Wednesday, March 13, 2019

We crossed our wake in style!

TANUKI crossed her wake at 12:31 on 2/24/2019, near Marathon Key and the 10th Annual Sunset Celebration where 200 AGLCA members (Loopers) were gathered to party.  Kim, the leader of the American Great Loop Cruisers Association gave us a shout out and we got a nice round of applause.  We didn't totally hijack the party, but we feel like we had the biggest, best attended Looper Crossing Party ever!

We bid a fond farewell as the 10th Annual AGLCA Sunset Celebration draws to a close.  
 And for our next trick... 

After crossing your wake, it's traditional to make an announcement on the AGLCA Forum.  We used all the names of the boats on the back of the Fleet of 2018 Tee shirt in our crossing post.  


We are JUBILANT!  SOMEDAY came AT LAST! It’s time to EXHALE and cross that off our BUCKET LIST.  Our NOMADIC SPIRIT’s ODYSSEY has come to its SUMMATION, ending our BUSHRANGER ways. 

Even though we were TYRO (novice), it was HIGH TIME we followed LE REVE (the dream) and took the VIRIDIAN colored SEA TROLLEY and got on the BANDWAGON for GETTING’ LOOPED.  

After having a PHARM LIFE (we spelled it Farm), it was SUM ESCAPE from HARDWORK!  (Even though we took THE HOME OFFICE with us).  STILL WATERS at an EASY PACE made for a HAPPY DESTINY of HALCYON DAYS and FOREVER FRIDAYs.

IMAGINE, the BEST DAY EVER, A STATE OF BLISS, or a SABBATICAL that comes along once in a BLUE MOON.  Our INTUITION told us, this was no WILD GOOSE chase.  Our PUB TRAWLER had plenty of WHISKEY BUSINESS, WINE SPEED and DOCK TALES – bring the CORKSCREW for the GRAND CRU, and some MONTEREY and crackers too! 

Smuggling only CONTENTMENT on this KESSEL RUN, we took our EXODUS from Key West on 2/27/2018, and followed a WANDERING STAR, or was it VEGA?  Ringing a DIXIE BELLE, the FIRST FORTY were done SOUTHERN STYLE, cruising CAROLINA (South, then North).  

OUR BACKYARD spent many HAPPY OURS on the circular BLUE HIGHWAY, arriving at a PROPER STATE OF MIND for QUIET COMPANY.  It was a CHANGE OF PACE, but not a SEA CHANGE.  In this HYPNAUTIC SHANGRI-LA we were DONE DIGGIN’.  It was PLANE RELIEF to go TRUE NORTH, or was it EASTNOR?

PLAN SEA turned into LAKE EFFECT as our VOYAGER’s new REALITY was the AMAZING GRACE of Canada.  It was our LAST CHANCE to be a LAZY LOOPER. Did we SEA LOONS?  Yes, and a BLUE GOOSE and a KITTIWAKE. EAGLE ONE?  Heck no – saw tons of eagles, but never a NEPIDAE with GREEN EYES or even BLUE AYES.

We didn’t get off SCOTTFREE. Our NEW FREEDOM was interrupted by a CONFLICT OF INTEREST.  In Petoskey, we had to STEALAWAY and told TANUKIwe’d BE BACK IN A MINUTE. Actually it was 9 ½ days. In a FLASH, our INDEPENDENCE was reinstated.  LET’S GO!

Next came the RIVERDANCE. We LET IT RIDE at the CROSSROADS of JUBILEE and TYRE-LESS, the UNRULY ZENDEAVOR pushing thoughts of UTOPIA from our heads.  Did you HEARKEN to chants of MIZZOU RAH at the FRATT HOUSE near Missouri too?  

Like a FREE BIRD, it was pure RHAPSODY as this VAGABOND splashed into the CAERULEUS colored waters of Mobile Bay!  This SALTY DOG was back in DIXIE.   And even though we anchored off Homosassa Springs, we didn’t see a MANATEE.  In Tarpon Springs we found sponges, but no LOOFAH.

We listened to lots of Jimmy Buffet, but never at LA CIGALE in Paris.  For me and my BABE, Our daily SPIRIT SONG was “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me! Hey!”  (While in Canada, “Hey!” became “Eh?”).  

OBSERVERs of our NOMADIC SPIRIT want to know what our NEXT ACT will be on our LIL HIDE AWAY.  As it WAS MEANT TO BE, we don’t have NINE LIVES, so perhaps we’ll take a SHORT VACATION, CHA CHA lessons, celebrate FESTIVUS or take a CAJUN FLYER for some crawfish.

It was AL DI LA (beyond) MOLTO BENE (very good)!  This SEA WOLF is now a SATISFIED FROG.  It’s HI TIME this TIKI QUEEN STEELs AWEIGH to enjoy the warm BREEZEs of Key West.  VIVA THE GOOD LIFE! We’re on ISLAND TIME contemplating a trip to the Dry TORTUGAs, or perhaps the Triangle Loop. 

THE JOURNEY is far from over for A.G.L.C.A. OPTIMYSTIQUE GYPSYs.  Each MORNING SUN brings BRAVEHEARTs and NAUTICAL DREAMERs to a fresh DREAMQUEST, not of THISTLE, but of a SEA JAMM SERANADE and MOONDANCE in SCORPIO or AQUARIUS with CHIRON and ELPIS, during a TOTAL ECLIPSE.  Let your SOULSHINE!  OAR KNOT!  Remember, it’s JADIP (Just Another Day In Paradise).

Cruising is FAHFROMWURKEN, and a GOLDEN opportunity to find XANADU and maybe even ALLISON LEIGH, ALYSANA, ANGEL LOUISE, ANGELITA, ANNE MARIE ROSE, ANTONIA, CAREB, DONNA MAE, FELICITY, FRANCESCA, ISLAND GIRL, JOJOFA, JOY GIRL, KAILINI, KARA MIA, LADYBUG, LINDA ANNE, MARY LISA, MAZIE C, MERIAKI, MISS LIBERTY, MISS NATALIE, MISTY (and her cousin MISTY PEARL), NED PEPPER, NELLIE MAY, PAMELA ANNE, Mick on PHANTOM (and Herb on PHANTOM), SALTY LADY, SAOIRSE, THE LITTLE HOOKER, and the TRIBE OF G. HEY JUDE!

And on THE 7thDAY: SELAH

Hopefully we worked in all the names on the back of the Fleet of 2018 AGLCA tee shirt.  If we missed yours, please don’t take offense. What a ride!  

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Loopy Trip Around the Sun

In just a few days I hope to celebrate my 60th birthday and start my 61st trip around the sun.  
 
A sunset, and one of the reasons we love cruising.
The view changes everytime we move.
We’re also very close to crossing our wake on the Great Loop.  We started the Loop from Stock Island Marina, just north of Key West on February 27, 2018.  We’ve listened to lots of Jimmy Buffet songs along the way.   “Trip Around the Sun” is playing in my head as I create this blog post.


The Great Loop is an allegory for life itself.  Like Spring, we left the Florida Keys fresh and new.  Traveling north, Spring felt endless as robins sang and flowers bloomed all the way up the East Coast. 

Summer found us in Canada, where we were much closer to the North Pole.  The incredibly long days gave us ample time to hone our cruising skills. 

Heading south, Fall’s shorter days forced us to slow down.  We worked to master our skills and enjoyed Fall’s spectacular colors and cooler days.  

View from an anchorage along the river system.

We’re now in the Winter of our Loop.  I know this, because we’re in Florida, along with piles and piles of people with snow-colored hair enjoying warm Florida Winters.  

Some of Florida's seniors with snow-colored hair.

To paraphrase Jimmy Buffet’s “Trip Around the Sun”, ‘I’m just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning.  It’s good to know it’s out of my control.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all this living, it’s that it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go.’

