Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oct. 30 - St. John's

Woke up this morning with rain coming through the port holes and hatch and hitting us in the face. Really not that huge of a problem – I simply pull the covers up over my face and make a few whining sounds until Peggy gets up and closes the openings ... no big deal.

A few rain showers every night seems to be about normal. Today, after coffee here in the marina, Bob and I took the life raft into town by taxi to be inspected while Gene and Peggy stowed gear on the boat. Although the life raft was out of date, we found out it would have worked anyway, had we needed it, since the inspection process involves inflation using the internal bottle. However, it will be reassuring to now know for sure it is up to date and ready to go.

Bob and I walked the couple of miles back to the marina then we all headed over to the local grocery store to buy food for the trip. We only bought about a weeks worth since we are staying here in the area to mess around for a few days. The plan is to re-provision in San Juan on the way to Florida. Besides, we will be making one more stop back in St. Thomas and one in St. Croix before leaving the Virgin Islands.

Got out of St. Thomas this afternoon around 3:00 PM and went straight to St. John's to do some snorkeling. Made it here in time to get in about an hour before dark. Now sitting on a mooring in a small cove at St. John's. We had dinner this evening at Peggy's Restaurant as you can see below.

The photo below is approaching St. John's. That is Gene sitting up there on the forward deck.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Oct. 29 - Preparing to Leave Dock

Here is a photo of our new home away from home for the next month or so. Her name is Sirena and she is a 45 foot Island Packet. Our plan is to leave the dock here some time tomorrow afternoon and go play for a few days before heading out for Florida.

Today, our first full day on board, was a fairly busy one. After breakfast in the marina we went about moving supplies from Bob's other boat which is moored in the same marina. While Bob and Peggy selected items we might need for the trip, Gene and I used the dingy to ferry these items to Sirena at the dock.

This afternoon, while Peggy and Gene took a nap, Bob and I worked out a way to raise and stow the dingy on the forward deck of Sirena. We made up a sling and used the spare, main halyard to lift it out of the water and swing it into position. It worked easily and will be much better than towing that thing all the way to Florida.

Peggy ended up getting herself a little dehydrated yesterday and felt pretty bad. It is surprising how much water you have to drink down here in the humid air. Anyway, she has learned her lesson and is pouring it in.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

10/28 - Arrival - St. Thomas

It has been a long day, but we are finally here. Arrived at the marina about 10:00 PM and immediately headed to the restaurant to eat and get a couple of rum and Cokes. Sat up talking to Bob and Gene until 1:30 AM.

It is so nice to be here and St. Thomas is really very beautiful. It makes all the effort of getting here worthwhile.

Did I mention I am not a good traveler? Here is a little account of post 9/11 airline travel that might give you some insight to my travel phobia. As of 4:00 PM this afternoon we had been traveling for 8 hours. As the crow flies, we have made about 400 miles toward St. Thomas. That works out to an average speed of 50 MPH.

Today, I was obliged to empty my pockets, remove my belt, and take off my shoes three times. About 1 oz. of peanuts, a Diet Coke, and a cup of coffee was it for the day. I have been ordered through a security maze by a bunch of fat ass, do nothing, federal welfare workers sporting a TSA patch. My laptop battery went dead because the airport terminals have put covers over all the electrical outlets just to screw with me! On the nearly 3 hour leg from Orlando to San Juan, American Airlines served one small cup of Coke and would not even let me have the whole can. Man, this is FUN!!!

Anyway, that air travel BS is over with and the trip home by sailboat will be much more better. Going to get a good night's sleep, do a run in the morning, at start checking this place out. By-the-way, I turned 55 today.

Until tomorrow .....

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Rainy Day One

As a person who tends to get short of breath when I lose my internet connection, I just had to show this photo of my new hero. This guy must be some kind of communications, road warrior, God! You can't really tell it from the photo but, most of these antennas are 1/2" rebar with guide wires and an antenna duct taped to the top. I don't really know what they were doing but, the SUV was just packed full of radio gear. Been reading the last few days that cell phone use can make you sterile; I suspect the EMF inside this vehicle would fry bacon.

Today, the first day of our journey, has not been a great day for me. Since I go all the time, for months on end, few are aware that I am not a good traveler. Although, I nearly always have a good time on our trips, I can not honestly say I have ever had as much fun as I do just hanging with our friends here in Austin. Peggy is the traveler and the entire burden falls upon her to, not only do all the packing and planning but, keep me calm as well. I don't know what it is exactly; it is not lack of experience, because we leave town all the time and have traveled internationally many, many times but, it just freaks me out to pass that Austin City Limits sign.

Made it about 50 miles this morning before the rain started. Now, here we are almost to New Orleans and the rain has not let up for a second. At times it rained so hard the interstate traffic slowed to 35 MPH. I think we will be to the kids house in Gulfport in a couple of hours. I just got off the phone with Art and he told me Robin (our Granddaughter) keeps asking if we are there yet. I may start asking that myself if the rain doesn't let up and let this traffic start moving.

We are going to spend tomorrow with the kids in Gulfport then fly out from there on Saturday for St. Thomas. We will partially provision the boat in St. Thomas, then sail over to St. Croix to pick up a few more things. The plan is to spend a week or so in the Virgin Islands scuba diving before setting out for Florida. We are going to do the voyage in a fairly relaxed manner and not worry about a schedule. Therefore, my hope is that I will be able to catch an internet connection every 4-5 days to update our progress.

I used to think IH 35 in Austin was bad, at least I did until about half hour ago. We have been sitting here in a Baton Rouge, IH 12 traffic jam for, what seems like, forever. I sure wish there was a better way to head East out of Austin without having to go through this land of Huey P. Long, washboard highways, collapsing levees and, worst of all, hasslers of Willie. Poor guy, can't even ride his dang bus through this sorry ass state without some donut junkie busting him over a little pot. Next time I am tempted to come this way, I will ask myself, “What would Willie do?” Divert through Arkansas, maybe? Hmmmm, is that better?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hitting the Road

Just wanted to let everyone know that Peggy and I are going to be away for a little while. May not be able to answer emails in our usual lighting fast manner. ;-) In fact, if you are sending something with a file attachment, it might be better just to hold those until we return in December so that the puny, little, anemic 100MB of storage Earthlink gives us does not overflow.

We are going to be spending the next 4-6 weeks moving a 45 foot Island Packet sailboat from St. Croix to it's new home port in Tampa, FL. If you would like to follow the 1800 mile voyage, just keep an eye on our blog at the link below. In fact, rather than email, why not let us hear from you through your comments left on the blog? Just clink on "comments" at the end of each post and leave your message. I have it set up to accept anonymous posting, so, if you don't have a blogger account, you don't even have to sign in. Just be sure and leave your first name so we know who it's from.

We are leaving first thing in the morning, but will not be on the boat until Saturday night. We will keep a daily account of the voyage but, will only be able to post it to the blog whenever I can get an internet connection. If you are following our progress, we should be back in Austin about two days after reaching Tampa. I know from experience, it gets a little lonesome out there on the ocean so we would love to hear from you and will try to post lots of photos.

We are driving to Biloxi, MS in the morning to spend a couple of days with the kids and will fly out of there for St. Croix on Saturday. The truck is loaded and ready to go! We are excited about going, but are sad about the way we are going to miss all our friends here in Austin, a group that has grown considerably since moving downtown to Pecan Grove.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Photo Posted

A few of the blog readers that know us well have asked why we have such an old photo of us posted on our profile to the left? The reason was that it was the most recent one we had of us together. It was only about a decade old! We have not changed in the last 10 years anyway. Ha! One has a little more hair and one a little less, that's all, and it's probably not the ones you think.

The problem has been taken care of now. As you can see I have posted a current photo of Peggy and I to our Profile in the left column. In fact, it was taken about 2:00 PM this afternoon.

I have not been posting for the last week or so because we have just been so busy. We sold our little travel trailer and bought a rather large 5th wheel with three slides. It has just been an ordeal getting this all done and, at the same time, getting ready to leave for the Carribean for six weeks. I will post more about that in a day or two. Briefly, Peggy and I, and a couple of friends are moving a sail boat from St. Croix to Tampa, FL. If you would like to follow the 1,800 mile sailing voyage online, just keep an eye on this blog. I will be giving a daily account and posting it every time I am able to catch an internet connection. More on this in a couple of days.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Austin's South 40 - My Review

Last Friday we went to the Dallas Nightclub for our regular Friday night dance. We always arrive when the doors open at 6:00 PM and usually stay until about 9:00 PM. Last Friday we were feeling particularly energetic so, at nine, we decided to go somewhere else, and that somewhere turned out to be the South 40 down on Ben White for our first visit.

We arrived, I suppose, sometime around 9:30 PM. Walking in the door, there was a short line waiting to pay the $4.00 cover. I didn't think anything about the cover and just assumed they had some local band inside. The ditsy little airhead collecting the money had a tip jar next to her register and upon payment, every single time she would hold out the jar and say, "Remember, tipping is not a city in China" as she would bat her eyes and grin as if this mantra was actually very comical. Reminded me of some beggar holding out a cup or some intersection jockey with a "Will work for food" sign which really means "give me some money to buy drugs." She, of course, tried that bull shit on me and I told her, "I would keep that in mind after I got inside and found a waitress actually performing a service." Anyway, that is what you put up with getting through the front door.

I am a little bit annoyed by this time (as you can probably tell) after the shakedown at the door, but we go on in and I look around to see if the band is set up yet. Low and behold, there is no band, just a DJ. And, although I don't know it yet, this DJ is destined to occupy a special place in my book of bad DJ's.

