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Below Portsmouth to St. Petersburg Nov.-May

Well, as I was saying, back in November, 2015….wait, I
blinked!  It is now May of 2016!   For the sake of posterity, I will bring the blog up to date on the balance
of the cruise to St. Pete, where we have  again ‘wintered’.  Actually, from 2011-2015, our southern winter stop has been in St.
Petersburg, on the west coast of Florida. 
And we have pretty much parked here. 
Doing what you are doing—living life,  enjoying each day, and taking what comes.  But we had to get here….
We left off the Blog as we were approaching our old friend
the Neuss River. Tied up in Oriental Marina where we made plans to visit Joe
and Punk Pica.  They’ve parked CAROLYNN
ANN and purchased a home in New Bern. 
Had a fine lunch and house tour and enjoyed very much the time spent
with old friends!    No photos, darn it.
New backup nav system for us–iPad along with the pelican on the paper chart…

Moving right along (the current pushed us through Bogue
Sound at 9 mph!)  we stopped in Swansboro
at Dudley’s Marina, and were treated to a lovely dinner at the home of Tom and
Melissa, cruising buddies aboard JOURNEY.  
Next day was Bridge Day—Onslow Beach, Surf City, Figure 8, and the
Wrightsville Bascule—before we took a slip a the Mona Black Marina in Carolina Beach.  First time there—Randy, the Harbormaster, was a hoot! And he
was up and out at 6:45 to toss our lines. 
This time of year an early start is imperative, as the sun goes down by
4 or so!  Our ‘new normal…’

Our next stop was at Grande Dunes in South Carolina, and
daughter Kris was there to meet us!  She
and John are settled into their beautiful new home in Surfside Beach, and for 2
days we enjoyed dining on fresh fish, watching the critters in their
backyard canal, and the generally excellent hospitality!  On Wednesday Nov. 18, John and Kris left a
car at Murrels Inlet (Wacca Wacca Marina) and drove back to Grande Dunes.  Once they boarded the boat we all cruised down
the river—again the current gave us a nice push—water is really high!  So high in fact, that Kris had to move their car
up the hill as the parking lot was submerged! 
Did I mention the outstanding fajitas Kris prepared for lunch?  I’m a proud mama!

We had a quick dinner so Aunt Kris could be off to pick up
our grandson JT at Coker College in Huntsville, SC. She took him to the Myrtle Beach airport so he could fly home for his
uncle’s funeral.  It’s never dull!

Though the days were short, we made good time—below  Charleston, we swooshed
through Elliott’s Cut at 7.2 mph with the engines at 1400 rpm—idle speed. Anchored in Tom’s
Creek, and then stopped in Beaufort at the Port Royal Landing—That is the
marina you see in the background at the end of 
“The Prince of Tides” when Nick Nolte is driving across the
bridge thinking “Lowenstein, Lowenstein….”  Love that movie!   Klauss from MOON BEAM joined us for dinner—Beaufort is his home town!

On through Georgia with stops at Kilkenney Creek and Jeckyll
Island (new shopping mall there, and a golf cart to travel to and from it!) and
soon  we were tied up at Fernandina Beach
in Sunny Florida!

Had a great visit with Maurice from QUOTIDIAN, a St. Pete
boat we first met in Canada while on the Great Loop. One of the best parts of
cruising is meeting great folks, and then meeting again in a different time and
place.  Maurice was on his way home from
what had been a fairly harrowing trip.  He single handed to and AROUND Maine, so he
could see the white whales—blue ones too! 
His boat is under 30 feet, and I’d say it was no match for the North
Atlantic, but he was here to tell us about it!  Brave Man!

Must’ve been construction waste. It was really hard to unwrap the stuff!
The next afternoon we heard a strange sound as we motored along, and
the starboard propeller stopped turning. 
We made it to St. Augustine—Camachee Island Marina had a nice long face
dock to tie up to.   Thursday was Thanksgiving
Day, and we were most thankful that Joe the Diver came around at 8 am.  He unwrapped a huge chunk of black plastic
from the prop—heavy, unbending black plastic.  Uffda! 
We kept a piece for a souvenir (threw it out recently…) and were off to
Halifax Harbor in Daytona, with small craft warning type winds howling outside!

On Friday we pulled into the space at the free dock in New
Smyrna Beach that Henry and Debbie on SEVEN TENTHS had saved for us.  Fun evening as the town had a parade and
turned on the Holiday lights!

By 1:30 the next afternoon we were tied up at Harbortown
Marina in Ft. Pierce where SHINGABISS has been living for some time.  Steve and Liz, our hosts in Minneapolis, who
now live on the boat, will head for the Bahamas soon.  We had a great shrimp dinner on their boat!

After Ft. Pierce we headed west!  Uneventful crossing of Lake Okechobee, a nice
night at Indiantown Marina, a beautiful free dock at Port LaBelle, and next thing
you know we’ve come down the Caloosahatchee River and finally I got to go to the
Edison/Ford homes in Ft. Myers!   Bucket List:  Check! 
The marina at Edison-Ford was great and we were comped tickets to the
Light Show at the 2 homes.  Extra special
was the huge Banyan tree.  It covers acres, and is second largest in the world–the really big one is in Oahu, Hawaii. Shades of the Little Prince!  No wait, his tree was a baobob tree, which looked like a rose in it’s earliest days, but grew to become something huge and destructive if not uprooted early.   Hmmmmm.
At 9:30 am on Dec. 3, we turned north at mile O of the Gulf
IntraCoastal Waterway.  There was an
issue with a bridge ahead, so we tied up at the Gasparilla Marina for 3 days
before moseying up to the Crow’s Nest Marina in Venice.  There we docked behind NEVER SAY NEVER, an 86′
Monte Carlo Yacht built by Benetau (who knew). 
We weren’t invited to the cocktail party for 35 prospective buyers.  Just as well….

Ho Ho Ho!
Continuing with our early starts, at 7:15 a.m. on Dec. 7, we headed north, and by 4:30 had passed under the Sunshine Bridge, and bounced along Tampa Bay’s lumpiness to the St. Pete Municipal Marina.  From the 7th until the 17th
we got re-acclimated (even though we now were tied up on the North Dock). We put up our little ‘mast tree’,  and it was about the only decoration on the dock.   Thence to New York—Allegiant Airlines is
our new best friend.  2.5 hours non-stop
from Clearwater (20 minutes away) to Stewart Airport—10 minutes from our
condo!  Fabulous!

We stayed in NY over the holidays, and then some.  Doctors and dentists etc.etc. and thankfully
we each came away with a clean bill of health!

Back to the Boat by car on Feb. 5-8 with stops at Geoff and
Amy’s in Carlisle, PA, Kris and John’s in SC, and JAX—a quick stop at LAZY
DOLPHIN (Barb and Randy) and then a Holiday Inn with a free upgrade to a hot
tub in the room!  What better place to
watch the Super Bowl? (Obviously the photo is backwards—should be from the tub, looking at the TV!)
In February, even though it is Florida, we had the boat’s furnace running
many days.  The wind is cold!  It was too cold for the heated pool at Jerry
and Janet Guyer’s (AT LAST) home near Sarasota when they hosted about 24 Great
Harbour family members, but it was an excellent event!

Feb. 15-19 we were in Orlando at the USPS Annual
meeting.  Fred was re-elected Chair of
the National Educational Fund, and I continued to play in the Ship’s

Had a super surprise when daughter Ada called to say they,
too were in Orlando!  Met at Universal
Studios for lunch and quality time with Ada, Jimmy, Katie Rae and Jim’s sister,
Dawn!  Lovely!    Not
so lovely to drive back to Orlando that night to get the items we forgot at the
hotel, but all in all it was a great week!

On March 3, a slip finally opened on the West Dock, our
favorite! We happily moved there, and
now live at 101 Bayshore Drive NE again! 
Our mailbox (#19) is still here and we are happy to be back, enjoying
the closeness of downtown, of Frescoe’s Restaurant, and the open view of the

Spent Easter in NY—started the day with a 911 call to put
out the fire in the condo next door.  A
bit of excitement in the wee small hours! 
We are sooo grateful for firemen who come out in the dark on a
holiday.  (Hmm, very familiar
that—Thanksgiving 1984, only it was our very own home on Sunset Drive that
was afire!  Uffda!)  The rest of the day was indeed a lovely day
at Ada and Jim’s!  Lots of good food (sit
down dinner for 29) and lots of kids, large and small, hunting for eggs in the

While home, we drove to Boston for our annual MIT
Luncheon—with 3 inches of snow atop the car! 
We helped Ada put Salon Lucere back together after having the floors
re-done, we watched granddaughter Laurel tap beautifully in 42nd
Street at Arlington High School, attended the D2 Change of Watch and had a
successful ‘virtual Ship’s Store’.   
Sadly, my high school buddy Paula lost her fight with Lung Cancer.  She is already missed.  Although we didn’t see her often, she was
always just there, ready to pop in at a moment’s notice!  Sigh.

