Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009

Hi Guys,
Just a quick update as we don't have a lot to report. Larry and Karen took off on a two and a half week trip down the St. John's River in Florida and are still at it, presumably having a wonderful time.

In the meantime we've just been working as per usual. The details of that work are much more suited for Larry's Sea Pearl website, so on here we'll just offer a little summary:
We finished our Lazarette:

Painted the canoe (completing all our canoe modifications for the time being), the outside panels of the lazarette and cabin, and the inside of the boat.

We've recently worked out our tiller tamer system and fixed various little bugs. Speaking of which, we've also met various little bugs!

We still have a few small things to do, such as have a custom mattress made (pricey!!) and make sun/rain covers for ourselves and our sails. For fun we're back in the habit of watching old movies at night and Ginny has finally started working on her "year of photographs" project again. Some of you may remember she was taking an excessive number of pictures from November 06 -07 in an attempt to catalog every single day of her life. The end result is interesting and will result in some sort of massive work of digital art.

In the short term we're looking forward to Larry and Karen coming home, seeing Addison eventually (we hope!) and a visit from Ginny's old friend Stephen who will give us an excuse to take a day off and canoe the Yellow River. Stephen will be borrowing the canoe while we're gone now that he's living in Florida.

Lastly, we have unnamed our boat Pepper. Steve is leaning back towards Tusk, Ginny is thinking Snuggles Jr.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 6, 2009

Friends and Family,

You last heard from us from from Calgary, Canada, when we had just begun our truck trip back to Georgia, where our sailboat is. After Calgary we crossed the plains provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. These are mightily flat and full of wheat. We camped each night in or on the margin of some vast field. Once the grill was saturated with grasshopper guts and the ground was crawling with black, lethargic crickets! The only city was Medicine Hat (named for a war bonnet that once imparted great powers to its Indian owner), but we passed through countless towns consisting of a grain silo and a few houses and stores.

Around Winnipeg the vegetation transitioned to low forest but the land remained flat. Then ponds and rock outcroppings started to appear. These features culminated in Ontario, which someone said is two-thirds water: lakes big and small, connected by beaver-choked streams. The land portion consists of rugged hills composed of ancient, Canadian Shield granite. The land is dotted with lakes, yet the lakes are also dotted with islands: 14,000 of them in Lake of the Woods alone, where we camped for two days on a pristine, forested isle. Loons called mournfully in the night, an ascending cry that slips from a lower to an upper register in mid-call. The days were hot and sunny, the water cool and tranquil. The canoe's oars and rowing station came in handy as we circumnavigated one island after another trying to comprehend this alien landscape. We want to return some day and explore Quetico Provincial Park, where in a lifetime you could never canoe all the old voyageur routes. And just across the border in Minnesota lies the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

We next drove around the north shore of Lake Superior, like a freshwater ocean with surf and rocky beaches, remote and undeveloped. Finding places to camp was easy: just drive down any faint pair of tracks into the woods until the highway noise fades in the distance then stop wherever we can turn the Isuzu around. We kept her undercarriage well polished driving over tall grass and saplings! Then we pull out the pantry (an ice-less cooler), the kitchen table (accordion case), our utensils kit, and the white gas stove in its little oven box with the pots and pans nested inside, and arrange them in a row facing the tailgate, so we can sit with them in reach. Dinner may not be any culinary magic, more likely macaroni and cheese with a can of peas. But we couldn't be more snug in our truck canopy bed, and, who knows, off among the mossy pines a moose or bear may even raise its head to the haunting wheeze of an accordion inexpertly played.

As an old sailor would say, we did our eastings in Canada but then we had to do our southings down through the States. We crossed at Sault Ste. Marie. Homeland Security welcomed us with an hour-and-a-half search and verbal grilling. They fingerprinted Steve to see if maybe he was Somebody they were looking for, but he wasn't. Sorry guys! We crossed at night so there wasnt any line, but the dozen or so personnel on duty had nothing else to do, so we didn't save any time.

Then we drove south through Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina, averaging a state per day. In Detroit we we gaped at the abandoned buildings, and Ginny bought the new Modest Mouse and Cure CDs with money she found on the ground. (She keeps Steve happy by downloading old Small Faces and Stevie Ray Vaughn cuts for him. We now have his and hers MP3 players.) Disdaining freeways, We wound up and down and back and forth through Appalachian backroads until we though our tires would wear out. We camped under a bridge one night, next to a burnt-down house (meth lab?) another. The weather turned cold and wet.

Last night we crossed into Georgia. A couple hours ago we pulled into Larry's driveway. Karen lives with him now, but they had the spare bedroom waiting for us. Their hospitality overwhelms us. We now have a few weeks of final boat work before us before we can set forth in Pepper, but we have a warm home to do it in. Thank you, guys!

We hope you are all well and ready for these short days and long nights. . For more new pictures, see our corresponding photo album at: starting with the Zamboni picture.

Steve and Ginny