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November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving in Daytona

We arrived in Daytona Beach on November 22nd so this year our trip south took 22 days. This is about what I had estimated except that we didn’t stop along the way for R&R days as we normally do. The trip went very well since we missed the really bad weather that hit the Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina areas just after we passed through. We also were lucky with the tides and had favorable currents adding to our speed on most days. Courage ran flawlessly and as usual we were comfy on the cold wet days in our pilothouse. One morning we had frost on the deck and that is a good indication that we were a little too late leaving from Baltimore!
We spent one night at the Spooners Creek Marina and met with friends Rain and Mike Harry on Sea whisperer who live aboard there and are refurbishing their Hatteras MY in anticipation of going cruising in a few years. We also stopped at the Amelia Island Yacht Basin marina and had Jerry and Jennie Clapsaddle aboard for dinner. Their new custom home, which they designed, is a real showpiece and they are happily settled in and are to do their ceramics and painting. They still have their sailboat Chessel and have done some short trips and talk about maybe doing a cruise “down east” to Maine next year.
Chuck Ellenwood and a lady friend joined us in St Augustine for the trip to Daytona. They arrived Saturday afternoon in time for us to see the lighting of the Christmas lights that is a big deal in St Augustine. It was crowded as usual but everyone is filled with the Christmas spirit and the size of the crowd is not a problem.
I signed up for a month at the marina here since it is cheaper that two weeks at the weekly rate but we will probably leave here about the 14th to continue south to be at the Glades Marina near Ortona to have the boat hauled on the 22nd. It is time for the bottom to be painted and I need to do a permanent fix on the bow thruster. We will move Courage to Mark and Joyce Richter’s dock after the bottom painting is done and Mark and I will work on some other projects.
I’m working on a long list of boat projects while we are here in Daytona and have managed to cross of a few every day so far. The big one is buying a new 15 hp outboard to replace the old 2001 8hp Yamaha that came with Courage. The Yamaha was getting to be high maintenance and unreliable so it was time.
We joined Chuck and went to the Grandpa Mike and all the Fisher’s for Thanksgiving and thoroughly enjoyed their extended family gathering. It is really nice to be with a family that has maintained the traditional American family values. I baked a pecan pie and a corn pudding to add to the incredible spread of food they had. For sure nobody was hungry after the Thanksgiving meal was over!
Yesterday I went with Chuck to Turkey Rod Run to see Frank Hilson’s new custom built hot rod. Pictures are on the web site. It is a most unique hot rod and attracted a lot of attention at the show and will probably be featured in several “rod’ magazines.
Our Christmas will be with the Dr’s Langford and Sue’s granddaughter Kaya in Ft Myers and we will hang around there through the end of January to visit and make it easy for me to fly north for a company board meeting in late January. The “no plan” plan is to then go down the west coast of Florida to the Keys and stay in the Keys until we turn north sometime in April. Hopefully we will have company aboard while we are in the Keys. Several friends and family have expressed interest in joining us and we hope that they are able to break away from their jobs, etc. long enough to spend some time with us. We enjoy company aboard!

Posted by Dick at 08:01 AM

November 01, 2009

Headed South Again

We are now officially underway headed south for the winter! After resetting all the clocks to Eastern Standard Time, we left the marina in Baltimore about 8:30 this morning and will stop for diesel near Annapolis and then anchor somewhere in the South River tonight. We want to get off the Chesapeake in the next several days while the weather is good and should have no problem doing it.
The day-by-day “no plan” plan I have laid out says it will take us 26 days to get to Daytona Beach and we may be able to do it a little quicker. If possible we want to be there to celebrate Thanksgiving with friend Chuck Ellenwood and other friends in that area.
During October, Sue spent a week in Ft Myers babysitting her grand daughter Kaya while her son Ethan returned to NJ to work at his old chiropractic office. She had a good time and reports that Kaya is really fun to be with and talking a blue streak. I stayed on Courage and did boat projects. One interesting project is the carving and gold leaf finishing of a pair of name boards for Courage. The carving and painting is something I have a lot of experience with and it looks good, but applying the gold leaf is a new experience. It isn’t difficult but my results are not as good as I had hoped for – maybe there is a technique that I don’t know about to get a really shiny finish rather than the matte finish I’m getting. I’ll continue to work on them as we move south and may learn the secret.
We spent last Tuesday at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad museum and enjoyed it. The B&O was the first railroad in the US and the museum is very large and complete with many one of a kind steam locomotives and lots of rolling stock. This museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian and is well maintained and run.
Our stay at the Inner Harbor East Marina was very nice. The office people are pleasant, friendly and helpful. It is conveniently located near all the inner harbor attractions, there is a grocery store 2 blocks away for provisions, and the Enterprise rental car office is a short distance so we had all the conveniences we needed.

Posted by Dick at 10:09 AM