Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Friday, September 28, 2012

On the Road Again: St Michaels and Cambridge, MD (23 September – 28 September, 2012)

 On the road again -
Just can't wait to get on the road again.
The life I love is making music with my friends

And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again

Goin' places that I've never been.
Seein' things that I may never see again

And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again -
Like a
band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends.
Insisting that the world keep turning our way

Yes, we are on the road again. Finally! On Monday, 24 September we left HHN, set out into the Bay and headed towards St. Michaels, Maryland. After St. Michaels went to Cambridge, MD and will head for Oxford, Maryland tomorrow. Then we will mosey on down to Urbanna and Deltaville, VA.

Mike, in hte salon, with his new walking boot.
You can see the crutches in the lower left.
We are now done with them!!!

Before I tell you about  St. Michaels and Cambridge, though, let me tell you about the past month. I know I promised not to bore you with tales of my woe so I won’t. Instead, I’ll give you a quick summary.  I had two different kinds of surgery: orthopedic surgery on my Achilles tendon and dermatological surgery on my neck (a little bitty, not-to-worry-about cancerous thing). After my tendon surgery I progressed from a splint, to a cast, to a walking-boot-with-crutches, to a walking-boot-without-crutches. The latter is my current means of conveyance and will be for the next 22 days (not that I am counting or anything).  We had to wait until I was off crutches before we could leave the marina, but, as I said, we are now on the road again. My neck surgery also went well in that they got all the cancerous stuff. So I am now (almost) whole and by October 23rd (the day the boot comes off) I will be better than new. In case you were wondering, this getting old crap ain’t for sissies.
While I was getting worked on, so was Traveling Soul. Before I get to the two repairs we had completed, I have a major announcement to make. Those of you who have been reading this blog since last year may remember that there is one item we swore we were going to sell when we got back to the Chesapeake. That’s right WE HAVE SOLD THE BOSTON WHALER!!! How it occurred is kind of amazing.  Every time someone complimented us on the Whaler (and a lot of people did), we told them we were going to sell her as soon as we had the chance. When we visited Urbanna, VA last June we happened to mention to the dockmaster that we had a Boston Whaler that we wanted to sell. He took our card and said he would let us know if he heard o anyone who wanted the boat (yea, right). Well, about two months later he called and told us that one of his customers, who owned a 60’ Hatteras, had given his little Whaler to his grandson and now didn’t have the heart to ask for it back. So, he wanted to buy ours.
Ok, on to the repairs. First, we finally got the winch replaced! As you may recall, the winch that lifts our dinghy onto the second deck (aka the “boat deck,” hasn’t been working right for several weeks. Because Zimmerman’s in Herrington Harbor is so understaffed, they couldn’t fix the winch until they got someone up from the Zimmerman’s Yard in Deltaville. Luckily, he knew what he was doing (at least he seems to have known what he was doing – that damn winch has tricked me into thinking it was working before) and we can raise and lower our Whaler. Don’t get me wrong, raising and lowering the dinghy is still a major task, but at least we can raise and lower it now.  
The second completed task was making the watermaker work. As you may recall, the repairmen in Deltaville didn’t have time to finish the repairs before we headed out for points north. When we got to HHN, we found that Zimmerman’s didn’t have anyone who could fix it, but they sent us to another company that we used to deal with when we kept Sans Souci at Herrington. Well, they were too busy to get to us, but they gave us the name of another guy who worked on watermakers. (Does it sound like passing the buck to you as much as it did to me?) Anyway, the name they gave us was the name of the local representative for HRO (the brand name of watermaker that we have). Nate Horton of Horton Marine Services was absolutely GREAT! The first thing he did was diagnose the problem. Are you ready for this? The pump had lost its prime – so basically, we had a big air bubble in the line between the pump and the thru-hull and the pump was sucking air instead of water. He lowered the hose and voila! In fact, so far on this trip we have successfully made water on two separate nights, replacing almost all we have used.

