"I was born lost, and take no
pleasure in being found"
"Your life is what has happened to you
while you were busy making other plans."
"The Sure Sign of Life is Death. Why Else Would humanity Thrive So Hard To Leave Its Mark on This World"
The journey of life as as much in ones self as the roads one travels
"To have faith is
to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the
water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and
"I Have Learned Something About Creating Art. People Do Not Want to Hear What You Are Going To Do, People Want To Hear About What You Done Did."
"I like to think that one
of the best brews is the one handed to you by a new friend"
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
"You step into the road, and if you don't
keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
"....I travel not to go anywhere, but to
go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."
A Birth Certificate shows that
"No matter where you go, there you are"
Pat's October 2010 Blog
If this is your first time here, you might want to start from the beginning of our fulltime Journey with our Past Blogs
Saturday October 23rd - Cindy's Back to Normal, If That's Possible
This past week Cindy came down with some flu bug that had her derailed and couch-ridden. We're not sure what it was as we didn't know anyone else who was sick, but it kept her either on the couch, or in the bed for the past few days.
During this time, we had a complete turn-over in the motel, so it meant that I had to pick up her slack, which is a whole lotta slack when trying to do everything solo.
We have a pretty good routine between the two of us and it never really feels like either of us are working all that hard because we split up the work load so perfectly. Take one of us out of that equation and its a whole different story.
While I was busy plugging along, I got a phone call that was very interesting.
I answered the phone in my best Phone Sex Operator Voice, which I always like to work on, and had the other end of the line say "Hey Pat, my name is Mike, you dont know me but I thought I'd give you a call after reading your last blog post."
Mike and I spent a good 20 minutes on the phone where he explained that he is a over the road truck driver and knows of a product that might be able to help my injector problems on our Ford 6.0L Diesel.
He said it's somewhat of a secret amongst the big rig truck drivers and he doesn't even think it's sold in any stores. The name of the additive is Hot Shot Secret and it's made specifically to clean out sticky injectors.
He commented that "It's expensive, but they offer a money back guarantee." I figure that I'm looking at a minimum of a few grand just to get one injector replaced, and if I'm gonna pay to have one done, why not go all the way and have them all done, I'll probably end up dropping $5-8000 on the motor by the time it's back to tip top shape.
So expensive is all relative depending on which end of the coin you're looking. I probably wouldn't go out and spend a few hundred dollars on a additive if the motor was running good to begin with, but when looking at a few hundred dollars compared to the price of a used car, I'll easily go with the lesser amount.
Thanks for the phone call Mike and I'll be sure to let you know how it works out after I get it and run it through the motor.
I laughed pretty hard when the last words out of Mikes mouth was "And tell Cindy to get off her butt and update her blog, I mean come on, this is just B.S. with how long she's gone without updating it!"....HA HA!!
We also have another person that we keep in contact with via emails that will be staying here at the Low-Key Hideaway for a few months this coming winter.
Karen read my last blog post and sent me a funny email saying she had a option for our motor problems.
Here was Karen's email that she sent me. I like how this woman thinks!!!
"I have the prefect solution to your truck problem - actually 2 solutions:
1. How about a side car on the motorcycle to haul all the supplies you buy?
2. Then how about an errand woman who will go fetch what you need from January thru April in her PT Cruiser? I love to shop and always look for a bargain or two.
Room 1 picture on your blog looks nice and inviting. Keep away all inquiries for Jan, Feb and March."
I love a woman who thinks about a sidecar option and it's something I've already been looking into. I figure I cant buy a used car for that cheap, but I could throw a little sidecar onto the side of our motorcycle for a few thousand and have it to use as our errand mobile.
I started Googling Scooter Sidecars and found that the Italian Scooter company Vespa has a sidecar option on their scooters. I had contacted a Sidecar Company here in the states, but they told me my motorcycle was too small to attach a sidecar because it's only a 400cc motor.
These little scooters are only 125cc, so if they can handle it, then my 400cc surely can.
These sidecars aren't that big like the larger BMW's are lugging around, but they'd be fine to run up to Chiefland or just into town to grab some groceries.
There is a company that sells the scooter sidecars with all the hardware to attach to your motorcycle for $1400. So that is another option I'm looking at. There is a local Chopper builder here in town, and I'm going to go meet with him to see if this is something he can tackle for me. I'll be sure to talk more about it one way or the other, since everyone knows how bad I've always wanted a Sidecar rigged motorcycle.
If we cant do it on the motorcycle, then I can always hook one up to the bicycle! Maybe this will keep Cindy from falling over too!
