It’s been a little while since I blogged. Okay, more that a little while but I’ve been busy!
Boat projects are moving along. We got the big stuff done. Skip took the head apart– a nasty job! We found the hoses caked with calcium deposits. After replacing a hose, gaskets and cleaning all of the parts, it’s back in excellent working order. We even splurged for a new seat!
Skip also removed all of the instruments mounted at the nav station and improved the spaghetti wiring behind the scenes. He made all of the connections easy to remove and mounted the antennas and other ‘black boxes’ to the board behind the panel. He also cut a new cherry board for mounting the instruments as the old one had a gaping hole where the radar repeated was mounted. He installed the XM weather antenna and an AIS receiver. That’s it (as far as I know…there may be other stuff that I didn’t authorize;-) It looks much better now and the wiring is very accessible.
While Skip was playing with plumbing and wires, I continued my quest to clean the boat. I took the window shades home and soaked them in bleach/water. I cleaned the stove — even underneath and behind it–was it ever nasty! I used uphostery cleaner on the cushions (a future project for replacement). I also washed and treated the canvas seats and mainsail cover. We’re getting new canvas for the boat — bimini, dodger and removable plastic panels. It’s a big investment but it essentially gives us an extra room. We found many days where it was too windy/cool/wet/buggy to sit in the cockpit. With an enclosure, we’ll be warm, dry and bug-free! After much analysis, we decided to keep the navy-colored canvas. We considered the tan color but both canvas-makers we talked to said that navy holds up much better in the sun. We like the look of the navy canvas with the dark blue hull. Besides, now we can wait until next year to replace the mainsail cover! The canvas maker said that he’ll give me the patterns so I can make some screen/shade inserts. He was impressed with my home-made screens (or maybe he was just trying to flatter me into giving him the job…)
Somewhere in between all of these ‘fun’ activities, we took a week off and went sailing! We left on Saturday and met our friends on Calpyso (Rick & Eva) and Comocean (Bob & Phyllis) in Saltworks creek for a fun night of, what else, eating and drinking! On Sunday, we sailed slowly across the bay to anchor in Shaw bay on the Wye river. It was hot and the wide-open, boat-free space was too inviting to pass up. The next day, we motored into St. Michael’s for a few nights at the Maritime museum. The museum offers dockage for members which allows us to stay in a beautiful and convenient location. On impulse, we contacted our friends Bill & Barbara who live in Chestertown and they drove over to meet us for dinner. We sail there every summer for dinner at the Crab Claw so it was great to renew our tradition. Sadly, they’re selling their boat and moving on to other fun things to do.
When we left St. Michael’s, we came through the Kent Narrows (the first &^%# bridge since we left the ICW) and anchored in Swan creek near Rock Hall. We used to go there a lot when we kept our boat in Rock Hall. It was pretty much the same–not much new development on the shores. The wind picked up in the afternoon (something that would have troubled me before) but it was no big deal after all of our adventures in the Bahamas.
From Swan Creek, we sailed across the bay to the Patapsco river and anchored in Bodkin creek. Our ultimate destination was Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to meet up with the Chesapeake Bay Sabre Club on Saturday. The weather predictions called for storms on Friday night and Saturday so we decided to head into Baltimore on Friday. Inner Harbor East marina was still under construction. They lost their building as part of the Four Seasons Hotel being built at their location. The hotel complex is still going up — perhaps slowed by the economy–and the marina facilities are still in trailers. At any rate, it’s a perfect location for walking to Fells Point and finding an excellent gelatoria! I was also excited to find some brass rums cups at the Brassworks store. I had seen them online and was looking for something to use for sipping rum.
On Saturday, we visited the farmer’s market held right outside the marina. We bought yummy local peaches and frozen bison steaks. After noon, we wandered towards the Inner Harbor and browsed the book store, dodging all of the tourists. By the time we returned, the Sabres were starting to arrive. I believe 10 boats attended the event which included dinner at Della Notte — a restaurant in Little Italy. After an excellent meal, some of us stayed out on the docks enjoying the unusually crisp cool air for mid-July. Various boats shared wine, sipping rum and even some moonshine! For a short while, we were regaled by the music drifting over from Pier Six – the Baltimore Symphony playing Queen songs – an interesting concept!
We planned to spend one more night anchored out since we’re retired and don’t need to battle the weekend crowds getting back to Annapolis. We motored to the mouth of the Patapsco and sailed verrrry slowly down the bay. Eventually (since we were tacking back and forth to almost the same spot) we motored under the bay bridge and up the Severn river to pick up a mooring in Clements creek. Once all of the weekenders left, we enjoyed a quiet, calm night before heading back to our slip on Monday morning.
We spent the past week visiting Skip’s family in North Georgia. Leaving Monday, drove south along I81 to stop in Chattanooga and pick up Skip’s mother. We were inspired by our friends Joyce and Don to look for good ‘roadfood’ along the way. I checked out www.roadfood.com and found some potential stops. I don’t know why we never thought of doing that before. We usually just make do with the usual crap you find along the highway. Anyway, we found Dude’s Drive Inn in Christainburg, VA where they come out to the car to take your order. The Dudeburgers were phenominal!
The first night, we stopped just outside of Knoxville, TN. As we turned into the hotel, we saw the Tennessee Smokies AA baseball park just down the street. Oh boy, there was a game that night! We got seats right behind home plate and scored the special $1 hotdogs for dinner as we watched the Smokies play the Carolina Mudcats.
After picking up Mom the next day, we drove towards Ellijay, GA to visit Nancy (Skip’s sister) and Don. Along the way, we found another roadfood restaurant, Edna’s in Chatsworth, GA. Their specialities are ‘meat and 3’ including delicious southern fried chicken. We had a nice visit at Nancy’s–ate well and played some fun games. Nancy and I toured the local quilt shops while ‘the boys’ and Mom visited an amazing O-gauge train layout. Nancy’s 5 yr old grandson Jeffrey was visiting for the week and he really enjoyed the trains. He wouldn’t even look at us when we first arrived but by the end of the week, he decided that I was his best friend. I even had to hide from him sometimes just to get a break! He never did learn my name — I was ‘the other girl’.
Leaving Friday morning was a real adventure. We took both Mom and Jeffrey back to Chattanooga. We were driving my Subaru instead of the larger Explorer and it was packed full with our stuff, their stuff and the dog. I spent an hour in the backseat with Bailey on my lap while entertaining Jeffrey (who wanted to force-feed me goldfish crackers and twist my nose off!!)
It was a good idea to plan a stop-over on Skyline drive on the way back. We used to stop here all the time but it’s been years since we drove through the park. We are staying 2 nights in the Skyland resort overlooking the Shenandoah valley. We took Bailey on a hike this morning and spent the rest of the day relaxing. It’s so beautiful and peaceful here! Tomorrow, we’re homeward bound — back to boat projects and quilting ( I was inspired in Georgia!!)