In addition to Easter, the April trip was to do the
taxes.  Unfortunately, we left the bundle
of 2015 papers on the boat, so the process was extended until yesterday, the 11
of May.  THAT won’t happen again, she


When we left New York to return to the boat, we turned the condo over
to Kris and John.  He had very successful
back surgery in Rockland County, and was able to recoup at 68 HPC.  That same week, in Virginia, Christopher bade
his gall bladder adieu.  Happily, he, too, is enjoying a speedy recovery!

And so spring is here. 
Our summer plans don’t involve moving YOUNG AMERICA, just moving
us.  Will update the blog when we are
‘back on boat’ in September.

Hope you are staying on the sunny side of life—who and
wherever you are!  

Be well and remember to breathe!




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Solomons to Portsmouth

Happy hummingbird
San Diego was delightful. 
It was Sunny, Warm and Gorgeous!   We were there for  the National Meeting of the USPower Squadrons,
and had plenty of free time to catch up with friends that we mostly see at
these events.  When that ended, we rented
a car and drove to Casa Grande, AZ. 
Visited there with the Mangelsdorf kids’ Aunt Miriam (Gallo).   Her desert home is beautiful.  She spends much time and effort keeping
flowers blooming in the dry heat, and the birds are very happy that she
provides so well for them!

We flew back to Newburgh and drove back to the boat a couple
of days later, stopping in Carlisle, PA to have breakfast with son Geoff, Amy
and Pete!  No more overseas duty for
Geoff. He is now part of the PeaceKeeping study group at the Army War
College.  Good to know such activities
exist in our military! 

From Labor Day until the 23rd of Sept.  we Did Not Labor.  We simply enjoyed the summer breezes,
occasional showers, and lots of lazy mornings with coffee and USA Today
provided by the hotel.  We vegged out big
time.  And loved every minute of it!

Took a quick trip to Raleigh, NC to visit the Headquarters
of the USPS, and to have dinner with Fred’s nephew and niece, Dan and
Heidi.  Stopped in Burke on the way home,
and spent a day helping Jen and Chris pack up for the move to their new

You are probably aware of the Lunar Eclipse that occurred at
the end of the month.  I saw great
pictures of it.  Stayed up to see the
beginning, dozed and woke as the moon was re-appearing.

The end of Sept. we went back to condo-land for 3
weeks.  Lots of happenings there!  We went to New York City to follow up with
the nice dr. at Memorial Sloan Kettering who routinely checks Fred’s delicate
skin.  Melanoma remains Gone! Yay!  After that we crossed the street to the Plaza
Hotel and had Tea.   I use a capital T as
the fare was about what you would expect to pay for a dinner for four.  Yikes. 
It was the Plaza, though, and we lollygagged for a long time before
catching  the only conveyance we could find,
a pedi-cab, to get back to Grand Central Terminal.  The UN was in session and there were black
SUVs and guys with earbuds everywhere, and no cabs to be found. (What is the
fare?  I asked the Pedi-Cab Pedaler.  It is metered, he replied.)  At GCT he smiled and said “Meter says 12
minutes at $5.00/minute.  That’ll be $60,

We do not recommend Pedi-Cabs.   The good news?  We were on time for the train. 

Back at the Condo Devyn planned, and with her big sister’s
help executed a lovely party for Kris and John! 
Sit down dinner for 18, and everything was dee-lish.  No goodbyes for Kris and John, who moved to
their new home in Surfside Beach, SC the following Friday.  The girls said “See ya later!”    OCCC also had a work related party for
Kris.  They will miss her a very great

In addition to getting good reviews from doctors and
dentists, we:

attended the Power Squadron’s D-2 fall
conference in Poughkeepsie. 

attended granddaughter Katie Rae’s string
department (she plays the cello) concert with Mark Wood—a vibrant string
performer who plays the 7 string electric violin/viola/cello/bass that he
invented and markets.  He insists that
music be fun as well as emotionally satisfying, and fun it was!  

were present when granddaughter Laurel trumpeted
the fanfare as the Arlington High School Band hosted its annual invitational

went to NYC with Linda Lee to see Wicked, and
had a great dinner in the Time/Life Building Restaurant.

In between we spent some time on m&r of the condo at 37 Westbrook,
making it ready for a new tenant.  That
got a bit goofy when Central Hudson shut of the power (oops—their mistake) and
refused to turn it on again until they could shut off the gas valve to the
stove.   Couldn’t find the gas valve.   We had returned to Maryland to be ready to
join the French family in Washington DC on Saturday for Boo at the Zoo!  And what a hoot that was!  All the kids, large and small, got T&T
bags that were filled with candy etc. from the more than 40 stations around the
Zoo!  Had a really fun evening!  Free bus rides to the restaurant where we had
dinner, and back to the car. (If you ever need parking, check out  Efficient and
effective.  Got us two parking spots in
busy Washington, in easy walking distance from the Zoo!)

See the new ‘door’ for the shut off valve?
From Washington, we headed north and arrived back in
Newburgh on Sunday afternoon.  Fred was
able, of course, to locate the gas shutoff (and make it accessible) and in the
ultimate irony, Central Hudson’s rep came on Monday and turned the gas on before I arrived to show her where to
find the ‘necessary to keep the place from blowing up’ stove shutoff.  Sigh.

Decided to stay one more night in Newburgh to have lunch
with Rev. Chris from the UUCRT.  Glad we
did—it was good to get to know him better!!

I’m reminding myself that the purpose of this blog is to
highlight our cruising life.  Seems we
are spending as much time ashore as on the boat these days.  Or, perhaps, that I’m recording the events
just so posterity will be served.  Our
lives do seem to be a bit goofy at times, and we find ourselves enjoying the
goofiness just as it is!

Two tasks ere we left Solomons….Jeff the diver came and
scraped barnacles off the bottom of the boat.  
His wife came as well (to watch for bubbles while he dove, and share a
glass of wine afterwards.)   She works
with her dad doing inlays on guitars. 
Guitars that sell for $30,000 and get put in MOMA and the Smithsonian!   The people we meet provide a great part of
the enjoyment of the cruising life!

Thing two was to diagnose the problem with the head (toilet,
don’t ya know…)  No vacuum, no
flush.   Fred finally located a pinhole
in an important little diaphragm.  Bing
bang boom, replaced it and Bob’s your Uncle!

Bye Solomons until next year!  We spent a couple of days in Portsmouth, VA
awaiting good weather for crossing the Albamarle Sound.    Got
to See Tom Hanks in the Bridge of Spies
at the Commodore–historic ‘pick–up-the–phone-and–order–popcorn-and-dinner-from–your-table-before-the–movie’-Theater.  ‘Twas an excellent movie!  Next day I bought my first persimmon at the
local Farmer’s Market.  Made a great

Ocean Marine Marina in Portsmouth was filled with
sailboats.  A group called the World
Cruising Club was staging two trips—one group was going to the Bahamas and
the other heading to the British Virgin Islands.  Apparently these trips go every year.
Departure had been delayed, and  the
sailors were anxiously watching the weather…as were we.

We tied up Sunday night at the Visitor’s Center in the Dismal
Swamp.  As we were about to leave in the
morning, Robin and Karen arrived in a sailboat they designed and built in
Canada.  A delightful couple with about 6
musical instruments on board.  They were
especially interested in  Fred’s harpsicle, as they built and sold harps for awhile.  Karen shared some music with us
(Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxx doing Pete Seeger songs, for example) and showed us a really
great video of their cruise down the Hudson River with a Pete Seeger sound
track.  Fabulous.

Had an easy day on Monday, and stopped for the night at 2:30
in the afternoon.  Still staging for the
Albamarle Sound.  Today we crossed
without incident, I’m happy to report.  
Of the many Sounds (for the non-boaters, Sounds are bodies of water that
open to the Ocean.  Depending on depth,
wind, tides and currents, calm water can become very unsettling in a hurry)
along the ICW, crossing the Albamarle can be 2 hours of pain or pleasure.  The pain can usually be avoided, as we did by staying in Portsmouth and then moseying.  Caught a good ride, and now we’re anchored
for the night with 3 other boats in the area near the Alligator-Pungo Canal.