Sunday October 17th 2010 - Latest News with Our Ford 6.0L Diesel
For the past few months I've been talking about little things here and there that have been going wrong with our truck. They've all been somewhat small, but for a truck that has almost 110,000 miles on it, and we've yet to have any major problems with it, even those small things worry me.
Driving so little here in Cedar Key, we only start the truck up, move it a mile or two and shut it back down. Something the big diesel motor isn't that used to. I simply figured it was a bad sensor or a clogged filter that needed to be changed and it would be back to running like a champ.
I brought it into the Ford Dealer last week because my Scan Gauge told me I had a code popping up which told me I had a bad ICP Sensor. ICP stands for Injector Control Pressure and I guess it wasn't telling the injectors how to work properly.
Makes sense for why the truck is running so horribly.
Then I go to pick the truck up from the dealer and pay the $600 fee to simply have this sensor changed. As I'm pulling out of the dealership, I pull out onto HWY 19 and just about get rear-ended.
When I put the gas pedal to the floor, the truck simply sat there not moving and the speed limit on this road is 45mph.
I called the dealership back and limped it back into the service garage.
There I sat waiting for the next few hours while they went back over the motor to see what the problem was.
Another $100 for them to diagnose this and they tell me my #3 Injector is not firing. The Ford 6.0L Diesels are notorious for their injectors going bad and all this time I thought we had skirted around the issue.
Our friend Freddy, the one who got his truck stuck in the mud last week has just recently finished up having his injectors replaced to the tune of $6000, and that's on the light side of how much it really cost.
From what everyone tells me, once they start going, the motor is going to become a money pit for other things that follow the injectors going bad. There are injector pumps that fail, various sensors that go bad due to the injectors failing and I'm basically looking at dumping a whole lot of money that we dont have into this truck of ours.
For the past few days Cindy and I have been contemplating what to do? She always says things like "The truck is paid off, so putting a few thousand into it is just like making a few months worth of truck payments."
I agree with that logic, but for the past few months, we've been dumping a few hundred dollars each month into basic maintenance on this truck that seems to be falling apart at an alarming rate.
With the recent $700 at the ford dealership, the $550 on the front hubs to be replaced because they were so shot, and the two new batteries to the tune of almost $500, we've shelled out some serious coin on this once maintenance free truck of ours.
We both know we need another vehicle to get around, so do we get some beater to get us around while simply parking the Ford and let it wait till we have the money to get it fixed...Something I dont see happening any time soon. Or do we try and sell it and move to a different truck that isn't so plagued with these motor troubles?
My thinking was sell it and move to a smaller more economical vehicle, but Cindy had a good point when she said "If we do that, how do we move the camper or use it when we need to?"
Neither of us want to sell the camper because of how nicely we have it outfitted. I mean we'd never get what we have into it back out if we were to sell it, especially in this awful market the country is in.
So if we sell the truck, we either need to go to something just as strong so we can continue to pull the camper, or we sell them both and move in a completely new direction. One that neither of us have figured out yet.
I'll let ya' know what we figure out when that comes around. Till then, it looks like I'm going to be logging some serious miles on the motorcycle. Not that I mind that, I'd rather drive that any day of the week. But try and go grocery shopping for a two weeks supply of groceries on a dual sport motorcycle.
Saturday October 16th - Festival Weekend
This weekend is our busiest weekend of the year. It's the big Seafood Festival here in Cedar Key and we've been sold out for months now.
We had Fonda and Juergen come in on Wednesday for a visit and they've been helping Cindy and I get things buttoned up around the motel these past few days.
Having people who know what they're doing, Fonda's a professional painter and Juergen is a certified electrician and custom carpenter, really makes it easy to get things finished that normally mean we're waiting for someone to show up and complete the job for us.
When these two are around, things just end up getting done ALOT faster.
There actually is another motel in town where the owners are looking for some caretakers that would turn the place around. Too many people in Cedar Key allow people to manage their places who shouldn't be put in as the face of a key motel in the heart of downtown.
When a friend asked if we knew anyone that we'd recommend to take over their motel, we instantly thought of Fonda and Juergen. They've visited multiple times now and each time they talk about how much they like it here. With their skills and great personalities, they'd be perfect hosts and we'd love to have them live closer to us.
Hopefully that will work out for them, and I'll be sure to let you know if they end up taking over the other motel. If they do, it'll be a great addition to Cedar Key.
I think things are really starting to look up for this sleepy little town. It's been put on the back burner for far too long.
Not that we're trying to turn it into a big metropolis or a major tourist destination, but what we've been trying to do is up the level of service people get when they come to visit.
