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The Great Loop

07/30/08
Carolina Beach - 2008 Midpoint Summary

I promised to develop a partial summary of facts from our trip you may or may not find of interest. These facts are only for 2008.

Total Miles 2594 in statute miles

Avg Miles/Month 519

Total Engine Hours 156

Avg Speed/Hr 16.6 mph (cruised about 25mph in open water and 7mph in slow zones)

Fuel 3085 gallons

Avg MPG .81 mpg


Avg Cost/Gal $4.12 (because early prices were around $4 but last 2 months around $4.65 and some were over $5)

180 days in marinas

Avg $/day for marinas $54. (Number included several months at monthly rate, probably the avg cost per night at transient rate $80)

Maintenance/repair costs while traveling $1100

Days delayed for maintenance 2(Solomons's Island and Portsmouth)

Weather for days cruising 61%Sunny 38% Overcast

Temperature for days cruising 23% 90+d, 46% 80-89d,31% 60-79d

Wave Height Conditions 33% calm, 46% 1-2', 21% 3-4'(usually on our stern so not a big problem but 2 days on bow which is very uncomfortable and tiring)

We will not be making new entries to the blog unless we take Nauti Dreams on a side trip, eg. go to Bald Head Island for a few days, etc.
When we start to head toward FL in early December we will start entries again.
We hope you enjoyed the blog and following our adventure and we thank you for your interest. We have worked hard to make each entry factual and interesting. We have throughly enjoyed the adventure so far.
We are very happy with the Nauti Dreams and strongly believe she is the right boat for us.
07/28/08
Moorehead City To Carolina Beach    Chart
(Lat: 34º 3.255'N Lon: 77º 53.374'W )

We woke up believing that the marines were having a live fire exercise and we couldn't get through the base until about noon so we were in no hurry to get going. Also the ocean was very rough so that wasn't a good option. Jackie took off the sheets and decided to do them in the marina laundry so we wouldn't have to do them when we got home.
As I am listening to the VHF radio, they don't mention the firing exercise which they announced frequently the day before and I yesterday I even call the Coast Guard to make sure it was scheduled for today. For some reason they changed there mind so I started to get the boat ready while Jackie finished up the laundry.
We left about 9am and started down the ICW. It was very warm and hazy so pictures from any distance were not good.
The water was smooth on the ICW route and there were not many boats until we got fairly close to Wrightsville. As we approached the Onslow Marine Corp swing bridge we were following another yacht so the while we were about 5 minutes late the other Capt. called and the Bridge
Tender agreed to hold the bridge so we got through it with no wait.
Since we were a little late through it I was quite sure we wouldn't make the Surf City bridge on schedule but we moved at our normal pace as sometimes there is commercial traffic coming through that they open the bridge for regardless of schedule. We had no such luck so we missed the opening and had about 40 minutes to float around in the canal trying to stay in the middle in the deeper water in spite of the wind and current trying to put you somewhere you don't want to be. We had no problem holding position but it is tedious.
The bridge opened on schedule and it was clear boating from there to Carolina Beach.
Jackie took pictures as we left Moorehead City of 2 big frieghters, a Marine helo, houses along the way, a dredger moving through the Wrightsville Bridge and an Osprey having his way with another Osprey on the channel marker we were staying in position for the Surf City bridge to open. You never know what you will see on the water. She also kinda got a picture of some dolphins.
When we arrived at our marina, around 3:20pm, we docked the boat, sprayed and wiped it down and then checked out our townhouse. Everything was ok there and it looked beautiful and it felt great being there. We went to dinner at a local place we like and then took some of the things we needed in the next couple of days off the boat when it was cooler in the evening.
It was a long day but it felt really good to be home. In the next day or two I will put together some statics about our trip so far in 2008. Stay tuned.
07/27/08
Moorehead City

We had a quiet day of rest after our long run yesterday. Jackie did some laundry, we did our emails, read our books, checked the engines, etc. I had a flat tire on my bike so we took the loaner van from MCYB, which is the nicest loaner vehicle we have experienced on our trip, and drove to a local bike/sports store. They were open but didn't have anyone working on bike repairs as it was Sunday. We decided to try the Green Slime product which is designed to repair small leaks and went to K Mart to get it. When we got back to the marina, we used the product and it seems to have worked very well. We will see in the long run but the bike handled very well.
While we had the van, we drove around the waterfront and checked out the restaurants in the downtown area. There are a number of them with most of them being on or close to the waterfront. We decided to try a new waterfront restaurant called The Ruddy Duck. It has only been open a month was very good for a lunch place. A number of small boats docked at the restaurant and had lunch.
We returned the van to the dockmaster and spent the afternoon reading, checking our charts for tomorrow and I finished reading my book "Plague Ship" by Clive Cussler. I enjoyed the book as I have most of his books. Jackie is almost done with her book "Flearless Fourteen" by Janet Evanovich. We are big fans of her books as they are so much fun to read. I get to read it next.
At dinner time we rode our bikes to several restaurants that were recommended to us but they were closed. So we rode around to see which were open and we finally ended up at Fins. It is a bar/grill type restaurant and has a large and diverse menu. It was filled with locals and the food was good. When we came out is was raining lightly so we hurried to the boat and didn't get too wet. We wiped the bikes down, folded them up and stowed them in their storage bags since we will not be using them until we take the boat to Bald Head Island sometime this Fall.
The dockmaster said he heard on the marine radio, VHF, that the Marines were having a live fire exercise at Camp Legune. That means the ICW going through the camp area will be closed down for some of the day. Unfortunately they really don't tell you exactly when it will be closed. I called the Coast Guard and they read the notice to me and then said you may be able to pass through but you have to get permission when you get there from the Navy patrol boat. We are probably going to go and try to get there late morning. There are also 2 low bridges we have to go through and one opens each half hour and the other only on the hour. So we will go and be prepared to anchor the boat in the channel until we can get through.
We have no pictures today to share. We are looking forward to getting to our townhouse and getting off the boat for a while.
07/26/08
Coinjock NC To Moorehead City    Chart
(Lat: 34º 43.297'N Lon: 76º 42.278'W )