As soon as steady internet returns, probably Thursday, I’ll
post this.  Until then, hug a veteran and
be proud and grateful for their service!  
In our immediate family, my dad and brother served in WWII and Korea,
and son Geoff continues his Army career with 
his first stateside posting in several years!  Also, Fred’s dad worked in the Petroleum
Industry during WWII, helping to keep the military moving, and granddaughter
Tarryn’s special guy, Ron, is an Army Veteran.

And, of course, remember to breathe!




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June- August, 2015 Charleston to Solomons

Disgraceful.  Commit
to Monday Messages, and then don’t do ‘em. 
And so now it is time for a major catch-up.

We did get to the Chesapeake!  And a month ago I wrote a lengthy travelogue, and then lost it by closing the silly thing without saving.  Who does that???  Needless to say, it is taking awhile to get
back in the swing of this thing, but I’ve very nearly let go of my anger and
frustration, so will begin again.   (I
know, you didn’t really need to know all that, but I needed to write it down
for posterity.)  

We zipped up to Myrtle Beach from Charleston—stopped at
our favorite place, Barefoot Landing (great ice cream).  Sad to say, just before docking we pulled far
to the right side of the channel to allow a big boat to pass, and heard the
awful scraping sound of rocks that were NOT far enough under our keel!  Happily there was no damage that hurt the
boats ability to work, so we continued on the next morning  to Southport, then
across the Cape Fear River, and back to another favorite—Swan’s Point Marina
in Sneads Ferry, NC.
There is new management at Swan’s Point—Tina Turner and her
mom.  They are making much needed
improvements, and we wish them well! Hop, skip and jump thru the Marine’s Camp LeJune practice firing range—nobody was shooting at or around us—and next thing you know
we’d rounded the Morehead City bend, and zipped up to Oriental. At 8 miles an hour.  :-) Stopped at Whittaker Landing this time—a
new marina for us, and found Knute to be a great dockmaster.  He even drove me to the new mini-WalMart that
graces Oriental (arrgghh) for a few supplies.

If you’re new to our blog, there are descriptions in
excruciating detail of the East Coast IntraCoastal Waterway back in 2008, 2009,
2010 and 2011 postings. Since then, our cruising has been on the west coast of
FL, and the inland rivers.   I’m highlighting
here, but must say that we really were enjoying cruising through familiar
waters, stopping with old friends and making new ones!


One of the many spring Thunderstorms!
Neuss River, BelHaven, Alligator Pungo Canal, Alligator
River, and then came decision time.  It
was late in the day, the water was smooth as silk, and we had to cross the
Albamarle Sound. Hmmmmm. Stay with Miss Wanda at the Alligator River Marina, or
cross the smooth-as-silk Sound and reach the opposite shore in the dark.  We chose to stop before dark (Fred’s Rule
#2), knowing that the next morning the wind would not be our friend.

Turned out to be a hoot! 
Sure enough, the wind was whipping and the water roiling (don’t get to
use that word very often.:-) )   We left
early—along with PROUD MARY,  who
pulled out ahead of us (ahem) and then jumped into our wake as the water got
Poor PROUD MARY rockin’ and rollin’ in Albamarle Sound!

  It was rough enough to tip over
the Aero-Garden (oh, I was supposed to put the bungie cord back on after all
this quiet time?  Oops.) and Fred’s
navigational trick—turning east toward Coinjack rather than heading for our
planned destination in Elizabeth City –made only a moderate improvement in the
ride.   PROUD MARY’s skipper told us they
wouldn’t consider turning back, as his wife “wanted to be sure someone knew
where the bodies were”.  No worries, we
finally reached  the lee of the land, hung a left, and motated into Eliz. City, where
PROUD MARY, alive and well, stopped for the day.

Next stop for us was the Dismal Swamp!  Had a brief wait for the lock at South Mills,
and we soon slid into the Visitor’s Center.  There was no room on the dock, so we rafted to the
unusually outfitted Kadey Krogen, MANATEE– just in time for happy hour! 
MANATEE in the Dismal Swamp

First time we’ve met Ted and Sarah.  Their cruising is a spiral—they are doing
the Great Loop for (I believe,) the 22nd time this year!  Tragically, I lost a million dollar bet with
Sarah because I foolishly believed that HAPPY CLAMZ was a Great Harbour Trawler, not a Krogen Manatee, as Doug and
Leslie are traveling with Great Harbour SEVEN TENTHS.  The two boats are a day ahead of us, and on their way to
the GHTA Rendezvous.  I was sure HC was a
GH, and Sarah phoned Leslie to prove me wrong! 
Paid the debt with ½ a cantaloupe that Sarah said “tasted like a million

We caught up with the above mentioned trawlers the next day
in Portsmouth, VA, and docked  (in the North Basin) and dined (at the
Commodore Theater—bucket list check!) 
with Doug, Leslie, Henry and Debby. 

Our next stop was to be hauled at Ocean Marine in Portsmouth
to check the props.  Sure enough, the
starboard prop was badly bent, and the rudder banged up a bit as well. 
Dings in a propeller are NOT a good thing!

 As it
was Tuesday, and we had to wait until Friday to get the props back from the
repairman, we decided to make a run to St. Pete and pick up the car!  Found a cheap flight via Miami, and got to
the airport by taxi in plenty of time. 
Plenty of time.  Some sort of
issue with the airplane’s windshield prevented take off until we’d missed our
connection in Miami, so the Airline gave us a hotel room, and at 5:30 the next morning we
were headed for St. Pete.  Chatted at and
checked out the newly re-done St. Pete Municipal Marina Office, got a USA Today at the Hampton
Inn, and headed north.  An overnight in
Bluffton, SC, and Thursday we were checked into the hotel overlooking that free
dock at the North Basin.

The boat was ready on Friday, but it was 2pm before we got
docked at the N. Basin, so we accepted the BOGO Lunch offer we’d received the
night before at the Marina restaurant, and Saturday morning headed out.


Message board at the restaurant.  I like it!
We made it an easy day and stopped at Hampton Roads before
noon.  After a delicious afternoon rain I
went to the Farm Fresh Market (yum) and that was our day!  Sunday was Flag Day, and the big flag went up
to celebrate.  There was lots of boat traffic in the Bay around
Thimble Shoals and Mobjack Bay, and by 2:30 we were happy to arrive at
Deltaville.  The temp was 81 degrees with 100%
humidity—and it is only mid-June!

We tied up at the Norview Marina (again a new-to-us-stop)
and discovered INSANDITY was our neighbor.  This Great Harbour N-37 was PELICAN with its’
former owners. Enjoyed meeting and chatting with Chuck and Joyce. 

Monday was a 90 degree day, so we took a day off with
a/c.  Went for a dinghy ride when it
cooled a bit, and just relaxed.   Tuesday
morning, as we headed into the Chesapeake, SHINGABISS hailed us on the
radio.  Liz and Steve had come into
Deltaville the night before….

The Chesapeake was calm, and we had an easy run to the mouth
of the Potomac.  At  2:30 we’d turned into the St. Mary’s River,
where the Great Harbour Rendezvous was scheduled at the Corinthian Yacht Club.
The dock was alive with GH owners, and we pulled into a slip where we would stay for a week.

Had a really good time hanging out with our fellow Great
Harbour boaters—business meeting, winery tour, concert at St. Mary’s, good
food, camaraderie and all that jazz! 
Sunday morning we piled into a rental car with Joe and Punk  (CAROLYN ANN) and drove to Portsmouth to bring
our car the rest of the way to where we are—or will be! What great friends are
they!  Had a good lunch together at the
Gosport Tavern in P’mouth, then drove two cars to Solomons, MD—our final
destination for the boat—and Joe and Punk returned us to YOUNG AMERICA.  Whew!

For those who are map oriented, the GHTA Rendezvous was at a
yacht club off the St. Mary’s River—first stop on the Maryland side of the
Potomac.  The Patuxent River is the next
major river flowing into the Chesapeake Bay north of the Potomac.  Solomons (and now YOUNG AMERICA as well as
our car) is at the south end of the Patuxent. 
We are now, and have been since June 22, at the Marina behind the
Holiday Inn in Solomons, on the same dock we lived on in 2011 when we were

Becda & Casey have a dinghy ride with Grandad Fred
There is a lot to like here. 
We have hotel privileges—free morning coffee, USA Today every day,
gorgeous big swimming pool, workout center with sauna, and Isaac’s restaurant.  The Library, barbershop, nail salon and Maritime
Museum are within easy walking distance. There is a UU Congregation 15 minutes
away, and a movie theater 20 minutes in the other direction.  Chris and Jen live just 1-1/2 hours away—  There are plenty of
good restaurants and a market with fresh seafood—we bought a dozen steamed
crabs and learned how to take them apart—and new friends in boats tied up on
the dock and old friends passing through. 
Not to mention Geoff, Amy and Pete stopping on their way to their new
posting at Carlyle, PA—the Army War College. 
Geoff, Amy & Pete came for dinner.  Great to have them in the US

It is all good.

went to book club at Jen’s house, and she and the kids have come down to spend
a day on the water!

So, of course, we left, and drove to New York.  As I was born in a year that ends in a 0, July 2015 provided a milestone birthday for me! 
The good news is that I am now old enough that I no longer have to take off my shoes at the
airport!  Fred and the girls very
generously planned and executed a fabulous Birthday Party for me!  
It was held at the UUCRT, and with Ada’s Selfie Studio about 60 folks were photographed as they arrived.Grandchildren helped with nametags and
serving; there was great food, wonderful background music, and  cake and ice cream after the reading of the
Desiderata and Let if be a Dance (words I’ve lived by).  Coincidentally, the UU had a brand new
Labyrinth built into the lawn outside for folks to explore.  It was a spectacular afternoon!  I’m incredibly blessed—and looking forward
with gratitude to many more happy years!

We are now back in Solomons, enjoying the most relaxing boat
time we’ve had in a long time.  No deadlines,
no major boat work.  Sunny days and
pleasant evenings!  And air conditioning!


My sister sent us a quilt she made!  Really brightens up the stateroom!
Will catch up again when we return from San Diego—US Power
Squadron meeting the end of this month.

Until then, be well, remember to breathe, and thanks for
stopping by!





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Travels of YOUNG AMERICA 2015-06-03 11:28:00

St. Petersburg to Charleston, SC 

First, the davits got done.  Now it is, at least theoretically, possible for Chucky to ride behind the boat and be lowered into the water in a heartbeat.

Once the davits were installed, we left St. Pete   It has now been two weeks and we’ve gone  864 miles. 
That’s over 60 miles a day. 
Considering that one day we went a total of 10 miles, it isn’t bad.

We were two weeks later than
planned leaving St. Pete, so a bit of anxiety was hanging over us.  The worst thing to have when you are boating
is a date sensitive destination!  June 16
(the day the Great Harbour Trawlers Association meeting begins on the Potomac
River in Chesapeake Bay) seemed a whole lot closer then than it does now.  So we will just keep doing what we are
doing—which, I might add, is very much unlike us.  We’ve been underway between 6:30 and 7:00 AM
almost every single day!  Not the way we
cruised for much of our 8 years, but very effective for this trip.

Have had fun times along
the way.  We finally stopped at Marina
Jack in Sarasota.  It’s been a bucket
list item for awhile.  Check.

Kayak rentals, condos, pool—what’s not to like?

South of that, on Captiva Island, we happened
onto T’ween Waters, a neat marina/resort—reminiscent of Banana Bay in the
Keys —with pools and hot tubs and boaters who return and return because they
love the place.  And we may do that, too…

To get from the west coast of
Florida to the east coast involves riding along the Caloosahatchee River (have to
mention it just because I love the name!) crossing Lake Okachobee,  (a shallow lake that can kick up like crazy,
but for our crossing it was a mill pond), and then transiting the St. Lucie
canal to Stuart, FL. Water levels in this waterway are balanced by 5 locks,
and I can’t figure out how they do it.  
About a month ago, we wouldn’t have been allowed into the waterway
because water in Lake Okechobee was too low to maintain a 9 foot depth.  When we passed through, we were taken up a
mere 1 ft. to 1-1/2 foot in each of the first three locks.  Crossed the lake and the lock at Ft. Mayaca
was wide open at both ends.  We simply
drove through with 17 feet of water under the boat.  Then, 25 miles later, we locked down 12 feet
to get back to sea level.   Dunno, but it worked.

We were sad to discover that the  davit on the port side of the boat drooped; it would not hold in the up position, and had to be tied in place.  Plus,

we stopped for the night in a marina that had dockage space for a 37′ boat, but not for the 44′ boat we have become. To resolve both issues, we put Chucky back on top of the boat.  A temporary fix, to be sure.  More to follow.

Memorial Day Weekend signals
the beginning of summer and of the boating season.  Typically, we prefer to be tied up somewhere
when enthusiastic boaters who seem to have more horsepower than common sense
take to the waterways.  
It was too windy for our big holiday flag, so the little flag flew
 at 1/2 staff till noon on Memorial Day to honor our fallen heroes.

From the St.
Lucie lock to Stuart, FL was that place for us this year.  Uffda. 
Big boats, little boats, jetskis, water skiers, small children being
towed in tubs and YOUNG AMERICA, a big lump of fiberglass plodding along in the
channel, being tossed hither and yon by wakes. 
Not pretty.  That was
Saturday.  On Sunday and Monday, we left
our dock at 6:30 am, well before the pleasure boaters came out to play.  Somehow we missed their morning travel, and we
moseyed along happily while they basked in the sun.  By 3 in the afternoon, when it was time for
them all to go home (and more than a few were, no doubt, full of beer) we were
snugly secured in a marina. 




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Ft. Pierce, Cocoa Village, Daytona, JAX Beach, Jeckyll Island—zoom zoom.  That is a tad of humor.  At 8 miles an hour we could hardly be said to ‘zoom’ along…Everything is relative, no?  Hey, sometimes the current pushed us up to TEN miles an hour!!!

Kilkenny Creek Marina

At Kilkenny Creek we decided to pass up the anchorage in favor of the Marina there.  Glad we did.  Got to relax in the rocking chairs provided and watch the fishing boats (they caught flounder and big trout!) be lifted out of the water  to their trailers, instead of backing the truck and trailer down a ramp into the water.  Neat.  WHO KNEW came in behind us, and we spent a very pleasant evening with Ted and Amy having dinner at the Marker 107 Restaurant—really, really busy on a Thursday evening.  Who knew?

Speaking of fishermen, one caught our line when the line was holding the boat tied to a dock.  Evidently he tried to haul us in as the line broke off and we ended up with his lure!  At the Charleston Meretime Center, where we docked, a couple of gentlemen caught a 5′ shark.  They kept it alive with a hose while deciding its’ fate.  An hour later, we saw that dinner outweighed tossing him back.

 On the way to Charleston, we ran out of day 5 miles  before we got to the City. The water was aswarm with locals enjoying the balmy weather and we just wanted to stop.  Came across Ross Marine–not a marina, a boatyard, but with a long face dock.  (Non-boaters, a face dock has only water beside it, no pilings to break it up into sections (slips), so no need to worry about how wide the boat is. ) We moseyed in, it looked good, and we spent the night.  Called the next morning to offer to pay, and were told it wasn’t necessary.  That is one set of nice folks we encountered.
Tied up in front of  the sailboat DESIDERATA (a family favorite)
at Ross Marine, 5 miles west of Charleston, SC.

  Another is the young couple driving a runabout out of the Ashapoo-Cooksaw Cutoff–a skinny channel connecting two Rivers with great names!  On our VHF radio, we could hear the two big boats ahead of us decide that the water was too shallow for them, and make other arrangements.  I flagged down the runabout and asked how much water was in the cutoff.  “How much do you need?” was the reply.  When I said 3 feet, the couple in the boat—BLING THANG—very nicely led us through, weaving from side to side to find the deeper water.

2 hours each way from Sumter.  Thanks, Paula!

It was easy to get into Charleston Meretime Center early in the day, and I walked to Harris-Teeter for some fresh foods.  That afternoon, my high school buddy, Paula Howell, drove over from Sumter, SC with her friend Patsy.  Had a lovely dinner at Blossom before sending them home with big big hugs.

On Monday we motored to Butler Island, where Liz and Steve aboard SHINGEBISS  rafted to the side of YOUNG AMERICA so we could have dinner together.  They are friends from the

Loop in 2009 who became our Minneapolis/St.Paul mentors when we went up the Mississippi.   They now have rented out their St. Paul home, and are full time cruisers.  What a treat to spend an evening together.  And Liz taught me how to use my iPad to gather navigating information while cruising!  Kicking and screaming I’m being dragged into the 21st Century!

