Well, we finally finished posting about our RV trip from Mexico to WA state. Sorry it took so long to get those posts up on our blog. It was a very interesting trip with many GREAT stops. We've now been home for about 5 months. What have we been up to, you might ask?
Steve: I've been working like mad (marine electrician). In fact, I have not had any lulls since our return and have worked many weekends trying to keep up with the workload. The work has been steady, and plentiful. I have been turning down work for the past month or so because if I don't, we are not going to get out of here in January. Oops, I'm spilling the beans already on our future plans. I've also been working on the RV getting it ready for the road trip to Mexico and back. In addition, I've been gathering supplies and materials for future boat projects that I will work on once we are back on the boat in Mexico. I bought two outboard motors to bring back with us. One is a Yamaha 25hp 2-stroke. Just like the one we had, except it is a "short shaft" model. This is what our dingy was designed for, and it will be much better than the "long shaft" model we had that was constantly hitting the bottom and prevented our dinghy wheels from being truly effective in surf landings and departures. The other is a Suzuki 2.5hp 4 stroke for the 10' Walker Bay dinghy. With a small motor on that boat we will now be able to travel much further than before. Previously we were limited to rowing distance. Plus, it's a nice, safe (low power) motor for the kids to get used to operating by themselves. Work-wise, I renewed my NMEA Advanced Electronics Installer certification. Plus I attained two new certifications: 1). The NMEA 2000 Network Installer certification, and 2). The ABYC Marine Corrosion certification (a 5-credit college course). It's been a VERY busy 5 months.
Kathy: After a short stint trying to find the dream IT job, without success, we confirmed that the dream boat trip must go on. We gave the job-search attempt a short couple of months with some specific requirements. You just heard "dream" twice two sentences ago - on purpose as there are many dreams to be had. Stopping that job search then led to applying to help out in the schools as a para-professional to make a bt of money to help the boating dream and to keep me busy. To work in the school, I had a bunch of hurdles to jump through including submitting my college transcript (I recollect being a better student than my GPA would indicate, hahaha). Anyway, I have had the opportunity to work in our school district this fall and have enjoyed being able to experience first hand what middle and high school ambiance is like. I have also been helping our marine business with bookkeeping and how to help Steve out with automating the paperwork part of the business - the part of running a business that is not fun!
Cindy and Kevin: The kids spent the first few weeks catching up with their friends and playing a lot with them. Movies, sleepovers, birthday parties, and more. Grandparent time in Idaho with cousins was a highlight, so another fun summer vacation there for them. They started school with all of their friends in La Conner. Kevin played on the soccer team and they went to the playoffs finishing 3rd. Cindy has been in the pep band playing at sporting events.
Our plans: We are going to try and leave La Conner the first week of January in the RV. We will head south toward California. If the mountain passes in Oregon and Northern California are not good we are going to cut over to the coast and skirt around the mountains traveling near the coast and hopefully below snow level. That will add a day or more to our trip south, but we certainly do not want to drive the RV over a snowy mountain pass! We will continue south to the Los Angeles area and then head east toward Palm Springs, then directly over to Tuscon Arizona. From there it is due south into Mexico. 5 hours after the Mexican border we will again be reunited with our boat, Adagio. We miss her and can't wait to get reacquainted :-)
We will spend our first weeks in Mexico getting our boat back into cruising condition. She needs new bottom paint, and we have to de-hurricane the exterior. We stripped the exterior clean in case a hurricane decided to pay Adagio a visit. Then we have to re-provision, get the boat in the water, and do some routine maintenance like oil changes, new impellers for the cooling systems, and re-activate some systems that were put into storage-mode, like the water-maker and the water cooled freezer. Then we are going to drive the RV back up to Arizona where one of Steve's friend's (and a customer) has graciously offered to let us park our "bus" on his property in Arizona until we can come back to get it later in 2016 to drive back home to Washington. It will be great to have the RV in the states while we are boating! We won't have any worries about the RV.
Our boating plans begin with exploration of the northern portion of the Sea of Cortez, which we have not yet seen. After several months of exploration, and hopefully relaxation, we will work our way south toward Cabo San Lucas. Not because we want to spend any time in Cabo (it's a tourist trap that really has nothing to do with "real" Mexico), but because that's the last stop before jumping out into the Pacific Ocean to make the infamous "Baja Bash" as we head north toward America. The Baja Bash is aptly named, because you are heading north for about 1000 miles heading into the wind and waves. It can be a very uncomfortable ride, and it can be a "bash". But, on this journey, the weather is everything. We intend to be very patient and wait for calm periods in the weather and seas.
If we don't have too many long weather waits, our intent is to make as many miles as we can while the weather permits, all the way back up to our home waters of Puget Sound. If it goes quickly enough we will likely make a short stop in La Conner to re-provision, change out the Mexico clothing for NW clothing, and then depart quickly as possible. Then we head north to Alaska for the summer!
Kathy spent a summer during her college years working at the Glacier Bay Lodge, and Steve spent a few weeks back in the 90's kayaking Glacier Bay, camping on the beach every night. Kathy and I both want to show our children Alaska, and Glacier Bay while they are still children, and before the glaciers retreat so far that there isn't much left to see. The summer of 2016 is our best opportunity to meet these goals. We would return to our home by the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.
So, we have a lot planned for 2016. It will certainly be exciting, and will encompass some very dramatic contrasts. The cactus and arid desert landscape of Mexico will transform into the evergreen trees, waterfalls, and glaciers of Alaska. The contrast can't get much more extreme than that.
As we rapidly approach the new year, we would like to wish our friends and family a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Steve, Kathy, Cindy, Kevin, and Zappa cat....
a couple pictures from the fall: