Wednesday, May 24, 2023

May 22nd: Back to Yesterday's dream in Marathon, Florida


Mychael has been taking good care of Yesterday's Dream. We currently are sort of joint owners. He is paying the docking expenses, uses the boat and keeps it in good condition. Meanwhile, I am still happy to own the boat and use it as a "getaway" rather than a place to live. Mychael encouraged me to visit on my way to Burlington VT and then Canada to travel on Guppy.

The trip to Marathon started with me flying from Phoenix to Miami. I was scheduled to arrive at 10:30PM so I arranged a rental car to drive to a motel that night. Then I'd drive to Marathon the next morning. I'll spare you the details, but due to two weather delays, I arrived in Miami at 12:15AM. Fortunately, I had called the hotel from Houston to make sure they knew I was still coming. The rental car agency was open until 1:00AM. Whew! I arrived at my hotel at 1:30AM, happy to have made it. My friend Ian Jukes sent me this cartoon. Very fitting given all the travelling I've done lately

There is a Thai restaurant half way to Marathon that I was hoping was still there. It was! I got some Vietnamese shrimp noodle soup that is excellent. The drive to Marathon was quite scenic, as usual, and I arrived without incident.

Mychael & Steve inside Yesterday's Dream

Mychael made my travels easy. He said he would meet me at the car rental place so I could drop off my rental. Then he took me to where he arranged storage for my nice little Nissan Sentra. He also had replaced the battery the day before! We picked up my car and went to Yesterday's Dream's new home. I had been by the place before but had no idea how nice it is.

First we went inside to drop off my bags. The boat was immaculate! It looked great and I felt like I was home again.

Mychael on Yesterday's Dream's Flybridge
View looking northeast
Then we went to the flybridge to see the view!

View looking southeast

The view looking forward is all water. 

Mychael and Amanda
 Amanda is Mychael's girl friend. She's a lot of fun and a willing boater. She also likes to fish. She joined us on the boat and brought a fresh grouper that her son Andrew had caught. Mychael is a great cook and prepared it perfectly along with a great salad.

The sunset was very pretty

The weather forecast for the next few days was for minimal winds. Amanda has Thursdays and Fridays off so we decided to cruise to Bahia Honda State Park and anchor outside the park. It's great to sleep out on the water on a calm night. 

Leaving for Bahia Honda
Amanda worked until 6 PM so we didn't leave the dock until about 8 PM. Mychael and Amanda are in their 30s and they have no problem staying up late. Me??? I knew Mychael would be driving. We knew we would be cruising in the dark but we are familiar with the waters and we have a GPS to guide us. It was very calm, lots of stars and a beautiful ride. I held up fine.

To be safe, we went pretty far out from shore so we didn't arrive until midnight. Then it took 4 tries before we finally found a spot where the anchor held. We stayed up a little longer enjoying the evening. I slept in until around 9pm. My sleep schedule was screwed up from jet lag anyway.

We wanted to catch some fish for dinner. Amanda caught a small hammerhead shark. Definitely not dinner but fun to catch and release.

We caught a lot of fish but they were too small to keep. Was still fun catching them and no one had to clean them.

Cooking with the propane
 burner on the walk around deck

We had a backup plan. I had bought chicken thighs, which would be tasty. Still anchored, we used the generator to power our induction burner to pan fry the chicken. Half way thru, the generator died. We were pretty sure the problem was old fuel. Fortunately, in preparation for our outing, I had called and asked Mychael where the propane burner was. He said he had it stored but would bring it along.

The chicken, broccolini and mushrooms turned out great.

It was such a calm night we decided to move into deeper water for the night and maybe catch bigger fish. Tried to pull the anchor up with the windlass and it would not come loose. Played with it for a long time and decided the current was too strong to try to work it loose. We waited for slack tide. Finally, at 6:00PM the current died. Mychael jumped in and followed the chain down about 20 feet to the anchor. He determined it wasn't wrapped around anything, just stuck under a shelf. He was able to get a rope around it so we could pull it backwards and retrieve it. It seems like there is always something unexpected when boating!

The sunset was interesting. The clouds and a little lightning provided a nice view as well as pictures. Nothing beats watching a sunset on the water.

The sky cleared off and the stars were amazing. The Milky Way was very easy to spot and there were so many stars it was hard to pick out the constellations like the Big Dipper.

Turned out there were some very small waves overnight that were broadside to the boat. Made a note for next time, don't go out too far. It wasn't at all dangerous but we were rocking port to starboard and  and bow to stern as the current slowly swung us back and forth broadside to the waves. None of us got much sleep!

So first thing in the morning Mychael found us an 8 foot deep hole surrounded by 5 feet of water. No rocking there. Plus we wanted to get off the boat and into the water. I made an omelette with the left over mushrooms, onions and broccolini. Glad we had leftovers.

After breakfast, Mychael decided it would be fun to jump off of the fly bridge. Amanda got a great picture.

Steve Snorkeling

I opted for snorkeling. It was surprisingly good. I saw a wide variety of fish. They were all small but very colorful.  My favorite was a little scrawled boxfish. Here is a link that has numerous pictures of boxfishes. Florida Boxfishes 

It was quite hot and sunny but being on and in the water helped a lot. Then it was time to head back. We wanted to troll on the way back and also stop for fuel and a pump out at Boot Key Harbor.

We caught a nice Cerro Mackerel and a small Jack. The mackerel are good to eat but not the Jack.

We noticed some clouds building as we entered Boot Key Harbor. We got our diesel fuel, pumped out and got ice cream. As we were getting ready to leave we looked to the north and saw three water spouts forming. The two smallest quickly dissipated but the longest one kept growing. 

Water Spout

It was probably 1/4 mile to the north of us. It was not heading toward us but going past East to West. Mychael and Amanda got some great pictures. We don't believe it came ashore but it definitely touched down on the water. Eventually it dissipated.

Dodged the storm
The clouds moved toward us so we decided we better wait to leave. Ten minutes later the clouds rolled over us and dropped a deluge of rain. Fortunately, it ended quickly. Another storm was forecast in 1&1/2 hours. That was about how long it would take to get back to our dock. We decided to head back and just head further out to avoid the next squall if necessary. As it turned out the squall passed north of us so all was good.

0ld 7 mile bridge
 to Pigeon Key
The next day Amanda and Mychael were working. I wanted to ride on the recently restored Seven Mile Bridge. Old Seven Mile Bridge The winds were very low so the water would be very clear, easy to see through 5-10 foot water and see fish, eagles rays, sharks, etc. 

I went early because it was going to be 90 degrees later in the day. It was hot, but riding my bike created a breeze. It was a fun ride.

A new addition was this little train. It picks people up in Marathon and delivers them to Pigeon Key. It is a 2 mile walk so on a hot day it's a nice option.

Amanda invited me to her place for dinner Sunday.  I offered to go to the store to pick up what Mychael needed to make Chicken Alfredo. In the Publix parking lot I saw one of many chickens running loose. I never considered it was dinner! This rooster was making a lot of noise for some reason. The chickens have move up from Key West. Many years ago, after cock fighting was outlawed, the locals turned all the chickens loose in the street. They have thrived ever since and are now protected. It's good to be a chicken in the Keys!

Amanda, Andrew
 and Mychael
Mychael showed me this picture of Andrew, Amanda's son who gave us the grouper. When Andrew is not in school he works on a crab boat or fishes. He apparently loves fishing. 

Mychael was once again doing the cooking, Chicken Alfredo. Amanda made a great salad. Meanwhile, I played with Ollie. He is very friendly and fun. Mychael's chicken Alfredo was made from scratch and the best I ever had.


Meanwhile, I played with Ollie. He is very friendly and fun. Mychael's chicken Alfredo was made from scratch and the best I ever had.

Monday morning, Mychael helped me return my car to the storage unit and dropped me off at the car rental where I got a car to drive back up to Fort Lauderdale. I got a good deal on a nice hotel with a great bathtub. My flight on Tuesday was at 10:55am so no need for me to get up early to fly to Manchester. The flights to Manchester were much better than Burlington and my sister Terri said she'd come pick me up. Very nice of her. It's a 2 hour plus drive through the Vermont mountains back to Burlington. I'll be at my sister's until Thursday June 1st. Then it's on to Canada. I'll fly into Toronto where Cindy and Randy offered to pick me up and drive me to their house, it's 3 plus hours away. I am very fortunate to have such great family and friends that make my travelling easier and less expensive. I'll stay with the Peterson family until Guppy is ready to go. The marina is promising the week of June 5th. One can only hope, but it's nice to have friends to stay with until Guppy is in the water.



Sunday, May 21, 2023

May 21st -C:This is Blog Day! Flagstaff

 Just in case you are wondering why I have a B and a C blog today, I'm on my boat in Florida and it is very hot. After venturing out, I decided to work on the blog in air conditioning. Had a great 4 days on the water and now just relaxing. I'll drive to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow morning.

