Couch Cruising by Christine

We have been incredibly fortunate in meeting a number of fantastic cruising friends during our travels and decided that since we still have a month left in our journey it would be the perfect opportunity to work our way up the coast seeing new sights and meeting old friends along the way.  None of us have been up the east coast so we were looking forward to taking in the history and sights.

Being back on land has its challenges and negotiating the rental car system was our first challenge.  We need to get from Lancaster, VA to Fort Lauderdale and could rent a car for a decent daily price, but when I clicked the reserve button, the total price was about $600 higher than it should have been.  In looking at the details, they were going to charge a $600 fee for dropping it off in a different state than we reserved it in.  After a little bit of on-line research, I found we could rent a car airport to airport without the drop off fee.  No problem except that we are 2 hours from the closest airport in Richmond.  What I ended up doing was renting a car from the nearest town (Lancaster) to Richmond, and then renting another car from Richmond to Fort Lauderdale.

After playing the rental car shuffle, we arrived in Fort Lauderdale and went to the storage unit to pick up our vehicle, which was covered in pine needles.  Mark hooked up the battery and it faithfully started right up.  We transferred everything from the rental car into our car, dropped the rental off at the airport, ran a few errands and headed to our friend’s house, Lee & Tina’s, by supper time.  Ross and Astrid had been on their boat in Ft. Lauderdale for the weekend and they met us at Lee & Tina’s for a reunion supper.  What a fantastic evening.

Ross, Astrid, Lee and Tina are two couples that helped make this trip possible.  Thank you!  We couldn't have done it without you.

Ross, Astrid, Lee and Tina are two couples that helped us prepare for the trip. Thank you! We couldn’t have done it without you.

Ross and Astrid’s house was our home base for the next few days.  We love staying with them and were looking forward to relaxing at our home away from home.  When the boys took their bags upstairs, they lay down on the carpet and were talking about how luxurious and soft it felt.  Carpet was something I have taken for granted my whole life.

The following day we ran a few more errands in Fort Lauderdale and dropped some things off at Sailorman to sell on consignment.

Sailorman is a great place to leave gear on consignment.

Sailorman is a great place to leave gear on consignment.

That evening we had arranged to get together with our friends at Riviera where we lived on our boat for a couple months while getting ready for the trip.  It was so good to see everyone again and share a potluck like we had done so many times with them while we lived there.

The dock we stayed at had caved in during a heavy rain a few weeks earlier.

The dock we stayed at had caved in during a heavy rain a few weeks earlier.

We had originally planned on returning to Riviera after the Bahamas but took the cave in as a sign that we had made the right decision in going up the ICW.  We had such a fun evening that I forgot to take a group picture, but I did get a picture of some of the girls enjoying the evening.

Good to see you again Riviera gang.  Looking forward to you all visiting us in Idaho!

Good to see you again Riviera gang. Looking forward to you all visiting us in Idaho!

While Astrid and Ross worked during the day, we went out to play.  We went to a nature preserve and learned more about the flora and fauna of Florida. walk in florida

Another day we went to a dolphin center. dolphin

Florida's trash is turned into a mountain and they also make energy out of it.  Check it out.  http://monarchhill.wm.com

Florida’s trash is turned into a mountain and they also make energy out of it. Check it out. http://monarchhill.wm.com

The trash turned into a hill in the background.  It is the only elevation in the area!

The trash turned into a hill in the background. It is the only elevation in the area!

One of the evenings at their house, we all went to another friend’s for dinner and had a surprise birthday cake for Cole.  His birthday was coming up in a few days, but we wanted to celebrate with our Florida friends too.

Cole's first birthday party-toasting cake with Logan and Ross.

Cole’s birthday party-toasting cake with Logan and Ross.

We enjoyed some down time at their house, spent time planning the next couple stops on our journey, relaxed in their pool, reveled in cooking in a house kitchen again.

Another fantastic dinner with the Hunton's.

Another fantastic dinner with the Hunton’s on their porch

It was hard to say goodbye, but it was time for us to move on to catch our next cruising friends.

Ross and Astrid, thank you for all your support.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

Ross and Astrid, thank you for all your support. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Next stop, Georgia for the cruiser family reunion.  Truansea, Southern Bound and Eleon were the kid boats and we had spent a few months together in the Bahamas.  The boys were so excited to see everyone again that they counted down the miles for what seemed like a hundred miles.  When we arrived, the kids instantly took off together in a pack.  What did they enjoy doing together?  Water activities of course.  We swam in their pool, went to the river to swim and went to a local waterpark.

Logan, Cole and Nick in the O'Sheill's pool.

