Wow, the last couple of days have been jammed packed and flown by in a heck of a hurry. So let me recap where we are today on the grand adventure.
Day 1- We started out in Houston right after work. We stuffed the last few items for the trip into the car and off we went. We stayed in Paul’s Valley Oklahoma.
Day 2: One of the highlights of the drive was a quick overnight stop in Superior Colorado. A big shout out and thank you to John and Michelle for giving us a place to crash and a few hours with the nieces and nephew. We are so glad that we got to see John, Michelle, Alyssa, Aiden and Bailey and Tucker the Beagle. The kids were very interested in this CAT! Bailey and Aiden followed me to our room and wanted to hold her and pet her. Bailey who is ~5 kept asking me “what is this cat’s name”? I said “patience.” She frowned and waited a minute before asking again, “what is this cat’s name?” I said Patience. She grimaced and put her hands on her hips and grumbled “I AM BEING PATIENT BUT WHAT IS YOUR CAT”S NAME?” I then realized that she actually thought I was telling her to be patient. We stayed overnight, woke up at a reasonable hour and ate a yummy breakfast of French Toast prepared by John and Michelle. We played with the children and then sadly we packed up the truck, grabbed the little kitty and climbed into the big white diesel truck and headed north to Wyoming and Montana.
Day 3: We left Colorado and stayed that night in Livingston Montana. What a beautiful part of the country.
Day 4: Little worried about the ships cat as she is 18 years old and has recently been having issue with kidneys. She was quiet the whole trip except for when she wanted some company. She generally crawled under the driver seat and slept. She was quite interested in hotel rooms and lunch stops. After driving for 4 days we arrived in La Conner at about 11:00. Now Andrew would mention here that he chose a route that took us through the Cascade Mountain Pass. A beautiful route but we hit the end of Memorial Day weekend traffic coming out of the mountains because of a stop light in Sultan. The purpose of this stop light, as far as we could tell, was to encourage people to stop at the local businesses. It took us 2 hours to 15 miles. None of us were very happy and my usually calm husband insisted that he was going to write a stern letter to the state. The drive was beautiful , waterfalls, trees and campgrounds and wonderful views. I have decided not to complain about anything so I had to keep quiet which was easy as I feel so happy to be taking this wonderful trip. We stumbled out of the truck exhausted, grabbed a rather grouchy kitty (Patience) and a few overnight things and headed to the Domino which is the boat that we will call home for the next three months. She is a fabulously salty, 40’ Willard built in 1974 for the military. We were both tired so we essentially fed everyone and then collapsed for the night.
For the next 2 days we tinkered, counted, twisted, unpacked, organized, shopped, made lists, reorganized and rearranged again. Preparing and stocking a boat is a lot like a jig saw puzzle. I finally figured it out though, I made a map of the cabinets, cubbies and floor hatches. Then I gave each location a storage purpose. A little math, a little planning and Voila everything was stowed! Amazing what you can do with about 10 hours and a truck load of stuff. Every night ended with the three of us collapsing into bed and falling right to sleep. Patience seemed tired from just watching us but seems quite intent to be near us while we work. She took several walks on the docks, some without permission and we went searching for her. I think she is very excited that the whole place smells like fresh air, water and FISH!
A few words on the boat and the boat owners. The Domino is owned by two brothers, Randy and Bradley Steeg. This boat was handed down to them by their father, may he rest in peace. The boat has been loved and cared for by Dale, Randy’s father and now Randy and his wonderful wife Amy. Andrew and I both feel incredible fortunate and obviously meant to meet the Steeg’s. They are a couple with strong faith, unwavering devotion and incredibly generous hearts. We also got to meet their friend Lily, a close family member and we truly enjoyed their company and conversations. Randy and Amy were so open to offering spiritual support and tons of local knowledge. Randy’s guidance and instruction on the boat, which he imparted tirelessly, has been priceless.
We spent 2 days with Captain Jack De Freil of Yacht Deliveries Northwest. We hired him to come down from Seattle and he took us through a two day boot camp to learn everything we could about boating in a single screw 40 foot motor yacht. YEP, JUST TWO DAYS! We were all hands on deck for about 10 hours a day. We ran everything, touch everything, examined everything and moved the boat wherever he told us to go. The idea of course was to learn how things should feel, smell, sound and move while underway. It was great making mistakes with a teacher aboard and then learning what to do to correct for those mistakes. We navigated, did maneuvers around hazards and learned how to take evasive actions, we docked, we fueled, we pumped out the head and we took on water. No monkey business, Andrew and I both manned the helm and in two days learned more about boating than I could have imagined. I was put through the paces at the dock , climbing off the boat, climbing around the boat, tying ropes and knots and assisting the boat on dock landings. I am wearing boat shoes all the time now. I am not sure why I brought anything else. The only thing you really can wear to get around safely are boat shoes! Got love those Sperry’s. Thank you Captain Jack. Andrew and I feel much more confident and happy and we owe that in large part to your training and your positive can do attitude. I wouldn’t say that we were unaware of the learning curve that we would have to climb but now that you gave us a huge boost we feel much calmer and relaxed and can keep learning safely. I am lifting up a Jack Daniels neat and toasting you Captain Jack. We are truly grateful. Wow was there a lot that we didn’t know.
Day 9: Last minute shopping. OMG, we need a pressure cooker. Why didn’t I think of that. Off we go to Walmart and Super Target for last minute items. We finally bid farewell to Randy and his family and we threw off the ropes for the first leg of our journey. We moved the boat to Anacortez which is only about an hour trip but we backed the boat out of the slip, I did the rope work, and safely motored to our first stop. We needed a little help at the dock, a little wind and current, but we landed safely, thanks to Sam (our floatilla leader) and a lovely lady next door in a beautiful ~40’ Beneteau sailboat. Quick meeting with our Wagner floatilla partners and then a few last minute items around the boat. Off to bed early and out of the slip early, in fact earlier than the other boats as we are slightly slower than the other boats. We get extremely great fuel efficiency but we give up speed. You can’t have it all.