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.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

August 7 - October 6: Or What we did this Summer

I thought and thought and thought about how I was going to write this Blog Entry. On the one hand we had done some cool stuff over the summer that we thought was truly Blog-worthy. On the other hand, we spent a lot of time at one marina, Herrington North, and didn’t do much cruising. On the third hand we had a great time visiting our mothers in the Great American West (Tucson, AZ and Portland, OR), and on the fourth hand not a lot of our boating friends care that much about the desert and rain those two cities signify. So, I am going to write a couple of short, quick paragraphs each on our time at Herrington, our trip to Baltimore, our journey out west, and on the repairs and improvements we made at Annapolis and Kent Island.

Herrington Harbor North

We spent nearly two months at HHN. While there, since I had a new and functioning Achilles Tendon for the first time in several years I just had to try it out, so I bought a new bicycle and started cycling again. Eventually I was covering between fifteen and twenty miles every morning alternating between some very hilly routes and some relatively flat ones. On my rides I found a lot of cool old cemeteries, some out-of-the-way old farms, an occasional piece of clothing (you might be surprised what you find along the roadway!) but mostly I found post offices.

Do you remember a few years ago when the Postmaster General urged Congress to let him have the authority to close some rural post offices? If I thought about it at all, I guess I thought that the Postmaster ought to be able to close post offices, but I really didn’t have a dog in that particular fight. Well, on my various bicycle routes around Deale, I counted seven – count ‘em – seven post offices all within a 7.5 mile radius. (They are: Deale, Tracy’s Landing, Friendship, Galesville, Shady Side, Churchton, and West River. I think there may be one or two more within the same radius, but those weren’t on my routes.) Now these aren’t itty bitty postal counters within another store, they are bona fide brick structures – most of them stand-alone buildings – the smallest of which was (I am guessing here) about 800-1000 square feet. There are more post offices in the area than there are grocery stores, police stations, or fast-food restaurants.  In case you hadn’t guessed, I now claim to have a dog in the Postmaster General’s fight. Someone has to close down some of those post offices!
Ann hard at work on using her new dremel
to take apart the old light fixtures.
The other thing we worked on while at HHN was our AC lighting system. I think I mentioned some time ago how hard it was to change the round, phosphorescent bulbs in our lighting fixtures. Well, we replaced all of them with LED fixtures. It took about ten trips to Home (the closest was about 45 minutes away) and a LOT of exchanges, but eventually we got the right stuff and figured out how to make the system work. Since the lights are guaranteed for about 50,000 hours, Hurray! No More Bulb Changes!!! We ended up taking apart the phosphorescent fixtures and using the board on which they had been built as the base for the LED lights. To take apart the old lights, Ann became a true expert with a dremel while I was responsible for wiring the new ones.


In August we took a cruise to Baltimore with our friends Dave and Joan Wolf. Again, the weather for the trip was beautiful and the seas cooperative.

We had been to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor before and really like it. (If you are a cruiser and haven’t been there, you should go. Yes, it is a bit touristy, but while you are in someplace for a short period of time to see the sights, you are, in fact, a tourist.) Anyway, this time, we took a hike to Edgar Allen Poe’s gravesite. Poe, of course, had an interesting life, but his remains also have quite a history. Buried the first time in the back of Westminster Cemetery, where his grave was not well kept, his body was moved to the front of the graveyard where his grave was more accessible to the public. Moreover, at some point the remains of mother and wife were moved to the same location. Most people know the story of the Poe Toaster (who left a partial bottle of cognac and three roses at Poe’s grave site on the anniversary of his death from 1949 – 2009), but fewer know that even today people leave small gifts at the site – as can be seen in the picture.
A better picture of Poe's memorial.
Some of the "stuff" people have left at Poe's grave.

No trip to Baltimore would be complete, of course, without a visit to one of Little Italy’s best restaurants. The name of the place was Aldo’s and it was, as we say in Italy, “delizioso!!” I also got Ann to make one of my favorite meals, “pecan chicken.”  It is the second time she has made it and it was as scrumptious as the first.

Because of all the eating, I had to get some exercise. Well, let me tell you that Baltimore is not made for bicyclers. In the first place, the part of town called the “Inner Harbor” is a relatively narrow strip of land around the mouth of the Patapsco River. Once you get outside that strip of land, you learn that Baltimore is definitely an industrial town – and not that wealthy of an industrial town. Moreover, you learn that Baltimore’s politicians must do something other than fill potholes to get into office. The streets are horrible! I was afraid that if I fell into one of those holes, no one would ever see me again.

Our Trip West

Ann and I also took trips out West. We both flew to Tucson, AZ to see my mom, then Ann flew on to Portland, OR to see her sister and mother while I stayed a few extra days with my mom. I suspect Ann will write about her trip below, but while in Tucson we went to Karshner Caverns,they are relatively newly discovered cave just south of Tucson. The caverns were discovered in 1974 and the discoverers, the land owners and the state of Arizona worked hard to keep the caverns growing. Humans, just by breathing and carrying bacteria into a cave can virtually destroy it – as is the case at Carlsbad, Luray and other well-known cave systems.

During her trip to Oregon, Ann and her sister, Liz  took a little journey to Bend Oregon to see a cousin that Ann hasn’t seen for … er … several years – actually, several decades. Ann not only enjoyed seeing her cousin (and made plans to link up with her later this fall in Virginia, but also seems to have fallen in love with Bend. The only trouble is, it is not on the water and Traveling Soul couldn’t make it to Bend if she wanted to!

Boat Repairs and Improvements

We had two sets of repairs/improvements done to the boat. The first set was at Kent Island where our friend/broker and all-around boat guys Rick and Tyler worked off the list that the Deltaville Boatyard was supposed to have done. In addition to fixing a bunch of small items and finding several leaks (that allowed rain, not sea water into the boat), Tyler did an excellent job of fabricating a cabinet door and making a new hatch for the flybridge.

Without going into detail, Tyler and crew did the following:

·         Repair hatch to flybridge.
·         Repair Middle Head.
·         Repair/replace port#1 electrical outlet and fuse.
·         Take out icemaker and create storage space in salon
·         Identify and repair leak in forward shower (pantry).
·         Draw a high level electrical system diagram.
·         Repair door to fresh water wash down on aft deck.
·         Replace forward bilge pump switch at the helm station.
·         Replace handle on seacock for port engine.
·         Repair scratch on the starboard side of the transom. This resulted from a slight accident.
·         Repair crack on swim platform
·         Identify and repair water (rain) eak in salon


The new top to our bar and entertainment center.
We had another set of improvements done to the boat in Annapolis. We contracted Yacht Interiors of Annapolis to replace our carpeting and replace the laminate on the top of the bar. Well, I gotta tell you that while they were pricey, they did an excellent job. As long as we don’t have to replace anything they did for the next twenty years, it will have been worth the money.

ANN’S NOTES:  As always Michael has a knack for putting everything in a nut shell. The summer at Herrington Harbour was good. We had all the normal doctor and dental appointments, got our Rx renewed and got a clean bill of health from the various doctors.

I want to take this time to say Thank You to our son Tim and his wife Carrie for taking such good care of our little car and making sure it is up and running when we need it in the summer. Then, there is Dave and Joan Wolf that run the best car transfer operation in VA. They have moved and pre-positioned our car so many times I have lost track. Plus, both families have open up their homes when ever we needed them  and made us feel welcome and special. Both Michael and I know we could not do this cruising without your help…and we love you all so very much.

Our trip to visit our moms was wonderful. It is always nice to see "the moms".  Also reconnecting with long lost family was a bonus. And …yes…I loved Bend OR. It is such a beautiful setting, mountains, river that runs through town, farmers markets, the list can go on and on.

If any of you follow me on Facebook, you already know that I got stuck in the San Francisco airport,  I spent a week there one day. The story still makes me shake my head and ask WHY??? But it is passed and I learned a valuable lesson. Example… do not go to the bathroom between flights.

A picture of our robotic vacuum cleaner, Rosie.
At her "home station."
The work we had done on the boat is wonderful. The new carpeting is plush, cushy and clean. Since we have new carpeting and it needs to be cleaned and my birthday was around the same  time…that made it a perfect time for a new toy. Her name is Rosie the robotic vacuum cleaner and she is from the family of Rumba. Yup...I now have a small round vacuum cleaner that can find its way home and recharge. I think Michael really likes to watch her clean and he has small conversations with her. I like that I can just put her in the room and she just vacuums away and does not fall down the stairs. Rosie is named after the Jetson’s robot and I like her.

As far as the wild life count…while we were at Mears Marina on Kent Island, I saw a red fox that lived near the water front in  a condo community. In the morning I would hear the ducks and a few other water birds make a racket. The fox would walk across the small rock pile that extended into the water, he was trying to catch the ducks I am sure. He must have had a den in the tall sea grass on shore.

I did touch base with many of my   friends and shared some yummy meals with them. I like going home to my old stomping grounds but I call Traveling Soul home.

FYI…on 2 November, it will be our third year living on board!!! Raise a glass and think of us !!!

Traveling Soul…OUT