The centrifugal force from our spin around the Loop seems to have helped us let go. And you know what?  Letting go didn’t change the fact that the world keeps on spinning!  It’s really is not in our control.

The first thing we let go of was a lot of our “stuff” – no more cars, houses, furniture, excess clothing and more. It was surprisingly liberating.  

The most dangerous thing on a boat is a schedule.  The next thing we let go of was the need for a schedule. Initially I scheduled to blog once a month.  Whew, what a relief when that plan went overboard somewhere on the Great Lakes.  

We thought we’d be in Clearwater around Thanksgiving.  The world snickered at us as we drove from Mobile AL for Thanksgiving.  This change of plans also changed our route and we got to spend some quality time with Jerry’s brother and sister-in-law on our way to the big family celebration in St. Augustine.

Yeah, Lisa and Chris are a ton of fun!
Thanksgiving 2018
Nine grands, three wonderful children and their spectacular spouses and Momma.
So grateful!
We also got to visit the USS Alabama and a submarine museum when we were in Mobile.
We had plans to be in Boca Grande and home for Christmas Eve.  Once again, the world rolled its eyes and asked, “Are you guys slow learners, or what?” The weather changed our plan and we drove home from Steinhatchee.  On the bright side, the drive was considerably shorter, and this afforded us time to reacquaint ourselves with friends we’d made in Steinhatchee; a town we’d lived in about a decade before.

Someone in the little sleepy town of Steinhatchee put up an amazing Christmas display.  
Nothing says "Christmas" like Minions.  
We were there long enough that we got to see them take it down.

By the time we had returned from Christmas visits, I guess the world thought we still needed more lessons on letting go of scheduling.  Doctors’ visits turned into tests.  More tests held us in Sarasota for longer than we had planned. 

In its kindness, the world gave us lots to do.  We enjoyed Sarasota and visited with lots of friends and family while we waited for results.  The upshot of the tests is that, for now, all is well.  We’ll just watch and wait.  
 
Jean and Joe Abrams were the best man and maid of honor
at my parent's wedding more than 62 years ago.

Cousin Mary, on my Mom's side.
She lives in Bradenton and saw my Facebook post and came to visit.

Our friend Gretchen also came to visit from Venice Beach.

Lynn and Byron on Miss Understood
were also at Marina Jack in Sarasota.
 We visited the Ringling Art Museum and
other attractions with them.
Audubon Society park in Celery Fields

A "walking tree" aka Banyon tree, part of the park near Marina Jack.
While in Sarasota we also enjoyed visiting with Wanda and Dave aboard SoulShine, John and Marilyn aboard Blue Goose, and Pat and Janet aboard At Last.
A different trip took us to the new dirt home in Punta Gorda of Nancy and Jeff abord Exile.


Since the last blog on November 1st, we’ve met many Loopers who are in medical “watch and wait” situations.  We’ve all learned to enjoy the ride and not fret.  It doesn’t do any good to worry.  We’re eager to take more trips around the sun, so we’ve improved our diets and walk more. 

The beach on Fort Walton Beach is a good place to walk.
We enjoyed our walks with John and Donna aboard Socially Sea Cured.

Along the Loop, we heard about minor and major mechanical failures affecting Looper boats.  Just four cruising days from crossing our wake in Key West, we counted ourselves lucky to have avoided a “no-go” mechanical situation.  

As we were leaving Salty Sam’s Marina a critical part of Tanuki’s electrical system failed.  Right now, as long as she’s getting power at the dock, her appliances, like the refrigerator, work fine.  But they don’t work when she’s underway or at anchor.  That makes this a no-go situation.  

Salty Sam’s Marina welcomed us back and it looks like we’ll be here for about a month. We’re happily stuck in Fort Myers Beach with plenty of room to walk, good restaurants and stores nearby, and pretty good weather too.  And, since we won’t have to drive home from Key West for events in February, our drive back home has been cut in half. Not only that, but I find myself with time and inspiration for updating the blog!