Nick, Logan, and Cole in the O’Sheill’s pool.

It was extremely hard to get everyone to hold still for a picture.

It was extremely hard to get everyone to stop for a picture at the local swimming hole in the river.  They were having too much fun and did not want to be bothered to hold still!

Logan, John, Nick and Cole being silly.

Logan, John, Nick and Cole being silly.

We also enjoyed time just hanging out.  The kids did not really want to go anywhere; they just wanted to spend time together.  It was Cole’s birthday while we were there so, of course, we had a party.

Cole's birthday card from Eleon.

Cole’s birthday card from Eleon.

Cole's birthday party in Georgia.

Cole’s birthday party in Georgia.

Being silly at Cole's party.

Everyone being silly at Cole’s party.

Mark, Candi and Chip relaxing on Southern Bound's porch.

Mark, Candi and Chip relaxing on Southern Bound’s porch.

It came time to say goodbye to our friends, again.  We’re looking forward to the next time we see each other.

The cruising families all together.

The cruising families all together.

We all seem to have a hard time controlling ourselves.  I wonder if we’re ever going to get along in normal society again?

We all seem to have a hard time controlling ourselves. I wonder if we’re ever going to get along in normal society again?

Next stop, Charleston, SC to see Moonshadow.

It is so good to see you again Laurie!

It is so good to see you again Laurie!

Rob belongs to a rowing team so he took us out in one of the boats and we rowed across the bay for dinner.

Rob, Logan, Christine, Cole and Laurie ready to row.

Rob, Logan, Cole, Christine and Laurie ready to row.

Aren't they the most beautiful couple?  I am so jealous of their hair.  Vanessa & Paul Brown who we met at the restaurant we rowed over to.

Aren’t they the most beautiful couple? I am so jealous of their hair. Vanessa & Paul Brown who we met at the restaurant we rowed over to.

After dinner we returned to Moonshadow for a game of Gulf with the masters who taught it to us.  The next day we decided to do something non-nautical and went bowling.

Truansea bowling with Moonshadow.

Truansea bowling with Moonshadow.  Yes, we had to wear socks and shoes.

When are you coming to Idaho Laurie?

Bowling babes!

Next evening, on to Mark’s cousin Lori and Steve’s in Charlotte, NC.  We had a fantastic southern BBQ meal at their house and enjoyed a quiet evening together catching up while the kids played Lego’s, Nerf guns and listened to Jake play guitar.  It was fun to hear stories about when Lori and Mark were kids.

Jake and Ashley (second cousins) building Legos with Logan and Cole.

Jake and Ashley (second cousins) building Lego’s with Logan and Cole.

Mark had not seen his cousin Lori for about 20 years.

Mark had not seen his cousin Lori for about 20 years.

Next on to Ruckersville, Virginia to John and Marty’s house (the new owners of Truansea).  We drove part of the way along the beautiful Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail.

View from the Appalachian Trail.

We have heard so much about their home in the country, neighborhood friends, the band and everything there is to do at ‘Camp Whitlow’ that we could not wait to get there.  We pulled up in their driveway and were greeted by Marty’s smiling face waiting for us on the front porch.

The first day we headed off to Monticello, the home of our third president, Thomas Jefferson.

Us in front of Monticello.  What a day, packed with a months worth of home schooling history for the boys.

Us in front of Monticello. What a day, packed with a months worth of home schooling history for the boys.

That evening John took the boys fishing.  Fish was caught by all, but Logan caught ‘the big one’ and has the picture to prove it.

Logan and John with 'The Big One'.

Logan and John with ‘The Big One’.

Marty fishing with the boys at the Whitlow Pond.

Marty fishing with the boys at the Whitlow’s Pond.

Cole with a bass he caught.

Cole with a bass he caught.

Marty took our boys and the neighbor girl, Maggie, down to another neighbors house swimming the next day where they were met by a few more kids.  After swimming and supper, all the kids rejoined at yet another neighbors house for an evening of flashlight tag.  All we could hear was the sounds of running feet and kids voices in the night.

That evening, John and Marty had arranged a dinner at their house and our very own private concert by Scuffletown.

Friends...

Friends with Marty and John.

John playing accordion with the band.  You're never heard the accordion like John plays it.  Incredible!

John playing accordion with the band. You’re never heard the accordion like John plays it. Incredible!

Logan, Cole and Maggie enjoying the concert.

Logan, Cole and Maggie enjoying the concert in the foreground.

John is playing his harmonica in the following video.

John is playing his accordion in this video.

