Spring and Summer 2014

Too busy doing this.

Too busy doing this.

Hard at Work
Dang it. I did exactly what I said I wouldn’t. Can I just pretend that 6 months haven’t gone by since my last post? I’m not really sure what my excuse is this time. We are both working full-time? Boat projects? Our life being comparatively less interesting these days?  Whatever, prepare to have 6-months barfed out in one post.

Elan accepted a job at a regional fiber optics company in March. I did my best to make sure he didn’t take a job that let him work from home, but I lost the battle. He is proving me wrong though – the dinette table actually does the conversion from office desk to dinner table every night when I get home. I was just sure that I’d kissed dinner at the table goodbye once and for all, but so far so good.

What I DID kiss goodbye was my house-husband. No more laundry washed and folded or dinner ready when I get home. Now we are back to the ol’ “but IIIII worked all day so you should cook” whine-off. Please, he gets to sit around in his boxers all day, so I can’t help but feel entitled. 

Escape to Sucia Island
We took Silver Lining on her first outing of the year (Christmas lights and all – it’s June, seriously how does this happen??) to Sucia Island. Sucia is a gorgeous emerald-green park island in the northern part of the San Juan Islands. The good/bad thing about its 6 anchorable bays is that it can fit a ton of boats. Its one of my favorites islands around here, but I always have to talk Elan into it because of the full anchorages. As we approached the island we discovered that Snoring Bay, a long, skinny, unanchorable inlet with only two mooring balls, was open, so we jumped at the chance to have it almost all to ourselves.

Looking out of Snoring Bay from our mooring.

Snoring Bay

Silver from the beach at Snoring Bay

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Our first day there was peaceful and calm. We hiked to the West side of the island and checked out China Caves.

China Caves and Shallow Bay

China Caves and Shallow Bay

Mountain dog.

Mountain dog

Grow crabbies, grow!

Grow crabbies, grow!

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Swimming in his work uniform

Swimming in his work uniform

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One of the few people we ran into on the island was the Park Ranger who warned us to expect 20-30 knots of wind that night. Pish-posh, is that all you’ve got? We were tucked up inside the protected bay and are seasoned sailors after all. 

We’ve only slept in the v-berth a handful of times ever. For as long as we have had the boat its been our junk storage zone. We recently completely redid the whole area, but that deserves its own post… coming soon- I promise! I have heard lots of cruisers complain that the V-berth is actually a really uncomfortable place to sleep in rough conditions. The idea being that, like a rocking horse, when a boat rocks, the bow and stern travel the greatest distance up and down, making it more uncomfortable than the pivot point in the center of the boat… As it turns out, a v-berth IS actually a really terrible place for try to get quality sleep on a rough night. I assure you, there was no snoring in Snoring Bay that night – the swell ricocheted back and forth off the high rock walls and kept the boat bucking all night. Halfway through the night, we both bailed on the V and went back to our old bert in the main salon (so much for that “upgrade”) but it was too late. I spent the rest of the night getting more and more worked up about not sleeping and trying to fix tiny squeaks and rattles with whatever materials I could grab in the dark. We woke up to bandaid packets scattering the floor and shoved in all of the cracks of the companionway. Was it necessity or insanity that was the mother of invention? 

The only thing that made us feel better about our crappy night of sleep was seeing the haggard faces of the people on the 26 foot cutty-cabin power boat that moored next to us as they gunned out of the bay at sun-rise. Elan and I shared a wordless fit of laughter and then, guiltily, felt a lot better about ourselves. Apparently we slept better than some. 

Repaired by a few cups of coffee, we again dinghied to shore to go for a hike to Johnson Point, the long outcrop that ‘protected’ our little bay the night before. What a beautiful place – ragged sandstone covered in twisted madrona trees and wildflowers.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

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Sandstone formations

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Johnson Point

Looking down on Silver from the cliffs above

Looking down on Silver from the cliffs above

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View down into Snoring Bay


Being out on the water makes us miss full-time cruising. We really do. But we are pretty lucky to have great escapes like this one just a few hours away and still be close enough to hang out with our families and watch our niece and nephews growing up.  

Here is a completely random assortment of photos from this spring.

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Mom and I at the Mt Vernon Tulip Festival

Is it unfair to play corners with kiddos?

Is it unfair to play corners with kiddos?

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Popeye wasn't impressed with our snack offerings. Friday Harbor.

Popeye wasn’t impressed with our snack offerings at Friday Harbor.

San Juan Island looking out towards Victoria, Canada.

A weekend on a friends boat on San Juan Island. Looking out towards Victoria, Canada.

