Shelter In Place

I’m in Jeffersonville OH tonight. I was just getting ready to take Vinny out one last time when my phone went off…tornado warning, shelter in place! I grabbed my camera and Vinny and stepped outside to the harsh drone of the local siren going off. No tornado’s but some big storms.

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Sometimes nature has a way of showing you how little control you actually have in this world. I drove into Joplin MO years ago right after the big tornado they had. The vision I saw that day will be forever burned into my memory. So many people died with very little warning. Cherish every day as if it was your last.

Long Live The Pioneers, Rebels And Mutineers

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This is Upper Range Pond in Poland Maine. I took this picture this morning on my way down to Cumberland Center to look at a boat for sale. I wanted to sit in a 30 foot sailboat to see if it “Felt Right” and was big enough for me. You can look at pictures all day long, but getting up close and sitting onboard will tell the story. Here’s an idea of the size compared to the car beside it.

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This is a 1974 Pearson 30, or some call them a P30. Over 1000 of these were made. Here is the copy from the add:

New lower price, motivated to sell.
Always a cruiser, never used as a racing boat and always well-maintained.
Ready to be launched.
New North sails at a cost of $4,500 included
Pearson 30 Hull #374
This family friendly, comfortable cruiser set the standard. “Over” built in 1974. Sleeps 6: The main cabin has a double berth, quarter berth and single bunk, private v-beth sleeps two, separate head with sink, galley, plenty of storage.
Edison steering wheel with compass
New North Sails, used 2 seasons, very white and crisp
Furlex Roller reefing for genoa
Main sail has one set of reef points, the genoa has roller reefing
Lazy jacks
Lewmar winches
Boom vang
New genoa sheets
3 halyards
Bow anchor mount, Danforth anchor, chain and 200″ of line
Smaller picnic Danforth anchor
All fenders and lines included
Newer lifelines, with a gate on the starboard side
VHS radio
LifeSling
Radar
Stuffing box recently serviced
Dodger (which is a bit “dodgy”)
Sailcover
Stern ladder
Cockpit cushions
Interior cushions in good condition
Sleeps 6: private v-berth, slide out double bed/bench, quarter berth and starboard berth
Screen door for companionway
Raritan LectraSan head
New 2 burner Cook Mate stove with wooden cutting board top
Ice chest
Solar fan in v-berth hatch cover for fresh air circulation
Headroom 6″3′
Engine
Yanmar 2gm20 with 823 hours
Well serviced
Solid decks, no soft spots, all fiberglass is in great shape.
saw horses for the mast during winter storage, to store the mast above the boat.
This model boat has a reputation of being easy to sail, very responsive and above average in build quality. As I looked her over and sat inside, I realized 30 feet is enough for me. At almost 10000 lbs it will be comfortable in heavy seas compared to anything smaller, and has the space for the gear I would need to live aboard. Even though it is 43 years old it’s in great shape. Here’s a few pictures of an identical sister boat as we did not take off the cover.

as long as its funI’ve talked about Lin & Larry Parday before. They are two of the foremost “Cruisers” in the world today having circumnavigated 4 times I believe in boats under 30 feet that they built themselves. Their motto is “Go small, and go now!” That’s become very apparent to me lately as I thought about how long it would take me to save the money for a bigger, better boat.

Over the last few weeks I have been planning how much I could save over the next year to purchase a smaller boat, and today solidified Lin & Larry’s motto in my mind. Something this size is all I need, so I bought it!

That’s right, you read it correctly. I bought this boat! They wanted $8500.00 and I took a shot and offered $1000.00 down and $500.00 per week until paid for, and they accepted! I almost fell down with excitement but I kept my composure until about halfway back to Bangor. Poor Vinny must have thought I was mad as I half cried then yelled so loud he jumped! I can’t believe it’s actually started, my goal is starting to come into focus.

It will take about a year to refit this boat the way I want before I launch it, but that’s OK now that I have something to work on. I should have this paid off by September and have it hauled up to my area then. I can do some exterior work this fall, interior this winter with a heater, and finish the exterior next spring, I hope to launch next season to at least sail during the summer, then maybe work one more winter before I officially become a “Liveaboard” full time. Even if it take another two years to finish the boat completely, I don’t care at this point, my journey to a better life has started.

The next time you feel your backed in a corner, nowhere to turn. The next time you see no hope for a better life, feel like giving up. Dig deeper and know if you try just one more day, you never know what will find you.Watch the video of this song, the title of which will be the name of my boat and my future, and understand what it REALLY means to overcome hardship.

