It has been a busy 3 weeks since leaving Nashville! Every day I was hoping to get caught up on journal entries but today I decided I need to post what I have written so far.
One of the great things about taking this trip has been planning out only a couple days at a time; therefore, we are not bound to deadlines and can easily change where we go or what we do. When we decided to go through Nashville, I called my cousin Jackie who lives south of Nashville in Franklin. We have not really spent time together since we were kids, outside of an occasional busy family get together which was about 8 years ago. Her schedule was open and we enjoyed their southern hospitality! Her husband Brad was out of town so we did not get to see him, but her teenage daughters Maddie and Sara were home from school in the evenings and we enjoyed getting to know them.
They had a number of fun games, but the big hit was a garage game called carpetball. If you have kids, check out making one of these. http://www.carpetball.net. The boys loved it and really hated to leave. We promised to make one when we return to Idaho.
We saw the local sites with our own personal tour guide (Jackie). The day started by seeing the battlefield of Winstead Hill, then on to the Battle of Franklin grounds and Carnton Plantation. Moving on off the subject of war, we went to drive on part of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
On several occasions while hiking around we ran into a unique tree we identified as the Osage Orange. We found it so interesting that it deserves a couple pictures.
We were told that a trip to Nashville would not be complete without stopping at the Loveless Café. I embraced the southern food, trying sweet tea, fried chicken, deep fried okra, turnip greens, caramel sweet potatoes and biscuits. I liked the tea and biscuits… With our southern foods quota met, we headed into Nashville to see the capital, Broadway Street and the Parthenon. Yes, there is really a Parthenon in Nashville. It is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. Leaving the Parthenon we met a glowing woman (I forgot to ask her name!) that was due in 2 weeks and having maternity pictures taken. She and her photographer were having a great time and were full of spark.
The next day took us to Georgia. We stopped at a cotton field and picked some cotton. What amazing plants. The cotton feels just like a cotton ball from a package in the store, except with a few seeds in it.
Right next to the field was a pecan orchard with signs warning not to trespass and pick pecans. People must poach pecans in Georgia. It reminded of me when I was young and used to tie my pony up to a fence post and poach carrots out of the neighbors garden. No, I did not poach pecans. I didn’t want to end up on a chain gang in Georgia.
The boys have been asking when they will see their first palm tree and today they started to appear. We camped for the night at a state campground and were fortunate enough to find a gopher tortoise. What fun.
When it got dark, we found big cockroaches, black widow spiders and wolf spiders. The wolf spider had all of her babies on her back and when we shined the flashlight on her, all of the babies eyes sparkled like diamonds. Not the kind of diamond I want sitting on my finger but it was fascinating! Miles traveled 476.
The next morning we looked for alligators at the lake but found a water moccasin instead. Beautiful snake but not one to drape around your neck. When we were packing up camp, we found out that there was a home school program starting in an hour so we changed plans, joining the group. They meet every Friday at the park for the program. This week was about herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. Miss Kitty, the park ranger that teaches the group was fantastic. It was fun to hear the local kids with their southern accent, “Excuse me maam…”
Across the Florida line, we cut over to the ocean to make the last leg of the journey along the coast. We stopped and played in the ocean at the first beach we found.
The campground on the beach was full for the night so we went to one inland a few miles. It was extremely lush, full of palm trees, enormous live oak trees and all kinds of other beautiful vegitation which was home to many animals.
There were lots of geckos and clever raccoons that challenged us as soon as it got dark but the really cool creatures we encountered were the armadillos. These crazy critters are extremely noisy moving through the undergrowth. They are a uniquely designed animal and we watched them with amazement. It was a hot, muggy night camping but worth the sweat. Being immersed in the flora and fauna was completely different than anything we have experienced. Logan came down with the stomach flu in the middle of the night. Nothing like tossing your cookies a bunch of times in a hot tent. Poor kid. What a trooper. Miles traveled 245.
This afternoon brought us to the end of our cross country roadtrip. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale about 4pm. The heat has been intensifying as we travel south and it is now the hottest part of the day. Mark spent some time on the boat on his second trip to Florida in May for the survey and sea trial. This was the first time for the rest of us.
We are all anxious to see it, but are also very tired, Logan is still sick and I am starting to come down with whatever Logan has. Heat, nausea and a boat that has been sitting locked up for months is not a good combination. Our friends Astrid & Ross just got back to their slip after sailing in a regatta for the day and called us to ask us over to their boat for dinner and an evening sail. It sounds wonderful so Logan and I will ourselves to feel better and give it a try. We only made it a couple of markers down the intercostal waterway before we had to ask to turn around. Astrid & Ross had told us we could stay at their house for a few days or weeks, whatever we needed. It was comforting beyond belief to get to their air conditioned house and collapse into bed. Logan started feeling better the next day but I was still down and out so we spent the day recouperating and our spirits were much better by that evening. Miles traveled 253.
The next day we headed out to our boat to start the cleaning process. Our friends recommended not moving aboard until we had cleaned everything. They had been on the boat earlier in the summer to generously install a battery for us and get the bilge working and knew what lie in wait for us. Boats do not like to be left unattended and ours was no exception. We spent a while getting the AC , etc running, then most of the day getting everything off the boat the previous owner left so we could start cleaning. I took some time home schooling the boys as well.
