My two wonderful collie puppies turned six months today. They are going to professional training and I work with them regularly. They are pretty good most of the time. They have never been in the trash, eaten my shoes, chewed through power cords, etc. They have gnawed on furniture and destroyed area carpets. One loose thread quickly turns into a ruined carpet.
We have bamboo floors in our house which are beautiful, but Dart (my 12-year-old sheltie) cannot get traction on them. We tried covers for his toenails, but his toenails are too short. We tried socks, which work pretty well, but now that Clover is here, she removes Dart’s socks. Therefore, I have area carpets all over the house. I found it helpful to have small ones that can be thrown in the wash. I tried indoor/outdoor carpets that can be power washed, but they need to be elevated to dry and I have difficulty doing that with the larger carpets. We are moving into the wet season soon in Washington and I will no longer have the sun to dry the carpets for me. At least when Clover, and it is always Clover, destroys a carpet, I can toss a small inexpensive carpet and replace it with an inexpensive carpet.
Clover has a sock fetish. She steals socks and puts them under the deck in the back. This morning, I pulled out my clothing for the day and tried to hide the socks with my clothes and put them on a bench in the bathroom. When I came out of the shower to get dressed, there were no socks. Of course, I found them under the deck. When it is cold, I usually go to bed with socks on and kick them off in the middle of the night. They wind up on the floor, so they eventually wind up under the deck. She does not chew shoes, clothing, etc. just socks and carpets for the most part. This is also why we cannot put socks on Dart. Dart does not remove the socks, Clover does.
I say for the most part for the following reason. Dart exhibited some eye issues a couple days ago and I took him to the vet yesterday. The vet said he either has conjunctivitis or a neurological issue and gave me some eye drops for him. If it is conjunctivitis, he will improve. One day later, he looks worse. I started to do an internet search and the neurological problem could be from a spinal infection. I thought it would be good to keep an eye on his temperature. I have a dog thermometer. I pulled it out and the battery was dead. I wanted to check things right away because it is Friday and I will not have vet resources over the weekend. I went to the store to get a thermometer or a battery. I left the krakens (collies) out since I did not intend to be gone long. I could not find any thermometers in the store and was unable to find the correct size battery. I was very frustrated and decided to place an order on Amazon rather than visiting every store in town.
I got home to find pieces of plastic all over the floor. It took me a few minutes to put together enough clues to realize that some dog or dogs found the dog thermometer and chewed it to bits. Fortunately, I found the battery.
With an aging dog and two puppies, I have spent too much time at the vet. I joke that I’m helping him to buy his next boat and he has probably already placed his order. I have been at the vet numerous times in the last four months. Some of those visits are regular puppy visits, but too many of them are for other reasons.
We are experiencing wildfire smoke today. I used a new lens to take a not-so-great picture. Here is a lens story. I ordered a lens for my mirrorless camera to replace two of the lenses I had for my other camera. I sold one of those lenses and gave the other to Regis. I think I ordered the lens in January or February and it was on backorder. I did not get the lens until July. It stayed in the box until a couple weeks ago when I finally pulled it out to take a sunset picture. I could not get the lens on the camera. There is one letter difference between the lens for the mirrorless camera versus the lens for the regular camera and I ordered the wrong one. I was embarrassed that it took me a month to realize I ordered the wrong lens. Fortunately, I ordered from Hunts Photo and Video and my rep Alan took good care of me and immediately shipped out the correct lens while I shipped back the wrong one. It all worked out. So that I did not wait a month to try it out, I made a point to go down to the local landing by the water to get a picture and it was a hazy day due to the wildfire smoke. You can usually see the Olympic Mountains clearly on a good day from this location and you can barely see them in this picture.
Over the Labor Day weekend my youngest brother Mark came down for a visit. I was planning on visiting him before I left the area, but he made the drive, and it was great to see him. However, I had to tidy up to boat for guests. Since I sorted through most of the boat, it was just a matter of picking up the bits and pieces laying around as a result of doing repairs and upgrades. I stuffed it all into the forward bunk which has not been totally cleaned yet.
While waiting for Mark’s arrival I added several things to my to-do list. I am alwaysing adding things to this list. After catching up with him and a boat tour, work continued on the boat. One of the things we got done was to fix the rear door. Of course, I did not have everything on hand I needed to finish, so we took a trip to the store and stopped by the RV for him to check that out.