We had a great day on the water today. In fact the conditions were so ideal, we decided to just keep going. In fact we went 155 miles and ended up in Moorehead City. For those of you who boat, you know that is quite a long way for a pleasure cruise. The skies were clear, the temperature in the mid 80's and the water was as calm and smooth as a table top. Also, there were very few boaters on the water, which surprised us as it is Saturday but we only passed a handful of boats.
We were going to stop at Dowry Creek but we were making such good time we got there about 11 am. We didn't want to stop that early so we kept going. We planned to stop at either Oriental, NC, or depending on the time, go all the way to Moorehead City.
Since it was beautiful today and tomorrow it was supposed to rain most of the day, we decided to go to Moorehead City and then not have to travel in bad weather. Just to be sure we had enough fuel, we stopped at RE Mayo's dock for fishing boats under the Hobucken Bridge, about 50 miles north of Moorehead City. We knew the price was cheaper at Moorehead so we only took on 100 gallons to give us a large safey factor. It was right on the ICW and so it made it an easy stop. They are not used to pleasure boaters stopping but they were very nice.
We also had our first dolphin sightings since we left NC about 10 weeks ago. There were a bunch of them all around our boat as we went down the Alligator River. Jackie was very excited as we love to see dolphins and missed them. We still haven't been able to get a good picture of them so I now have strict orders that when we see a large number of dolphins, I need to slow to a stop so she can get a good picture.
Jackie took a few pictures of the scenery as we went along and we particularly liked the Cedar Swamp area. You can also see how sunny the day was and how smooth the water was from the pictures.
We have never stayed in Moorehead City before as we liked Beaufort so much but we decided to stay at Moorehead and the Moorehead City Yacht Basin for a change. The marina is very nice and walking distance to many of the restaurants, etc. The facilities are first rate and it is quiet. It doesn't have the atmosphere of the Beaufort City Docks in the town of Beaufort but we will enjoy it for 2 nights.
Tonight we had a wonderful dinner at Floyd's 1921. The dockmaster recommended it as the best place in town and we had a wonderful meal. I would put it on a "can't miss" list.
Tomorrow we are going to take the marina's loaner car, $10 for 2 hours and do some shopping. We also need to take my bike and get its back tire fixed. When we were getting it off the boat to ride it tonight, it was flat. It worked fine in Portsmouth but I must have picked up something in the tire.
07/25/08
Portsmouth To Coinjock, NC    Chart
(Lat: 36º 20.969'N Lon: 75º 56.901'W )

This morning we pulled out of our slip a little before 8am and arrived at the first bridge about 10 minutes before the first restricted bridge opened at 8:30 am. We thought we are in great shape but after a couple of bridges there was one railroad bridge, which is usually always open unless a train is coming, that would not open or tell us when it would open. So we waited over a half and hour or more and that threw off our catching some other bridges on the schedule we expected. It basically cost us 30 minutes to an hour. We didn't have any real deadline so it wasn't really too important, just a little aggravating that they wouldn't give us good information.
This is the part of the trip where there is bridge after bridge after bridge so it is basically idle speed for the first 3.5 hours.
It is also the place where you have to go through the Great Bridge Lock which is pretty interesting to do. After the Lock, the waterway opens up some so you can make a little better time.
The other issue we had was a result of the bad storm we had the other night. Water levels in the rivers are higher and have flushed a lot of logs and tree branches in to the rivers. In those areas you have to also go very slowly and hope that there isn't a large branch that is water logged and floating just below the surface where you can see it. We weaved around a lot of wood in the water and the VHF radioes were busy as people were calling out the debree as they went down the rivers. Since we were the first boat, we had to be very careful. We did well and avoided all the debree.
The last 1.5 hour of the trip is fairly open water where you can go up to normal cruising speed but you must be very careful as it is very shallow out of the channel. We watched our charts carefully and also made it through the area with no issues.
There were not too many boats on the water for picture taking and in our blog a couple of months ago, when we were heading North through the area, we had a lot of pictures and we didn't want to repeat them. Jackie did get some pictures of us leaving the Lock, some tugs with barges and Capt. Lynn at the helm.
We are spending the night just over the NC border in Coinjock which as we mentioned before, is a narrow channel on the ICW that has 2 marinas and 2 restaurants. It is strategically places so it gets a lot of north and south traffic. The Coinjock Restaurant is very good and a good value. It seems as soon as we pull up to the dock and see the restaurant, we are instantly hungry. We had a very nice dinner and are now chilling out on the boat. We were surprised that there is only our boat and a sailboat staying at the Marina tonight. Never seen it this light. Many locals drive their vehicles to the restaurant so they are busy.
Tomorrow we head to Dowry Creek Marina near the city of Belhaven.
07/24/08
Portsmouth