Many of the old guard here on the island has become complacent and are giving really shitty service. We're trying to turn that around and make them understand that we'll get much more return service if you leave the guest with a memorable experience when they visit.
Make them go home wanting to come back. That's all we want for Cedar Key.
A few of the restaurants and motels we've partnered up with see this and understand that sort of mentality. A few dont see it at all and have that backwards mentality that unless they get all the visitors coming in on HWY 24, they're not happy.
I'd rather be able to point someone in a different direction if it means I lose some business, but that person goes home with nothing but good things to say about Cedar Key.
We get calls all the time about families wanting to come visit with multiple kids. Our place really isn't set up for families. We've slowly changed all our rooms out to King Suites and we think of it more as a Couples Retreat.
We've found that if people are looking for a place to spend the weekend with the entire family, then we can suggest a few different places where we think they'll enjoy themselves more than if they were to stay at our place.
Our rooms are $85 per night. Many of the places in town lower their rates during the week and more than double them on the weekends. We always keep ours at $85. Cindy and I figure you're renting the same room on a Monday or Tuesday that you are on a Friday or a Saturday. If you're looking for a room for $30, then I can point you in that direction, but I'm not going to lower my room rates just because it's a Monday night.
We still have to spend multiple hours cleaning the room the next day and it's not worth it for me to spend 2 plus hours working for only $30. Especially when the Government is taking their Bed Tax and multiple other fee's out of each room we rent.
We believe our rooms should be spotlessly cleaned no matter who stayed there or how big of a turn-over we have the next day. This is one thing we never sway away from.
The motel rooms are basically an extension of our house and we want you to feel right at home. A few people have made comments that they cant believe the stuff we've put in the rooms. They ask things like "Aren't you afraid someone is going to steal this photo, or take this thing you have hung on the wall?"
But we simply think that if you treat people really friendly, let them see that you've put your heart and soul into each room, if they want to steal something, then let them go ahead and do it. Plus, we always have their credit card number on file, so we'll just charge them accordingly if they really wanted to purchase that certain piece.
After a long day of cleaning up the rooms, doing some odds and ends around the house, we all headed into town tonight.
We started at one end of Dock Street and worked our way to the other end. The bars and restaurants were all packed full and it was great to see Cedar Key so filled with visitors all having such a good time.
We had an awesome Dinner at the Pickled Pelican and ended the night sitting on outside deck at the Big Deck Raw Bar.
Standing in the street performing for the passing visitors was a young couple out of Tampa who were serious fire twirlers.
I guess James is a Fire Captain out of Tampa and likes to play with the work he's trained to extinguish for a living. Sort of his way to get to know the characteristics of the beast.
To watch him twirl the soaked ropes around after they've been lit is simply mesmerizing. At one point, two local Cedar Key police officers walked up and we were thinking "Ok, what is going to happen now?"
They simply watched for awhile saying how cool they thought it was and went on their way.
After a few hours of watching James and his girlfriend perform, it was getting late and the four of us headed home for the night.
We ended the night with a few rounds of Wii Sports that had us all laughing our butts off trying to beat the scores of one another in our various stages of drunkenness. It was a great weekend with Fonda and Juergen as always.
Tuesday October 12th - A Visit with Good Friends
Monday afternoon we were busy working around the motel when we get a phone call from a group of friends who tell us they're over in Daytona Beach for Biketoberfest and have a few days to waste before the events get started.
They ask if we have any rooms available and when I tell them we do, they let us know that they're going to ride over for the day on Tuesday.
So today we're busy getting things ready for this busy upcoming weekend and I hear the distinct rumble of American Muscle pull up front, and know that they've arrived.
Bruce, Becky and Kim are friends from way back in our Michigan and Red Dog Saloon days. They're a group of friends who enjoy riding motorcycles more than anyone I know.
These are the types of people who log thousands upon thousands of miles on their bikes each year. They have Poker Runs and Destination Rides planned almost every weekend of the year as long as there isn't snow on the ground.
I've seen Bruce show up at the old Saloon with icicles hanging off his big mustache in the middle of the winter and tell me they've been out riding the entire day despite the frigid temperatures.
To hear they were coming for a visit, I was quite excited to see old friends and know we were going to get a chance to hear some great stories on places they've been.
During the hey-day of the Smalltown Lowdown, Bruce and another friend of ours used to write a monthly article called R&B Rides. This stood for Roger and Bruce who were two riding buddies.
Each month they'd chronicle their rides into a route around the Mid-West listing the routes they took, always scenic backroads, and give funky little attractions along the way that they'd see or stop to photograph.
