Deltaville is nice, but enough is enough

Right outside Deltaville, Virginia, is a historical-site sign that reminds us–every time we pass it–that so far our plans seem foolish:

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Although the weather has cleared for us, Poseidon has decided to jack with our little boat just a bit more. We might as well have changed her name.

As a last minute item, we asked ZMI to check the engine aftercooler just to be sure it was okay. Thinking it would be easy and quick, we headed up to DC to watch some softball and enjoy Easter with the girls and the dogs. Back Sunday night for an early start Monday morning. To quote Lee Corso, however, “Not so fast my friend.”

The aftercooler uses seawater for cooling. The seawater enters the engine room via a thru-hull. A sea-cock valve is supposed to close off that opening so that the aftercooler can be serviced. The sea-cock is pretty important because if a hose or fitting fails, one would hope to stop water from being places it shouldn’t be. We are green but we still know that water outside the hull is good and water inside the hull is bad.

Unfortunately, the aftercooler sea-cock won’t close. So (1) nobody can service the aftercooler and (2) if we need to close off the hole in the hull to stop water from rushing in, we can’t. And since we also can’t decide what to grab in the minutes before sinking, we have to fix the sea-cock. Now ZMI has to haul the boat again. That means more delays of God knows how long. Grrrrr.

Unexpected short break

In Phoenix, about the only outdoor condition of interest is the temperature.  As in “How hot will it be this week?”  For us big weenies, the arctic snow and rain hitting Tuesday and Wednesday promised misery but we figured the sunshine predicted for Thursday and Friday would provide a good window for moving up to The Yards from Deltaville.  We cooked in the galley, hung out with the dogs, and slept very well our first night on Misty Pearl.

Cold and wet are conditions that suck but generally won’t keep a boat from traveling.  Wind, however, is a deal breaker.  A 7-knot trawler heading into a 25-knot wind won’t get very far.   River current compounds the problem.  The bottom line is that we simply can’t move until the next predicted storms pass and spring arrives.

We will fly up to Rhode Island this weekend, likely to find that the Georgetown series with Providence is snowed out.  Hopefully we can spend some time with Mallory.  Shannon has been in Nicaragua on a spring-break service trip but will be joining us over Easter.

While going through Misty Pearl this week we found a few more service items for ZMI to address before we return on April 1.    If conditions improve we can move to Colonial Beach and then up to our slip in DC just in time for baseball season.  We recently learned that our marina is a favorite for Washington Nationals fans since the ballpark is a short nine-iron shot away.  The harbormaster assures us that the hoopla on game days ends at a reasonable hour.  However, we serously doubt that his definition of a reasonable bedtime is the same as ours.

Reunited (and it feels so good) or Whose idea was this anyway?

After more than four months apart, tonight we got to see Misty Pearl again.   She now hails from Scottsdale, which we acknowledge is a bit odd but we think it looks cool.

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The cross-country trip was uneventful as hoped.  Classic country songs provided a great soundtrack, referencing—among other places we passed—Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Abilene, Fort Worth, Dallas, Shreveport, Bossier City, Jackson (where Dana was hotter than a pepper sprout), Atlanta, Charleston, and Richmond.  2600 miles with only one low-fuel warning.  Amazing.

A moment to address weather.  It was about 75 degrees with blue skies when we left Arizona.  We enjoyed temperatures between 65 and 75 and those same blue skies the entire way to South Carolina, which of course we took as unequivocal proof that we would have great weather forever.  The plan to meet Misty Pearl and delivery captains Jerry and Wendy Taylor in DC tonight was as good as done.

As the Taylors got underway yesterday out of the yard in Mathews, VA, however, they discovered a leaking hatch and a bum heater in the master cabin.  The heater is no big deal because the weather is perfect, right?  Wrong.  Turns out the government and the traffic are not the only crappy things about Washington.  The weather sucks too.  Tomorrow and Wednesday we face below-freezing temperatures and snow.  SNOW.  Unbelievable.

Given the forecast, the heater became pretty dang critical.  Zimmerman agreed to work on it today—and to rebed the forward hatch and fix a few other things that cropped up—at the yard in Deltaville.  Since nobody wanted to battle the Potomac River upstream in snow and freezing rain, no way we were moving on board in DC today.  But we still had a trailer full of stuff that we needed to store.  The soundtrack for this segment was a wailing baby.   Grrrrr.

Oh well, no time like the present to realize the liveaboard need for flexibility and patience.  Up to DC, rent a car, put the trailer stuff in storage, park Dana’s car at our marina, and drive the rental car three hours to Deltaville.  We will do the interior systems during the foul weather and leave the rental car.  If the storms break on Thursday, we will take the Taylors about 30 miles up the Potomac to Colonial Beach and drop them off.  We will try to get to National Harbor on Friday before the next snow/rain storm hits this weekend.  We have no idea when we might get to The Yards, which still is our final destination until we start looping in earnest towards the end of May.

Tne dogs have been fantastic travelers.

And we’re off

  • Take care of clients.  Check.
  • Sell office.  Check.  (Thanks to Tom Jacobs at CBRE.)
  • Sell house.  Check.  (Thanks to Ben Walter at My Home Group.)
  • Obtain enough dog medicine to start a medium-sized veterinary pharmacy “just in case.” Check.
  • Sell truck.  Check.
  • Load two large storage units like Fibber McGee’s closet.  Check.

Plus a zillion other things.  Somehow we jammed forward and are on our way.  Over the past month or so we managed to have a final meal or visit with many old and dear friends, culminating with The Last Supper with George and Erin Cravens at their home.  With literally a couple of hours left to get out of the house this morning, Jim Blomo provided invaluable help finishing up.  We choose to believe he did it because he’s a great guy rather than because he wants us gone.

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In the way of Tom and Ma Joad, we packed up our lives and headed across the country in search of a different life.  (The dogs are in the car but refused to pose, probably to retaliate for us steadily removing all of the soft or fuzzy surfaces from the house until nothing was left but wood floors.)

Because we have been working from before dawn until late at night the past few days, we both were  exhausted as we headed east today.  One of us, however, mistakenly took Super-Duty NyQuil at 3 in the afternoon, so the trip to El Paso was painfully long only for the other three.

The newsworthy thing about today is that we actually jumped off the proverbial cliff. This isn’t just a weird dream that will end with us waking up 2,000 miles from Shannon and Mallory and heading off to our offices as usual.  There really is a hotel in El Paso that will be surprised tomorrow to find a few black dog hairs on the white comforter.

We anticipate nothing exciting as we travel to Charleston SC and then up to DC, where we will meet Misty Pearl in slip E18 at The Yards Marina on Monday.