Steve and Liz relax aboard the ‘new’ SHINGEBISS

So onward, and upward.  We shall mosey along, and be in touch once again.  I’ve now learned to put photos on Facebook–it is actually easier than the blog, but we’ve made this blog a photo journal of our Travels, and so will continue to muddle along with it.  Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to reunite the photos that got separated from text when Google revamped blogspot.  If anyone has a clue, I’d love to hear about it!

Be well, remember to breathe and we’ll talk again!

Winter in St. Petersburg, FL

Well, Hi! Hey! and Hello
there! (as Big Jon and Sparkie said way back when I was a youth!
   I found them on the Internet, of course, and  even got to listen to the marginally famous Big Jon and Sparkie
Birthday Song!   If you don’t know it,
feel free to phone.  I’ll be happy to
sing it for you!

As planned, we’ve stayed in
St. Pete since the holidays.  And
fabulous holidays they were!  All three
Mangelsdorfs, that is, Linda,  Geoff—with
Amy and Pete, and Alan—with Holly, Paul, Laurel and Hazel; and a Carhart—Jen,
with Chris, Matt, Casey and Becca  joined us in person.  The rest of our blended family,  Kris, John, Tarryn, Ron,
Devyn, Molly, Keith, JT, Ada, Jimmy and Katie all showed up in photo form on
Christmas Eve.  Splendid!
Photos of the New Yorkers spelled out Merry Christmas!

We were able to go to the
Beach, the Winter’s Tale Clearwater Aquarium, the Nutcracker (performed by the
Moscow Ballet at the Mahaffey Theater), and to the beautiful Dali Museum—where a very strange and
interesting Picasso/Dali exhibit was presented; as well as hang out over pizza
at the pool, take a short ride on YOUNG AMERICA

and generally relax and enjoy each
other’s company.  The time flew by, and we treasure the happy memories!

When things settled down a
bit, Fred and I began to put together the 2014 Winter Work List!  It turned out to have 50 some items on
it—many of which will remain well into 2015, and maybe beyond! Quite a few
items have been checked off, though, I am happy to report.

We LOVE our location.  Here is a picture of a picture of part of the St. Pete Municipal Marina. Tampa Bay stretches out at the top of the photo with daily glorious sunrises. Boats in the center belong to members of the St.Pete Yacht Club–the pink building with one long dock and 3 ‘arms’.  Our slip is to the left of the YC at the end of the third ‘arm’ of the Marina Dock.  The City is one block away!
Every day at sunset, a cannon is fired at the YC, the flag is lowered and folded, followed by the singing of Taps.  ACappella.  A beautiful big baritone voice rolling over the water.  Amazing.

We did our 3rd annual stint
at the St. Pete Indy Car races, and sold a fair amount of liquid refreshment  (beer and water) to
the race-goers.

Co-Pilot Fred watching Hugh land at Opalaca Airport, Miami

A super treat in Feb. was a flight to Miami with Hugh and Sharissa Hazeltine (BLUE SKIES) in their Beachcraft Bonanza!  Left  St. Pete at 7:30 am, returned at 7 pm., and had a great day at the Boat Show!

Note: Next year the Miami Boat Show will be in the Miami Marine Stadium where we anchored in 2009.  It was a MESS, and I commented that people were working on rehab.  Apparently they’ve succeeded!

Also in February, I spent a long weekend in
Illinois with my brother, Gene, his daughter Sandi and daughter-in-law
Mary.  Sadly, in the two years since his
wife died, Gene has not transitioned well, and in March Sandi helped him relocate
to the memory care section of HarborChase of Plainfield, IL  (10 minutes from Sandi’s home) where he now
lives.  A tough transition, and very challenging for all…..

Fred and I have discovered
our new favorite airline, Allegient Air. 
In April, we were delighted to find a 2-1/2 hour direct flight from the
small airport in Clearwater to Stewart Airport in Newburgh, NY—10 minutes from our
condo!  Yee-hah!

In the three weeks of our NY visit, besides spending Easter Sunday with ‘our kids, my side’ at Ada and Jimmy’s home in Chester, NY,
Us with 4 daughters, 2 s-i-ls, 5/7 of the grandkids and the Easter Bunny

 we visited with family and with friends, we lunched in Boston, spent a weekend in CT at a Power Squadron get
together, and drove to Swarthmore, PA for the funeral of one of the Dozen
Cousins—Paul Mangelsdorf, who died at the age of 92.  It was Fred’s first return to the campus
where he and his Cousin Clark were the only members of the 1953 Class of the School of Civil

Visible Fred.  Invisible Screen

Once back in St. Pete, we’ve
been catching up on overdue maintenance and repair.  A major home improvement was the addition of
screen doors!  Can’t wait to get to Georgia where those big black flies fly!  Nah Nah! The
screens have two important features: one, they are so fine as to be nearly invisible, and two, when a person walks into them, 
(and we both have), the screen gives way, and self corrects!  Perfect!

Another is the addition of a (removable) Yoga Swing on the back deck.  Melanie, a Yoga teacher, came to show us how to use it, and Plan A is that we will both become strong and fit—with core muscles that really work! Hmmmm.

We’ve given up the duct taped seat cushion in the salon, and re-covered all the seats.  The new fabric is soft and the design is more comfortable and supportive, so we are very happy with that.  Instead of green throughout, we’ve now bi-colored—blue above and beige below.  

All is not new…Once again, the floors have
been coated with protectant.
  They look
much better, and next time will most likely have to just be replaced.
  Lots of fading and honest wear—call that ‘dents and dings’
but they do look much better, and work just fine.

The directors chairs that Fred rebuilt and has sat upon to drive the boat for 20 some years got yet another new coat of paint. In the photo, the arms are swinging from a tree branch while the legs are sprayed on a small tarp.  One chair at a time.

This week we moved the boat
from the Municipal Marina to Gandy Blvd.—about 95 blocks north, to the yard where
Endeavor Catamarans are built and sold.  Russ, the Davit
guy, found a space for us here while he installs a new lift system for Chucky (the bright blue dinghy) on the
swim platform.  More on that as it

The plan, such as it is,
involves finishing the davits and other yard work—for instance, we were hauled onTuesday to discover why our max speed coming here was only 4.8 kn.  It seems that sitting still in warm (currently 80+ degrees) salt
water has made our waterline, props and skegs a haven for tiny barnacles.  The barnacles been scraped away, and hopefully we’ll be under way before they attack again.  In summer Gulf boaters hire divers very frequently to clean the bottom, we have learned.     Time to move on!

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Update will follow as the
events transpire!  Trust all is well with
you, and that you look forward to a sunny summer, wherever you are!   Do remember to breathe!

End of the year 2014

December 20, 2014

Unbelievable.  Only 11 days of 2014 remain.  My brother, a statistician, explains the
fleeting years by saying that each year represents a fraction of the total
number of years lived.  Hence to a 2 year
old, one year is ½ of life, and therefore a very long time.  By the time the fraction is 1/74th
it’s a very short hop to go from January to January.  Thanks, Gene.

The last portion of this year
has flown by for us.  We did leave YOUNG
AMERICA in Mobile, at Turner Marine.  I
had a great visit in Albuquerque
Maureen and Freddie and Albuquerque’s hot air balloons

with nurse friends Maureen and Freddie, and
then flew back to Newburgh, where Fred was spending time with daughter Linda as
she recouped from her knee replacement. 
Happily, she is doing very well!

It seems there is always
something happening—this time we stayed an extra week to attend the
Congregational meeting at the UUCRT, and add to the number needed for a
quorum.  Quorum was met, and the vote was
overwhelmingly positive to call the Rev. Chris Antal to become a settled ½ time
minister.  Very exciting!

We also had a
pre-Thanksgiving dinner with the families of our kids.  Kids. 
Hah. The oldest, Geoff, who is in Germany, has turned 50.  The other 6, who (all but the daughter in VA)
showed up that day, are 42 and up.  They
are, and shall remain, our kids.  We had
a great time and laughed a lot!  But why didn’t I take any pictures?????

The next morning we hopped in
the car and headed south.  We arrived at
Turner’s on Wednesday, just in time for the annual turkey dinner.  Fabulous. 
And then the stay in Mobile got extended as well.  We’d planned on having the generator’s fuel
pump replaced—it was on order while we were away. 
Brett checking the shaft seals

When Brett came (after Wednesday’s dinner) to
install it, the conversation turned to the carbon on the engine room floor; a
product of misaligned shaft seals.  The
following Monday the parts were ordered, and on Friday the boat was hauled, so
the new shaft seals could be put in place. 

