Friday, January 4, 2013

New year, new boat

We are parked on the side of the road, where the trucks park, across from the Patterson Pass Business Park in Tracy, California (map).  There are no retail services here whatsoever, with the sole exception of a gas station with C-store and several diesel lanes at the corner of Mountain House Road.  The massive complex of buildings on both sides of the intersection here constitute the northern California distribution centers for many major retailers, including Costco, Jack-in-the-Box, and many more.

We're here because we wanted to have one last lunch with Louise's mom and dinner with my cousins on our way out of town.  We otherwise wrapped up in the bay area Wednesday with dinner in San Francisco, where Louise's cousins from North Carolina had just arrived for a conference.  Louise's dad and stepmom came up from Monterey for the occasion, as did another cousin from southern California, and so we got in five visits in one fell swoop.  New Year's Day was the regular Tuesday night dinner with the motorcycle crowd, and several turned out for our farewell dinner.

I had hoped to post here sooner than today, but we got incredibly busy once we landed back in the bay area.  We had a lovely Christmas dinner at my cousins' apartment in Oakley, and the delivery of Simon-the-dog turned out to be their best Christmas gift of all. He was so happy to see them -- we thought he was happy throughout the whole trip, but that was nothing compared to how excited he got when we walked through the door. Afterward we fell exhausted into bed in a nearby hotel room, and they ran us back to the bus, in the south bay, Wednesday morning.

Odyssey actually does fairly well parked by herself, and, near as I can tell, the generator did not even run in our absence other than the ten minute exercise period every other day. The solar panels kept the fridge cold and the air compressor running.  To be fair, we had spent the day before our departure at an Elks lodge, plugged in to 20 amps to top up the batteries.  It did take us a couple of hours to start everything up and extricate ourselves from our parking spot before heading out for a quick Boxing Day dinner with Louise's mom.  We spent the next couple of nights parked on the street.

Most of the week was spent cramming in farewell visits with a variety of folks, and dealing with the fallout of the various reports we had commissioned regarding the boat. By mid-week, however, the temperatures had dropped to the low 50s in the daytime, dipping into the 30s at night.  We were starting to spend more on fuel than it would cost for hookups, and we spent four nights at the Santa Clara Elks Lodge, a familiar stop for us, with 30-amp power to keep us warm.  We moved back to the street in Sunnyvale Wednesday morning so we could walk home from the train station after our visit in SF.

We also managed to fit in two whole days with my cousins, taking an excursion to Old Town Sacramento on the train, wherein we boarded in Santa Clara and they in Martinez, and a drive up the coast from Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay.  They will be full-fledged Californians in no time.  They also had some good news on the house front, and they now have a fully signed deal with a closing later this month; the bank had to drop the price based on appraisal.

Which brings me to our own bit of news.  By the messages I have been getting, lots of people are wondering about the boat and where things stand.  We had a solid two days of inspections when we were in Savannah, including about a three-hour sea trial, and the last of the reports came in while we were en route to California.  Not surprisingly, there are lots of problems.  Some of those we anticipated, and were already factored in to the offer we made.  Many others were new findings for us, and they meant going back to the negotiating table to sort them out.  The list is too extensive to detail here, but I will likely be sharing much of it in due course.

The good news here is that the seller is a genuinely nice guy and was entirely reasonable through the whole process.  When we arrived he was already in the process of having some issues with the boat addressed, and some of the more obvious defects that arose during the sea trial he is already having fixed.

We all agreed that the reports would come back so close to the holiday that we should extend the acceptance date to after New Years and push the closing back a week, to January 22.  Louise and I used a lot of the time in the car to talk through the findings and where we stood, and after Christmas we started working on the terms of a conditional acceptance.  The one issue that remained to be addressed was determining the source of some fuel in the lube oil that was discovered during sample analysis.

The mechanics finally looked at the engine on Wednesday of this week, having been off between Christmas and New Years.  They found no issues and recommended re-sampling after the boat had been run another 50 hours.  We factored this in with the other issues we had already discussed, and made a conditional acceptance, based on an additional discount off the agreed price, yesterday afternoon.  The seller agreed to our revised terms and it looks like we just bought ourselves a boat.  Formal closing will be sometime between the 15th and the end of the month.

Our departure from the bay area yesterday was predicated on trying to be in Savannah for a closing and delivery around the 22nd or so, with enough time to drive down to Fort Lauderdale for Trawler Fest on the 30th.  Now that the deal is done, we are very glad we said our final goodbyes and got on the road, because the seller could easily ask for a 1/15 closing, and then we'd own a boat that we couldn't get to for another week or so.  But all is well that ends well and we now have a comfortable two and a half weeks to cross the country.

We need to get rolling to make our mileage for today, but I will fill in more details about the boat here as time permits in the next couple of weeks.  I've been reluctant to post too much information here before the deal was done -- we learned from our previous oh-so-close experience not to get people (ourselves included) too charged up about a deal that might not close.


  1. Looking forward to the full tour!

  2. Glad to hear it all worked out for you.

    Bill Kelleher

  3. Congrats and we are looking forward to following your odyssey as it goes maritime.

  4. Missed your regular posts - excited for you that you've found an exciting new project and home.

  5. Congratulations! From boondocking to gunkholing; can't beat that. We're looking forward to your continuing adventures.

    Pat and Nancy

  6. Congratulations, and I'm sure you folks will work your way thru any troubles and problems with the new boat and adventure... At least all the necessary parts for this work are on this side of the ocean...and more than likely still manufactured...

  7. Congratulations on the next chapter in the life of the two most traveled gypsy's we have met. May the seas be calm and the ports fascinating.

    Pat and Russ

  8. i have seen the interior photos and it is absolutely beautiful! the woodwork is amazing. bet you cant wait to fill her up with diesel......not quite the mpg odyssey gets but it is only $$$ good luck!!

  9. Congrats! So glad to see you two found the source for your next adventures.


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