WA: Catching up – 01/18/2018 – 09/15/2018

TODO: pictures

Contrarily to what I was told, one does not have a lot more “free” time in retirement; it has been just as busy as my time in the Rat Race, but the things I’m doing are just different. Although I have not updated this blog in quite a while, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been many things going on – both happy and sad.

Last winter, we got in a great amount of snowmobiling including doing a Poker Run in January where we did so much trail-breaking, we had to chainsaw trees out of the way multiple times (including one time when another rider almost got my husband cut in half by “helping” to drag the tree being cut because he couldn’t hear our excellent electric chain saw).

Toward the end of January, the snow stopped for a couple of weeks, so it seemed like a good time to visit Seattle and the Boat Show. Although there wasn’t really anything interesting in the way of blue-water sailboats at the Show, it did make me want to start looking for a boat a little sooner than planned. We went up and down the coast from Seattle to Everett looking at boats, and we decided on an old 34′ Pacific Seacraft that needed a lot of updates but still had a good hull, deck and interior. Buying a documented vessel (even when paying cash) is as much of a pain as buying as a house, and it took about five weeks for the closing (and then another two months before the Coast Guard had us recorded), so we still had time for some more snowmobiling.

Finding a marina with an available, large-enough slip anywhere near Seattle is impossible, so we had a long haul ahead of us to get north. We spend a couple of days at Shilshole Marina in Seattle because we got off to late start from Lake Union (thanks to the seller not getting his final paperwork in on time), and then the weather turned nasty. Then we headed up to Everett Marina (where we had left our pick-up truck) for a few days so we could do some repairs and maintenance, such as fixing the bilge pump and recharging the fire extinguishers. Then it was on to Port Townsend for a night and up to Blaine. We had originally planned on Blaine being temporary until Bellingham had an opening, but it turned out that we really liked Blaine, so I think we’ll stay there till we head off to Alaska.

The day after we arrived in Blaine, we got a call from my mother-in-law saying that my father-in-law had just passed away, and the funeral would be in three days. We threw the boat keys to the first person we met at the marina (to keep an eye on the boat since we didn’t know if the long trip might have uncovered something dire), and drove back across the state to pick up clothes and fly down to Georgia.

I’m glad we had gotten the chance to see my father-in-law on our RV tour through the South, and it was good to see everyone else again despite the sad circumstances. My mother-in-law is an absolute rock, but I’m glad we were there to help distract her at least a little bit. My in-laws knew nearly everyone in town, so they all wanted to pay their respects to her, but it can get a bit much to have that many people constantly reminding her.

When we got back to Washington, spring had sprung, so the snowmobiles were put away, and it was time for some projects. We did a little grading and started working on a pole barn. We alternated work on the property with visiting the boat to work on it. When summer came in full force, the wildfires had once again made breathing intolerable in NE WA, so we spend more time at the boat which we decided needed to have electric propulsion instead of diesel. Wheee! Another project!

The man with whom we had left the boat keys had been gearing up for a solo motorcycle ride to Alaska, and we got to know him really well. He was a font of boat advice, and we enjoyed talking motorcycles with him, too. Unfortunately, he had only been gone for a few days on his journey when he hit a truck head-on in northern BC. He was a good friend to everyone at the marina, and he’ll be missed.

It was some serious fun (not) getting the motor out of the boat, but now that it (and all the systems that support it) is gone, the boat is so much cleaner, and it’s easier to access things like the steering system (which we are replacing). We’ve got it wired with new batteries, charger/inverter, etc., and it’s ready for the electric motor to be bolted in once we make a mount for it (going to build one out of aluminum first to get it fit correctly, then we’ll probably have one made for us out of stainless steel).

The fires have been contained in NE WA, and we’re currently back on the pole barn project. We’ll be ordering the roofing metal on Monday, so hopefully we’ll be done with that project (well, as done as we plan to be this year) by October.

Maybe this winter I’ll finally fix all the TODOs (and the broken Photobucket pictures) that are peppered throughout this blog (but then again, if the snow is really good, maybe not).