Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: The Last Chapter 2016_10_30 to 2016_11_13

Our end takes 14 days. All we really intended to do was get closer to I-10 and begin our way back to Florida. But, if you haven’t figured us out by now, we never take the simple route!

From Joshua Tree National Park, we decided to check out Quartzsite, Arizona.  Back in Death Valley, the couple (Dave and Nancy) who helped us out so much, sang praises of their winters on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas outside of Quartzsite, AZ. Where they pay a mere $180 for six months. We of course had to see for ourselves. This was not out of our way to some places in Texas we wanted to see, so off we went.

Leaving Joshua Tree National Park

ARIZONA!!!

Quartzsite, AZ

Once in Quartzsite, we headed out the main highway, looking for a good place to stay the night. We would check out the BLM land, but tonight we wanted some A/C, which unlike heat, we had brought on this trip, we are finally prepared for something! This was a very friendly park, they had a nice club house, laundry facilities and the managers, Mel and Ann (from Washington) were fabulous. They made cookies (made in the avocado green stove below) and coffee several mornings a week for everyone, and in the short time we were there, they had a movie night and several dinners at the club house. The only down side, was the dusty campsites…but every place in Quartzsite was just the same, or worse.

Split Rail RV Park, Quartzsite, AZ

Oh my! Can I take this home to the Lake? Yes, it still works perfectly…and no, that is not a microwave on top!

Our campsite at Split Rail RV Park

Art around Quartzsite, AZ

Cactus, its what’s green in Arizona.

Quartzsite is a winter destination for those who live in the cold Northwest. People from Canada, Washington, and points north, flood into this area when it is time to escape the cold. The town swells from 2,000 off season, to up to a million in January and February, when the annual rock and gem or RV shows are in town. The sunsets are amazing, too!

Sunset, Quartzsite, AZ

We settled in at Split Rail, and went exploring. We found the BLM land. It was expansive, but very dusty and remote. The town itself was very small. There was this great shopping area…I thought we could find a cute old trailer to convert. Which one do you like best?

Contenders for longer trailer

If I can’t have a fixer-upper trailer, how about a cool car…or two?

I really like the red one!

One thing led to another, and we found our way to R.V. Lifestyles…of course, we are just looking…right?

Just looking right?

We spent some time considering our options and talking about the things we wanted to do in the coming years. The new, two year old fifth wheel, really fit into our plan…so we added it to the family.

Our new second portable home.

It took us a few days to get everything set up, and hooked up, and ready to go. Our biggest issue was getting all this back home. This is what it looked like from Arizona to Louisiana. Did we change our name to the Clampetts? Hope we didn’t loose Granny!

Triple towing

Homeward bound. No more site-seeing for us, we gotta get this mess home!

Home, we are going home! Don’t mind my stoic look…I really am excited!

I-10 East

Triple Towing, it’s only hard to get gas!

You can only go so far in that rig. So a few miles into Alabama, we had to turn to other options.

Triple towing, not allowed in Alabama, Georgia or Florida. Plan B for getting the rest of the way home.

We are getting close!

Pepe Le Pew! We are home. I missed you!

There’s no place like home!

So that is how our Short, Short Trailer, went on a Long, Long Trip. We had a fantastic time on our trip out west. We have set in motion more camping and land travel. We just have to work out the balance of how to split up our time.

We really appreciate you following along and being patient with the time lapse of my posts. We love you all, thanks for adventuring with us. Stay tuned…I’ll fill you in on what’s been happening since we returned!

Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: Our next Adventure

imageWe have tied No Ka Oi up to the dock and stepped back onto dirt for a few months.

The Captain had the cogs in motion for a new adventure, even before we coiled the dock lines and unpacked the fridge.

We needed a road trip.

It should include the motorcycle.

It should be low budget, cause that’s how we roll.

Camping. Adventure. Two crazy people willing to try just about anything once. That’s us!

We plan to visit friends and family, as we make our way from Florida to California, pulling our new trailer/toy hauler/mini camper. We plan to make as many stops as we can squeeze in, while we take our retirement adventure to new places.

But, first we had to get our short, short camper.

We went trailer shopping. After looking at a bunch, we decided on one from Indian River Trailers, in South Vero Beach. The quality of their trailers became obvious compared to the others we looked at, and they aren’t shipped in from another state, but made right on site. Our baby was in the bay getting her final touches, and we picked her up the next afternoon. In addition to quality, our goal was to get the smallest trailer which could carry the motorcycle and also give us a bit of camping space.