Shortly after I got the boat I discovered the holding tank was nearly full. This tank holds all the waste from the two heads (toilets). It is illegal to dump this type of waste into the waterways, so it’s held onboard till you can get it to a pump out site. For me that was just 100 feet away on the next dock. While Mark was here, I took advantage of the extra hands to move the boat.
Moving the boat was a huge learning experience. I got to the pump out dock and back into the slip without doing any damage. When going back to the slip, I wanted to put the boat in bow first. This would be more convenient to getting in and out of the boat and I could get better pictures of the front of the boat.
Over the weekend, I continued checking things off the list and adding others. Because it’s so hot, any work outside requires frequent rest breaks in the air conditioning.
Since I had to leave the RV park I was staying in Pensacola because it was booked for the weekend, I used that time to go St. Augustine to pick up the remaining items out of my storage unit. While packing the house to move to Washington, I set aside things I thought I could use on the boat. No sense moving it to Washington to bring it back. I got a storage unit and put all the boat stuff there.
When I took possession of the boat in July, I made a trip to the storage unit with the rental car, however the entire contents of the storage unit would not fit in the car. At that time, I filled the car with what I needed immediately. In returning to the storage unit recently, I was able to pick up the remaining items and cancel the unit.
Getting back to the boat with another carload of things, I quickly made a mess of all the work done so far. Since I had already removed lots of things off the boat, there was room for this load. Of course, it all needed to be sorted like everything else. I think a lot of stuff is going back to Washington with Linda when she picks up the RV to take it back. When I started hoarding stuff in the storage unit, I was planning to get a 42-foot boat. The one I got is 36-foot. That difference of 6 feet is huge.
I am now spending time fixing and updating things as I find them. Great progress has been made with two thirds of the boat (inside) sorted. I got sheets installed on the bunks. I am now moving small piles of stuff back and forth. I try and find places to store these, but I tend to move it often because it’s in the way of whatever fix needs to be done. The same is true for the drawers I have done. I needed to empty one so I could work behind it. At least I have some space to work with now.
The front is the last section to do. I have been chipping away at it, but I am in fix-it mode now.
For those of you just joining or need a refresher on what’s going on, here we go. Around the August 2021 time frame, we had an epiphany of sorts. Linda asked everyone around the dinner table “what the one thing you want the most right now” or something like that. My mom wanted to move back to Pittsburgh, Linda wanted to move the Pacific northwest and I wanted to cruise on a boat up and down the east coast.
Linda put her project management skills to work and came up with plans to get this accomplished. We found Mom a nice place in Pittsburgh and got her moved in. Linda started looking for housing in Washington and I found a boat broker to help me find a boat. If we didn’t live in Florida, I could have said “as the leaves came off the trees and the snow began to fall” things started falling into place. Linda found a house in Washington and we settled in February 2022. Finding a boat can take a long time and I was proving the point.
I am very picky about what I want. It was difficult relying on boat pictures and feedback from my broker about how the boat looked. I finally picked 4 candidates and around May/June 2022 booked a flight to Florida to see the boats in person. On the way down, I had made up my mind that I was buying one of these boats. Unless, of course, they were all garbage.
At the end of July, I became a boat owner. The current plan is to get the boat ready to use, then start moving the boat from Pensacola, FL to the east coast of Florida, probably the St. Augustine area. At that point I can cruise from place to place for 3-4 months at a time with trips back to Washington. Linda has also expressed interest in spending some time on the boat as well.
Since we sold our large RV spring of 2021, we no longer had camping options. Linda, particularly, did not like this as we moved everything in our new home. She was aching to get a solution that allowed her to travel with a small pack of dogs and camping is the best way to go. She did not want to sleep in a tent. She wanted something more comfortable. We set out to look for a camping option that was comfortable for Linda to drive by herself and accommodate 2 collies and a sheltie. We found a solution and traded our Tesla in for the new to us motorhome. Soon after the purchase, we realized the motorhome could not tow the Jeep Cherokee we own. We looked for a solution and found an older Kia Soul, manual transmission, that was light enough to tow. We had to get it set up for towing and we were set to go.
I purchased a boat located on the Navy base in Pensacola and had to move it off the base. see first boat ride. There are few options in that area, primarily because recent hurricanes have negatively impacted many marinas. I found a working marina to place the boat, but I cannot live on the boat while it is there. Linda and I decided the best move was to take the motorhome towing the Kia to Pensacola to get the boat ready to go. I would have a place to stay where I could cook my own meals. When the boat is ready to move based on boat work and hurricane season, Linda will fly to Pensacola and take the motorhome and Kia back home and I will head to St. Augustine.
