Saturday, October 24, 2015

Summer Update

I can't believe it is October 24th time flies!  After we returned from the Bahamas in June we made one of life's big decisions....we committed to putting Tie A Knot up for sale. Borrowing a time line from a fellow boater there are four stages in a cruisers life.......
Stage 1......Sailboat
Stage 2......Trawler
Stage 3......Motor home
Stage 4......Rest home
We skipped Stage 1 and now we have decided we are ready for Stage 3.  The current plan is to travel west and do some National Park exploration and spend the summers in Michigan where Gary can finish the restoration of our 25 foot Chris Craft Sea Skiff that he started some 20 years ago!! It seems that we are always ready to mix it up a bit!  Finish one bucket list and start a new one, did anyone, I ask, say you can only have one??? 
Patsy Cline......Crazy  (possible name op?)

Six weeks from early June to mid July were spent in hot and steamy South Florida in the boat yard getting the boat ready to put on the market.  That meant another coat of wax on the hull, paint the bottom and take ALL of our belongings off the boat and put them in storage. Not an easy task when you are going up and down 15' of ladder with loaded boxes! But I have a pack mule on my side....that man can figure out the logistics of anything and we got 'er done.

The STUFF in our life.....all stuffed into a 5x5 storage unit!

Our long climb to the 'summit'....notice Gary lowering bags on a rope from the side....just one of
the crazy things we put up with!

Since using the gas stove heats up the already hot cabin even more (our borrowed window air unit couldn't keep up with the high 90's heat in the cabin) Gary improvised .....this is NOT a sight one often sees at the Merrill abode.

A couple of weekends found us in Naples at Cory's house where the 'project car' was waiting for some attention......Gary & Cory bought it a year ago and since we are gone a lot it is a slow going project.  BUT.....this time they finally had the time and parts to finish building the engine. lots of sweat and 'bonding' later they muscled it into the car....Jess and I even got a few chances to do more than give advice :-)  Girls have muscles too, well, in my case...kind of.

The 454 engine built on the block Gary brought from Michigan 18 years ago. I am eating crow,
after a lot of heated get rid of that thing conversations over the years.
As you can see this is the technical part.

                                                                        1970 Chevelle
Cory, come on, a jar of mayo after all that work??

After this accomplishment we closed up the boat gave the keys to the broker and headed for Michigan for some cool weather and time with family.  On the way we stopped in North Carolina at our good boating friends Wayne and Colleen whom I have mentioned many times in my blogs.  They live near Charlotte on Lake Norman. We had a lot of fun eating, boating and crafting at Colleen's Craft Camp !

Dinner at Wayne's world...succulent sweat corn and yummy steak...and fabulous view!

               The fruits of our crafting....fabric Christmas Star ornaments, origami paper box and microwave bowl holders.
                                     That girl sure can come up with the craft ideas.....we had a ball.

After a couple of days in N.C. we headed north through Louisville and Indiana into  Michigan.  We had a lot of quality visits with family and friends and every time we go back I find I miss everyone even more....we have been in Florida for 18 years but our Michigan ties are a way it is still "home".  Hopefully our plans will come to fruition and we will be able to spend more time there.  This time we were thankful to have family and our very good friend, Jerry Lozen ,in Algonac for putting a roof over our heads and taking us on even more boat rides.  This was a bonus year for boating that is for sure.
We are so grateful.  

With my sister Jill and brother Mark at Young State Park, Boyne City, Michigan

                                                  The beautifully restored Lighthouse on Lake St. Clair  
                                                                    one of the "Twin Sisters"

Algonac Memorial to Gary's great grandfather ,Christopher Columbus Smith,
founder of Chris Craft Boats.

We returned to Florida mid September.  We spent a couple of weeks moving minimal stuff back aboard and putting another coat of wax on the hull.  Then we launched her and moved to Laishley Marina in Punta Gorda on September 25th.
We accepted an offer on Tie A Knot last week and are now waiting for the results of the survey.  An interesting limbo once again.