 

Run away with me
Lost souls and reverie
Running wild and running free
Two kids, you and me

And I say
Hey, hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades

Long live the pioneers
Rebels and mutineers
Go forth and have no fear
Come close the end is near

And I say hey, hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades

All hail the underdogs
All hail the new kids
All hail the outlaws
Spielberg’s and Kubrick’s

It’s our time to make a move
It’s our time to make amends
It’s our time to break the rules
Let’s begin

And I say hey, hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Leaving like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades

Renegades – X Ambassadors

 

 

An Old Familiar Place

Another week behind the wheel, another week closer to my goals. I’m parked in Dingman’s Ferry Pa again tonight, and I took Vinny for a walk up the hill. Anytime the weather is good we go up top to stretch our legs.

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I say hill, but it’s not much really. This may only be a parking area by a McDonald’s, but it’s better than a dirty old truck stop! It’s a short steep hill but worth the climb.

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The wind is strong today but the temp is 70 or so and Vinny just stands there as it blows past, slowly sniffing the scents we will never notice.

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I think it would be good to be a dog. Every moment a cascade of pleasure surrounded by the people that care for you and the simple pleasures only a dog could know. Sometimes he stares at the sky and I wonder if he can appreciate the beautiful blue color.

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When the wind rustles the dry leaves in the woods, does he sense the rhythm of nature, the symphony it places before us if we listen?

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I can’t help but feel a sense of comfort, a feeling of calm as I sit here. I’m in my element outdoors and I relish every moment I have to spend in the sunlight. Tomorrow I will drive 600 or more miles, and by Wednesday morning I will be in Georgia and half my week will be over. I hope to be back by Saturday so I can visit some people that have an existing charity in Maine and have offered to help me start my plan of sailing adventures for veterans and their children. I’m very excited to get started down my chosen path, my chance to make up for past mistakes and make a real difference. You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down.

Take The Good With The Bad

I’m at a very bad truck stop tonight in North Carolina. It’s the kind of stop you don’t want to walk around at night so I take Vinny out one last time at dusk. Here you see the usual trash cast aside by those with no respect for others.

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Like I always do I try to find some corner of content, a little wedge of clear elegance in the midst of human disregard. I think I succeeded.

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This field of wheat reminds us that even surrounded by people that don’t care, in the middle of the decay of society as a whole, the beauty of nature shines through to give us something to be thankful for. For one to truly live a life of fulfillment we must learn to look past the jagged edges, through the barbed wire, and take the good with the bad.

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Am I Alive Or Thoughts That Drift Away?

Jan lays down and wrestles in her sleep
Moonlight spills on comic books
And superstars in magazines
An old friend calls and tells us where to meet
Her plane takes off from Baltimore
And touches down on Bourbon Street

We sit outside and argue all night long
About a god we’ve never seen
But never fails to side with me
Sunday comes and all the papers say
Ma Teresa’s joined the mob
And happy with her full time job

Do do do do do do

Am I alive or thoughts that drift away?
Does summer come for everyone?
Can humans do as prophets say?
And if I die before I learn to speak
Can money pay for all the days I lived awake
But half asleep?

Do do do do do do

A life is time, they teach us growing up
The seconds ticking killed us all
A million years before the fall
You ride the waves and don’t ask where they go
You swim like lions through the crest
And bathe yourself on zebra flesh

I’ve been downhearted baby,
I’ve been downhearted baby,
Ever since the day we met

Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand – Primitive Radio Gods

I needed some downtime today so I went for a ride down the coast of Maine to recharge my inner battery. I’ve had a difficult couple weeks as of late and time alone with Vinny and my thoughts always helps to refocus my mind back to what I am working so hard for. Interactions with people have drained me to the point that the only person I wanted to see today was my mom, and I stopped to see her during my escape. She’s the only person that really matters to me at this point and I was happy to see she was doing well.

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There’s something about the coast that gives me a feeling of peace, the toils of life seem to fade ever so slightly into the background. The smell of the salt air combined with the mud flats bring me back to a more innocent time as a child sitting by the shore in Cape Elizabeth. I stopped many times today when the view called to me.

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I made my way down to LL Bean again to look at canoes for this summers adventures. They have a wonderful assortment of kayaks and canoe’s to choose from. I think an “Old Town Discovery 119” solo will do the trick. I don’t mind paying a premium for quality that will last a lifetime and these canoe’s fit the bill.

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When I made it to Brunswick I stopped at a wire bridge to walk Vinny and get a closer look. The river is roaring right now and the day was brilliant. A great day to be in Maine.

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As far as I have come over the last few years I still find I’m wrestling with demons of my past, still looking for release from the sometimes harsh reality of the world we live in. As I sat beside the water today I’m reminded of what it is that has always given me the most happiness, the soft blanket to rest my soul on. Walking with my dog, the solitude in nature, no sound but the wind, the sun on my face. Some moments are so surreal I ask myself, Am I alive or thoughts that drift away?


