Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cheated Death Once Again- Strumpet

Moving about on OPB’s - (Other People’s Boats)

Oct 15 - Packing the bags again
A skipper friend called me up the other day, seems he was in a bind. Up in Seattle his management company has been moving boats around at a furious pace. I guess if you don’t get your boat out of Seattle by the end of the season, it gets stuck there. His normal crew has been worked pretty ragged and he called me for assistance on one last delivery. Sure- I'll go pack my bags.

Strumpet - Our 55ft Fleming for the next few days.
The owner wants it in San Fran for the winter.

I met two other guys(crewmates) up in Seattle, went to dinner and walked onto the boat. It is a real nice 55 foot Fleming that is only two years old. It has all the toys: long and short range radar, AIS transponder and receiver (which overlays target info on the radar as well as the Nobeltec Navigator mapping program), Four engine room cameras (and a few others positioned around the deck), and in motion satellite TV, any of which can be called up on any of the five flat screen monitors spread out across the bridge. This was all observed from the super cushy command chair in the center of the Com. This thing also has active stabilizers to keep the boat level in rough waters and thrusters for docking. Down in the salon there was also about a 42 inch flat screen also hooked up to the sat tv. Yes- nice digs indeed.

Aft- Main Salon looking forward. The galley is on the left, 3 steps down in the center takes you to the three staterooms, and a step to the right are 3 steps up to the bridge.

Fri Oct 16- Cast- off the lines!
We left out of Seattle early in the morning. It was raining, a bit blowy and a chilly morning but we had a day and a half of running in the protected waters of the sound before we get out to the real waters of the ocean. Outside is supposedly really bad right now(like REALLY bad) but a small weather window is predicted to get here in a couple of days and we have to be right at the corner to grab it when it shows. Otherwise it will be gone and the next one could be a week or two or maybe not. This is the tail end of the season. It only gets rougher out there till springtime.

All eyes were constantly watching the waters for debris. This area is infamous for deadheads (logs, sometimes partially submerged just below the surface) and “sometimes you get a whole dang tree stuck in the props”(so says the skipper), as well as a very high number of vessel traffic running around.

One of the many deadheads we were dodging. This one is an 8-bird.

Freighters and Ferries can come up on you real fast. This waterway is so busy it has traffic control always watching ALL boats on their land based radar. If you stray into a shipping lane they will call you and ask your reason for being there!

All day long we had pockets of light/heavy rain and varying winds that got up to 45 at times. We were lucky that it was mostly off our stern quarter and didn’t slow us down. It just whipped up the water for a while. The boat was handling it well. This was nothing compared to what it was doing out off the point. Reports were still quite miserable. We pulled into Pt Angeles in the early afternoon to top off the fuel and wait for our weather window.

This guy was flying all over the passage.
Apparently the extension helps him look for submarines

Saturday, October 17, 2009
We got moving as soon as it was light enough to see. There is still alot of debris in the water to dodge so we had to at least wait for the light. It was raining, mostly foggy and visibility was about 1/2 mile, but waters were calm.

We left Pt. Angeles and headed through the Straights of Juan de Fuca (about 65 miles) to the Pacific when the fog started to break up. This was our short term commitment/goal point. The water was still pretty calm, buoy reports from around the corner were showing smooth waters ahead and the predictions were for everything to lay down in the afternoon so we apparently timed it all perfect.

So we thought...
The water started to get frisky, but not bad. Throughout the next couple of hours it continued to build past sloppy, then progressed to plain old "snotty". We pounded 20 miles down around the corner (down past Cape Alava), the wind was a solid 30 on the nose, seas were 8 to 10ft at 8secs. This was NOT what was supposed to happen at all! The boat was handling it all quite nicely, but we were pounding every wave now and we slowed to 8 knots. The NOAA weather reports we were monitoring on the radio finally updated and NOW indicated it was only going to get worse in front of us for the next eight hours. Looking at the charts showed the next bail-out port was still 65 miles ahead! We decided to pass on the 8 hour bash-fest/beatdown and instead backtrack to Neah Bay and hide out till it got better.

We had Nascar on the Sat in the salon
and 10 ft seas outside.
Had chips & salsa too.

No- we weren’t pukin’.

We managed to get in just after dark and worked into a slip without problem. We made tacos. We have awesome Wifi, but picked up a slip so close to the jagged cliffs that we couldn’t get a satTv lock. I missed the end of the Nascar Race. We all agreed it was the better choice at this point to be tied up to a nice quiet dock instead of getting tossed around and all beat up in the dark. We'll see what happens tomorrow. The reports say it should all lay down again and we'll attempt another run for it.

Sun Oct 18
The next morning we got under way right at twilight to find the seas had indeed settled down to comfortable rollers covered by a light hazy fog. This was much better than returning the boat all beat up and probably creaky for the rest of it's life (this happens more often than not). Throughout the day the conditions kept improving and the further down we went, the day became more and more ideal. It appeared we hooked into our perfect weather window.

We ran this way all day, into evening and through the night. There was no need to stop, and in reality there was no place to stop at this point anyway. We were running the engines a bit harder than normal to stay in our weather and get through this stretch. Unfortunately we were burning twice the amount of fuel to do it. The next morning we timed it perfect and we pulled into Newport, OR for a quick fuel stop right as the day was getting light.

View from the Commercial side of Newport OR.

No extra time spent here playing around and we were off as soon as the hoses were hung up on the pumps and got back out. Weather reports ahead still look real good for the moment, but we can hear bad weather building in behind us that might catch up and things could go all "snotty" again.

We cruised past places like Destruction Island and Cape Disappointment and gave them a wide berth(12 miles off) by coincidence (not because we were paranoid). Then there were times we were running "one foot on the beach" cutting corners and drawing a line as the shortest distance to the next course change.

Spectacular conditions. What were they thinking? I’m in command!!!!

We saw a few whales, but mostly one-sight and gone, or way off on the horizon so photo captures were very rare. We also had an occasional pod of dolphin come by and play in the wake for a while. We even came across a strange pod we thought were seals, but were actually dolphin without dorsal fins. Wiki says they were probably Northern Wright Whale Dolphin.

Northern Wright Whale Dolphin
and Another frisky dolphin

Since there was no moon, the nights were incredibly dark. I was momentarily perplexed one evening when a light appeared out of the fog way off starboard side and I could not see it on radar. It wasn't long before I figured out it was a bright star (mars?) on the horizon. Even with the pilot house blacked out in night mode, the instruments were still a bit too bright to see most stars from the command chair. I did manage to get out of the chair a couple of times and poked my head out of the pilot house door to catch a bit of the meteor shower when it was clear. Other times we were running in varying degrees of fog, scattered showers, hazy sunshine then gorgeous sunny blue skies contrasted by inky blackness of night. We got into a bit of everything. Back at the HQ in Seattle, it hadn't stopped raining.

Continuous running put us rounding the point into SanFran around 4am Thursday morning. It was awesome timing between a few big freighters coming out and only one coming in behind us, but we hugged the side and out of the way enough not to freak anybody out.

Golden Gate at night ---- Snapshot of Radar into SF

We found our way over to the fuel dock just as it was getting light and tied up but had to wait till 8am for them to open. After our brief nap, we topped off all of the tanks one more time, got the boat into it's new home, and had Strumpet washed down, wiped off, and fully detailed inside and out by about 1pm. We were almost done when the owner arrived for the handoff and gave us the thumb's up. Our flight out was booked soon after our late lunch, had only a bit to sit and rest then off to the airport for the flight home. It would have been fun to run around SF for a couple of days, but that was not the intent of this trip.

According to Skipper Chris, we were hired to cheat death. Thankfully- this trip we did.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wheel stop

There were a couple of great days hanging out with friends and gracious hosts Mark and Mary in Co. Don't imagine it was all sights and touring tho. We also helped out with projects around the house. There was weed pulling in the garden and flower beds, maintenance and adjustments on the tractors, and we even scored a load of manure from the neighbors. The days usually ended up with a great meal and soaking in the jacuzzi till midnight. Life and priorities are different out there.

We finally escaped (they got tired of us) and continued westbound through the rest of the state and into the cathedral canyons of Ootah (Utah). The transitions were quite dramatic as we watched the trees turn to scrub and grass and the granite mountains change to fire colored sandstone. There are several viewstops spaced along the highway and we couldn't help but stop in a couple of them to just stare into the canyons for a while and only pretend to touch a part of their history.

Down at the bottom of the state the highway goes through St. George and drops through yet another amazing canyon. Every turn exposed another face, jagged rock wall, or a brief 70 mph peek at a dark canyon. It would have been be neat to stop and check out all of these, but we were very close to input overload at this point and like many a rental horse, this one was heading to the barn and was difficult to stop.

We blasted through Vegas(thinking later: I should have at least gone down the strip), State Line, Baker, Barstow, Corona, and finally home, ending a 13.5 hour driving day and a 2 week trip.

6400 miles
15 days
415 gals fuel
2 bags p-nut m&m's

Please return your seatbacks and traytables to their upright positions and exit to your right.

We pretty much accomplished what we set out to do. We logged quite a few hours rolling along the interstates, and also spent equal time on 2 lane back roads passing through bits of Americana. We saw little cool towns and met some neat people along the way. There were miles of grassy fields and pastures, neat old farms way older than me, and watched endless miles of green mammoth trees scan past the windows. This changed to amazing flatness from horizon to horizon, and again to majestically painted cathedral towers. We overnighted in the occasional Best Western, camped in a few state campsites, and tilted the seat back for catnaps in truckstops and rest areas. We went all the way to a little corner of Maine, footed the chilly waters and had lunch on the boardwalk looking over the Atlantic Ocean and came all the way back again. Oh yeah- the boat delivery went very well.

Wow. Thinking about it now. I Didn't have to show passport or ID once! Not too many places in the world that could still be done. America is a great country.

There were places along the journey where we thought about the first voyagers that did this in a covered wagon pulled by horse or oxen. Looking out the window at some of the terrain I would have just stopped right there and said "we are so screwed... ".

Monday, June 8, 2009

Black Canyon

Practically right off the doorstep of the M&M ranch (8 miles down the dirt road) is this little hole in the ground called Black Canyon. We actually approached via the lesser traveled North rim, but this made for less traffic on the roads and is more favored by the locals who know how to get there.

This water carved canyon varies from 1750 to 2500 ft deep. Unlike the Grand Canyon, most of the viewpoints were a sheer drop(really sheer). This made for breathtaking views over the edges that cameras just don't do justice for. For even more dramatic thrills, many other natural trails ended up with sudden ends with no railings at all. I guess that's the way they thin out the gene pool out here.

Approaching the edge you could feel and hear the water rumbling the walls of the canyon from the river a half mile below. While trying to soak it all in, we actually spotted a couple of climbers on the opposite wall. They were just dots. I don't know when they started, but it looks like they had a way to go (see insert). The optimist would say they might be almost to the top. The pessimist would say "Why the hell are you there in the first place?!?!?"

From falls, through flats, to peaks

With a sudden desire to pass some asphalt under the tires, we set out across the plains from Buffalo in the general direction of our next stop, Colorado. In between it was very flat indeed. Rolling hills and pastures passed the windows and day turned into night on this 22 hour run. We stretched in rest areas and had seat back-catnaps in truck stops along the way, but basically made a run for it. Did I mention how flat it was?

Odd things work into forms of entertainment out in the flats. For some reason a trucker hooked up with me and we traveled along for hours. When passing slower cars he made every move I did. We ran the same speed, he didn't want to lead, and even tho I passed a few of his fellow truckers running about the same, he stayed hooked with me. Occasionally another car would mux up a lane change/pass maneuver and he would get caught up behind a bit but it wouldn't be too long before I would see him back on my bumper again. I momentarily flashed back to a problem Dennis Weaver had with a trucker once and had thoughts this might not end well. After several hundred miles of this game, I finally had to pull off for a p-stop and he honked as we parted (whew).

------ Artistic Break ------

No matter how much he tried to ignore them all, little Splinter couldn't help but feel a little inadequate among his friends.

On down the road then...

Eventually, we hit these big things... (the Rockies). Faced with climbing through picturesque Colorado at night, we opted instead to bunk down in a room, freshen up a bit and wait till morning to make sure we didn't miss any of the sights. I'm soooo glad we did it this way.

Interstate 70 west of Denver is a masterful feat of engineering and a fabulous drive. I am very tempted to turn around and do it again. There are sections where the road is fully elevated as it snakes through a canyon with rushing river below. I don't know if this was by minimum footprint design or just because there was nothing but solid rock on both sides and this was easier. There is even a dedicated path for bikes and peds for several miles. There were several small and one long tunnel at the summit where they found it easier to just go through instead of around. Up near the top I noted my GPS display read 11.4 because it didn't have enough room to display my altitude. I would highly recommend this drive if you come this way but only for those with gutsy vehicles in perfect working order because some of the grades are very steep. I didn't see any signs, but they must have been around 7 or 8 percent climb/drop for 2500 feet and a climb again once you hit the bottom. It was pretty crazy.

