and headed east to a place called Rio Rico.  We’d never heard of it, but good friends of ours highly recommended the “Esplendor Resort at Rio Rico”, and wow… were they ever right!  Thank you so much Ron & Dal, Esplendor is absolutely “esplendid”. With its old world charm, beautiful gardens, lovely pool, and wonderfully warm and welcoming staff, we really had to tear ourselves away this morning… could have stayed for a week.  But leave we did.  We hit the trail at 0620 hrs., determined to be early at the border, when it was still too cold for officials to want to stand around talking. 

We were ready though.  We had our papers for ourselves (Passports, health records, prescriptions for our medications and letters from our Doctors).  We had the papers for the Princess (vaccination records, ownership papers, microchip paper, rabies certificate, worming proof, International Health Certificate – from a Vet in Yuma for $125 US, and a letter from the Vet regarding her medications).  We had the papers for Chuck the Truck (registration papers and Mexican insurance papers); we had done it all… even gave away a ton of great food from our fridge and cupboards to the cleaning staff at the last two hotels.  And guess what…

We rolled up to the truck crossing about 0645 hrs., as planned.  There were maybe two officials on duty.  We drove slowly up to the kiosk and, as we were just about to arrive… THE GREEN LIGHT CAME ON !!!!!  and we were waved through.  Just wait, it gets better.  As we continued on down the road, heading for KM 17 where we had to stop to get a Temporary Import Permit for Chuck… cuz we know we’ll be driving down to Mazatlan sometime towards the end of this month… well as we were driving south and talking about the double-jeopardy caused by the second red/green light at KM 17… we realized that WE DIDN’T NEED TO STOP!!!  because #1 our Visa’s from May (when we went down to buy the boat) are good until November 20th… and #2 we don’t need a TIP for Chuck until we’re going down to Maz… so we could get it on our way back from our second trip to Yuma (and when there’s a lot less stuff in the truck to have to search through if we get the red light.  What a huge sigh of relief was launched by all.  So we just kept driving, giggling like school girls and very happy with the way things turned out.  No doubt, if we hadn’t prepared all of our papers (did I mention we’d even sorted out receipts for the new gear we were carrying?)… if we hadn’t done all that.. we would have, for sure, been pulled over.  So it all worked out.

About the only bad thing that happened on the entire drive here (besides the extreme heat) was that at one point on the highway (where there was one lane blocked off due to construction) an impatient truck driver (now… the speed limit was 60 KMH, we were doing 80 KMH, and well… he blasted by us doing at least 100 KMH). And, as he passed us his tire clipped one of the orange stanchions, flipping it up into the air and then right into the front of Chuck.  Kathy was driving and did a great job of keeping a steady hand and maintaining our course…  Chuck took it like a brave guy, right on the chin, and then he just stomped all over it as it passed under us….  Only damage, thankfully, was to our emergency brake cable which has been pulled out and rendered useless.  We’ll get it fixed as soon as we hook up with our mechanic.

And so, here we are in our rented house.  Signs of weather damage from Hurricane Odile are obvious.  The lovely sandy beach a block from the house, is now a rock strewn collection of gravel and bits of wood, etc.  But there are other beaches around and we’ll find one for Sophie as soon as we can. We meet with Eduardo at the boat tomorrow to either begin the bottom work or set up a plan after studying the weather.  There are thunderstorms predicted for Sat/Sun here and we’re not sure what that will mean to the work on Spirit.  For now, we need to rest.  We’ve unloaded Chuck and piled the bins and stuff around about in the house… and we’ll be up early tomorrow to be at the shipyard by 0800 hrs.

In case you’re wondering, it was about 100 degrees when we arrived this afternoon, and it’s now down to the high 80’s.  the Forecast for tomorrow is High 90 / Low 81 and for Saturday High 90 and low 79.. The killer is the humidity.  It’s 50% today and tomorrow… and 85% on Saturday… :-(

Will let you know how that goes when the heat and sweat induced moments of hysteria and hallucinations calm down.  :-)

Take care everyone…. Kathy promises… photos tomorrow… until then.. adios… CJ

Sunday, September 28, 2014

We made it !!

