Outta the Pan and onto the Panhandle- Wrapping it up in West Florida

For the last few weeks, we have been working our way towards Pensacola, where Silver Lining will be loaded onto a semi truck for her long land voyage home to Washington.

Without really meaning to, we stayed in Destin for over a week. The weather wasn’t cooperating, and having finally made a deal to truck the boat home on May 20, we weren’t in a hurry anyway. We found a great beach to pass the windy days, where we spent several hours collecting the biggest olive shells I’ve ever seen.
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Wind ripples

Wind ripple

We finally left Destin for the 50 mile run to Perdido Key with s/v Night Music on a day with an easy forecast. I’m not sure where the weatherman went wrong, but 10-15kn from NNW, somehow turned into gusts of 28 from the SW with short seas. By now, we don’t bat an eye at those days of motoring through “flying scud” but it doesn’t mean we love it. One good thing about the uncomfortable ride was that it didn’t give me a chance to feel blue about it being our last ocean passage of the trip.
Sleeping off the miles

Sleeping off the miles notice Elan’s wool socks? You know you have acclimatized to the tropics when 75 degrees warrants wool socks!

We anchored inside Perdido Key just before sunset, and BBQ’d a nice goodbye dinner with Night Music. They left the next morning in the fog for Mobile where they begin their up-river trek home to Nashville, Tennessee. Sure felt like we knew those guys a lot longer than a few weeks, we’re going to miss them!

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First foggy sunrise since Washington.

First foggy sunrise since Washington.

Perdido Key, just a few miles from the Alabama/Florida border, provided a nice place to stage for our haul-out in Pensacola, so we spent three days sanding, masking, priming and touch-up painting the toe-rail at anchor. I also did my best to get my beach fix, including a surf-bath, though I can’t say I’ll miss bathing in salt water too much. I love our simple life, but I do look forward to some high-tech modern conveniences. You know, like fresh water showers and ovens. I know, I demand a lot! I actually dreamt about using a washing machine the other day, so apparently I’m excited for that too!
Apollo vs. crab

Apollo vs. crab

I don’t think this whole ‘going home’ thing really hit me until we pulled the boat out of the water. For so long, our plan of attack has been to simply take the next step in the direction we wanted to go, and now suddenly, 5 billion steps later, we are here, hauling the boat out of the water. I must say, I am proud of how far we have come. Geographically, personally, in our relationship together.

We have been so blessed with health, safety, weather, friendships, and a boat that did everything we asked her to. When you think about the fact that we rebuilt her ourselves, that last one is quite a feat. We had absolutely no clue what we were getting into that night Élan picked her up at midnight. We figured we’d slap a lil’ paint on her and have a bay boat within a few months, but instead spent 5 years learning to be diesel mechanics, fiberglass technicians, etc, until we had our ideal blue water cruising boat, just begging us to put her to the ultimate test. Roughly 10,000 nautical miles later, I think we can say we did.

Haulin' out

Haulin’ out

Getting ready for some TLC

Getting ready for some TLC in the yard

This week, we have been living ‘on the hard’, giving Silver Lining some much deserved TLC at Patti’s Boat Storage. Fresh paint on the hull, grinding and filling a few cosmetic blisters at the water line, and cleaning her up for the long truck ride home. Even without her mast, the boat and trailer will barely fit under standard road bridges, so EVERYTHING on deck must come off. Boom, dodger canvas/frame, wind generator, solar panels, life raft, dinghy and davits, etc, must all get disassembled and crammed inside the boat.
Grinding blisters

Grinding blisters. We already raised the waterline once, but here you can see we need to raise it even higher to keep the blue from blistering.

Fresh new paint and all packed up for the truck!

Fresh new paint and all packed up for the truck! We painted the blue top sides, added a double white boot stripe, and layered on a few extra coats of bottom paint.

I guess we’ve gotten the hang of things, because we wrapped up two days early, which is a good thing because we are already raring for the next adventure….

A 3,000 Mile Road Trip in This Beauty!

A new toy for the next adventure!

A new toy for the next adventure!

We had been playing with the idea of doing a little cross-country road trip home, but as we worked out the details with the trucker, we figured we’d have to make it from Florida to Bellingham, Washington in five days… I changed my vote to flying home as soon as I realized it would be a break-neck, no stopping at every National Park kind of a trip, but Élan kept car shopping anyway. I vetoed every one he showed me. Until this one… I think my first words were something like “Heck no… Well, maybe.” Something about this ol’ car just screamed road-trip. About 15 years older than anything else we’d considered, a little loud and rattle-y, and completely impractical for the cold wet northwest we are returning to… How could I say no? My dad summed it up pretty well when he asked “Would it be as fun of an adventure in a Ford Taurus?” No offense to the Taurus, but no.

A 1988 VW Cabriolet, with about 90,000 original miles hauling us and the dog across the country on a time limit… What could possibly go wrong? Well, a few things in just the first few days we’ve owned it, including my favorite, the fact that the horn doesn’t work, EXCEPT that it occasionally voluntarily honks when you turn the steering wheel hard to the left. Eh, I’ll just smile and wave when people look at us funny. So far, all the important stuff still works, so we splurged on a AAA premium membership, and we managed to get out of Florida a few extra days ahead of the boat. We are really Bellingham bound!

On to the next adventure!

5 thoughts on “Outta the Pan and onto the Panhandle- Wrapping it up in West Florida

  1. I will miss your periodic updates from far away places, but understand the need to end this chapter in your life. Somehow I think there will be many more adventures. You have done at an early age what many of us have dreamed about our entire lives. Thanks for sharing with me.

  2. I have just loved reading your updates. I am so excited to have you back in our neck of the woods, but also sad to know there won’t be any more sailing posts. You two did something amazing and I can’t wait to see you. Welcome home.

  3. Hope you had a fun birthday othe road, Élan. What a wonderful adventure. Sure enjoyed reading your blog. Ashley, you are a great writer. Guess we’ll be seeing you soon.

  4. Pretty cool end to your adventure this time!!! Wonder what is next on your plate?!? LOL! Guys, you have been great inspiration to us and probably many others! First of all, being young and doing this is so much harder than being retired and have all the means and experiences. We are somewhere in between you and retirees. Hope to have your energy when we go out for our own adventure.

    • Thank you! We have had a great time in the past year and are glad you have enjoyed following along. If as you get ready to go we can help in any way, let s know! -Élan

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