Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 21, 2009

Our Atlanta working conditions are much better than those in Tampa. Actually, the location is Stone Mountain, about 25 miles east of Atlanta. Stone Mountain is a huge granite rock. Here is a picture of us climbing it .

We were at the house of Larry Whited. Larry is sort of the president of the unofficial Sea Pearl fan club, having owned several and being a thorough boat nut. He has a bottomless inventory of tools and is an incredible friend and sponsor. Larry is a nurse who works weekend nights. He put us up in our own bedroom, accepted us as housemates, and made us feel at home right away. His property is about an acre is size with a comfortable rambler and quite a few boats of all shapes and sizes.

Once settled in at Larry's, we helped him update his facilities. We put on a new roof on his tool shed, which is out back, and built shelves for his many tools. We turned a screened porch into a shop by clearing it out and organizing it around Larry's fantastic Shopsmith, a combination table saw, table sander, and drill press.

Next we recovered from our car accident. You may recall that we were rear-ended as we approached Atlanta. The truck's bumper and tailgate were damaged and the boat trailer was wracked out of shape . We found a used bumper at a junk yard, bent the tailgate back in shape by driving over it a certain way, and pieced together a new trailer from leftover parts in a manufacturer's storage yard. Most of the money we got from the guilty party's insurance company went into savings.

Now for the boat work. We finished the stowage/ballast project, including painting all those strange aluminum objects white. Then we finished the cabin top , which was very tricky. The whole thing comes off by removing 27 bolts and lifting it off. Larry's Sea Pearl website, Seapearlboats.org , has some excellent detail of the work if you're interested in learning more. We worked seven days a week, usually until dark, but somehow still found time to watch movies on the Turner Classic Movie channel and fatten up on biscuits.

In May Larry took us to the annual small boat gathering at Cedar Key, Florida. We had a magnificent time sailing every day, kayaking, bicycling, swimming, and exploring, not to mention looking at cool boats and meeting their designers and owners. We have a few pictures of Cedar Key in our new photo album , but for the real experience check out Larry's Photo Album and his Cedar Key website write-up .

When we got back to from Cedar Key our boat, Pepper, was done enough for a shake-down voyage, so we spent four days on Lake Lanier, a large, man-made lake north of Atlanta. We sailed and rowed up and down the lake. At night we nosed Pepper onto various uninhabited islands, with an anchor astern in the water and another up on the beach, and slept in her tiny cabin. Good thing we're small! Pepper proved out well, but more projects remained.

Back at Larry's we have almost finished building a stowage locker for the aft part of the boat. Associated with this is a re-do of the rowing station , whereby the rowing components can be removed when not rowing, to free up room in the cockpit. Steve's birthday came and went, he wasn't interested in celebrating, but Ginny, Larry and Larry's girlfriend Karen dragged him out to dinner anyway. After that It was just about time for us to go back to Washington for a visit prior to hard-core cruising.

So three days ago we left Pepper in Larry's keeping and got back into our old Isuzu pickup with the canoe on top. The next day we found where the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee come together . (It's not as grandiose as where Massachussetts, Vermont, and New York meet.) Now we have arrived back at the house of Lena and Jesse , Ginny's friends in St. Louis.

Basically, we will spend the summer on the road and in Washington, and return to Stone Mountain in the fall. After a little more boat-work we hope to travel down Georgia's Chatahoochie River to the Gulf of Mexico, then south along the west coast of Florida, then to the Bahamas right in time for Hurricane Season...

We hope that you too are finding plenty of challenge and adventure in your life!

Steve and Ginny

P.S. We hope this new site will inspire us to do more frequent, though smaller, updates for those of you who find yourselves wondering what ever happened to us. We will continue to mail out periodic big emails too for the rest of you.

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