Up around Aspen we pulled over in a viewstop and had the last of our manifold burritos, muffins and a cup of yogurt for breakfast. You can't beat that view for the buck.

Branching off the I70 highway to a smaller one gave us even more spectacular sights with every corner. We couldn't stop at them all or we would never make our destination. The road was very quiet and almost no other traffic. This took us to the small escape of Crawford where we found our even smaller road that eventually turned to gravel.

Way off the beat is where we are today, hanging out with friends Mark & Mary on their ranch sipping beers, and enjoying the 100 mile views from their jacuzzi deck. Birds sing, bunnies are chased out of the garden, deer roam around freely and I hear there is even elk around here on occasion.

Our hosts are running us around to all their favorite sights and points of interests (posted shortly).

I'm not sure how long we will hang out here, or when they will get tired of us and boot us back out to the truck.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tag the coast

Caught some free wifi at a rest stop in Kansas. Time for some lunch and catch up.
We followed the small little lines, through some of the little dots on the map and made it all the way to the coast of Maine. The goal was to stick a toe in the water and say that we have traveled from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast. We stopped at a deli along the way and picked up some sandwiches for our picnic lunch. We had a little trouble finding the beach, as all those houses got in the way. Finally, we cruised through a town that dumped us right at a public beach. YAY! Our goal was in sight. We sat on a park bench and ate our sammies as the wind whipped our hair all over the place. Byron the brave took on the task of shedding his shoes and headed for the waters edge. I followed more reluctantly, camera in hand. Thankfully there were only little waves lapping the shore as Byron walked confidently into the water. After a series of posed shots, he finally embellished on a line from a movie "hurry up, it's freakin' cold in here, Mr. Bigglesworth!!!" and ran for warmer sands. Before we left, we collected a sample of sand, freshly ground by Atlantic waters as our souvenir.

On the way back from the coast we stopped at a campground in Vermont for the night. It was wonderfully planned out with grassy common areas and picnic tables, hot showers and secluded wooded campsites. What more could you ask for. Bug spray! I have already encountered the native bug life in New York, when we dropped off the boat. I am currently wearing the latest lakeside fashion of four welts on my head and neck, that I suspect were mosquito induced. Byron said that if I had a can of spray, all he would hear all night would be Psht... psht... pshhhhhhhhhhhhttttt of the can going off. Mock me if you will, but the next morning we ate breakfast in the truck and were swatting at bugs in the cab as we beat a hasty retreat to the interstate.

As we travel through New England, we opted for the back road routes through the small towns and countryside's of Vermont and New Hampshire. Each town had a Main Street where tall church steeples reside next to quaint old homes and buildings from the 1800's, contrasting oddly with the McDonalds and Walmart just down the block. Houses were surrounded by yards with no fences and every lawn was manicured by riding mowers. Lakes, ponds, rivers and streams dotted and divided the countryside in abundance. The tree lined roads would occasionally, give way to wide, open grassy fields on sloping hillsides, with grazing horses and reclining cows. Everywhere you looked there were grain silos and barns of every shape and size and in various conditions of disrepair, which only added to their charm. From the road side, patches of little yellow flowers were in bloom and could be seen randomly scattered across the fields. Strange how flowering weeds in another state is so much more appealing than when growing in your own back yard.

After driving through some states where roadkill is a common site, I am happy to report that some of the native wildlife have developed a healthy respect for road side etiquette. Driving through the more mountainous areas, we were startled when two deer burst out the woods near the interstate. Fortunately, they stayed to the side, keeping pace with us momentarily as we continued by. On another occasion, as we were driving the rural roads in Vermont, we suddenly came upon a duck and her brood of ducklings traveling along the road side. As we approached, I could see their little bodies awkwardly waddling along after mom. They were a little too close to the road, and we moved over to give them some room. I hoped that in passing, the wake from our truck and trailer didn't send them in a premature flying tumbling across somebody's freshly mown lawn.