Hi all.  It's Sunday afternoon (early evening)... we made it safe and sound to Yuma.  Chuck the truck is resting in the parking lot, feeling much better having lightened his load; and the lovely Lucy is sitting prim and proper in her new digs after a bath at the local car wash (thank you so much Lane & Kathy).  We ducked the flash floods and the thunderstorms... had a good drive down from Lake Havasu... even saw London Bridge and checked out the state park as well.  All in all, we're feeling pretty smug.  Oh, and even Chuck's "check engine" light has decided it's okay... turned itself off after the last tank full of gas.

We're tucked in to the Microtel Hotel, just a few blocks from where we're leaving Lucy for the winter.  From here, we'll be able to sort out the gear and our clothes... leaving some and taking some, before heading east towards the Mexican border.

So, thanks for keeping an eye on us.. you can rest now.. as will we.  The next two days will be spent shopping a bit, sorting a lot, and repacking the truck.... oh, and putting up some photos for you to enjoy.

Talk to ya later alligator....  CJ

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sat. Sept. 27th... Flash Flood warnings... (again)

Hi folks... Just to let you know (in case you're monitoring the weather channel)... we are fine.  There has been a  "severe thunderstorm and flash flood alert" issued for NE Arizona... sort of / kind of where we are. BUT, let it be known we luckily seem to have traveled ahead of it and are now at the southern reaches of the 'warning' area. We had our thunderstorm and rain last night and think it has moved on. We will monitor things carefully before heading off.  Have a good day.. enjoy the cool. We are hiding out inside the trailer (with air conditioning), planning our day..  TTFN   CJ

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday, September 25th

We had a good run yesterday; left Welcome Station RV Park and headed south.  A couple of points to note for those who are interested in our ‘flatter’ route… On advice received from Larry at the Park, we headed south to Ely on Hwy 93 and once there, we stopped to shop for groceries and fill up on gas.  Continuing wit his instructions we left Ely and took a little detour in order to not only miss two mountain passes but to also shave over 25 miles off the route.  The instructions are:  when leaving Ely, turn right at McDonalds on to Hwy 6 and then turn left onto Hwy 318.  Having stopped at McD’s for Wifi  we exited, turned right then left, as instructed, and carried on south on Hwy 318.  We were planning on going only as far as Lund but, when we arrived, we found it rather … well…. nothing appealed enough to want to stop… and we were feeling pretty good, so we just kept going.  We arrived at Alamo about 1730 and although we had passed a nice, new RV’s welcome kind of a restaurant place… we decided to make a run to our ultimate destination. We topped up the fuel tank and bought a couple jugs of good water at the Sinclair Station… and headed 4 miles down the road to the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge.

Our friends were right, Pahranagat Lake campsite is just beautiful (and it’s free) !!  It’s just off the highway so you do hear a bit of traffic, but the scenery right in front of your door is so beautiful… the noise is not a bother.  By the time we selected our site (#3) and set up it was getting kind of late… so after a rum & coke for dinner we hit the sack and had a good sleep; although, we were awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of something snuffling in our gear stacked beside the trailer (a necessity because this is the gear/bins we’re carrying inside the trailer while we travel).  Anyway, I made some kind of noise and the ‘snuffler’ clattered off. I say ‘clattered’ because it was definitely a beast with hooves, and a good sized one by the sound of the ‘clattering’  :-)  Soooo, we believe it was a Mule Deer and tonight we’re going to set up a little ‘bait’ for him… right outside our big window.. and, when I hear him snuffling… I will try to snap a photo before he clatters off… will let you know how that goes…. Oh yes, and our fearless guardian angel (PS) didn’t even wake up…. oh well, she’s cute.  This wildlife refuge is quite famous as a stopping-off spot for migrating birds of all kinds.  Just in our few hours here, we’ve spotted Kingfishers, Snowy Egrets, a Sandhill Crane, American Couts, a couple other birds we haven’t identified yet, two lizards (possibly baby Spiny Desert Lizards) and our overnight guest, the Mule deer.

