Tag Archives | Grand Banks

30 September 2018 Jacksonville – Ocala

17 September
    Love the early morning view from atop the Roosevelt Boulevard Bridge of the anchored sail boat and Jacksonville’s skyline from my morning walk. On my way back home, Bill and I met for breakfast at Bagel Love.





So much for Keto. A bit of rug shopping at a fabulous shop whose owner knows more about wool rugs than I ever knew there was to know. Then, again, boating friends, Bill and Barb, came and fetched us for lunch. Now it’s happy hour and I am in my most happy place for the first time in quite a while. We’re on the fly bridge relishing a nice breeze. It has been in the upper 90s here and just too hot to stick our heads outside. In an effort to keep our galley clean, I’m sure we will find a place where someone cooks but not me. Donna and Mary, you are acquainted with that concept, aren’t you?



19 September
     Feel as if we are abandoning a sinking ship. We are throwing things in boxes and suitcases to head to Ocala in the morning. Just hoping it will all fit in our rental car. Of course, our bikes will be the first to be loaded. Stressful but exciting time. Stand back! Two more Larkhillians on our way! The beginnings of a new adventure!

20 September
     This is our last sunrise from our beloved Kindred Spirit III. The beginning of a very emotional day.


                                      View from our fly bridge
22 September
     Man, oh, man—- do we feel and look like Tobacco Road!!!! Don’t want to unload our carnage brought from our trawler into our coach and then have a do-over of the whole rigmarole Monday when we close. It’s only 40′ so we’d need pogo sticks to get around with superfluous stuff inside. I’m eternally digging through the car for necessities and am sure our RV Park neighbors are weary of looking at my posterior as I’m upside down in the trunk trying to root out things we need.
     So excited to end this temporary “adventure” and get moved in and organized. This limbo is driving me crazy and for me, that’s a short trip.

23 September
     Tonight we had a grand reunion and long overdue happy hour with Ellen and Carl who are celebrating their 40th anniversary and George and Donna at everyone’s fave Tex-Mex restaurant, Las Margaritas.




24 September
     We just finished our 2 hour walk-through and it was a hoot! Our superintendent, Steve, and warranty guy, Butch, were outstanding!!! A stupendous experience would be an understatement.

25 September
     Today Bill rented a car to get to Greenville, SC, where our meager worldly possessions are stored—a 10 hour trip in a car.

26 September
     This morning, Bill and his best friend, Dave, took the truck to Dave’s shop to meet power lifting dudes to load important things like a drill press and other manly toys. Then off to our climate controlled storage unit for some essentials that we kept. THEN he picked up the love of his life, his little blue TR6, that he loaded on the car dolly.





27 September
     From Greenville to Ocala in the UHaul truck and dragging the dolly behind was a 12 hour trip. He was toast when he arrived home, thankfully safe and sound.

28 September
     Another day–we shopped till we dropped.  George and Donna kicked off the neighborhood festivities with a gathering in their gorgeous home. Wednesday, the moving truck delivered their things. 2 days later everything was in place, window treatments hung and even pictures on the walls. Their home looks like something from Better Homes and Gardens. Ours won’t be that ‘put together’ next year this time. Maybe Donna’s for hire.


30 September
     It was such a good feeling of “coming home” today when we sat on the 3rd row from the front at the church we plan to join. Then off again to enhance the local economy of Ocala. 
     Our closing is in the morning at 11:15! So excited I’m about to jump out of my skin! It will be like Christmas when we open boxes and bins whose contents that we haven’t seen in over a decade.  Our ragged bodies will collapse on a brand new air mattress tomorrow night.


Stay tuned for a new book—not just a chapter–that book’s closed—but a totally different adventure.


Bill and Laura
Ocala, FL



16 September 2018 – Great Bridge, VA – North River, NC – Belhaven, NC – Morehead City, NC – Snead’s Ferry, NC, Oxbow/Waccamaw, NC, Johns Island, SC – Cumberland Island, GA – Ortega Landing, FL

1 – This morning we left Great Bridge, VA, and spent the night in North River, NC. Nature treated us to a beautiful sky all day. Even at our slow pace, seems as if we got to NC exceedingly quickly. Imagine because this is our Final Cruise and we want each day to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out for as long as possible.



2 – Up and at ’em leaving our anchorage and relishing the exquisite sunrise.


     Coincidentally, our sailing friends, Robert and Tracy were sailing back home in Oriental and we passed each other “like ships in the night.” They took a photo of us and we of them, however they did a much better job for us than we did.


















3 – Labor Day morning, we saw this 42 foot Grady White sporting four 425 HP outboards. Would love to see that at full throttle. Seems like he could become airborne. That will make for some pretty expensive fish.


                              Isn’t this guy the cutest little puppy!!!


     In northern NC, we found every nanometer of our boat covered in blind mosquitoes, AKA Midges. They lay black gelatinous eggs that are the devil to remove and they were everywhere those critters went. Certainly didn’t want them propagating in our domain. And even worse, they poop tiny little specks of green dots. 


     We went into Morehead City Yacht Basin to scrub the boat inside and out. Wish I’d taken a photo of our bridge enclosure and our dingy cover. There wasn’t a spot as big as a pencil point not covered by those things.  We’d put in a long, hot day and boat washing was the last thing we had any inclination of doing but there wasn’t any other choice. I multi-tasked by also doing laundry. Someone told me once that multi-tasking is the result of being scatter-brained. Could be!


     What a lovely surprise to see old boating buds, Diane and Louis, walking down the dock to welcome us. They wanted to take us to dinner but laundry was still in the process of becoming clean again and we were in dire need of showers so weren’t able to accept their sweet offer.


4 – This morning we went to breakfast with Louis and Diane to an old family owned restaurant in Morehead City. We love going to dives–not that this was one but it was definitely immensely local. All the servers know our friends–’twas like one big family. We had an enormous breakfast.


 On Tuesdays they serve chicken livers which Diane and I both love so after a brief “rest” from breakfast, we were back for lunch and had to hurry before they ran out. They’ve lived in that area for eons so gave us a wonderful tour of the city and of their home. Exquisite is the only word to describe their home. Wish I’d taken a photo.


