Marilyn’s Memorial

My Mom, Marilyn, passed away last November, a couple weeks after her 88th birthday, and a week short of two years since Dad died.  My poor little Mom was not very comfortable, and was mostly confused.  Very sad to see that happen to anyone, let alone your mother.  So she is not confused and uncomfortable now… we decided to wait a while for a memorial service, so we could have most of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren attend.

So we got a beautiful house in South Lake Tahoe for a long weekend, and shared it with as many of the family as we could.


Cherryl and I rode the train from West Palm Beach to Orlando, and then flew to Sacramento.  A night there, and then met my oldest daughter and family, and drove to Tahoe.  My other daughter and family, my sister and husband, and their daughter and family all met up at this beautiful little 6 bedroom house.  Little like the Taj Mahal.  Three  floors, all with decks overlooking woods.


Friday Loren and I got to see the end of a leg of the Tour of California bicycle race.  645 miles, seven stages, with the highest climb elevation – Carson pass – of 8580 feet. Where we watched, it was steep enough I was tired walking up it, and they didn’t look too tired after riding up from Folsom! (Good that I didn’t have my folding bicycle with me or I’d have had to show them how to ride!)


Saturday we had a nice little memorial service for Marilyn.  A few more friends and relatives made it, so about 25 shared the experience with us. Cherryl, Karen and Becky sang a beautiful hymn, we told stories, looked at lots of pictures, and celebrated that she had touched so many of our lives.


Later, some of us went to an amazingly secluded beach.  The kids had a great time getting wet and sandy!


Sunday we rented a pontoon boat and spent a little time on the lake.  Went to Emerald Bay for a picnic lunch.


Vikingsholm is a “castle” built in 1929, (same year as my mother), by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight.  She was known for her generosity with youth groups and providing education opportunities for young people.  She even helped sponsor Charles Lindberg fly solo across the Atlantic! She loved the Tahoe area, and believing Emerald Bay looked like the fjords, wanted to build a summer house that complemented the scenery with a Scandinavian flavor. She travelled through Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark taking photos and doing research. She even had a small tea house built on the small island in the bay. This house is now considered the best Scandinavian architecture in the US. A fascinating history can be found at

Monday we flew to Omaha to spend some time with Cherryl’s mother and sister’s family. The plan was to arrive pretty late, get the rental car, and drive the hour to Lincoln.  As soon as we got the little Ford Fusion on the highway, it sounded really bad, like a tire had damage.  It didn’t drive too badly, so I actually wondered if it was a truck making noise by us.  Leaving the truck behind didn’t make the noise any better, and then the tire light came on… We aired up the tire, called Hertz, returned to the airport, (after midnight by now) and they gave me a nice Lincoln Continental instead!  Maybe worth the hour wasted in the middle of the night.

Maybe you thought this blog is about living on a boat… well, we are waiting for estimates and time slots to get our boat fixed up.  All the repair facilities are very busy this time of the year, with work that has been scheduled out for a while.  So we are trying to get our work squeezed in… We’ll see how well that works!


Current Catastrophe!


We’ve been at the Harbour Towne Marina for a while.  A beautiful and busy place.  Fun to watch boats launched and hauled out by forklift, all at amazing speed and efficiency.


A few “firsts” here too… among them being calling a fuel company and having a truck come to our dock and deliver – wait for it – 749 gallons of diesel!  Isn’t that fun! A bit of a silver lining is that marine diesel is cheaper than over the road diesel, even if it’s personally delivered, because it doesn’t need to include highway taxes.

People have asked me when and how I’m going to sell my van.  We drove here in our trusty little Toyota van, and have used it a lot as we drive all over town getting parts and otherwise provisioning our boat.  Long term plans have us using our cool folding bikes and nifty bike trailer once we are underway, but we sure have liked having the van handy.  So how to sell it, when we use it so much?  I said I’d really like to sell it the evening before we leave.  God answers prayers in amazing ways sometimes!  Monday  morning I offered it to one of the workers here at the marina.  He said he might be interested, and would also mention it to some of the other guys.  Then we spent all day driving around getting last minute things done.  Back to the marina about 4:30, I drove it to the Harbor Master’s office and found the guy.  We had about 6 people interested, all saying what a great little van!  One of them really wanted it, and found the cash for a done deal.  So we effortlessly sold our van the very evening we had hoped to.  Amazing!

In our walking around the marina, we saw another trawler which I thought had very nice lines… turns out it was another Selene 53.  We met with the owners, Scott and Cathy, and had a great time talking with them, asking tons of questions and learning a lot! It is really helpful to compare boats and learn what others have done who live aboard.


Here is sunrise Monday morning.  We were going to get a fairly early start, and head up to Palm Beach.


Soon we were out of the channel and offshore, waving goodbye to beautiful Ft Lauderdale.