Lightning Crashes

Lightning crashes a new mother cries
Her placenta falls to the floor
The angel opens her eyes
The confusion sets in
Before the doctor can even close the door

Lightning crashes an old mother dies
Her intentions fall to the floor
The angel closes her eyes
The confusion that was hers
Belongs now to the baby down the hall

Oh now feel it, comin’ back again
Like a rollin’, thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from
The center of the earth again
I can feel it.

Lightning crashes a new mother cries
This moment she’s been waiting for
The angel opens her eyes
Pale blue colored iris
Presents the circle
And puts the glory out to hide, hide

Oh now feel it, comin’ back again
Like a rollin’, thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from
The center of the earth again
I can feel it.

Oh now feel it, comin’ back again
Like a rollin’, thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from
The center of the earth again
I can feel it.

Oh now feel it, comin’ back again
Like a rollin’, thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from
The center of the earth again
I can feel it.

How much control do we really have over our lives? Can we overcome anything that confronts us? We like to think we are the masters of our fate, our decision making powers provide us with the ability to take charge of the circumstances that present themselves to us, the forethought to have prepared for the worst. We are going to make our mark in this world before we die, we can make a difference that will leave a lasting change in the fate of others. But what if were wrong? What if there’s no rhyme or reason to it?

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Will this be the last sunset I ever see? If so, can I savor it in the here and now with the knowledge of whats to come? I think not. I think we have no idea of whats going to happen in the future with any certainty. Oh we can plan for this contingency or that, prepare for bad times with the hope of skating by with little damage, but I truly feel it’s mostly just dumb luck.

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Was this pond formed for the expressed purpose of providing a habitat for the woodland animals and migrating birds in this area, or was it just because it was gouged out by a glacier during the last ice age in the correct shape to hold water? How did the fish arrive in it’s depths? I think the human mind can think up all kinds of methods or reason many ways that this or that happened, but ultimately we don’t really know for sure. We can attribute some sort of consequence that led to our existence on this planet but we have no solid proof to show for certain how it came about.

I choose to believe there is a balance to all things. An underlying equilibrium that plays into everyday life. Not fate per say, but more of a poetry of existence that shows itself in the opposites of every action. As every child is born, someone dies having lived a full life, after a forest burns, new seedlings sprout to once again showcase the splendor of nature. A storm may wipe away a desert landscape, but a fuller array of life comes forth where only sand was before.

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Like this flowering tree against a cloudy sky, life provides many contrasts, many colors that soothe the everyday trials. Our senses provide the impetus that completes the circle, the stimulation that gives us clarity of our surroundings. Each smell and taste, sight and sound, conspire to bring everyday experiences into a more concise arrangement, a palate of life full of the colors that show us how wonderful it is to be alive in this world. I for one relish every day of life and will continue until it’s last breath.

Exceptional People

I’m sitting in Carlisle PA tonight, and I will continue to Maine tomorrow and take a couple days off to rest and have my truck serviced. I always look forward to these brief respites back in the state of my birth. Even with all my travels it still feels like home.

In my lifetime to date I have met many people. Most are but a small blip in the movie reel running through my mind. Past coworkers and acquaintances left in the wake of time, some I thought were friends that have faded away. Lonely as I am, I was reminded recently that all is not lost, there are some exceptional people left in this world.

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This is the TA truck stop in Commerce GA that I stayed at two nights ago. It’s not far from Atlanta where I picked up my return load to PA. As I’ve said before I generally choose TA stops due to their cleanliness and amenities. It’s been about five months since I was last here, and I went to the same restaurant as the last visit. Only a “Chain” restaurant but I like to treat myself once a week just to keep it interesting.

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When I go out to eat I always sit at the bar for two reasons. I don’t feel the need to take a table that would serve many and I find the service faster at the bar. As I walk in I see the same young woman working that I remember from my last visit. When I sat down I could see the look of recognition in her eyes.

Mary is her name and she remembered me from my blog and the photographs I showed her on my last visit. I must admit I was a little stunned she remembered as most people in the service industry meet so many people It’s hard to remember a face after so long. They were not very busy and I showed her some more of my recent photo’s and blog posts.

When I told her of my fathers passing, and she read a few posts I had written about it, I could see genuine sadness in her eyes. It’s hard to explain how I felt right then, but I guess it borders on an understanding of how she was brought up, what her outlook on life is, what makes her an exceptional person. You might say, “How could you possibly know that in the moment”, but I say you can.

I think when you first meet someone there is a period of time when there is no mask, no false bravado or fake niceties. We tend to fall back on our upbringing and the lessons taught in being polite in society. I find this most evident in the south where family is still the most important part of the culture. Parents still take a greater hand in the raising of their children, instead of allowing teachers and modern culture impress ideals in young minds we may not agree with.