Returning to the sea
Three days after that, we
were back in the water, heading east

across the Florida
panhandle.   On the morning of the second
day we passed a 42’ Jefferson that appeared to be hard aground.  It was 10 a.m. and the tide wouldn’t turn
until 4:00 to lift them off, so Fred maneuvered our boat while I tossed them a
100’ light line attached to a 100’ really heavy line.  With the heavy line cleated to their bow and
attached to the towing ring on our stern, we were able to drive away, and they
(Craig and Kathy aboard NORTHERN STAR) came bopping along behind us.  Lines were retrieved without incident,
thankfully, and we all motored on to the new (to us) free dock at Ft. Walton
Kathy brought one of her quilts aboard to show us. Beautiful!

Next stop was Panama City and
then, one of our favorite stops, Appalachicola. 
What a hoot to chat with a couple on the dock, and after a minute say “Wait
a minute, aren’t you Peter and Pam?” 
They were—we met them two years ago when they were moving from MA and
building a home in Appalachicola.  We
chuckled as Pam had just noted to Peter that she liked “that boat, but not as
much as the other one like it” they had seen before.   

Saturday, Dec. 13, we left
Appalachicola at noon, motored east to the East Pass, and headed across the
Gulf.  At midnite we saw a huge orange
moon rising off our port bow, and for the rest of the night (and for the first
time ever) we could see 360 degrees of horizon! 
Moon over the Gulf.  The red is our running light reflected on the rail.

It was a beautiful night, the wind was light and the water calm.  At 1:30 Sunday afternoon we tied up at the
Gulfport Marina on the west side of St. Petersburg.

Next morning it was an easy
run around the peninsula into Tampa Bay, and lo and behold, our friends at the
Municipal Marina were able to find an empty slip for us.   We tied up the boat, called Enterprise and
headed back to Mobile to pick up our car. 
Man, it is a LONG way to Mobile. 
And just as far back! So from the 15-17 of Dec. we were on the road

 Now, at last, we are settled in on the East
Dock at SPMM, and busily decorating—tonight Fred built a light tree using the
VHF antennas.  What a hoot! 

counted this afternoon and it is 311 steps –less than a city block—from the door of the Marina to the door of the Hampton
Inn where, beginning Monday, four of the aforementioned ‘kids’—this time including
Geoff and family from Germany, and Jen and family from VA—will stay as they
join us for the Holidays.

So we are very much looking forward
to a happy Holiday Season.  That is our
wish for you, as well.  May your days be
merry and bright, and may all your good dreams come true!

We expect to remain in St. Pete
until May, so this will be the last epistle for this year and half of
next.   Happy New Year!!!




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Heading South

 NO PHOTOS at this time.  A few days ago, this MacBook Pro leapt from the table, made some deep gashes in the floor, and rendered the lower 1/2 of its’ screen unusable.  While in Mobile, the plan is to find someone to make it whole again.  And then the box to click ‘add’ will magically re-appear!                         


St. Louis, going south, is
the gateway to the ‘goofy 200’.   We were
told at Hoppies’ Marina that the River had crested (wouldn’t be rising any
more) at 20 feet above normal.  We
decided to give it a day to slow down, and so stopped at the Kaskaskia River Lock,
and easy 35 or so miles from Hoppies.

We’ve never seen anyone
working at that lock wall before, but this time, Charlie was pumping water out
of the floating docks.  Twice a year, he
says, this is necessary due to condensation as well as rain collection and, of
course, leaks.  Charlie, bless him,
checked with Matt, who was in charge of the lock. Result?  We were invited to climb the ladder and visit
the Visitors’ Center.

‘Twas an interesting
adventure.  Made more fun by two
facts—one is that the lockmaster always says 
“Don’t climb the ladders” when we arrive at the lock wall.   The other is that we are slightly less than
spring chickens, and we wonder whether or not the invitation would have come,
had Matt known…

Kaskaskia is a narrow lock;
it only accommodates tows that are two barges wide.  Southern Illinois coal was its’ major
shipment out before federal regulation sharply diminished the use of high sulfur
content coal. Now, limestone goes into Southern Illinois via the Kaskaskia Lock,
and is used to remove the sulfur dioxide from the emissions at the local power
plant, where the local coal is burned. 
Business and industry are very complex.

Later, we were joined at the
lock wall by Brian and Terry aboard POSH. 
They quickly left us in their wake the next morning when we both set out
for the debris-filled scoot to Cairo.  
And a scoot it was.  High speed
(for us) and hand-steering (vs setting the autopilot and watching…) as the logs and trees were constant.  We reached the turn into the Ohio at Cairo at
5:05 pm, and 8 miles (at a sudden drop to 8 miles per hour) later were
peacefully anchored for the night.  We
averaged 10.5 mph for the 11 hours we were underway! 

Two days later we tied up
once again at Green Turtle Bay, and concern about the deluges of rain were a
thing of the past.  We’re now in waters
whose levels are managed by dams with locks for us to pass through.

Funny sights along the
Tennessee River—a Cyprus tree growing several feet from the shoreline (today,
at least—shorelines are quite movable!) whose knees make it appear to be
sitting on a table.   We marveled at the
difference in housing on the two sides of the river.  On our left (the Right Descending Bank—rivers
are so designated as they do not run cleanly from north to south.  But they are always flowing downstream, so we
are ‘upbound’ on the Tennessee, as it is hurrying toward us as fast as it can go,
so it can spill into the Ohio and then add to the fun on the Mississippi) is a
manicured, high maintenance, lovely home with boathouse.  On the opposite shore, a flood-protected
dwelling—also with outbuilding. 

We’ve caught up again with, and are
now cruising in tandem with CAROLYN ANN,  Joe and Punk Pica.  We paused at Aqua Harbor, a few miles from
the Shiloh battlefields of the Civil War, and then we entered the
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway for our seventh excursion to Mobile.

The morning was misty at
first, then downright foggy, but we were able to proceed with confidence as we
were motoring (with radar) up the 20+ mile long Divide Cut—the largest undertaking to date
by the Army Corps of Engineers.  The cut
is just that.  A chasm cut through the
land and dug to a water depth of at least 9’ to accommodate towboats.  A major project where only land had to be
moved, a huge undertaking to allow the trains to continue on their tracks…

This Waterway changes every
time, and the 12 locks (the “Not-so-dirty-dozen” according to Fred Myers’ guide
book) seem like a breeze after the 27 of the Mississippi!

We made the ‘usual’ stops at
Columbus—once again spoke with but didn’t see Jan and Dan Barnett, my Aberdeen,
SD classmate and her husband– and Demopolis, where the new Kingfisher Marina
is a welcoming place, with great floating docks and a large, clean
laundry-hang-out room!  

Marinas don’t happen much in
the 216 miles between Demopolis and Mobile. We found two great anchorages
before the  Mobile skyline appeared on
the horizon.  80 mile days!  Fast for us!    The Austal   company has the usual big, ugluy boat out in front, but close inspection
showed it to be number 6, not the number 4 we photographed a year ago.  Guess they are working!

So here we are at Turner
Marine in Mobile.  Will again leave YOUNG
AMERICA here for a few days while I have a reunion with Nursing buddies Maureen
and Freddie in Albuquerque.  Fred will go
to Newburgh to hang out with daughter Linda, recovering at home from a Knee

Until we talk again, be well,
and do continue to breathe!




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Moline to Moline and beyond

We’re Baaaaaackkkkk.  Literally.  Left you as we left the Quad Cities, heading for the Twin Cities, and we now have been to Minneapolis/St. Paul and back.  The River is an 853 mile long dead end, and the only way out is the way we came in.
To recap, Bombfire Pizza in Sabula, IA was a  hoot.   Great pizza, and owner Tom picked us up at the Marina—-in his truck, not in his ’60’s VW bus.  After we’d eaten our pizza and enjoyed the piano players—hired and impromptu, Tom had disappeared, so another patron returned us to the Marina in Tom’s truck.  The keys were in it—“I sold it to him, guess I can  drive it!”, said he.  Small town America!
Both boats, CAROLYN ANN and YOUNG AMERICA were able to find dockage at marinas every night but one.  And that day we simply moved out of the channel and dropped our anchors into the stickiest mud we’ve seen in many moons.  Watched the tow boats pass at a respectable distance and felt safe and secure.  
As we approached St. Paul, our Looper pals Liz and Steve Kemper came out onto their waterfront to wave and take pictures.  Big lifesyle change going on with them!  Their house is rented, emptied, and the van is packed, ready for them to move south and  become full time live-aboards.  Their boat, SHINGABISS,  awaits them in Florida, and we were happy to arrive in St. Paul in time to spend a fun evening with them.
almost twins, steaming up the Upper!

