Here is a full blog for Thu 5th to Tue 10th.
Pictures at the end...
I left Portland on Thursday afternoon, the motor mount not only having not been fixed, but additional repairs to it were being tallied against us. I made sure the boat was dry and locked up with the cats inside, and gave them four bowls of water and enough food that they didn’t like to last until sometime on Saturday… I figured they’d be okay until I got back that night… little did I know that things with AMTRAK would not go as planned.
Lastly I drove over to the Irving on Commercial Street and filled up 20 gallons of gas in jerry cans, which I then drove back and lashed to the deck on the bow. Because of the high cost of gasoline, this makes it a tempting target for thieves or people who might be desperate. In hind site, maybe I should have just marked the jerry cans, “condensed milk” or something crazy… I didn’t though, instead I ran a chain all through their handles and chained through the lifelines and a couple of cleats… I also locked them to themselves with a rather beefy padlock. On the voyage I don’t intend to move them, rather pump each one on deck into another jerry can for the fuel transfer to the main tank.. that’s if I even need fuel on the voyage, which I’m hoping I don’t exceed the base tanks 6 gallon capacity. Let me put it this way, I prefer to sail not only for the reason that I love doing it, but for environmental reasons and that now indeed fuel is gold… and I should learn to conserve the stuff. I have a couple more projects to do on Sunday when I get back, chiefly the new port and starboard navigational lights need to be installed, but the transducer for the depth sounder can’t go in, as the only part of the bilge where the angle of slope was under five percent, and that wasn’t over the keel, was in the aft section by the batteries. Unfortunately, the fiberglass here looks like it has a lot of coatings of paint and epoxy resin that is a bit too bumpy. The transducer is supposed to be mounted on a ring-base that has a slight slope, where the bottom, that needs to be flush with the hull, is affixed, then filled with mineral oil.. then the transducer sits on the ring and is tightened to it with screws… there has to be a watertight seal around the base.. and obviously with the bumpy resin and paint, I will have to figure out something else down the road…
So my drive down to Virginia began around 3pm.. I managed to avoid all major traffic james… and used my Bronco to assert itself when driving through New York City, as some people had trouble understanding what my blinker indicated. It’s fun to have a rumbling V8 that really makes the car fly when you step on it. Plus I’m seeing a lot of little cars in NYC… after the George Washington Bridge, I found people backed off.
Later, on the Jersey Turnpike near east of Trenton’s latitude, I once again got pulled over by a State Trooper who I had seen pass me earlier, then park to watch for speeders, and then re-emerge to pull me over. He was a lot nicer than the Massachusetts Statey, but gave me a written warning.. My theory is now that I was pulled over merely for driving 55 in a 65, late at night, with out of state plates… I really wasn’t weaving around or overly tired.. Before I was let go by this officer, he made me drive into the service plaza to get a cup of coffee..
As I got into Maryland, I started feeling the trip begin to drain me. Originally, I had planned to sleep in, so that I would be able to easily stay awake, but like the previous days before, had awoken at 5:30AM.. then departed that afternoon.
I felt myself falling asleep when I got into Virginia, and pulled into a very full rest area to take a quick nap. It seems with the high gas prices, a lot of people, including me, are skipping stays at hotels as we are trying to cut costs anyway we can.. I’d have to stay at a motel in Hampton or Newport News on Friday anyway…Stopping the Broco, I climbed into the passenger seat, grabbed a pillow, and was out.. for I think maybe 15 minutes, as I awoke drenched in sweat… I felt slightly better so I got back in the driver’s seat and continued my journey. Not long after, however, traffic on I-95 came to a hault, as a major accident up ahead blocked nearly all the lanes. Everybody was getting over on the left shoulder in a very disorganized way to get around the firetrucks, police cars, and a hearse. Indeed the SUV that seems to have collided with an eighteen wheeler, had it’s roof laying along side it, as it had been removed with what I suspect to have been a Maverick, a device which instead of spreading metal like the jaws of life, cuts it.
So I continued on my way, coming within 30 minutes of Hampton Roads, before stopping at yet another rest stop, where I did sleep for a couple of hours.
The first priority was finding the Amtrak station, which I did, down on Warrick Street. Then I looked for a hotel nearby, which was more of a challenge since there was a Minister’s conference going on, so everybody was either booked or charging over 100 a night. Econo Lodge up on Mercury and Aberdeen charged me only 75, but it was a little more than a no-tell Motel.. and in hind-site, I probably should have looked for something in Hampton. Vehicle storage for the Bronco also proved problematic. Uncle Bob’s said they had an outdoor spot for it, but when I got there the manager said they didn’t, and that it would have to be stored inside at a cost of $150 a month, plus insurance, plus buying a lock, plus a 20 dollar admin fee. Explaining my circumstances to the manager she gave me half off everything for the first month, so it came out to a little over $75..