It was a great little addition to the magazine and I always looked forward to reading about their travels.
To sit and talk with Bruce is like sitting down with a gifted story teller. You get a chance to listen to exciting adventures that always leave you filled with a lust for motorcycles and travel.
When they first got here, hugs were given all the way around followed up by a quick tour of our new place. It's not that big, so a tour only lasts maybe 5 minutes.
It was late afternoon, so the tiki bar was where we ended up toasting cold beers to long lost friends.
After a few hours of catching up on all the gossip from our home town, we ventured into downtown Cedar Key to find someplace to eat.
The Island Hotel has some awesome burgers and since it was a Tuesday night when most everything in town is closed, we had the whole place to ourselves.
With summer being officially over here in Florida, the weather is about as perfect as one could hope for with warm day time temperatures giving way to cool, crisp afternoons.
The courtyard at the Island Hotel was the perfect place to hang out and keep throwing around stories from our few years apart. It was great to hear about all their travels and get to talk with like minded people.
No Politics, No B.S., No Drama, just good wholesome talk that puts a big smile on your face.
When dinner was over, we headed back to the Low-Key Hideaway where we watched the sun go down and spent the rest of the night sitting out at the Tiki Bar.
It was good to see old friends and I was glad they had made the trip over from the East Coast of Florida.
The next morning we were all up early watching dolphins swim behind the motel and saying our goodbyes. Bruce, Becky and Kim Got It and understood what we were doing here.
Cindy and I always say that folks either get it or they dont. Some come and visit and say "I like the place, but I couldn't imagine living here." Others understand the laidback lifestyle, they get that small town feel and the fact that you're so dis-connected from it all.
Sunday October 10th 2010 - Fun Times in Cedar Key
My past week has been nothing but fun. Between the tiki bar party with friends that turned into an all night gig, to the boat raising that was a lesson in tides and water movement, to the lessons in pulling a stuck truck out of the Florida swamps; something that snapped every strap and piece of rope/chain we could find to hook up to it.
I'll start with last Monday. Cindy said she felt like having some friends over at the Tiki Bar. We had an empty motel and campground, something that is very uncommon, and we were completely caught up with our chores.
So we called a few people knowing that Mondays in Cedar Key is the local businesses Sunday. Monday is a day that this small town becomes a total ghost town.
Almost every business closes their doors and takes the day off to get their weekly chores done, they do their running around or make the long drive into Gainesville to do their shopping.
This is also the best night to host a party. Jay and Connie from the Black Dog showed up. Heath was able to sneak away from his babysitting job and Luz and her daughter Marina were both here as soon as we made the call.
The sunset was somewhat uneventful for me, as we've been experiencing clear skies which gives a boring view of a big orange ball dropping into the horizon. Marina who has just moved to Cedar Key after graduating from Pepperdine Law School in California made a comment I think I'm going to use more often.
When someone in the group asked if I was going to get my camera to snap a photo of the sunset, I said how much I hated these type of sunsets. Marina said "This is what I call a California Sunset." She explained that "Every night when I lived in California, you simply watched the sun drop into the ocean. You almost NEVER had clouds or any sort of atmosphere to make it look really pretty."
I thought back to our various adventures in California and now that she mentioned it, I cant remember a time when we had clouds in the sky during the sunset. Sun rises are a different story. You almost always have some freaky weather in California in the morning because of the heat mixing with the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean, but sunsets are boring in that big state.
Once the sun went down, we all moved inside where we sat around the kitchen table laughing till our sides hurt.
Late in the evening, the group decided to walk out to the end of the dock to star gaze because the moon is in it's New Moon Phase right now and the sky is ink black except for the big milky way and the heavens.
I woke up on one of our couches in the middle of the night with Marina sleeping on the couch opposite me. Funny how parties end up like this because Marina is over 6' tall, and she was sleeping on the small love seat. Here I am a short 5'5" and I'm sprawled out along the full-size couch with lots of space above my head and feet.
I almost started laughing as I noticed she had pulled down a big, thick Reindeer pelt we normally have hung to the wall to cover herself up with. Cindy had been moving it from one area to another and had just draped it across the back of the love seat before she invited everyone over.
The problem is the pelt sheds terribly, so I'm thinking when she wakes up in the morning, she's going to look like she's been tarred and feathered by a reindeer.
I went and brushed my teeth and crawled into bed with Cindy. She asked if Marina was covered up and we both laughed out loud when I told her what she was covered up with. We figured if I woke her up at this time of the morning, it was only 4am, she'd probably not be able to go back to sleep, so we just left her sleeping under a 3" thick furry blanket.