We docked at Watergate Marina in St. Paul.  For Punk and Joe, it was a base for sightseeing.  For us, a place to leave the boat. We flew to NY  on Sept. 2.    This time we were happy to be able to support  daughter Ada as she prepared for and celebrated the grand opening of her dream—-Salon Lucere!  A couple of spots of rain did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm.  About 100 folks from in and around Chester, NY gathered under a tent for the official ribbon cutting, and then were  treated to ‘runway walks’ by 4 models from New York whose hair had been ‘done’ by Ada’s staff in the newest Fashion Week styles.  Food and drink were great, and tours showed off the fabulous job Ada has done of co-ordinating  the renovation of the building with rentals to two related services upstairs!  Congrats, Ada, we’re proud of you, and happy that our granddaughter, Devyn is a part of the staff!    Let your hair shine!
Next stop, Washington, DC for 5 days of US Power  Squadron National meeting, coupled with spending time with daughter Jen and Christopher, who live in Burke, VA.
Back to NY for Dr. visits (Fred’s melanoma site is clean and he got an 
A+ from MemSKCaCen in New York.) and back to the boat!

Had a fun afternoon at Target Stadium watching a Twins’ Game.  We totally missed the end of the Yankees season, and the retirement of the Captain.  Sigh.  Derek is definitely one of the good guys!
3 Nurses from the Swedish Hospital Sch. of Nsg. Way back when!
Jane and June, two of my nurses’ training buddies who live in the Twin Cities, came for lunch on Monday, and then we tossed the lines and motored over to the Bohemian Flats where we tied up on the Excursion dock and had dinner with Captain Dave.   We opted not to go thru the Upper and Lower St. Anthony Falls Locks—we’ll rely on our run to the end of navigation last year for the memories.  
Federal legislation has mandated the closing of the Upper Falls Lock at the end of this season.  The rationale behind the closure is to stop the spread of our old ‘friends’ the Invasive Carp (no longer called ‘Asian’ as they were when we encountered them in the IL River on our 2009 Great Loop trip.) 
For an interesting (to me, at least) article about the situation, you can go to:
Our longest stop on the way south was again in Moline.  My brother Gene’s daughter and son-in-law, Sandi and Lou, brought Gene and ‘Frank’s Pizza’ to the Marina on Saturday the 27th of Sept.  It was 90 degrees on the back deck, but on the bow of the boat we found shade and a lovely breeze, so we had our pizza party there. 
The next day, my sister Betty, her husband Gene and their dog, Daisy (recuperating from shoulder surgery) drove in from So. Dak.  It was the first time we three sibs could recall just hanging out together as adults—-with no excuse (such as wedding or funeral) for a get together.  We’ve always been a very close family, said she with tongue in cheek.
For sure Norwegians!

We took an extra day in Moline to have a doctor remove what my mom would have called a ‘hurt bump’ from my right elbow.   OK, not quite the same… if I didn’t behave, she would offer to “put hurt bumps on your head faster than you could rub them!”  But this bump did hurt, and I’m glad it is gone!
“Keep ‘er coming Cap—we’ll have it ready for you!”  23 out of 27 times these were the wonderful words we heard from lock masters as we called to say we were approaching a lock as we moseyed down the River.  A pretty amazing record!  

There has been a LOT of rain in the past few weeks, and the extra water ends up in the river. So locking was also speeded by the fact that the water is again so high (crested at 20 feet above normal here at St. Louis today) that the lock drop might be 2 feet instead of 10, or 5 instead of 28. As the river level rises the debris on the shores gets picked up, and pushed downstream.  Weaving through logs, manny the size of telephone poles, as well as assorted branches and trunks is challenging and tiring. We;re told that the water level will drop 2-3 feet per day for the next 5 or 6 days, and the flotsam will return to the banks.  
But the current is great!  We were going  12+ mph today!  Whiplash!
The Mississippi is like no other river we’ve cruised.   It definitely has a personality all its’ own, and we have  thoroughly enjoyed making it’s acquaintance.  Twice.
Tomorrow we’ll race through the minefield as we get pushed down the ‘goofy 200’ at high speed.
Onward and upward……….we’ll be back soon.  Do remember to breathe!

St. Louis to the Quad Cities

As I mentioned when last we met, the traffic below St. Louis was a zoo, but once into the City, we slid easily into the Material Sales Corp.’s H shaped barge array, and Jimmy helped us  both tie up on the barge named Robert E. Lee.   We were too pooped to accept his offer of the car for sightseeing, but really enjoyed the stop!
SEA DREAM’s bow and  YOUNG AMERICA at MSC, St. Louis
Locks and dams can be the bane of our existence.  The main chamber of the Melvin Price Lock (#26 of the 27 locks between St. Louis and MSP) was closed for repairs, so only the smaller, auxiliary chamber was open.  That means that tows that can’t fit have to lock in stages—-take apart, lock up or down and reattach.  That can  mean long waits for pleasure craft like us, as the paying customers definitely take priority.  In the case of Mel Price, the wait was 4 hours.  Sigh.  Once through, we parted company with SEA DREAM.  Mike and Linda went on to Grafton, IL to enjoy the pool and spa there, and we crossed the river to Alton, IL where I caught a cab to the St. Louis airport.
From August 5-8, I was in Burke, VA with  daughter Jen and grandchildren Matthew, Casey and Rebecca while Christopher did a US Forest Service gig (his job,that is) in Ketchikan, Alaska. 
Walking around the lake with Casey, Becca and Ruby.

While I was away, Fred moved YOUNG AMERICA to the Port Charles Harbor Marina, and there she remained until August 15.

So long, SEA DREAM!
They say boaters plans are written in the sand—-very near the shore— and often get washed  away.  So it was to be for this trip.  Joe and Punk, who’d visited their daughter on the West Coast after coming around the Great Lakes to Pt. Chas. Harbor, returned to CAROLYN ANN on Thursday;  SEA DREAM returned from an hour north of the marina on Thursday, and I returned from Burke on Friday, August 8.  The three of us had planned to be in MSP by Aug. 21 but Mike and Linda decided to return to GreenTurtle Bay instead, and do day trips with friends there this summer.  So we bade SEA DREAM adieu and spent the next week acting like retired folks without a care in the world.  Well, why not?  We are, after all, just that!   (The real truth is that CAROLYN ANN was having work done, and Fred and I waited around until it was completed).
Two N-37’s in the Muscatine, IA harbor.
USPS Port Captains Ed and RoseMary Bielike came for a visit and   Joanne and Doug, Great Loop Harbor Hosts for the area, set up a dinner for 10 at a nearby restaurant, so we were far from lonely. 
We finally sallied forth, and have been doing 50+ mile hops—-to Two Rivers Marina near Louisiana, MO, the Quincy Boat Club in Quincy, IL, Keokuk and Muscatine, IA and a lovely anchorage on the side of the River when the next marina was too far away and too silted in anyhow.  The River is LOW,  Go figure, after we had to wait and wait for it to settle down.
Just above Keokuk, we attempted to assist a Personal Watercraft (Jet Ski) that was powerless in the water.  The JetSki had no steering and no place to tie a tow rope. When it tipped over, the operator, Kristin,  swam it toward shore, where she found, much to her dismay, that the powerlessness was caused by failure to engage the fuel.  Once the switch was turned on, she returned to us to collect her passenger and they headed home.    It is never dull.
Finally reached the Quad Cities of IL and IA—Moline and Rock Island IL; Davenport and Bettendorf IA. 
Rock crushes scissors….Joe got the 50 amp. plug–we had to use two 30 amp cords.

Had a late lunch with my big brother Gene,  always a treat!

Jet pilot and Submarinerr.  A very special pair!

He lives about 20 min. away, in Geneseo, IL.

An amazing squall blew through on Friday morning.  Winds went from 0-40 in a heartbeat, and my, how the rains came down!  And then it was gone.  Sun came out and Punk and I began to walk to the grocery—-2.3 mi. according to the iPad.  Happily, we got a call that Gene, bless him, had returned (by car, of course) and was on the way to our rescue with Joe in the co-pilot’s seat.  A quick grocery shop and a pleasant evening followed.
More rain this morning, and bless him, Mike the harbormaster rescued our forwarded mail from the postal person who’d been unsuccessful in his attempt to leave the package at the Marina’s Restaurant.  Hmmmm.  
By 11 the skies were clear,  and we were underway.  As we arrived at Lock #14, we were told to use the Auxiliary chamber.  New experience.  Coming out of the lock, we sidled past a serious storehouse of Corps of Engineers equipment, and then re-entered the main channel by way of a narrow cut between the wing dams.  Veddy interesting, and tricky!  
CAROLYN ANN is through the  wingdam gap.  Our turn. Note the wind blowing the yellow flag.

The alternative was a long wait at the main chamber as a backup of towboats come downriver after being held up by dredging of a shallow. impassable (for them) spot several miles north.  We were happy with the Auxiliary Chamber and all of its’ extras!

Today’s destination is expected to be Sabula Iowa, (home of the Bombfire Pizza) and thence to the Twin Cities, one day at a time!

Hope your days are extraordinary and that you remember to breathe!

Old Lock #1 to the Mighty Mississippi

Hi again,  
Our run from Old Lock #1 to our rendezvous with SEA DREAM in Aqua Harbor  was uneventful, save for one small violation of Fred’s rule #3. **  In case you’ve forgotten, or didn’t know them, here are:
        Fred’s  ‘Rules for a good day of boating’      
                   #1  Nobody gets hurt.
                   #2  Don’t hit other boats.
                   #3  Always reach a safe harbor before dark.  **
                   #4  No matter what happens, DON’T yell at the crew!
                            (#4 is, of course, my personal favorite!)
We hit a lock delay—inevitable in river cruising, and were mildly frustrated by the lockmaster, who had a penchant for chatting.   We wanted to just get moving, as the sun was down and twilight fading fast.  Fade it did, and we had 5 dark miles to go to our anchorage.   Attempted to slide into an inlet at 3 miles and ran hard aground.  Water went from 15’ to 0 in a heartbeat!  Fred was able to back us off (a week later the boat  was hauled to tighten the propeller nuts that probably got jarred loose) and we gingerly, but safely, entered and anchored in Sumter Landing. We hate when that happens, and it’s a case of ‘the best laid plans’……..(Actually, we’ve been there before, and the light is always on at the Lodge, so it wasn’t a really big deal, but it was a  ‘happen’…)
Mike and Linda met us at Aqua Harbor, and we spent a couple of days there before heading north.

 I wasn’t much company, as I spent most of the days tucked away in a conference room working on the exam for a celestial navigation course.  (Completed it and sent it off for grading on July 29th.)

Green Turtle Bay Marina in Grand Rivers, KY again gets kudos!  This was our launching spot for the run up the MS.  There was plenty to do  during the week we spent there—the marina has a spa and yacht club dining room, and of course we had to shop, provision, and get the boat and the crew is shape for traveling, bur mostly we were waiting for the River to drop and slow! 

Getting ready to travel meant getting Fred’s back squared away.  We found the Orthopedic Specialists of Western Kentucky in Paducah, and can’t say enough good things about them.  The first floor of their huge building is devoted to Urgent Care (Ortho only, please) and Physical Therapy.  Looks like about an acre of machines, with a steady flow of folks moving through their paces under the watchful eyes of lots of Therapists. 

 Fred was seen (as soon as he completed theinevitable  ream of paper work) by, among others, Ben, a very pleasant and competent Orthopedic Physician’s Assistant.  In the blink of an eye, X-Rays of Fred’s thoracic spine were read, and within an hour we were at a local hospital for an MRI.  Ben phoned us (we weren’t even back to the Marina yet—can you believe it?)  to say that there is a fracture in T-10!  Fred’s been walking around—slowly and with great pain—with a fractured vertabra!  Put more simply, he has a broken back. A brace was ordered over the weekend, and on Monday morning we were back to  pick it up.  

What a difference it has made!  Within a day there was a noticeable improvement in the level of pain, and by Friday he could lie down and get up again without so much as a wince!  Add in the PT exercises he was given and you have one super therapeutic operation!  The cause of the fracture is said to be compression from Fred’s developing a ‘kyphotic’ (think question mark shaped back) curve–probably from the gazillion hours he spends hunched over his computer or the wheel of the boat.  Make that he used to hunch.  Now he leans in from the hip.  We will continue to follow up to be assured that all is well.

Rave reviews for Ortho Specialists.  Another of the worker-bees, Tripp, kindly printed out directions to the hospital, and thence to the Pharmacy, and as a bonus gave us a flier inviting us to the Fall Celebration in late September in Paducah!

So we are good to go!

The Mississippi flooding has continued well past spring this year, and the River is barely back in its banks in many places.  River levels came down a foot a day (confirmed by Joe and Punk aboard CAROLYN ANN just above St. Louis) and by Thursday, July 31 we were as ready as we were likely to get, and tossed the lines.     Had an oops as we were underway—-I left my iPad in the Courtesy car the marina provides (and a fine Dodge van it is!!!)

Harbormaster Bill and his faithful pup “Pistol”

Bless his heart, HarborMaster Bill drove the iPad to Paducah (1/2 hour by car) and bless HIS heart, Mike took me for a dinghy ride to the boat ramp to retrieve it!  Good people going above and beyond!

A brief reminder about the Upper Mississippi.  Green Turtle Bay is on  The Cumberland  River, and we cruised down to the Ohio, and thence to where the Tennessee River empties into the Ohio, where we anchored to meet Bill in Paducah. Next morning we headed down the O-HI-O, through Lock #52 and over Lock #53.    Last year’s blog talks about these outdated locks and the expensive, stalled construction of the ‘new improved’ Olmstead lock on the Ohio.  Nothing much has changed…
We are told that cement blocks are going in to form the dam.

At Cairo, IL the Mississippi divides into the ‘Upper’—-875 miles north to Minneapolis—and the ‘Lower’—-950 miles south to New Orleans.  We very carefully turned to the right to enter the 200 miles of open water (no locks or dams) that stretches to St. Louis.  

Most people going to Minneapolis by boat enter the River above St. Louis, from the Illinois River.  CAROLYN ANN is there, having come from the Carolinas and through the Great Lakes to the Illinois River.   We didn’t have that option unless we went all the way around Florida and up the East Coast, so it’s back to the ‘Goofy 200’, as we have fondly named it.
We made the turn carefully as the current in the Ohio was pushing us to 10.5 miles an hour!  90 degrees to the right later, we’d slowed to 3.8 miles an hour and that has been the story of this trip.
On Friday, the 1st of August, we travelled from 6 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., anchored at mile 29.2 (almost 30 River miles from Cairo—-probably 8 miles due west of Cairo).  The River doubles back on itself (oxbows) and did its very best to keep us from making headway.   
Little green frog attempted to stowaway.  He went swimming instead.

Saturday we again were off by 6 a.m.  Around 3 in the afternoon we started looking at possible anchorages suggested by the guide books and Active Captain.  Too much current here, too little room to swing there, and it took until 6:10 to find a spot where Mike and Linda could safely put down their anchor (mile 77.5—the Cottonwood Bar), and we rafted to their port side.  We were out of the channel where the big guys—-towboats pushing anywhere from 6-36 barges—-travel and all was well.
The looooooong lock wall at theKaskaskia River.

The next day, we actually got up to 6.5 mph for 2.5 minutes!  Averaged 4 miles/hour from 6 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.,  when we tied up to the newly re-done long lock wall on the Kaskaskia River, Mile 117.5.  Fred and I have been there 3 times before, and it has been different each time we stop. When the sun gets lower and it cools a bit (87 degrees out there now) we can go for a walk before we sleep. 

Monday morning the fog rolled in, and it was 8 a.m. before we left the Lock wall.  The current is slowing a bit, and we’re actually averaging  about 5+ miles per hour.  If I seem to go on and on about the boat speed, it is because, well, 4 miles an hour is really, really slow! 
The ‘goofy 200’ is just goofy, that is all there is to be said.  As we near St. Louis the industry picks up—both sides of the River have quarries, staging areas for the many barges that we see hauling ‘stuff’, shipyards, scrap yards, construction companies, power plants etc.etc.etc.  Fred has his binoculars at the ready and is loving watching the machines!  And it is good to see the output of product in America, vs the output of intangibles in our service economy.  
Enough.  On to the post, the photos, and the rest of the day.  Hope yours has been delightful. 

Be well, and do remember to breathe!