So Quiet But I Finally Woke Up

Sometimes I feel like I’m drunk behind the wheel
the wheel of possibility
However it may roll, give it a spin
See if you can somehow factor in
You know there’s always more than one way
to say exactly what you mean to say

Was I out of my head or was I out of my mind?
How could I have ever been so blind?
I was waiting for an indication, it was hard to find
Don’t matter what I say, only what I do
I never mean to do bad things to you
So quiet but I finally woke up
If you’re sad then it’s time you spoke up too

Was I out of my head or was I out of my mind?
How could I have ever been so blind?
I was waiting for an indication, it was hard to find
Don’t matter what I say, only what I do
I never mean to do bad things to you
So quiet but I finally woke up
If you’re sad then it’s time you spoke up too

Was I out of my head or was I out of my mind?
How could I have ever been so blind?
I was waiting for an indication, it was hard to find
Don’t matter what I say, only what I do
I never mean to do bad things to you
So quiet but I finally wake up
If you’re sad then it’s time you spoke up too

Outta My Head – Fastball

Today was another day for a ride along the coast of Maine. I left Bangor at 4:30 this morning and drove to Ellsworth then north on US 1 all the way to Calais. I needed to clear my head after a difficult week of driving, and the beauty of the coast never fails to inspire.

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It’s fun to think I am looking at the same picture the earliest explorers looked at hundreds of years ago. The only thing different now is the presence of man made homes and docks. All the inlets, coves, islands and mud flats are unchanged. The above picture could be the vision of the first explorer to set foot on that beach. The presence of man brings new things, but still in harmony with nature.

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Many of these inlets may have filled in some with silt, but all it takes is one big storm to wash it back out. The ebb and flow of the ocean tides cleanse the coast and provide for all the flora and fauna that thrive here.

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As I roll along I feel my shoulders settle, my neck loosen. I smell the salt air and watch the birds fly over the flats. It’s so quiet but I finally woke up to the fact that I must have been blind to not realize before now, just how much I can see and do for almost no money. There are so many places to see and touch, smell and hear. I think about my former plans of a house or land, my little slice of the earth and I understand how narrow that goal is. Why limit yourself to just a small view?

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There is so much more I can see from the deck of a boat. Every day I can have a different view, every day I can turn the page in my book of life and add a new photo. Every day I can feel the joy of discovery, feel just like a child again.

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Can you see yourself anchored in this harbor, rowing the dingy to shore to go to the local Farmers Market for fresh vegetables and fruit, buy some fish caught just today right from the boat that caught it? A minimalist lifestyle can be had, and a much better life can be lived if your willing to do what it takes.

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This sea otter lives a life free from the daily grind we all face, so why can’t we? Alone or with friends he go’s where he want’s, when he want’s. So why can’t we? The answer is…we can, and I will! Imagine anchoring in this quiet cove. Nothing but the wind and the gentle sway of the boat. What is that kind of peaceful lifestyle worth?

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Nothing in life is free, nothing should be taken for granted. So many people work so hard for their retirement only to get sick or even die before they can enjoy life after work. Many others can’t stop working for fear of losing everything they worked so hard for. If you have almost nothing, you have almost nothing to lose I say. If my boat sank, I could work and buy another. If you lost your house at age 60, could you afford to buy another?

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The sunset of my life is coming, my body is not as resilient as it used to be. I can’t read a book without glasses, but I can rebuild a diesel engine. I can’t run a 5k race, but I can row a dingy and sail a sailboat. Ones worth in this world is not only measured by their physical prowess or their degrees earned in collage, but by their ability to fend for themselves. The founders of this country came here with minimal tools and supplies, the rest they had to come up with on their own. It may have been very hard by today’s standards, but they understood what it took to live a minimalist lifestyle, and I will do the same.

The sweat on my brow and the blisters on my hands are the price I will pay for my lifestyle of choice. I will have many more years of that currency with which to pursue my goals, live the dream before I am too old. My book of life will be filled with joy and laughter, sorrow and tears. A balance of each is my goal if I can help it. We shall see.

PS: I had lunch in Calais at a small diner in town and met Katalin. We had a great conversation and she reminded me of a former post about exceptional people, of which she is one. The story of your boys giving you a ring and saying you were married to them was so endearing it made my heart melt. I told you when I sailed up the coast in a year or two I would stop by again and take you and your two sons out for a sail. And yes Katalin, I will show up, but I was lying to you a little. I don’t often include two songs in one post, but this song is what I felt when I drove back to Bangor.

 

 

Another Holiday, Another Rest Area

I’m sitting in a rest area in Williston Vermont tonight. I will deliver the first stop of this load tomorrow in Burlington, then continue to Martinsburg West Virginia. I have worked almost every holiday my entire working career, but I’m getting very tired of it. As I drove over US route 2 from Rumford Maine through northern New Hampshire and into Vermont I realized just how much time I have lost trying to follow a dream that was not my own.

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Driving in the mountains almost brought me to tears when I thought about the missed days camping in the meadows, swimming in the ice cold streams, all the photographs never taken. I thought about the time camping with my folks, my sister and my wife in the field below this mountain so many years ago. That was a snapshot in time I will never forget. I never lost my sense of wonder and the feeling of complete joy being out in nature, even if only driving through like today.

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So many places I have lived, each holds a special place in my memory. Many days spent as a young boy sitting on the rocks beside this lighthouse dreaming of high adventure. A fertile imagination unbounded and alive even now, I have the power to make it real. Today validated all my plans, assured me my path was the right one. When I grow up I want to be a nature photographer, and that time is now.

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But how do I compete, there are so many others? There is more nature than all the worlds photographers combined could ever capture, and each brings their own vision to the lens. Each has their own story to tell. I wanted to stop so many times today to pull into the lens the beauty I felt through my eyes. But like all of my adult life to date, I am at the mercy of my employer. Not much longer.

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Every sunrise brings another opportunity to share the feelings only seen by one, create the same experience if only in a picture. This morning was spent paddling in a canoe, the only sounds were the splash of the water and the cry of the Loons. A perfect morning.

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Even a dusty field behind a truck stop holds wonders of nature to those with patience and a steady hand. I don’t think I will ever run out of things to see. And soon I will add the aspect of the water view to the mix. The coast of Maine is truly one of the greatest spots on earth.

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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.

My Name’s The Teacher

Well the dawn was coming,
Heard him ringing on my bell.
He said, “My name’s the teacher,
That is what I call myself.
And I have a lesson
That I must impart to you.
It’s an old expression
But I must insist it’s true.

Jump up, look around,
Find yourself some fun,
No sense in sitting there hating everyone.
No man’s an island and his castle isn’t home,
The nest is for nothing when the bird has flown.”

So I took a journey,
Threw my world into the sea.
With me went the teacher
Who found fun instead of me.

Hey man, what’s the plan, what was that you said?
Sun-tanned, drink in hand, lying there in bed.
I try to socialize but I can’t seem to find
What I was looking for, got something on my mind.

Then the teacher told me
It had been a lot of fun.
Thanked me for his ticket
And all that I had done.

Hey man, what’s the plan, what was that you said?
Sun-tanned, drink in hand, lying there in bed.
I try to socialize but I can’t seem to find
What I was looking for, got something on my mind.

Teacher – Jethro Tull

I have had many different jobs in my life. From landscaping to carpentry, foundations to computer repairs, trucking to equipment operating. I have had many bosses, some good, many bad. There have been some jobs where I gave it my all, just to find I was being used and they didn’t really care. Some that care but there’s no future. But the currant company has given me hope that I have found something special.

Through all the trials of my life over the last few years they have been very accommodating, considerate and understanding, more than any company I have ever worked for. Now that my life has settled down some, I want to give something back. That opportunity has presented itself to me.

