Monday, January 31, 2011
While out on the boat today, I heard some of the excursion boat operators on the radio... they are taking boats to "hidey-holes" where they'll be better protected from the BIG wind we are supposed to get. Fortunately for us, our canal gives some of the best protection around for this area. When I got back, I put extra lines on the boat and put on our cockpit enclosure - that will keep dirt and debris out of the cockpit, as well as keep it dry, if the precip makes it this far south.
The front is supposed to move into our area tomorrow. It was a little gray out today, but the temp was in the 70s and the wind was less than 10 mph. The dolphins were out and active; the bay fishing boats had plenty of people onboard, as did the excursion boats. Gotta get that water time in while you can.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
"I don't know. They pulled up alongside us and asked where you were. I said you were inside, asleep. They waved and headed off." I had no idea who that was.
We sat in the cockpit, enjoying the sunshine, when we saw a familiar shape in the distance. Joan pulled out the binoculars; I asked, "Is that Herb?" Pretty sure I recognized his tug.
"Yes, it is."
I short time later, we put out fenders and got lines ready for Willie's Tug to raft up to Wild Blue. We had a nice visit with Herb and Jake; Wilma had stayed home today.
While visiting with Herb, he mentioned a mutual friend, Skip. And then it hit me: Skip was getting a different boat... his wife's name is Nancy. Ah, the Nancy G. Hopefully, next time our paths cross, I won't be asleep and we'll get a tour of Skip's boat.
Another beautiful day in the Tropical Tip.
Friday, January 28, 2011
We had a couple dolphin watch excursion boats that motored near us to take in the show. It sounds like we're in for a change in weather, so people were out and about on the water. The next few days will be warm and windy, and then another cold front coming our way next week.
Joan made us a nice lunch what at anchor... a meal with our dolphin show. We played some games at the dinette; got a relaxing nap in (tough schedule), then after seeing that oil prices had spiked today, decided to head to the fuel dock.
Joan checking news on the iPad...
No space at the fuel dock. We waited our turn while a 100+ foot crew boat, a 70 excursion boat, and a 35' dolphin watch boat filled the space. When the dolphin watch boat pulled away, we pulled in between the two big guys. It was interesting to watch the crew boat pull straight sideways from the dock... and leave Wild Blue in one heck of a current! Good thing we were tied securely. The big guys finished fueling before we did, so we only had to dodge one shrimpboat pulling up to the dock as we were pulling away. At best range speed, this tank should last us a while.
Beautiful day in the Tropical Tip: high around 70º, some sun and clouds, and light south wind.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
And the same cute cat at the cabin door...
Nice day out on the water.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The most current guidelines through the American Heart Association now state that you should start with chest compressions right away, instead of doing 2 breaths. Seems that less than 50% of heart attack victims ever get CPR... mostly because people are concerned about that mouth-to-mouth starting point. Chest compressions alone are better than no CPR at all.
Kinda like working up to that first date smooch, I guess. I don't know, it's been over 40 years since I had a first date.
Monday, January 24, 2011
We came out of the movie around 4:00, and treated to a beautiful afternoon: the sky had cleared and the wind was down. Well, this calls for some boat time. We took Wild Blue down the ship channel and came across a line of birds stretching across the channel. Obviously enjoying a good fish feed, I was hoping for some dolphins, but that didn't happen.
We putted around and took in the lowering light. Coming back in through the turning basin, it was interesting to see how industry has developed around that area. Not a bad thing, and certainly good for the local economy.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Little Izzy hadn't been on the boat in several months, so she needed a little encouragement...
It didn't take but a few minutes for her to feel right at home again...
When the legs are tucked, you know she's comfortable.
She took her turn at the helm...
It was gray, with drizzly rain off and on; but comfortable and dry in the cabin of Wild Blue...
Gray and rainy, but still a fine day on the water.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
As we headed out the ship channel, we could see a couple oil rigs in the distance, out in the Gulf. With no destination (heck, no plan), we pointed the bow towards the Gulf. With the big winds of the past couple days, I expected the water to be rough; I was pleasantly surprised to find the waves were 2 to 3 feet and widely spaced, making for a nice ride as we headed towards the rigs.
