The Oregon Coast

We got lucky … the weather was perfect on the central Oregon coast!  We had a couple of weeks to kill while our new office desk was being built at Elite RV in Harrisburg, Oregon.  So we headed to the coast to explore Florence, Waldport and Newport.  We dry-camped at casinos and marinas (because we can now that we have solar).

1 Lucy poses on the beach

6 Lucy and Mike on beach

2 Lucy in the air at beach

3 Lucy wants to be carried

8 Lucy runs up dune

9 mike and lucy

14 lucy on beach

We sighted whales several times from the various look-out points.  We even took a whale-watching boat trip.

Whale 1

whale 2

Whale 3

So excited to get the tail even though this one was so far away.  I was on the shore.

So excited to get the tail even though this one was so far away. I was on the shore.

This whale is named Scar and she is with her baby

This whale is named Scar and she is with her baby

Scar and Baby

Scar and Baby

The whale's head

The whale’s head

We camped at the Newport Marina for a few days during the harvest moon.

Harvest Moon over Newport Harbor

Harvest Moon over Newport Harbor

Yaquina Bay Bridge with Newport Marina in background

Yaquina Bay Bridge with Newport Marina in background

When the fog rolls in...

When the fog rolls in…

Many of the buildings in Newport have murals painted on the sides.  Here are just a few.

Mural 1 Mural 3 Mural 2

 

We got in some farmers markets, seafood eating, hiking, shopping, touring and just enjoying the beauty of this little slice of heaven.

Lighthouse 3 Lighthouse 2 Heceta Bay Lighthouse

 

Hiking Cape Perpetua

Hiking Cape Perpetua

Beachtown 3 Mike and Lucy at pier in Florence OR

Campsite Bird Coast Sand Birds Coast 8 Coast 7 Coast 6 Coast 5 Coast 3 Coast 2 Coast 1

Our campsite at the Marina in Waldport

Our campsite at the Marina in Waldport (near Florence)

Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest remain on our travel plans for the future.  We will be back!

The Bear – Upgrades

We decided to make a few changes/upgrades to the Bear.  These past few weeks have found us camping in RV shop garages and parking lots getting our “wish list” projects completed.  I can’t tell you how excited I am with these upgrades!!

We’ve known from the very beginning that we wanted solar panels.  Our love of camping in the wilderness, rather than in full hook-up campgrounds, required that we run our generator 4 to 5 hours a day to charge the batteries whenever we camped “off the grid”.  The Bear needs a lot of electricity, especially because of our residential refrigerator.

So our first stop was AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon.  Before I share our new solar panel configuration, I want to talk about our batteries.  We bought 4 new wet-cell batteries at the beginning of the year, but we decided to go ahead and replace them with 4 of the large L16 Lifeline AGM batteries (400 amps each).

Our 4 new L16 Lifeline AGM 400 amp Batteries

Our 4 new L16 Lifeline AGM 400 amp Batteries

We weren’t sure how much solar power we should install.  But we knew that we didn’t want to worry about power all the time.  So we met with “Marvelous Marvin” of Precision RV and put together a configuration that meets (and exceeds) our needs.

The Bear Going In For Solar Panels at AM Solar

The Bear Going In For Solar Panels at AM Solar

Marvelous Marvin Discussing Tilt Bars With Mike

Marvelous Marvin Discussing Tilt Bars With Mike

Our installation included 8 solar panels with 160 watts per panel for a total of 1280 watts.  Yeah!

Eight 160 watt Solar Panels

Eight 160 watt Solar Panels

Has all this power gone to our heads?  You bet it has!  We’re amped!  We freely run the coffeemaker, watch TV, use the microwave, hairdryer, fans, computer, printer, etc. … all without batting an eye.  These are some of the things that people in normal houses don’t even think about, and now we don’t have to think twice either.  We haven’t used the tilt bars yet, because we haven’t had to ‘work’ for the sun.  We’re at 100% before lunch and stay there all day no matter what we’re running.  We LOVE our solar power!

Our next stop was Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon.  We had a list of little (and one not-so-little) fix-it items that took a couple of days to complete.  Then we got to the fun stuff … my office remodel.  Up til now, I’ve used the dinette tabletop for my computer, and it’s all wrong.  I end up with a back ache and a neck ache and tingling arms.  I’ve spent two years mulling about what type of remodel to do and where to do it.  I was thinking about remodeling the dinette booth into a desk/dining combo.  Mike convinced me that I should use the space that was being occupied by the love seat/jack knife bed.  And he was so right!

Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon

Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon

The love seat was a catch-all most of the time!

The love seat was a catch-all most of the time!

Love Seat and Carpet Removed

Love Seat and Carpet Removed

06 love seat pulled out

The Floor Was Extended 10 Inches

The Floor Was Extended 10 Inches

Mark Measures For Topper Board After Marty  Builds and Installs New Desk

Desk Is Installed

Floor Is Prepped for Topping Board

Floor Is Prepped for Topping Board

Desk Is Wired For Electrical Outlets

Desk Is Wired For Electrical Outlets

Carpet and Desk Drawers Installed

Carpet and Desk Drawers Installed

It's Coming Together

It’s Coming Together

Desk Top and Wood Trim Completed

Desk Top and Wood Trim Completed

File Drawer, Printer Drawer, Large Divided Top Drawer, Double Shelf Slim Cabinet, and Electrical Power Strip.

File Drawer, Printer Drawer, Large Divided Top Drawer, Double Shelf Slim Cabinet, and Electrical Power Strip.

Corian Desk Top Matches Counter

Corian Desk Top Matches Counter

My  Stressless Chair with Attached Computer Table

My Stressless Chair with Attached Computer Table

The Computer Table Folds Down; The Chair Swivels and Reclines for TV Watching

The Computer Table Folds Down; The Chair Swivels and Reclines for TV Watching

My Ekornes Stressless Chair is soooo comfortable.  It even comes in sizes, so I got the one that’s perfect for me!

We also had sturdy new shelves built for our cabinets.  The cabinets above and below the large TV are too wide to have such a thin shelf.  They sagged!

We used those purple cups to brace the upper shelf.

We used those purple cups to brace the upper shelf.

New Strong Solid Wood Shelf

New Strong Solid Wood Shelf

Another shelf sagging under the weight of our crap.

Another shelf sagging under the weight of our crap.

Strong New Shelf

Strong New Shelf

I couldn’t resist using the old shelf for some extra storage capabilities.   We turned it over so it arches, rather than sags, and put some light stuff up there.

Old shelf inverted and placed high for some lightweight stuff.

Old shelf inverted and placed high for some lightweight stuff.

Marty, Eric and Mark at Elite RV Repair and Restoration in Harrisburg, Oregon are the greatest!

Another fun little thing we did was install a Hella fan.  We had 12 Hella fans throughout our sailboat and we loved them.  Sometimes all you need is a little air blowing on you.  This fan articulates in any direction and we had the perfect spot for one.  The Bear came with a wall light that had a broken light socket.  We never used that light anyway so we didn’t bother to repair it.  Replacing it with the fan made a lot more sense for us.

Installed Hella Fan

Installed Hella Fan.  From the looks of our weather station, we should turn it on!

Next stop, Henderson’s Line-up in Grants Pass, Oregon for a Road Performance Assessment.  We had them install new Koni FSD Shocks, Safe-T-Plus Steering Control, Motion Control Units, and upgrade our air dryer system.  Mike really likes the improved control and I love the smooth, comfortable ride.

Henderson's Line-Up in Grants Pass, Oregon

Henderson’s Line-Up in Grants Pass, Oregon

So, that’s it, folks.  Pretty close to everything on our RV wish list.  We’re very grateful that we get to live this lifestyle in such comfort.

Cheers!!

Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

The Two Happiest Days In A Sailors Life

There is an old saying “The two happiest days in a sailors life are the day he buys his boat, and the day he sells it”.  This is us on that first happiest day.

Offshore Delivery of Our New Hylas49, Aquila

Offshore Delivery of Our New Hylas49, Aquila in January 2005

We Enjoy Our First Dinner Aboard As Full-time Cruisers

We Enjoy Our First Dinner Aboard As Full-time Cruisers

Yesterday, we enjoyed that ‘second happiest day’ as escrow closed on the sale of Aquila.  We’ve had a couple of false starts on the sale these past couple of years, so we didn’t want to jinx anything by announcing it early.  But it’s official so we can celebrate now!

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to include in this post.  The more I thought about it, the longer it got.  You have been forewarned!  In fact, it’s taken me all day to whittle down our 7+ years aboard into one post.

First, I’ll share a couple of pics of Aquila sitting comfortably at anchor.

This Represents Many of Our Evenings That First Year In Mexico

This Represents Many of Our Evenings That First Year We Spent In Mexico

Caribbean Sea - Anchored at Barbuda

Caribbean Sea – Anchored at Barbuda

Mediterranean Sea, Corsica

Mediterranean Sea, Corsica

Sailing By Ibiza In The Mediterranean Sea.  See Us On The Bow?

Sailing By Ibiza In The Mediterranean Sea.  See Us On The Bow?

Were all of our days full of rainbows, dolphins, and beautiful sunsets?

01 rainbow in Simpson Lagoon  St Martin

1 Sailing - dolphins in Mexico

2 Sailing at sunset

3 Sailing - Sunset on Mexico coast

Many days treated us to fair winds.  Our first solo sail was from Ensenada, Mexico to Oakland, California when Aquila was brand new.  She was on display at the Oakland Boat Show representing Hylas49 Offshore Yachts.

Sailing Off The California Coast

Sailing Off The California Coast

5 Sailing - Spinnaker

Sometimes the breeze is at your back.  Perfect for spinnaker sailing!

Try taking a picture when the boat is heeling like this!

Sailing close to the wind creates more of a heeling motion. Try taking a picture when the boat is heeling like this!

Sometimes things got a bit more exciting.

8 Sailing - Atlantic Crossing-Seriously close hauled going fast

9 Sailing -Bashing Underway

This Is What Large Following Seas Looks Like.

This Is What Following Seas Look Like.

Lightning Is Striking The Water All Around Us in Costa Rica.

Lightning Is Striking The Water All Around Us in Costa Rica.

Mike Is On Deck Hoisting The Storm Sail In This Storm While Crossing The Atlantic Ocean.

Mike Is On Deck Hoisting The Storm Sail In This Storm While Crossing The Atlantic Ocean.

Following are a few pictures of clouds you DO NOT want to see ahead!

Squall Ahead

Squall Ahead

Weather at sunset

weather approaching

Weather - Storm Clouds

Oh Boy

Oh Boy

As full-time live-aboard cruisers, we did much of our own maintenance on board.

Mike Works On Generator

Mike Works On Generator

Mike Replaces Head Hoses (NOT a fun job)

Mike Replaces Head Hoses (NOT a fun job)

Mike Waxes The Hull

Mike Waxes The Hull

Mike Repairs the Radar

Mike Repairs the Radar

Mike Dives To Clean The Bottom Of The Hull

Mike Dives To Clean The Bottom Of The Hull

THIS is not what you want to see next to you!  Crocodile in Ixtapa MX.

THIS is not what you want to see next to you! Crocodile in Ixtapa MX.

Linda Varnishing Interior Teak

Linda Varnishing Interior Teak

Laundry Day

Laundry Day In British Virgin Islands

Linda Cuts Mike's Hair

Linda Cuts Mike’s Hair

Mahi Mahi For Dinner

Mahi Mahi For Dinner

Hoisting Dinghy Off Deck After Long Passage.  (think of taking your car out of the garage)

Hoisting Dinghy Off Deck After Long Passage. (think of taking your car out of the garage)

Skyping Home Using Free Wifi At The Yacht Club

Calling home using Skype at the local yacht club with free wifi.  This activity was repeated in many yacht clubs and bars throughout many countries.  Anywhere with free wifi.

The most vivid and wonderful memories of our sailing years are of visits from family and friends, as well as all the new friendships created in our life afloat.  The following is a snippet of those memories.  For unknown reasons, hundreds of my pictures were not on my backup disc (I hope they are back home in storage), so I apologize to all those friends not pictured here.   We love you all!

First up is family (of course).  The kids and grandkids sailed with us and vacationed with us in Channel Islands and Catalina in California; Ensenada and Zihuatenejo in Mexico; San Blas Islands and Bocas del Toro in Panama; St. Martin, St. Bart, and Antigua in the Caribbean; the Exumas in the Bahamas; Key West in Florida; and all along the French Rivera in France including Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Monaco and Villefranche.

This is our family when we first got the boat in 2005.

This is our family when we first got the boat in 2005.

Blake and Garrett instantly became little sailors and loved it!

Blake and Garrett instantly became little sailors and loved it!

San Blas Islands in Panama

San Blas Islands in Panama – Paige, Garrett and Blake

Bocas del Toro in Panama

Bocas del Toro in Panama – Sean, Keni and Kailyn

Lance and Kimberly in Antigua

Lance and Kimberly in Antigua

Blake and Lance on deck in St. Martin

Blake and Lance on deck in St. Martin

Sean and Kailyn in Key West

Sean and Kailyn in Key West

Villefranche, France

Villefranche, France – Lance, Kimberly, Blake, Garrett and Paige

Nice, France

Nice, France – Kailyn, Sean, Keni, Brady

Monaco

Monaco – Lance and Kimberly

Exuma Islands in Bahamas

Exuma Islands in Bahamas – Kailyn and Brady

Exuma Islands

Exuma Islands – Blake, Garrett, Paige

Bahamas

Bahamas

My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola from Texas vacationed with us three times.  First in Italy on the Italian Riviera, then Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and they also joined us in the Bahamas.   We enjoyed their visits so much!  Always impressed with their ability to go with the flow and their can-do attitude.  I was truly nervous before their first visit, which was Italy, because I didn’t want them to hate it.  Turns out they loved it!  Even after a rogue wave threw Nola across the cockpit and dislocated her thumb when she hit the floor.  And Valarie discovered that she gets a little motion sick.  They still came back for more!  Love you guys!

My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola

My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola

Nola is 'King of the World!'

Nola is ‘King of the World!’ in Italy

Our Hylas family is made up of our team of riggers, engineers, crew members, and fellow Hylas yacht owners.  All of these folks were invaluable to us and became lifelong friends.  Thank you all so much for your guidance, assistance, wisdom and love.

Aquila's Hylas Team Dave Powers and Brad Storm.  Also Sam, and good friends and fellow Hylas owners Larry and Mary Ivins

Aquila’s Hylas Team Dave Powers and Brad Storm. Also Sam, and good friends and fellow Hylas owners Larry and Mary Ivins

After taking off shore delivery of Aquila in Marina del Rey, California, our first order of business was to get her down to her new home in Ensenada Mexico.  Following is a picture of our team.  I actually can’t remember if it took us 2 or 3 days to get there, but I do remember that we had a lot of fun and learned so much!  My head was swimming with information on all these new systems I needed to learn!

Dave Powers trained us and Mike's buddies Bill Queen and Steve Langford crewed.

Dave Powers trained us and Mike’s buddies Bill Queen and Steve Langford crewed.

We spent the next 6 months learning to live aboard, learning to sail, learning to dock, learning to anchor.  In all of our 7+ years, however, Mike never learned to duck when stepping down into the galley.  He hit his head every time.  (Sorry, that makes me laugh.  I can’t help it.)  At the end of 2005, we were ready to hit the high seas.  We joined a rally of several hundred boats departing from San Diego for Cabo San Lucas.  No turning back now!  Crewing with us was fellow Hylas owners Herman and Claudine and boat show friend Kevin.  Our friends Darlene and Mark met up with us in Cabo for the partying!

Cabo San Lucas with Herman, Claudine, Kevin, Darlene and Mark

Cabo San Lucas with Herman, Claudine, Kevin, Darlene and Mark

As we cruised for the following year down the coast of Mexico and Costa Rica to Panama, we became a part of a floating community.  We formed lasting friendships and our fondest memories are of that first year when it was all so new.

Linda and Bill of svCreola on Jeanne and Gary's mvBad Attitude

Linda and Bill of s/v Creola on Jeanne and Gary’s m/v Bad Attitude

Patricia and Joe sail with us crossing the Sea of Cortez

Patricia and Joe sail with us crossing the Sea of Cortez

Janet and Allen Adden at Puerto Vallarta home

Janet and Allen Adden at Puerto Vallarta home

Anton, a fearless solo sailor, on catamaran Sukha became a best friend

Anton, a fearless solo sailor, on catamaran Sukha became a best friend

Rick and Judith of s/v Dreamweaver, Anton, and future catamaran Aqua owner Mike Mak.

Rick and Judith of s/v Dreamweaver, Anton, and future catamaran Aqua owner Mike Mak.

After transiting the Panama Canal, we spent a couple of years cruising in the Caribbean.  We enjoyed visits from some of our dearest friends and made some great new friends along the way, too!

Ray Torres

Ray Torres

Bill and Monica Queen

Bill and Monica Queen

At Frank and Patti's Home on Tortola

At Frank and Patti’s Home on Tortola

Christmas in St. Martin with Larry and Mary Ivins, s/v Berkeley East

Christmas in St. Martin with Larry and Mary Ivins, s/v Berkeley East

Carlos Ciria

Carlos Ciria

Joan and Alan Teed s/v Moonstruck

Joan and Alan Teed s/v Moonstruck

Tom and Rose Hansmeyer

Tom and Rose Hansmeyer of s/v Sojourn

Richard and Diane Trayner of s/v Ava Ryan

Richard and Diane Trayner of s/v Ava Ryan

Sue Burton, Julia Christiansen, Yvonne Cooksley

Sue Burton, Julia Christiansen, Yvonne Cooksley join us for a sail

Joanne and Barbara vacation with us in the Bahamas

Joanne and Barbara vacation with us in the Bahamas.  One of my missing photo folders.  I had to copy this pic off of my sailing website.  That’s why it’s so grainy.

Tom and Cathy Dunn of s/v Interlude.  Another one of my missing pics.  Had to copy this from my website.

Tom and Cathy Dunn of s/v Interlude. Another one of my missing pics. Had to copy this from my website.

Major respect and love goes to Ray Berndt who gets seasick and yet he volunteered to crew for us on our Atlantic Crossing.  He split the nightwatch with Mike, so I could sleep every night, and for that I am so grateful!  He was terrific companionship for Mike and the two of them could talk and reminisce about on-the-job stories all day long.  Or they would play chess.  That is, when they weren’t dealing with stormy weather or trying to sew torn sails underway.  My folder with pics from the entire Atlantic Crossing and all of our first year in the Mediterranean Sea were missing from my backup drive.  So I plucked this one of Ray from my website.  We met up with Mike Mak and Marquise Hawley of catamaran Aqua in Gibraltar and kicked off our Mediterranean adventures!

23 Ray Berndt in Portugal

Frank and Patti flew to Barcelona to visit us!

Frank and Patti flew to Barcelona to visit us!  Love you guys!

Anton and Natalia were cruising in Italy the same time as us.  Yeaaa!

Anton and Natalia were cruising in Italy the same time as us. Yeaaa!

Enjoyed Buddy-boating with Pip and Sarah of s/v Roaring Girl in Italy

Enjoyed Buddy-boating with Pip and Sarah of s/v Roaring Girl after meeting in Italy

Good friends Ray Torres and Mike McBride flew over to vacation with us on Aquila in the Balearic Islands where we met up with our buds Larry and Mary Ivins.  Our little group began the search for the perfect champagne sangria on the beautiful (and wild) island of Mallorca.  Other great friends that we met along the way include Dan and Denise on s/v Canace, Spencer and Nana on s/v Adverse Conditions, Shirley and John on s/v Solstice, Terry and Deb on s/v Wings, the McGee family on m/v Tesla, Jim on s/v Orinoco, Robert on s/v Silver Harmony, and Mark and Kimberly on s/v Swanya.  We had good times!

Lucy on Night Watch

Lucy on Night Watch

And now I’ll share a sampling of our sailing destinations.  We had a wonderful experience during our life aboard Aquila and treasure all the memories.  It was very difficult to cull my thousands of photos down to just these few.  So if you are still here with me … this set of pics is the last of this post.

Barra Navidad, Mexico

Barra Navidad, Mexico

Ixtapa, Mexico

Ixtapa, Mexico

Providencia, Columbia

Providencia, Columbia

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Carriacou, Grenadine Islands, Caribbean Sea

Carriacou, Grenadine Islands, Caribbean Sea

Grenada, the Isle of Spice

Grenada, the Isle of Spice

Martinique, Eastern Caribbean

Martinique, Eastern Caribbean

St. John, US Virgin Islands

St. John, US Virgin Islands

Tobago Cays, Southern Grenadines, Caribbean

Tobago Cays, Southern Grenadines, Caribbean

Azores, Atlantic Ocean

Azores, Atlantic Ocean

Barcelona, Spain (our winter home for 7 months)

Barcelona, Spain (our winter home for 7 months)

Fuengirola, Spain

Fuengirola, Spain

Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

San Miguel, Ibiza

San Miguel, Ibiza

Sant Feliu, Spain

Sant Feliu, Spain

Golfe de Roccapina, Corsica

Golfe de Roccapina, Corsica

Bonifacio, Corsica

Bonifacio, Corsica

Calvi, Corsica

Calvi, Corsica

Cannes, France

Cannes, France

Carloforte, Sardinia

Carloforte, Sardinia

Fort Royal at St. Marguerite

Fort Royal at St. Marguerite

Villefranche, France

Villefranche, France  (that’s Kimberly’s family in the dinghy)

Cefalu, Sicily

Cefalu, Sicily

Portoferraio, Elba Island

Portoferraio, Elba Island

Portofino, Italy

Portofino, Italy

Stromboli, active volcano

Stromboli, active volcano

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Atlantic Ocean

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Atlantic Ocean

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

La Palma, Canary Islands

La Palma, Canary Islands

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cat Island, Bahamas

Cat Island, Bahamas

Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas

Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas

It’s the end of an era for us.  Cheers to new adventures!