Tag Archives | Grand Banks

28 February 2019 GRAND FINALE!!! So long to 13 years of blogging from Ocala, FL

     This issue concludes 13 years of blogging. Now that we’ve become CLODS (Cruisers Living on Dirt), our lives are like everyone else’s so until we take flight in our coach, there’ll be no more blogging and maybe not even then. May just use Facebook as our way of letting you know if we’re doing anything other than living here in our Bubble.

     Our eldest, Chadwick, Jr., and granddaughter, Izzi, both had early February birthdays. They just keep getting older yet I stay the same age. Don’t understand how that is.

     Bill visited his 89 year old sister in upstate NY and, luckily, he was there for a week between blizzards. He just can’t tolerate temps below 60 degrees anymore so the weather seemed orchestrated with him in mind.

     We love ABBA. Have seen the performance on Broadway, the ‘’official ABBA sanctioned’ troupe in Clayton, NY, and again here this month, as well as the movie a couple times. Great happy music!!!

     I participated in several Martin Luther King and Black History Month events and learned so much as well as broadened my horizons. Unforgettable functions.

     We celebrated Valentine’s Day quite festively, at our Beautiful Lodge. Great food, fun, libations, and music. It seemed as if all the women were in red!

     Of course we had a Full Moon party hosted by neighbors, Terry and Barb. Thankfully, it wasn’t so cold this month, albeit it very cloudy so no moon could we see but that didn’t stop the fun, fellowship, and an excuse to gather with neighbors.

     Friends, Cozette and John, from New Smyrna Beach, came for an overnight visit and we had a wonderful time listening to John play and sing his original songs and catching up since last we saw them so long ago.

     While they were here, we went to view horse jumping–a new experience for the four of us.

     Bill closed out the month with a trip to a Model T gathering in St. Augustine

while I attended an incredible presentation by an Emmy award-winning National Geographic film maker, Mark Emery. He presented his documentary film, highlighting the historic, economic, and environmental significance of Silver Springs. Through the eyes of 4 Americans who, incidentally, are black, and were the glass bottom boat drivers, who have a combined 200 years of experience on the river.  Emery delivered an engaging story of Silver Springs, the history of segregation at the springs, and the coming of age of these remarkable ambassadors for nature. The film told the history and ecology of Silver Springs through the people who lived it as it unfolded. It is a film legacy with remaining boat drivers who are able to share this story. After the presentation, Emery and several of the boat captains, shared additional insights and stories about their experiences. This was a gem of a presentation and opportunity.

     It’s difficult to believe that we end our first 5 months in our new home tomorrow. Time in certainly flying but we’re both extremely busy with Bill’s Old Car Club that he initiated, pickle ball to which he’s become addicted, his French class that he loves, and my swimming and working out with a great trainer. 

     Our weather is gorgeous but there always seems to be a freeze soon’s trees are budding and flowers blossoming.  Tomorrow begins Spring and Daylight Savings Time is not far behind.  Hope to see you on Facebook.

Bill and Laura Bender
9128 SW 82nd Lane
Ocala, FL 34481
864 525 5236

31 January 2019 Larkhill Community Ocala, FL

      2019 began with a flurry of parties or maybe it was just a continuation of the soirees of 2018! New Year’s Day we enjoyed 3 parties—1 was a meal of collards, black eyed peas, cornbread, ribs, and chicken in a neighbors’ home down the street—our Southern Good Luck Charm for the year.

     Another neighbor needed a bit of nursing help so I hung his IV antibiotics a few times to fill in some blanks. I don’t miss getting up to go to work but I do miss nursing.

     We finally got our living room rug and the remainder of our bedroom furniture.

     There are two more pieces that don’t show here but we’re so excited to finally have drawers! Headboard is asymmetrical as are night stands. More narrow one on left with longer portion of headboard and the wider night table on the right with the shorter headboard segment.

       There is a significance to the canvas of an abstract Washington DC skyline and the bicycle bookends. In all of our years of cruising and although we loved many places, we spent the most concentrated time in DC and it’s our all-time favorite city. We spent a total of 6 months and 1 week there, riding our bikes to Bethesda (home of NHC), Silver Spring, Mt. Vernon, Arlington, Alexandria, Capitol Heights, Georgetown, Hyattsville, Crystal City, and more places than I can name. So that’s why we fell in love with the painting! THEN, Bill spied the bookends and we knew that they would have a special place beneath the painting of our nation’s capitol.

     I can tell you that we weren’t sad to see the Rubbermaid tubs go that we’d been living out of for months. Oh, the things we take for granted! Several weeks later and I’m still thrilled at being able to open a drawer and finding the items that I expect to be there. With the tubs, I never knew where anything was. A rug and furniture has helped our echo somewhat but we still hear ourselves bouncing off the walls. Window treatments will probably help—one of these days.