We’re here at Pahranagat for tonight (Thursday, Sept. 25th) and then we will be leaving this paradise and heading on down the road to Lake Havasu City.  We’re going to spoil ourselves and have booked into Havasu Falls RV Resort for two nights (first night = $22 Passport America and second night = $44 regular price = $33 / night.. not bad for spoiling).  We hope to have the trailer cleaned up before leaving there as the next stop will be Yuma.

Friday, Sept. 26th…

Well, haven’t we had just the day.   Yesterday, we had a very hot afternoon  and over-night, made all the hotter because of sufficient wind as to render the awnings in danger if they stayed up… which means they were furled about mid-afternoon. After a restless night (with no visit from senor Mule Deer :-(  we packed up and headed out, bound for coffee and some much-needed wifi at the Sinclair Gas Station on the highway.  Shock upon shock!!  No wifi !!  Yikes! Contact with the world would have to wait… and we headed on down the road.

Our route took us south on Hwy 318 from Alamo, through Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City. Then on Hwy 93 to Kingman where we stopped for gas.  This is where the day got a little more interesting.  While filling up with gas we became aware that Chuck’s back end was a little lower than even we thought it should be and, after conferring with “Johnny” the owner/manager of a neighbouring tire shop, we slipped Chuck into one of his bays.  Turned out that both shocks were shot (literally without any oil left… and, we think, the originals… all worn out).  As well, while they were inspecting the shock situation, Larry and Kevin discovered the Chuck’s spare tire was flat (again).  This is the second time that the spare, after being checked by a professional, has lost its air over a longer drive; not good.  Well, without too many choices to consider.. we think we did the right thing.  Within one hour, Chuck was sporting two shiny white, new, heavy duty gas shocks and a new spare tire.  The trucks back end is now riding much higher and, overall, feels like a better drive.  We are not disappointed.. actually feeling good about it as we’d both been worried about Chucks health with all the weight he is carrying. 

So thumbs up for Johnny and Kevin, and the AAAA Best Tire shop in Kingman, Arizona.

Once finished in Kingman we headed out.  The winds were up and blowing fairly well, but Chuck and Lucy handled them well.  Besides, we weren’t exactly racing down the highway.  We made it to our destination, Lake Havasu City and Havasu Falls RV Park by late afternoon.  We’re a little disappointed in the RV Park.  There isn’t a blade of grass or a tree to be seen.  We’re parked, in line, on a cement pad (the pads are separated by strips of gravel) and it’s hot as blazes.  But, Kathy has finally figured out how to get us ‘connected’.  Their system is horrible and without her skills we’d be ‘in the dark’ again with no contact with our world.  So we’ll send out a flurry of emails and blog news tonight… then do our research stuff tomorrow… Need to figure out where to stay in Yuma and just before the border at Nogales…  (Rio Rico, Tubac, etc.). The resort also has a pool and laundry facilities.. and we’ve a bit of shopping to do… so tomorrow will be fine.

For now, know we’re well albeit hot.  Sophie’s not minding her ‘bucket showers’ and we’re doing our best to acclimatize.  Yuma’s going to be hotter still.

Sending you all good wishes as we watch an “inside the cloud” lightening show that may (or may not) be headed our way…  yikes. What a day.

Adios for now.. CJ

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday, Sept. 24th

Happy Birthday Lance.. hope you have a good one.

It’s Wednesday, it’s early and it’s cold (believe it or not).  Typical desert; hot, hot days, cool to cold nights.  Really quite beautiful if you’ve got enough blankets :-)

As mentioned before, we stayed at the Three Islands Crossing State Park until the weather had settled and the Flash Flood warnings had disappeared.  It wasn’t much of a hardship.  It’s a beautiful park. But, by Tuesday morning it was time to roll. We headed out fairly early (0900’s early, isn’t it??) and then stopped for breakfast.  There’s a down-home style cafe in downtown Glenn’s Ferry. The food’s good and the decor’s well… it’s down-home. We were properly on the road by 10 and the road took us east (Hwy 84) to  Twin Falls and then south (Hwy 93) to Wells, Nevada.  Bye bye Idaho potatoes, hello…  Nevada.

