Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back at the beach for some R&R

We are finally finished with the Red Cross relief operation for Tropical Storm Isaac here in Florida. Logistics wrapped up Monday afternoon, and after a mad scramble to tear down and empty what was left of Headquarters, we finally finished up around 7pm. The last half dozen cases of equipment missed the FedEx pickup, of course, so we loaded them into the back of our rented Prius and took them down to the FedEx customer center at the airport ourselves.

We didn't want to have ten grand worth of equipment sitting in the back of a rental car overnight, or even while we were at dinner, so we made the airport drop-off Monday evening, even though the gear was tagged for Tuesday shipment. That put us at a late dinner, and we just ran over to the nearby Olive Garden.

We would have just dropped the rental car off at the airport after FedEx, and maybe grabbed a bite at McCoy's before taking the hotel shuttle back home, except that we had agreed to hand off the car to another couple who had a mid-day flight Tuesday. It was too late to move the bus Monday evening anyway, and so we made arrangements to meet them for breakfast at 9am while handing off the car. We ended up just eating at the hotel, which was a bit pricey but certainly convenient. It was close to 11am by the time we finally got back to the bus and started preparing for departure.

We made our way directly here, marking I think the first time in our history with the Red Cross wherein we actually returned to our point of departure after a relief operation. More often than not, we've proceeded instead directly to another operation, or a special assignment, and if not we are usually just moving along to the next place on our global itinerary.

As soon as we arrived, our first order of business was to avail ourselves of the sewer cleanout to dump the tanks. We went 19 days without having to do this, a new record for us, and I think we even had capacity for another day. It helps that we were away from the bus fully 12 hours a day, using the restrooms at operation headquarters instead, and eating all of our evening meals out, with no dishes to wash.

While this was by no means our longest stint away from a power outlet, it did set a record for generator usage. We ran the generator 74 hours over the course of those 19 days, as we needed to have the air conditioning running whenever we were home. This would have been flat out impossible when our beloved Opal was with us, as the AC would have had to run 24/7, more than doubling the generator run time and making an RV park, no matter how distant, a more cost-effective option. The cats, on the other hand, love the warmth, and leaving the bus with just the windows open and fans running when we were not home was no problem for them.

It's good to be back on shore power and finally have the batteries fully topped up. And we're also almost back to normal on our own sleep schedules as well, although it took all of yesterday being complete slugs around the house to do it. I couldn't even muster the wherewithal to blog. I did, however, catch up on a number of long-outstanding emails, along with the fallout from a minor family medical emergency that happened just as we wrapped up in Orlando.

Now that we are all caught up, our attention has once again returned to our boat search. We just learned that the seller of the boat we looked at in Kentucky in July is highly motivated to sell it before he would otherwise have to winterize it. That boat was not tops on our list, but the price would be attractive -- the catch, however, being that we'd need to move quickly. That has lead us to contemplate making an offer on one or more of the boats higher up the list, so that the Kentucky boat can still be a viable backup if those offers are not accepted.

We've been waiting out the market on a couple of those, so this means we'd need to, as they say, fish or cut bait. That has set some wheels in motion for us, and even though we came here to relax for a while, we will most likely be hitting the road in just one week's time. Between now and then, our schedule is already filling up.

First up on the agenda is getting together with Chris and Cherie of Technomadia. They are en route from Savannah to Melbourne, and when they learned we would be in Cocoa Beach, they decided to swing by for a visit. They will be staying in nearby Cape Canaveral at Jetty Park, a lovely place which we had investigated a couple of years ago when we were planning for watching a space shuttle launch.

On Sunday we will head down to Vero Beach either in a borrowed car or on the scooters to have dinner with our good friends Captains Chris and Alyse Caldwell. In addition to being good friends and mentors, they are also our trusted advisors regarding many things nautical, and we want to chat them up about the various boats still under consideration.

On Tuesday we will again borrow or perhaps rent a car so we can head down to Palm Beach to look at another boat, and later in the week we will pull up stakes and head north to Savannah. One of the front-runners in our search is there, and while we've already been aboard, we'd like to have another look before possibly making an offer. We also have good friends in the area, and if our schedules align perhaps we can get together for dinner.

After that, things get fuzzy. We're considering heading to Baltimore for Trawler Fest at the end of the month, but that is by no means set in stone. We're pretty sure that we'll be staying somewhere here in the east, though, which means we will need to be making some flight reservations to be in the SF bay area in early October for our friends' wedding celebration. Getting a halfway decent fare means we will need to pretty much commit to a departure airport by this time next week at the latest.

I also now have a backlog of maintenance projects on the bus, and we need to get cracking on getting it listed for sale. We also need to be working on the backup plan, which is to find someplace to store it long-term, preferably indoors and climate-controlled. So much for a little R&R at the beach. We'll try to get in some swimming and maybe a massage while we are here, and I might even get another chance to blog before we leave town.


  1. My goodness what an interesting life you lead! Do you travel all year or have a home base? Love reading your blog and thanks for stopping by to visit. and a big yes I wish I could fix myself up just like I did the sweater!
    Take care on your adventures

  2. I remember reading one bus blog that they store there bus underground in I think an old salt mine.

    If your interested I will get the link to there blog for you. The name is "Mighty Bus"

    Bill Kelleher


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