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Sloppy hike near Maple Falls

Sloppy hike near Maple Falls

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New toy envy

Boy toy envy

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Bye!

We hope you are all happy and well.
‘Til next time,
A&E

Merry Christmas!

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Full Circle
This year, we have come full circle. 360 degrees, if you will, since setting out for seas unknown and then returning to the place that feels like home. Or a difference of 100 degrees if we are talking about the swing in temperature between last Christmas in Jamaica or this Christmas in the frosty Northwest.

2013 saw us depart Jamaica for the Windward Passage, a float through the idyllic Bahamian Islands, the rivers and wetlands of Florida, a mechanically-challenged cross-country road trip, the decision to continue living aboard Silver Lining, the ‘summer of love’ (8 weddings!), Ashley’s return to work, and Elan’s search for the next big thing.

Here are some pictures from the last few weeks.

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Foggy afternoon

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I have always wanted to hang Christmas lights up the mast, and we finally did it this year for the first time.

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Snow Dog


Whether on sea or land, we are so grateful to live a life of adventure and be surrounded by people we love. We wish you the Merriest Christmas and all the best for 2014.

Elan & Ashley

Land Legs

Settling In 
Its funny, I dont feel like we are 100% assimilated back into the hustle and bustle of normal land life, but then I realize that somehow almost four months have slipped away since my last post, and I know that to a certain degree, we are right back in the rat race. 

Its been a crazy summer full of the things we missed while we were away: time with our families and fun with our friends. The only thing missing was time for sailing, but we can’t complain about that…  you could say that the scales tipped towards sailing in the last few years, so we are making up for that imbalance now. We have already been to seven weddings this summer, and all of their accompanying bridal showers, bachelor parties, bridesmaid’s mani/pedi dates, and so on. Although my beach feet probably needed a some extra love, I think that three pedicures in three weeks was a little overkill, but how do I say no to a bride? Our wedding schedule has kept us zipping all over the state and has given us a great excuse to catch up with family members from afar and friends we haven’t seen in ages.

People keep asking us “how does it feel to be back?” and I wish I had a better answer, but all I can think of is “it’s weird”. After 18 months of keeping it simple, moving at our own pace, and spending 100% of our time together, it just feels weird to give our time to other people, hop in a car and drive across town for any old reason, and be expected to “keep up” with everything.

We are dragging our feet on a few things. We kept my 14 year old Subaru while we were gone, and have decided to be a one-car-family for as long as we can. We sold the Cabriolet – and good riddance! We can bike to most things in town, although I’m still working up the guts to ride to work in the morning. In addition to sharing a single car, we are sharing a single cell phone, which baffles and confuses people to the point of comedy. Its only been a decade or so since most people gave up their home phones for cell phones, but judging from the look people give you when you tell them that you don’t have a cell phone, it may as well have been a million years. After being totally unconnected to the outside world for weeks at a time, I have to say that I feel some resentment at being expected to be available by phone 24-7. Then again, I have always been terrible at returning phone calls, so maybe Im just happy to finally have a half-way decent excuse. I don’t know that we’ll be able to share cars and phones forever, but it feels good to keep things simple for as long as we can. I figure that we’ll probably never have less “stuff” than we do right now, so we are savoring the moment.

Home Sweet Boat
We plan to live on the boat for as long as we continue to like it. We originally thought we would sell it at the end of our cruise, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. We love sailing, we love this boat, and we weren’t ready to give it all up. Keeping the boat not only meant footing the expense to ship it home from Florida, but also meant not having that extra infusion of cash to get ourselves reestablished. We counted our pennies, crossed our fingers and decided that what we would save in rent by living on the boat for a year or so would counteract the cost of shipping it home. So here we are, back in Bellingham, and living on our boat. For now, we have everything we need and most of what we want. When we originally moved onto the boat 2+ years ago, one of the only things I was sad to give up was my garden and my houseplants, so now that we are sitting in one place most of the time, I converted our jerry can rack into a flower pot rack… now our home is complete!

