Thursday, December 21, 2017

Damn Northerners!

We are enjoying a beautiful morning in Orange Beach, Alabama. The sun is shining, the waves are gently coming ashore....hold on a minute I need to blow my nose....the warm winds feel great on our bare arms. We get to spend a few days....hold on I need to blow my nose again....enjoying this beautiful area with some of our family. "Achewwwwww!" Damn northerners gave me a cold again.

The last time we traveled north I picked up a very stubborn cold that just wouldn't go away until we got back to Florida. This time I started sneezing as soon as we piled into our car to begin this trip north. I think my body is trying to tell me something. "Stay south dummy, stay south."

In Florida we have found that everything that ails someone is due to something called a Northerner". We stand in a long line at the bank we hear, "Damn Northerners are back again." Restaurant has a waiting line, you guessed it, "Damn Northerners clogging up our restaurants." Roads are backed up, Northerners!"

We find it very funny when we talk to these complainers about their life in Florida. "I'm originally from Michigan, but I've been here for 10 years." "It was a lot less crowded down here when we moved from Indiana 3 years ago." We swear there are no born and raised Floridians anywhere to be found. Yet everyone complains about all the Northerners coming down here. So, I am going to blame all the damn Northerners for coming down and bringing this cold virus with them.


Friday, December 15, 2017

Wrinkles Takes a Different Tack

The crew of Wrinkles is sorry for their lack of posts over the recent months. (Egads! It has been months!) It seems life had many distractions, twists and turns which all conspired to keep us from updating this silly blog. You still want an explanation you say? Well, here goes.......

If you go back to our last post you will see we had mixed emotions about returning to Wrinkles after a wonderful trip visiting friends and family all over the U.S. Although Wrinkles was in good shape and ready for another sailing adventure, her crew wasn't exactly ready to drop the docklines quite yet. Brenda has never been fond of storms or heavy weather sailing. Fortunately the beautiful sunsets, quiet island beaches and amazing friendships we developed were able to outweigh the stressful portions of cruising for the last 2 1/2 years. Mike knew upon returning from the Bahamas last season that it would be Brenda's last long voyage aboard Wrinkles. She simply had run her weather tolerance tank empty.

We planned on an easy sail down to Marathon where we would spend the winter enjoying the Florida Keys. Unfortunately Hurricane Irma pretty much destroyed Boot Key Harbor and our plans. So now what do we do? Our wanderlust was still going strong and we were not ready to become landlocked quite yet. We started looking at RV'ing as an alternative to sailing. We would be able to wander, explore, meet new people and basically refuse to grow up and become responsible adults. Hmmmmm? Sounds like a good option.

The decision was made to put Wrinkles up for sale and move aboard an RV. It was NOT an easy decision. Mike wrote the following email to our family to express his emotions.

Adventures do end. I've known this for weeks now, but I seemed to be able to place it in the back of of my mind where I wouldn't need to acknowledge it. Well, yesterday was my day of reckoning. I stepped across Wrinkles teak rail for my last sail as her skipper, owner, friend. The familiar feel of the solid deck as I boarded her made me feel at home and at peace. Wrinkles has been my home and my means of adventure for nearly three years now as we shared beautiful sunsets and exotic islands.As we sailed under a gentle wind across Charlotte Harbor toward the storage lot I reminisced about the highs and lows of cruising aboard an old sailboat. Sure there were times of fear and anxiety, but to truly be alive we need to get outside our comfort zone occasionally. The rewards were plentiful. Beauty, adventure, friendships, excitement and the amazing feeling of accomplishment. Sharing life aboard Wrinkles with the love of my life was a good life.I'm not sure if I subconsciously sailed 40 minutes past the turn up the Myakka River or if I just didn't want to make that final commitment to put Wrinkles away. It is more likely that during our adventures Brenda has been the true navigator and I didn't have her by my side to keep me from getting lost. Eventually Wrinkles and I worked our way up the Myakka River, made it safely through the dreaded Cattle Point Lock, navigated the shallow canals and gently docked at Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage.This adventure has ended. You can't imagine how hard that sentence was to type. Wrinkles will soon have a new skipper to pat her teak after each day's journey while saying, "Good job Wrinkles."

Yes, Mike would still love to point Wrinkles bow off to distant shores, but cruising is only fun and rewarding if it is a shared adventure. It is far more important who we share our adventures with than what those adventures are. We are excited to make our beautiful RV our new home and head off across America to new adventures.

Life does supply us with interesting twists. From now on our travels will involve merges and turns rather than tacks and jibes. Just different terms for new adventures we can share together.


Friday, September 29, 2017

A Summer Land Trip - What's Next?

We finally arrived back at Punta Gorda and boarded Wrinkles on September 19th. We had a great three month trip visiting 12 states and so many friends. After flying from Punta Gorda to Wisconsin we visited family and friends while staying at Mike's mom's home. We drove down to Columbus, Ohio (along with Matt and Kelley) to visit our oldest son John and his girlfriend Brittnie. After returning to Wisconsin we watched our youngest son marry an amazing young lady. Welcome to the family Kelley.

While in Wisconsin we purchased a used Toyota Corolla to zip around and visit friends. Our trusty little Toyota was going to get quite a workout over the next few weeks. We roughed out a plan to visit friends and family as we slowly made our way back to Wrinkles. The plan included St. Louis to visit our sailing friends Bret and Theresa. From there we would head over to Illinois to see our good friends Steve and Sarah. From Illinois we planned to follow Route 66 all the way to Oklahoma City to visit our daughter Tina. After that we would head eastward to Calico Rock, Arkansas where Kim and Roy (Mike's sister and brother-in-law) live. Next some more miles eastward to stay with Karen and Peter (Brenda's sister and brother-in-law) in Huntsville, Alabama. Finally we planned on spending two days driving down to Punta Gorda. As you all know, plans do change.

We loved visiting each of our family and friends along the way. We shared great times and experienced some really awesome events. We were sad to leave our last stop and head out toward Florida, but it was time to move along. We were keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irma as the forecast was showing she could be passing within a few hundred miles of Punta Gorda. After driving 550 miles we stopped at a motel in Ocala, Florida for the night. The weather reports were consistently showing that Irma was turning ever westward with a potential direct landfall near Punta Gorda. We stayed a couple nights in Ocala to watch Irma's path before deciding whether or not to proceed.

We received a call from our marina telling us we would not be allowed to stay aboard Wrinkles during the hurricane. We made the hard decision to turn back north to stay away from Irma's path. We headed up to Huntsville, Alabama to wait and worry. Thank you so much to Karen and Peter for housing us sailing freeloaders.

Once Irma had finished pounding Florida we allowed a few days for the cleanup crews to do their work and for the fuel supply to be restored. It was hard not to rush out to see Wrinkles, but the crews don't need all of us evacuees getting in their way. Finally we headed south again and made our way to Wrinkles. She had taken the storm without getting even a scratch. We were very lucky!

So after nearly 5500 miles of driving we boarded Wrinkles. It was a funny feeling for us though. We were glad to see Wrinkles, but the sense of excitement we thought we should be experiencing wasn't there. We are not sure how to describe or explain how we did feel. Maybe it was because we knew our plan to spend the winter sailing down to the Keys was probably not going to be possible with the Keys being smashed by Irma. Maybe we are winding down in our desire to continue cruising. Maybe.....we just need to relax here in beautiful Punta Gorda and see what everything looks like in a month or two. We'll see.