We laughed even harder when we thought that Luz, Marina's mom is a vegetarian and totally animal activist and here is her daughter sleeping on a big leather couch, cozied up under a reindeer pelt....ahh the stupid stuff Cindy and I find humorous.
Wednesday was the day Heath and I planned to give the old wooden boat one last effort. Heath had taken the day off of work and we planned to get there at low tide to get the pumps working before the water would start rushing into the boat.
This gave us some time to fish the back canals where Heath's boat can skim over the shallow waters during low tide. Heath has a boat that is just about perfect for these waters. To pull into the Cedar Key Marina, you'll see dozens of boats lined up to be put in the Ocean, but the first thing you'll notice is how different all the boats are.
When I lived in South Florida, it was a totally different story. Almost everyone had high sided, off-shore boats made for tackling the Atlantic Ocean and it's big waves.
Every now and then you'd see a different boat for those fisherman or boaters who were simply going to be floating up the Intercoastal Waterway, but 99% of the boats were Deep-V hulled boats.
Here on the Gulf Coast, especially around the Cedar Keys with the bayous and rivers that line the Natures Coast, the boats range from Deep-V Offshore boats to the Texas Style Flat's Fishing hulls. There are Bass Boats, Jon Boats and Pontoon Boats which are actually one of the best models in my mind because they offer such a dry, smooth ride and allow everyone to move about freely.
There are the obnoxious Air Boats that can skim across inches of water during low tide, and the most popular is the Skiff that seems to be the hull of choice amongst the working man and everyday fisherman.
Every time a conversation turns to what sort of boat you own and why you chose that hull design, the person will usually give you a good argument about why their choice on that hull is the best.
I've come to the conclusion that to live in Cedar Key and enjoy spending lots of time on the water, you need multiple boats with each being a different hull design. There is no one boat that will get you everywhere at any time of the day or night.
But Heath on the other hand has designed a unique boat that almost works 100% of the time. It's somewhat of a confusing looking boat because you tend to look at it and think something like "Now that's just silly!"
What Heath did was buy an old aluminum air-boat hull. Since it was just the hull with no motor, it's basically a big, wide, floating barge. He brought the hull to a aluminum welder and had him custom make tunnels along the bottom of the hull which allows the Outboard Motors prop to ride between the Tunnels and almost never hit the bottom, no matter how shallow of water we're in.
Because the boat is so wide, it rides really dry and I've yet to be splashed even if we're bouncing through choppy seas.
Now the boat isn't all that fun if you were planning a day out partying with friends because there are no seats, and not even any railings to keep kids or young ones safe if they're on the boat.
But Heath built it more as a working boat, and it works just about as good as anything I've seen so far. What it's good for is fishing in the shallows while standing on the bow of the deck and throwing a cast net.
Up to this point, Heath was calling me bad luck because every time we've been out, he's yet to catch anything in his cast net. Today was a different story. The first throw landed some big, fat mullet. the second and third throws landed more mullet and a plump Red Fish that had us both hooting and hollering.
We spent the morning fishing the canals with me running the controls of the boat and Heath working the cast net. By the time the tides were starting to shift and come back in, he had his cooler full of fresh fish and was already telling me how he was going to fillet them up and grill them over the fire.
Before Cedar Key, Cindy and I were never really into eating fish and except for a few choice dishes, I'd pass on fresh fish almost every time it was offered. Lately, with our good friend Danny always dropping off fresh smoked Mullet or thick Red Fish Fillets, we've been loving the change. Mix that in with the fact that we're so broke right now, any meal counts, we're finding that we like the fish given to us by the locals knowing it keeps us from having to make the long drive into Chiefland to restock the refrigerator.
You can tell that fall is upon us just by paying attention to the birds in the air. As Heath was pulling in the cast net and dropping the fish on the deck of his boat, they'd be flipping around and slapping themselves against the deck trying to get back in the water.
I noticed a big shadow cross our wake and looked up to see a gigantic bald eagle soaring only about 20' above our heads. The majestic bird was looking for a hand out and wanted us to toss him one of those fish.
I kicked myself for only having brought my 16-35mm lens on my camera because the bird was close enough that if I would have had one of my bigger zooms, I would have been able to capture some great shots.
The eagle landed on a nearby branch to see if we were going to throw out any fish, but except for tossing back a few Red Fish that werent of legal size, everything Heath brought in with the net went into the ice chest.