When it gets dark we start looking for a spot to settle down. One such stop we found was a state park in Darien, New York, just outside of Buffalo. We are enjoying the warmth of a campfire, after just finishing off a quiet, cozy meal. I say quiet because it's midweek and there is only about four or five other families in the whole park and right now we have about six large sites in the area all to ourselves. Earlier, when we arrived, Byron went all McGyver and created a dome cover over his truck bed with the poles from an old defunct tent. We stretched a tarp over it, clamped it in a few places and called it home for the night. It is currently eight-thirty and the sky is only now turning to twilight with tall oak trees and their leaves clearly silhouetted against the gray clouds rolling by. A few birds are still chirping, as if getting in the last bit of gossip for the day. The temperature is comfortable and there are no bugs! It's a perfect night.

We got up to Buffalo to see Niagara Falls. We were not disappointed! I marveled at the water charging over the top of the falls, a translucent primary green color that looked fake, like someone dropped in a dye tablet up stream. Where was all the mud & debris that clouded all the other streams and rivers we had seen so far. We stood at the top of the falls looking down and was spritzed with spray from time to time. If we really wanted to get wet, we could have been on the tourist boat that we watched disappear into the mist of water at the base of the falls. As if that wasn't close enough, some people, dressed in the finest yellow bag apparel, took the elevator down to the base of the falls. There they exited a cave and walked along a pathway up to and even through one of the fingers of water pouring down. As we watched the powerfully rushing current, it was very hard to understand why someone would purposely choose to go over the falls in a barrel or anything else.

We are heading down the highway, starting our trek towards home and we are desperately seeking a Dairy Queen or Dairy Bar as they call them in New England. We stopped at a DQ and were just putting our shoes on when a family with kids walked out, happily licking their ice cream cones. By the time we made it to the door, we found it locked and the lights flickering out one by one. It's only nine o'clock! What kind of state is this! Byron and I think it's a conspiracy. Earlier, at Niagara falls we stopped at the snack bar for an ice cream cone. We were still deciding the flavor of the moment and stepped aside for a woman and a child. The next minute we were ready and went to get in line behind her, when we saw that she was part of a much larger group of 20 children or more that had just exited the trolly.

After driving all night and a quick nap, we woke up this morning to a buffet breakfast at a truck stop and a "How are ya'all doin?" These are the indicators that let you know you're not in California anymore.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The small dots

Sat afternoon delivery went very well. I spent extra time unwrapping and detailing the boat one last time (I wanted that thing spotless). I was somewhat impressed at how the boat held up from all of the road bashing I put it through for the last 2800 miles. There was absolutely nothing out of it's place when I opened it. That's the sign of a good packing engineer.

The day was warm and sunny and fairly gusty out around the lake, but I heard it has been raining for the last three days so we really lucked out or must have brought a little sunny weather with us. We launched, and oriented Ann Marie with her new toy on the way back to her dock. She was very happy and all set for a great summer.

Just like that our trip takes on a totally new direction. Today we find ourselves meandering around on offbeat roads discovering little bits of americana stashed around. We made it a point to take the roads less traveled. The tiny roads on the map that lead to the tiny dots. It took forever to get across one state, but we saw much more. It might have been because we were stopping quite often too.

We really wandered way off (it was a dirt road) on a tip that brought us to Sugartree Farms. It is a working maple syrup plantation but since it is slightly off season they were into their other mode of aging cheddar cheeses. They gave out samples of all 18 different varieties of their cheese(some aged 36 months) and 3 of their amazing maple grades. Very tasty. We also toured the grounds and learned about how it takes 44 gallons of tree sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Those had better be special pancakes!

The history hidden in all of the valleys is amazing. The buildings cannot be described and show samples of construction techniques that aren't done any more. The communities built around them all have such charm and I bet most people just see it all as everyday construct that occupies the dirt. Probably not. It's all cool stuff and they know it too.

Another totally random drive-by/stop had us walking down some tracks of history when we found a collection of train cabooses on a sidetrack in a small town we were passing through. There were also some rail cars there too. Nobody was around so we couldn't find out anything about them tho. Some of these looked very weathered and original and others restored. A few even had For Sale signs on them. No, Paula wouldn't let me take one home. It would have been a tough fit on the trailer anyway.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Between the mountains and plains

Here are some notes from the trip out. Paula would get inspired and bust out the laptop and rattle off a few lines as we drove out. We now we have great wifi to post them.
Our second official day finds us rolling out of the rest stop after an all too brief 3 hour nap before heading toward Flagstaff. We watch as the landscape changed from the pine tree covered mountains of Flagstaff to the desert shrubs and flat plains near meteor crater.

