2019 moments.

This year sped by, but it was jam-packed with short adventures, wonderful visits with friends and family, lots of good food & wine, and a few projects squeezed in.

A quick breakdown:

  • States traveled to/within:  Texas, Florida, Washington, Colorado, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia
  • Countries traveled to/within:  US, Bahamas
  • Siblings visited:  Noreen & David, Brian, Colleen, Fran & Art, Susanne, Gene & Jo
  • Nieces & nephews visited:  Rachel, Julie, Neil & Miranda, Jared, Rebecca, Aaron, Jacob, Pat & Nga, Dan & Erin, Patricia & Florian, Michelle, Amy Lee & Chris
  • Great nieces & nephews visited:  Diego, Tionna & Alex, Will, Nick, Grace, Aly, Mae, Austin, Copeland, Anna Sutton
  • Great-great nephew visited:  X’ander
  • Births celebrated:  great-great-niece Aubrielle
  • Iron-men cheered on:  Jamie
  • Weddings celebrated:  Neil & Miranda, Dan & Erin
  • Friend & family visits to Austin:  Noreen & David, Susanne, Rob & Owen, Asha, Fran & Aaron, Rachel & Becky, Irene & Liz & Keith, and Noreen (one more time) 🙂

I’ve picked one photo from so many enjoyable moments of each month below:

January:  Sailing from Venice, FL through the Florida Keys, to Biscayne Bay; on a mooring ball at Garrison Bight Mooring Field off of Key West.  This was a magnificent trip.  The Keys are amazing.  We had enough time to really enjoy Key West and see the sights and maybe have one too many cocktails.  We hopped up the outside of the Keys, anchoring a few nights.  If I did this again I’d spend many more days in the Keys. We ended anchored outside of No Name Harbor near Miami for two weeks, which sounds like a long time but I thought it was a really nice place to be stuck, waiting for a weather window to go east to the Bahamas.

img_6645

February:  Sailing from Florida to Great Bahama Island and through the Abacos; dolphins in the Great Bahama Banks.  We enjoyed a really tame crossing to the West End from Miami, then spent several days making way through the bank and through the Abacos to get to Marsh Harbour.   It was a real treat to be back there for a while. Sadly, Hurricane Dorian devastated the Abacos this hurricane season, and they will rebuilding for the foreseeable future.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

March:  Springtime in the Hill Country means wildflowers.  I simply LOVE spring in the Hill Country.  Monte has cultivated an amazing bluebonnet patch at the chez.  I can’t wait to enjoy next year’s bloom, only 3 short months away.

853df415-8cec-46a2-bdcf-96a24fe47be8-3863-000003e36b8691ec

April: Spring migration means birding trips; a visit to the bird blind at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.  I spent much less time birding this year than I would have liked.  But I did make several trips to the coast at the peak of migration, and will definitely do it again this coming year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

May:  A visit to the Pacific Northwest; a view from Mount Rainier National Park.  I have always loved Mount Rainier.  We picked a nice, though not an absolutely perfect day, to go up to the mountain.  The views on the way up and down are almost as stunning as the views from Paradise Visitor’s Center. I also made it back to the Bahamas for a week in May, but this trip to Washington was the highlight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

June:  Roadtrip to Colorado and back; one stop was Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo.  We had fun on our trip to Estes Park.  And on the way home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

July:  A two week trip up the ICW from Charleston, SC to Portsmouth, NC; the full moon rising just as we anchored near the Neuse River in North Carolina.  It was an amazing experience to take this trip up the Intracoastal Waterway.  I learned much, saw many birds, enjoyed the changing scenery along the trip, and never tired of the company.   If you ever have a chance to do something similar, just say Yes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

August:  Summer heats up in Austin, lots of fun times on the lake, including enjoying Cupholder back in the water.  We enjoyed having both Nirvana and Cupholder on the lake this summer.  We love having boat guests for the day and / or night.  We enjoy our boat friends immensely.  And we really need to spend more time out on the lake next year.

img_8854

September:  One of several visits with out-of-towners to Barton Springs Pool to cool off.  I have my own custom tour of Austin for friends that are visiting.  Sometimes we walk around doing it.  Sometimes we do an express version by car.  But I love sharing my town with my friends and family when they come for a visit.  If the temps are anywhere near 100 degrees F, then we must visit Barton Springs Pool.

img_9181

October:  Let the boat canvas and sail projects commence!  I finally organized my various and sundry craft/project supplies in my new, amazing closet workspace.  Looking forward to knocking another couple dozen projects of my to-do list next year.

img_9363

November:  Enjoying the Christmas decorations going up at Donn’s Depot.  You can walk in the door a Grinch, but as soon as you enter Donn’s Depot after Thanksgiving, you can’t help but feel the Christmas Spirit warm your heart.