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Repurposing everything we could from our formidable collection of stuff, because that’s how you keep the budget low, we spent several weeks getting her ready to roll.

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Welcome to the Short, Short Trailer goes on a Long, Long Trip.

Incase you have never seen Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in a Long, Long Trailer, this is the clip that describes us best.

Lacey has nothing on us when it comes to rock collecting, here’s a sample from our last trip to North Carolina, and this doesn’t include the ones we used to build a waterfall in our atrium. Our jeep was “weighted down,” to say the least. We aren’t about to do that on this trip! I hope!!!

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We were weighted down with necessities, so the Captain added new shocks to our van, then we had to test the load. We made a weekend trip to the Keys, to catch up with friends. We had a great afternoon visit with Captain Jack, Cheryl, and Eureka at our campsite at Long Key State Park. Steve, Cyndi, and Molly came to hang out too and took us to Key West for a little more fun.

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On our way back home, we had a little fun on the Pilar, practicing our Hemingway impressions. Captain, you’ll need to work on the beard I think.

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Of course, the original Pilar is actually in Havana, Cuba. This is a remodeled sister vessel, sitting inside the show room of the Bass Pro Shop in Islandmorada, but it was interesting nonetheless. Here’s a little article about Pilar’s present state of condition by Captain Bill Pike, if you didn’t know. http://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/bboats/hemingway%E2%80%99s-pilar

Back home we did a little more tweaking and final packing before we were off. Just in time to meet hurricane Hermine at the Florida/Georgia border. Fortunately, we only hit one band and managed to skate past the rest, before rain deluged the area.

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We arrived in Blairsville, Georgia after midnight and the first night out on our adventure was spent sleeping in a Walmart parking lot! And YES, there’s an app for that! It lists the Walmarts that allow overnight parking or not (ONP Walmart.) I called the store manager ahead of time to verify the ability to stay, and since we only needed a place to sleep and had places to go early the next morning, it was the perfect “free” campsite. Thanks Walmart, we appreciate it.

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Friday was a busy day, we met John and Janet at a local flea market and then went to breakfast. They showed us their property, which is for sale, and their cozy cabin. They have a nice relaxing place. We are really liking Blairsville.

Smokin Jim’s Que, was what’s for lunch. We were so excited to to eat at our favorite place with the added bonus of sharing the time with former sailboat people. We forgave them for becoming land lubbers and had a great visit with Gary and Debbie. Their home under construction, in Hiawassee, is going to be so beautiful and Debbie has filled the foundations with scriptures, so it will be a blessing too. Glad they picked such a wonderful spot to plant themselves.

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Gary and Debbie also found us our second night’s camp ground, also a freebie, thanks to TVA. Lake Chatuge was a relaxing little roadside camp for the night.

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Late Saturday morning we made our way back to Blairsville, just in time for a Cuban lunch at Dan’s, with Rick and Jennifer. I know it’s a bit far from Miami, but this is gooooood food! Then we headed up to their cabin to unload the motorcycle and for Dave to arrive, at Rick and Jennifer’s cabin. We were ready for a week of riding and fun in the mountains.

You know there was more Smokin Jim’s in store!

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And a ride to Cherokee and the Blue Ridge Parkway, with Rick and Jennifer, Dave  and we met Don Curley, who led the way.

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Back at the cabin, the boys had a little bee problem that needed attention. This looks an awful lot like a Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn moment to me.

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The week was just getting rolling when the call from home came and Miss Nyah was not feeling very well. We had to go home and figure out what was up with our baby.

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This was a little glitch in our plan, but after vet visits and diagnosis, we decided to take her with us. Her diagnosis is most likely lymphoma, and her prognosis is unclear, but for now she is enjoying our trip and loving life, as only and Rhodesian Ridgeback can do. We are pretty sure, she just wanted to come along for the Short, Short Trailer adventure.

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Stay tuned…the adventure is under way…and it’s interfering with my ability to get blogs posted, so be patient! Thanks for following us.

Standing by on Channel 16

Standing by on Channel 16, No Ka Oi over

Standing by on Channel 16, No Ka Oi over

 

It has been a hectic couple of weeks for the No Ka Oi crew. We came home from Marineland to be with Russ’ brother and his girlfriend after they were in a motorcycle accident. They are both home and healing, a few more surgeries will be needed, but they are both on their way to recovering.

In between hospital visits and wheel chair ramp building, we also had a few chores to take care of while we were home.

Our main sail bit the dust on the trip back, so the Captain’s first job was to get that taken down and to the repair shop. Turns out it’s a pretty old sail, we knew this, but live in denial of the mounting expenses to our chosen life. While we are busting open the piggy bank, we decided it was wise to replace the jib too. New sails will be ready just in time for Christmas…honey, I picked out a really big Christmas gift for you, hope you like it!

Main sail to shop, new sail coming soon.

Main sail to shop, new sail coming soon.

Also, while the piggy bank was open, we replaced the blocks and lines on our dingy hoist. The old one didn’t swivel and we had pretty bad wear on the sheaves, and since that’s an everyday item from here on out (think my car) it was necessary.

New Blocks for the davits.

New Blocks for the davits.

 

The Captain had to make four trips to the top of the mast while we were home. He is especially pleased with our Miami Boat Show purchase of the mast climber kit from INT Inc. He made his first three climbs by himself, I was there for the fourth one and took these pics. He had to assess problems then put up a new topping lift, change out some light bulbs, and do some measuring for the new sails.

Four trips up the mast

Four trips up the mast

I had a few sewing projects to work on. I made a new cover for the dingy motor. Repaired several wind socks, and modified our canvas awnings to fit our space a little better. I also modified the comforter for our V-berth with a pocket, and trimmed and hemmed the side edges to get rid of extra material, so it tucked in better and stayed that way. I found this perfectly cute fabric on clearance and had to make a new pillow cover too.

Comforter repair, new motor cover, canvas covers and helper, new pillow cover.

Comforter repair, new motor cover, canvas covers and helper, new pillow cover.

We had a nice couple of days visit with Josiah before he had to return to Philly and then back out on tour.

Josiah and I

Josiah and I

And I had to get a little Mommy and girlfriend time too. I tried to see everyone, but can never work all that out, remember, you can come visit me…I am living in paradise!!!

My Mom and I, My friend Peggy and I

My Mom and I, My friend Peggy and I

 

There were more projects than we can remember, and after Russ helped get his brother settled at home by moving all the furniture around, we were able to get back underway late Thursday afternoon. We made it to Peck Lake about 7 p.m. On Friday morning, we made the dreaded decision to do the ditch (ICW) to head south because it was too rough offshore with a cold front heading our way. We really tried to stay ahead of the front, and possibly, it was worse behind us, but we had unfavorable wind for sailing, lots of rain, and too much choppy water, The Captain was awesome, he was able to keep two of the three of his crew from getting sick.

Rain when we left Stuart, Captain and another storm, clouds, wind and more rain

Rain when we left Stuart, Captain and another storm, clouds, wind and more rain

Poor Pepe couldn’t take all the tossing and rocking, but he is feeling better now and back to the morning stare down for his food.

Not feeling so good

Not feeling so good

The morning stare-down...where's my food?

The morning stare-down…where’s my food?

In case you need to know, there are 47 bridges between home and Marathon. Two of them are railroad bridges, 8 are high rise bridges (two being of questionable height for us,) and 37 are draw bridges. Of the 37 draw bridges, 30 bridges are on a timed schedule.

We had three days of the timed bridges, day one we had lots of waiting (up to 45 minutes at one bridge,) day two, went quite smoothly. Day three…well the Captain pleads the 5th regarding bridges and bridge tenders on day three. They are by majority nice people, bridge tenders, but there is always just that one, who really makes your day “special.”

47 Bridges!

47 Bridges!

When it comes to bridges, except for throwing up, it’s easier to go offshore.

There were two bridges on our passage that we were not sure if we could get underneath. We have always had an opening for the 17th Street Bridge in Ft. Lauderdale, but this time we just missed the opening. Since one of the things we did on the Captains mast climbing adventures was to get an accurate measurement of our mast, we felt comfortable trying it without waiting for the next scheduled opening. Of course we made it, or I’d be telling another story. The Julia Tuttle Bridge in Miami is a few inches taller than the 17th Street Bridge when it is closed, so we now knew we could make that bridge too. But, that said, it’s still scary as heck when you are looking up from deck.

Can we make it?

Can we make it?

We did have a few interesting sites along the ditch:

Jupiter lighthouse, always my favorite light!

Jupiter Light House

Jupiter Light House

 

You know you’re in Palm Beach by the size of the boats and lifts.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach

And Ft. Lauderdale always has interesting things. They call that thing a jetovator water bike, and for only an additional 10k you can add it onto the jet ski you already own.

Ft. Lauderdale

Ft. Lauderdale, jetovator, pirate ships

Night boat ride in Hollywood…Florida that is…

Hollywood boat ride

Hollywood

Russ made it through all the bridges, “No Bridge Tenders Die,” the headline reads.