Jo, you would just love this country.  It is cowboy through and through.  Wagon wheels, saddles, bridles, old buckboard carts and broken down wagons from the by-gone days of ‘how the west was won’ litter the landscape wherever you look.  Half the folks wear Stetsons (and need ‘em, cuz they’re for real cowboys) and the other half wish they were.  It would be a hard life, that’s for sure; rounding up cattle on horseback, picking your way through the scrub brush that covers the hot, baked land, in the scorching sun with no trees for shade… a very hard life.  But these folks are tough and I’m sure a great many of them come from the families that settled the land and have been ranching and farming here ever since.

Now then, back to our journey.  There were still some long, slow hills to climb (we sure hope Lane is right and it’s all downhill from Wells) but we made it up… much to the chagrin of the vehicles behind us as there were no passing lanes.  We just pretended we were a big truck, loaded down with cement and bricks… and travelled about the same speed they would have.  It was  a relief to meet a fellow last night who drives one of those large,older Winebago things.. and he assured us he never gets above 55 either… so we’re slightly vindicated.. and, more importantly, still ‘good to go’.

Our travels brought us to Wells, a very small, dusty town near the junction of Hwy 93 and I 80.  From there it was a 12 mile drive to our next rest stop’ (in the vernacular of Amazing Race).  Our stop for the night is the Welcome Station RV Park, a small place with friendly owners, about 20 sites (parallel parking) on grass.  It’s on the slip road to the highway and, subsequently the traffic noise becomes part of the background ambiance. But it’s okay, cuz we’re here for one night. There is a beautiful grass lawn to play on with a stream running beside it.. and 5 beautiful horses right across the fence to watch. Each site has full services (that’d be power, water, and ‘you know’), and the washrooms are not only clean they’re ‘just like home’ clean with mats and complimentary soaps and enough hooks to properly hang your things up in the shower. And… they even have hot water.  (Passport America $15…thanks Jeannette, for the tip about P.A.). 

Who on earth designs showers anyway?  I can’t believe how many showers don’t sport hooks for your clothes, or a shelf for your soap, shampoo and razor, or even have proper nozzles that can be aimed up if you’re tall or down if you’re not.  And then there’s the water pressure and the ‘hot’ water situation… I won’t even go there…

Okay enough.  It’s starting to warm up and we plan to hit the road in about an hour.  Today we’re heading to Lund but will stop at the first MacD’s we come to for coffee and wifi access.  I think there’s a State Park at Lund and Kathy’s been told of an old restaurant that was closed and is now open and that allows you to park behind it…. We shall see.  We’ll check out both and make a decision when we get there… let you know. CJ

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday, Sept. 21st

As Kathy mentioned, weather and road condition warnings have convinced us to sit tight in Three Island Crossing State Park. Not content to miss an opportunity for change… we’ve moved sites.  Our new ‘home’ is sight #12 on the upper circle.  It’s just as beautiful, surrounded by grass and trees and, as it’s a little higher, has a fantastic view out over the river valley. We expect to be here for at least two days. The rain kindly waited until we had been to town (Glenn’s Ferry) for lunch and to pick up some groceries… and it waited until we had set up the trailer (er I mean Lucy) and pulled out the awning… I’ve just sat down to update this diary and the rain has begun to fall.  It’s light so far and there’s not much wind… so we’ll be sitting tight right here (with good books and movies…yup, Lucy has a TV :-) and even more time to catch up on our rest. 

For those of you who are waiting to hear.  We’ve had word from Marina Seca in San Carlos that there was no damage to the boats on the hard.  We have yet to speak directly with Eduardo (the fellow in charge) to ascertain whether or not Spirit’s hull will be dry enough to work on by Oct. 1st.  If he says there will be a delay due to the need for more drying… we’ll pay even closer attention to the temperatures and may slow down a bit.  If not, we’ll see what the road and weather conditions have to offer us in terms of a safe journey south.  All in good time…. one step after another.

It’s now Monday the 22nd. We’ve had a good day (resting and walking and just hanging out) and we’re going to head off tomorrow.  Sorry to leave this place, but happy to be on our way.  Will write again when we land somewhere with internet.  We hope all of you are doing well. Take good care.. and thanks for joining us.