     There’s a wonderful art instructor here as part of our Life Long Learning Center. I’ve taken classes from her before and just love her. If only I could tuck myself in her back pocket and absorb every technique that she knows. I did a little sea turtle the other day and it’s hanging in our guest room.

     We also have a performing arts center and enjoyed a dueling pianos show like none other. They play piano, harmonica, sax, guitar, and are also a comedy team. Deuces Wild is their name so if they come to your area, you’d love their show.

     Bill and I began foreign language classes and after only 1 class, I’m not sure I’ll survive. He’s taking French and I, Spanish. Now why didn’t I take French, too???  Sure would’ve made a lot of sense because when Bill worked for Michelin, a French company, he was fluent to the point that he could give presentations in French when he went to the home office in France. He’s thrilled with his instructor and just the first class seemed to resurrect all he knew but had forgotten. My instructor is also very good but when I took 2 years of Spanish in college, I never even came close to being fluent so I’m struggling. Hope subsequent classes loosen my tongue a bit.

     Andy and Dinata, boating and RV friends from Marathon, have settled in Leesburg, FL, so they drove up to visit us for a day. We had a wonderful time laughing, talking, laughing, catching up, and laughing some more.

      Bill’s Old Car Club took an excursion to the horse farm of the Gypsy Gold Vanner breed established in the 1995 by Dennis, the farm owner, and his late wife. He thrilled us as he narrated a walking two-hour tour of his farm. We met the Gypsy Gold Vanner horses in person, heard the history of the breed from its discovery in Great Britain and to its growth in the United States. Dennis discovered this unique breed in England where they were used as draw horses for the bands of gypsies and he brought the breed to America. 

     He explained the species, its history, and the unique British Gypsy culture. We walked the farm and met the stallions, mares, foals, mules, donkeys, parrots, and various other animals loved at Gypsy Gold Farm. I was surprised to not see dogs or cats there but I loved on the other creatures—although not the birds.

     The farm land and animals are immaculately maintained by 3 people—Dennis, who just had his 70th birthday, and two others.  That 3 people can maintain that level of perfection is amazing.  If you’re ever in the Ocala area, put this on your list of things to do. The tours are 3 days a week and reservations must be made in advance.

Notice the perfect heart on the flank of this horse!
     So many of our neighbors have entertained us in their homes and we haven’t been able to without asking them to bring their own chair!  😦   Now that we’re almost complete sans lanai furniture and window treatments, we’ve had a few open houses inviting our new neighbors. Having several nights of guests was fun and we look forward to doing that more often.

     Last month I suggested we have a Full Moon Party each month. We hosted the first one in December. Another of our neighbors, Tom and Elaine, hosted the January Super Blood Wolf Moon/Eclipse Party. It was COLD—in the low 30’s which is way below my comfort level.

     Carolyn and Don, dear friends from our boating lives, were our first overnight house guests. They’re fleeing north GA for Marathon and some warm weather. We had an exciting time of ‘catching up’. 

     Our Larkhill neighborhood gathered at a local steak house to wrap up the month and, of course, food and fellowship were outstanding. 

     January ended with the Larkhill Men’s Breakfast Club heading off in a caravan for Red’s Cafe and Sherry, a neighbor, and I drove to The Villages for a make-over for me. Her complexion is gorgeous and flawless and and she’s inspired me to buy some makeup after a decade long hiatus of wearing none. 

     An end of month report on our language classes—on Bill’s 3rd class, he presented a ‘story’ in French and the instructor understood him and Bill understood each class member’s “recital”.  Hate to admit it but I’m not doing nearly that spectacularly in Spanish. Hopefully February’s report will present my Spanish language skills in a better light.

Bill and Laura
9128 SW 82nd Lane
Ocala, FL 34481

31 December 2018 Ocala and occasionally Jacksonville

     Hip hip hooray!!! Our sofa finally arrived on 1 December—an indication of a good month to come! Now our guests don’t have to bring their own chairs nor sit on the floor.

     We began the month with Bill and some o…

30 November 2018 Ocala, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Ocala, Tampa, Ocala

     It’s impossible to believe that a month ago today we closed and began the arduous task of moving in. In that month we’ve received furniture ONLY for our guest suite and that’s where we’re sleeping for lack of our own completed bedro…

31 October 2018 Ocala, FL

1 October 
     Today is the day I thought would never come! We closed this morning and began moving in this afternoon. 

     A friend and new neighbor planted Flah Flamingo in our yard to welcome us home this morning. We’ve almost been flocked!

2 October 
     Yesterday, I promised photos but last night we were weary to the bone so here are a few this morning. 

     At day’s end we had dinner at The Club and came home to savor a bottle of champagne brought over by another new friend and neighbor. We slept here last night on an air mattress and enjoyed our coffee in our wonderful chairs that we’ve not seen for ever so long. The shot to left of kitchen is from the back yard and our lanai. Southerners call that a “screened porch”.  ‘Lanai’ is far too fancy for us. We are most happy to be home.

