Saturday, May 28, 2016

Waiting in Mystic

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rigger to show,
or the insurance to call,
or the Travel Lift to lift.

Just waiting.

I'm ready to be in the water, but there's nothing for it but to wait on others. Still, as waiting places go, Mystic is a pretty good place to twiddle thumbs. The food is great, the people nice. The drivers around here get my vote for the most courteous in the World. The bascule bridge that keeps US 1 traffic out of the Mystic River looks a Jules Verne creation with two iron spoked wheels (arcs really) raising the bridge with massive locomotive style linkages. Cool to watch and to hear the "steam" whistle moan before raising or lowering.

The bell tower on the hill sounds out the hour and half hour. At noon, it or someone plays a little music on the bells. Reminds of Les Ch'tis, but I haven't heard any Stevie Wonder yet.

I'm shacked up at "Lacy's Place", an airbnb room let by Gary Burfoot. It's perfect and just a 25 minute walk to Mystic and 30 to the boatyard. Since I still have some tools in the truck and sometimes need to run an errand, I usually drive down to the boatyard, but then walk across the bridge to Mystic for lunch or coffee. A wee bit expensive, but I'm finding more sandwich shops to help keep the cost down. Gary has been super accommodating and an all around nice guy. I (soon we) can't stay on the boat until it's in the water. Right now it looks like later than expected and Gary has arrange things such that we can stay at "Lacy's Place" until such time as we can move onto the boat. Thanks Gary!

In the course of this waiting game, I'm doing piddly work like splicing docklines and catching up on Game of Thrones. Tonight I'm also setting up to write a little code and practice patience in Mystic.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Roadtrip Day 6: Mystic Arrival!

We had a short day yesterday, since New York would not let us into the state on a Sunday. To while away the time, we did a little fancywork on the cabin supports for proper handholds. This is Saint Marys Coxcombing. Spencer got the hang of it quicker than I and beat me by a Turks head in the end.

We thought we had found a quiet corner in the truck stop with no room for a truck next to us, but nooooo. Sure enough, an especially loud truck, with much late night protesting from other drivers, parked right next to us and left their engine running all night. The noise from all the engines is the worst thing about living at truck stops. I guess I'll never complain again about people running their gensets in anchorages ...

The day dawned beautiful for the last leg of our epic journey. We have our habits now. I rise before Spencer and get the heater running to warm the chill out of the cabin before he will venture from his sleeping bag. A cup of pressed coffee, granola and yogurt, a quick clean up, and off we go. Slowly. Up and down. I had no idea it was so hilly out here and we struggle to hold speed up some of these climbs. And struggle to keep the speed down on the descents. Just like trucks, we have to stay off the brakes lest they overheat.

Another detour just before heading into New York. Beautiful forests, but nerve wracking to pull a wide heavy load along the narrow, winding roads. Slow too, since we are limited to 10 MPH below the posted speed limit.

Inevitably, Pennsylvania came to an end and New York was a quick, straight shot across with no worries and good conditions. Into Connecticut for the final haul into Mystic. We're bootlegging it now. We had a wide load permit for Connecticut, but it expired Sunday and there was no time (5 days) to get another one. I had my story straight if we got stopped. From what we can tell, cops have no interest in us at all, so we went for it.

Coming into Mystic was like going down a funnel. It just kept getting narrower and narrower. The turns tighter and tighter. Pedestrians - ack! After a clean run of some 2300 miles, we thwacked a stop sign with the tip of the mast on the last turn into the boatyard. No big deal, but rats!

We'll be working on the boat for a couple of days before Spencer heads back to Boulder and I'll be on my own for awhile. This was a crazy adventure. I could not have done it alone. It's full time driving the rig and full time navigating the often complex wide load routing. It was a team job with the boys in the field hauling the load and Cath providing home base support along the way. We did it!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Roadtrip Day 5: Youngstown, OH to Scranton, PA

Rain, rain go away..... Today was wet Pennsylvania day. With heavy morning fog, they did not think they would make it to their planned destination (Scranton, PA) as shown on their Glympse planned itinerary:

but they did reach Scranton mid-afternoon and are now sitting 50 miles short of the New York state border. The hilly Appalachian mountains gave them some good roller coaster entertainment they could have done without.

They now have enough fuel points for one shower. One shower - any taker? ..... hmmm it seems they are enjoying their ripened state or they just want to have the Star Asia Buffet dinner place across the street to themselves. Warning to locals: avoid 6-7pm EST at Star Asia Buffer tonight.

Weather permitting, they should arrive at their final destination, Mystic, CT, tomorrow afternoon!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Day Trip Day Four: A Report From the Field

Today we entered, but did not quite leave (Youngstown), Ohio. Much of the time was spent on more rural detours that, in theory, should be clear of obstructions for a wide 'n' high load, but not everyone is keeping their trees inboard nor do they refrain from enthusiastic flags displayed from light poles, putting their patriotic manifestations well into the lane and below our gunwales. Still, despite the slow, careful progress, at least it isn't boring, knock your teeth out, rutted highway. On a more amusing route, they took us around a construction zone smack into the local county fair where we spent some VERY slow time behind a horse drawn buggy! We have yet again found something on the road slower than us.