We arrived back at our friends in the evening. They welcomed us in, “Hey, it’s the boat people”. We look like we just washed ashore. They generously offered up garage space for us to unload all the stuff off the boat. We ran kitchen stuff and storage shelves through their dishwasher and did loads of laundry from bedding and towels left on the boat. We all spent a little relaxation time in their pool as well. Astrid and Ross are truly a gift. There is no way to repay their generousity of their home and their knowledge.
A reoccurring theme is going to happen here. We spent the day cleaning the boat.
The next day, we spent the day cleaning the boat.
The next day, we spent the day cleaning the boat.
Who knew a 37 foot sailboat could take so long to clean? Absolutely everything needs cleaning. Head liners, walls, floors, remove every cabinet door and wash the walls, backing, flooring and ceiling inside every cabinet. Clean every track for every cabinet, port light, hatch cover, etc. Remove all bilge covers, suck out the bilges and clean them. Rent an appolstery cleaner for all of the carpet walls. Clean woodwork with wood cleaner, then use Old English.
9/22/12 Ross came to the boat with us today and we took it down the inter costal waterway and to help us move her to our new live aboard slip. It was wonderful to have a person knowledgeable about the area to guide us through our first outing.
No trip would be complete on the waterway without seeing Santa.
Every slip is different and we are learning how to adjust lines and fenders. The live aboard boat people at Isle of Venice are incredibly helpful and welcoming. We feel fortunate to have found a spot here with them.
Did I mention that it is hot and humid here all the time? Day and night? We take time every day to cool off, exercise and enjoy the beach down the road or one of the two pools where we live at least once a day. Some days call for visiting the water 4 times!
Part of boat ownership is getting to know your boat. Everyone on board needs to know where the thru hulls are. When a system malfunctions, you need to know (or at least have an idea) of where to start trouble shooting. Today we spent the entire day mapping out the thru hulls and hoses. We think we have every leak identified and need to schedule another haul out to replace the rest of the thru hulls that we did not replace on the haul out when we had the bottom painted before we came to Florida.
9/30/12 Today was to be our maiden solo voyage to Lake Silvia. It is not far away, but we were going out alone for the first time and going to anchor overnight then proceed to Playboy Marine in the morning for a haul out to get 3 thru-hulls replaced. The day was full of last minute preparations. The bumper holder on the stern rail had to be taken off to put on the lifesling and outboard engine bracket. We needed to make sure the windlass worked so we turned on the breaker, flipped the switch…nothing. A while later we found one terminal was not connected to the battery so we hooked it up and it works again. The windlass is mounted on the anchor locker cover with no brackets holding it down and we have been pondering over solutions to this issue for a couple weeks. Today moved up the urgency to get this addressed so Mark decided to cut the anchor locker cover just in front of the windlass to mount that portion down in the future, leaving the front part of the hatch to open so we can get to the rode. He cut the cover today and someone can stand on the locker so we can use the windlass until we get the rest of the fix completed. We borrowed some charts of the area (thanks Thea and Nick!) since we do not have any yet and were ready to start the engine. It fired right up but started to smell hot quickly so we shut it down. As soon as Mark opened the front engine access panel, he remembered that he had pulled the hot water heater hose in front of a pully wheel when he was replacing an impeller and had not put the hose back. It was nearly cut through. Several boat neighbors offered up spare hoses, clamps, etc. In the end, he cut off the return hose from the water heater and used it to do a continuous loop from the output to input, bypassing the water heater. By now it is too late to head out to Lake Sylvia, so we made order of the cabin again, putting all the tools away, plugged back in the shore power, and turned the AC switches on. Shortly after starting the AC aft and forward, the forward stops working. I shut it down, restarted it, and it shut down again. I tried the programming buttons on the control panel and it still would not work. Next plan, the manual. First, check the raw water strainer which the book says should be cleaned regularly. It is full of debri. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is the issue since it now feels like 110 degrees in the cabin. I clean the filter and reattach it. I start up the forward AC, it shuts off. Try it again, it shuts off. Next the manual says it could be air in the line after the discharge pump. There is only one pump on the system so we shut off the thru-hull, loosen the clamps and try taking the hose off. The fitting below the hose clamp snaps off in Mark’s hand. We do not have any spare fittings.
Next plan, “Hey boys, do you want to sleep in the V-berth tonight? It’s so comfy up there, you’re going to love it”, I tell them. They are quite aware of what is going on and tell me I’m crazy. They hightail it back into the aft cabin and curl up in their bunks with their AC running nicely. By now it is 9:30pm and they are exhausted. In a matter of minutes they are asleep. I could carry them into the V-berth. They would never know it until morning. Instead, I head up to take the second shower of the day. Falling asleep with wet hair keeps you a little cooler.
At least we have 2 air conditioners. Another boater wanted to trade us an AC unit for some other boat part he had. A little voice inside my head told me we better keep both units. Always listen to the voice!
Fair winds ~ Christine
Dear Feichter Family,
What an adventure to hear from you all. We have certainly been entertained and swept away in the incredible tales being shared. We hope all is well and revel in the fascination of such an amazing journey. I can only imagine the magnificent life long family memories being created. I hope you can create a family story in a beautiful book when you reach the end of your journey.
Fast sails, comfortable winds, and good weather.
Thanks for the warm wishes. It has been a journey already! Hope the kids are settled into the routine of the new school year. Christine