10 October
     Today was my inaugural swim in one of our beautiful pools. This one is just a five minute stroll up the street. My swim was puny but it’s been so long since I’ve had the opportunity and I intend to get stronger every day. I have eagerly anticipated the day that I could swim at the slightest whim. 🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️ Not in any of the pools have I had to clamber for a lane to myself.

     To all my Facebook friends. I am no longer using FB Messenger. I see that I have many messages but I am not going to re-install it. So communicate with me either by email, text, an old fashioned phone call, or Messages, please.

12 October
     Tonight we were enthralled, grinning the entire time, during Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits performance. It was so much fun to know every song and to sing along (quietly).

15 October
     Our bedroom suit that we ordered in March was delivered today and 2 of the 5 crates were in splinters.  They HOPE they can get replacements to us by Christmas.

     Both of us deplore shopping but we have been in the trenches and have certainly boosted Ocala’s economy. And sadly, we ain’t through yet. Overheard a man complaining in an interior design studio, “it costs as much to furnish and decorate this #@%* house as it did to buy it!” I wholeheartedly agree.

     We aren’t novices to moving. Several times during my “singlehood” I moved all alone and by myself but all of our moves combined were never as burdensome, complicated, thorny, and problematic as this one has been and continues to be. That must mean that moving is for the youthful.

25 October
It seems that Pickle Ball is what old folks migrate to—many of whom used to play tennis.  It’s been many moons since I was a tennis player so I was game to give Pickle Ball a whirl. Bill and I have taken a couple of lessons and it is SO much fun to run and pick up the ball because my paddle has great difficulty “connecting”. All of the players, even the Hot Dawgs, were so welcoming, friendly, and patient with us. We love it but I haven’t been to the courts many times because there are so many other things I want to do so I need to finish trying them all out so I can prioritize. I did peek in on the ballet and everyone there welcomed me with outstretched arms. They’ll never confuse me with Pavlova!

     Today we ordered our sofa and were told to expect delivery in four months! :-(   We’re so empty that we echo.

26 October
We take any and every opportunity to celebrate everything! Today is our son, Andy’s 48th birthday as well as the 21st anniversary of our first date. We went to a lovely French restaurant owned by a couple from France and as was our last experience here, there, food and presentation were spectacular. We each ordered their filet mignon and it very well may beat out our favorite filet restaurant in Brunswick. They were so tender and delectable. A duo entertained us through our long and drawn out dining experience. Both sang and each played an instrument—guitar and flute. Their voices and their instrumentation blended impeccably.

30 October
     Today Bill drove to Jacksonville to bring another load of our carnage home. I think this is the 5th trip with the car packed to the gills. How in the world did we collect so much junque??? He hopes to be home tomorrow and he’s gotta be because we have a very fun thing to do on the 1st but you’ll need to wait another month to find out what that is and see photos.

31 October
     Friends have asked if we miss the boat. I miss our mattress!!! I think of Kindred Spirit III  often but am dumbfounded that I don’t pine for rocking at anchor and cruising the waterways. I thought I’d shed copious tears every day…that may transpire when she sells and leaves us standing on the shore as the new owners steam away from us.

     There are just SO many things to do here that, so far, there is hardly time to taste them all. I’m up before dawn, hit the deck running with no extraneous time during the day, and long for the sun to set so I can hit the hay. 

     Neither of us are sleeping well. It takes forever to fall asleep and then our thoughts awaken us despite the list we made before bedtime— sometimes it may be 1 AM or 3 AM and we’re up and at ‘em for the endurance.

     What brings me more joy than having enough room so that we don’t have to pat each others’ fannies when we need to pass or having a dishwasher and a washer and dryer that who-knows-who didn’t just washed their car mats and dog beds, is watching Bill playing in his garage. That poor baby has languished and yearned for years for a garage that he could outfit and begin his old car collection. In the middle of the night, if he’s not beside me, I know exactly where he is…and I’m right. For instance, he was showing me a little shim that looked like a domino sans spots, that he made for a shelf and explained to me how and where it would fit. All I could come up with was, “Billy, that’s such a clever idea and perfectly constructed.” After all these years, what should I expect from an engineer? It’s his attention to detail with everything that is such a superb gift. When I enter a room in the dark, the light switch is exactly where I’d expect it to be. Outlets are numerous and well placed. I can’t begin to enumerate all the things he thought of that would’ve never crossed my mind till we’d have closed and then it’d be “too dadgum bad!!!” I used to kid him about his obsession with minutia but now I praise him for it. Opposites certainly do attract.

     Thanks to you all for hanging in there with us all these years.

Bill and Laura
Ocala, FL

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


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…