There is a tremendous shortage of qualified truck drivers in this country. Many people don’t like the idea of being away from home, the long hours, the mental strain and so forth. Many drivers have such a bad driving record most companies can’t hire them. And still more are ready to retire. Now what? Why in house training, that’s what!

This company, like many others, has decided to start a driver training program. Students that have graduated from a CDL school here in Maine will spend 6 to 8 weeks in a truck with a mentor, to help hone their skills in the safe handling of the largest vehicles on the road. All manor of driving conditions, backing situations, traffic conditions and other difficult problems will be addressed during training.

So how do I fit in? Myself and 3 other drivers volunteered to be trainers, and I should get my first student at the end of this month. When I first started driving I had gone to a school and had a mentor also. He was very thorough, patient and fun. I still remember the most important things he taught me, and I think I can pass them along to others and give them the same chance given to me so many years ago.

I hope to inspire them to give it a real chance, show them how it feels to be independent and in charge of your income. How each day, if you pay attention, you can find at least one moment that makes it all worthwhile, one moment that makes you smile, one image burned into your memory.

Like this one…

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Or this one…

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I really look forward to giving back to a company that has given me so much more than a job, they gave me a home, and I say Thank You!

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!

What Inspires You?

Anyone who knows me understands that I am obsessed with sailboats, right mom? But realistically the boat is only a means to an end. The boat is one piece in the lifestyle I have been searching for my entire life, even though I didn’t understand the “Big Picture” until recently.

Some years ago I moved my folks to a town in central Maine called Sebec. We bought 2 plots of land and a 34 foot motor home. (If you look closely you can see Vinny in the windshield) 

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We stayed at a nearby campground for a month while my father and I cleared one lot to move the camper to so we could live while setting up their home next door.  Here’s a few pictures of the initial setup for the camper.

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Once this part was done we could place the camper and not pay for the campground. I had a power pole placed and we moved onto what would become my lot.  I think it was only a week or so until we had a bad hailstorm come through. Pretty big hail for Maine!

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My mother and I still talk about how much fun it was living in that camper.

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Later, after my folks home was complete and they moved in, I cleared further back on my lot to build a shelter for the camper. I rented a small excavator to do the heavy lifting then built the structure. At this point in time my father was recovering from cancer and couldn’t help much even though he tried.

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Vinny thinking with his stomach!

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This picture above shows the left side of the camper. What you don’t see is the area to the right and the whole reason I set the lot up this way. This is Meadow Brook, about 50 feet from the right side and down a small hill. (There are the young cinnamon ferns Jessica!)

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This was the point in my life I had broken from the drug use of my past. Every day was a struggle to suppress the urge to fall back on the “crutch” I had relied on for so long. My goal in doing all this was to help my folks live in a less expensive area and remove myself from all the reminders of my past, including every person that I knew from a very troubling time in my life. I wanted the freedom of my little spot on this earth where I could get away from the stress of everyday trials, my safe haven. What I didn’t realize at the time was I would not find my peace tied to one spot. My wandering spirit and lust for ever greater adventure was bubbling forth now that my mind was clearing.

Some years later when my father lost his drivers license, my folks could not stay here because they were to far from stores and no public transportation was available. My fathers dementia was also becoming more apparent along with his angry outbursts. Not long after my folks gave up their house to the bank and moved to an apartment I sold my camper and land. I started to see I was never going to be happy in one place, never going to feel at home living a “Normal” life as most do.

Just let it go

My lust for travel was partially satisfied when I bought my truck and rode through almost all the states with Vinny at my side. It was at this time that I started to understand what inspired me, what gave me a true feeling of freedom. The idea of having your home with you all the time means you always have your comfort zone. Like a turtle, your always home no matter what. Everything you need is within reach anytime you need it. I felt in control for the first time in my life.

laura-dekkerThe idea of a sailboat came from the story of Laura Dekker. Laura was the 14 year old Dutch girl who had a dream of being the youngest person to sail around the world alone, and she did it! If you have never seen her movie “Maidentrip” on Netflix you really should. I was totally inspired by her strength and tenacity even when her own government tried to stop her.