As we motored back to the wooden boat, we spotted a few more eagles and a immature bald eagle that dwarfed the two adults flying with it. It's funny that the immature birds look so much larger than the adults. I guess the feathers on a immature bird are much more fluffy than the feathers on the adults. This gives the perception that the younger birds are actually bigger than the adults, which is really confusing when an amateur like me is trying to identify different species.
Back at the wooden boat, we got to work rigging up the pumps and weighing down the intake hoses deep in the belly of the boat. We wanted to make sure we stayed in front of the tide this time and kept as much water out of the boat as possible.
With as many holes as this old beauty has, the pumps would be working hard to keep the wood floating.
As the tide came flooding in, we marked the sides of the dock against the boats railing to see if it was floating or simply staying stuck to the bottom.
With each passing minute, the boat would move up a little telling us our new plan of action was working.
As the tide kept lifting the boat higher and higher, Heath strapped his boat to the bow of the big yacht and threw his motor in high. His prop was washing off all the silt that was keeping the yacht stuck to the bottom.
As soon as he started doing this, the boat raised up at a much faster rate.
Right from the start we were able to move the boat out away from the sea wall a few feet thinking this was going to be much easier than we had originally thought. But what we learned after the boat lunged forward before coming to a halt was it had simply moved out of the hole it had sunk itself into and was now sitting on the surface a few feet in front of the hole.
Heath had his 90hp Mercury pinned which was kicking up quite the wake and he was maneuvering back and forth in front of the boat to help wash the bottom of the big, heavy yacht.
I hooked some more ropes to the stern of the boat and started pulling while standing on the dock.
Slowly but surely, we watched as the boat kept inching forward towards deeper water. When we finally cleared the end of the long dock and the big wooden yacht was floating freely in open water, we untied the ropes and positioned Heath's boat beside the yacht so he was tied from both front and back and the boats were strapped to one another as one.
Now we were in open Gulf waters and we were half tempted to just unstrap the big boat, let the winds take her as far as the pumps would run on the fuel they had in their tanks before she sunk and became a new reef.
But we were this far into it now, we had to keep going.
The first thing both of noticed was how smooth this big, wooden boat floated. In the open water, Heath's little boat was bouncing around like a pebble in a fast flowing river. Getting onto the wooden boat, you could barely feel a wobble and I could have probably performed an operation the ride was so smooth.
Making good time, we were coming into the main channel just as the tide was starting to recede. We only had a few precious minutes to get the big girl to the Low-Key Hideaway before we'd be sitting back on the bottom without any water around us.
As we were starting to make the last turn, we noticed that the ejection port from the pump wasn't pushing as much water as it had been.
I jumped into the belly of the boat to see what the issue was and noticed that the intake hose had become gummed up with a bunch of debris. In the minute it took me to pull the screen out of the water, clean it off and get the pump primed again, I went from standing in ankle deep water to almost knee deep water.
The extra weight of the water brought the boat deeper below the surface which wasn't good because of the bayou losing water so fast with the approaching low tide.
I heard Heath yell something about hitting bottom, and by the time I came up from the belly of the boat, I noticed we were behind the motel. Not where we wanted to be, but we were close.
I asked why we were just sitting there and Heath said "Because you're boat is sitting on the bottom."
We had made it as far as we were going to go today I guess. Cindy was out on the end of the dock laughing at us two idiots and saying "Leave it there, I actually like the way it looks out there!"
We cleaned up a bit and headed into town for some lunch after a very successful day.
Friday night Heath invited Cindy and I over to his house where he grilled that Red Fish over an open fire which was some of the best tasting fish I've ever had.
With drinks in hand, Cindy, Jolie, Heath and I all laughed about the silly boat, the last weeks worth of Cedar Key rumors and tried our hardest to think up some new ones we could get started.
Saturday morning I woke up to Cindy on the phone saying "Sure Pat will go with you!"
I walked out to the kitchen asking what she was volunteering me for and she simply said "Get ready, Heath will be here in 10 minutes to pick you up."
We spent the day out at his property in Rosewood with his girls, Freddy and his boys and a bunch of dogs.
I felt like hell from too much Scotch washed down with cold beer last night and didn't really feel like going out in the sun all day, but the day turned out to be a blast as usual.
Freddy is the guy who has done all the work around the motel for Cindy and I. He's a great guy that within a few days of us moving into town, stopped by to introduce himself and let us know that if we needed anything, he'd be here within a few minutes of the phone call.
On numerous occasions we've called him for this or that and he's always been true to his word.
Cindy has a nickname for Freddy and now calls him "Full Throttle Freddy". This is because of his F-250 that has a high performance chip in it and a big 6" exhaust. You never hear Freddy take off that the truck isn't screaming like he's running the quarter mile.