It's easy to get seafood here.
Just walk in either direction and you'll find shrimpers and fishermen selling their catch.

Left: Jerry and Debbie aboard Whiskey Business, Lauren and Jim aboard Oar Knot, Don and Jan aboard Time to Breathe and us at Cape Coral's Ford's Garage for an impromptu gathering.  
We have tickets to ride the Key West Express, a commercial ferry that brings passengers to Key West and back.  It’s 2 blocks from Salty Sam’s.  We’ve booked a couple of nights at the hotel at Stock Island Marina where we began the Loop and we’re looking forward to reconnecting with cruising friends in the Keys.  

As it turns out, we’ll probably finish the Loop before Tanuki does.  She’ll probably complete the Great Loop when she’s ship shape again.  We don’t know when, and we don’t know exactly where we’ll cross our wake; but we think we’ve finally learned the lesson about letting go of schedules. Time will tell.

Some of the souvenirs we have from this trip around the Great Loop are these lessons, a closer relationship, more relaxed attitudes, our ship’s log, this blog, pictures, videos, stories and memories. 

Only time will tell if it was time well spent.  This old world keeps on spinning.  We’re glad we went when we went.  

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery; today is the day.  Enjoy each day of your trip around the sun. 
My brothers' and their families.  My new IPad wall paper! 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Dodge-a-WHAT????


A cruising buddy on Au Contraire sent us a text wondering if we were all right.  They hadn’t seen a blog in a while.  We’re fine.  Life got in the way. 
 
A quiet anchorage in the North Channel.  In Robison's Bay we saw a moonless night, no light pollution and stars from horizon to horizon.  Some were reflected in the still water making for a most memorable experience.

We were in Canada’s picturesque North Channel, as far from home as the Great Loop trip would take us when we learned that Jerry’s Mom had broken her wrist.  There were no airports or even rental car agencies, and we were out of the country!  


Flying both the Canadian and American flags, we pass back into the USA.

Other family members rallied to her aide while we raced at trawler speed (twice the speed of walking – that’s all we got), putting in 10-hour days, clearing customs and arriving at Petoskey, Michigan.  We stashed Tanuki and rented cars and booked planes for the trek from upper Michigan to central Florida.  

Returning 10 days later, we were reunited with pals on SoulShine and began a game of dodge-the-weather on Lake Michigan.  The locals call her “Lake Witch-again”.  (That’s the PG version). The four of us studied weather apps and decided which port we wanted to be forced to relax in next. 

 
A gift left by a resident in one of the Michigan ports we stopped in.  We cooked it all up and had a feast with SoulShine and Adagio.  Being forced to relax wasn't all bad.

There’s a rule of thumb that says Loopers should be through Chicago by Labor Day.  Between the unplanned side trip to Florida and the uncooperative weather on Lake Michigan, we worried that we wouldn’t get to the Windy City before the Lake got really testy.  That would have forced us to winterize Tanuki and leave her in Michigan.  
 
Chicago 



Weather windows opened and soon after Labor Day, we arrived to the gleaming city of Chicago at the bottom of Lake Michigan.  The city itself is beautiful.  The new river walkway and pedestrian friendly atmosphere and parks were delightful.  



The Architectural Tour was a great way to see the city.

The most unique wading pool we'd ever seen.  

Our view from the DuSable marina

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza was disappointing.  Three Looper couples went out to one of the very best Chicago style pizza joints (according to the locals). At the end of the evening there was some pizza left. No one wanted to take it home! And Loopers love leftovers!

We were constantly running into Loopers, some of whom had already cruised the next leg of our trip: the rivers. 

“How did you like the rivers?” I’d ask hopefully.

The most common reply included a wrinkled nose and the quiet admission, “It wasn’t my favorite.” 

Once we got into the rivers, I could see why. 