  CJ, Kathy, and PS

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Waiting out the thunderstorms

Thought we should leave a quick post to let you know that we've just learned about the weather alert for Nevada tomorrow... thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash floods. Sounds like this may be some remnants of Hurricane Odile.

Needless to say, spending another day here at this lovely little state park on the Snake river sounds like an excellent idea! So we'll be here until it's safe to continue on our way.

Well, this gives CJ another chance to perfect her $7 BBQ-ing technique! Chicken tonight :-)

Location:Three Islands Crossing State Park, Glenn's Ferry, Idaho

From Oregon to Idaho…

Lucy really is a sweet  little trailer

The Chehalis RV & Outdoor Resort

The Hamley & Co. Saddlery in Pendleton, OR

Saddle designed for Hoot Gibson in 1922 – for a friend of his
with a drinking problem … who kept falling off his horse

Farewell Bend State Park on the Snake River

Hello again.  We had a good day on Friday the 19th.  Hit the road early so as to have some time to catch up on emails… thank goodness for MacDonald’s and their free Wifi.  Coffee’s not bad either :-)  We had a lot of outstanding emails so, apologies to any of you who were waiting for a rapid response.  Not going to happen while we’re ‘on the road’. We took another break around mid-day, stopping in Caldwell (Idaho) for groceries, lunch and a visit to the local Chamber of Commerce for some maps and RVing information. 

After researching what we could, we headed on down the road to the Three Islands Crossing State Park (Hwy. 84 just before Twin Falls, Idaho).  This is a beautiful park with lots of grass and trees… large sites, very private.  It’s so nice, we’ve decided to take a day off and stay here for two nights.  Cost: $23 + 5 (Veh. fee) = $28/night.  Oh, by the way, on the way to this park we passed the Carmela RV Resort.  It’s just a block or so before the State Park, is situated beside a golf course and across the road from a winery… it’s a simple in-line parking kind of a place but looks nice and clean ($25/night) for you golfers and wine drinkers. 

We’re here for a couple of days… the plan remains to continue on to Twin Falls and then turn right.  Will drive almost due south through Nevada, stopping around Wells and Lund and then heading for Alamo and Lake Pahranagat for a couple of days.

Hope you enjoy the pics.  Adios for now…

Three Islands Crossing State Park

Beautiful park-like setting

Good old $7 BBQ – works every time!

CJ’s new favourite wine (take note sisters!)

Friday, September 19, 2014

On the road again…with dear sweet Lucy…

Well hi.  It’s been a while since we’ve written, a while since we’ve checked in… and a while since we’ve shared an adventure with you…  High time, I’d say.     WiFi on the road is very sketchy… thank goodness for the golden arches.    

Now then, you remember Lucy?  That svelt little 17 footer we dragged home from La Vegas last year.  Well she’s all fixed up now… a few new parts and a few little repairs… and she was rarin’ to go.  Then there was Chuck (the truck)… poor old fellow.  He really is starting to feel his age, particularly in his transmissional parts.  But a few repairs there and he too was willing to give it a try… ‘course he hadn’t seen the load we were going to shove into his cargo bay and the other “wee bits” we intended to cram into Lucy’s corridor.  I’m pretty sure we’re challenging the ultimate maximum limits of Ford’s best little truck… the 1999 Ranger.

And so, after what wasn’t the funnest summer we’ve ever had (living in a little sailboat and alternating that with living in the 17 footer… and with our stuff spread out over at least 8 addresses.. well, let’s just say… it would have been a lot more fun in our twenty’s.. not so much now). We will be forever indebted to our friends who helped us pack and move and who held our hands through some of the stressful times… and who have put us up and put up with us over these past two months…. But it was time for us to move on and Tuesday morning, Sept. 16th, we hit the road at 0700 hrs., and headed on down the highway… bound for the MV Coho out of Victoria.