Mini boat garden

Mini boat garden

Before our trip, I didn’t talk much about living aboard, for fear that people would think it was weird. Now, I talk about it to anyone who will listen, and get a total kick out of people’s reactions. Most people respond in one of two ways: “oh, how interesting” or “oh, so… you’re homeless”. Its been fun sharing about our non traditional lifestyle, especially at work with a bunch of accountants who are more prone to think inside the box. One co-worker in particular asks about once a week: “are you still living on that boat??” Its hard to convince some people that its NOT camping or being homeless and more like living in a small but cozy house.
Cheapest waterfront property in town... and the view isn't that bad. :)

Cheapest waterfront property in town… and the view isn’t that bad. 🙂

Finding our Feet
Fortunately, right before we returned home, a friend of mine and previous boss, asked if I would be willing to pick up some of my old job responsibilities while I looked for a permanent position. I was stoked to help her with a few fun projects, earn some cash when we were in a pinch and have an easy, no-pressure, way to transition back into the working lifestyle. I wont lie, even though this was the easiest re-introduction to work I could have asked for, it was still a little rough. After having the luxury of spending 100% of my time selfishly, it took a while to wrap my brain around giving 40 hours of my life to something else every week. This same wonderful friend also put me in touch with a friend of hers who is a partner at an accounting firm that happened to need someone like me. I interviewed the very day after we splashed the boat in Bellingham, one thing led to the next and boom, I have been working full time since the beginning of July.  The tiniest part of me secretly hoped that I would be unemployed for just a little while so I’d have time to catch my breath, but in a job market like this one, I know I am blessed to have found a job I love so quickly.  Elan has had several good interviews so far, but is still looking for a position that will keep him interested long-term. With all of the boat work we have needed done, I don’t know how he would have time to work anyway.  

Zen and the Art of Boat Maintenance
For once in her life, Silver Lining cooperated with our pleas. During the last few months of our trip, we had a few key pieces of equipment that were threatening to give up their ghosts, but we begged them to ‘just hold out until we could make it home’… We should have been more careful what we wished for, because as soon as we made it home, it seemed like everything broke. Although we are used to roughing it, (and I know sailors who chose to live without refrigeration), two months without a refrigerator and a temperamental water pump is pretty sucky.

Its going to take us a while to de-cuise the boat: to complete the deferred maintenance and re-do our quickie bubble-gum-ducktape-fix-it-with-whatever-supplies-we-happen-to-have fixes that we did along the way. It feels pretty good to be able to fix things on our own time, wait until we can find the proper parts/supplies and not be working in ‘survival mode’ anymore. We did manage to off-load a couple of big space-hogging items that we’d kept for our cruise: the spare transmission, the wind vane, and the 50 gallon flexible water tank. Maybe, just maybe, we will actually remove enough cruising gear that we can sleep in the stateroom again someday. Big dreams! 🙂

Now that we aren’t putting such hard miles on the boat, we have decided to fix up a few cosmetic things as well. We re-did the silver pinstripe and I broke my absolutely-no-varnish-outside rule, and have started varnishing our few token pieces of teak on the exterior of the boat. After all of her hard work, Silver Lining deserves a little love too!

The sparkly silver stripe on the hull was not so sparkly anymore, so we put a new one on.

The sparkly silver stripe on the hull was not so sparkly anymore, so we put a new one on.

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Left: Using Teka Teak cleaner; Middle: all sanded up;  Right: 5 coats of Cetol and 4 coats of gloss.

Left Middle Righ

Left: after teak cleaner and before; Middle: first coat of Cetol going on; Right: Cetol + gloss + rain drops.


SUMMER IN THE BEAUTIFUL PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Here are a few photos from our summer in our old stomping grounds.

Camping at Deception Pass:

Rocky beach art

Rocky beach art

To catch a sunset

To catch a sunset

Campfires

Campfires

S'mores

S’mores

Apollos boat feet didnt hold up to the cheatgrass in E Wa, he had a bad infection in his foot for the first few weeks we were home.

Apollos boat feet didnt hold up to the cheatgrass in E Wa, he had a bad infection in his foot for the first few weeks we were home.


Buddy Boating with Mom and Dad on their new Grand Banks
Buddy boating with Mom and Dad on their new boat, Voyager, near Cypress Island

M/V Voyager

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Happy to be back out on the water

Happy to be back out on the water

San Juan Sailing

San Juan Sailing

My baby sister came out sailing with us for the first time.

My baby sister came out sailing with us for the first time.

How do I caption this photo? This dog loves his "Grammy'.

How do I caption this photo? This dog loves his “Grammy’.

Gorgeous San Juans

Gorgeous San Juans

Not happy about being left behind

Not happy about being left behind

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Second highest point in the San Juans

Second highest point in the San Juans

Sunset near Cypress, Silver Lining from Voyager

Sunset near Cypress, Silver Lining from Voyager


Out for a Day Sail with Old Friends:
Day sail on Bellingham Bay with Mt Baker in the background.

Bellingham Bay with Mt Baker in the background.

First sail for Cooper

First sail for Cooper

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A Visit to Western Washington University:

At Western's Campus... where we met 8 years ago.

At Western’s Campus… where we met 8 years ago.