IMG_9725

December:  A trip south along the coast from Charleston, SC (Rainbow Row, below) to Brunswick, GA, via Beaufort, SC and Savannah, SC.  Our last trip of the year took me to a place I used to live MANY moons ago, and a few places I’ve never been.  I would like to make a followup visit to these parts again.

IMG_9837

So many great moments!  I’m looking forward to the ones 2020 brings.

Uber oops.

When I was catching up with Lori in Charleston, one of the things she mentioned was that Mike had left his phone in their Uber on their last trip.  I sympathized as I listened, thinking what a pain it would have been to try to get it back.  Well, as luck would have it, I ended up doing the exact same thing three days later!!

We had just tied up at the marina in Savannah.  I took a quick shower and tidied up.  Then we all bundled into an Uber in the rain to get to Amy Lee’s office to meet up with her and Chris.   We enjoyed a really great tour of the historic building that they had restored in Savannah.  Then Amy Lee drove us around, giving us a wonderful car-tour that only a decades-long Savannah resident could conduct.  Eventually, I patted my jacket pocket, dug through the day-pack that I brought from the boat, only to realize that… I couldn’t find my phone.  Lori called my number.  We didn’t hear it ring.  It wasn’t in our car.   Most likely scenario… it probably fell out in the Uber that I had summoned with my phone an hour or two prior.

How was I going to get my phone back?

– Amy Lee called her offices to see if I had dropped it there.   Nope.  And then she graciously continued our car-tour, while I tried to figure out how to locate my phone from the back seat, and get it back before we had to depart for Brunswick the next day.

– I borrowed Monte’s phone and installed the Uber app, and tried to logon to my account, but I couldn’t recall my password (seriously?!).

–  Then I tried to logon to my gmail account via Monte’s phone to see if I had received a message from Uber about my phone.  But I couldn’t recall my gmail password (OMG!).

– In the meantime, I sent my phone a text from Monte’s phone saying that if someone found my phone, to please call Monte’s number.

IMG_0013

– Then, Lori asked me if I had Find-my-iphone service installed on my phone.  Yes, I did!   A quick google search told me that I could use icloud.com/find to logon to my apple ID via a web browser and it would help me locate my device.  Mercifully, I was able to remember the correct password to my Apple ID.  So I was able to logon and quickly saw that my iPhone was in the vicinity but on the move.  Brilliant!  We tried to track down my phone’s Uber based on the phone’s location, but it was moving faster than we were.  So, I used the iCloud.com find-my-phone utility to ping my phone, which sounded an audible alarm on my phone, wherever it was.

Within 5 minutes Monte’s phone rang.  A person in the Uber had heard the alarm, found my phone wedged between the backseat and the door, picked it up, saw the text message I had sent, and called Monte’s phone from their own phone.   A few minutes later we met up at an agreed-to location for me to get my phone back.   I was very lucky.  And I was oh so thankful for the outcome. The ordeal had lasted about 30 minutes.  I tipped the Uber driver again when she handed me my phone, and we went our separate ways.

Take from this story what you will.  Turn on your phone’s find utility if you have one.  commit a few passwords to memory.  Make sure your phone is secure in your pocket or bag.  And travel with a friend with a phone.  🙂

 

 

Quick trip.

Last week, Monte and I flew to Charleston to meet up with Lori, to crew for her as she moved S/V Trident south to Brunswick, Georgia for the rest of the winter.

Trident in her slip in Charleston is in the foreground, to the right, of the picture below, with 2 tankers getting ready to pass nearby in the narrow Cooper River ship channel just outside the marina, and the Ravenel Bridge in the background.  The two-masted schooner at the dock to the left is the 140′ Spirit of South Carolina.  We finagled our way on board her to watch the Charleston Christmas Boat Parade up close the night before we departed.