The view from the flybridge is great.  Fresh air, shade and a beautiful day.  We saw a few flying fish, and they were way more exciting than the ones I remember from Southern California.  I remembered little silvery fish jumping a foot out of the water, and then “flying” maybe twenty feet before falling back in the water.  These fish seemed larger, with lots of pretty blue markings.  They would “fly” for a long ways, up to 70 or 80 feet!  I spent a lot of time trying to catch one in a photograph… pretty hard to do!

Soon we were seeing dozens of them!  Still pretty hard to get a good shot.  We were talking with my daughter and her kids on the phone when we saw two dolphins, cavorting right near our bow. Such beautiful creatures!  Not there nearly long enough for a picture.


Tuesday evening in Palm Beach. Another gorgeous evening.

And now about the catastrophe.  Well, maybe that’s a bit of exaggeration… but it feels like it.  Wednesday morning we set out somewhat early.  We needed a right turn after we left our slip, and then left again out into the channel.  I underestimated the strength of the current and the wind, both fairly strong and right behind us, and ended up hitting the dock on the other side.  Kind of like a parking lot accident, where things are moving so slowly but you know it’s going to end badly.  So it’s hard to tell which was hurt worse – my heart or my beautiful boat.  Yes, I damaged the fiberglass.  Nobody got hurt, no other boats were scratched, just my bow and my pride. Sigh.  So we have to get it fixed before we go further. Sigh again.  A big problem is that all the boatyards here are booked out 2-3 weeks! Not in our original plan!  We found a good yard that worked hard to find us a place on the hard, and now we wait to see how long till we can get her fixed up again.  Bummer.  So our boat is on the hard now, and we are back in a hotel.  Upside is Palm Beach is a gorgeous place, and with our cool bikes we can get around fine.  Since we created a lemon, we might as well enjoy the lemonade!





We’re In The Water Again!

After spending almost 3 weeks on the hard, we finally launched our boat again!  We still cannot get parts to get the bow thruster repaired, so we have moved it to the stern, and brought the stern thruster forward.  So we have a bow thruster that should work fine, and don’t have a stern thruster.  In a couple of months, when they finally have the gears we need, we will have to haul out again, and have the stern thruster fixed. We have a cool articulated rudder so that helps us some where you’d want to use the stern thruster. There are yet a few things that need work, that we can or must do while in the water.

But we had a great weekend, acting like retired people touring!  We got the folding bikes out, and the folding bike trailer, and did our first shopping trip on the bikes!  We went to the beach and got sand in our toes!  And we washed up the boat (it got filthy in the boatyard) and lots of other little chores.  (notice the huge tent like thing on the other side of the canal.  They are building a boat bigger than the town I grew up in!)

Bikes and Trailer folded up

When we got to this marina, I saw a beautiful old car… a 1937 Oldsmobile.  In great shape.  I asked in the Harbor Master’s office who owned the cool oldster, saying anyone with a car that cool must be an interesting person.  Louise grinned and said “Yep, follow me!” She led me down the hall to the breakfast room and introduced me to the owner… a little lady who looked to be 90 years young and all of 3 1/2 feet tall!  She said she’d had “Blackie” since the 70’s, and the car had been a dear friend all these years.  She keeps a boat here, and drives the car up north every year when the season is over.


I also took a break and visited what they claim is the largest Packard museum in the country.  I’m guessing it’s the largest in the world… Absolutely fabulous!  I’ve always loved Packards.  They were like an American Rolls Royce… very well made, often cutting edge technology for the time, and quite expensive.  A beautiful example like below would have cost more than a typical American’s home.

1931 Packard

We also had dinner at a local legend: Jaxson’s.  Known for its ice cream and fancy desserts, it also has fun food in a really crazy environment.  The only things missing are the wheelbarrows to roll you out of there!


From where our boat is docked, we can see them launch and retrieve boats all day, especially on weekends.  The huge forklift grabs the boat, effortlessly lifts it up, positions it so somebody can rinse the bottom, and then drives off at 40 mph and places it on a rack that may be three stories tall!



So we have had fun while more work was getting done.  We had one day of training to finish before getting signed off on our insurance (pilots: think check ride). We were hoping to do that Thursday, but on Wednesday the winds were so high, and forecast to stay that way through the weekend, we postponed the final training day till next Monday.  Sigh.  We have one last guy coming to repair a couple minor things on Monday anyway.  But today, Friday, we decided to do our last training in spite of the wind.  It was blowing 18-20 kts offshore, and we went out and played in some fun seas!  I was too busy piloting to take pictures, but we had some 5-6 foot seas that would come breaking over the sides of the bow, the wind whipping them around and soaking the pilothouse.  Great fun, and the boat was very solid and rode very nicely.  That weather, bashing into the wind, would get tiresome if you had to do it all day…

Then some docking practice, which went really well considering the challenge of the windy conditions.  When we have less wind that will feel super easy now!

So bottom line – we passed! After the final upgrades on Monday we will be good to go… and we’re so ready!

One consolation about having to stay through this weekend – There is a huge airshow going on Saturday and Sunday that we will probably be able to watch from our boat!