While working out at the property, the kids all came back on their 4-Wheelers covered in mud. There is a big area that was all flooded out and they were having a riot driving the quads through the slop.
Of course this meant us big kids had to go see what it was all about.
Freddy jumped up, yelled out "Pat, grab that camera of yours, we're gonna go have some fun!"
The next few hours is what you might call good ol' Redneck fun. This was what I spent my youth doing. Working all week to go out on the weekend and see what we could get stuck.
Freddy was doing good at first. Heath and I were just watching and laughing as he slung mud in every direction around his screaming truck.
Then the truck just came to a halt with all four tires spinning with no momentum. This meant he had hit bottom and was now resting on his frame.
A four door F-250 isn't a light truck. Heath's F-150 wasn't going to do any good, and calling Cindy to bring out my truck got us nothing but a loud laugh as you heard the phone disconnect.
Heath and I went into town to get my truck and some larger straps. Over the course of the next few hours, we broke every chain, strap and rope we could find no matter how we hooked them up.
When a passing motorist finally stopped and just happened to have a rope the size of my leg in his truck, we were able to free the stuck Ford and our days fun was finally over.
It's something to see the ass end of my truck to almost come off the ground as it snatches another truck out of the Florida mud. Luckily Cindy wasn't here to see this, but damn was it fun. Maybe she'll think twice before she volunteers me to go out for the day with the boys.
Saturday October 2nd 2010 -
I'll start first with the wooden boat since that's where I had left off in Septembers Blog.
I had mentioned that we were in the process of trying to float a big wooden yacht that had sunk in a few feet of water over to the Low-Key Hideaway to be able to use it as a Themed Room.
Well that plan has gone down hill fast, or maybe I should say "Has sunk really fast."
We thought we had it all figured out. Our pumps were working and we actually had the boat floating at one point.
We brought over the boat we had planned to tow it out of there with thinking I'd show up early, get the pumps running and by the time High Tide came around, all we'd have to do is tow the big girl across the bayou to its new home. Sounds Easy Right?
Well that was till I showed up at the dock the next day only to find Heath's boat sunk. Yep, you're probably as confused as I am about that statement.
Heath had left his boat at the site so all he'd have to do is come over right after work; I'd have the yacht all pumped out and waiting for the tow and we'd crack open a few beers and start the fun.
Problem is the dock we left his boat tied up to isn't built like a normal dock, but then again nothing in Cedar Key is really built normal - just for the record.
When we left his boat that afternoon, it was low tide and it was sitting almost on the bottom of the bayou. We tied it to the dock, but when high tide came in, it lifted the boat up which brought it underneath the dock. Like I said, the dock isn't built like you'd normally expect a dock to be built with poles to guide a boat up and down along during the fluctuations of the water.
So I show up and see his boat sitting under water, motor and all, and call him up right away saying "Hey Man, I'm thinking you need to come here pretty quick!"
Of course he thinks I'm just messing with him till I swear on someone's grave so he'll know I'm not lying.
So rather than have everything ready to go and we simply pull the wooden girl over to the Low-Key Hideaway, we spent the next 8 hours getting his boat out of the water and to a service facility to get the motor running. Remember this is a working boat and was expected to be able to be used the next day to harvest clams. It cant be down because of some silly sinking.
The ordeal of raising a boat like this, which is a custom made Air Boat body that has been retrofitted with an outboard motor isn't something you just do. It was a long process and something you'll have to hear about over beers if you come and visit us in Cedar Key.
This also means that Cindy thinks the wooden boat has a curse on it and she doesn't want to have anything to do with it.
Remember the 1st day we went over to work on it, our little friend we were babysitting fell through the hatch. This time while working on it we sink a boat and we've yet to get it moved away from the dock.
Then on top of sinking the boat, while trying to pull it out of the water with the truck and trailer, Heath gets his truck stuck which means I have to tow him out with my truck. So in one day, we get to use almost every toy we have. Pumps, generators to run the pumps, trucks to pull things out, Chains and Tow Straps, 4-wheel drive.....the toys just kept being pulled out of the various garages around Cedar Key.
We also found out after doing some measuring that it's too big to fit into the RV Slot I thought it would fit into. This is another reason Cindy doesn't want to have anything to do with it.
It was one thing if it would have fit into a slot we rarely use, but if it's going into one of the slots we rent out on a weekly basis, then it'll be costing us alot more than it would be worth.
So the plans have changed, but the boat still has to be moved, so I'm sure I'll have more good stories to tell as we try and move it from it's current location.
