Shannon and I had our last sail of 2017 on Friday. The weather has been essentially terrible over the last few weeks. So finally, when the rain cleared up, we untied Nymeria from the dock and set off for a cold, winter day sail in the Galveston Bay.
After getting out of the channel and into the bay, we hoisted the sails and shut off the engine. This is one of the most beautiful moments in sailing. All the noise of the engine is gone and all you can hear is the water and wind around you. You can feel all the power flowing through the boat moving you forward.
It really struck us then just how far we had come in 2017. We had hatched this plan many years ago, but this year it all came together. It all happened so much faster than I had imagined. It was only July that we left our house in Durango and really began this journey.
We would not have made it so far without all the love and support from our friends and family. From the day, we started talking about this crazy idea, everyone has been incredibly supportive. Shout outs to our friends who suffered through many boat conversations over an alcoholic beverage or three. A special thank you to the folks whose couches we crashed during hurricane evacuations. Also many thanks to all that are following along with us on this adventure.
Now that we have the boat, and are getting fairly settled in, whats next? We don’t really know. Our first goal would be to get at least 500 miles sailed under our keel. That should really help us get to know Nymeria and her capabilities, as well as grow ours to match. This time will also allow us to make any changes and upgrades that we feel we need in order help us take her anywhere.
With destinations only limited by our imagination and confidence, we’re excited to see what our next adventures bring!
That storm really threw a wrench into things didn’t it. Well, after a few unplanned weeks traveling Arkansas, we’re somewhat back to our routine here on the beach. First of all we really want to thank John and Eva Bailey, and Jonathan and Jill Brown for allowing us to crash at their houses and interrupt their totally stable and normal lives with our craziness. I’m not real sure what we would have done had we not been able to escape Beaumont before the flooding started.
Our first stop was Little Rock with the Baileys. We spent the week working by day, then burning our mouths tasting hot sauces from “Hot Ones” and learning to drink heavily at smoke filled bars for Razorback games by night.
Not wanting to overstay our welcome, we took off to Hot Springs to crash at the Browns. We took advantage full of their boat for labor day and got to spend the day wake-boarding and tubing, and generally forgetting about the rest of the the world on Lake Ouachita.
Somehow, we got extremely lucky with this storm. We had parked our RV in a little park just southwest of Beaumont. With all the storm tracking we had seen by the time we left the coast, it looked like Beaumont would get some rain, but be generally safe. Well, things changed. Two weeks passed before the roads were clear enough for us to get back to the camper. We had been told that the RV park had in-fact flooded pretty badly, and several trailers were lost. We had also been told ours was OK, but it was still a rather stressful 6 hour drive back.
We could see the how high the water had gone, but it looked to not get anywhere near the bottom of the trailer, and even may have not even hit the wheel bearings. Our bikes that I has stupidly left chained up outside were a bit rusted up, and my toolbox that I forgot was underneath got flooded, but all in all, no real problems. We quickly hitched up to the truck and pulled it that last hour back to the beach in Bolivar.
We been back on the peninsula now for a couple weeks, and everything seems back to normal. Were back searching for boats, and planning our next steps. We had planned on moving on by now, but that two weeks made us miss our quiet little spot, so we’ve reserved another month.
Boat search has continued, and we spent the last two weekends in Kemah looking at several of them. More updates coming!
Since Pete was adopted in 2005, he has had to make quite a few adjustments in his life. He was adopted in Birmingham, Alabama and has since lived in Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado and now Texas. He has been able to camp and hike in the Ozarks of Arkansas, Wasatch Range of Utah and the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. He has jumped from rock to rock in the deserts of Southern Utah and forged his own path through freshly fallen snow in the mountains around Durango. He has canoed in Lake Vallecito north of Durango and he is currently learning how to navigate the crashing waves of the Texas Gulf. Through it all, he has been my trusty and steadfast sidekick.
Like most dogs, Pete has learned to roll with the punches and accept his current circumstances for what they are. He has learned to carry a pack with his food/water and swim across rivers when backpacking, jump from rock to rock when in the desert and to be the follower when he gets tired when snowshoeing. He learned that it is hard to say goodbye to his friends, Sumo, Alpe and Lopa. But he has also learned that, even though he doesn’t like car rides, he is going somewhere fun as long as his bed is in the back seat of the truck.
I am not saying that Pete isn’t concerned when there is a change in his routine. From the time that he was adopted, he has shown anxiety in one form or another. As a puppy, he tore up furniture and my favorite shoes when left alone. He eventually graduated from being disruptive to not eating when he was anxious. He has always been a grazer when he eats but would normally always finish off his daily rations by the end of the day. With his anxiety and health issues, his eating habits are more unpredictable these days and make it difficult to know when he needs to go to the bathroom. Eating and bathroom habits are the topics of a lot of conversations regarding Pete lately as well as breathing rates and overheating. Once his routine is settled for a few days, we all seem to relax and become regular again, pun intended.
In October of last year, 2016, we bought the camper trailer and Pete had to get used to our future home. We started selling/donating everything in the house in order to move into the camper and he started showing concern for what was happening around him. It helped when we moved his ‘camping’ bed into the trailer so that he could start making it his home too. It was also around that time that he was diagnosed with Idiopathic Vestibular Disease which caused him to lose his balance and his eyes rapidly moved from side to side. Luckily he started eating solid foods again after a week but was left with head tilt and wobbly back legs. Throughout this health scare it was also determined that his heart was significantly enlarged and that his previously diagnosed heart murmur was more pronounced. He was put on an Ace-Inhibitor and a Diuretic in order to make him more comfortable if everything started to go sour. All of this made us consider his health and quality of life as we moved forward with our travel plans. Ultimately, we decided that if Pete is healthy and able, he will continue adventuring with us.
On July 1st, we threw Pete’s big comfy bed in the truck, attached to our camper trailer, waived goodbye to Durango and began meandering our way to the coast. He really liked stopping at Mom and Jack’s Square Dot Ranch for a few days. He got to play with the cows and inspect a new calf while relaxing in the garden and flower beds. While Justin and I flew off to his brother’s wedding, Pete got to spend a long weekend with my sister, her two man children, and their two dogs. While there he got to see some long lost friends and go for long walks. Once Justin and I were back at the Ranch, we threw Pete’s bed in the truck once again and headed south. Final stop: Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula, Texas.
Now that we have been at Crystal Beach for 2 weeks, Pete seems to be adjusting well. We just had a Vet appointment saying that he hasn’t progressed beyond where things were prior to the move and that his medications are doing more good than harm. We are all learning how to keep him cool when it is supper hot and humid outside. He is getting more and more used to playing in the water as it rushes up on the beach but is still not a big fan of the waves when they crash onto his face. Since he gets a bit overheated on walks in the sun and heat, he will soon be decked out in a life vest so that he can stay cool when exercising in the rolling waves.
Moving forward, I know that I can’t imagine this adventure without Pete. I also know that Pete would do anything to go on adventures with us, even if his old body is tired and worn out. But as long as the fates allow, I will have a nice comfortable bed ready for him.
Its been a busy couple of weeks for us. July 1st, we pulled out of our driveway in Durango, CO and said goodbye to our quiet little mountain town.
What began as a random drunken conversation at a bar over three years ago has now officially begun. “Someday id like to escape it all and live a simple life on a sailboat somewhere” I said. “Well, lets just go then” Shannon replied. Not one to put too much faith in the reality of it actually happening, I said “sure, lets do it.” Its been a wild ride since then, but I now find myself sitting outside our camper here in Bolivar Peninsula, TX with thirty days to decide where to go next.
With so many changes over the last few months, its hard to know where to begin, so I guess I’ll get the ugly out of the way. I had to leave my dog Lopa with my father in Park City, UT. She had been with me for ten years though all of my adventures. Long solo backpacking trips, epic desert camping, and many hundreds of miles running through the mountains.
Unfortunately, she just would not live her expected happy life in the camper. We made several attempts to acclimate her to the smaller space, but the constant motion, no back yard, and very restrictive dog rules at RV parks just wouldn’t do. The decision was made to let her go live her last few years with dad in Park City. He runs every day, has a great backyard, and will be able to provide a stable and happy place for her. I’m not really great at emotions, but I couldn’t help but cry as we pulled away without her.
With the hardest part over, it was time to begin this new adventure in earnest. Two weeks ago, Shannon and I drove away from our house in Durango, just as our new renters were moving in, and began our journey across the country. We had sold, donated, or just trashed nearly everything we owned in order to fit it all into our 22 ft trailer. Two days of pushing my twelve year old Tacoma to its limits towing it all to our first stop near Tulsa, OK. While there we were able to spend some time with Shannon’s family for a few days.
Then, we hopped a plane to Jacksonville, FL to take part in my brothers wedding before he ships off to join the Navy.
Another two days of slow and slightly nerve-wracking driving, we arrived at our RV park here in Bolivar Peninsula, TX. We have the next thirty days reserved at this quiet little spot while we get our bearings of the area and begin the massive search for a sailboat we can call home.