We had a good day today after the severe storm of yesterday. It was cloudy for most of the day but no real rain. We did our pre trip check of the engines, etc, cleaned up some things on the boat, checked our charts for tomorrow, made transient slip reservations for our first 3 stops on our way south and filled the fuel tanks (ouch) but it looks like fuel prices have dropped some.
We hopped on our bikes and road over to the Commodore Dinner Movie Theater and waited in line to get tickets for the 7pm movie, Dark Knight. We were able to get a table for the movie and then we went across the street to the Bier Garden, a great German Restaurant, for lunch.
We went back to the boat, paid some bills, read our books and then pedaled over to a BB&T branch to transfer some money to our checking account.
We returned to the marina, got some items in the ships store, watched a large cruise ship turn in the channel to leave Norfolk and got ready to head to the movie.
The theater is a historic building and has been beautifully restored. As a point of interest the original designer of the theater was a man with the last name of Zink, which is Jackie's maiden name. She is checking with her farther to see if that is one of the 3 brothers who came to the States many years ago. One stayed in the mid west, one moved East and one moved out West.
The food and the service were very good and very reasonable. If you are in the Portsmouth area, you really should try to attend a movie at the Commodore.
The movie "The Dark Knight" was excellent. It was very well acted, action packed, great special effects, etc, etc. It is not for little children because of some of the dark nature of the movie and violence but everyone we talked to really liked it also.
We rode our bikes back to the boat, packed our bikes away and then turned in.
Jackie took pictures of the cruise ship turning and the movie theater.
Really an enjoyable day.
07/23/08
Tides Inn to Tidewater Marina at Portsmouth    Chart
(Lat: 36º 50.489'N Lon: 76º 17.934'W )

We had an exciting morning on the Bay as we hit 3-4' waves head on once we cleared the Rappahannock and headed south. The waves were even tougher because they waves were very close together so getting the right timing was difficult. We decided to continue the trip vs. turn around and while the boat did well, we did have things in the salon and cockpit which we had secured with museum putty or other means, and never moved for this whole trip, dislodge and fall to the floor. Even the shower hand sprayer wan in the master bath came out of its holder and fell to the floor. Jackie was constantly going down to check out the cabin area.
After about and 1.5 hours it seemed that we had found the right mix of angle and speed and things settled down a little. Then we started to smell SMOKE and that is about a mariners worst fear. So we checked all the gauges, engine room, etc, and no heat or smoke smell in the boat. We then left the cockpit and checked the outside air and we knew the smoke was not from our boat but smelled like a lumber fire. We were several miles from land so we were surprised the smoke was out there so strongly and for so long.
So with those two challenges behind us we had a pretty easy and very interesting cruise to our marina. Because of the Navy and commercial ships, the area is a bee hive of activity and security patrols.
We arrived at the marina, docked and sprayed down the boat, had lunch at the little grill/pub at the marina and then hopped on our bikes and rode about 3 miles to a Walgreens to get a refill on a Rx. It was still pretty hot out and we didn't ride through the nicest areas of town but we made it there and back without incident. As we were riding back we stopped by the Commodore Theater to check what movie was playing and to see if they had room for the 7pm show. They have the theater set up so you sit at a table and eat your dinner while you watch a first run movie. The Dark Night is playing and they were sold out for tonight so we will go tomorrow when the box office opens and get tickets.
As we were riding back the skies got very dark and a huge storm front came through just as got to the boat and put our bikes on board. We had lighting strikes everywhere, very strong winds, some small hail and torrential ran. Jackie took some pictures so we hope you can get the idea. She also took a little movie which really shows it well but we can't put that on the blog. She also took a picture of our Sirius Weather Satelitte screen which shows how fierce the storm was. It looks like we are going to have thunderstorms all evening and even into tomorrow morning and then clearing and more comfortable temperatures.
We could not take pictures in the very rough water so the pictures we approached Norfolk and then the storm from our boat.
All and all very interesting day and we are hoping we get a little break in the weather so we can go out to eat since we have had dinner on the boat the last 2 nights. Later edit, the rain never stopped so we put on our rain gear and walked over to the Rennisace Hotel on the wasterfront and ate in there pub. The pub was beautful and service very good but we were dissappointed in our food. We are now dry, back on the boat and sipping some wine to chill down for the evening.
07/22/08
Tides Inn