5 – We left Morehead and cruised to Snead’s Ferry. Don’t know what it is about us and sinking boats but this one, with two Yamahas, sank just before we arrived.




6 – Sunrise as we leaving little Swan Point Marina, we headed toward Southport to visit and have dinner with our boating friends (believe it or not, we DO have friends who aren’t nor have ever been boaters) Kay, Robert, Patsy, and Rick. 



     What delightful hosts are Kay and Robert. They are unquestionably, awesome, friendly, welcoming, and hospitable friends.


7 – Good morning, Baby Moon.

                                         Southport City Marina


     We decided that we need to make tracks so are abandoning our usual cruising style of leaving at 10 AM and anchoring by 3 PM to putting in 12-13 hour days to get south of Florence’s cone.


8 – We left before first light and thankfully the current is with us. Jim Cantore just arrived Wilmington, NC. NOT a good sign!

9 – After 8 ½ hours of bucking the current almost all the way, we’re in one of our favorite anchorages.

      This is the Oxbow, just off the beautiful tannic Waccamaw River, whose shores are lined with graceful, moss-draped cypress trees. Their bases are punctuated with diminutive cypress knees. One of the loveliest areas of the waterway. 


     




     We planned to stop in Little River to visit boating friends, Mary and Larry but those plans were aborted so Mary, came out to wave as we passed and took this photo. Thanks, Mary.




10 – We blew past Wild Dunes/Charleston where we had reservations. So strange to pass places, at our break-neck speed, that we know and love when we wanted to chill there for a while.




     Anchored John’s Island, SC, south of Charleston. 12 hours. 103 miles. We’re exhausted. 3 more days just like this till we get to Jacksonville.


                  I just love the beguiling marshes and the wonderful balm they emit.




10 – Today we had several magic dolphin shows with them riding our bow wave and our wake. They would turn on their sides and smile up at us. After all these years, we’ve never grown tired of the dolphin performances.


12 – Mission accomplished! In 5 days we traveled 450 miles and those sweet Ford Lehman engines purred all the way with nary a hiccoup. We pulled into Ortega Landing Marina just off the St. John’s River on the Ortega River in Jacksonville, totally fried! We did absolutely nothing the first two days but sleep. Again, that was not our way of cruising but “you do whatcha gotta do” and we had to get Kindred Spirit III out of Flo’s fury. Prolly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Could never get cool. Couldn’t take enough cold showers. But that’s behind us now and we’re enjoying our time here and are working on choreographing our move to Ocala to our new home. We will close and move in a week from this Friday.


Bill and Laura
Jacksonville, FL

31 August 2018 Solomons, MD – Slaughter Creek Marina – Cambridge Marina – Oxford Yacht Yard – St. Michaels Marina – Solomons – Hills Bay, VA

16 August
     
     We’re flying at 8.3 kts across the bay from Herrington Harbor to Solomons Island. We’ve got The Force with us and we’re really cooking!  Look at that speed. Could it be that we’re cruising down hill?

     All of us descended on Solomons Island Yacht Club in time to join the local
members for cocktails. We followed our whetted appetites across the street for dinner at The Pier. Mother Nature treated us to a wonderful Patuxent River sunset. 





17 August
    Again tonight we joined the locals at SIYC for cocktails which became a VERY happy happy hour. We then adjourned to the Lighthouse Restaurant and Dock Bar for dinner. 
18 August
     Morning sky from Solomon’s Island Yacht Club.


     
                             

                                   Cute little Dragon Boat rowers









     Before our departure, we had fun watching Dragon Boat Races in Solomons this morning. That looks like some hard work.

     Seems as if this 2 week cruise will be a caloric gastronomic experience of eating our way around the Chesapeake.
19 August
     Onward to Slaughter Creek Marina. Austin, TX, has a Slaughter Creek named after someone but can’t dig up the origin of MD’s Slaughter Creek, but there’s gotta be a story there.
     As we were all enjoying the salt water pool, the marina owner appeared with trays of Orange Crushes that were absolutely tantalizing and so refreshing.
20 August
     Arrived Cambridge today and are checking out the RAR Brewing Company as we sample their craft beers and evaluate their fare.

     Then on to The High Spot for dinner and more Dark and Stormys with 24 of our bestest friends. We’re all about supporting the local economy.
21 August
     Seems we need a carrot to pull our bods out of the bed and into our walking duds for our group 7:30 walk each morning. This morning we savored a repast at Blackwater Bakery where they served up waffles, omelets, and freshly made cranberry and blueberry muffins with eye-opening dark roast coffee.
     When we decided to sell our boat, I wanted a gold pendant as a permanent reminder. Chesapeake Jewelers made this for me and delivered it yesterday. They did a magnificent job. The fly bridge full enclosure supports appear filigreed. I am absolutely THRILLED! They have a site if you’re interested in custom made jewelry. Michael’s design work is spectacular.















                          Not a speck of make up and I don’t even care!!!
22 August
     Farewell to quaint little Cambridge and we’re all steaming on to Oxford.  Other than this 2 week cruise being a blast with 20+ fun people, we’ve gotten quite a bit of exposure with our For Sale signs. Yesterday we showed her 3 times and this morning another couple came over—with a bottle of wine!!!
     Dinner tonight at Capsize and everyone raved about their meals. A bonus was the homemade ice cream right next door.

                                                 Just trying to get my puppy-fix
     Following our morning walk, an invigorating way to start the day, we had breakfast at the Robert Morris Inn. The inn, which is a tribute to the architectural beauty of the 18th century, was constructed by ships’ carpenters before 1710 with wooden pegged paneling, ships’ nails and hand-hewn beams.  About 20 years later, an English trading company bought the house as a residence for Robert Morris who represented the firm’s shipping business in Oxford.

23 August

     This morning was cool as our walking group traipsed through this little village making for a very enjoyable beginning to our day. We stopped at The Market for a freshly baked and still warm muffin.

     After getting everything buttoned down, we pulled out one at a time with most of us headed for our last 2 nights of this cruise to St. Michaels.
     St. Michael’s Marina erected a tent for our cocktail hour adjacent to the pool, then we shuffled off to dinner at the marina restaurant.
25 August


                 Cute and tiny little island house. I could live here!
     This was Farmers’ Market day and I latched on to some wonderfully acidic tomatoes after our walk which led us down a Rail-Trail asphalt path. Carpenter’s Saloon was the perfect place for a breakfast fit for a lumber jack.


     The guys headed to the old car museum and the shoppers of the family hit every single shop on both sides of the street.
     In the evening we congregated beneath our tent then returned to the Saloon for dinner. This was our Swan Song.



26 August

     The real grand finale was Crepes by the Bay after our walk. We were seated outside beneath a tent and the food—from presentation to tantalizing our taste buds, was exquisite.
     “Parting is such sweet sorrow” as we bade our cruising friends farewell. Each of us aimed the pointy part of our trawlers in a different direction with intentions of our wakes crossing again.
     We had a beautiful day of crossing the bay but were most eager to drop the hook soon’s the water became shallow enough at Solomons. We anchored at the entrance to Back Creek where we cherished the rocking and swinging all night. 


     The rising moon was red, huge, and beautiful! My photos never do nature justice.



27 August

     Washburn’s Boatyard has done work for us several times in the past and they’re excellent so we paid them a visit for some things that needed attention.

28 August

     The service man was there bright and early. I was on the bridge with my coffee and a book but Rip Van Winkle was still studying the backs of his eye lids. The repair was accomplished and we headed again to Curt and Judy’s dock in Lusby. We’re just like a bad penny and we keep showing up.  
















     In the evening we were at the yacht club for happy hour where we met a couple on their way to their home port in NC aboard their 28′ Rosborough. That’s such a cute little boat. The Larsens, another couple, and Bill and I went to a new Thai restaurant for a delicious dinner. I expect Thai Seacoast to do well.


29 August


     Judy and Curt kindly loaned us their car to provision, do laundry, and run umpteen errands which took us 7 hours. We were pooped after that spree and getting everything stowed. We enjoyed a glass of wine with them then headed to a pizza joint. Think I was in bed and asleep before 8:30. We were toast!


30 August


     T’was sad to say goodbye to Judy and Curt, other friends there, and Solomons itself, but it’s time to head south. We fueled at Calvert Marina and are loving every second of our cruise across the bay. 



     We cruised about 50 miles which is a long day for us. The bay can sometimes be nasty and then it’s called the Chesapuke but it has been most wonderful for us each time we’re on the bay. We anchored in Hills Bay right off the Piankatank. We had a little wind and a nice rain shower which enhances sleeping on the water.



31 August


     We weighed anchor at first light this morning in hopes of visiting with our granddaughter in Norfolk then making it to Great Bridge—both of which remain to be seen. 


     Today marks the end of a most wonderful month of cruising as we head to FL.


Bill and Laura Bender
Cruising the Chesapeake Bay

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August 2018 Cape May, NJ, Chesapeake City, VA – Severna Park, MD – Herrington Harbor Marina and Resort – Solomons Island Yacht Club, MD – Slaughter Creek, MD –

1 August

     As Robert Burns said, “the best laid plans of mice and men….” We spent 2 days in Cape May’s torrential rain hoping for a break in the weather so we could cycle the area. Long ago we rode our bikes here and it was such fun that we were hoping to have a re-run…but not! Decided we’d stop again on our way south so departed marina this morning with the intentions of spending tonight in Atlantic City. NOAA said seas were 1 foot or less. NOAA just doesn’t knowa and it’s not the first time we believed their “fake forecast”. We went out into the Atlantic and after an hour of feeling we were in a washing machine, we turned back. We got in high seas once before because we relied on NOAA.

Here ’tis Tues and neither the ocean nor Delaware Bay looks ‘friendly’ for another week…so here we sit. By next week it’ll be too late to resume our travels to Long Island Sound so in a week, we’ll retrace our steps heading south.Of course, this messes with Bill’s meticulous spread sheet (which troubles him) but it’s always cast in dilute Jello is is changed several times a day. He just commented that his spreadsheet looks “soft”. We’ll stay here till Monday when Delaware Bay should be user-friendly and then we’ll head south. We planned on meeting trawler friends in LI but not this time and that’s really disappointing.

2 August
     
     This boat, in the slip next to us, sank last night and owners are trying to raise her!!!??? Meanwhile, jugs of fuel, anti-freeze, all manner of carnage from inside floated out and away. We’re amazed that the EPA nor any environmental agency has even been down. This is damaging our oceans and environment and I’m more than a little bit upset!!

 3 August


     An update to last night’s saga. Despite the mammoth brand-new bright and shiny crane and the other trucks with crew, BIG counter-balance weights, and working after hours—the cost was only $5,500!!! 

We thought it would be much much more. The boat owner told us that this morning. He’s young and a trooper. He’s been working on that tub all day by himself. No wonder he’s thin and toned and fit….


6 August
     Morning, Y’all, from Utsches Marina, Cape May, NJ

     We had a delightfully peaceful cruise across Delaware Bay landing in Chesapeake City, VA, for a night or two for calm nights at anchor.

8 August

    
     Pretty little historic houses on our walk to breakfast this morning.

        Our cruise today took us to Severna Park and to our Marathon, FL, sailing friends’ dock. We met Tom and Elinor years ago when we were next slip neighbors. Tom’s an avid cyclist and we rode with him in the Keys as well as on the B and A Trail while visiting them in MD. They’re always wonderful hosts and enjoyable company.

           Their Meridian and our Kindred Spirit III as seen from their deck


                       Sunset on the Severn from Tom and Elinor’s deck

9 August
  
     This morning we had a 6:30 AM ride with Tom and enjoyed a coffee at The Big Bean situated along the trail.

        While at Tom and Elinor’s, Mike, a friend with whom I used to work, was in the area to celebrate his mom’s 92nd birthday. He came over for a boat visit. T’was fun catching up on our lives in the decade plus since we were both gainfully employed.

13 August


     Our last full day in Severna and a wonderful one. I went with Tom on the best ride I’ve ever done since we’ve been riding our Bike Fridays 13 years ago. I felt wonderful, it was fun, and there was NO whining. The route was a new one—on the B&A Trail and through some historic neighborhoods. I came home on an endorphin high. 


14 August


     Since the ocean was unfriendly to us couple weeks ago causing us to abort our trip to LI, we were left with loose ends for a few weeks. We connected with the Chesapeake Bay Cruisers for a 2 week cruise of 8-10 boats and we’re havng a ball! The organizers have done an incredible job of lining up marinas and restaurants. We knew just a few couples since we’re rarely in this area but have met new friends and are having the time of our lives. Definitely the best group cruise we’ve ever taken. We departed Solomons today and are cruising the bay. 


     Our first 2 nights are in Herrington Harbor Marina and Resort and what a spectacular place with approximately 700 slips.


15 August


      Cocktails this evening on the cusp of Herring Bay while docked at Herrington Harbor South. Foremost is a great pool with designated lap lanes. I was using fins and kick board and “they” deemed my kick board, a ‘flotation device’ which is outlawed! Was expecting them to call my fins a ‘pool toy’. Whatever! Just for a day and more than happy to have a pool with lane lines. No T but flip turns weren’t a prob. Joined a group at 7:30 for a walk. Was so accustomed to Tom’s 6:30 launch that we felt like we were sleeping in. Fun place and a fun buncha boat people.


Bill and Laura
Herrington Harbor

31 July 2018 Callao, VA – Washington, DC – Lusby, MD – Baltimore, MD – Sassafras River Anchorage – Chesapeake City – Cape May, NJ

     I am absolutely just biting my tongue to keep from having a fit and falling in it.  Was just getting ready to publish blog with I mistakenly hit Command Z and it is GONE!!!!!  Tons of pictures and tales of your g…

30 June 2018 Solomons, MD, – Washington, DC, – Greenville, SC, – Ocala, FL, Calleo, VA, St. Mary’s, VA

2 June
     What a fun day to end the week. Yesterday and today we watched the Blues from the dock and no matter how many times I watch them, it’s always a thrill and makes me have “wet eyes”.











AND, another celebration is this pool! First time I’ve swum since May 2017, and it felt fabulous. Almost like uniting with a long lost lover. 



3 June
We’re on our fly bridge enjoying the gentle rocking provided for us by torrents of wind and rain and watching the Grand Banks and Kadey Krogen dancing around their mooring balls. It’s once again sweat shirt weather.




4 June
     Dusk is settling in and we’re on our fly bridge reflecting on our lives, this day, and friendships. The only sounds are the chirping of crickets and the throbbing of the crab boats’ engines, returning with their day’s catch.
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7 June
We had an interesting day today and both occurrences were serendipities. We’re both over-due a filet mignon. Haven’t had once since Brunswick, GA. We’d seen good reviews for Jerry’s Place which we found in a tire store in Prince Frederick. Soon’s we walked in, Jerry was there to greet us, asked if this was our first time, inquired as to our fave seafood…. Told him we were really puckered up for a steak. Said he didn’t have those but had the best crab cakes in…the world. They brought us menus and a small bowl of kale, one of stewed tomatoes, and one of small pieces of haddock. Bill ordered haddock and I, a 6 oz crab cake. I was quite underwhelmed with the crab cake. A pickle came with it–all for close to $30. Seemed more like an appetizer. Bill loved his fish but $60+ for lunch was a tad on the pricey side, me thought. And we drank water—tap water!!! Staff was friendly and when we left and had exited the restaurant, the hostess came running after us asking how we liked it and told us about things to do and see in the area. Quite a friendly bunch. Interior’s quite eclectic. Jerry personally greets everyone who enters his portals albeit a mite steep for lunch…and faucet water.

Then we went to Cove Point Lighthouse which sits on a 7 acre point of land in one of the narrowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay. It was built in 1828 and is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse and the 5th oldest on the Bay. The docent was a very interesting little man who told several humorous tales and showed a video. We weren’t allowed to climb the stairs to the lantern room but I thought the pattern the stairs made was interesting.

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7 June
This is what it looks like when you have your ducks in a row.








8 June

     We found a nearby 7 mile hike today through the woods and the only sounds were birds communicating and the leaves crunching beneath our feet. This tree aspires to be a letter and the little patch of bright green moss catapulted me back to my childhood when I’d pretend it was fairy carpet. I love a stroll through unadulterated nature.

9 June
     
     A late lunch with Nancy, Ted, Martha, and Charles at Kingfisher’s where we enjoyed great food, great company, and tons of hysterical laughter. Thanks, Nancy for choreographing that.

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13 June

     We’re out for a nostalgic cruise and a respite at anchor. 


     We cruised past this is a restful point at Calvert Marina on our way to brunch.
Our cruise to Cockold Creek (there’s gotta be a story behind that name) was calm and peaceful. We anchored for brunch alfresco, napped, read, played in the water, and returned to our slip in time to meet Judy and Curt at Solomon’s Yacht Club for dinner. 

      Our approach to the Patuxent River Bridge. The Blue Marble is for Blue Mind endeavor.

A tall ship arrived next to the yacht club. 

   
Our wake after going under the bridge.


     We arrived home just in time to see a crimson sky lit from the setting sun. Nothing beats a day on the water and with boating friends—the best kind of folks.

14 June

Since we love DC, we don’t need much of a reason to go there to we thought a visit to the Apple Store would be enough of an enticement.

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We drove from Solomons, parked, and took the Metro and our feet to visit old haunts. The day was filled with lots of nostalgia as we revisited our home marina and some of our fave places in Washington. It was like returning home. Everything and everywhere is just so familiar to us. We walked ten miles without even realizing it. The ethnic and cultural diversity is one of the aspects of the city that I really appreciate and find so enticing.

15 June

     Long time cruising friends, Peg and Jim, cruised through on their way home to Pasadena, MD, and were at friends’ dock on Mill Creek–Judy and Curt. We took happy hour over to their boat and had a fantastic evening catching up on our lives since last we met. 

17 June
     I met with a group of 30 members of our trawler organization for dinner at Solomons’ Pier Restaurant. Great food, view, and fellowship.

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21 June

     The pre-drywall walk-through of our new home in Ocala went well. Tentative move in date is mid-September.
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24 June
     This is most certainly a cultural experience! The Chesapeake Cowboys ramming their boats. Hotter than blazes. Thankfully that’s checked off our bucket list.

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25 June

     At noon-thirty, we departed Calvert Marina, Solomons, MD, after 8 weeks of being there to clean and clean and clean and provision. Can’t explain the joy that fills our souls to feel water moving beneath our hull! Didn’t take long to realize that the bay wasn’t welcoming so instead of it being the Chesapeake, we’d prolly have to rename it the Chesapuke Bay. So off we went to find a protected anchorage–which we did where we were at anchor for 3 days and 2 nights waiting out the bay. A great time of reflection, reading, and painting.

27 June

     We’re on our way and the wait was well worth it. The bay was as calm as it could be and was a wonderful day upon the water.

     Certainly a photo op not to be missed. Every time we cruise by here I take another picture. Of course, they all look the same—just with different year’s dates.
     Our day of cruising was blissful and as we pulled into Lodge Creek Yacht Club/Olverson’s Marina, it was just like coming home. We’ve met so many wonderful people here over the years and have had such great times. We always anticipate our return. Twas fun getting together with Tom and Betty on Southwind. It’d been a long time since we’d seen them making for a get time of…again…catching up.

28 June

     The Chesapeake Bay Cruisers planned a huge gathering will with wonderful foods and of course, adult beverages. Visiting with old friends and making new ones constituted a very enjoyable evening. 

29 June

     Today’s the 72nd birthday “of my lover and my best friend.” Of course he got coffee in bed—as always, and the royal treatment all day of not having to lift his finger to do a thing—but brush his teeth. Mid afternoon we boarded Freddie’s boat (he’s the marina owner and has a heart as big all all outdoors) for a 2 ½ hour cruise to St. Mary’s College, VA, for their 4th of July concert by the Chesapeake Orchestra and their fireworks extravaganza.















      It was spectacular and equally so was the cruise home on the Potomac River that was as smooth as a baby’s butt and the full moon reflecting off the water. 






     Freddie was a great captain who’s plied these waters all of his life and navigates them flawlessly. On board was Richard and Sandy, 2 of his friends and old (not in age) trawler friends, Lolli and Craig. Because of my poor photographic skills, I can never photograph the moon as beautiful as it is. 
     For once in our lives and I’m blaming it on “extraneous circumstances”, we don’t have a detailed itinerary due to a period of being in limbo but you can be certain that July will be another entertaining adventure.

Bill and Laura
Calleo, VA

31 May 2018 Ocala, FL, – Brunswick, GA, – Richmond, VA, – Solomons, MD, – Chesapeake Beach, MD, – Indian Head Trail, Waldorf, MD, – Solomons, MD

     1 May.  Bill and I had our own private bon voyage dinner of filet mignons, at Cody’s Steakhouse; our Ocala Swan Song. Prior to pointing our noses northward, we slept well after making sure we left the coach spic-n-span.


     2 May. We stored our coach under cover near Ocala and began our sojourn with Solomons, MD, and our beloved Kindred Spirit III in our cross-hairs. We spent the first night back in Brunswick. We always seem to time our “passing through” to occur in time for an evening meal. Millhouse Steakhouse serves the most mouth-watering filet mignons that will absolutely melt in your mouth. No knife needed. Two steaks in as many nights???  We’ve worked hard and needed the sustenance. 

     3 May. Day 2 of pounding pavement in our 800 mile pursuit of reaching Solomons Island, MD, tomorrow. Bill’s a trooper and I’m exhausted just from sitting and doing nothing. I just can’t wait to lay my eyeballs on our trawler. I’m SOOO excited!!! We’re not getting any exercise and not eating healthy—but this, too, shall pass. We’re crashing in Richmond, VA, for tonight.

     4 May. We learned that our piece of dirt is beginning to take shape. This shows trenches for footings. Not sure that’s the term a builder would use but you get the picture!

     Now for the unexpected aspect of our yesterday’s trip where we witnessed something “as seen on TV”. We were merging onto I-95 just outside of Lumberton when 3 police cars were blocking our entry. One officer opened his trunk, pulled out his bullet-proof vest, and donned it—as did the others. There must have been 25-30 law enforcement vehicles barreling own the highway in the direction we were intending to travel. One officer got a ‘thing’ that we later learned was a wide strip of spikes meant to stop the vehicle housing the ‘bad guy’. We had no idea what was unfolding before our eyes or I’d have videoed it. The officer threw that thing across the interstate, a speeding (hijacked) pickup veered to avoid it, and the officer pulled it back so blazing fast so innocent travelers wouldn’t fall prey. This occurred in just a split second. The high jacker’s reflexes were amazingly fast despite his being impaired. The multitude of police cars took off after him and within less than a mile, they’d apprehended him.  His truck was off the interstate and on the grass so he had free (for him) lodging in the local slammer that night.

     So the story goes, he’d tried to hijack 2 semi’s and even shot into one of the tractor-trailers. Kudos to the NC state police, local police, and the sheriff’s department for putting their lives on the line and for their dedication to keeping us safe. We’re kinda naive regarding police activities so this was horrifying to watch. Maybe we need to watch more law enforcement TV.
      We arrived in Solomons and made a bee-line to Capt. Pat’s Seafood for lunch then straight to Calvert Marina. This is, without a doubt, what home feels like to us and when we arrived this afternoon, I wanted to kiss her all over. Kindred Spirit III is truly Home Sweet Home. Knowing this will be our last season aboard makes her even more precious.  At this moment, we’re sitting on the fly bridge enjoying a glass of wine and basking in the memories that we’ve made aboard her. Even though we’re in a slip, we can sense a slight rocking and the sound of the water lapping against the hull is more soothing and tranquil than any symphony.

     5 May. This day was the annual Solomons Maritime Festival, a celebration of Southern Maryland traditions of work, play, and self expression. The festival harkened back to a simpler, slower time when waterman spent their days on the water with very few ties to land. The exhibits, learning opportunities for the children, and music made for a well-spent Saturday. We met up with Curt and Judy who were volunteering there. We met them about 12 years ago when we were docked in Charleston, SC, and so were they. We developed a strong friendship and the rest is history. “Boat People” are just that way.  



     We worked like dawgs all week getting our boat squeaky clean from the bilge to the top of the full enclosure in anticipation of potential buyers and we aren’t finished yet. 


    6 May.  Somehow, an overcast day, freezing, dressed in sweats, last night we slept under an electric blanket and with the heat on —–none of this goes together. Didn’t know we were going to the north pole.