In Hampton, I met up with my sailmakers, Breton and Dan Winters on Queens Way. They seemed very happy to see me, and sold me some sail ties.. when they didn’t have as many as I wanted, Breton went over to the sewing machine and made me a couple more. I like the fact that these guys are so nice, and was impressed that Dan could carry on a congenial conversation and still run around to different sides of a sail that was laying out on the loft floor and being made from fat sections of Dacron.
Before I left, Breton recommended a marina on the James River, and said they’d put in a good word for me. After I left there, I drove over to the James River and found the marina and talked to the manager about my plans.. he agreed to let me keep the boat there and gave me a pretty reasonable quote.
I then returned to Uncle Bob’s storage, backed the Bronco into a garage, locked it.. then took a cab over to the motel. The heat was stifling, and it was so humid that there was a white haze everywhere. Fortunately, I’d left the AC in the room on before I’d left earlier that morning.
A taxicab drove me quickly over to the Amtrak train station down on Warrick, and I arrived ten minutes before the doors of the office opened. When they did finally swing open I sat down in the lobby and waited for a while, as it got seriously filled up with travelers who were taking the same train. Leaving there, I walked outside to the platform and walked away from the mass of people, before sitting on some portable steps. A couple of other people stood there too.. and old black lady and her daughter. We all got to talking, and soon I learned that the daughter was also a manger of an Uncle Bob’s, and was friends with the manager of the one where I was keeping my Bronco.
When the train finally arrived, I helped her with her large bag and she let me read a book that she’d bought on her trip to Israel that she’d just returned from. It was basically a picture book which showed various Biblical sites, quotes from the Bible, and secular stuff too to let you know what you were looking at. It was very interesting,… then the problems began with the train. It kept slowing down and stopping, and this happened again, and again, and again. Soon I realized that I was endanger of missing my connection in Boston.
When the train was just about to Penn Station in New York, its locomotive died completely, and we had to wait for a rescue engine to come and tow us into the station. The original plan was for it to then take us all the way to Boston, but they decided there in New York to switch engines.. and since it took two hours, it was obvious I was going to miss my connection on the Downeaster train to Portland. I called a conductor, who said her name was Margeret, and she told me she'd try and get ahold of a trainmaster... an hour later, however, it turns out she'd left the train and done nothing. My savior was a guy named Carney, who was also a conductor. He arranged for the Amtrak Station Chief in Boston to meet me and if necessary, provide a car for me to get to Portland in. When we arrived, however, the chief decided that a hotel would be arranged, and I'd simply get a train in the morning. We were about to head for the hotel when he got a call that the Downeaster had been delayed and was still at the North Station! He got me over to the other train and the North Station and I was the last one on... I arrived then in Portland around 3am.
It was 3am, and the marina was quiet, the harbour flat. I arrived at the boat and found that Lava and Elvira were highly annoyed with me for leaving them for a few days. I gave them some wet food as a treat, and went to bed.
The next morning, I found that the new motor mount was on.. and instead of being wood, it was a polycarbonite of some kind with stainless steel support screws, probably would outlast the boat... and certainly better than what had been on there previously.
Sometime on Sunday I rememered that it was my thirty-second birthday. Not a big deal or a special occasion when you're on your own and you don't know anybody in town. Later than evening I went up to a pub and had a Bitter ale and fish and chips, but I lost my appetite half-way through and went back to the Bligh and fell asleep. Monday I was supposed to leave anyway....
Monday arrived to find a hot and muggy day with no wind to speak of... and since gas is so expensive I'm obliged to wait for a day when I can sail to Boston rather than motor there.
The good news was that the boatyard defered my bill until after the voyage and after I get back to work, this will help since I'm already over budget.
At the end of the day one of the dock boys, Kyle, used the crane to mount the motor on the back of the boat. I'm glad that's over with, now I can leave any time. After this a man let me borrow is Mercedes to get groceries and anything else I needed.. pretty nice, 300 Couple.. kind of run down, but very comfortable.
For dinner I walked down to Commerical Street and had dinner at an Irish Pub. Just a Cobb Salad and a pint of Guiness... then I walked back to the marina, to find a very heavy fog had set in, and no wind.
Today I was supposed to leave, but because of Thunderstorms that were quite severe on the coast, I was advised to wait until Wednesday.
This evening I also fixed the topping lift so it actually works like it's supposed to, rather than acting like a leash.
I plan to now leave after 5am in the morning.
The Portland Yacht Services Boat.
Bligh in her slip with her name on the back.
The car I borrowed.
Happy Birthday to nobody.
Lava peaking through hatch.
Lava on backpack.
Lava outside in cockpit as seen from inside boat.
Fletcher with Registration and motor. On Sunday morning the motor
ran just fine, as I predicted it would on a nice warm day!
Cleeves, founder of Portland from the 1600s.
Wooodworker fixing the cockpit combing on my boat.
Another shot of my boat in her slip.
The first meal I cooked on board. Chicken Stew on a bagel!!