Today is the hottest day of the summer, high of 99 and it was 79 and humid when we left the boat at 8 am. We walked to the 9 hole par 3 course, which is right on the Inn property and played 9 holes. We hadn't played an golf since since at least last Oct as I had injured my shoulder and couldn't swing a club. Shoulder worked fine and we enjoyed beating the ball around the course. We had loaner clubs and pull carts to get around the course in the heat. We each shot bogey golf and had a nice time. By the time we were done, the temp was really climbing so we decided to rent a litte skiff and drive it all over Carter Creek. It is a very pretty area and as we went around the different side creeks we saw large house after large house along the water front. It seemed like about a third the houses had a Hinckley Picnic boat in their covered slip. There we also a number of Duffy Electric Boats that the owners must use to enjoy the Creek with little noise to really capture the feeling of nature.
Jackie took pictures of the various houses and even captured a picture of a really large house for sale, in case you are interested.
After the boat ride we had lunch by the pool and I came back to the boat to read. Jackie sat by the pool to sun bath. She is now doing some laundry in the free laundry by the marina.
One of the other features they have here is sailing lessons and I took a couple of pictures of one group.
In addition to the large Hatteras we showed in yesterdays pictures, we have a very pretty 44ft. Hinkley right beside us. I took a picture of the owner using a plastic pedal boat from the Inn to clean his bow hull. Great inginuity on his part. I snapped a picture of him cleaning the hull. In fact, I couldn't believe he cleaned the whole boat in this heat.
Tonight we are going to eat on the boat again and chill out. Tomorrow we hope the weather is good enough to allow us to go to Portsmouth in the morning. It is supposed to rain and then turn to storms in the afternoon. We will watch the weather and be ready to leave early to try to beat the storm if that is possible. Our boat is well equipped to run in rain but we don't like to run in thunder storms.
07/21/08
Solomon's Island To Tides Inn, VA    Chart
(Lat: 37º 39.811'N Lon: 76º 25.988'W )

We left Solomon's a little before 8am and had a very nice trip to the Tides Inn near Irvingtown, VA. While it was a very hot day, the skies were brilliantly clear and the Bay calm and beautiful.
We passed a tug with a huge barge in tow, a container ship, a Coast Guard or Navy cruiser guarding the Bay at the mouth of the Potomac, some commercial ships which looked liked recovery vessels working in the middle of the Bay just South of the Potomac.
The Tides Inn is an older resort on a creek on the North side of the Rappahannock. It is beautfully maintained and is designed to provide the guests with swimming, sailing, kayaking, golf, beautiful gardens, etc. It has 3 restaurants, which are pricey but food is good. It even has an older cruise boat the Miss Ann that they use for a Sunday brunch cruise and special occasions. You can see it on the T dock in the pictures of the marina. You can check out their web site at www.tidesinn.com .
We docked the boat at the Tides, sprayed off the Bay water and then went to the Inn to explore and have lunch. He had lunch in the Pool Grill and then jumped on a couple of hotel bikes and rode around Irvington. We went to the Post Office to mail my brother back his sunglasses that he left when he visited us in St. Michaels. It was too hot to go too far on the bikes so we came back to the boat. Tonight we are going to eat on the boat and stay in the AC.
Tomorrow we plan to play the par 3 golf course in the morning and maybe take one of the little run about boats the marina has to explore the local creeks, etc.
Note: If you look at the chart you will see that John has changed the color for the return trip to red to easily distinguish it from our trip North.
07/20/08
St. Michaels To Solomon's Island    Chart
(Lat: 38º 19.397'N Lon: 76º 27.388'W )

Yesterday, my brother, Bert, came over from the DC area to spend the day with us. We had a good day catching up and explored the area in is car. His mother in law has a house here and we had not seen it so after a big lunch at his favorite seafood place we went to see the house. It was very nice and on the water in the area between St. Michaels and Easton. Jackie took a picture of his lunch as it was unbelievable. He ordered the seafood sampler and it included, 12 mussels, 12 shrimp, 12 clams, and two clusters of king crab, plus a salad, cornbread, onion rings and rolls. He was in heaven and pretty much polished it off. We ate a little less but still a very large lunch so for dinner we just had fresh vegatable, corn on cob, red skin potatoes, green beans and tomatoes, all purchased earlier in the day at farm market in St. Michaels, it was great.
Today we woke up and turned on the TV to check the weather and sports and all of a sudden the power went off. So I got up and put on a pair of shorts to check the power station on the dock. It became obvious that the marina had lost power at least to our pier as several others were out there checking their power. I was talking to a local boater and told him we were leaving and heading to Point Lookout on the Potomac. He asked if we had been there before and I said no but it was a good distance to travel today. He strongly suggested that we would not like it there as it was kind of a ghost town. He suggested that we stop at Solomon's Island even though we had been there before.
So once we were on the water, Jackie started calling Solomon's to get a slip but at first none were available as they were having a big sailing event. As we got closer we called again the the Solomon's Yacht Center, our prefered place said they were sure they would have one slip when we got there. So we arrived, filled up the fuel tanks, pumped out the holding tank and then moved to our slip. Jackie and I sprayed down the boat as it got pretty well covered by Bay water as we were driving into the wind and 2 foot seas on the Bay.
After we got the boat settled we, went up to the pool bar and had a couple of beers and a hot dog. Only food they offer. Beer is really well priced as Budwiser is a $1.00 per glass and imported $1.50 per glass. The sale of Budwiser to the Dutch raises a question in the future will it go to $1.50/glass, hmmm???
Jackie took a few pictures on the way including a parting view of St. Michaels, a frieghter, a tug with a long tow, and a number of sail boats associated with the sailing event in the Solomon's.
We rode our bikes into town for dinner tonight at the Solomon's Pier. It was very hot today but riding the bikes in the evening wasn't too bad. After dinner we rode through some neighborhoods and then returned to the boat for the evening.
Tomorrow we are off to the Tides for a couple of days, weather permitting.
07/18/08
Havre de Grace To St. Michaels    Chart
(Lat: 38º 47.122'N Lon: 76º 13.233'W )