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Castle Art

Castle Art

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Pretty great being back with old friends.

Pretty great being back with old friends.

Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends


Time with Family:

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My beautiful sisters

My beautiful sisters


A Front Row Seat to the Best Sunsets in Bellingham

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Well… there goes Summer, happy first day of fall everyone! I hope a whole ‘nother season doesn’t slip by before my next post!
Hope you are all happy and well,
Ashley & Elan

Road Tripping Across the US

Whoever said boats were money pits that constantly need fixing never owned a Volkswagen.

The good news is that we made it the 2,900 miles to Bellingham, WA in one piece… I wish I could say the same for our little Cabriolet. Over the seven day trip, the car let us down in nearly every state, had to be hotwired more often than not, needed to be towed three times (yes, THREE!), and cost us more in repairs than we paid for it. Despite all of our car issues, we had an amazing trip through some incredible countryside, and we don’t regret deciding to drive a bit.

Our route: 2,900 miles through X states in 6 days.

Our route: 11 states in 7 days.

Just setting out, happy to be on the road toward home!

Just setting out, happy to be on the road toward home!

We  set out of Pensacola on Saturday, and drove straight across Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana surrounded by the lovely odor of gasoline. The car trouble began just after dark that night as we stopped for gas in Texas. It refused to start, so after we fiddled for a while Élan hotwired it just to get us back on the road.

Alabama the Beautiful!

Alabama the Beautiful!

Welcome to Mississippi

Welcome to Mississippi- Birthplace of America’s Music

Big, mossy trees, just as I pictured in Mississippi.

Big, mossy trees, just as I pictured in Mississippi.

Louisiana

Welcome to Louisiana

Welcome to Texas... And by the way, Texans don't drive as friendly as they claim!

Welcome to Texas… And for the record, Texans don’t drive as friendly as they claim!

We spent the night with Elan’s sister Deja in Austin, then hit the road again the next day hot wiring after every stop. Central Texas is beautiful, with wildflowers blooming everywhere, and we loved having the top down in the scorching heat. We were proud owners of our very first seat belt tans.
Deja, Jake, and Elan, in Austin, TX

Deja, Jake, and Elan, in Austin, TX

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If you have ever driven through West Texas, you know that there are lots of long stretches of emptiness, which is precisely where the car decided to sputter to a stop on the freeway that night just before sunset. Élan suspected the fuel filter, so we cashed in on our AAA membership and called for a tow. Several friendly locals stopped to chat us up while we waited for the truck. If you must break down, Texas is a great place to do it. Anytime anyone saw us under the hood, they would stop to make sure we were ok. On two different occasions, passersby insisted that we come home and stay with them until we could get the car running again. We heart Texas!

Broken down in he middle of nowhere, west Texas, waiting for a tow.

Broken down in he middle of nowhere, West Texas, waiting for a tow.

We thought that being towed would be the easiest and safest way to get to Midland, the closest town, 99 miles away, but boy were we wrong. We waited 3 hours for the tow truck to come, and once he did, he drove us 40 miles in the wrong direction while he argued with someone on the phone about who would drive us the rest of the way. He lost the argument, turned around and drove back towards Midland. It was about 2am by this point and I was dozing off until loud bells and whistles woke me up. The chain-smoking driver mumbled something about a check engine light and pulled off to the side of the road in a cloud of smoke. We discovered 5 gallons of motor oil puddled under the truck. Excellent.

The trucker had no tools or supplies, so Élan dug his out of the car and spent an hour helping the driver troubleshoot. With that much oil leaking, the tow truck wasn’t going anywhere, so he called an even bigger tow truck to come tow the tow truck towing us. The driver who didn’t want to come in the first place, eventually showed up 3 hours later. Again, Élan and his tools had to help them disconnect the drive line so the tow truck could be towed. Finally, we were back on the road with two chain-smoking truckers, one of which was most definitely high as a kite. As we were perched on the edge of the nasty sleeper bed in the back of the semi, Elan leaned over and whispered, “it’s my birthday.” Sure enough. I felt even worse for him when I realized that on his last birthday, we were stranded without a boat engine in Mexico.  Geez, getting old is rough!

The tow trucks dropped us off in a Napa parking lot where we reclined our seats and slept for an hour before the store opened. After Elan replaced the fuel filter, spark plugs, ground strap and bought a spare fuel pump, we were on the road again by noon.

So many oil derricks in Texas and New Mexico!

So many oil derricks in Texas and New Mexico!

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We made it to the New Mexico State line before the gas fumes were intense enough to pull off at a rest stop and replace the fuel pump too. That night around midnight we stopped at a scenic lookout and passed out in the car. We intended to pitch the tent in campgrounds and stay in hotels throughout the trip, but were too exhausted to mess with either for the entire trip.
Closest thing to a "Welcome to New Mexico" sign there was

Closest thing to a “Welcome to New Mexico” sign there was

Replacing the fuel pump at a rest stop

Replacing the fuel pump at a rest stop in southern New Mexico- Happy  Birthday, Hon!

I’d heard that Volkswagen makes good campers. I don’t think the Cabriolet is what people mean by that, but we managed to do alright. The drivers seat didn’t lean back, so I folded it forward and curled up on the back of it with my legs dangling over the trunk, and Élan reclined in the passenger seat. One benefit of our sailing trip is that we can now sleep anywhere, anytime, in just about any conditions. We woke up to a spectacular view of a rocky canyon the next morning.
Not a bad view to wake up to!

Not a bad view to wake up to!

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We oohed and ahhed our way through stunning northern New Mexico (with its mini dust tornados) Colorado (lush green pastures bordered by snow capped mountains) and Utah (crazy rock formations) all the while trying to convince ourselves that the road, not the car, was causing us to swerve left and right over every bump.
Flat!

Flat part of NM!

Elan's idea of road food.

Elan’s idea of road food.

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Sunset near Albuquerque

Sunset near Albuquerque

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Ship Rock

Ship Rock

Miles and miles

Miles and miles

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Welcome to Colorful Colorado

Welcome to Colorful Colorado

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The boys love the convertible.

The boys love the convertible… When it’s running.

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Welcome to Utah- Life Elevated

Welcome to Utah- Life Elevated

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There are some very cool rock formations in Utah

Amazing rock formations in Utah

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Wilson Arch

Wilson Arch

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Eventually, the swerving car started to become a safety issue, so we pulled over and jacked up each tire to make sure nothing was loose. Finding no clear problem, we continued on to Snowville, a truck-stop town in northern Utah. After checking air pressure in all tires, the car was still just too swervy to continue on. Tow truck number three was driven by an incredibly nice guy, who drove us 196 miles in the direction we wanted to go, so we got the most out of the 200 mile AAA towing maximum. Thank you Bluejay for insisting that we buy AAA before attempting a cross-country run in a Volkswagen. You saved us $1500 bucks in towing this week!
Jacking each tire up to check for wobble.

Jacking each tire up to check for wobble.

Third tow of the trip

Third tow of the trip

After the tow, we once again slept off the last two hours of dark in the car, this time in a Les Schwab parking lot. The next day we spent 8.5 hours and $550 in two different Les Schwabs buying new struts, strut mounts and two new tires (to go with the other two new that we bought in FL before leaving) and still had an awful bumping noise for the remaining 315 miles to my parent’s house in E Washington that night. 
Idaho

Idaho- I didn’t get a picture of the state sign because we were towed past it around 3am.

Welcome to Oregon

Welcome to Oregon

Snow!!

Snow!!

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Finally, we made it to Washington! Fed up with working on the car ourselves, we dropped it off with a mechanic, and spent an extra day with my family, who surprised Elan with a belated birthday celebration. Had we not stayed that extra day, we would have been driving up I-5 around the time the Skagit River Bridge collapsed. Everything happens for a reason, so I guess I should feel grateful that our car was such a (cute) piece of junk, right? We had to order some car parts, so thankfully we were able to borrow my parents car for the last couple hundred miles of the trip.
My sisters and I- reunited!

My sisters and I- reunited!

After rushing across the entire country, the boat also got held up in the bridge traffic, so we missed our Friday afternoon appointment to splash the boat in Bellingham. That meant we had to stay out in the boat yard until after the holiday weekend. After all the chaos of the last week’s driving adventure, we were just grateful to be reunited with the boat, and see that it arrived in one piece. Bo Smith, from Smith Boat Salvage, did a great job taking care of Silver Lining during her journey.

When we finally splashed the boat on Tuesday afternoon, we weren’t surprised that it wouldn’t start due to air in our fuel lines. Sailboats have no internal suspension, typically the cushion is usually provided by water, so when you put it on a trailer and haul it cross-country, things get a little rattled. Rather than go through the rigmarole of bleeding the fuel system and spending the night under the crane, we just towed the boat with the dinghy the mile to our new slip. What’s one more shenanigan after a year and a half of them?

Finally HOME!

Finally HOME!

We are thrilled to be back in Bellingham once again and are excited to see how the next few months unfold. We will continue to blog about sailing, living on a boat, and the adventures of life, so stay tuned!

‘Til next time!
A & E

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!