Thursday, August 28, 2014

First day of school...

No, I'm not going back to school.  As a proud graduate of the 4th grade (3 of the toughest years I ever spent, by the way), I think I reached my educational potential a long time ago.  ;-)

Today is the first day of school in Friday Harbor.  Not a big deal, but it does mark the local feeling that another summer season is done.  Don't tell that to our desk staff (including the Blonde) as they continue to fill seats on boats.  This has been a very busy season in Friday Harbor.

I walked uptown for a breakfast sandwich this morning, and didn't see much difference in the number of people on the streets.  School starting does slow down family travel, but there are a lot of us who prefer to travel during the "shoulder seasons".

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Not our family.  Well, the staff here is kinda like family.

Today, we had naturalist Sarah's family on our boat.  Sarah is a great first mate and naturalist - meeting her family, it is easy to see where she comes by that good attitude and friendly manner.  It is great to see family come visit the staff here - a lot of them are a long ways from home... nice to see them excited about bringing their family on the boats.

There is a bond with the boat crew.  Once we push away from the dock, we have to know that we can count on each other.  It is a lot of responsibility for the crew.  This is a good bunch.

Four days to go.


One thing I won't miss here: laundry.  Oh, laundry needs to be done, and Joan praises the marina laundromat - they do keep it clean and in repair.  BUT... $4 a load to wash and about the same to dry.  Yeah, I know: it's an island.

The laundromat in town closed this year.  Didn't matter to us, because the one at the marina is close and the prices are the same... but that means all the townfolk who don't have a washer and dryer are coming here, as well.  Joan usually gets up early on a day off to get it done.  This morning, we were the only ones in there at 6:45.

Speaking of which, this is her last day off before becoming gainfully unemployed.

I took a camera along, planning to get a few marina morning photos... dead batteries.  Joan lent me her iPhone for this one...

I am scheduled for an afternoon trip.  5 work days left.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

That's a nice boat...

Our friend Don (from Knotty-C) came by late this afternoon.  Joan was taking a nap, so he and I found some shade and visited for a while.  Wasn't long before our friend Sam joined us... then invited us to tour his Nordic Tug 37.  He took us back to where it is docked in his dinghy... gave us the VIP tour.  What a gorgeous boat!  Sam is an interesting young man - it has been a delight to get to know him better.

The boat...

That's a real nice boat!

It was a great "guy visit" with Sam and Don.  Eventually, Don had to head out to an anchorage, so Sam gave us a lift back to the Friday Harbor docks and we all said our good-byes.

Starting to wrap up this chapter.

We didn't know what was wrong... so we took a break.

Yes, they really said that.

Another beautiful day off.  My last day off until we are gainfully unemployed again.  The Blonde gets tomorrow off.  We lounged in the cockpit this morning, enjoying what we like best about boating... I think our next boat will just be a cockpit... pointed towards the sunrise or the sunset.  ;-)

After breakfast and cleaning up, we decided to take what will probably be our last fun day of scooting on San Juan Island (at least for quite a while).  No, I'm not going to say things like: "This is the last time we will go to the grocery store here," or "This is the last time that I will walk uptown to buy Salted Nut Rolls from Ace Hardware here," or other stuff like that.  Probably.

I left my camera in the under-seat storage area on the scoot, intentionally.  I figure we've all seen these scoots on the road... lots of roads.  We had a blast, tearing around the island.  On a particularly good curvy road, we'd get to the end of it, look at each other, and say, "Let's do that one again!"

We stopped for lunch at Roche Harbor, sat outside, and enjoyed the marina views.  And the food.  Joan had a stacked up Cubano sandwich, and I had a prime rib open face, that was an actual piece of prime rib.  Yeah, this will probably be the la... nevermind.

Back on the scoots.  Joan turned off on a road we haven't been on before - yeah, we better go check it out.  Lots of curves, no traffic.  Then we came across something unusual...

Yeah, I got the camera out.  It's an old car with a tree growing up through the middle of it.  You don't see that every day.

Well, since I have the camera out...

This looks like a good place to go...

There are a lot of little lakes scattered all around this island.  This is the only mention of bacon... and, as we all know, everything is better with bacon.  ;-)

Back to Friday Harbor, and looking for a late afternoon trip to the pump-out.  We got over there, put on our rubber gloves, ran clear water into the holding tank, pressed the button to pump-out... and nothing.  No beeping, no suction... nothing.  We looked for a breaker of some sort all around the pump-out post... nothing.  Joan pressed the button... nothing.  I pressed the button again... more nothing.  It's like 5 people walking up to the elevator, and each one of them feels the need to press the button... well, except the elevator usually works... really, we got nothing.

I called the Port on the VHF radio and explained the situation to the young lady.  She proceeded to tell me how to use the pump-out.  "Yeah... we know how to run the pump-out.  It is NOT working.  No beeping, no suction."

She said, "Let me get right back to you."  A few minutes later, she did: "Maintenance is aware of the problem and will be there in 10 minutes."

We waited 15 minutes, then the kid driving the pump-out boat went by.  I followed him to their parking spot, thinking he might be able to pump us out.  Nope - you have to let them know a day ahead of time.  "Well, if the Port had informed me a day ahead of time that the pump-out wouldn't be working today, I would have called."

