Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Man o' War

Yeah, I know.  This is supposed to be a cruising and liveaboard lifestyle blog.  I'm no longer cruising or living aboard, although it is a possibility down the road.  I just thought I'd pop in to stay in touch and to let you all know what's going on.

First, Drift Away.  Yes, it is still for sale.  Brokers don't seem to put much effort into selling boats, and I simply don't have the heart to do it.  It's not true what they say about the two happiest days in a boat owner's life.  The boat has generated a lot of interest according to the brokers, but no really serious offers.

One offer came from a boat restorer who would buy Drift Away, finish it up, and resell it.  That interested me, but I declined the offer.  I then offered to sell the boat to a long time blog follower for the same price.   He looked at it, wants to buy it, but the Canadian dollar exchange rate isn't too favorable right now.  He's thinking about it.  He has the skills to finish what needs to be done on Drift Away, which is mostly all cosmetic.

Pam is working at Griffin Ranch, working with the horses and taking care of guests during the week when the owners aren't around.  That keeps her busy.  I've also been learning more about horses.

I'm an animal lover. I think I got this from my Grandfather Chase, a Polish immigrant who came to America, married a farm girl, bought a farm, raised pigs and geese and rabbits and cattle... and couldn't slaughter anything. My grandma had to do it. He didn't have the heart.

As you know, I've been learning a bit about horses lately. Horses are definitely more complicated than dogs and cats. From what I've learned, horses love to have jobs. For a draft horse, its pulling things. For a trail horse, its riding. For a race horse, its running.

I lived in Saratoga Springs for twenty years. I went to the track only a handful of times. I'm not a gambling person and don't understand why anyone is. But the times I went, I enjoyed the horses and the people and the pageantry of it all.

For some reason, on Facebook, I mentioned that Secretariat was perhaps one of the best race horses of all times, winning 20 of 21 races, losing in Saratoga to Onion. Then I got thinking about Man o' War. Who was the better horse?

Well, I googled a bit about Secretariat, and he was indeed a spectacular horse. But when I googled Man o' War I was blown away. This was a super horse.

He also ran 21 races, and won 20. He lost to a horse named Upset at Saratoga, hence the phrase "being upset" by an underdog. But by all accounts, Man o' War was cheated. He was sideways in his starting position when the race started, and was poorly ridden and boxed in for most of the race. When Man o' War broke free, he accelerated and finished only a half a length behind Upset. He went on to beat Upset six more times. You can read an account of this race here.

But what was interesting to me is that Man o' War's owners and trainer told his jockey to hold the horse back at each race. He measured 16.2 hands and 1,200 pounds, a big muscular horse. He had a 28 foot stride, believed to be the longest ever. He won each race easily, and the owners were afraid that such a dominant horse would have a hard time finding competition , as well as odds.

No one wanted to race against Man o' War at one point. At Belmont, Man o' War could find only one challenger for the Lawrence Realization, a horse named Hoodwinked. In this two horse race, Man o' War beat Hoodwinked by 100 lengths and set a world record for the 1 5/8ths mile that stands to this day.

The more I learn about horses, their temperament, their competitive spirits, and their attitudes, the more I like them.

I rode Pam's Morgan, Jeremiah, a few days ago. Pam is a very experienced rider and once said that Jeremiah was head strong and nothing a novice rider like me should be on. He was obstinate and a handful. Well, a couple of weeks ago, Pam put a small child on Jeremiah, He was as meek as a sheep. Later, I rode Jeremiah recently and he was obedient and a smooth horse, but when I was unsaddling him, he gave me a look that said "I could have tossed your ass anytime I wanted, but I didn't, because I know you don't know what you're doing. You just keep the treats coming and no one will get hurt." I got the message loud and clear.

Some of this may be coming from me watching the Sopranos for the first time off of Netflix, I dunno. But it seemed very real to me. Don't mess with the Mafia, and don't mess with horses.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Big Boys and Their Toys

Big boys, meaning Earl and I.  If you've followed our Drift Away blog, you know that boat is loaded with toys, from the Boston Whaler on the roof (which may be coming here as a fishing boat) to the $15,000 in electronics.  No, we haven't sold the boat yet.  Close, but not yet.

So what are we working on?   This.  A nine foot regulation pool table, with a one inch slate top.  Each one of those three pieces of slate have to weigh 200 pounds.

First we set up the base, and then the frame.  It was then time to lift up the slate.  Once in position, we leveled each to the one adjoining.

In the pic above, Earl is taking a grinder to the joints to get them perfect.

I guess you're supposed to use bee's wax to seal the joints.  We figured caulk is just as good so that's what we used.  We let it sit overnight, scraped off the excess, and we'll put the felt and rails on later today.  There's no rush.  We don't have any pool balls or rack.  I ordered a set of pool balls off eBay for $11, and Earl and I will look around for a rack.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Boys and Their Toys.

No really.  This little boy visits our neighbor often and whenever he does he comes over to play with our dogs.  He was picking up the dogs' toys  and tossing them in the dogs' pool.  Ruby doesn't want her toys in the pool and pulls them back out.  The little boy thought this was a great game.

They did this for a good hour.

Taunting has to be part of the game.  Finally he tired of it and went out by the road and waved at cars, who tooted their horns and waved back.  I fetched him from the roadside and his father fetched  him  home.

Here's a photo of some woodpecker.  That is not a tree.  That's Judi's power pole.