The sky was in a foul mood all day with low overcast and spitting rain, though nothing that completely shut us down. What did shut us down was a nail in one of the trailer tires. We must of picked it up yesterday because I noticed the tire was a bit low this morning and filled it up, but it was low again at our noon check. In an amazing team effort with the boys in the field together with Cath at home base, we swapped in the spare tire and did an almost rolling puncture repair at a tire shop Cath located a bit further down the interstate; down time less than 45 minutes total. Yea!

We finally figured out the Flying J point/shower thing. Basically, $100 of fuel gets you enough points for one shower, but we only just figured out how to start getting points. So we have 1/2 a shower coming today. Personally, I'm giving it to Spencer's left side: stinks the most. The pumps have a crazy complicated menu system where you enter your DOT number (we make 'em up as we go), unit number (no idea what that is, but it doesn't seem to matter) and then half the time our card doesn't work and Spencer has to run inside with the credit card.

The next couple of days do not look ideal. The weather promises to be nasty for the remaining duration, so it depends on how hard it decides to rain as to how much progress we can make. New York won't let us in the state on a Sunday (I didn't think they could smell us from so far away...) so we need a place to stay on the PA side, which means Scranton. If the weather behaves, it looks like about 310 miles tomorrow and then 250 into Mystic on Monday, but who knows what surprises the miles ahead have for us!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Roadtrip Day 3: St Louis, MO to Mt Comfort, IN

Today was the longest day covering the shortest distance :( Did not quite make it to the Ohio border as planned, but crossed the Mississippi river. They are camping east of Indianapolis.

The Illinois state permit routed them on a two-lane road going 25 mph. Stressful, bumpy, with trucks overtaking them.  They are very proud to report that they had to pass a vehicle slower than them (farming equipment) on that two-lane road. That seemed to be the highlight of the day, aside from the international travels thru Paris, IL and Brazil, IN.

Sorry, no pictures today - roads were too bumpy for pictures, using binoculars for road signs, and even read the odometer at times.

Dinner upgrade today: Subway (still no shower though. eek..) Weather permitting, off to Ohio tomorrow!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Roadtrip Day 2: Salina KS to St Louis MO

Another great day on the road. While Kansas was about quilting and yarn work yesterday, Missouri today was about churches, fireworks and "adult super stores" (sex shops we think!). 450 miles yesterday. 420 today. The sign was tempting but we are glad they opted to keep driving.

David, Shelby's husband being from Columbia, MO got a kick out of watching the boys pass by his hometown on the MODOT webcam. We even had Spencer wave at the camera. Serious!

Tonight, another healthy dinner at Denny's. Yum... Ugh...

Note to self #1: keep your fuel receipt to take a shower. Well yeah.. don't you know you use the last 4 digits of your receipt to unlock the truck stop showers. Duh!

Note to self #2: call the bank before you attempt to refuel the truck out of state. The list of states (10) in which the boys may use the credit card overwhelmed Chase to the point where it was easier to list their types of purchase for the next 5 days: fuel and food. No adult superstores for you boys!

Off to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Roadtrip Day 1: Boulder, CO to Salina, KS

Today, under blue skies and no wind (thank you mother nature), Alizée made it to her first truck stop in Kansas, and two tired boys are enjoying a delicious midwest dinner at Huddle House. Two states down, eight to go. Off to Missouri tomorrow!

And she is off!

Yesterday, the local paper announced the departure with a nice article and a farewell video. With pancakes-filled bellies and their favorite java juice, the boys departed this morning at 6am to avoid traffic.

Alizée did not look that oversized on the road and she made it up the US36 hill , and onto I70 without a hitch. Apologies to our dear neighbors for leaving so early without a formal goodbye. She was so ready to go.  Off to exciting Kansas!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

60 feet down, 10,560,000 feet to go!

It only took 30 min of eagle eyes and intense focus to take Alizée out of her driveway. I think she is ready to go herself.  She scrapped her knees a little on the driveway, and tried to catch one of her stanchions on the roof, but other than that, she just slid right down.

Blocking the street again but only for a short time this time not like flip day ;)


We'll keep her in front of the house for a day or so to finish her provisioning and to wait for a weather window as state permits don't allow driving her in the rain.

Rain came after we moved her like a sign of sadness from the neighborhood who grew so accustomed to seeing her. Driveway looks so empty now. Like Shelby said "this is a site for sore eyes" after 6 years.


You did it Captain! Isn't she pretty in front of the house? You sure you want to move her to the water?

We are empty nesters! Now what?

With our son Spencer and daughter Shelby now college graduates and signed up on payrolls (and taxes, and no vacation, in short 'boulot') it's time to explore our empty nester life to its fullest.

After 6 years of boatbuilding in landlocked Colorado, the man with a big dream (Bill) is ready to check Alizée's seaworthiness. Next week, he and Spencer will be schlepping her oversized load on a custom-made trailer over 5 long days across 10 states, some more interesting than others, for her sea trials before being shown at the Mystic Seaport Wooden Boat festival. I (Cath) will join them in June to come aboard and share her maiden voyage from Mystic to Maine. But first, we have to figure out how in this bloody world we're going to drag her out of the driveway without taking out the house, the tree; the flowers have only hours left ... Wish us luck!