This is one of the boys favorite songs which John wrote and sings in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya4C7ZKSF60&feature=youtu.be 2223 scuffletown song

The song Scuffletown.

The next evening was another group meal at their house with Marty’s sister.  After that we went to yet another neighbors house where one of the kids made balloon creations for everyone, even the adults.  Thanks for the Unicorn Zac!

All the neighbor kids with their balloon creations by Zac.

All the neighbor kids with their balloon creations by Zac.

Marty and Mark enjoying the evening at the neighbors.

Marty and Mark enjoying the evening at the neighbors.

Have you ever tried pickled eggs?  They are quite popular in the south.  Love them!

Have you ever tried pickled eggs? They are quite popular in the south. Love them!  These were pickled in a beet juice.

Mary, Christine, John, Cole and Logan on the front porch at Camp Whitlow.

Mary, Christine, John, Cole and Logan on the front porch at Camp Whitlow.

We reluctantly left Camp Whitlow to see Truansea one last time and get our boat belongings out of storage and put into our vehicle.  We stopped at James Madison’s (4th president) house, Montpelier, on our way.  There seems to be presidential history every 5 miles along the way in Virginia.

Montpellier

Montpellier, the home of James Madison.

Did you know tea used to come in bricks like this?  When you wanted a cup, you would break a piece off and let it brew in your hot water like loose tea.  This is what was dumped in the water at the Boston Tea Party.

Did you know that tea used to be shipped in bricks? When you wanted a cup, you would break a piece off and let it brew in your hot water like loose tea. This is what was dumped in the water at the Boston Tea Party.

We arrived at the marina late morning.  If you look closely inside the car and on the roof rack, we have packed a great deal of gear already.  Do you think it is all going to fit?

Packing the rest of our Truansea gear in our vehicle.

Packing the rest of Truansea gear in our vehicle.

Well, it almost fit.  We shipped 7 boxes of various sizes back to Boise, then we were on our way.  It is truly amazing that you can fit everything you need for a year (minus consumables) in a vehicle.

All our gear (minus 7 boxes) from Truansea fit in our car.

All our gear (minus 7 boxes) from Truansea fit in our car.  I love this shot with our previous ‘home’ for the year behind the car.

The new owners were having a bottom job and a couple other things done on Truansea so she was on the hard.  We said our final goodbye to her and continued on toward Washington DC.

So long Truansea.  Happy voyages for you to come...

So long Truansea. Happy voyages for you to come…

There are a variety of strange sights one sees along the way on a road trip.  This one we just had to take a picture of.

There is a story here to be sure.

There is a story here to be sure.

George Washington’s (1st president) birthplace was along our route so we stopped in.

George Washington's birthplace.  You can see the outline of the foundation of the house which burned down when he was a child.

George Washington’s birthplace. You can see the outline of the foundation of the house which burned down when he was a child.

The house burned down when he was young and the only piece salvaged from the fire that they put in the memorial house for him is this table.

The round table is the only piece of furniture salvaged from his Washington's house he was born in.

The round table is the only piece of furniture salvaged from his Washington’s house he was born in.

Negotiating the DC hotel reservation system proved to be another back-to-land challenge.  What we take for granted as included in most of America’s hotels is not included here.  I had to make sure I was comparing apples to apples in figuring out the best hotel price.  The lowest price hotels did not include parking (extra $45 per day), no continental breakfast, wi-fi was not free and there is no frig in the room.   Access to the Metro (to get to downtown DC) was a long ways away from the less expensive hotels, and no Metro passes were included with the room.  If you included one weekend night in your stay, the price was cheaper and reserving at least 3 days in advance, the price was less.  In the end, we paid more for a room than we wanted but it included free parking, free wi-fi, 2 daily Metro passes and the Metro left from the hotel.

This metro escalator was so steep, it was like a roller coast ride.

This metro escalator was so steep, it was like a roller coast ride.

I had a predetermined vision in my head of what The Smithsonian looked like and thought it was one huge museum that covered a few blocks.  The Smithsonian is actually a bunch of separate museums scattered for blocks around ‘The Mall’.  The National Mall is a threadbare grass area that runs for blocks from the Washington Monument to The White House.

Be prepared to walk – a lot.  Not only do you walk a lot in the museums, but a lot between the museums, the Metro, the hotel room, etc.  Also bring a pack with water bottles and snacks.  There is what I called ‘food truck row’ which you could find just about anything you wanted, but it is a long way from some of the museums.  It was also helpful to be able to stop and take snack breaks whenever we wanted.

Another tip for going to Washington is grocery shop before you get to DC and take a cooler to your room.  We ate breakfast, took our own lunches with us and sometimes made our own supper in the room, which saved a lot.

