Tryin’ to reason with hurricane season,* or We interrupt this program for an important trip west

For starters, we’re admitting up front that this post sucks.  We’ve been slow-playing things because we got down to the Chesapeake Bay a few days early but not enough days early to do anything noteworthy.  Plus we’ve been busy getting ready to head out west for three weeks.  But the blog is free, so we don’t expect an uproar.

Have we mentioned the heat and humidity yet?  It maybe hasn’t been quite as hot as Phoenix, but it’s also been as humid as someplace so humid you’d use it in a very exaggerated simile.  Just walking off the boat generated sweat that dripped into crevices where sweat shouldn’t go.**  But we’re of hardy stock, so we bravely carried on with all the important stuff we needed to do inside the air conditioned boat.

Anyway, from Rock Hall we popped down to Kent Narrows, which is a shallow and skinny strait that separates Kent Island from the rest of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The importance for us is that the narrows cuts hours off the trip to St. Michaels, albeit at the risk of getting stuck on a shoal or having current smash us into the bridge.  Before we reached the bridge, however, Narrows Pointe gave us a great one-night spot without boats or buildings blocking our view.  In the drone photo, we’re at the bottom left.

Although mostly we stayed on the boat so as to avoid near-certain death by heat stroke, at dusk things cooled down enough for a scooter ride along the most awesome Cross Island Trail.  We’re pretty confident that the people who put up the “No Motorized Vehicles” signs didn’t have small scooters with itty bitty electric motors in mind when they did so.

Friday night at bedtime—well into pitch-black darkness—a massive lightening storm lit up the sky like strobe lights at a nightclub.  We watched for about thirty minutes but then got sleepy because after all it was bedtime.  We’ve never seen anything like it though.  Multiple jolts per second.  Tesla coil-ish.  Crazy.

The other highlight of our brief stop was eating at the iconic Red Eyes.  Doug got a shirt.

The Kent Narrows Bridge in fact did turn out to be squeezy—and the funneling water did turn out to be churny—but we made it through.

Approaching The Town That Fooled the British, we bumbled into our second Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe Race.  Unfortunately, yet again we didn’t have a chance to buzz them with the drone.

About St. Michaels.  As previously documented, we love St. Michaels.  St. Michaels is near the top of our list.

And when you’re in St. Michaels, you get tacos or gazpacho at Gina’s, except for that one time when Gina was on vacation or something so it was closed and we were sad.

We do note one oddity, however.  For a town that revels in its history of thwarting British attacks, St. Michaels has an awful lot of flags honoring England flying around.***

We did a very poor job of documenting our stop at Herrington Harbour South, mostly because we did a poor job of doing much.  In our defense it was hot, humid, and rainy, and there’s not much around other than a very nice marina with a name that is spelled like it’s in Great Britain.  Or Canada.  On the way in we drove through a school of fish, however, and Dana got the best photo possible.  If you zoom in and look very closely you can see a few tiny smiley fish faces through the water.

Oh yeah.  We did find time to walk through the wedding venue at the beach, where we tooled around on a kayak and a paddle board, so there’s that.

Yesterday we cruised the whopping three miles to Herrington Harbour North, where Tumbleweed will await our return.  There’s even less to do up here, although here’s a photo of “Historical Village.”  That’s the sum total of readily-available information.  No signs saying “At this site George Washington once ate Indian Fry Bread.”  Nothing.  The four nondescript buildings don’t even look old.  But it’s all we got.

In theory, we need to be hustling down to Ft. Lauderdale to meet the ship that’ll be carrying Tumbleweed to new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.  Our insurance company, however, is a tad skittish about hurricanes and such.  Plus, we want to go to California to help the girls move.  Hopefully we’ll miss the storms and Zimmerman’s will get a few minor service items resolved.  The good news is that when we fire up the blog again in a few weeks, there’s no way future posts can be as lame as this one.


*To honor the recently-departed King of the Parrotheads, we’ve littered the last couple of posts with Buffett lines like Florida laundry rooms are littered with jorts.  We’ll move on now, but if the Volunteers take down the lyin’, cheatin’, gang-bangin’ dirtbags from the cesspool that is Gainesville, Florida, this Saturday, we might work in a few more jort references.  Also, major props to Texas.  Nick Saban and Alabama fans being miserable always is something to celebrate.