We said our final good byes to friends at HDG yesterday and left this morning for St. Michaels. It was a pretty easy 3 hour trip. The only area that took a lot of concentration was when we cut through the Kent Narrows area. It is quite shallow but it is well marked and no problem as long as you stay in the channel. It was fun to go past the restaurants and bars we told you about in our Kent Narrows car trip on the water and under the bridge.
We arrived around 11am at the marina and docked the boat, hooked everything up, complete the paperwork at the Dock Office and then had lunch at the Crab and Steak house within 100 ft. of our boat.
After lunch it was back to the boat and we gave Nauti Dreams a good bath. It is very hot out, 94+ but there is a breeze so cleaning the boat was'nt too bad.
We are in a great slip right near the dock house, swimming pool and dock house. While Jackie is out sunning, I can sit in our air conditioned cockpit, watching the Brittish Open and have a beer and see what the people are doing at the pool. The marina is sold out this weekend so it should be pretty active.
Tonight we explored the town on our bikes and had dinner at a nice little restautant/pub called Characters. After dinner we rode around a little more and then went back to the boat for the evening. Tomorrow my brother is driving over from the greater DC area to spend the day with us.
Jackie took some pictures on the way down of frieghters, barges, etc. She also took some pictures of the area around our boat and in town.
07/16/08
Day Trip To Gettysburg    Chart
(Lat: 39º 49.726'N Lon: 77º 13.656'W )

We left HDG at 8 am and heading to Gettysburg. We had quite a bit of traffic around the Baltimore area but still got there in 2 hours. We met up with Alice and Phil and after our greetings, we headed into the new Gettysburg Battlefied Visitors Center. It is a great facility and now includes a very good museum as well as an excellent movie about the battle of Gettysburg narrated by Morgan Freeman. The facility also has a nice cafeteria.
We were planning to go on the bus tour but discovered they had private guides that small groups could hire for less than the bus tour. The guide drives your vehicle and takes you throughout the battlefield and town. Howie was our guide and he was excellent. Phil's great grandfather was in the battle and wounded, lost his leg. Phil had read his hand written journals on the battle before coming to tour. The guide was very knowledgeable of all the regiments and made sure to take us to the places Phil's great grandfather fought. That obviously made the tour even more interesting.
After the tour, we bought tickets to go to the Eisenhower Farm. That was also another good tour. The house and farm was basically just as it was when Ike lived there. Those were clearly different times then today and while Ike had Secret Service Protection it was a much more relaxed time and he frequently went to town to eat, shop, etc. There was no evidence of special Secret Service facilites that exist now where our persent and past Presidents and VP's live.
After visiting Ike's farm we went to dinner at the oldest house in Gettyburg, the Dobbins House and the tavern in the basement area is called the Spring Tavern. We had a drink in the tavern and then a very nice dinner in the restaurant. After dinner we got back in our respective cars and returned to our boats. They went to DC and we went back to HDG.
Jackie took a number of pictures of the battlefield area but they all tend to look like southern PA farmland with monuments on it. Every State involved in the battle has monument and most of the regiments have them, especially the northern regiments. Don't get me wrong the tour was great and very interesting to hear the strategies, successes, failures, etc, but photo graphing it can in no way capture it well. In each blog entry I put captions with each picture which tell more of the story that just this initial dialog. Just click on the picture and the dialog will appear.
07/15/08
Day Trip To Kent Narrows

We were planning today to go to Gettysburg by car and meet up with Phil and Alice Premier to tour the Battleground, do dinner, etc. They were driving up from DC and us from Havre de Grace. However, early this morning Phil called and said that Alice had taken sick during the night so asked if we could put it off to tomorrow. We said sure and then thought since we were planning a car trip anyway, we should drive down to Kent Narrows and explore that area. We have been there before but not for a couple of years.
The weather was outstanding and traffic was light. We took the route via Baltimore so we could cross the Key Bridge and have a great view of the Harbor and then the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for another great view.
We drove to the area of Mears Point Marina, Harris's Crab House, Red Eyes Bar and the draw bridge. Jackie took pictures and then we got back in the car and explored the area some more ending up at one of our favorite restaurants, Hemmingways by the Bay Bridge Marina. It good lunches, a lot of great boats to look at and a great view of the Bridge and Bay. It is a beautiful area and has so many waterfront eating places it is amazing.
After lunch it was back to Havre de Grace and catch up on some mail, laundry, etc.
Tonight we went to dinner with our friend John at the Union Hotel in Port Deposit. It is Irish Sing Night and John sings as a part of the group called the Irish Jasper Greens. They have this sing fest about every other Tuesday.
The hotel is circa 1790 and really is a neat place. The food was very good and the people in the bar, where the singing took place, were very friendly. It was a very fun evening. Jackie took pictures of the hotel and sing fest held in the bar.
07/11/08
Exploring Via Dingy And Birthday Party Blast

The weather was outstanding today so we jumped on our bikes and headed down to the coffee shop in HDG. The shop is Java By The Bay and it is a gathering spot where locals start their morning. Jackie used to stop there most mornings when we lived here. After kibitzing with people we hopped back on our bikes and got a little exercise and then headed back to the boat.
We decided to continue to take advantage of the weather and hopped into our dingy and rode along the shore east of our marina past the Concord Light House, through the city marina and then along the shore for several miles. HDG has done a nice job of highlighting its waterfront by building a great promenade along the water from the light house all the way around to the marina. Many people, locals and tourist, walk this promenade, sit on the benches, etc, and enjoy the views. Part of the promenade was destroyed by hurrican Agnes a few years ago but quickly rebuilt. When we lived here we walked from our condo along the water past the light house, on the promenade and through the marina and back to condo. We did this every evening after dinner year round. It is hard to get a picture of the promenade as it is so long but Jackie took a few pictures from the dingy and I included the one which showed the newer wood indicating the area rebuilt after the hurricane.
If you like seeing blue herons and other water fowl, HDG is the place to see it. There are herons every where and they, unlike the ones if the populated areas of FL, are very people shy and fly away squawking loudly if you get too close.
We drove along the shore out and back for about 2 hours, which is about all our butts can stand sitting in the dingy. We take our fuel can with us as we like to go beyond the one tank range and have gotten pretty adept at shutting down the engine, refueling and moving on with the trip.
The other major event of the day was attending a large and upbeat 40th birthday party of Edward T. He is the oldest son/child of Butch T's family in North East. They are our adopted Maryland family. The party was great and Butch and son Matt, surprised Edward with a really cherry 1969, 396 HP, Camaro SS. He didn't have a clue that he was getting the car until his friend drove it around the to the back yard, got out and threw Edward the keys. Really a neat moment. Jackie took pictures of the party and I have included one which includes Butch, Matt, Edward and the car.
We have no exploring plans for the rest of the weekend so if we don't have anything interesting to share, we won't have new entries to the blog but stay tuned as you never know what might pop up.
07/10/08
Boat Trip To Chesapeake City And Back To HDG

Our friends from North East, the Trainers, came down to see our boat and ride with us to Cheaspeake City. It was a nice day with calm waters and we had an easy trip to the Chesapeake Inn. Our passengers included Terri (mommy), Emily 4, Hannah 2 and Matthew Price 6 months.
They liked the boat very much and enjoyed the ride looking through our binoculars, looking for crab pots, seeing other boats, etc. Jackie took some pictures of the family and the trip. We had a nice lunch at the Chesapeake Inn and then headed back to HDG. We fueled up and pumped out at the HDG City Marina and then went back to our slip at Log Pond Marina. The trip took most of the day and the kids were tired but did a pretty good job listening and eating.
After we got back late in the afternoon, they headed back to North East and Jackie and I got cleaned up for dinner with friends we knew by working together in Du Pont. Gregg and Deb Funari, drove down to see our boat and then go to dinner. It has probably been close to 5 years since we were last together so we spent a lot of time catching up on the happenings in each family. We had a nice dinner at McGregors and then came back to the boat and chatted some more. The time really flew by and it was 10:30 pm before we knew it. We felt badly we kept them so long since they had to drive back to their house in PA and Gregg had to go to work Friday morning. We had a great time and plan to get together this fall by having them visit us at our townhouse in Carolina Beach.
Fuel was $4.90 a gallong including tax and I think it was our single biggest single fuel bill at $847.00. We have planned these expenses in our budget but it still gives you pause when you recieve the bill.
The square rigged vessel in the first picture is the tall ship "Lioness", owned and operated by the Youth Services Agency, and provides education for disturbed and problematic teenagers from the Pennylvania area. You can see one of the fun exploits of the Lioness at http://www.coledata.com/lioness/
Very full and very nice day.
07/09/08
Rainy Day HDG Area Explorations

Today we intended to boat but the weather didn't cooperate so we explored the local area by car.
We started out by going back to the Beggs' farm and taking pictures for our July 4 blog entry.
After that, since we were in the Port Deposit area, we searched to see if we could find the "Extreme Make Over" house in Port Deposit. Several friends gave us so input to where it might be and as we were driving through Port Deposit we saw the Post Office and thought where better to get directions. Jackie went in and the man at the counter drew her a map that got us right there. We didn't want to intrude on their privacy so we only drove part way up their drive to get pictures. If you go on ABC.com and go to the Extreme Make Over section you can get the background. The property is called the Freedom Farm and the people there use their horses to provide fun and therapy for sick and disabled people. Not only is it recreational but they also found it helped some people regain balance skills via horse riding sessions. The family has been doing this for some time until the husband died of cancer which threatened the program. Extreme Make Over came in and built them a brand new house and significantly upgraded the barn.
I was surprised by how large the house was and I am not sure why it needed to be that big but the house and barn complex was very impressive. While we were there, we saw them leading several patients around on horses.
As we were driving around in our rental car our low pressure light came on again for our right front tire. It had done this a couple of days ago and we just added air to the tire. Now we were sure it had a slow leak so we arranged to exchange the car back at Enterprise in Aberdeen. As we drove down 95 to Aberdeen we saw the Ripken Minor League Baseball Stadium and training complex and decided to explore it once we got a different car.
The complex was very impressive with the stadium and a very large training complex called the Cal Ripken Sr. Center. Cal Ripken Sr. was Cal's father and is originally from the Aberdeen area. They center is very impressive and even has a Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Residence Inn on the property for students and parents to stay. We took some pictures but the pictures really don't do justice to this very nice facility.
On our drive back to Havre de Grace we explored some other areas and drove all around Bulle Rock. Bulle Rock a world class golf course. The LPGA play a tournament there every year. It also has a wide variety of residential projects ranging from single family homes to condos of various sizes, styles and price ranges. It is a large and growing area.
We made the most of the day and had a nice time exploring. Tomorrow we boat!!! Lord willing.
07/08/08
HDG And Dinner In Chesapeake City

We were tired today and tried to catch up from our whirlwind NYC trip. We put our travel clothes away, straightened up the boat and then as our energy level increase we unpacked and made our dingy seaworthy. We hopped in it and boated up river and around Garrett Island. (Note: Garrett Island was one of the last Indian resevations on the East Coast. It is also the site of the first recorded act of piracy in the USA) When we lived in HDG we used to kayak this route a couple times a week.
The State now owns the island and has declared it a wildlife refuge. When we lived here, people used to drive their boats to the island, camp out, have day picnics, etc. Now even landing on the island is prohibited. Many local residents are not happy with this change and lobbying for some form of compromise. We didn't take our camera as we didn't want to get it wet. It was fairly windy so we knew water would be splashing on us. It took us almost as long to do the trip in the dingy as it did for us in the tandem kayak but it was a good trip and the blue herons were abundant.
Jackie did some laundry while I worked on email and then it was time for us to get ready for dinner with friends in Chesapeake City. We drove there by car and met John and Debbie Beley. They live nearby in PA and suggested that we have dinner at the Bayard House. We had a great views of the C&D Canal, the food was excellent and we caught up on everything since we had dinner with them in Sarasota this past Feb. We vowed to see them again in FL as we both plan to be down there at the same time in the Sarasota area.
Jackie took a few pictures at Chesapeake City and our friends. We plan to go back to Chesapeake City by boat and will take more pictures.
07/07/08
Last Day In NYC

Today we got up early and walked to the Rockefeller Center to join the crowd outside the filming of the Today Show. We had a great time and the people associated with putting on the Show really do a great job of managing and engaging the crowds to make it a fun event. Everyone was engaging and polite while still maintianing security and order. Jackie got us a great location where we could see them in the studio and also as they came outside. It really is interesting to watch all the activity and coordination around the Show. It is a high activity production where they are doing their segments, doing promo's in between segments, moving to another part of the set, make up, going outside to the crowds, etc. Matt, Merideth and Ann were there but Al was not and they had the local NY weather person fill in for him. The weather person spends the most time out with the crowds but we were surprise how much time Merideth spend talking to people, shaking hands, posing for pictures, giving hugs, etc. She is truly every engaging and appeared very genuine. While it is very fast paced and hard work, they abilities and professionalism really showed through. We were fortunate enough to have Jackie hold hands with her and get 2 pictures taken with her.
It was really a fun morning and we have a number of pictures to share.
After we left the Show we got a bite to eat at a little cafe right next to the Show and so we were able to see the Show while eating.
Since we were at the Rockefeller Center we decided to go up to the top of the building to their observatory. While it was overcast and foggy, we were able to see Manhatten from high up which was also very impressive.
We walked back to our hotel and checked out then we walked back to central Times Square and had lunch at the Olive Garden Restaurant. We had an excellent view of the area from the window view on the second floor while we had lunch. Jackie took some more pictures as we walked around and it is amazing how many people are engaged in making a living from tourists in the Times Square Area. On the boat tour we heard that the largest source of income for NYC is the New York Stock exchange and financial markets. The second source is tourism and the biggest area for that is Times Square.
We saw a few homeless, we saw the naked cowboy who posed for pictures on Broadway, a person hunched over in a chair in a form of camoflage inviting people to tell him to get a job or yell at him for $2, to the many street vendors, store fronts, eateries, vendors, tour groups, etc. It is a very busy place.
We walked back to our hotel, picked up our bags and then walked to Penn Station, boarded our train and headed back to our boat. We were very tired and ready to get back to our boat but also very happy with how our trip to NYC worked out. We packed about all we could in the 2.5 days we were there. NYC is a very interesting place to visit but it is not a place where Jackie and I would like to live or spend a lot of time visiting. If we get another chance to go a visit, we will happily do it and concentrate on the things we were able to see but not spend time, like WTC site, Central Park, China Town, Little Italy and catch another play but if that doesn't happen, that is ok also.
Below are pictures Jackie took at the Today Show and from the Observation area.
07/06/08
NYC    Chart
(Lat: 40º 47.028'N Lon: 73º 59.235'W )

We had a full day today. We arranged to go on a 3 our boat tour all around Manhatten. It was recommended to us by our friends the Beggs, see our July 4 blog. It was a great view of the area from a unique perspective of the water. We were entertained by the tour guide as we heard the history of the area. It again was an overcast day but didn't rain. The pictures are not as bright as we would like because of the weather but we had no problem seeing the sites and hearing the stories.
We walked back from the waterfront to our hotel and rested about an hour then we were off again on foot to the Broadway Show - Jersey Boys. What a show. We loved every minute of it and the time just seemed to fly by. It is the musical story of the Frankie Valley and the 4 Seasons and it was outstanding. A warning, the language was very adult and the story is one that shares the tough enviroment of growing up in New Jersey and the ups and downs of their lives and careers.
The music was just outstanding and the audience was captured by the end of the first couple of songs. We would highly recommend this show for adults. If you are in your 50's, 60's or 70's, you will love this show.
After the show we walked again around Times Square, had dinner and then back to the hotel to get some rest before an early start on Monday.
07/05/08
HDG to New York City