There was so much to do in DC, we quickly realized we needed to make a priority list.  First on the list were the Air and Space Museum and Museum of Natural History.  The rest was equal to us so our strategy became to see everything we wanted to in each area before moving to the next block.

One day we did take a bus tour to see the monuments.  We could have taken a combination of the underground Metro and Metro buses to get to them but in the interest of efficiency, we took a tour.  The tour bus was not as efficient as we had hoped and it would have been just as fast to use the Metro system to see everything.

What a stark contrast seeing a mounted policeman texting in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

The mounted police in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

The mounted police in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

It was amazing to see the Lincoln Memorial in person.

It was amazing to see the Lincoln Memorial in person.

The Washington Monument in the background.

The Washington Monument in the background.

There is Idaho on the top row of the Lincoln Memorial building.

There is Idaho on the top row of the Lincoln Memorial building.

The Vietnam wall was very moving.  People pay their respects and leave everything from photos to motorcycles to honor those lost in the war.

The Vietnam wall was very moving. People pay their respects and leave everything from photos to motorcycles to honor those lost in the war.

Remember this from the movie Night at the Museum?  This was in the Natural History Museum where part of the film was made.  We also saw the T-Rex that was in the movie as well as a few other artifacts.

Remember this from the movie Night at the Museum?  “You new Dum-dum.  You give me gum-gum.”  This was in the Natural History Museum where part of the film was made. We also saw the T-Rex that was in the movie as well as a few other artifacts.

I found Lucy fascinating.

I found Lucy fascinating.  She was only 3 foot 7 inches tall.

All of you cruisers have had fun watching the flying fish and some of you have had them land in your cockpits.  I thought you would all enjoy the following exhibit about them. flying fish

The capital.

The capital.

One of the beautiful statues in Washington DC.

One of the beautiful statues in Washington DC.

After a whirlwind three days in DC, we were ready to move on.  Next stop, New York City to see a classmate of mine, which I had not seen in 28 years, since high school.  Getting into NYC was an experience in itself.

New York City in the distance.

New York City in the distance.

One of the tolls going in to NYC.  Take plenty of cash with you.  It seems like it cost us about $35 to get into NYC.

One of the tolls going in to NYC. Take plenty of cash with you. It seems like it cost us about $35 to get into NYC.

Kellie, an old high school classmate, shows me the sweater she found in her chest that I knitted for her our senior year in high school.

Kellie, an old high school classmate, shows me the sweater she found in her chest that I knitted for her our senior year in high school.  I had completely forgotten I made this but it came back to me once I saw it.

Kellie, a Pardeeville HIgh School classmate, me, her youngest son Anthony, Logan and Cole.

Kellie, a Pardeeville HIgh School classmate, me, her youngest son Anthony, Logan and Cole.

Splitting lanes in NYC.

Splitting lanes in NYC.

From NYC we went on to Mystic, Connecticut to stay with cruising friends Ginnie and Ted from s/v Firecracker.  Of course, we shared fantastic meals with them, the boys sharpened their pool playing skills, went sightseeing around Mystic, including seeing Mystic Pizza where part of the 1988 film Mystic Pizza was taken, and Ginnie took us on a tour of the last school she set up before retirement, the Marine Science Magnet High School.  Here is a link to the school which you will find quite impressive. http://www.marinesciencemagnet.org

Cole, Logan and Ginnie in front of the Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeast Connecticut.

Cole, Logan and Ginnie in front of the Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeast Connecticut.  What an accomplishment you made Ginnie in building this school from the ground up!

Simulator in the school where students can earn time towards their captains license.

Simulator in the school where students could earn time towards their captains license.

Every last detail was thoroughly thought through, right down to the lighting that represents a sail.

Every last detail was thoroughly thought through, right down to the lighting that has a nautical look with a modern twist.

One of the school's fish labs.

One of the school’s fish labs with the principal (Dr. Spera) giving us a tour.

The common areas in the school were very welcoming and practical.

The common areas in the school were very welcoming.

This common area had very inviting seats.

This common area had inviting seats.

Another common area had seats on the sides that looked like waves, yet were very comfortable and the round lunch tables foster togetherness.

Another area had seats on the sides that looked like waves, yet were very comfortable and the round lunch tables foster togetherness.

Logan, Cole, Mark, Ginnie and Ted from s/v Firecracker.

Logan, Cole, Mark, Ginnie and Ted from s/v Firecracker.

We could have easily stayed longer.  There was so much to see and do in Mystic but it was time to move on.