Most of you have had experience with Border guards, as have we; and you might expect to be more rigorously grilled once on USA ground (eg: Port Angeles) but “no”… we met our COFH (Customs officer from hell) right here in Victoria. A swarthy little” fellow, with a name spelled mostly with “w’s” and “z’s” and an attitude that was the rudest I have ever encountered.  When greeted by a local police officer and asked how he was doing.. his response (loud enough for us all to hear) was “well I’m here, that’s about all they’ll get out of me today”. And then he approached our vehicle and proceeded to do his best to ruin our day.  Thankfully he approached the passenger side (Kathy this day) and poured out his cheerful dialogue onto her shoulders. I’m not sure I would have remained as civil as she managed to.  Finally finished with us, he moved on to cheer up the folks in the next vehicle.  Lovely fellow.. really made us want to continue into the US :-(

But we did, and after a quick ride across Juan de Fuca we were waved through the checkpoint on the US side… nice officer, pleasant fellow, welcomed us and waved us on our way… and on we went.  I think a couple confessions are in order at this point. First.. I am guilty of over-loading both Chuck and the trailer; and second, I have not thoroughly worked out our course and anchorages for this cruise south… something I always do, every time, without fail.  The planning fell apart this year.. never even got started.  I have a thousand excuses, none that hold water, all play a part in the reasons why we actually left home without a proper plan.  “Tsk, tsk “you might say, “not at all in keeping with proper Capricornerisms”.  And you’d be right.  But that’s the truth.. we’re flying by the seat of our pants, driving with fingers crossed that Chuck doesn’t explode, and worried sick about our friends in La Paz and other parts of the Baja… recently demolished by Hurricane Odile.

Not sure if you’ve been following the news but Hurricane Odile hit Cabo San Lucas hard and then crashed its way up the Baja, trashing La Paz, Puerto Escondido, Loreto, Mulege.  It’s still going. although reduced, and the effects of heavy rains and flooding are being felt on the mainland and as far north as Phoenix.  This is the largest hurricane to hit the Baja, some say, in all recorded history.  Check out Latitude 38 if you wish more details but the tragedy continues. Entire marinas, dozens of boats , and square miles of homes have been lost.  In La Paz, we have lost one cruiser and two others are missing. We are all very upset and worried but only time and the collective support of community will ease these wounds. We’re looking forward to being able to join these efforts and will do so as soon as we can get Wild Goose/Shannon’s Spirit ready and on the water.

In the mean time we’re heading south, heavily loaded with materials for ‘Spirit’ and creating our journey as it unfolds.  Some of you have been waiting to hear of our route and our stops, so here goes.  First, let me thank Leona for sharing her ‘flatter than I 5” route with me.  We’re using it as our base reference. After over-heating Chuck’s tranny a bit, we decided to limit our days to approx. 300 miles and our route so far is as follows:

    • Tuesday, Sept. 16th:  Coho ferry to Port Angeles, then south on Hwy.101 and the I 5 to Chehailis, WA
      • We stayed at the Chehailis RV and Outdoor Resort, a Thousand Trails resort.  It was farther off our route than we had realized but the drive was through beautiful, rural, horse country.  The resort roads were ‘uphill’, but Chuck managed them and we found a beautiful and private site.  Passport America Cost: $23.00.
    • Wednesday, Sept. 17th: On this day we not only drove further than we should have, over-heating the transmission… but we also managed to run out of gas about 3 miles short of our intended gas stop.  VERY embarrassing as not only did I fail to notice the emptying gas tank, I had also failed to fill the emergency jerry can I was carrying (more failing to plan). Thank goodness for AAA/BCAA and a quick delivery of $8 worth of petrol. Okay, enough with the confessions.  On we went, no worse for wear, and only 45 minutes later than we’d been.
      • We stayed at the Pioneer RV Park in Hermiston, OR. For us, this is suitable for a one-nighter.  It’s clean, in-line parking, and has full services.  Passport America Cost: $18.00.
    • Thursday, Sept. 18th: Having learned our lesson about pushing Chuck too hard (this was the first day of our ‘new’ plan… shorter drives, more relaxed days), we drove for a whole hour, down the road to Pendleton where we visited Hamley & Co Saddelry and the Pendleton Woollen Mill. Then we took on the challenge of a long, slow hill from Pendleton to La Grande. From there we headed onwards toward Ontario, OR our intended destination. We didn’t make it… not for any other reason than as we crested yet another dry, flat bend in the road… we espied a lush green oasis.  Turns out it was a State park located on the Snake River,  at the location where settlers heading further west bid farewell to their companions and continued west.
      • We stayed at the Farewell Bend State Park, in Site 72, with a great view of the river and a private site with electrical and water.  Very nice. Park cost: $24.00.