Remember the movie, The Wizard of Oz?  In it Dorothy and Toto are hurled into a beautiful, colorful world where everyone is nice (except the Wicked Witch and her creepy flying monkeys).  The vivid colors, generosity and friendliness expressed during the Lollipop Guild scene mirrored our experience on the Great Loop.  

Near the end of the movie, Dorothy mutters, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…” When she wakes, the bright colors and whimsy are gone.  The film ends, as it began, in stark black and white.  The section of the Great Loop between Chicago and Paducah, KY is various shades of grey. 

Compared to the scenic rivers and canals we’d been in, these rivers and canals were industrial and barely inhabited. The veins and arteries that run through America’s heartland are clogged with barges and tows and lined with loading and unloading facilities, cement plants, the occasional strip mined mountain, and coal-powered factories and power plants.  

 
A "small" tow - just 6 barges





In Canada’s river and canal system, we met many cheerful workers as we traversed their well-kept locks. We conversed with them, passed them gifts of cookies, and always exchanged smiles.  They seemed genuinely happy to see us. 

In the post-Chicago locks we almost never saw any workers. Here military craft have first priority, followed by commercial passenger vessels, commercial tows, commercial fishing vessels, and finally pleasure craft (PCs), or as the lockmasters think of us, “gnats”.  

Our boats are small, travel in packs and “buzz” their radio channels and phone lines trying to find out the best time for passage.  The lockmasters find PCs truly annoying.  It was so different from the love-fest that was Canada’s Trent Severn Waterway and New York’s Canal System.  

In Canada, the locks are run by the Parks Department.  Many of the locks were proudly decorated with flower and vegetable gardens, hoping to win the annual “best garden” award.  The lock walls were welcoming places where, for a small fee, boaters could tie up and spend the night and walk into town.

The Army Corps of Engineers run the lock system in America’s heartland.  Tying up at night is discouraged, and if you do tie up, it’s almost impossible to get off your boat.  If you could get off your boat, you wouldn’t find a cute downtown. 

Canada and New York’s lakes, canals and rivers were lined with parks, campgrounds, summer cabins and recreational areas.  People swim, boat and enjoy these waterways.  

America’s heartland waterways occasionally had parks and summer places, but most were used to load and unload barges.  Amazingly, the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, MO didn’t have a single marina! 

 
The Arch, and that's Tanuki going under it!  (Thanks to the park webcam across the river from the Arch)

Of course we went in it!  Amazing views.


Gone were the bright flower gardens and cheerful squeals of children splashing in clear-as-gin water.  The heartland’s rivers and canals encroached like a gloomy day.  The muddy waters carried limbs and sometimes, whole trees.  We played dodge-a-log and dodge-a-barge for many drab, grey miles.

The Illinois and Mississippi rivers were filled with dull-colored barges laced together with rope the diameter of your forearm.  Tows with names like Bill Hill and Miss Mary moved and rearranged full and empty barges.  Just out of Chicago, in the Cal-Sag, tows were pushing, two, four and six barges.  

We had traveled through the Cal-Sag and most of the Illinois River arriving at Heritage Harbor in Ottawa, IL where the dockmaster, Jeremy, told us the 6-pack tows we’d been seeing were “snack-sized”.  When we got to the Mississippi the tows would be pushing 7x7 configurations – that’s 49 barges!  And we, little gnats that we are, would have to avoid being crushed by them!

The Mighty Mississippi promised gigantic obstacles, very few safe harbors, and happily the fastest 200 miles of the whole Loop.  The current at our stern greatly increased our speed. We were able to make 110 miles in about 10 hours!  When we were “racing” through the North Channel, those same 10-hour days yielded only about 65 miles.   

We heeded Jeremy’s advice and left marinas in swarms of 4 to 12 PCs.  A single person was designated to contact the lockmaster and relay the information to the others in the swarm.  When the lonely, cantankerous lockmaster allowed us into his domain, we bowed deeply in humble appreciation for being granted passage.

