Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Never again!"... what I told Hans last night.

What I meant was, I will never move on or off this boat again without it being a final kind of thing. I've done it way too many times and it's no longer fun.

Note: my computer is on its last legs so I hope I can post this successfully.

We left Pittsburgh on a beautifully sunny day, free of humidity, and I suddenly realized that we were indeed moving.

I cried.

We stayed at a very nice (pet friendly) motel in Winston Salem, NC and for some reason I slept like total crap, I kept waking up with my heart racing, I had nightmares about people using our shower, and I swear I thought the Pittsburgh Pirates were playing a game right outside our door. This had me a bit worried because we had an eleven hour drive ahead of us the next day and I just wanted a good nights sleep. Bear in mind, Hans and I were driving in separate vehicles and I insisted on being the lead vehicle, and commandeered the GPS!

The next night we arrived in the Clearwater, FL area, pulled into our next pet friendly motel, and I knew there was no way I was going to get a good nights sleep. I swear I felt just like a big old dairy cow that had taken a wrong turn in Farmer John's pasture and somehow ended up in a jungle. All three floors of the motel were teeming with slouching, beer drinking, cigarette smoking individuals whom, not unlike vultures, watched Hans and I unload our vehicles with far more interest than was warranted.

And for the first time in my life I was glad that pit bulls have a bad reputation and I wished that Wilbur would quit wagging his tail.

Hans had no sooner exited his vehicle when some very young chick (whom I'd observed slapping her way around the perimeter of the building in her flip flops while Hans was checking us in) approached him and asked if he was alone. When he said no he wasn't alone he was with his wife, she saw me and replied, "Awesome", and then said some odd thing about having been given the wrong room key.

Anyway, it was late, we were hungry, the right rear tire on Hans' vehicle was dangerously low (something I spotted when I actually allowed Hans to lead the way for a spell), and so Hans left me and Wilbur in order to take care of both issues. While Hans was gone I felt quite safe when I traversed the very long and dimly lit hallway to the ice machine because a Florida Highway Patrol Officer had shown up at the room next to ours. By the time Hans came back I felt even safer because there were four Florida Highway Patrol Officers sitting in our parking lot, and guess who was the star?

Miss Flip Flops, that's who!

We ate our Wendy's 'to go' dinners, let Wilbur out for one last break, and the police were still hanging around.

I only wish they'd been hanging around at five o'clock AM when Miss Flip Flops got into a huge fight, right outside our door, with some guy she kept referring to as Crackhead. Hans slept through all of it (Wilbur, however, shot up out of a sound sleep and did some very quiet and tentative boof boof noises, but I shushed him), and just as I was ready to call the police, they finally shut up. That's when Hans decided to start to snore.

At least I didn't cry but I got very little sleep.

Just before we left the next morning Miss Flip Flops, who for some reason didn't get tossed in the slammer, was very offended when Hans wouldn't cough up two dollars so she could do her laundry (yeah right! Laundry!).

The sad part of this is the fact that staying at the Crack Head Resort (and most likely sleeping with bed bugs) would have been absolute heaven compared to what we've put up with the last two days.

After our boat was dumped into the water and tied up at the dock, we had to provision and pick up our air conditioner at West Marine. That's when we discovered that West Marine had stored our air conditioner on its side and it would therefor need time to 'settle'. Not something you want to hear when the temperatures are hovering at around a hundred degrees and then we came back to a very wet boat because we'd left some hatches open and of course a huge storm had blown through.

Sweat was pouring off of us as we unloaded everything and since it was now dusk, the mosquitoes hit us like bomber jets. This time I cried and we said the hell with the warning about the air conditioner and went ahead and installed it. That's when I spotted a tiny little mention in the instructions that it only needed 30 minutes to settle! We cranked that baby up full blast and actually got a good nights sleep. However it does very little to dispel the heat during the day and we had to string our red neck awnings over various parts of the boat as the sun worked its way from east to west.

We had to stay at the marina an extra day in order to get everything done and we left this morning. We already crossed under a bridge that's normally 49 feet high (our mast is 50 feet high) but with the low water levels we ghosted under it, and we've also gone through a lock. Just out of the lock the water was under three feet deep. Very scary.

We now have to work our way through Rocky Reef and with the water being this shallow there are all kinds of warnings about it.

What fun!

Hans at Motel # 1.

Wilbur never travels without his pillows. Here he is at Motel #1.

Back on the boat.

A pretty hot pitty.


  1. My oh my! You are having quite the adventure! Can't really say I'd want to tag along on this one with ya BOL! From flip flops to skeeters to melting without ac...well yeah I'll pass ;)

    Sending you lots of wishes for the remainder of your trip to be much smoother! :D

    Waggin at ya,

  2. OMG...Miss Flip Flops!!! I can vision "it" !!!
    Hope things get smoother for you both.
    Doll (& Capt'n too)

  3. Just like a movie! We get all the laughs, you have to live through the horror.

  4. Roo, we too hope the trip will be smoother! Poor Wilbur had a long day of navigating today and is now fast asleep at my side. He has such a tough life!

    PMD, I wouldn't count on things getting smoother with us! We seem to attract strange situations.

  5. Two Pitties, OMG!!! So well put. I'm not kidding when I post these stories and unfortunately they are 100% truth!

  6. Miss Flip Flops .. too funny! Glad you made it under the 49 ft. bridge without any problems and I look forward to hearing about your passage. As you had mentioned earlier ... there's not a lot of info regarding this passage with a sailboat. Best wishes!

  7. Cheryl, we are on the move again and this part of the ICW is lined with alligators!! They scare the crap out of me.

  8. Most refigerators and air conditioners will tell you to keep them up right for 24 hours. I'm surprised your manufacturer said 30 minutes but hey they made the thing. The issue is there is oil in the compressor that needs to circulate with the freon. If it doesn't the compressor will be damaged. If the unit is not upright, the oil can run into the lines and the evaporator coil and then the compressor has no oil when it starts up.

    I use a 90.00 home window unit mounted in my companion way for my boat. It has way more than enough cooling even on the hottest days. Your marina may not like it though.

    I've found that motels that are pet friendly tend to be poor motels. The only motels that usually allow them is ones that are desperate for business. So I'm not surprised by the problems you had (noise, cops, hookers)


  9. Since I had it right there in print, we went ahead and installed the A/C. So far no problems. We can't install a unit in the companionway as we are in and out all the time and there's no way we could step over it!
    As for pet friendly motels, I think this awful one was the exception. Businesses are beginning to realize that pets are big business and catering to pet owners is mostly a win win proposition.