On with the story!
After 7 days of driving, I woke early and headed to the boat. I got semi lucky in that the RV park is about 10 miles away from the boat. Unfortunately, it is also 15 miles away from the gulf beaches. I was able to get 5 nights but come the weekend there is no space for me. Just take it one day at a time.
Once on the boat I felt just as overwhelmed as when I left. Stuff everywhere and the only clean space was the galley (kitchen) which is so small ANYONE could stretch their arms out and touch each end of the counter. But I was focused and had a plan, of sorts.
I wanted to do a thorough deep clean of every nook and cranny, however the previous owner had left so much stuff it was not going to be possible. My plan was to wipe out and vacuum drawer by drawer, section by section till I was done. All the while sort through the stuff to keep, donate or trash.
Once a drawer was cleaned and dried, I then could refill it with my stuff. Repeat on the next drawer, and the next, etc. Three days later and I have done all but 4 drawers and sorted all the “spare parts”.
It is eye opening to move in like this behind someone. I understand the previous owners thinking, “I’m getting out of boating I don’t need any of the stuff on the boat”. However, I found he was much more of a pack rat than I am. As I’m cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchen, I found 3-4 bottles of cleaning solution in each. I discarded 18-20 bottles of spray this or that as well as the Lysol disinfectant wipes, 5-6 bottles.
I also found antiques. There were 2 fire extinguishers installed (2006), 4 “new” in the box (2016), and I found another 4 buried in a locker. Two of those were dated 1989. The boat was built in 1984.
Up next: I need a bigger boat…
My first try at moving into the boat got nowhere fast. See part 1. With things not working according to plan while taking possession of my boat, I hatched a plan to carry on. Getting back to Washington I focused on house and RV chores. A key part was to get the new to us RV ready for travel which involved an oil change and getting the braking system installed for the Kia. I also had some house chores left on the to do list. See RV work.
After the to do list got completed, I planned to drive the RV to Florida and continue moving onto the boat. The RV and Kia give me a home and transportation. I cannot stay on the boat for more than a couple of nights at a time because no live a-boards are allowed in the marina.
I chose to let the professionals install the brake system and do the oil change. Good call on the brakes, bad call on the oil change. The tech overfilled the oil by close to 2 quarts. On the way to Florida and after about 150 miles, the RV started complaining that the oil was too full. Who knew the RV was that smart? My task was to syphon out little by little until I could get to the correct level. That is way easier said than done. It took 3 stops over 2 days to get all the parts I needed, then 3 separate nights sucking out about 12 oz per night.
The RV is running great. It pulls the hills better than our last RV, but not by much. At least we will not be the slowest thing going uphill like we often were with our last RV.
The trip to Florida started slowly with multiple stops to Walmart etc, to get stuff I forgot, and needed, plus some parts to remove some oil. After getting the oil to the correct level I was able to rip out several 400 + mile days with the last one being just over 500.
Up next: Back on the boat
Our household has been going through changes lately. We moved into our current home in March and got collie puppies a couple months ago. Regis bought his boat and has been dealing with that. In the meantime, we swapped a car for a motorhome and took it out for a spin.
The collie puppies are amazing and arrived in our house basically good. We have had few issues with them. They are both house trained and I started taking them to a local dog park. I was walking them in the local reserve but found the dog park better meets their needs right now. There are some regulars at the dog park and a few of the dogs run well with the collies. I am enjoying the human companionship and think I go there as much for me them as for them.
Dart was attacked by a Welsh corgi on our street in Florida a couple years ago and has been very difficult to walk since. I recently took him to the dog park with the collies and he had a great time. He is better with other dogs when he is off leash. He can no longer move well, but the dogs and owners we deal with in the park accommodate his issues and he is in heaven. It thrills me to see him so happy and to be around people who understand his needs.
Dart’s hind end is not working well, and I have had to cover the entire house with rubber backed area carpets so he can walk through it. His right back leg refuses to cooperate. When we arrived in March, this was an issue, but we worked through it. He is much worse now. He can barely walk. I bought every rubber backed carpet I liked at the two nearby Lowes. I recently took him to the vet and they took Xrays. His organs are good, but he has significant arthritis. All we can do is give him pain pills if he can tolerate them to make him more comfortable.