The first adventure of the day was cooking breakfast burritos, manifold style. Byron placed the foil wrapped packs in the engine compartment and shut the hood. I was a bit nervous about our burritos becoming toast, while Byron was more concerned about them falling deep into the abyss and not being able to get them back out. Several miles down the road, breakfast was deemed heated and successfully served. It was just as we were nearing the home state of area 51, a place known for their UFO sighting. In a sudden fit of quirkiness, Byron turned his foil scraps into a finely sculpted helmet. It was desperately needed protection against any alien mind reading techniques. No worries there! I don’t think they would know what to do with all that information. He made quite a picture driving down the road and his hair now has that desirable shiny sheen thanks to the cheesy side of the foil.

The skies are much more interesting than back home, changing from the wispy clouds we see most of the time, to the bulging cotton ball kind peeking out from behind the plateaus in the distance. As we entered New Mexico, the terrain changed, revealing sandstone canyons and their geologic layers; meandering river beds temporarily dry; and fields dotted with grazing horses and indian trading posts. Later we passed by a volcano, who’s lava flow is still as black as the first day it flowed. The rough, craggy texture was softened by the desert grass growing up between it and looked as striking as blond hair on a black man’s scalp.

Byron is enjoying the driving and I am enjoying him driving as well. He can be unpredictable at times and he made someone’s day when he spontaneously waved to a dog laying in the passengers seat of a passing car. The dog, taken by surprise suddenly perked up and kept leaning forward into the window of the car trying keep in his sights that strange, friendly man in the white truck.

Just out from Albuquerque we ran into our first rain of the trip. As we passed miles of fields, the damp grass smell permeated the air vents. Further down the highway we were shown what it really means to experience “weather.” At first you could see the dark clouds and the dense dark mass of rain reaching down to the ground. Soon after, the sky and ground became one black void, so that the falling rain appeared white against it. At one point the rain hit the windshield so hard, we couldn’t hear each other yell. All the while, we were treated to a grand lightning show, sometimes seeing four bolts of lightening at once. We didn’t linger long and hustled to leave the dark behind as we drove rapidly towards the light.

We got off the freeway for a much needed break with high hopes finding the source of that DQ sign we saw, but instead we were treated to whole lot of eye candy when we ended up at a small personal car and hotrod museum owned by a guy named Bozo. The collection contained around forty old classic cars, many restored to their original state and others hot rodded out. I’ve added three or four to my Christmas list!

It was an overcast morning as we entered Kansas, the half way point to our final destination. Kansas was a nice change from the desert, with rolling green hills, spacious fields and lots of cows. The morning light was just starting to illuminate our surroundings and the first thing I saw as I raised my seat from it's slumber position was a dead critter in the road before Byron suddenly swerving aside, narrowly misses it. Pleasant vistas aside, I think that this state must be in the top 10 for the most critter road kill. It became a common sight as we motored along this back roads less traveled.

We had breakfast at a little diner called the “Golden Lantern” in the small town of Neodesha. It was a diner born out of the same era as Mayberry from the Andy Griffith show. It was a no fuss seat yourself place where all the locals gather to start the day. It had a ceiling fan of an experimental type I have never seen before and resembled a giant air cleaner from a car. Spinning rapidly, it wobbled on its post like a frisbee on a stick ready at any moment to fly off and clobber some unsuspecting customer. The food was good, but the gossip was better. Within a few minutes we learned more about six or seven members of the community than we had a right to. I hated to have to get up and leave for the rest room, but Byron promised to give me a full report upon my return. Unfortunately, pictures just wouldn’t capture the essence of the place. I encourage anyone interested to break free from their normal routine and experience a little old fashioned americana on their own. It’s still alive and well in the US of A.

We are currently motoring on through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and now Pennsylvania at a faster pace, as we have a schedule to keep and a boat to deliver. Once that is completed we will have more time for sight seeing. I would like to say that I’ve taken lots of pictures from the cab of the truck, but I’ve been hard pressed to find a clear viewing place between all the bug splatters we accumulated. Byron reports that Indiana bugs are toughest "they seem to make a bigger whack", as he scours the dry and crusty remains acquired two states ago.