Monday, December 28, 2015

Living Among Sasquatch: a Primer is Published

Living Among Sasquatch:  a Primer is published.  Not on purpose, but those of you who know me, know me.

In Bleecker in the summer, we live among Sasquatch.   Yep.  They're all around, and no one is more amazed and baffled as I am.  So, last year, I decided to document our findings in a book, primarily using entries in this blog, and adding to it as time passed.  Time did pass, and a book was the result.

I looked around for a publisher, not expecting much.  First time authors are impossible to publish, but I found a publisher in the UK who was considering it.  In the meantime, I started working through self publishing on  I'd go to it every few days, work on it a bit, and hit the button marked "save and continue".  Fine.

Yesterday morning, while working through the web pages, I got to "save and finish".  OK.  I hit it, and the screen said something to the effect of "Congratulations!  Your book is published!".   What?  Published?  Why didn't the button say "Save and publish"!

So I am an author.  I posted a link to my book on and sold one.  So now I am a professional author.

I am actually pretty proud of this book.  It is all truthful, and quite honestly, to me, pretty amazing.  How would you feel if you found that leprechauns were real?  Or unicorns?  That's how I feel about Sasquatch.

Oh well, besides two blogs (this one and Bleecker Mountain Life) and a handful of magazine articles, I am now an author of books.  I'd have a victory beer, but it is 4:15 AM here.  Probably not a good idea.

 Living Among Sasquatch: a Primer

The book is available on now.  Click the link below.  This is a collector's edition because I haven't read the proof yet, so things like the copyright page are missing.  Someday, it will be worth millions, no doubt.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The St. John's River, in Photos

I used to love my "day in photos" blog posts.  Nothing tells a story quite like photos.  Yesterday, the folks who Pam works for, who have become friends, invited us to go for a ride on the St. John's River on their pontoon "boat".  We haven't been on the water much since selling Drift Away, and so leapt at the chance.

Captain John.

Lots of fishermen on the St. Johns.  He's wearing a life jacket for a reason.

This is the reason.  People who don't understand wakes.

Another friggin' pelican.

A no wake Manatee zone.  No wake.  As in sloooooow dooooown.

More fishermen.  Imagine a wake hitting them?

More friggin' pelicans.

Sloooow dooooown.

A 73 footer.

I love palm trees.  They feel so... tropical, and not anything like snow and freezing rain.

Slow down!!!

My honey back at the helm.

Turkey vulture.

Nope.  No idea.  Apparently, this Austin-Healy Sprite was turned into the helm station of a pontoon boat.

I just love friggin' pelicans...

and turtles...

and big ol' alligators.

And then this imbecile came roaring around the bend in the river, throwing up a monster wake.  Pam tried quartering it, but the huge vertical wall of water crashed against the bow of the "boat" and rammed the bow's door open, and we had a three foot wall of water pouring into the boat.  The bow dove under water!  We were going  down, and going quickly!  "Quick!  Everyone to the stern!" I hollered, while wondering if I had time to swap out my 300mm zoom lens for my kit lens to take photos.   Nope.  I watched as my camera bag floated to the top of the bow rail, ready to go overboard.  We were about 20 feet from that alligator.  Should we jump ship?  Nope.

The bow slowly rose above the waterline, and the hundreds of gallons of water rolled back towards the stern.

"Everyone, to the middle of the boat!".

Pam started bailing with an ice chest after dumping out our Bud Lites without so much of a does-anyone-want-a-beer-before-I-dump-these-out?

Since when do boats not have scuppers to discharge green water?  Since when do pontoon boats exclude themselves from needing scuppers?   

Well, I took this pic after all the excitement was over, with my zoom lens.  My kit lens was soaking wet after almost floating off the "boat".

No one died, and the only casualty was possibly my kit lens, which is sitting in a bowl of rice to absorb all the moisture.  But if it is history, I have this jerk's registration number.

I swear to Gawd, I have NEVER seen so many people without a clue of what they're doing on the water.  They go flying through no wake Manatee zones, past docks and other boats throwing up gigantic wakes, completely oblivious to the damage and destruction they cause.  And you all know me.  If my kit lens is history, I will be like a pitbull on this guy.  I will find out who he is, and he will be buying me a new one.

Cripe, we could have all been swimming with that alligator.  Without my kit lens to photograph him slipping off that log and coming our way, I'd have been very angry.

But it was a wonderful few hours back on the water.  A bitter sweet day.  For all of my cruising friends, you might consider taking a right off the ICW at the St. John's River by Jacksonville and heading up towards old Florida.  It is truly beautiful up here, and fresh water!  No barnacles to scrape off your hull!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Drift Away

It's the end of October, and Pam and I (and our three dogs and cat, and Jeremiah the horse) are preparing to head south in our RV for Florida and warmer temps.  As often happens, I think back on our time on the boat.  With all the fun times we had, and the many fine people we met, it is with a sense of melancholy.  I miss Drift Away.

Yep...  this is the song that gave Drift Away its name.

Just listening to this song makes me choke up a little.