Last night we were sitting in the living room just kicking back and relaxing when the door bell rang. Not too unusual on a Friday night. We were full and we had the No Vacancy sign hung out front, but most people never even look at that and they'll still come knocking anyways.
I walked into the front office to see three smiling faces staring back at me.
The young girl, Lynn spoke first and said "Are you Pat?" When I said "Yes", she said in her heavy English accent, "We've spoken back and forth on the Expedition Portal Forum and you had mentioned that if we were passing by to make sure and stop."
At first I had no idea who they were because that forum has so many members and lots of people say they're going to be passing through. Fellow travelers always through out the invitation for a place to crash especially for people who are epic journeys around the Globe. Most of those folks are on pretty strict budgets, so if a fellow traveler can help a friend out, then the offer is always open.
They must have been able to see the confusion in my eyes so they told me the name of their website. Atlantic Rising Oh Yeah, now I know who they were.
I have been following along since they left England last September. These 3 explorers left Europe last year heading South. They followed the Atlantic Ocean into Western Africa where they hopped onto a boat and crossed over to South America.
There they followed up the coastline through various countries and only recently have they entered into the United States.
Their goal is to educate people on the effects of Climate Change and what will happen if the oceans were to rise by only a few feet. Low lying communities like ours that border the coastline would be wiped out and would disappear
They've done all this traveling, some 24,000 miles in a Land Rover 110 with a Roof Top Tent strapped to the top.
Now that I knew who they were, we made some formal introductions and got them settled into a campsite.
I told them to give me a few minutes and I'd change and take them into town so they could grab some dinner. It was late and Cindy was already in her pajamas, so she opted out of tonight's adventure, but Will, Tim and Lynn piled into my truck and we headed down town.
Funny that I take my truck for granted, but their first words upon crawling in was "Wow, this thing is so big and roomy, what kind of truck is this?!"
I guess a 4-door Ford is much bigger than a 4-door Land Rover.
We had a great evening in town just sitting out back at the Pickled Pelican eating dinner and sharing travel stories.
Our friend Luz also had a blast having everyone try the bag of Late Night Cheeseburger Doritos I had brought up to the bar. If you've never tried these marvels in science, you have to do so.
It's amazing that they can come up with a corn chip that literally tastes like you're eating a cheeseburger with each bite, but they cant find simple cures for major diseases.
Back to our Celebrity Guests.
Their past year has been amazing and I cant wait to either read the book, or watch the documentary. Between the 3 of them, they have a member behind a video camera, a still camera and multiple hands writing about what they see along the way.
They've visited some amazing places and hopefully with some much needed support, their message will get spread far and wide.
If you're looking for a place to donate some money for a good cause, please check out their website.
This morning we woke to watch a dolphin show off the back dock that left us all speechless. It's mornings like this when I feel really good about what we're doing. To wake up with people who have traveled the globe and have them say things like "WOW, this is utterly beautiful! I can see why you've stopped traveling to stay in a location like this."
Even though I really wanted to take them out on the water, show them some of the amazing sights to see around here, I also know how it is when you're traveling full time and have a chance to use a High Speed internet connection and catch up on emails and Skype phone calls.
Once the sun was up and the Dolphins had done their thing, we all went in the house as they gathered around the kitchen table to make phone calls home to the parents, update their blogs and answer their emails.
Cindy and I left them alone to get their stuff done because they had to leave by noon to make it to Sarasota by 5pm to give a presentation at a Land Rover Dealership.
They did have a chance to ride the bikes into town to see it in the daylight and grab some of Tony's World Famous Clam Chowder. I told them it would be a sin to visit Cedar Key and not taste the Clam Chowder that has won the world championship 2 years in a row.
So with plenty of hand shakes and photos taken, we all said goodbye and as quick as they pulled in, they were off on their way South.
One of the reasons they're in such a rush is they were held up for 6 weeks at one of the borders in South America which has put them way behind schedule. There are some serious politics and paperwork issues to deal with when you have 3 people from different countries traveling in a vehicle that is also from another country that is loaned to them by Land Rover.
I can only imagine how hard that must have been to be waiting on paperwork and not be able to do anything about it for 6 weeks.
So we said goodbye to Lynn, Tim and Will and went back to our normal lives. It's little meetings like that which keep the Wanderlust alive and surging through my veins.
Someday soon Cindy and I will be planning our next big adventure. Until then, we can live vicariously through fellow travelers like the 3 who came to visit.
Camper Check List - A list of things we do before leaving camp. Again, this isn't gospel, but its a good start for those who might not already have a list made up.