I am struggling to train two puppies at the same time. It is harder than I expected. Thank goodness I’m dealing with collies. When I separate them, it works better. Recently, Regis took one dog while I took another on a local walk and the dog behind on the walk howled. It was crazy. I did not realize this would be an issue, so we are doing this now and then to have them walk separately but together. My vet warned me having two puppies at the same time would be an issue and he was spot on. But here we are, and we have to work through it as best we can.
The collies get bored easily with their toys. I started giving them recyclables and it makes them happy. They play with them until they are bored. I give them more any time I can. It works well. It is crazy you can spend money on toys, and like children, boxes and plastics are more interesting.
I recently got a bubble machine for them, but it did little to get them excited. I purchased a dog pool for them, but they were insufficiently interested to keep it, so I donated it to the dog park.
I was able to sign up one dog at the local puppy training, so I picked Clover to move forward. She is enthusiastic and cooperates well. I will get Raven into training as soon as I can. He is my “marshmallow”. He is laid back and a great pet.
I got back home from the boat and after a couple days of travel recovery jumped right into RV projects.
One of the things needed was to set up the new to us Kia Soul to be towed behind the RV. Before I left for the boat, I ordered the hardware needed to hook up the car to the RV. The basic idea is to turn the car into a trailer. This RV is smaller than our last one, but having a car to sightsee and run to the grocery store makes life so much easier while on the road.
Overall, it is not complicated just time consuming and stressful. The process involves removing the front end, cutting some part of the car, and drilling holes into the car. Of course, then you have to put everything back together hoping it looks the same as before you started.
The good news is I had only two parts leftover (expected) and only cut one thing by mistake. Not bad.
After I completed this, I scheduled an appointment to have an auxiliary braking system installed in the car. Many states require a braking system on trailers over a certain weight. When this is done, we will be ready to use the RV to the fullest.
Up next: Who knows…
Now that I’m tied up at the marina, my plan was to take inventory of what the previous owners left and do a thorough cleaning. Everything should have been working on the boat because it was when we left the dock on the base. Upon hooking up in the slip, I found the air conditioning was not working. Being on the gulf coast in July meant the first order of business was to get the air conditioning running. That project turned into several hours of frustration with no success and therefore, a long sweaty night. Something electrical was not happy between the dock and the boat. Rather than spend all the second day working on fixing the air conditioning, I decided to sit in the AC in the car.
While packing up the Florida house to move to Washington, I had set aside a bunch of stuff I thought I would need on a boat. I put it all in a storage unit in St. Augustine. Therefore, I spent the day driving from Pensacola to the storage unit in St. Augustine while enjoying the comfort of the AC. I was going to load everything into the car and take it back to the boat, however upon opening the unit I realized I stored too much stuff. It was not all going to fit. I sorted through and packed the car with priority items and headed back to Pensacola. I will need to make another trip to get the rest of it out of storage.
It was a long drive to St. Augustine and back, but it gave me time to plan how to fix the electrics and I now had some supplies and tools. So, one more night on the boat without AC. I got started on the electrical issue the next morning after a hot night. I ended up jerry rigging a patch cable and was able to get the AC working by early afternoon. I spent the rest of the day sitting under the vent enjoying the cold air. After a night sleeping with the AC, I was able to start the task of cleaning and organizing the boat, two days later than planned.
I started the day unloading everything from the packed car onto the boat. One thing I realized very quickly was I had collected things with the idea of getting a bigger boat than what I ended up with. I found myself moving things from one pile to another. I became overwhelmed on how to proceed and needed a plan. The previous owner left a lot of stuff on the boat. Some of it was useful but some I could toss. I did not think I was going to eat from a jar of pickles that was sitting for who knows how long on a hot boat.
By the end of the day, I had made progress. I got the galley (kitchen) cleaned and organized. I still have some stuff to find a place for, but any bit of progress felt good. I also got a bin dedicated to collecting things to get off the boat. This will keep it from getting moved from pile to pile. Most of it will be donated, but some will go back to Washington.
The rental car was due back and I cut this trip short and headed back to Washington. I will spend a couple of weeks there and head back to Pensacola in the RV to continue boat organization. I am not supposed to stay on the boat in this particular marina. To take the RV to Pensacola, I need to get a car ready to be towed behind the RV. More projects.
Next up: Back home & RV projects