Drift Away is now in St. Augustine and getting a complete cosmetic makeover.  It is now named Happy Ours.  The folks that bought it seem nice.  If you see Happy Ours, say hi for me.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Drift Away Has Been Sold

They say that the happiest two days in a boat owner's life is the day he buys his boat and  the day he sells it.  I'm here to tell you that isn't true.

When we first bought Drift Away, it was with trepidation and a sense of dread.  We knew the boat needed a lot of work, mainly due to being unused for over twenty years.  But as we tackled each boat project, we became more and more familiar with the boat and our hope that we would make Drift Away into a cruiser again soared.

We have so many fond memories of our trip.  Cruising the East River to the Hudson from Stamford.  Up the Hudson, dodging debris in the water from a hurricane that passed a couple of weeks earlier.  A warm wedding reception at the Castleton Boat Club.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  Besides, it  is all in the blog.

I think we enjoyed the people we met along the way the most, especially our cruising friends at Isle of Hope Marina in Savannah and at Brunswick Landing Marina in Brunswick, Georgia.  I  won't name them, at the risk of forgetting someone, but you know who you are.

I also appreciate all of you blog followers who lived vicariously through us, enjoying our adventures and misadventures, and sharing many a victory beer.  We also have victory beers on Bleecker Mountain, but somehow it is not quite the same.

Of course, I need to thank Kent Boatguy and the Black  Duck R&D Center for all those Navi-Nuts (patent pending), Rick LaPorte, MarkJ, Brigantine, Captain Jim and the Blonde, Bill K, Bob Taylor, Bob Mayo, Rick-Deb-and Izzy, Kevin in Ashland, Jan and David, and many many more.  Your comments always made my day, either by making me laugh or offering advice, or sometimes just playing along with the running gags.  It is nowhere near as interesting, since it doesn't involve cruising, but Bleecker Mountain Life is a bit different from normal (whatever normal is, it isn't Bleecker).

We also enjoyed the scenery along the way, and the differences between the north and  the south.  We distinctly remember our first palm tree, in North Carolina.   Our favorite cities?  Easy.  Beaufort, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.  Our favorite beach is the Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island.

We put Drift Away on the hard in Green Cove Springs, Florida.  It was for sale, but we weren't in too much of a rush to sell.  We were planning on building in Bleecker and I knew that would have to take precedence.  But after my accident last year,  I knew I wouldn't be the same on the boat.  I wouldn't be able to do some of the things I did before, like handling dock lines and running around the deck.  And then Pamela started working at the Griffin Ranch in Fort McCoy, Florida, a dream job for her, and I knew our course had changed for good.  It  was time to sell.

I had people clamoring to look at the boat, and two brokers told me that it received the greatest number of hits on their websites.  But most of the offers that came in were too low.  Finally, I decided to sell Drift Away to a couple from St. Augustine who offered my rock bottom price.

Once we got the dirty fuel issues sorted out, Drift Away performed flawlessly all the way from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey to Jacksonville, Florida.  It provided us with an exciting adventure and introduced us to an alternative way of life, as well as dozens of new friends.  Pam and I have memories to last a lifetime, and photos to keep those memories alive.

There's plenty of work left to do on Drift Away, but at this point it is mostly all cosmetic.  If the new owners are handy, they got a great deal.  If not, they bought it at a price that they can pay painters and carpenters to finish what needs to be done.

As Pam and I left Drift Away for the last time a few weeks ago, we were both a little teary eyed, and shared a hug.  No, it was definitely not one of the happiest days of my life.

So what's next?  We thought we had a plan, but at this point we don't know.  I'm not only still suffering from the effects of my accident last summer, but some things are getting worse.  It will be hard to build a summer place when I can't swing a hammer or lift more than a pound or so.  So its off to a string of doctor visits for me.  This summer, things might be on hold in Bleecker.

So I'm putting this blog to bed.  I'll keep it up for the few nuggets of wisdom it contains and I hope those of you who stumble in here find it useful, or funny, or enjoy the photos, or all of the above.

It is time to swallow the anchor.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Blog Stats

Pam and  I have been off of Drift Away for over a year.  As such, I have pretty much stopped updating this blog, but I do check in from time to time, mainly to check the other blogs that I follow and are listed here.

The first thing that I noted is that we're about to hit 300,000 hits.  The second is that we have 100 followers.  That's a lot for a boating blog.  I checked the stats.

What this shows is the number of views each page received yesterday.  What this shows me is that, as I had hoped, there would be information in the blog that others could benefit from.  The blog had 262 visitors who read about things like using Thompson's Water Seal to seal teak decks, to rebuilding a Groco head, to running TV coaxial cable, to Magma grills, to philosophical thoughts on cruising.

So what are our plans?  Well, cruising on Drift Away is out.  I'm still suffering from the ill effects of breaking my neck last year, and some things are getting worse.  Pam is working on a horse ranch in the Ocala, Florida area so we'll be spending most of each year there, and our plans to build a house in the Adirondack Mountains have been scaled back to a summer cabin.

Drift Away is still for sale, but offers are coming in.  It should (hopefully) be sold shortly.