He said, "Looks like they have the pump motor apart - I'm sure they know about this."

"Thanks for your help."  And by that, I meant: thanks for nothing.

About that time, our friend Sam came by, and we visited for another 10 or 15 minutes.  Sam is a good guy - he didn't press the green button to see if it would work.

Then, Joan saw the maintenance guys walk by at the end of the dock.  I went down there and asked if the pump-out would be functioning soon.  One of the guys said, "We didn't know what was wrong with it, so we took a break."

"No shit, Shakespeare?"  No, I didn't really say that.  But, I thought it.  So about 30 minutes after being told they would be here in 10 minutes, there was still no resolution.  Oh, they did press the button again.  Nothing.  He said, "Maybe it has air in it?"

I said, "I think you would still hear some suction."

He pressed the button again.  More nothing.  45 minutes after we arrived here, we decided to cut our losses and go back to our dock.  We'll try again tomorrow.

We rinsed off the boat, hooked power up, fired up the satellite TV... Joan thought a nap was in order.  I think I'll go to the cockpit... 'cause I really like the cockpit.

I have often said, "Never judge a day by the weather."  It is a beautiful day - downright warm again.  Feel free to judge a day by the pump-out station... you know that's something you never see on a dish towel.  ;-)  Doesn't matter - this may have been the most fun day of scooting, and that DOES matter.

Did I mention that this will probably be our last day of scoo... yeah, I bet I did.

Do you need a ride home?

We had dinner with our friends Bill and Colleen last night.  (former owners of the whale watch company where we work)  They have graciously invited us into their home many times this summer.  Colleen cooks, Bill makes smart ass comments about the cooking, the three of them drink wine, and we all enjoy the spirited conversation.  There are some people you can just be very open with, and we have that with them.

We drove a scooter to their place last night.  Yes, that was singular.  As in: Joan rode behind me.  If all you've ever done is ride as a passenger, you don't know the "downgrade" in sitting behind.  Surprisingly, the PCX handles the two of us just fine.  Oh, the passenger complained about the accommodations, but she is used to her own bike.  There are some steep hills to climb to get out of Friday Harbor, and "Little Red" ran right up them like a champ.

I mentioned "the three of them drank wine"... we have a hard/fast rule: we don't drink and ride.  Not even a little.  Our friends wanted to know why we came to their house on the scooter?  (We usually take the truck)  We generally bring dessert, wine, and soda (for those of us who don't drink wine), and Joan doesn't have to fuss with "helmet hair" when we take the truck.

I have a great parking spot with our truck: close to the motorcycle/scooter parking, so I can put the covers in the truck and grab a jacket out of there.  Very handy.  There is a sign post right at the front of the parking spot, so the vehicle on the other side can't whack into you.  The truck is our "resupply vessel" - it is a close parking spot.  Move it, you lose it.  I ain't moving it - not until we're ready to leave this island.  THIS is part of the reason we brought the scooters... well, that and the fact that they are a blast!

So, that's how we wound up at our friends' place on one scooter.  Hey, if you look at the Honda website, it shows several photos of a couple on the PCX... of course, they are young, skinny people... add 'em both together and I probably still have 'em by a pound or twelve.  But, I digress - when it was time for us to leave, Bill and Colleen came out to give us a hug good-bye... and Bill asked, "Do you want me to drive you home?"  Colleen asked, "Are you sure you're going to be OK on that... that... that?"

Apparently, they thought our scooter was afraid of the dark.  ;-)  The PCX brought us home just fine.  The headlight does a fine job (we rarely ride at night, though).  I could see that deer on the side of the road just fine... standing like a (cliche') deer-in-the-headlights.

Is it more fun to ride one-up?  Well, there is a short "butt-stop" on the seat that divides the rider's part from the passenger... and the rider definitely gets more seat real estate.  The passenger has to hold on, with a bag strapped on her shoulder, and doesn't get to twist the throttle when she wants.  Pretty sure Joan would say it is more fun to ride one-up.  I kinda liked the snuggling, even if it was forced.  ;-)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Not many more of these...

When I asked Joan what she wanted to do today, she said, "Let's walk up to the store, stop for lunch at the Chinese restaurant, and get out on the scooters."

"So, you're saying you have a plan?"  ;-)

It was still when we walked up to the scooters - made us both put off wearing jackets (but, we brought 'em)...

We talked about what roads we wanted to ride... we may get another day of riding in before we start packing up.  I have to say, the roads on San Juan Island, and the whole area, have been some of the most fun we've had since we bought the scooters... lots of fun riding options.

Today, I decided to try something different, photographically: I put a telephoto zoom on the DSLR.  Normally, I use a wide angle zoom or the GoPro (which is really wide angle).  The wide views expand what you see, the tele compresses the perspective.  I knew it would be harder to get the subject framed right with the longer lens (shooting without looking through the viewfinder), as well as camera-shake from hand-holding (with one hand) the camera.

I was pleasantly surprised...

Yeah, I am liking the perspective...

Last week, the island was hopping - LOTS of people.  This week, the roads seemed less populated.  We rode some of our favorite roads twice! 

Another beautiful day...