Building an entertainment system -- however small --
is a messy business. It looks better than this now :-)

Ann and I also improved our stereo setup. We had initially intended to buy a new 32” TV, along with new stereo equipment, and new a CD and DVD player. To do so we would have had to have major woodwork done (about $5000 worth – for more information, you can look back to the second section on Deltaville). Well, we decided to save ourselves several boat units and keep the TV small at 22”. Now some of you might be thinking that 22” is too small. But we didn’t buy a boat and travel to the Bahamas, and cruise the ICW and the Chesapeake to watch TV. We watch some, but not enough to justify 5+ BU’s. So, we replaced the various components at a fraction of that price and now have a nice, modern – but small – entertainment center.

Ok, now to our current journey. For those of you who don’t know, St. Michaels, Maryland is a Bay town that we have visited many times before. It is the home of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, hundreds (or at least tens) of little touristy shops, some pretty good restaurants, and quite a bit of history. For example did you know that, according to local lore, St. Michaels is known as "the town that fooled the British.”  During the war of 1812, British barges off the coast of St. Michaels planned an attack on the town and a harbor fort.  The people of St. Michaels got word of the impending attack and hoisted lanterns high up onto the masts of their sailboats and into the tops of trees.  The high lights caused the attacking British to overshoot the town.  The ruse worked and, according to locals, only one house in St. Michaels was hit by cannon fire.  That house still stands today as a private residence and is known as the "Cannonball House." 

Traveling Soul, lying at anchor in San Domingo Creek,
near St. Michaels, Maryland
We were there three night and two full days. On each of the days we covered about half of the town (with my walking boot I couldn’t go as far or as fast as I wanted).. They were both okay (Characters and Marcorittaville – yes, I know, but that’s the way the owner Marco wants to spell it), but were nothing to write home about. We did re-learn, however, that we both like Fat Tire beer. In case you didn’t know (and there is no reason you should), Fat Tire is a Belgian beer made by the New Belgian Brewing Company which is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado – my birthplace. What is really surprising is that at all three bar/restaurants we have visited so far on this trip had Fat Tire.

The first day as we were returning to our boat, we met Jeremy and Janet who travel the Chesapeake aboard their American Tug, Tardis (that is an obscure reference to one of my favorite British television shows – Dr. Who. I could go into great detail on the Doctor, Time Lords, Time Lord technology, etc, but Ann says I should spare you that diatribe – needless to say, she is not a fan.) Anyway, we talked for only a few minutes and exchanged boat cards. About 2 hours later, we got a phone call. It seems that when Jeremy and Janet got to the dinghy dock to head back to their boat, their dinghy wouldn’t start. They rowed about half the way back, but as they turned into the main part of the creek, the wind slowed them way down; one stroke forwards, two boat lengths backwards. Now, if you will recall when we were in Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, we ran out of gas in our dinghy. We had the same trouble struggling against the wind until one nice boater took pity on us, got in his dinghy and gave us a tow to our marina. We now had an opportunity to repay the favor to the boating community – and we did.
We had them over to the boat the following day for drinks. They were a delightful couple, who, it turns out, used to live aboard their boat, had completed “The Loop” and now cruised the Chesapeake during the summer and live in their Florida home during the winter. One thing led to another and Ann ended up getting a free pair of earrings AND a matching bracelet. It turns out that Janet designs and makes jewelry. Ann commented that she had always wanted earrings with a “swirl” (like the “o” in Traveling Soul) but had not been able to find a pair that she liked. So, Janet made her a pair … and since she was making swirly things, she made her a bracelet, too! I am trying to figure a way to take credit for giving Ann the jewelry (like for her birthday, anniversary, or something – but I can’t. L  

Ann with her new long hair, earrings and bracelet.
Thank you, Janet!!

We left St Michaels on a perfectly gorgeous Thursday and arrived in Cambridge about three hours earlier. We had been to Cambridge before, but we had always stayed at the Hyatt Resort and Marina. They have several swimming pools, a few restaurants, etc. It is a true destination resort. However, this time we came to downtown Cambridge where they have a free dock. That’s right; all you have to do is come in the boat basin, swing around, pull in to the cement dock and tie up. You can stay up to 48 hours, then they kind of want you to move on. True, they don’t have electric hook-ups or water, but hey, did I mention that it is free?