Now keep in mind, this is a country and western bar/dance hall, and it's not exactly your typical urban cowboy setting either. It is an older, fairly rough looking place and just the kind of joint you expect to hear some good country music, rockabilly, swing, and some Lyle Lovett or Stevie Ray Vaughn blues. What do you get here? At first came a few old draggy two steps followed by some rap thing that went on for 15 solid minutes. The only people dancing were a couple of ol' skanky girls out there dancing with each other. And they couldn't even shake their lard asses for more than 10 minutes of this rap marathon.

Just when I thought my head was about to explode, it ended and this so called DJ that we paid $4.00 each to hear puts a few two steps on autopilot and goes over and sits at the bar while they run. Next, he wanders back over to his booth and puts on AC/DC "She Shook Me all Night Long", followed immediately by a couple of Guns and Roses. I happen to be a big fan of AC/DC as well as Guns and Roses, but I don't go to a country bar to hear either. Apparently, neither did anyone else because there was not a single dancer during the entire ordeal. Next came a couple more country songs, then the Salsa started ... aaaaannd we were out the door before the first song was half way through so I can't tell you what happened after about 11:30. I draw a line in the sand at Salsa! It is fine on chips, but I'm not going to put that crap in my ears.

Take my word for it, the South 40 in Austin is one sorry place to go, at least on Friday night, which you would think would be one of their better nights. I don't know what it would take to get me to give it another try. Maybe, if they canned the beggar at the front door and got a decent DJ. They do have a good dance floor and the waitresses were very nice so the place has potential. I wonder if another night of the week is better? I'm too snake bit now to check it out.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Stinky Cap Election Results In

The polls are closed, the votes are counted, and the results are in. First off, as reported earlier, there was a serious attempt at election fraud by one party. Our efforts to get Jimmy Carter to oversee the election failed, but we managed to work around that. We did hear back from the Carter Library and they did promise to pass our request on to President Carter, however, they pointed out that IF we got a response, it would be 8-10 weeks. I just hope I'm not on some "do not fly list" now.

So here is the final count of the popular vote. It appears to be a landslide for the "Don't Wash it Party". There were 63 votes "Don't wash" and 15 votes "Wash it". In addition, there were a few we classified as "hanging chads". In other words, we were sure what they meant, but still able to argue there is a micron of doubt. These were votes like "Burn it", "Stop running", "Burn it on Lloyd's head", "Wash, dye, and hot glue frillys on it", etc., you get the idea.

Notice I said earlier, it APPEARS to be a landslide for the "Don't Wash it Party". After a recount using the Red State, Blue State, Electoral College thingy, it turns out the majority vote winner did, indeed, lose the election! HOW CAN THIS BE?! This is only the second time I have seen this happen in my lifetime, and the first time was an unmitigated disaster.

Sadly, in order to preserve the union, I am conceding the election and offering my congratulations to the "Wash it Party" candidate. I am worried the next several years are going to be very painful without my lucky cap.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lucky Cap - or Not?

Take a look at this cap. I admit it is a pretty funky looking thing. However, there is a reason for it's sorry state and, every day like clockwork, Peggy and I have a discussion as to why she is not allowed to wash it. This morning it was agreed that we would ask the blog readers for their opinions.

As any reader of this blog knows, about three months ago, I took up running again after laying off for several years. At my age, I was very concerned about possible injuries while trying to get back into this sport. Now, I am up to four miles daily and have done so without injury or pain and during this entire building process I have worn this cap. I think that pretty much proves this is a lucky cap and that it would be crazy to wash it.

Peggy seems to think it reflects badly on her when I go out wearing this disgusting thing on my head. For some reason that sounds vaguely familiar. OH, I remember, my first wife used to say my color choices in clothing reflected badly upon her. No doubt, she was absolutely right about that. Many times, I heard the statement, "You are not going out of this house dressed like that!"

That problem is now completely solved. I have gone back to wearing a uniform which means I no longer have to strain any neurons deciding if colors match. My daily uniform is black t-shirt, white shorts, white socks. When a dress uniform is called for, I substitute Levi's 501 Blues for the white shorts. Some of you have noticed I had started wearing a uniform, but, I think many were too polite to say anything for fear that I had simply stopped changing clothes. But, I digress, this is about the cap.

I would like your opinion as to whether or not it is worth the risk to wash this valuable cap. If it is a lucky cap, it would lose it's magical powers, and I might be hobbling around here with all kinds of problems after my next run. My personal opinion is that it is not worth taking that kind of chance and I should wear it until it rots away to the point it will no longer stay on my head. But, by all means, give us your opinion. I'm still not going to wash it but, it might make Peggy feel better if, by some miracle, someone agrees with her silly idea. Wash it? ... You don't wash a lucky cap!