IMG_9881

After we landed in Charleston, I had the Uber driver make a side trip to my old house.   I moved many times when I was a kid.  When I lived in Charleston, I was around 7 to 9 years old, and I think it is the first place I lived where I have lots of my own, real memories – as opposed to memories from snapshots, stories, or individual moments in time.  The old chez:

IMG_9827

After provisioning and finishing the short pre-departure list of boat chores, we had a chance to walk around Charleston a bit, and sample its great seafood, which was nice.  I would like to come back with more time to see the sights.  The Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park:

IMG_9831

Colorful housefronts along Rainbow Row: IMG_9837

We took the Intercoastal Waterway from Charleston to Savannah, anchoring one night in a creek just off the ICW, and staying at marinas in Beaufort and Savannah.  We strolled around Beaufort’s oak-lined and moss-draped historic streets, making a stop by the house where The Big Chill was filmed.  We had a lovely visit with our niece and her family in Savannah.  Amy Lee gave us the best car-tour of its historic downtown, as a slow rain fell.  Then we took the outside ocean route overnight from Savannah to Brunswick.

It was very COLD overnight on the ocean, but we made it!   Another adventure in the books.

 

 

 

 

About town.

Noreen and I did some shopping yesterday, then headed to the University of Texas campus.  We went up in the UT Tower on a tour.  Monte and I have done this once before but it was a dark and rainy day, so I was looking forward to getting a better view.

As a part of the tour, you can go outside and walk around all 4 sides of the top of the tower.

My town, looking south from the UT Tower:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The UT Tower, viewed from the Turtle Pond just north of the Tower:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The UT Tower with the UT Tower Memorial in the foreground, a remembrance of the victims of the shooting that happened over 50 years ago:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After the tour, we grabbed lunch on the drag, and then mosied over to Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon to experience chicken shit bingo.   We didn’t win 🙂  But it was fun to cross that off my bucket list.

IMG_9790

Back home, we mournfully watched the Seahawks lose to the Rams.   Keeto is very broken up about it.

Septemberfest.

Monte and I rang in our anniversary with a trip through the Texas Hill Country.   We had our own mini-Oktoberfest exploring Altstadt Brewery and spent the weekend in Fredericksburg.

We enjoyed the wine and brews of the region and some local good-eats.  We also did our share of antiquing and mantiquing and each brought home a little sumpin-sumpin.

The Longhorns have an off-week, but we caught them chilling in the shade near the Pedernales River:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We did a number of laps down Main Street in Fredericksburg.  Next week is Oktoberfest in F-burg, so GET DOWN THERE! IMG_9329

You gotta love the Texas wine trail… grape vines and live oaks.IMG_9333

And zinnias as far as you can see…IMG_9336

Happy Anny to us!

Late summer lake day.

We are about a week away from the end of summer here in our Central Texas home. Today we motored over to the Lake Travis In-the-Water Boat Show on Cupholder. Turns out we were the only sailboat.

We did tour a 45′ $880K+ motor cruiser. Nice RV. I’m sure it throws a horrendous wake.

Then Kurt and Barbara rescued us and took us out for a drive in their new red convertible. Awesome!!

The view from Lake Travis Steak House:

A day in the ATX.

I joined Rachel and Becky on their second day in Austin.

Monte made crepes for breakfast. Then we headed out.

Spelunking at Inner Space Caverns:

Boot shopping at Allen’s Boots:Zilker Botanical Garden:

Chillin’ at Barton Springs Pool:

Mural tour:

Boot scootin at the Broken Spoke:

Mr. Dale Watson:

Good night Austin!

Old friend.

Today Monte, Kurt and I sailed Cupholder to our favorite cove, to check out the reopened and recently upgraded Arkansas Bend Park.  We walked ashore and checked out the new bath houses, parking lot, playground, and campsites.  I checked on a couple of my geocaches.  We anchored and floated for a while.  It was nice to experience the lake again from our favorite wooden boat.

IMG_0490.jpg

Portsmouth & Norfolk.

After taking care of the boat yesterday, Lori and I walked around historic Portsmouth. This place is rich with history, homes dating back to the 1700s.

I haven’t talked much about the heat here, but it has been brutally hot and humid for the last two weeks. The east coast is covered with heat advisories. So, while we walked around town, the streets were deserted. The only other folks we ran into were cruisers from another sailboat we passed yesterday. No matter, it was fun to get out and walk around. And last night a front blew through, bringing cooler temps (and rain).

Today we took a foot ferry across the Elizabeth River to Norfolk.

We toured the Nauticus Museum and the USS Wisconsin that is on display there.