**“Security isn’t a dirty word, Blackadder.  Crevice is a dirty word, but security isn’t.”  — General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett

***Only recently did we learn that the Union Jack is a combination of Saint George’s Cross (England), Saint Andrew’s Cross (Scotland), and Saint Patrick’s Cross (Ireland).   We previously just associated it with England.  Boy were we dumb.

Mother, mother ocean, we have heard your call

Jimmy didn’t specify the ocean to which he was referring in “A Pirate Looks At Forty,” but we know from personal experience that the Atlantic can be a real mother.  Also, any trip that starts at 1:42 a.m. by definition promises to be miserable.  Whatever.  Just spin up the radar and keep the North Star off the stern.  The unexpected six-foot slow rollers weren’t too bad.  The day got even brighter after the sun came up through the big lens, which probably wasn’t coincidental.

Thanks to Dana’s expert planning, we rode a helpful current most of the trip, which eliminated a good sixty minutes of wishing we were there already.  Luckily we weren’t going too fast for the obligatory photo of Old Barney, although we were too far off shore for a good one.

Have we ever mentioned how much we dislike the Absecon Inlet?  The Absecon Inlet is no fun even if you time it properly.  Also, while we generally don’t mind Farley State Marina—after all that’s where we first bonded over fear with Second Wave—they didn’t have room because they were prepping for yet another boat show, which is why we spent a long Labor Day laboring to reach Cape May.  The point, of course, is that mentally giving Atlantic City the finger from two miles offshore on our way by absolutely was justified.

Fortunately, there’s this one particular harbor, so far but yet so near.  Almost exactly fifteen hours after slipping the lines at Atlantic Highlands we rolled into Utsch’s in Cape May.

Hey now!  Just like that we’re done with oceans for a good while.  Things are looking up.

Cape May is famous for its many Victorian homes.  This 1860 model is dubbed “Southern Mansion,” and “is set on one-and-a-half acres of award-winning gardens in Cape May’s historic district” according to the website we found.

Cape May also is famous for the cute downtown that has the cute shop where we always end up buying an item or two of apparel we technically don’t need.

Although we love Cape May and were damn happy to get there on Monday, summer decided to hit Tumbleweed with full vengeance, perhaps as karmic payback for three months of daily 70° screenshots Doug has been sending to buddies back in Phoenix.  So mostly we sat on the boat with air conditioners blasting until Wednesday morning, when we headed through the abandoned bridge that scared the crap out of us in 2018 but now we’re not sure why.

The Delaware Bay was teeming with huge ships, but with Buffett as the day’s soundtrack and a favorable current there was nothing but the oppressive heat and humidity to get us down.  Chewin’ on a honeysuckle vine indeed.

Getting from the east side of the bay to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, however, did require some quick mental math: If Tumbleweed weighs 32 tons and is traveling at eight knots, and the 50,000-ton tanker Red Rum is a mile behind but closing at fourteen knots, when Tumbleweed cuts across her bow behind the two ships on a reciprocal heading, how much, if anything, will Mallory and Shannon inherit?

Normally through here we stop at Delaware City.  Great place.  Great memories.  Something must be up, however, because right now Tim and Delaware City Marina don’t seem very interested in customers.  No worries though, because we’ve always wanted to tie up at Schaefer’s Canal House.  We’ll just skip right over Delaware and go straight to Maryland.

The C & D Canal supposedly is one of the busiest in the world, which we don’t doubt.  Here’s the oddly-named tug McAllister Sisters towing over three hundred containers which may be empty or may be full of something or others.

Schaefer’s offered up a nice spot right in the artsy shadow of the Chesapeake City Bridge.

Ships carrying foreign cargo through the canal have to use local pilots, who get on and off without anybody slowing down.  On the Delaware Bay they need Delaware dudes, and on the Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore north they need Maryland dudes.  Chesapeake City is the hand-off point.  Which is cool, because the pilot boarding Swift Ace did so right where we could watch.  How awesome is that?

Yes, dinner at the Canal House was delicious, and yes, we got a good sunset under the bridge.

Flawless day on the Chesapeake Bay today.  Sweet little six-hour ride down to Rock Hall.

Actually that’s not entirely true.  It was 95° with one million percent humidity.  Sticky.  Also, we’re back in the land of crab pots that generations of Maryland watermen have been setting out for the singular purpose of snagging one of our stabilizer fins.  And there’s a crap-ton of debris floating about, which stinks for the guy using the autopilot when he wants to be focused on football articles instead of looking up every five seconds.  If only there were more birds willing to mark the hazards for us.