     8 May.  Yippee! Thanks to our future Larkhill neighbor, Diligent Donna and her photographic skills, she sent a photo of our slab that was poured today!  

     Lo and behold, it’s finally warming here. We enjoyed spring flowers when we were “down south” and now we have another opportunity to take pleasure in these. 

     12 May. We took a break from our scrubbing, polishing, waxing, repairing…and met Charmaine, our cycling guru and friend from DC, in Chesapeake City, for lunch and a stroll around town. She isn’t a boater but a extremely strong cyclist. Years ago when we were in DC by boat, (it’s a very long story—as most of mine are) the 3 of us met and we consider her one of our best friends. She takes her bike and rides all over the world. She’s got to have the strongest pistons of any woman I know. She works on The Hill and rides her bike to work during rain, sleet, or snow, with the caveat of—if the snow’s deeper than 3”, she’ll take the train. We see her often and it’s always a fun time spent. She even came to Ocala to see us—and ride— during the winter when we were down there “feeling out the area.” Lunch with Charmaine and Bill at Traders, Chesapeake Beach, MD.


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    13 May. Mother’s Day
                     Our Four Sons who call me “Mom”.
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   This is one of my most treasured pictures of Chad, Matt, Andy, and Stephen who’s still in the oven–He ranks a photo all by himself so you can see what he really looks like instead of being a lump. I love being their mom.

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     Before Curt and Judy took off on another adventure, we got together with them for cocktails at the Yacht Club and a tastebud tantalizing dinner at the Brassiere. 


     On a weekend, Elinor and Tom drove down from Severna Park for a visit and lunch on the island at Kingfisher’s. We met them, also years ago, in Marathon, when we’d winter down there. They were in the slip next to us.  Tom’s an avid cyclist and he led us on many rides east from Marathon. We’ve visited them by boat on the Severn River and he took us on exciting rides on the paved Baltimore and Annapolis Trail as well as down into Annapolis.


    LOOK!!! That concrete slab is about to grow some walls!  There are stacks of CMU’s and by noon that day, we had a semblance of a house.




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     That evening we had photos of the latest update of our home. The exterior masonry lock walls are completed and the lentil has been pumped with solid concrete. The build is moving right along.









     21 May. We took a Sunday morning stroll around the island ending at a cute little coffee shop over looking the Patuxent River.
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     Day is done and now we’re sitting on our bridge watching the diamonds dance upon the surface of Back Creek as we anticipate a beautiful sunset.
     26 May. This morning we met our DC cycling guru, Charmaine, at the Indian Head Rail Trail, MD, for a 30 mile ride through the solitude of nature. The silence was broken only by bird’s songs, the rat-a-tat of woodpeckers, and the hypnotic whir of our tires on the paved trail. 
     We came upon a pace line that ended horribly for one guy who did a face plant at 16 mph. Copious amounts of blood on the pavement and EMS came to take him away. His bike faired better than he—-his front wheel resembled a taco. 

     Charmaine found a little hole in the wall seafood joint where we had a wonderful lunch. The day was perfect. Temp just right, gentle breeze and verdant trees backdropped by a cerulean sky, and the company of a great friend and my best friend made for a spectacular day! Thank you, Charmaine!  🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️



Grand Banks 42 CL Trawler for Sale

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Offered up for sale is a special 1984 Grand Banks Classic 42 ft. Trawler.  Kindred Spirit III has been loved and cared for by the same owners for the past 12 years.  During that time, she has been continuously upgraded and maintained in “Bristol” condition.  Her Captain is a retired engineer who has made his mission to “make her the best 80’s Grand Banks on the water”.  We believe anyone who examines her will agree that he has achieved his goal.
This Trawler is equipped exactly as a serious “Passagemaker” would dream of:
Two Ford-Lehman SP 135 engines
Updated Twin-Disc transmissions
Westerbeke 8kw Genset
Updated 12 volt refrigerator and freezer systems (the most energy efficient available)
Three updated Cruise Air reverse cycle A/C units
Centerline queen berth in the aft cabin
Galley with peninsula counter and built in microwave
Updated upholstery and curtains made with Sunbrella fabrics
Recent professionally installed custom made full enclosure on flybridge utilizing the best
      materials and exhibiting exceptional workmanship
Brightwork which always receives accolades from other boaters
Updated GARMIN Autopilot system with wireless remote
Wi-fi booster system
Extraordinary condition which makes her appear much younger than her age
This vessel is not a “project boat”, but one that is up-to-date and ready to be enjoyed by its new owner.  She is a classic beauty that was at the top of her class when built, and through dedication to her long-term care, remains there today. 
See photos at:    
Main Deck
Three anchors: Bruce, Danforth, Fortress, all rigged and ready to be deployed.
Ideal worm drive windlass
Anchor washdown 
Comfortable teak non-skid decks with no steps
Teak deck maintenance up to date
10 ft Caribe RIB Dingy w/ 9.9 HONDA Outboard
Dingy lift (12volt winch) mounted on boom
New Custom made Dingy cover
Fenders and dock lines
Magma LP Grill
Cap and handrails varnish in great shape
Lazarette Storage and 265 gal. Fresh water tank
Extended swim platform
Engine Room
Kidde Engine Room fire extinguisher
Two Frig-a-Boat 12 volt compressors: one for refrigerator and one for freezer
Two 8D batteries and one 4D
Xantrax 2,000 watt Inverter/Charger
Two Ford-Lehman SP135 Engines, 8,100 hours each
Upgraded Stainless Steel Engine Exhaust elbows
Fuel manifold and Filters with vacuum guages
Raritan Electric Water Heater w/heat exchanger to take advantage of hot engine water
   when underway
Upgraded variable-speed domestic water pump.
Two 300 gallon diesel fuel tanks
Westerbeke 7.7 kW Genset, with Carbon Monoxide Detector and Shutdown relay 8,200
 hours
Macerator pump
Two bilge pumps
40 gal. Black water holding tank
Interior
Vee-berth with Updated Cruise-Air Reverse cycle A/C unit
Head/shower with Raritan Sea-Era Electric macerator Head
Upgraded sink and faucet
Lower helm station with:
Danforth Constellation Compass
Connections for the Garmin 3210 Plotter
I-com VHF Marine Radio
Blue Seas Systems Monitor
L-shaped Galley with:
Princess Electric stove/oven
Sharp Microwave Oven
5 cu. ft. Refrigerator
5 cu. ft. Freezer
U-line Icemaker
Salon featuring:
Custom curtains made with Sunbrella fabric
Custom Upholstery with Sunbrella fabric
Clarion/Bose Stereo system
Sharp flat screen TV
Updated Cruise-Air Reverse cycle A/C unit
Aft Stateroom:
Centerline Queen Bed with Temperpedic memory foam mattress
Separate head and shower with Raritan Sea-Era Electric macerator Head
Upgraded sink and faucet
Hanging Locker
Updated Cruise-Air Reverse cycle A/C unit
Writing desk on port side aft
Flybridge
Recent professionally made full enclosure using Sunbrella fabric, Stratoglas
         windows, and Tenara (Gortex) thread
Danforth Constellation Compass
Connections for the Garmin 3210 Plotter with AIS
I-com VHF Marine Radio
Recent GARMIN Autopilot with wireless remote
Garmin 3210 Chartplotter with Radar overlay
Fold down aluminum mast with crutch support
Price $ 169,900.
Contact Bill Bender (864)-386-1197, or e-mail: billbender46@gmail.com
Docked at Calvert Marina, Solomons, MD.

