Tuesday, June 23, 2009

November 25, 2008

Hello again everyone,

We last emailed you from Lena and Jesse's house in St. Louis on our cross-country search for the right sailboat in which to return to the Caribbean. Since then our windshield has been a blur of American forests, fields, concrete, and strip malls.

We passed quickly through Illinois and Indiana. In Ohio we each reestablished contact with an old friend from years before, hoping to visit, but no luck. Steve's pal, it turns out, is now in California, and Ginny's is in prison! We saw bits of Kentucky and West Virginia, then traveled the east-west length of Pennsylvania, pausing in Punxsutawney to learn about the groundhog phenomenon. In the Adirondacks and Catskills the towns became fewer, the roads more winding. After Western Massachusetts and Vermont we arrived at Steve's ancestoral homeland around Lake Winnepesakie, New Hampshire, where we stayed a few days. During this phase of the trip we took county roads and small state highways, passing through the small towns, avoiding the big ones. And we stopped at dozens of historical markers, a passion of Steve's. We slept in the back of the truck in cornfields and forests and along rivers and abandoned country lanes.

As we entered the metropolitan areas we usually took freeways and were confined to rest areas, park-and-rides, and Wal-Mart parking lots. Around Boston we visited an old friend of Ginny's and toured Steve's old Harvard haunts. We nearly bought a beautiful 27-foot Corsair trimaran sailboat but chickened out at the last minute because the cost was prohibitive given falling stock prices. We enjoyed the New England colors at the expense of cold weather, and sped south with the heater on full blast.

We rushed through Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. We were still cold, but at least we started finding good campsites again. (One night we slept in a tobacco field next to a KOA campground. After dark Steve sneaked into the KOA and copped a free shower!) Having bought a sliding-seat rowing station for the canoe, we took delightful rides in various Southern estuaries and rivers.

On October 22nd we arrived in Florida. Here it's cold at night and warm in the day. For the past month we have explored the northern half of the state, which teems with alligators, turtles, springs, traffic, and strip malls. We've been lingering around Tarpon Springs (near Tampa), where they build the 21-foot Sea Pearl sailboat. The Sea Pearl company helped us find an excellent deal on a 1985 Sea Pearl in Panama City, Florida. We made the big purchase on November 10th. Then we went to a gathering of the West Coast (of Florida) Trailer Sailors at Lake Harris in central Florida to see what we could learn from other Sea Pearl owners.

Turns out we learned a lot because we capsized the boat in a gust during a tack. The water was eight feet deep. Below that the silty muck was at least 14 feet deep, because the boat eventually turned completely upside down with the masts stuck in the bottom. Swimming under the boat, Steve pushed the masts further down into the muck until they came out of the mast steps, moved the boat aside, then pulled the masts back up to the surface. Many people helped us rescue our stuff and get the boat upright. Everything was soaked and some things destroyed, including the phone, camera, gameboy and GPS. The keys on Steve's accordion froze up from absorbing water but they are working OK now that it's dried out. We also lost a boom, sail, anchor, and anchor line in the capsize, but were able to retrieve them by scraping a hook through the muck. The capsize was a hassle, but it could have been a lot worse!

One day a couple weeks ago, as we were carrying our canoe down to the beautiful spring-fed Rainbow River, a guy named Mike helped us carry it and invited us to his place later. Currently we are staying with him and his wife Julia in a suburb of Tampa, Florida. We are helping them remodel a guest house in exchange for the use of his shop to modify the boat to suit our needs. Among other improvements our still-nameless vessel will be receiving ballast (a way to secure drinking water and canned food to the cabin floor) so we will be less likely to capsize, and a cabin top so the water will stay out if we still capsize. We may be here a few weeks. Then, presumably, we will return to the Caribbean in a route not yet determined.

So, this is what we've been doing, what about you?

Steve & Ginny

P.S. We have more pictures online at:http://picasaweb.google.com/ginnygoon/USAUSA# , starting at the picture "Part 3".

P.P.S. We are trying to decide on a boat name. Please let us know what you think. Names we are considering include:
1. Boat
2. Flipper (inspired by our friend Rudy who said, "Be careful, she's a flipper!")
3. Window
4. Awl (prehistoric sewing needle)
5. ...Or, name it after a cat, which is always a good idea:
5a&b. Salt and/or Pepper (steve's childhood cats)
5c,d &e. Gumball, Bing or Cynthia (Ginny's childhood cats)
5f&g. Thurston and/or Snazz Monkey (Ginny's current cats)
5h. Bongo (Our Cancun friend Mark's recently deceased cat :(
(see http://picasaweb.google.com/ginnygoon/MexicoTrip
5i. Squeak
6. ...Or, name it after an equally loved and missed non-cat pet. Why not?
6a&b. Lisa and/or Shotsie (Ginny's childhood dogs)
6c. Lucifer (Ginny's childhood turtle)
6d. Zsa Zsa (Steve's childhood dog)

Important things to consider:
*2 is the only name she has earned.
*4 came to Steve in a dream where a voice from the sky (God?) demanded to know the name of the boat.
*Only pets 5a,b,c,d,h,&i and 6a,b&d are confirmed deceased (unless there is something Ginny's mom has been holding back. ahem?)
*5g Snazz (minus the Monkey) is tentatively taken by the canoe. Monkey, Snazz II or Snazz Monkey are still available.
*5h is also the name of an awesome Matt Groening one-eared rabbit-like creature (http://www.pixelydixel.com/img/groening.jpg)
*5i is taken by Steve's 12-foot boat, but Squeak II is available.

As you can see, this is a very difficult decision!

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