Next to Boston, to visit Gayle and Julia from s/v Esprit.  Mark originally met them on his first boat-shopping trip in Florida.  They are the most organized people I have ever met and provided us with so much information as we prepared for our trip.  We had been trying to meet up with them in the Bahamas but kept missing each other.  This was another one of those meant-to-be moments.  We called them to find out where they were at in their travels and our paths were essentially crossing that day.

We finally caught up with Gayle and Julia.

We finally caught up with Gayle and Julia.

Boston's double decker bridge.

Boston’s double decker bridge.

Next to visit more Nordhaven friends, Don and Debbie from Valkyrie at their cabin in Maine on beautiful lake Sebec.  Our friends had a few landscaping projects we were able to help with in exchange for a great stay in Maine. Mark also took the opportunity to change the brakes and rotors on our vehicle which had rusted after so many months of sitting in Florida causing the brakes to pulse.

Don not only let the boys take the dinghy out whenever they wanted, but he also let them drive the Bobcat.

Logan running the Bobcat.

Logan running the Bobcat.

Cole running the Bobcat.

Cole running the Bobcat.

A little R&R after work and play!

A little R&R after work and play!

Logan running the big boat.

Logan running the big boat.

Cole having fun being pulled on the tube.

Cole having fun being pulled on the tube.

Logan on the tube.

Logan on the tube.

Morning on the back deck of the cabin.

Morning on the back deck of the cabin.

Loons on the lake.  I have not heard loons since I was a kid camping in northern Wisconsin.  If you have never heard one, you need to.   It is indescribable.  It ranks right up there with hearing elk bugling and howler monkeys calling.

Common Loons on Lake Sebec. I have not heard loons since I was a kid camping in northern Wisconsin. Their song ranks right up there with the sounds of elk bugling and howler monkeys calling in the jungle.

Cozy cabin.

Cozy cabin.

Logan with Don and Debbie at a falls on a hike.

Logan with Don and Debbie at a falls on a hike.

Big falls Maine.

Waterfall we hiked to in Maine.

Another sight along side a road that wanted to share with you.

I am glad we lived on a boat and not a yellow submarine for a year!

The birch bark paper canoe Mark made is soon to take it's maiden voyage.

Always the boat builder, Mark made a little birchbark canoe soon to take its maiden voyage.

Logan, Cole, Mark, Christine, Don and Debbie.

Logan, Cole, Mark, Christine, Don and Debbie.

Mark thinking about our journey ending soon.

Mark quite sad seeing fall on the way, thinking about our journey ending soon.

Don and Deb - looking forward to seeing you in Idaho!

Don and Deb – looking forward to seeing you in Idaho!

Sailing their Catalina.

Sailing their Catalina.

Deb had everything for rock painting.  The boys left a few painted rocks around camp.

Deb had everything for rock painting. The boys left a few painted rocks around camp.

Maine lobster is quite different from the Bahamas Spiny Lobster.

Maine lobster is quite different from the Bahamas Spiny Lobster.

What a sunset.

What a sunset.

As always, it is hard to say good-bye but time to move on to our next stop – Canada and The Bay of Fundy.  The Bay of Fundi is known for its extreme tides.  While we were here, the tide range was 35 feet.  I would not want to anchor our sailboat here!

Low tide on the Bay of Fundy.

Low tide on the Bay of Fundy.

Just 6 hours later makes such a difference.  High tide on the bay.

Just 6 hours later makes such a difference. High tide on the bay.

There has been a number of covered bridges in the area.  This one lead to our campground.

One of the many covered bridges we have encountered.

One of several covered bridges we have encountered.

Does the tooth fairy visit Canada?  You bet she does, and yes, she leaves loonies.

Cole's tooth he lost in Canada.

Cole’s tooth he lost in Canada.

His tooth was not taken however and the next night Cole left it under his pillow again to see if he could double his money.  He was left with a note written in French.  We still need to find someone to read it for us.  The only word we could figure out was dente.

There is absolutely beautiful hiking here.

Falls in Maine.

Falls in Canada.

We will continue west across from here.  Next stop, Graeme and Laura’s (s/v Sweet Chariot Too).

Fair Driving ~ Christine

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3 thoughts on “Couch Cruising by Christine

  1. So are you ready to go horseback riding yet? Your stirrup muscles need to get back in shape. I might even be able to find you a horse to “exercise”.

  2. What a saga! Will the boys be back in school this year? Aunt Helen wanted to know. She also thinks that you could stop and see her on your way back from New York to Idaho! Nothing new here. My mom is holding on but failing before our eyes. Keep in touch and let us know when you are home again. Judi

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