Tomorrow we press on… following the Oregon Trail (aka Hwy. 84) east to Idaho and then south through Nevada to Arizona.  We’ll keep you posted, but know we are well and gradually recovering from an exhausting summer. The Sea of Cortez beckons. We have yet to contact San Carlos to see if our boat will be ready for work to start on Oct. 1st.  We want to give them time to assess the situation caused by Odile’s rain.

So dear friends… take good care of yourselves, pray for those in need, and thank you again for your support. 

Adios amigos Y amigas…..  CJ and Kathy, and of course… the one and only, Princess Sophie.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Living Small...

You could be forgiven for thinking our lives were finally settling down.

After all... in the last year alone we've let go of our beloved good ship Shannon; traversed the US and parts of Mexico by land, sea and air in search of her replacement; taken on the refit of a summer boat (now nick-named "Holey Mojo" cuz of all the little fixin's needed); acquired Lucy (the cutest little Casita trailer); helped Kathy's mom move from her home of 50+ years to a very nice apartment in Ladysmith; fallen in love with fresh grapefruits off the trees growing on each lot at The Outdoor Resort in Cathedral City (not to mention the pools, tennis courts, and movie nights); finally (with the help of friends in La Paz) located a suitable boat for continuing our explorations in the Sea of Cortez and travelled to La Paz (during the sale of) and San Carlos to prepare her for sitting out the summer on the shipyard; and finally... prepared our home (a major task involving de-junking and major flower pot restorations) and listed it AND (yes, officially yesterday) sold it.  Phew... I got tired just writing that out!

So yes, you would think our life can now finally settle down; and for sure it will.  There's just this one, last push starting up.  In the next three weeks (yup, I said three... the new folks need the house pretty quick),  we need to sort out what stuff needs to go to Mexico with us, and what stuff we'll need for 'living small'. Most of our furniture, etc., will be heading to storage until next spring when we'll have time to 'shop' for a new home here in Maple Bay or near by, and/but we have to ID those things we'll need to be able to access as soon as we get home and before we retrieve all the belongings stored with the storage company.  That task.. the IDing of all the little things... is taking longer than the packing.  And, who knew how many boxes you can go through in the blink of an eye !  The house already looks like a maze with little pathways through piles of boxes here and there... hmmmm...  We haven't moved for the past ten years.  Now I know why! Thank fully we've had several friends come forward with room in their homes for some of those very fragile boxes, the instruments, some of the house plants, and most of the outdoor potted plants.  As well, friends have come forward to help do some of the packing and even my sister is abandoning her little piece of paradise on Saturna Island to dive in to our mountain of stuff and help pack for a few days.  I know we'll get there in time (moving day is July 15th) but I must confess, at the moment, the job awaiting us feels staggering.

We will be 'living small' from mid-July until mid-September when we begin our usual trek south in Chuck the truck (and this year with Lucy).  While we're here our home-base (temporary address) will be in Crofton (home of dear friends) but our daily life will include cruising on the SV (sailing vessel) Mojo and camping in the TT (travel trailer) Lucy. You'll be able to find us lurking in and around the waters and anchorages of the Gulf Islands or camped out on Quadra Island and other such lovely places.

So until there's time to write again, please know you're in our thoughts... and that we're busy stuffing things into boxes and wishing we'd taken the time when we had it to sort and pitch :-)  We've heard from many of you who follow this blog and I just want to say thank you.  It makes writing all the more fun when you can believe that someone out there is enjoying your words and even, now and then, sharing the visions...  That makes a writer feel pretty good.

We hope all of you are doing well and that the summer weather is kind to you as we move forward into what will likely be one of the warmest summers we've had yet.  Take good care.  Will write again when we have some adventures to share... and after we've become temporarily and only ever-so slightly 'homeless'.