There were horror stories of Loopers waiting 7 and 9 hours for passage through a single lock, causing them to navigate the Mississippi and her never-ceasing barge traffic and floating trees in pitch darkness.  

 
Loopers make the most fun of anything.  Here we are at the Blue Owl with others stopped for the night at Hoppies.  We tied up to barges that they have secured to the river bank.

The Blue Owl is famous for their "Levee-high" apple pie.  Yum!


Almost every time we arrived at a lock, it was open and the green light was on. Tanuki waited a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes for locks from Chicago to the Tennessee River. And the 2-hour wait was at anchor, rafted up with Oar Knot.  We haven’t met any cruisers who’ve come close to our record.

We also caught a huge break on the Mississippi River.  A lock on the north end of the river was knocked out of commission for several days when a run-away barge damaged it.  Because this link in the lock chain was broken, most of the monster barges were anchored just outside the channel waiting for the lock to be restored.  Our trip down the Mississippi included a vigorous game of dodge-a-log, but not many rounds of dodge-a-barge.

Then came a new game: Dodge-a-towline. Remember, towlines are as thick as your forearm. If one hit our propeller blades, it would cause some crazy expensive repairs.

After leaving Kaskaskia, we saw about three of these floating monstrosities; one of them directly in front of us.  Jerry stopped the props and we went to the rear of the boat hoping to see it float harmlessly away. We waited long minutes and still no towline!  

He returned to the helm and cautiously started the port engine.  It was fine.  He put it back into idle and tested the starboard engine.  No problem.  We looked at each other, shrugged, and put both engines into gear. 

Ninety miles later (this was our 110 mile day), I was deploying the anchor at Boston Bar, joining Miss Utah.  “Jerry, get the boat hook,” I shouted.  The towline had floated free of the eyehook on the bow of the boat.  It had safely ridden those 90 miles with us!

 
See the smaller yellow and blue strands near the bottom of the picture?  If those got caught in our props, we'd be dead in the water.  No diver would save us.  The work would have been catastrophic.  

We hauled the towline onto the boat and took trophy pictures of it in Paducah. Not only had we survived the Mississippi, we had a souvenir and a pretty good story.  We didn’t want the other story.  That went to a boat that we saw at Green Turtle Bay & Resort. They caught a towline in their props, a hefty repair bill, and had to move off their boat during the repairs.

When we left the Mississippi, we traveled up the Ohio River.  The current that helped us speed down the Mississippi and Illinois rivers was now pressing on our bow, holding us back as we inched up the Ohio river to Paducah, KY.  

 
A place where the Ohio and Cumberland river waters join.  Note the muddiness of the Ohio.

We rafted up to Miss Utah on the overbooked Paducah Municipal Marina and walked into town for The National Quilt Museum, moonshine tastings, public artwork, museums and restaurants.  The next night the marina was still overbooked, but we had a place on the wall and Oar Knot rafted up to us. 

 
A modern quilt

A modern quilt - the colors and stitching, texture and talent were hard to convey in photos

The backside of the 1936 quilt below - these are feed sacks!

The front of the 1936 quilt 
A display in the moonshine distillery we visited - and tasted, but only bought a tee-shirt.

The scenery improved as we slowly traveled up the Cumberland River to Lake Barkley, then through a canal to cross the Land Between the Lakes to Kentucky Lake and the Tennessee River. Finally!  Cruising the way it should be!
 
There was a great gathering of Loopers at the Clifton Marina where we got to present our "Trawler Trash" comedy routine to our first audience.
The waitress took this picture from inside the dinghy on Tanuki's fly bridge.

There were more lake houses and people playing in the waterways, sharing them with a fewer factories, power plants and only snack-sized tows. The Lollipop Guild colors started to come back.




The lockmasters still had to be handled with kid gloves, but even they got more accommodating.  