When we pulled in there was absolutely no wind and only one boat on this 300-foot dock. If it had been blowing, these concrete docks might have done a job on our hull. But with no wind, I was able to bring the boat to within, maybe, two feet of the dock. Ann then stepped ashore, tied up all the lines, put the fenders in place and secured the boat. Being "walking boot-bound," I wasn’t much help – other than with advice, which, as I am sure you can imagine, I dispensed freely. We then saw that the water where we had docked was a little skinny – 7 feet at high tide (we draw 4 ½ feet and we probably would have been okay, but I just like to have a little more of a fudge factor), so we decided to move forward about a boat length. Of course that meant we had to undo the lines and raise the fenders. We moved forward about 50 feet, then checked the depth again. We had gained about a foot and a half, so we now had plenty of depth. Ann re-secured the b oat in nothing flat. I suggested to Ann that I might have to give the crew a medal for outstanding performance. Her response was something like, “medal-shmedal I want some beer and nachos.” So we headed over to the local waterfront cafĂ© and imbibed.
Cambridge is kind of an interesting place. Settled by English colonists in 1684, it is one of the oldest colonial cities in Maryland. At the time of English colonization, the Choptank Indians were already living along the – as you might have guessed – Choptank River. Beatrice Arthur, star of the television sitcoms Maude and The Golden Girls grew up in Cambridge, where her family owned and operated a clothing store. Also, the Annie Oakley House is the only surviving residence that was either owned or occupied by Annie Oakley as a primary and permanent residence. She “retired” there for a few years before she decided to “unretire.”
Walking around town – and it is a lot bigger than St. Michaels – you can see that Cambridge used to “be” something.  There are a number of unused and underutilized storefronts and commercial spaces in town, a lot of second-hand and consignment shop along the main street, and even the city’s historic houses need some work. In short, while I think Cambridge is working hard to revitalize its downtown areas, it has a long way to go. Will we come back? Maybe. But so far we haven’t found anything to which we must return.
ANN’S NOTES:   I had to look at the dates that Michael started this blog with. I am going to go back a few days since I celebrated my birthday on 20 September.  The day was fun because my phone kept buzzing with the tune of “Meet the Jetsons”… that is what plays when I have a message from Facebook. I never knew I had so many friends and it was wonderful to get so many birthday wishes. I even got one from my Aunt Dorothee in France.  On Friday, we headed up to Northern Virginia and stayed with Dave and Joan. We went out for dinner and had another couple, Jim and Jane Hawkins, join us. Than it was a family party on Saturday at Dave and Joan, joined our son Tim, daughter-in-law- Carrie, and of course Caylin and Gavin … and Abby their wonderful dog. All my gifts were special, a few more mermaids for my collection and salad bowl, a Nike fuel band to keep me active and moving more, and a Nexus tablet to bring ashore while we are in the Bahamas…no more lugging the lap top.

From L - R: Dave, Joan, Jane, Jim (partially obscured), Ann
and Mike. So, why do you think Jim was obscured? Probably
because of his past -- he doesn't want to be recognized
We also had a chance to visit some friends on their boat in Kent Narrows MD … they are on their way to Trawler Fest in Baltimore … trying to sell their boat after living on board and cruising for five years. We had a fun evening with them and they introduced us to some of their other friends. Boaters have MANY stories to tell so the conversation is always interesting J
I am happy to report that our ‘list’ of repairs is shrinking and that most of the repairs seem to have been done correctly.
I am happy to be on the water again and hear those big engines hum and push us through the water. It makes me smile J
Michael is healing well and has been a very good patient. I have used my nursing skills well this summer and will be glad for him once he is out of ‘the boot’. My morning routine will change for the better once I won’t have to Velcro him into that thing.
I just want you to know that I jumped off the boat not once, but twice and was not offered the traditional 5 dollars dock hand/line handler tip. I guess the beer and crab nachos, and Michael’s praise on a job well done is more than enough payment.
Thanks for following us…
Traveling Soul…OUT