Pam and I cleaned the last of our things off of Drift Away before we headed north.  What a great boat, and what wonderful memories we had on it.  We both left, for the last time, a little teary eyed.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Missed Photo Opportunity

We'll be heading back to New York very shortly, so we decided to go to Drift Away in Green Cove Springs to fetch stuff.  I was amazed at how much we had on there.  We took off a wicker sofa, loveseat, rocker, chair, end table, and coffee table.  Boxes and boxes of dishes, food, utensils, and other kitchen stuff.   We took the convection oven and even the bread box.  Then, finally, I took the dorm room sized refrigerator that was my beer fridge on the boat.  It will be the beer fridge in the garage.

Yes, on the ride back to Eureka, we were pummeled by huge thunderstorms.  They're predicted everyday until Sunday.  I need to pick one day to fetch the Whaler with the trailer that Earl and I fixed up, unless the boat sells first, which it might.

I stopped at Holland Marine to inquire about them lifting the Whaler off the boat with a crane.

"Why don't you use the electric hoist on the boat?" they asked.

"The Whaler weighs about 600 pounds.  I'm nervous that this might turn into a ya-all-hold-my-beer-and-watch-this moment as the trawler falls of it's jack stands and crashes to the ground."

"You mean tip over?  Naw, that won't happen.  We've done it before."

So that's the plan, sometime soon.  But then our cell phone rang.  It was a boat broker.  He had a legitimate offer on Drift Away.  I asked him to check with the buyer to see if he was agreeable to the boat without the Whaler.  There should be an inflatable up there anyway, something much lighter.   I had time to ponder all this on the drive home.

I pulled the Kia towing the box trailer into the yard, close to the door.   Pam went to let the dogs out.

"David, we have a problem!"


""The dogs locked the door to the RV!"

Uh oh.  It must be they were jumping up, trying to force open the door, and hit the lock.  This is especially bad because RV "the Boat" has only one door, and the only keys to the RV were inside.  Daughter Megan was able to slide open a window on the driver's side.  She stood on a chair while I held it and she crawled in head first.  She had to stop halfway in to fend off the excited (and no doubt bewildered) dogs.   Her butt was hanging out and her legs flailing.  I totally missed a fantastic photo opportunity.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Since Earl sold his fishing boat, I've been kicking around the idea of fetching the 13' Boston Whaler off of our trawler.   Drift Away is on the hard and the Whaler is on the roof, tied down in chocks.  The only problem is that I don't have a trailer.

Earl and I spent the past two days driving all over, looking for a small but heavy duty boat trailer.  The Whaler weighs about 350 pounds and the 50 HP Johnson a couple of hundred.  That's a lot of weight.  We drove to all the places that Earl thought we might find a used one, but no luck.

Our neighbor, Wanda, was here this morning and she said that a neighbor a couple of blocks away was setting up a garage sale and had a boat trailer.  Earl and I went over.  It looked perfect.

"How much?" I asked.

"I forget.  I wrote it on that piece of tape on the front," he replied.

I walked up and looked at it.  I didn't have my reading glasses.  I squinted.  Is that $400?  Not bad.  No wait, there are two small zeroes.  Probably a 2 or a 3 before the 4000.   No.  Is this $40?

"$40?" I asked quizzically.

"Yeah, that's it."

Earl's eyes got wide and he started to say something but I waved at him to shut the heck up.

"I'll take it."

I need to modify it a bit.  The Whaler's hull looks like this.

I need to position the longitudinal pads under the hull where I drew the vertical lines.  the boat's beam is 5' 5", so I'm guessing that they're a little over a foot off center.

Earl and I are also going to reinforce the frame.  I'm going to weld a couple of struts from  the trailer frame in front of the wheels to the tow bar part.  I also need to raise the pads quite a bit so the Whaler clears the tires, and that will require some welding too.

I'm glad I bought that little $20 welder at that lawn sale last week.

What about selling Drift Away?  Well, I've been hemming and hawing about whether we should sell it or not.  Since my neck breaking accident last summer, I've been warned by my doctor to be very careful.  Another good head whacking could really mess me up.   Well, today I smacked my head on our RV's awning frame.  Pretty hard.  Hard enough that pain came back in my neck where I broke it.  

That did it.  I was always hitting my head on something on the boat.  So I called the broker and told him to lower the price to a fire sale deal.   If you don't believe me, go to and check it out.  Five Cheoy Lees come up.  Ignore the one in Brunswick, Georgia.  That's an old listing of Drift Away.  So there are four.

Why take the Whaler?  Two reasons.  First, I want a boat to take Pam and all three dogs out in.  The Whaler is a great boat for that.  Secondly, the Whaler is very heavy.  I think an inflatable is the way to go, probably a RIB.  Pam and I had a heck of a time pulling the Whaler in from the side of the boat when raising it back to the roof with the hoist.  Its so heavy that Drift Away would heel to starboard and we had to pull it uphill.

If anyone is looking for a fixer-upper that's in good shape mechanically, Drift Away is your boat.  If you have any questions, ask.  If you want to snag it, contact Mike at St. Augustine Yacht Sales.