Church groups and an etiquette of modesty are more often the norm, not the look at me mentality that rules the airwaves and drunken clubs downtown. I may not be a religious person, but I can see the effect of that upbringing and the type of people it produces. I prefer them, to speak the truth, instead of the loose and free lifestyle of many younger people, or the bitter and angry middle aged souls that feel the world owes them something. I have felt the pull of that bitterness many times in the last few years but I am fighting with all my will to escape from it’s grasp.

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As I walk Vinny on a dusty patch of grass I start to think about other exceptional people from my past. Mr Lowell my high school Asst Principal, Mr Mason my Jr high science teacher, and of course my parents. The person I am today is due in part to the things they taught me as a young boy. Some I remember well, some come back to me in a given situation, but all were vital to the stable and productive person I hope I have become. And to Mary’s mother I say thank you, you did a great job!

 

This Way And That

I spent the night at the TA truck stop in Southington Connecticut last night. I try to frequent the TA chain more than others as they have better shower facilities, they are generally cleaner, (at least on the inside!) and I receive points for every gallon of diesel. Most chains give points but I’m not setting foot in their showers! Eww! As I walk Vinny this morning I am treated to a brilliant view.

First the truck stop looking west…You can just see the nose of my truck on the left.

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Now east!

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Enjoy your day and stay safe!

Reset In Maybrook New York

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Like most every reset I like to take a walk with Vinny my dog. Today we are at the TA in Maybrook NY. I was told by someone who works here of an old farm that used to be in the area, so we went to take a look.

Here’s the stone entrance he spoke of.

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Whats that smell? The smell of death is never mistaken for anything else. Here is the carcass of a dear and other trash dumped by someone.

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A little further up the road and one would think they arrived at the town dump.

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Even more around the next corner. Many people have no respect.

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Some of the trash has been here a long time. When was the last time you saw one of these?

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A little farther in I found the old farm well and what looked like a large stone BBQ.

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Here’s the remnants of a cement block barn, and even more trash!

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Past this point I come into an area that looks like it was open pasture some time ago.

 

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As we are walking back to the truck I notice something shiny in the crotch of a tree. What in the world is that doing there? You never know just what you will find at old homesteads.

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As we walk back into the truck stop, I thought it fitting that this truck came out hauling hay.

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Well Vinny, time to kick back, pluck all the ticks out of my socks and your fur and take a nap. Goodnight all!

 

What Is Wisdom, And Where Can I Buy Some?

We all would like to think we are wise, refined in our thinking, complete in our depth of thought. Bold in our actions with the assurance of our ability to discern the proper path, the right way of things. With our perceived knowledge of a sage and the foresight of a prophet we sometimes fall prey to our own misguided plans that lead to sorrow or pain. I have been down this road, sometimes more than once. After careful thought I believe the path to wisdom is found in the realization of our mistakes and the focus of thought in not perpetuating the same.

Over the past few weeks since my father died I have been caught in a battle between sorrow and hope, disbelief and fortitude. On one side I feel the loss of someone dear, a wound only now realized in it’s pain. On the other I feel the excitement of my plans for a fuller life, the freedom of the seas and the restless longing for travel. I feel torn as to how long to mourn before release, how long to wait till I no longer feel guilty for past sins. I am not as wise as I wish for I have no answer.

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I question the wisdom of a job that can be very dangerous at times. One false move and my best friend and I could be injured or killed in the blink of an eye. I tell myself that the journey to happiness is fraught with danger. Only those who are willing to pay will succeed. Again, I hope I am right.

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There are days when the majesty of the open road take my breath away, the beauty of nature overwhelms you and you feel like all is good in the world. Moments like this are the saving grace in my life, the recharge of my internal batteries I so need at this time.

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When I drive in the early morning I feel a sense of peace as the sun rises. A new day has come, another chance to get it right. Even as I write this, tears well in my eyes with the hope of a future filled with the things I am most inspired by. Nature, photography, sailing, solitude, giving back to those in need. I will fulfill my goals no matter how long it takes.

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While stopping at a rest area I notice these two trees. They seem so lopsided in the growth of their limbs, very few between them. It comes to me the simple wisdom of it. It make no sense to grow limbs in the shade of each other, better to send more limbs and leaves into the sunny side. So too should be my life. No more standing in the shade of despair. Better to stand in the light of hopefulness, basking in the glow of the brilliant light of another day. Better to squint in the sunshine than stumble in the shade.

PS: In a shocking LACK of wisdom, the hospital that last treated my father sent a package to my mother a week ago…in that package was my fathers false teeth. Even though they knew he was sent to hospice, they felt compelled to mail them. Unbelievable.