I don’t know if I will sail around the world, but I know living free on a boat, no rent or property taxes, no electric or phone bills, it’s the way I want to spend the rest of my life. Even now as I watch her movie again I feel a strong attachment not to her, I don’t personally know her, but to her spirit and her strength, her unwillingness to give up. Just like my father, she never quit and neither will I.

I’ve looked at many boats, read many stories and articles about this design and that. Studied what made this boat or that the ideal candidate for me, but I finally realized I was not really forming a plan, setting a goal. I think now I have the perfect boat in mind, the goal I need to focus my aspirations toward.

Lin & Larry Pardey Books and Videos

Lin and Larry Pardey are among America’s (and the world’s) most knowledgeable and recognized cruising sailors. They are known as “America’s first couple of cruising.” Together, Lin and Larry have sailed over 200,000 miles, including two circumnavigations east to west and west to east aboard self-built, wooden, engine-free cutters under 30 feet. Author of a dozen books, countless magazine articles, and co-creators of five cruising documentaries, Lin and Larry have shared their sailing experiences with tens of thousands around the globe prompting many to take up the sport and live the dream of the cruising lifestyle. Their motto has always been, Go simple, go small, go now!

The above image and script comes from Lin & Larry Pardey’s website. Of all the information I have read I believe theirs is the idea I should follow. I see no need for a large boat, all the amenities and all the costs that go with it. A boat 30 feet or less, very stout and strong, good storage and easy to sail single-handed. A boat that has a proven record of seaworthiness and open ocean passages. A boat I can trust to get me there. I have chosen a Baba 30.

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Watch this video for a complete understanding of just how beautiful they are.

Granted this one is in “Bristol” condition, and the one I purchase may not start out as nice, but I can purchase one for $40,000 to $50,000 or less. If I work really hard I can save the money over the next 2 years to purchase it, then work maybe 2 more years to fund a complete refit with enough money left over for a long vacation to give her a long shakedown cruise. After that I can drive part time or go back to landscaping in the summer, the one job I truly loved.

This is what inspires me, this is what I have been looking for all my life. The freedom to go where I want when I want. The freedom to work a job I love not just the best paying one. What are you willing to give up for the chance to live a life worth living?  I’ve made my choice.

Plan, What Plan?

Nothing ever go’s as planned. I started off yesterday morning with the hope of finishing early in the day, maybe doing a little laundry, having a good meal at a clean truck stop and taking Vinny for a walk. My drive took me through Virginia, a state I love driving in because of the beautiful countryside. The mountains here seem to just erupt from the earth like giant anthills.

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So much for a day full of plans! About 2 hours into my drive, guess what!

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Great, just great! I turn on my CB and hear there is a crash ahead and the left lane is blocked. Well, no sense getting upset, I’ve been here before, relax and make the best of it. I get out my camera and look around for something interesting. Here’s some weird looking grass.

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Some cows beside an old barn in this field.

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More cows up on this ridge.

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An old abandoned farm being used as a barn now. Such a shame to squander history.

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More cows that Vinny spotted! Bark bark!

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Cant you see yourself playing as a child on this grassy ridge? Riding a horse or chasing your dog in the summer sun? I can.

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Here comes the sign saying whats up with the traffic.

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That’s not very helpful, what else?

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Sigh…I’m at mile marker 22. This is going to take awhile, like 3 hours!!!  I take a deep breath, pull over to the side real quick and grab a snack. Pull back in line and go with the slow flow. It’s all I can do. I thought of you Miriam when I took this picture! It’s a chain of convenience stores in the US.

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When traffic starts to pick up we move further up the mountain into the heavy fog. These mountains separate the moisture laden air from the Atlantic and the drier air coming from the west. When the temps are right you get dense fog.

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It’s now 6 pm, I’m still 2 hours from my stop, and by the time I get there I’ll be to tired for anything but dinner and sleep. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry!