Saturday, July 30, 2005

What Are You Reading?

As usual I have several books going at once tho fewer at the moment than normal. The one that has captured my fancy the most is Gipsy Moth Sails the World. In 1967 Francis Chichester sailed his sailboat around cape Horn and around the world to capture the fastest solo time of 221 days. This trip prompted The Times to sponser a race the following year to see who could sail the world fastest without stopping. Peter Nichols excellent book A Voyage for Madmen tells of this race. Back to Chichester, in his book he opens up his soul to the readers of the ups and downs of such a venture. Also on the bedside table is Guevara Also Known as Che. The biography of the Latin American revolutionary. Tho well written its a slower read. I just finished Deception Point by Dan Brown (of The DaVince Code fame). The older I get I like a mystery novel where unbelievable coincidences save the heros' lives. Not true to life tho a nice escape. Also, in preparation for the tour guide job, friend, Jennifer Bauer's Roan Mountain A Passage of Time. And of course, a couple of sailing manuals. What are you reading?

The Half-full Cup

Lately I have noticed I am thinking of crusing more and more. Thru my readings the last couple of years I have thought I would like to cruise for an extended amount of time tho never thought I would think of it permanently. Amazing myself, lately I have thinking of just that. Which leads my brain down all sorts of avenues.... Could I really sell the farm and sail away? I guess not as I want the boys to have a safe place, a nest egg if you will. With the political turnings you never now what the future holds and I feel better nowing there is a piece of ground with my/their name on it as a haven. That being said all else about living on a boat intrigues me. Being on the water is soul-feeding. The challenges are invigorating. There are a few things here on the farm that have never held my interest. Mostly mechanical things, the water system, fixing the computer. I now find that I want to learn how to fix motors as I am sure that will come in handy on the Big Blue. Since my quilting days the sewing machine has held little interest and now I find myself thinking of cushions and covers to sew. I want to learn how to navigate by the stars. I have a friend who lived in a camper for several years and I remember her saying she could have her home spotless in an hour. She was so right. When you compare how long it takes to make the house (not to mention the whole farm) spotless, well, its just incomparable. Even those irrating things can create a challenge. Like yesterday. M needed to check a bolt size. He removed the plate at the bottom of the mast to do so and watched as the plate left his hand, bounced down the deck, into the water and lazily sank out of site. Frustrating? Exceedingly. Tho now it poses the puzzle of how to make another one. I haven't even touched on all the places I could go, the people I would meet. The world would be a nice classroom for the boys, and me too! I remember as a child telling my mother I wanted to live at the ocean. She said she did too when she was my age but she outgrew that. Guess I never did....

Sliver of rainbow

Whew, it has been a couple of busy days. Michael came back from the marina after a wind storm had blown thru. Blew our dock off the main dock and the girl, along with 20 other boats, was inaccessible. Luckily the dock is attached to the bottom of the lake so it didn't go too far. The owner of the marina, who used to own King Pharmecuticals, doesn't know much about the marina business yet. There was no emergency number so the dock workers didn't know about the problems til they arrived for work the next morning. Cove Ridge is the cleanest and quietest marina on the lake tho if they don't get a few things straightened out we will take the boat somewhere else come spring.

Co had a karate demo at the old folks home today. He looked very confident and crisp up there. You could tell he was enjoying showing his new skills.

We headed to the boat after the demo. I decided to paddle my kayak for a little exercise and solitude. The lake was still as glass and very quiet. I caught a glimpse of a rainbow. It was a lovely late afternoon. The boys took the sailboat to a cove and I paddled over to meet them. We did a little fishing and chatted with a marina neighbor. We all felt the urge to stay longer tho M has to work in the morning. All in all a good day.

Friday, July 29, 2005

A Day at the River

What more could you ask for than good friends, sun and water?!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lots of sun and a little wind

This weekend was spent almost entirely on the boat, either at the marina on out on the lake. She is now pretty clean and we are starting to inventory all the lines (ropes) that need replacing. Our first line broke today tho at this point it was not an important one. We were far out so good thing it wasn't a main one! I am quickly finding out that this time of year in our part of the world there is not much wind. If we were on the ocean we would have been in the doldrums today. We managed to sail a little but mostly used the motor. The boys are becoming so comfortable in the water, especially Guthrie. He just loves being in the water. It won't be long before he is swimming without his life jacket. Watauga Lake has many lovely coves to investigate and so far not many people investingating them. The most unsettling thing today was going under the Butler Bridge. Last weekend the WLSC had a sleep out where the Elk River empties into the lake. The Commodore, who went on the sleep out, has a boat like ours and so we knew our Chrysler would make it under OK. I don't know how high the bridge is and I don't know how high the water was today but our mast is approxiamately 34 feet off the water. It was odd watching the mast go under. Surely, there was 10 feet to spare but it sure didn't look like it from my perspective. Even coming back thru was a breath-holder even tho, of course, if we made it under the first time we'd make it back, still...

Friday, July 22, 2005

'The Wataugans'

I got the call last night that I was needed at 'The Wataugans' to be Bonnie Kate. Even tho the part has very few lines it was fun to play. I was chased by an Indian and had to scale the fort wall. It wasn't too hard as there were nice footholds. According to other cast members the girl who normally plays the role is not too much of an actor. Many people said they were glad I was there to bring some life to the part. It is nice to be appreciated. Even with such a small role the adrenaline rush of acting is fantastic. Wish I could make a living at this. Maybe some acting/sailing job is out there somewhere???

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ship Shape

The boys and I headed out to the boat today. I am actually finding myself missing it already on days we don't go out. The boys enjoyed floating around the boat as I got started on cleaning her. It didn't take long before both boys were up on the deck helping haul buckets of water and dumping it on the clean spots. With her almond color it is hard to see much difference tho now all those black spots are gone. Then it was back in the water for all of us. It won't be long before Guthrie is swimming without aid. Hopefully, Coburn won't be long behind. Both boys are enjoying the environment and exploring lots tho they have to have an eye peeled for other boats. During the week its not much of a problem as we are practically the only people at the marina. Cove Ridge, even on the weekends, is rather quiet. Funny how some people own boats are never take them out. There are only 3 other sail boats at Cove Ridge. According to the people on the docks two boats have never been seen going out and the third rarely goes out. Its unfathomable on two counts. My sea-faring side can't understand not using one's boat and my practical side can't understand having the expense of an unused toy. Guess we all have our own reasons.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Roan Mountain

Last week it was water falls. This week we are starting out with views. However, it was cloudy up on the Roan so the views weren't as spectacular as they can be. We headed out to Jenny's Bald but only got as far as Engine Gap. A huge, black cloud came over and we barely made it back to the pine forest before it let loose. I love a walk in the summer rain tho i don't think the new camera would have loved it quite as much! Although the rhodie blossoms were about gone we did see spring beauty, cow parsnip, yarrow and one of my favorites, bluets.

Movin' Up!

Saturday Coburn was tested forhis next belt. He did very well and indeed did earn his belt. He received his belt tonight in class.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fair Winds

Twenty or so years ago 19 year old Tania Abei's father told her she had two choices. Either go to school or try to obtain the world record of being the youngest and first female to sail around the world solo. She chose sailing. Now no one said her father was smart as Tania did not have enough knowledge to attempt such a trip but luck was on her side and she made it. She actually didn't get the world record for going solo as she picked up a 'hitchhiker' on one short leg of the trip. Regardless, she had a great adventure and eventually wrote a book about her travels. It was that book that turned me onto sailing. Ever since I have read everything sailing oriented I could get my hands on. Two years after reading Abei's book I finally own my first sailboat! It is a 1977, 26' Chrysler named 'Tiller Time II'. Which, by the way, is a very STUPID name. So she will become 'Wonderlust'. Its actually supposed to be bad luck to rename a boat tho George, the man who sold us the boat, said there are ways to keep that cat from crossing our path. We have spent all weekend teaching ourselves to sail. We have done fairly well, no mishaps. We can actually get the boat to go where we want, albeit slowly. It sleeps 6 and we have been making our lists of how to prepare the boat for future trips. Guess for the rest of the summer if you need me look me up at Cove Ridge!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blue Hole

We have been taking all these trips this week because we are caring for some friends' cats. We thought we'd do some things in their neck of the woods. Today we went to Blue Hole Falls. I think this must of been one of the first places we visited when we moved here 15 years ago. I had not been back since. Why? Who knows because it is a wonderful spot. It is right off the road and a great place to swim. The 'hole' is deep and cold. I can't touch bottom with my head out of water. We also drove up the road to the top of the ridge. We found a marker that told about two pilots who crashed and died on the mountain there. I asked the boys what their favorite trip was of the week. Coburn said Blue hole because he could do human cannonballs there. Guthrie liked Laurel Creek Falls the best because of the neat bridge. We all agreed tho that Blue Hole was the prettiest. All in all a good day. Stay tuned for this weekend's happenings as we christen in the newest addition. (Hint: it has sails!)

Elves? Sprites?

Has the river been visited by water sprites? No, just boys who love playing in the rocks. We headed towards Mt. Rogers this morning with the idea of a long, all day hike. However, before we could get away I received an emergency call saying they needed me to play a role in the Wataugans. And tonight was dress rehearsal! Even tho the day's plans had changed somewhat we decided to go ahead towards Mt. Rogers for a modified hike. We stopped here at Backbone to play and to show the boys some nice climbs we plan on making in the near future. Backbone is a great place to laern how to climb. Great handholes, near the car, nice water to play in. The weather was overcast so again, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We went in to Damascus for a snack and the rain clouds joined us. We drove awhile towards Grayson Highlands in the rain but finally decided the rain was not going to let up so we turned around and headed home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Laurel Fork Falls

Seems like we have been spending our summer running here and there and not doing many 'summer' things. Time to change that as these hot days drift by. We took a hike yesterday to Laurel Fork Falls. An easy 1 mile hike in from the upper parking area in Dennis Cove. We pretty much had the place to ourselves. Two hikers came through but didn't stay long. Had that determined 'got to get somewhere' look. The water was wonderful tho I need to remember to pack my swimming things. The boys couldn't understand why, if they could, I couldn't take off my clothes when we got back to the car! Trips like these give an easy reminder why I love these mountains. This defintely has all of us eager to revisit some old haunts and find some new ones.