Oh, and the coincidentally-named tug Rock Hall had the temerity to push barges into our path, which we sort of saw coming but at 7.5 knots were powerless to avoid so we had to slow way down for a good bit because the water was very shallow off the side of the channel where we foolishly pinned ourselves.  Grrr.

So basically the day only was somewhat flawless.  But some more birds welcomed us in to Rock Hall Landing, which made everything okay.

Our last time in Rock Hall we joked about it being the Rock Hall of Fame.  Since then we’ve been to Cleveland and visited the Rock Hall of Fame.  We now can confirm with certainty that the two are unrelated.

We also can confirm that we barely mustered the will to walk two hundred yards to the seafood joint.  Now that we’re back and have the ACs working overtime, we ain’t looking for more interesting stuff to add so we might as well wrap up this gem of a post and watch TV.  Despite all that weather funny business it looks like we’ll make Zimmerman’s on the 13th as hoped.

In our hour of darkness, in our time of need, oh Lord grant us vision, oh Lord grant us speed*

Wooo!  We’re not going to grow old and die in Croton-on-Hudson after all!  We may not survive the impending Atlantic Ocean run, but at least we moved.

A bit rougher on the Hudson than expected on Thursday, but certainly doable.  Past the urban Tarrytown Light and under the Tappan Zee Bridge.

We generally find ruins of all types interesting, and what’s left of the Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers is no exception.  Supposedly there’s a project—“The Plant”—with an absurdly ambiguous goal of “restoring and converting [the] former coal-burning power plant … into a home … where the world’s most innovative people will convene to imagine the impossible and invent the future.”  Riiiight.  That’s some impressive mumbo-jumbo right there.

Then past the Hudson Palisades and down to Liberty Landing.

The view from dinner was about as cool as it gets.

Although the moonlight view from our back porch was every bit as awesome.

We decided to check out the Liberty Science Center—finally—because it was close and because it’s home to the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium.  Largest one in the western hemisphere for anyone keeping track.

Sadly, it turns out we’re not science museum people any more.  It’s not the science—we love science.  It’s not the exhibits—we found some interesting ones.

The problem with science museums is that they allow in thousands of parents who seem completely unconcerned that their hopped-up-on-Dippin’-Dots offspring are running amok, wiping grimy fingers on every reachable surface and banging into those of us who don’t think it cute.  We aren’t complete curmudgeons, mind you.  We don’t blame the urchins and a few of them here or there would be perfectly acceptable.  But once they reach unsupervised critical mass, it’s a different story.

That said, the show about the Webb Space Telescope and the Artemis Program was awesome, so we discretely took some photos of the dome interior to sooth our senses, and then went to lunch.

Although we thoroughly enjoy the Manhattan skyline from the relative safety of Liberty Landing, we generally don’t cross the river.  New York City is crowded and dirty and intimidating to simple country folk like us.  Plus, we did all the touristy stuff in our pre-boating life.  We contemplated going over to a Broadway show this time but concluded that the crowds and the dirtiness and the hassles were too much for us.  But then we started craving cheesecake and someone said the best place is in Little Italy so we took a train and a ferry and a taxi and walked about four miles and ended up back at the boat with cheesecakes from Eileen’s.  Although all of that travel was pricey, we shrewdly spread the cost across a large number of them.

Today we headed down to Atlantic Highlands, because the next twenty-four hours look okay—not great, but okay—on the ocean.  Out of Liberty Landing we took the obligatory Statue of Liberty photo, although this isn’t it.  This is a photo of the rude rubberneckers in our way.  And no, we don’t find it at all hypocritical to complain about people getting in front of things we want to get in front of.  We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.

Back through the Verrazano Narrows, which means we’re done with New York.  Mostly we enjoy New York but we’ve gone from Clayton to The City and are glad to be south of her.  We have places to be.  Plus we do like Atlantic Highlands, although we barely had time for a delicious meal at the Thai place and ice cream and a drone flight and a sweaty 87° walk.

So that’s that.

If there’s a cranky tone to this post, it’s likely because we’re setting alarms for 1:30.  That’s A.M., not P.M.   Assuming we successfully get around Sandy Hook in the dead of night, hopefully we’ll reach Cape May some sixteen hours later.  That’s just gross, is what it is.

*RIP Gram Parsons.  And RIP Jimmy Buffett.