This morning we got up early and caught the 7:38 am Amtrack train from Aberdeen, MD, to NYC. While Aberdeen is a small town it is the home of the very large Army base the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. I am guessing that is the reason that Amtrak has a station there and it makes it very convenient to go any where on the North East coast. It is a 2.5 hr trip to NYC.
When we arrived in NYC at Penn Station the first sight we saw leaving the station was Madison Square Gardens. It was overcast and raining on and off for the whole day. We walked about 10 blocks to our hotel and while waiting for our room to be cleaned, we arranged tickets to the Yankees-Red Socks game and tickets to see the Broadway show, Jersey Boys. Our son, Ryan, who had about a gillion Marriott Points arranged for our room at the Marriott Courtyard in Times Square South and we received a great room at a greatly discounted price. Since we were registered under their Platinum Plan, thanks to Ryan, we were treated like royalty. They even upgraded our room to a suite with a great view of Empire State Bldg for the same price.
We put our things away in the room and it was time to take our first subway adventure on the orange line to Yankee Stadium. With the help and advice of the subway attendanct we got our tickets and off we went with on a subway filled with Yankee fans in pin stripes. It was a fun crowd on the train and it seemed the whole world descended on Yankee Stadium. If you don't already know this is the last year they will play in the stadium so basically every home game is sold out.
We had a great time at the game which the Yankees won even though Boston, behind by 1 run had the bases loaded in the 9th inning with one out. Everyone was standing and cheering the whole 9th inning and the Yankees prevailed.
We took the subway back to our hotel and we saw the subway attendant and when we saw we made it back safely he gave us two thumbs up. I guess we must have really looked like helpless tourists.
That evening we walked all around Times Square, had dinner and went to the hotel to rest up for the full day we had planned for Sunday.
07/04/08
Havre de Grace Area 4th Celebrations

We had two 4th of July celebrations, one on the 3rd in North East and one on the 4th in the Port Deposit/Conowingo area.
Our friends in North East have a big party the day that North East has their fire works. They live on a canal just off the North East River and have a great view of the fire works. They had about a 100 people there with all the drinks and summer foods that you would think of for the 4th. We had a great time and met even more people from the area. The fire works were a very nice end to a nice party.
On the 4th we spent with friends that we met when I worked for DuPont, Harry and Marge Begg. They have a very old, 1773, farm in the Port Deposit area. This house has been handed down in Marge's family that whole time. They are in a continuous process of restoring the property while they live on it and they are going a great job. They have put an addition on the back of the old house so the view of the old house is not disrupted. The contruction of the addition is really outstanding, comfortable and fits the setting beautifully. They are now going back into the old house and carefully restoring that section. When down it will serve as the dining room, living room and additional bedrooms. They are doing most of the restoration work themselves and doing a great job. We walked the old farm, barn, sheds, etc and heard the history of the property and their plans there. This beautiful historic farm is already very nice and will be even nicer as they continue thier plans. I am pretty sure this project will be a continuous journey for their lifetime. We had a great traditional picnic type dinner with the Beggs and Marge's sister ( Sissy) and her husband Bill.
07/02/08
Day Trip To Chestertown,Rock Hall and Betterton

Today we hoped in the car and drove to the northern part of Eastern Shore to visit Charleston and Rock Hall. We planned to go to Rock Hall and work our way back north. As we looked at the map we saw that there was a National Wildlife Refuge called the Eastern Neck Refuge. It is the island below Rock Hall and it is dedicated to preserve primarily water fowl but also includes all the other natural wildlife in the area. We enjoyed the brief visit and looking at the water ways that surround it. We were especially impressed with the Butterfly Garden walk area where there are planting to attract butterflies and they were every where.
After the refuge we went to RocK Hall and had lunch at the famous Watermans' Restaurant. It has a great view of the harbor and good food. It looks to us that they greatly expanded the area since we were there several years ago with a lot more dockage for people wanting to stop to eat. We had a nice lunch and drove around the area and then headed the short distance to Chestertown.
It is a nice college (Washington College) community on the Chester River. We explored there and stopped by the restaurant at the marina where we had eaten years ago. It was a brand new place and very nice. Since we already had lunch we had a dessert and talked to bartender who brought us up to date on the facility. Food is very good. We explored some more and then headed back North toward our boat.
Since we were so close to some places we used to boat to, we stopped by the Still Pond Cove and Betterton. They look like they have not changed much since we were last there. Betterton has a large beach area and they used to run ferry boats from Baltimore to the beach in the summers about 20 years ago.
The whole trip down and back your pass through some very lovely and productive farm land. These farms are very large and well managed. This is also a very popular waterfowl migration area with many hunting farms for fall hunting. The abundant crops and water make it a natural hunting location.
We headed North again and stopped by a road side market and bought great fresh local corn, tomatoes, green beens, onions, etc. They were a great addition to our "left overs" dinner.