30 April 201 Charleston/Mt Pleasant – Dublin, GA – Dothan, AL – Pensacola, FL – Ft. Pickens National Park – Tallahassee, FL – Ocala, FL

     


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    We’re a few days too early for the Cooper River Bridge Run but today was our day to Get Over It.




      We always jump at the chance to be front row center when Carroll Brown and “ensemble” perform. ‘Twas our good fortune to catch them at Dunleavey’s Irish Pub, Sullivan’s Island, SC. Sadly, prolly our last time to laugh, dance, and sing along with Carroll. This is one of our Charleston Swan Songs. Never to return. New adventures await.


     Our Farewell to Charleston Brunch with my best buddy, Page’s Okra Grill, Mt. Pleasant, SC





    
     We’ve been at Mt. Pleasant’s KOA for 2 1/2 weeks where we’ve observed families on Spring Break. We’ve seen children riding bikes and scooters; playing corn hole, tether ball, basketball, chase and tag! Loved seeing dads out playing with their children, teaching them how to build camp fires and the whole family sitting around the fire in the evening toasting marshmallows, laughing and talking. Reminded me of our camping trips when our children were little. My entire point of this saga is that not one single time did we see “devices” in these childrens’ hands and that was so refreshing and brought smiles to our faces. Loved it!!!!



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Finally back in our home state known for its warmth and Sunshine

  

    



































    We arrived in Fort Pickens National Park Campground, Pensacola, FL, just in time for a late sunset. We’re here for my 60th Pensacola High School reunion this weekend. 







     Can’t wait to walk the beach in the morning as the sun comes up and then cycle the island. I was born and grew up on this spectacular Gulf beach and never will I ever be able to shake the sand from my shoes or tire of the fresh Gulf Breeze.




     As promised, I got up at 5:30. What a marvelous and inspirational way to begin a day with solitude broken only by the cry of fishing seagulls and the crashing of the waves upon the shore.  Pensacola Bay was just a short walk over a dune and I walked west down to the actual fort. 






     Hark! My ears detected familiar sound. It’s Wednesday and the day that the Blues practice. WOW!!! What a thrill to watch. One photo shows 4 little black dots which are the Blue Angels. Hope the video sort of does it justice. Maybe you can see their contrail and the little 4 dots.






     Years ago we were adrift in the channel outside NAS on a Wednesday morning and had, what we considered, our own private Blue Angels performance. That is a sight forever indelibly etched in our memories. The sun was glinting off their bellies and that was absolutely exhilarating!!  Saw some of their practice this morning but it wasn’t nearly as dramatic viewing from ashore as from afloat.


     As if our beach walk along the Gulf and Bay weren’t enough, we took off on a 20-ish mile bike ride from the fort and east past Casino Beach.  Our plans for tomorrow include a lot of calorie ingesting and walking Pensacola’s historic areas.

     Today was to be a day of rest and forgetting our low carb eating plan. We succeeded in accomplishing number 2 with humongous bagels at Bagelheads with Tony and burritos with Emily at Cactus Flower. Somehow, we also walked 6 1/2 miles trying to get rid of the bagel AND burrito. 

    Back in my era, if your mind will allow you to think back that far, we locals teethed on Ft. Pickens, climbing all over the prison cells, turrets, batteries, loved going into Geronimo’s cell. He was the Apache Indian Chief. Now all that’s crumbling and cordoned off. “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end.”





          



     And look at these azure waters right here in my home town. Why ever did we think we had to go to the Bahamas to enjoy blinding white sand and beautiful waters? To me this is just as beautiful as what we saw in the Caribbean. But that was just one more thing checked off our bucket list.









     From my morning beach walk — I’ll never get enough of this sand in my shoes and Gulf waters coursing through my veins.





     Night 1 of two of our 60th Pensacola High School at Pensacola Yacht Club. A great time was had by all.


     Night 2 and the Grand Finale.


     Sunday, “the morning after”, we had a wonderful brunch with Tony and Andy which coincided with a group from our reunion who were also Sacred Heart School of Nursing grads.


     No trip to Pensacola is complete without at least one trip to Joe Patti’s. One night they steamed 2 pounds of large shrimp and we made quick work of every single one of them.


    
     On our last day we met our friend, Tony, down town and he led us on an Old Pensacola Historic bike tour…and we even followed him over the Bayou Chico Bridge for lunch at Cook’s Kitchen, the #3 ranked restaurant in Southern Living.


     Our last night there we just vegged, enjoying our final night in the beautiful National Park bounded by Pensacola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and reminiscing over the friends we’ve been with, the wonderful meals we’ve enjoyed, and our cycling efforts.


     A bit of trivia—did you know Pensacola’s beautiful white sand is of quartz and came to us from TN during the Ice Age?



    
    17 years I spent growing up on the Pensacola beaches but then I went away to college and every time I’d come home, the beach was in my cross hairs.  After college I taught school in Ft. Walton Beach for 3 years and the activity was repeated—just in a different location. I think I took the splendor for granted because now I have a totally different appreciation for it. This morning, after 8 days of being out on Santa Rosa Island, we had to pry ourselves away as we head to Ocala to meet with our builder. BUT, before our leave-taking, I had to commune with the rising sun as I strolled the bay shore; took a detour up and over the Langdon Battery to see what I could see from atop; then walked the Gulf shore chatting with fishermen who were reeling in the Pompanos. Alas, it was time to heard east.


                      View of the Gulf from on top of the Langdon Battery

                                         View of NAS from the top of the Battery

Farewell, Pensacola

     Our initial meeting with our builder was scheduled at the end of the month so we’re back in Ocala by way of our state’s capital, Tallahassee. What an incredible day!! We met for an hour and a half with our builder and also our building superintendent. They’re a great team–fun, personable, and we’re looking forward to working with them. They took us out to our lot and explained what was what.  After luncn we worked on our 10K steps. As we were strolling the neighborhood, numerous people not only spoke but several struck up conversations.  The peerless happening occurred as we walked past a lady who was pruning her roses. She held out a rose for me; we chatted; we bade her adieu. This has been the tenor of Candler Hills residents that we’ve found each time we visit.
                                         We now have an address!

     We cast April aside on the 30th when 22 future Larkhill residents gathered to meet each other and get acquainted over cocktails and dinner. We’re going to be part of a fun neighborhood where the party has already begun.
     Tomorrow we’re heading to Solomon’s, MD, to resume our cruising.
Bill and Laura
Ocala, FL

     



31 March 2018 – Ocala, FL – Perry, GA – Clemson, SC -Atlanta, GA – Mt. Pleasant/Charleston, SC

     The beginning of March found us back in Ocala and we were excited for our  Pensacola friends, Andy and Tony, to come by for a visit. We had a great lunch at the Crazy Cucumber as we caught up on all we 4 have seen and done in the past few months. 

     Bill found an opportunity to take off on his bike for 23 miles of saddle time, unsuccessfully trying to make up for so long with NO cycling time. That evening we enjoyed music at Circle Square and at 7:00, went next door for an evening of Eagles music by the tribute band, 7 Bridges. Love this community!

I’ve found a new interest!
     Wanted to have some “ground breaking” photos so friends, George and Donna, were our photogs and we took some fun pictures of our own personal ground breaking. 



In the front yard of our ‘dirt’
     From there we went to an old car show where Bill met and bonded with a Model A and its owner; Happy Hour at the Lodge; dinner at The Club; and sliding in at the last second to enjoy an evening with The Kingston Trio. I sang along and didn’t care if my tone deafness offended anyone. What a fun fun day! What’s in store for us tomorrow??? Every morning is a new gift.

The Kingston Trio
   Another fun and filled to the brim day again. Bill and I took a class given by a wildlife photog on “What to Do With All Those Photos”. He was a wonderful presenter and teacher and we left there inspired to get more organized. We fit in our 10K steps through the neighborhood and went to Meadowbrook, our church’s First Wednesday service that more than met our expectations. It was a very meaningful time of soul-searching.

     Bill walked, exceeding his 10K steps while I sat on my backside in a 90 minute class with a brilliant instructor who made my brain cells stand at attention and hold hands. Her lecture was “Power and Fun With Words”. I’m a real clock watcher but we went 5 minutes over and I NEVER looked at my watch. I wondered why she was letting us go so soon. Would love to tuck myself in her back pocket and absorb every word.
     While I attended to hair, nails, and took 2 Life Long Learning classes, Bill cycled 35 miles through OTOW seeing things and places he hadn’t seen before. We left home at 9:15 AM and returned after 6:30 PM so it was an exciting day filled with ‘saddle time’ and learning. I attended an “Eye Health Awareness” class and one on “A Journey Through The Musical World of the Mountain Dulcimer”. Besides a very informative lecture, the ‘band’ was comprised of 8 dulcimers, 1 violin, 2 acoustic guitars, and 1 electric guitar providing a very relaxing afternoon.  We absolutely love it here! 

     We embarked on another adventure, leaving Ocala for Perry, GA. We’re just one of more than 2600 coaches here for a week-long rally. Opportunities for fun and for learning were colossal. We’re on our way to Stone Mountain for a couple of nights—love it there. This is what 2,904 RVs look like. There were 989 First Timers and we were numbered among them. This was a week well spent.



     We walked the downtown and historic area seeing beautiful old houses with azaleas bursting in a palate of colors, punctuated by Snow White dogwoods beginning to bloom against a background of clear blue cloudless sky. Perry is a beautifully quaint little Southern village.

     Our plans to spend a few days at Stone Mountain were cancelled by horrid weather so a few days later we drove to ATL to spend a short weekend with my brother, Bob, and our friend, Nancy. A little shopping and a lot of eating! They’re always so much fun to be with. Bob keeps us laughing and Nancy and I always have our own Laugh Fest. “A good time was had by all!”

   
     Enroute to ATL, we stopped in Clemson, SC, to enjoy a meal with long time boating friends, Bob and Emily.

       Palm Sunday gave us the opportunity to visit with our daughter, Courtney, granddaughter, Alleigh, and their pet bunny, Sophie. She’s so soft and sweet. Now we want a bunny rabbit! They live in Traveler’s Rest, SC, which is a little burb north of Greenville. It was SOOO cold there that day!!!
Palm Sunday
Our Grand Bunny, Sophie

     We’re back in Charleston for several weeks and looking forward to returning to our Seacoast Church, visiting with friends, eating rich and well, and seeing clearly!

     As the month ended we celebrated our anniversary. 15 years ago I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and Kindred Spirit. Happy anniversary to my amazing and ever so patient husband. (We ‘dated’ for 5 years—if that’s what it’s still called–meaning separate domiciles) with premarital counselling from our pastor to make sure there were no land mines. So 20 years—so far so good and I just can’t believe it’s been that long. He’s an incredibly long suffering man and I love you to pieces, Bill Bender!




     The last day of March found us strolling downtown Charleston not in search of restaurants or shopping but just relishing the gorgeous warm weather and splendid spring flowers.








See you again in a month!


Bill and Laura
Charleston/Mt. Pleasant, SC