Finally at the beginning

We start The Great Loop from Washington D.C. next month and had planned to arrive three weeks ago, so just getting here feels like a big accomplishment.  We slipped the lines at Colonial Beach in a slight breeze last Friday and cruised pretty easily, although the tide and winds kept us at about six knots.  For perspective, that’s about half the speed of a school zone.  Pretty dang slow, but we’re all about smelling the roses, right?

The Potomac River shoreline has some cool stuff to see.  Not only is there a naval installation at Dalghren, but Quantico has a Marine base with planes and helicopters at the water’s edge.  Mount Vernon tour boats loomed on the horizon as we zoomed—at six knots—past George Washington’s plantation.

Next up was National Harbor, which is about where the water traffic started increasing.  Nothing like the land traffic, of course, although it’ll get worse when the warm weather finally arrives in 2020.

9985644a-cf4d-477f-8198-bc855bcf3f3fAt the confluence of the Potomac and the Anacostia, we took a hard right, passed under the Frederick Douglass Bridge, and found our slip at The Yards.  Of course, a day without a problem is, well, pretty dang unlikely.  When we plugged into shore power, we tripped the marina GFI.  After some quick elimination we discovered that our battery charger is leaking AC current in an amount greater than the trip threshold of newer marinas.  That’s a concern.  Unfortunately the guys who know our boat the best aren’t waiting around next door.  They’re hours away and busy.  Nobody can recommend any local marine electricians.  We can survive with the generator until help arrives, but still.

We squared things away our first night just before the Nationals baseball game started, and listened to the Anthem from our back porch.  The Washington Navy Yard is about  200 yards away so we also get the Anthem every morning at 8 a.m.  (And yes, we did give up on using military time.)

On Sunday, Jim Blomo arrived after visiting his daughter at William & Mary.  He not only was the last to see us off in Arizona but also our first guest.  Because we’re great hosts, Blomo enjoyed a not-yet-set-up boat, no shore power, and a trip to a sketchy Home Depot.   On his last morning, however, we had a fantastic breakfast at Ted’s Bulletin next to a liquor store that featured Wyoming Whiskey, which is distilled in Kirby, Wyoming by our old friends Brad and Kate Mead.

We brought with us from Arizona what at the time seemed like an aggressively small amount of stuff.  Now that we’re living in a tiny house, however, it’s clear that we still will be leaving the D.C. storage unit packed to the top.  There just isn’t room for everything that we thought would be essential.

Mallory spent the night with us and found her bed comfortable but not quite big enough to accommodate a person and a dog.  We can’t wait for her and Shannon stay for a while.

The electrician is supposed to resolve the charger issue on Saturday, and the electronics guy is supposed to set up the KVH dome so we can access DirectTV next week.  Maybe by then we’ll have jammed everything into place and will start to feel settled.

One small step

After we learned about the aftercooler delay, we decided to blow Deltaville and rent a cabin along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We envisioned long hikes with the dogs since those may be hard to come by in the Nation’s Capital.  Assuming we ever get there.  We now have good reason, however, to believe that the weather in Virginia almost always sucks:


That’s right, we were hit with what forever will be known to history as The Great Blizzard of ‘18.  Ok maybe it was only three inches, but in April at most we are supposed to get May flower-bringing showers, not snow.

If only to keep us from constant complaining, Mother Nature finally supplied a georgous day that coincided with a break from mechanical bad news.  Today we cast aside the shackles that had held us at the service yard.  Mac Davis was wrong; Happiness actually is Deltaville, Virginia in our rear view mirror.  We left the dock at 0740 heading for Colonial Beach.  (Because the Belknaps now are a seafaring family we morally if not legally are obligated to use military time nomenclature.)

Oscar and Benny proved they really can go 10 hours without a potty break.  We couldn’t be more proud of them.  Oscar also served as co-pilot for a stretch of the trip.

The wind whipped up just as we arrived at our stop for the night but we managed to tie up, wash the salt off Misty Pearl, and get surprisingly good shrimp tacos.

We have to get out by 0630 if we want to get to DC tomorrow.  That’s because we’re 10 NM from a naval installation at Dahlgren and they actually close off the Potomac River at 0800 for some sort of military exercise.  It’d be just our luck to get hit by a Tomahawk missile or some such thing.  If the wind is too much we may stay here.