This ship played important roles in WWII, the Korean War, and Desert Storm. Amazing; six decades of service.

I am headed back home today.  Thanks for the adventure, Lori!

 

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2 week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM0!

Day 14 – 8 bridges. 1 lock. 12 miles. On the road, again! We left the dock right before the 7AM opening of the Battlefield Bridge.

Immediately after the bridge is Great Bridge Lock connecting the freshwater Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal to the south, and the saltwater Elizabeth River to the north, lowering us one foot as we traveled north.

After this, there was only one more bridge for which we had to time our arrival, as it doesn’t open during morning rush hour.

All the other bridges are either fixed or are usually in the open position; even the bridge that delayed our arrival.  Below, you can see Norfolk beyond the formerly broken bridge.

We got an up-close view of Norfolk Naval Shipyard (Est. 1767!) as we motored past.

It felt really good to pull into Trident’s new home slip. Mission accomplished!

The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/23/portsmouth-norfolk/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

Virginia.

Day 13 – We are still tied up at a boatyard waiting for the Belt Line Railway Bridge at MM2.5 to open. Below, we are second from the left, boats waiting…

We haven’t been idle, though. This morning Lori went for a run, I found a geocache, and walked through a nearby wooded park.

We are in an area called Great Bridge. The nearby historical markers tell a story of the first-ever Revolutionary land battle in Virginia Colony which was fought right here. And we won! The British forces were repelled with great losses, and that was the first victory for the American colonies in the war.

This afternoon we cleaned the boat top-sides and inside. Laundry, showers ashore, and then a lovely dinner of tapas and wine at a restaurant less than a mile away.

We learned tonight that the bridge is now OPEN!! We will leave in the morning to travel these last 12 miles. One last sunset on the canal!

I’ve enjoyed chatting with our temporary dock neighbors. Everyone has a story to tell.

The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/22/mm0/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM12.

Day 12 – 5 bridges. 37 miles. So close, but yet so far. Lori and I got up this morning at 5AM and were off the dock by sunrise.

We knew it would be a challenge today: maintaining a good average speed, the number of bridges, one lock, and some of them only open on the hour. But as of 2pm, we were ahead of schedule! We had worked so hard today to eek every tenth of a knot of speed from the sails. Then, just 12 miles from our destination of MM 0, we learned over VHF from a benevolent bridge tender that the last bridge up ahead that we needed to pass through today, at MM2.5, was stuck in the down position since yesterday. ETA for opening: 0700 Monday morning.  Ack!  Today is Saturday.

Luckily we were right next to one of only two dockage options for the night, so we hailed them on the radio and asked if they had room, and they did.

So, here we sit, VERY close to ground zero, but having to wait it out. We have electricity, food, and wine, so all is good.

But MAN we were so close!!!

On a positive note, I saw lots of flying things! 🙂

A bald eagle on watch at dawn…

Juvenile ospreys…

More geese…

And a bi-plane…

The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/21/virginia/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM49.

Day 11 – 1 bridge. 33 miles.

We left our anchorage around 9AM this morning. We crossed the 10 miles of Albemarle Sound, and then wound our way up the North River.

The area was beautiful, again, and virtually undeveloped. We are side-tied to a dock tonight at Coinjock Marina, literally on the land cut in the ICW.  So we should be able to leave early and easy.

Dinner ashore. Showers! Chatting with dock neighbors. And cribbage.

Here’s to a great day tomorrow!

The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/20/mm12/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM82.

Day 10 – 3 bridges. 53 miles. There is 20-ish mile man-made land cut between the Pungo River and the Alligator River on the ICW. It’s very straight, and surrounded by tall pine trees.

This was the last section of the ICW to be completed in the 1920s to allow inland passage between Norfolk to Miami. We took that cut today and were able to put the jib up for an extra knot or so. Along the way, we slid past bald eagles, Canada geese, white-tailed deer, and many small birds.

After exiting the land cut we sailed up the Alligator River, which is huge. We had wind-driven waves but luckily they were on our stern, so it made for comfortable sailing.

As we turned off the ICW to anchor, a hellacious squall arrived. Lori saw 32+ knots as I was on the bow dropping anchor in the rain. Trident’s anchor held like a champ, as usual. We were treated to a double rainbow for our efforts.

We are anchored tonight right where the Alligator River joins Albemarle Sound, which we will transit tomorrow. It’s the last big body of open water that we cross on this trip.

The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/19/mm49/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)