"No Bridge Tenders Die"

“No Bridge Tenders Die”

We had a royal fly-over for our stay at Elliot Key, well it was for the NASCAR race, but we’ll take it.

Fly-over

Fly-over

Finally with the worst of the weather behinds us, we make it to the keys!!!

The Florida Keys, finally

The Florida Keys, finally

As soon as we hook the mooring ball, the Captain has repairs to make.

Repairs, repairs, repairs

Repairs, repairs, repairs

Our home, for the next few months, Boot Key Harbour, Marathon, Florida

Boot Key Harbour

Boot Key Harbour

Well we hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may God’s blessings shine on each of you. Stay tuned next weeks feature…we plan on relaxing again!

Ships Cat, Pepe Le Pew

2015_07_30 We own the couch

2015_07_30 We own the couch

While Mom and Dad were off bike riding down the beach, Nyah and I decided to take over the blog, well mostly me, because Nyah’s paws are way too big to work the keyboard, and she is only a dog.

Nyah and Me learning how to take selfies 2015_07_23

Teaching Nyah how to take selfies 2015_07_23 (as you can see, I’m trying to be patient)

 

I hear people asking all the time about how we are doing on the boat and I wanted to make sure you heard the scoop correctly. Nyah has been telling me about travelling on the sailboat since she started going about three years ago, and as usual, she is loving it. To be honest with you, it was just fine with me when they all left for a weekend and I could do my cat thing…sleep in peace all day.

We have family rules about over sharing, but before we left, Mom and Dad had quite a few animated discussions about me travelling with them. Someone, who shall remain anonymous, thought that having a litter box on-board was going to be a stinky problem, and that I could go a “stray” when we were at a dock. But everything worked out and I eventually got passage on this voyage.

I must say that Dad took care of one of these problems quite well. This is the box he built that houses my litter box. He built it in the garage while Mom was away visiting that new grand-baby (gosh, those things are so overrated.) He tested the size by putting me in at various stages to make sure I fit. I am quite stout, if you didn’t know. Once completed, he thoughtfully allowed me to test it out at home before we went to live aboard status. The fact that he already knew that I could use it didn’t deter me from holding it a day or so to protest my new living conditions. I’m not about to let these people think they are really in control. Stout cats rule, and I find it rather nice that I have a little privacy to do my business without Nyah watching everything I do or getting into it when I’m finished.

2015_05_20 Litter Box by Russ

2015_05_20 Litter Box by Russ

The box nicely fits my Breeze Litter System. Mom is always telling people how much she likes it because there is no messy litter to deal with. The pellets catch the big stuff on top and all the wet stuff goes into a disposable pad below for her to change once a week. And the box Dad built is doing a fine job of keeping any odor inside. The fam is ecstatic about how the box is working in such a small living space.

My Box works well. 2015_07_23

My first day on the boat was a bit scary, I was not at all happy about this, as you can see from this pic of me.

Pepe Le Pew's first day 2015_06_07

Pepe Le Pew’s first day 2015_06_07

 

Nyah was really making me mad,  acting like this was a piece of cake and stretching out for a nap, like it is every day that you roll back and forth and as if engine noise wasn’t scary.

Nyah Napping 2015_06_10

 

Don’t tell Mom, but after a few days, I stayed up all night and stalked the boat. I made my way to the top of the bimini and crawled under the solar panels to play with a few lines. It is also fun to spy on people from the little windows that are all around the boat. I can hardly wait for something exciting to sneak on board, so I can show off the real reason I am the ships cat.

Pepe Le Pew 2015_06_10

Pepe Le Pew 2015_06_10

Over-all this isn’t all that bad. There is plenty of room down below in the cabin for Nyah and I to wrestle around and play, mostly like we are accustomed to at home, except we can’t get up to a good speed for a game of chase. We own the couches, and only let the fam sit on them when we want them too. I have claimed the very bottom of the mast for my scratch pad, it wasn’t being put to good use anyways. Their other worry about me jumping ship was unfounded, the food is good here.

Couch hogs 2015_07_27

Couch hogs 2015_07_27

Now if you tell Mom and Dad that I’m pretty comfy and like it here, I’ll have to deny it, because you know us cats…we have to be in control, and one of the ways we do this is by not letting our owners know for sure what we really think.

Ship Cat, Pepe Le Pew 2015_07_29

Ship Cat, Pepe Le Pew 2015_07_29

Ships Cat, Pepe Le Pew