Earl and I are bachelors this week.  All the women went to Louisiana to visit son Sean.  He's serving there in the Air Force, and they haven't seen him in over two years.  They're having a great time, and Earl says "Without the women to bother us we can get things done."

Tomorrow, I'll show you  what.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Staying Connected

Pam and I cruised only for a short time, about a year and a half, before life changed plans.  But during that time we met many wonderful people.  We try to stay connected with them all as best we can, but it is not easy considering that both we and they are moving targets.

Fellow Isle of Hope liveaboards Dick and Deb have decided to settle in Port Canaveral.  Since it is only a two plus hour drive from Eureka, Florida, Pam and I made the trip to go visit.

Fish Lips Bar and Grill

Deb, Pam, and Dick.  Dick is finally getting into retirement.  It only took him a year.

Their marina, where they bought a dock-o-minium.

Another friggin' pelican

I've decided that we don't live our lives.  Our lives live us.   Our path is laid out before us, and we only need to be aware of the path that's chosen.  Sometimes we follow the way, sometimes we stray from it.  But back to the path we must go.  But whatever path we are on, we must stay connected to friends made along the way, especially the ones who are part of our fondest memories of life.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Crazy Internet People

Do you recall when Al Gore first invented the internet?  He admonished all of us to be secretive.  Don't give out too much personal information.  The internet is full of crazy people who will kill you.

Well, I've been on the internet since Al Gore was skinny, and I'm here to tell you that its a bunch of hooey.  In the 20 odd years that I've been blogging, espousing my political views, and ranting and raving about boating topics all over the interwebs, I've only met nice folks.

A case in point was yesterday.  A long time blog follower wanted to visit Drift Away.  He and his wife are interested in buying him.  He's been following this blog pretty much since the beginning and so knows all what we've been through getting this good old boat running, and understands what's left to be done.  He understands all the weirdness in owning an old boat like this, and would consider dropping a significant portion of his retirement into it.

So was he a weirdo?

Well, OK.  Yes he was.  After all, who in his right mind would consider taking on something of this scope?

No one.  No one in his right mind, that is.

But then again, how many of you are in your "right mind"?  Most of you are probably sitting in your work cubicle reading this and thinking "Yeah, I could totally do that, instead of submitting my expense report and listening to the jerk in the next cubicle to mine crack his knuckles!"

And that's it in a nutshell.  Who and what is normal?  What defines normal, exactly?  Is the view from the transom any different from some derelict sailboat than a pristine mega-yacht?  Are people who cruise up and down the coast, chasing the sun,  a special kind of crazy?  Or are they fulfilling life's original plan, in which nomadic tribes followed the sun and the herds?

All I can tell you is that the nice folks that came to look at Drift Away were good people, as normal as you'd find in any cruiser's hangout anywhere, and ready to take on their next big adventure in life.  And isn't that what life should be all about?  Living life to one's fullest?  Celebrating  new experiences?  Meeting other folks who have figured all this out?

Then again, working in a cubicle is OK too.  Plugging away in an office is normal and what regular folks should do.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!   OK.... no it is not.  That's not normal at all.  Anyone who thinks that's normal is the crazy internet weirdo.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Visit to Drift Away

Pam and I visited Drift Away yesterday.   He's about an hour and a half drive from Fort McCoy away.  He looked a little forlorn, quite honestly.

Many potential buyers have been aboard since we left him in Green Cove Springs last May.  Sadly, I was disappointed in what I saw.   There was a port window left open, for one.  But some idiot took a knife and slashed the headliner in the main saloon to see what was up above it.  Yep.  That's right.  Just cut the headliner.   Sure, he could have taken a screwdriver and removed a light fixture, but that would have required some effort on his part.  Much easier to just cut a hole.

What an asshole.  What a f**king asshole.  What a flaming f**king asshole.

Other than that, Drift Away looks like he's doing well.

Both Pam and I got a little teary eyed being on the boat.  Such wonderful memories we have.  Do we really want to sell Drift Away?  Why not just fix the exhaust leak, launch him, and continue on?  At this point, Drift Away is a go-anywhere boat.   Oh, the places we could go...

But then again, we now have Jeremiah the  Horse.  And "The Boat" motorhome.  It is time for Drift Away to find someone else to love him.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Heading Back to Florida

Right now, we're in Troutman, North Carolina.  Our caravan is Pam driving the Kia with Olivia the German Shorthaired Pointer, towing Jeremiah the Horse.  Daughter Megan and I are following behind in the motorhome, with  Ruby and Chevy the Pit Bulls, and Leo Pard and Sassy the cats.  We're doing short hops to lessen the stress on Jeremiah, maybe a couple of hundred miles at a clip.  We're staying in "horse motels", places that we've found on www.horsemotel.com.  Basically, they're all horse farms and stables that will board your horse for the night and let you park your R/V someplace.  We should be back in Florida by the weekend.

We've suddenly had a lot of interest in Drift Away.  One of the brokers has two very interested parties, one who may make an offer on Tuesday.   We'll see.  The other is flying in to look at it next week.

One of the first things we need to do, since I think I'm out of boating now, is to get the rest of our personal stuff off the boat.  Anything that's not being sold with it.  Right  now, it's hard for a potential buyer to see Drift Away because of our stuff.  We have deck furniture stored in the main saloon, for example, making it next to impossible to walk from one end to the other.

It will be good to step aboard Drift Away again.  Good, and a little sad.  That good old boat carried us many hundreds of miles, from Stamford Connecticut to Albany New York, and then all the way down to Green Cove Springs Florida.  Not without some adventure, of course.   It's all in the blog.