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.

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I Can Do This…But How?

Should I go through the hassle of starting a non profit organization?  Will other Veterans organizations work with me if I don’t?  Should I just try to secure direct food, fuel or other non cash donations?  Should I start a “GoFundMe” page and see what happens?  Maybe it’s a combination of all, I’m not sure.  I will pursue this topic with my lawyer when I get back to Maine soon.  (I’m sitting at a TA truckstop in Springfield MO!)

A fellow blogger and sailor named Chad at Live Free 2 Sail Fast asked me about my plans and the boats I’ve been looking at, so here goes!  The plan started as just an idea one day, a way to honor my dad and help veterans with PTSD find the close bonds with their children that I missed out on.

P753Our service men and women paid dearly for their commitment to this country and our way of life, and sometimes they did not receive the support they needed when the job was done.  I’ve seen first hand what PTSD can do to a person, the toll it takes on their soul.  My father saw things no person should have to see. He left the US a young man, full of life and hope for the future.  He volunteered willingly in an effort to do his part.  He came back physically from Korea, but left part of himself behind.  Too this day he carries the emotional scars of what happened, he relives it every night.

All gave some, some gave all.

As a young boy I didn’t understand what was wrong.  All I knew was he didn’t seem to have much time for me.  Part of it was his upbringing, his father never spent much time with him either, but I think most of it was the undiagnosed PTSD.  From what I’ve read the lack of a deep connection to family is not an uncommon problem.

img_6537-largeMost veterans were never given the help they really needed after the war.  They were just sent home with a pat on the back and $100.00.  Our duty to our veterans didn’t stop when the war ended, it only just began. It’s so wrong on many levels to have a person thrust into a life or death situation, kill or be killed on a daily basis, only to come home with no support for the absolute devastation of the mind that comes from combat.

The VA is much better now at diagnosing and treating PTSD than years past, but there’s always room for improvement.  If I can do a small part, give a veteran the chance to spend some time together with their child in a safe and secure environment, I will be in some small way connecting with my dad.  As an adult I know he loved me in his own way.  He never wanted me to feel so alone as a child, he just couldn’t see his way through the aftermath of his wartime experiences.  “I just want you to know I don’t blame you dad, I just wish I had gained this understanding sooner so I could have helped you more. “

That is the basic plan and the reasoning behind it Chad, and thank you for asking!  Now on to the boat!  It’s well known in the boating industry that New England is one of the best areas to purchase a used sailboat.  The simple reasoning is first the amount of boats in the area along with the fact that used boats in this area are in much better shape because they only spend 5 or 6 months a year in the water.  Boats pulled out every year tend to have better maintenance histories.  Another factor is the winds off the east coast are milder than other areas so the sails last longer.

Here’s a few examples of boats for sale in New England right now.  They are all production boats as customs are WAY out of my price point!  Click on the link beside each photo for full info.

pearson-367

Pearson 36 Cutter (367)
$36,500    This is a Pearson 367 Cutter and would be my second choice.  Only 49 of these boats were produced and almost all are still sailing.  Many have circumnavigated the globe.  They are very stout and sturdy boats and would make a fine vessel for sailing the coast.

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Camper & Nicholson 35
$37,999    This is a world class cruising boat!  Camper & Nicholson have been building sailboats since 1821 so I think they have it figured out by now!

 


pan-oceanic-38Pan Oceanic 38
$29,000    Pan Oceanic 38.  I absolutely LOVE this boat and would be my first choice!!!  It’s even for sale 12 miles from the home base of the company I drive for!  Perhaps as few as 10 of these were built, not even the designer knows for sure.  They were built in the Philippines and have cruised the globe many times.  It’s been on the market for quite awhile and my thoughts are that it’s in bad shape and would require alot of work to be made into a viable candidate.  If it’s still on the market when I have the funds, I will definitely take a look!  One can only hope!

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S2 11.0A
$29,500    This is a S2 11.0a.  I have shown pics of a sister boat before but this one is for sale in Maine and would be my 3rd choice.  This is the one you liked before Chad!  Great interior, easy handling, and plenty of room for guests.  Every review I have read about these boats has been positive.


capital-gulf-32Capital Gulf 32
$29,500   Another boat I really like!!!  Capital Gulf 32.  Very sturdy with helm controls inside and out…great for Maine’s crazy weather!  It’s a little small but I think it would do the job.

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Bristol 31.1
$27,500    Bristol 31.1.  The smallest boat I’ve shown you but a very well built one.  This is another boat that has sailed around the world.  You cant say much more about a boat than that!

 

 
Though I would prefer the larger boats, the smaller ones are workable.  Smaller boats are less costly in the long run also.  It all depends on how much money I can put aside over the next 2 years or so.  No matter what, it needs to be a boat I can live on, my “Tiny House” on the sea.  I can do this because I have the will.  I have overcome much worse in my life and I am determined to make a difference in someone else’s.

Alone In A Field

If you have already seen this post, disregard as I have had problems with posting to reader!

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I feel this way alot, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I’m sitting in northern Wisconsin with nothing to do till Monday, so I take Vinny for a walk in a field across from the truck stop.

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It’s about 3 acres between the truck stop and the highway, but if you look closely you can find beautiful things to photograph. Like these flowers all alone in the field.

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There just simple wildflowers but their radiance is still enticing. How about this prairie grass blowing in the breeze?

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Vinny stands there while the breeze flows past his face.

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Alone with my thoughts I can think things through more clearly, make better decisions than I have made in the past. Ive made some decisions in the last few days and my 3 year and 10 year or so plan is now set.

627a8-100_1202I had been talking with the company I drive for about leasing a truck from them. The advantages of leasing is the freedom to set your own schedule, control where you run along with a little more money at the end of the day. The down side is the maintenance, repairs, insurance and other hassles that go along with ownership. I have owned my own truck in the past, but I’m to close to my final plan to take on the responsibility now. I’ll stay a company driver.

I’m going to spend every penny I make this fall and winter purchasing better lenses for my camera, a canoe for next summers camping trips, a few more tools for the upcoming boat projects and I’m going to pay off my car. By the end of May I should be debt free.

5357707_20150925114209219_1_XLARGEAt that point I will have everything I need to entertain myself, no need for any other items of any substantial cost. I earn $4000.00 to $5000.00 each month after taxes and I can easily live on a quarter of that once I have no payments. Every penny extra at that point will go to the boat fund. In one year I will have enough to purchase the boat I want, and in two years I should have the refit done. I will essentially have a new sailboat at that point.

I think once the boat is done I will take a summer off just to give the boat a real shakedown and give myself a vacation to remember. In all my working career to date I have never had more than a one week vacation, and I have never traveled out of the US. I would like to sail to Nova Scotia and then to Prince Edward Island. Maybe go down the Saint Lawrence Seaway to Quebec then back to Maine. It’s a dream I have had for a long time.

After that summer I will go back to driving for the winter. I can earn enough in six months to sustain my lifestyle for the year if I’m careful so I can take every summer off. That is the point where I have made a big decision. I’m going to give something back to the country that has allowed me to live my dream, as well as destroy the demon that has plagued me all of my life.

img_6531-largeMy relationship with my father was never very good. Partly my fault, partly his, but I think most of it had to do with the PTSD he was never diagnosed with until he was in his eighties. He was the picture of a dutiful father when it came to providing for the family. He was never without a job, we never went hungry, always had toys to play with, and I never felt he didn’t care.

The real problem for me was that father/son connection, it was never there. Now that my dad is in late stage dementia, it’s too late to make up for lost ground. My chance to play ball with my dad, go camping or fishing, work on my first car, it’s all gone. It tares me up to see him now, there’s nothing I can do but watch him slowly fade away. I have to live with this, but what if I can help others to avoid it?

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My 10 or so year plan is simple. Enjoy the time I have left while I’m still healthy, and do something good for someone else. I have decided to start a non profit that will be aimed at Veterans with PTSD and their children. I’m going to offer 3 or 4 day excursions for Veterans diagnosed with PTSD, and their son or daughter, off the coast of Maine entirely for free. Sailing, fishing, kayaking and even swimming for the very brave! (Maine coastal waters never get above 65 degrees or so!) All food will be included also.

I can think of no better way to give back, or pay it forward than to give a Veteran and his/her child a chance to really bond away from everything modern. No internet, no phones, no tv, just nature. 4 days of just being together with no distractions. I wish I could do that with my dad right now. The company I work for has said they will be a sponsor along with putting me in touch with the organizations they already work with. I spoke to a Lawyer about setting up the organization but I need a name for it. That’s where you come in!

I have wonderful followers that have great minds, and I love to hear from all of you. Let’s put our “Hive” mind together and come up with a name that will inspire, a name that projects the goal I have given myself. I have done a search of the Maine area and can find no other organization offering anything similar. I think this could be quite a hit if I can get it off the ground.

I don’t believe the costs for such would be very high, and I don’t think I will have any trouble finding Veterans to help. I’m not looking for money to buy or refit the boat as it will be my retirement home also. Just enough to cover the food, insurance and other minor expenses I incur. I feel very strongly about this. I’m not sure how many summers I would offer it, but even if I only help one child connect with a parent, I will have made a difference.

The next time you drive by a field, think about that flower. It’s just waiting there for someone to come along and be it’s friend, someone to show they care. Just like a child waiting for their dad to go play ball.