As you can see from this photo, the water was a very pretty turquoise/blue color. It was kinda murky in the Laguna (typical after a lot of wind), but cleared up when we got offshore a ways.
Once we were clear of the jetties, you could see that the oil rigs were further out than it originally appeared. According to the GPS, we ran out about 8 miles to get to the rigs. Once there, we could see that they were just parked, not doing any drilling. I am wondering if they are here for refurbishing at the Port of Brownsville.
It was great being out again. Yes, there were dolphins out in the Gulf; about 8 or 9 of them in this pod, and very active. We pulled the power off and watched them for a while.
We tried out the electronics and cabin amenities while cruising along, to make sure they were functioning. So far, everything we tried out was fine. Back in the Laguna, we pulled into some shallow water and dropped the anchor with the windlass - working fine. Well, as long as the anchor is down, we might as well take a little nap... being rocked to sleep with the small waves lapping at the hull. Nice.
Then, north in the Laguna, west to the ICW, and then through the Long Island Swing Bridge. Almost all of the shrimp boats that have docked in that area are gone... the processing buildings have been torn down, and the lots are being sold for waterfront home sites. Changes.
We motored into the old shrimp basin to see if any of the boats had been moved there. Nope, mostly empty. I assume these boats will have moved to the Port of Brownsville.
Back in our canal, we were followed by a bunch of brown pelicans. “Brown” doesn’t adequately describe these great looking birds - their necks are white with yellow at the top of their heads. Their bodies are a silverish gray, almost iridescent; but, from a distance, they can look kinda brown.
Yeah, this is why we’re here.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I went out barefoot and saw our friend, Herb, in his Ranger 21 Tug. I ran down the stairs and grabbed the rail on his boat to secure it at the dock. We tied off his boat and welcomed him inside.
When the weather kicked up, Herb wasn't able to make the 5:00 opening for the swing bridge... that meant either take the long way around or sit and wait for an hour. Herb made the smart move and came into our canal - we have great protection at our dock. And while that tug can certainly handle the conditions with the wind gusts, it isn't fun. Herb borrowed my phone to give his wife a call to let her know that all is well.
Along with Herb was his trusty furry family member, Jake. By now, it was really blowing and starting to spit rain. Izzy wasn't so sure she wanted this BIG hairy guy in her house...
We offered to drive Herb and Jake home, but Wilma wanted to come pick them up. Willie's Tug will be spending the night at our dock...
You can see how calm it looks in our canal... Herb was calling it 4 foot waves with about a 2 second period in the nearby turning basin. Uncomfortable.
Glad we were home. Glad Herb decided to drop by. And, we had a nice visit. Oh, and we did let Jake inside... he was very mellow, but little Izzy got herself all puffed up a couple times. She needs to understand the premise of "any port in a storm." ;-)
So, we got the 5th wheel unloaded, cleaned, and into covered storage... all with beautiful weather. Same with cleaning the siding on the house this morning. The hourly forecast today called for the next norther to blow in between 3 and 4 this afternoon. After all the work of the past few days, we had a late lunch out and were sitting at the beach, commenting on how calm the wind was. 15 minutes later, the first gust hit. And now, an hour and a half later, the wind is 31 gusting to 37 and the temp is dropping. Tomorrow, it's only supposed to be in the 50s and still windy. But, my work is done. The next project is to get Wild Blue out of storage and back in the water... but, that is something I am looking forward to. :-)
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
We decided to go inland further where the storage lot has covered parking... it's like a huge carport and should be better than completely enclosed storage that can get really hot in the valley.
So, what about the boat, you're asking? Good question; we need to powerwash the exterior of the house and get the dock set up... hopefully in the next day or two. It was another beautiful day today... good to be back in the Tropical Tip.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Even though Bass Pro has a HUGE parking lot, the entrances to that lot are snug. We found a place to park off to the side where we only took up about 10 parking spots, put some lunch out for Izzy, and went inside. I scored; Joan couldn't find anything she couldn't live without. Back into the traffic in time for rush hour, through the city, and out the other side for a night at Braunig Lake RV Resort. Another good PA stop, we made reservations yesterday, and they put us in "one of their longest sites"... we didn't have to unhook, no trees - easy.
As I finished setting up, I saw a guy in the next row come by walking his dog. They left from an HH Champagne, so (of course) we struck up a conversation. My new friend, Mike, is pulling his HH with a full-size Volvo semi tractor, and (of course) I had a few questions. Mike gave me an extended tour of his truck: a box on back to carry two motorcycles, tall sleeper cab, and my favorite part: a 3600 mile range between fuel fill-ups. The cab is set up with a microwave, fridge, lots of storage, and a sleeper; a 6,000 watt inverter that also can power the HH when dry camping. I was impressed.
And now, after a nice supper, we are settled in for the evening. If all goes according to plan, the Love Shack will be in the Tropical Tip tomorrow, and the unloading will begin. Food and personal items only, 'cause we'll be heading back out again in a few months.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
As we rolled into Texas, Joan pulled out the Passport America guidebook to find us a place to stop for the night. "Here's one we've never stayed at..." It was between my two least favorite places along this route. The campground was cheap: $10. They have 50 amp electricity, but the cable TV and wifi don't work. ;-) No problem - we have satellite TV and wireless broadband. It was a long driving day, but (even with the time change) we rolled in before the sun set... in time to take little Izzy for a walk amongst the cacti.
Blew the 2/2/2 Rule away, since we covered nearly 500 miles. But, did I mention I got double digit fuel mileage? ;-)
SO many RVs on the road today. If the economy and rising fuel prices are keeping people home, it's not showing along I-10.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Even more interesting for me was a stop at the Escapees park in Benson - RV lots with "sheds" (some more elaborate than others); a co-op and rentals, including 6 month and annual leases. I totally understand that we all have different tastes, but after a couple months in the desert, I look forward to some lush greenery. I also understand how folks will come back to the same place each winter because of the friendships... and SKPs are a friendly bunch. But, Benson, AZ, or Pecos, TX, are a bit too "escaped" for my tastes.
We'll be watching weather and plan to roll into the Tropical Tip between northers... well, that's the plan; Mother Nature will decide the reality.
You can check her out here:
Friday, January 14, 2011
I had to chuckle this morning while reading the news... the "changing" zodiac timetables have many people in an uproar. This is going to be a real shocker for those folks who have "their sign" tattooed on their body somewhere.
What's your sign? I always thought I was an Aggitarian... and the Blonde would certainly agree with that.
Well, under the new "system", I am now a Gemini. I told Joan that it's a sign from the heavens - they want me to buy a Gemini catamaran and take my new "Virgo" and head for the horizon. Again, her new standard line: you can do that with your next wife.
I also read that 31% of Americans believe in astrology. "Um, mine says, 'Today, you will have an opportunity - if you don't take it, you may miss it.' Yours says, 'Today is a good day to shop for pointy things that float and can carry you off on new adventures.' "
Yeah, she didn't buy into that, either.
After the last couple months in the dry ol' desert, I am ready to get back to the boat.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
We have enjoyed walking through the casinos, love the view from our 5th wheel in its site up on the hill. The weather has been cool and windy, but it hasn't gotten below freezing at night. Izzy misses the site we had last year, just across the street from a grassy area, but has been fascinated by all the birds (mostly pigeons) nearby.
I've enjoyed the buffets. (burp) And seeing all the different RVs. This park is quite full, even mid-week. Not something to sneeze at when you consider all the free RV parking to be had in Laughlin - most of the casinos allow overnight "parking" (not camping) for up to 14 nights. So, it seems there are lots of folks like us who would rather have a plug-in and cable TV, when you look at the occupancy here.
Seems that folks are out, about, and traveling this winter.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
We lounged in this morning, had a nice breakfast in the HH, then caught the shuttle down to the Riverside Hotel and Casino parking lot. There in the lot is a Hot Rod, Custom, and Classic Car Show... and there are plenty of examples of each on display - about 100 cars, a dozen accessory booths, and plenty of people taking it all in.
One of the first vehicles that caught our eyes was a custom Nissan 280Z... but something was very different about it; we found out that the owner custom built the car in steel. Gull-wing type doors; there was nothing stock or original about this car. We saw flames galore, lots of custom paint, some beautifully fabricated hot rods, old classics, trucks, cars, motorcycles, and one kit-car that started life as a 1994 Thunderbird but was made to look like a chopped ’50 Ford.
They had a perfect day for this, with sunshine, no wind, and pleasant temps.
After a couple hours of taking that all in, we walked up the “Strip” (not quite the same as the Strip in Vegas) for lunch. Then more walking to the Outlet Mall, down to the river to spend some time (and money) in a casino, a walk along the river back to the Riverside, then caught the shuttle back to our site. My feet are just about worn out.
We gave Izzy some hugs and put out her automatic feeder. We are heading to Las Vegas for the day.
The new bridge at Hoover Dam is finally open; it’s been 5 years in the building and is supposed to be quite an engineering feat. We decided to take the long way to Vegas so we can check that out. It’s a steep climb out of Laughlin, with some rugged and striking western desert landscape. Big Red ran up that steep drive like a sports car, without the HitchHiker and cargo trailer behind.
The sun and clouds made for some pretty light on those mountains.
It’s been years since we’ve driven this road; RVs and big trucks have not been allowed to cross the dam since 9/11, due to security concerns. The new road is nice near the Hoover Dam... you don’t get to see the spectacular span bridge until you are right on it. We took the turn off for the Hoover Dam - this is the old road... amazing that we drove our big coaches over this narrow, twisty 2-lane.
We stopped to take some photos of the bridge and the overview of the Hoover Dam area. It truly is an engineering marvel. And then a short hike up the hill to see the bridge up close and personal. There is a pedestrian walkway across the bridge.
Then on to Vegas. The Strip just seems wall-to-wall with big casinos. It is nearly overwhelming to drive and try to take it all in. We drove north, then came back south and had lunch at the south end of the Strip.
With all the big glitzy new casinos, New York - New York is still our favorite. It seems that the newest places have gotten away from “themes” in favor of trying to be the most upscale. $300 and up for a room for a night at many of those places. We walked around a bit, but decided to not take on the crowds on the Strip. The Consumer Electronics Show is happening right now; it’s one of the biggest conventions to come to Vegas... timing.
We were back in Laughlin before dark; early enough for us to walk down to the Edgewater... where we continued our Joan up, Jim down trend.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Yeah, I'm kidding. Sorta.
It's been chilly and windy since we arrived... high temp today in the upper 50s, wind out of the north at about a gazillion miles per hour. We got a push walking south along the river and a real workout coming back north into the wind.
Since I didn't win the Mega-Millions (apparently they have some sort of rule that you have to buy a ticket first), I'll continue to work on some retirement security while we're here.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
We spent the afternoon getting ready to roll. After being here nearly 2 months, you get settled in. The cargo trailer is packed and attached, the bike is strapped down; unplug, hook up the truck to the Love Shack and we'll hit the road...
Things got quite for a moment, then we could hear a siren in the distance. No, whatever was connected to the siren wasn't coming to our RV park, but as it got closer, the coyotes began howling again... in earnest. At least they had moved a little ways away from our coach.
I looked all around the coach when I got up, but didn't find any remains. This is why one shouldn't leave their pet on a leash attached unattended outside in the desert.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Check it out here:
Sunday, January 2, 2011
As I wrapped up writing Cat On A Leash, I wrote a manuscript for a children's book, also about Molly. Dan offered to illustrate it. It has taken him almost a year to squeeze in the time to get the illustrations done... and I am now working on layout and editing. Here's a preview of the cover...
More work ahead. While I am a big fan of the eBooks, this is a full color illustrated book, so it will be best on paper.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
We continued our "not big party" tradition last night with games, food, and conversation with our daughter and son-in-law last night... until the wee hours of the early evening. They did have a party to go to, so before 7:00 pm, we wished them a Happy New Year and headed for home. It was no problem to stay up to watch the ball drop in Times Square... no problem because we are in Arizona, so we only had to stay up 'till 10:00 pm to see midnight in New York. Surprisingly, I was awake enough at midnight local time to hear the fireworks going off nearby (not too nearby). Not quite the same as rocking at anchor, but we were snug in our HH even though it was cold in the desert (got into the 20s during the night). On the bright side: no one in our HH is hungover this morning.
One of my first mates liked to say, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift." Make the most of the gift of 2011.