The color was spreading to the scenery too.  Summer’s chlorophyll started her tantalizing striptease to reveal Fall’s reds and golds.  It was just a hint.  Colors so shy they don’t show well in photos.  But the color was there.  A sea of muted pastels undulating over the gumdrop mountains of the Tennessee river.  The scenery rivaled the North Channel.




We locked up and slowly cruised up river into the mountains.  We took in Rock City, Ruby Falls and Chattanooga’s aquarium wearing blue jeans and hoodies. 

Ruby Falls, an underground fall.  The cave walk was fun too.

Most recently, we’ve been coming down the Tennessee, regaining the speed we lost when we went up to Chattanooga.  We’re on our way to the final leg of the river portion of the Great Loop. 

The Tenn-Tom and Tombigbee Canal promise lots of anchoring opportunities, a few quaint towns and finally Mobile, AL and back to the Gulf of Mexico.  

When we get back to the sunny Gulf of Mexico, Tanuki will bathe in the Caribbean colored salt water of the Redneck Rivera.  She will frolic free of the creepy clutches of the wicked lockmasters, bouncing jubilantly in the boundless briny bay called the Gulf of Mexico. We’ll be in waters we know well, stopping where we have friends and family.  We’ll be home!  

And you know, there’s no place like home.
 
Our rainbow picture, taken some time in the past 3 months - but it's fitting!


PS: to get a better feel for how big a barge is, click here.

PPS: Another cruiser friend on Rubia sent us this picture with the subject line “Tanuki photo bomb”.  We were in Lewes, DE when the vlogger caught Tanuki in the background.





Thursday, August 2, 2018

Dual citizenship?

We spent half of July in Canada's Trent Severn Waterway and half of it in a car in America. That's probably not dual citizenship, but sure was fun.

The Harbor Hosts at Trentport Marina took this picture of Tanuki as we entered the canal system that brought us to Midland, ON where we rented a car to go to Cousins Camp 2.0 (a family reunion) in North Carolina.
We met so many great people and locked up and down through gorgeous scenery.  We experienced three different kinds of locks - the ordinary one where the gate closes and they raise or lower water in the chamber to get you to the next level, then open the gate on the other side.  Two lift locks - where you glide into a bathtub that raises or lowers you to the water level you want.  And the Big Chute Railway which takes you & your boat out of the water, drives over some tracks and deposits you and your boat on the other side.  

The best feature of all the locks were the young Canadians working at each lock.  They hire high school and college students to work during the summer and every one we met was outgoing, friendly and helpful.  


Docktails at Petersbourgh Marina with lots of other Loopers






In the Petersbourgh Lift Lock
After completing the Trent Severn, we docked Tanuki at a marina in Midland, ON, rented a car and headed out for the long-anticipated Cousins Camp 2.0.  We used to host Cousins Camp at our house in St. Augustine.  When the grandkids heard we were moving onto a boat, they cried, "but what about Cousin's Camp?"

We found a Lodge in a national forest in North Carolina and rented it for 4 days and nights.  All 9 grandchildren came and brought their 6 parents, and we joined them there.  Little did any of us know that there was no Internet or cell service there.  It was splendid!  

We took our time getting down and stopped at lots of places going in both directions.
The Distillery District of Toronto, ON where we saw "The Secret Chord, a tribute to Lenord Cohen" - incredible!

Had to stop on the Canadian side of Niagra Falls for a selfie.

Going through Cleveland?
Might as well stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and see the Sirius Classic Rock channel DJ.

The entire crew!  The weather was cool and comfortable.  The fishing was fine.  Canoeing was great.  Cradle of Forestry field trip was fun.  Food was awesome.  Everyone had a great time.
On our way back we visited with Ben, who interned on our farm, his wife Hannah and their almost 2-year old child Rosie (who we hadn't met before).  

We also got to re-connect with Brenda & Paul, some friends we made when we rented a cottage on Green Turtle Cay in The Bahamas, a few years back.  

It's good to be back home on Tanuki!

Remember:  Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is the day!
The Wandering Williams.