I once again flew into Phoenix and rented a car to drive to Flagstaff. The original plan was for me to visit Tom in April. Pat, Linda's brother, would visit in May. Unfortunately, Pat had triple bypass surgery at the end of April. Fortunately, he is doing well, just cannot travel yet. I said I'm fine with visiting in May on my way east and north. I'll be gone most of the summer so seeing Tom again was a good idea anyway. And then Pat and Warren can go in June or July.

I stay with Rob and Medge, lifelong friends of Tom's, who live 5 minutes from Tom. They are wonderful hosts and Medge is a great cook. Medge always sends food with me and/or brings it over to Tom's. This trip I got to meet Debbie. Debbie worked with Tom as a nurse for 20 + years and is a good friend. She was visiting and also staying at Medge's house.

My RV quarters

I ended up staying in the RV because Debbie was there. The RV is very nice and comfortable. Of course all I did was sleep there because as usual we talked into the night. There are always funny stories to share about Tom!

Very comfortable bed with three blankets,
 no heat, 40 degrees outside, great for sleeping

Tom, Medge and Debbie

Debbie, Medge and I spent some time in the morning with Tom. Tom told me that Debbie has become an accomplished "Horse person." She is now raising horses. This is the only picture I have of Debbie. (Sorry her eyes are closed but oh well!)

One of my goals at Tom's was to get a hospital bed brought into the house for Tom. He stays in the family room on a twin bed because he likes being there, looking out the windows at his ducks, geese, birds, etc. Medge found an almost new hospital bed someone was giving away. They not only gave it to Tom, they delivered it! They put it into the garage 3 weeks earlier. I checked it out and it was quite heavy. Especially the end where the motor was. I thought we might need to take it apart. Fortunately, Sunday was Mother's Day and Nate, Santana's brother was coming for lunch. Santana's husband, Jurell, who helps take care of Tom, is very strong and so is Nate. They carried it into the house!

Tom likes his new bed. It is almost like a reclining chair. One of his three dogs, Chewie, is in the picture. Chewie is very protective of Tom but eventually he allowed me to get close to Tom. Then Chewie came by to get his ears scratched every time I sat down!

When we arrived at Tom's, I noticed he was wearing the Gecko T-shirt Wendy and I made for him a couple years ago. He wore it for me. I was impressed and sent Wendy his picture. Nice to know he still likes it. He said it is his favorite t-shirt.

Tom at Lake Mary

I took Tom to Lake Mary again. It's a beautiful reservoir and it was a beautiful day. 

The Mother's Day lunch was a feast. Barbecued pork, sausages, hamburgers with salads, fruit vegetables and Medge's chocolate cake.

While I was in the family room I saw this old poster from Tom's retirement party. That is Tom in the middle. I never saw Tom look like that! Obviously a long time ago!

After a good visit, I drove back to Phoenix Sunday afternoon. I knew traffic would be heavy given it was Mother's day. What I didn't know was that US17 was closed. That is the only highway between Phoenix and Flagstaff. That meant I had to drive through side roads in the mountains and then through the major tourist area, Sedona. It is a beautiful drive, but not one you want to do on Mother's day when US17 is closed! 

I decided that I wasn't really on a tight schedule because I wasn't flying out until Monday. It took me 4 hours instead of 2&1/2, but the scenery is breathtaking.

I had a pretty good flight itinerary from Phoenix to Fort Lauderdale. Leave at noon, change planes in Houston, and arrive in Miami at 10:15 PM. (With the time change it would be like 7:15 PM for me.) My hotel was just a short drive. However, when I got to the airport my flight to Houston was delayed for an hour due to weather. Not too worried, I had a 90 minute layover. Got to Houston and my next flight was delayed an hour. About half of the flights out were delayed due to weather. I finally made it to Miami at 12:15AM. I thought the rental car place would be open? It was! I had called the hotel from Houston to tell them I would be arriving very late. Got into my room at 1:15AM. Long day but at least I made it. Checkout was noon so no problem sleeping in. I got up the next morning and had a nice drive to Marathon and Yesterday's Dream. Mychael met me to drop off the rental car and took me over to pick up my little Nissan Sentra. He had put a new battery in it and made sure all was good. It was great to be back on the boat. Mychael had everything in top condition. The next blog will cover my time in Florida.

May 21st-B: Fun in California


I received a great phone call from Warren, Linda's oldest brother who lives near the Drouhard Farm in Loudonville, Ohio. He found enough morel mushrooms to dry some for Tom and me. He sent mine to me in California and Tom's to Flagstaff. 

The mushrooms arrived in great shape. 

Linda introduced me to morel mushrooms. Finding morel mushrooms on the farm was an annual treat. The mushrooms brought back many great memories. Here are a few pictures of the farm, Linda hunting mushrooms and some nice morels I found. Linda was actually better than me at finding them but I couldn't find a picture of her holding any. 

Linda looking for mushrooms at the Drouhard farm

Morel Mushrooms at the farm


Rebecca was coming to visit Saturday, partially to show us her new Electric Mustang. Wendy and I  decided to meet Rebecca for breakfast at the Encinitas Cafe on her way into town. Turned out there was a huge street fair. Breakfast outside with London and Trevi was fun and delicious. You can see some of the vendors in the background. There must have been over 100 vendors with art, food, wood carvings, jewelry, etc. We saw them all!

This is a picture of the new Mustang in Rebecca's driveway. Her house is looking very nice due to some improvements she made.

The car is very shiny! No more gas stations for Rebecca!

Rebecca and the morel mushrooms

I saved the mushrooms for the weekend because Rebecca was coming and she loves morel mushrooms.

I fried the mushrooms as soon as we arrived back at Matt and Wendy's house. They were great. Many thanks Warren! 

I have enjoyed spending time with my new friend Fran. We are both boaters and enjoy outdoor activities. We met for a short hike along the water in San Clemente and then had a great dinner on the pier overlooking the ocean. The hike was interesting. We walked past a mud slide where part of a house slid down the cliff due to the tremendous amount of rain this year. Most of the debris had been cleaned up.

Craig and Karen ordering at the bar

Fran had invited Craig, Karen and me for a boat ride on her boat. Fran's husband passed away about the same time as Linda and we both lamented the time during COVID that seemed to make time stand still. I couldn't get to Canada on Guppy and Fran couldn't use her boat either. Fran has been anxious to get back to boating on her very nice 40 foot Jersey Boat. She typically took care of the lines while her husband drove the boat. So she was looking forward to getting driving instruction. We were waiting for some decent weather. We settled for a visit to Fran's son's Brewery in Laguna Beach.

View from the master bedroom 
We picked Fran up at her Laguna Beach Home. Her home is right on the beach with 100 steps down to the water. Fran and her husband built the home 36 years ago. They were both physicians working at the Laguna Beach Hospital and they wanted to build so they could walk to work and the beach! What a great idea! Fran has three sons and six grand children and she told us her house and beach are well used. 

View from Fran's deck

We had a fun evening and enjoyed a spectacular view of the moon as we walked the long distance back to our car. The weather was supposed to be clear the following week for our boat ride. We made plans to cruise to Newport Beach, (about a 2 hr. cruise) and have lunch at a yacht club. The Rahns and Fran belong to Dana West Yacht Club and they have reciprocal agreements.



It turned out that the Sunday before our cruise date, the weather was beautiful. I drove up to Dana Point to help Fran get the boat ready and go for a dinghy ride around the large harbor. All went well and we saw a very large sealion relaxing on some empty docks. (Not unusual)

Craig, Karen and
 Fran on the flybridge
The weather cooperated and we were able to go for our cruise Thursday, May 11th. The timing wasn't my first choice. I was leaving Friday, May 12th to fly to Phoenix to see Tom again, then on to Florida to spend a week on Yesterday's Dream, next to Burlington, Vermont to visit with my sister Terri's family, then on to Canada to stay with the Peterson's for a few days while getting Guppy ready for cruising the Trent and Georgian Bay. Oh, and also, I would be travelling to Ireland from Toronto July 15th - 28th with my niece Christi's family the Toracks. So.... I was packing for the summer. I had decided it didn't really matter. I could only pack so much stuff and I had it ready to go Wednesday.

It was a beautiful day and Fran enjoyed being the captain.

We cruised up along the coast and marveled at the homes all along the cliffs and beaches.

We docked on the end, an easy slip for Fran to practice on. 

Fran's boat Rahna on the end

As we were leaving the Newport Beach harbor we passed John Wayne's yacht, the Wild Goose. It had originally been used during the war and he had it converted to this very nice looking Yacht.

We returned to the dock around 3 pm so I had plenty of time to get home and get ready for my 12PM flight the next day. Next stop, Flagstaff, AZ to visit with Tom.