Thursday, July 23, 2009 Barnegat Light NJ

July 23rd, 2009 john

Day: 278  Miles: 00   Total Miles: 2889  Locks: 23

Yep, we are still here.  As I grew up I spent my high school years living in North Jersey and always wanted to spend the summer at the shore.  You just never know, do you?

We had a great 4th of July weekend, with a get together at Barbara’s cousin and then watching all the fireworks from the top deck of the Emery El.  We could see fireworks 360 degrees around the boat, enjoyed all of their beauty and did not have to listen to the big booms.  (My kind of fireworks!)

I flew back to Memphis a couple of weeks ago and immediately returned with our own car.  Enough of this renting business!  When we depart, we will leave the car here and return to get it as our trip progresses.

Speaking of trip, it looks like we are here for a couple of more weeks.  Last weekend we drove to Altoona PA area for our annual family reunions.  It was especially nice to share the weekend with my sister from Gulfport MS and our son and daughter-in-law and our grandkids, Emery, Owen, and Oliver (Trouble Man) from Collierville, TN.  On Saturday we had my mother’s family reunion and on Sunday my father’s.  This is an annual tradition in the family that we try hard not to miss.

We have made a decision to get the leg better and then proceed with the trip as far a Brewerton NY where we will have the boat pulled in October and placed into a storage facility.  We plan to take our time and go slowly up the Hudson River and then across the Erie Canal to Brewerton, near Syracuse NY.   The plan is to winter the boat from October to May of next year and then return and continue our trip.  (Although after having lived in New Hampshire, May sounds pretty cold to me.)

I am now attending Physical Therapy sessions three times a week, so I am hopeful that I am on the right track.  Anyway I am having a good time teaching the PT’s how to do their job.  Right!

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Sunday, Barnegat Light NJ

July 3rd, 2009 john

Day: 258  Miles: 00   Total Miles: 2889  Locks: 23

We have finally discovered the sunlight!  What a difference.  We have had three straight days of sun.  That does not mean that it hasn’t rained, but the showers are so brief that they really don’t count.

We are staying just inside the Barnegat Inlet, located at the north end of Long Beach Island (LBI), New Jersey.  LBI is composed of many little towns strung side by each along the island with great names such as Surf City, Beach Haven, Loveladies, Harvey Cedars, etc.  Our marina is at the northern end in a town call Barnegat Light, which is where a famous East Coast lighthouse is located.  If fact they just got the lighthouse back in operation this summer.  We can see it just across the water from our boat with it’s ever-watching eye swirling in the night. 

The island has one bridge to the mainland and you can just imagine what the traffic is like on a weekend, especially Friday night.  This week, due to the 4th of July it started on Thursday.  To do any major shopping such as groceries, Home Depot, Lowes, etc, you have to go over to the mainland via the bridge.  So the word went out early this week:  “Make sure you make your run to the mainland by Wednesday.”  We did.

There is one major boulevard running down the length of the island.  It runs about 18 miles and is filled with little stores: ice cream parlors, putt-putt golf, restaurants, etc.    It is highly patrolled (don’t even think about driving fast), and has special pedestrian crosswalks all over the place to allow the summer visitors to walk to the beach    That will slow you down.

The view from the boat is absolutely fabulous.  We have been on the water so long it is easy to take a view for granted.  We are in the outer most slip in a marina that has maybe a hundred and fifty boats.  We can look out over the bay and see marshlands with all kinds of birds and wildlife. Directly across the little bay is another marina so we get to boat watch which is always fun.  There are three big charter fishing boats that take people out day fishing twice a day and also do sunset cruises.  Then just down the bay and across is a big merchant marina (Old Viking Village) with about 30 large steel hulled fishing boats painted in red or green.  They come and go at all hours of the day.  Again, it is all very interesting to watch. These boats are for commercial fishing with one of their biggest markets being sea scallops.  We went over to Fishman Village and bought scallops straight off the boats and had a wonderful dinner over at Barbara’s cousin’s home, about four blocks away.

The people at this marina have been very nice to us.  Yesterday, I was sitting on the aft of the boat reading and three different boats yelled greetings to me on their way out.  One stated that he though my boat was the prettiest boat in the marina. (I never thought of my boat being pretty, but of course I had a smile on my face that wouldn’t quit.)

This marina is really a condo yacht club.  Therefore they do not receive many transient boats.  There are some large sports-fishermen boats here, but our large trawler kind of stands out.  It did not take long for the word to pass around that this boat had come in from Memphis TN.   Can’t tell you how many times I have been stopped on the dock with the question “Did you really cruise that boat all the way from Tennessee?”

Then the other day I was walking down the dock heading for the parking lot.  There were two young women with a toddler between them coming toward me.  They were speaking in a European language so I had no idea of their conversation.  Then just as I passed them the little boy spoke.  It sounded something like “dsf sdfsdfsd sdfd sdf sfd sdff sdf sdfd, Santi Clauz”.  We all stopped and laughed then continued on.  It was just a cute moment.

This week Barbara went over to her sister’s home on the mainland in a wetland’s preserve.  She decided to take on a little project to paint the downstairs of her home.  What a beautiful view she has.  Anyway, that left me on my own to explore the local area.  The first night, I decide to treat myself to dinner at one of the local hot spots, Kubel’s.  At about 5:00 I sat down at the bar, just in time to meet three fishermen from Fishermen’s Village.  We had a great discussion, talking boats and swapping stories.  After they left I ordered dinner and the dinner crowd began pouring in.  Five couples came into the bar while awaiting tables in the restaurant.  Of course a conversation evolved and somehow (??) we got talking about the “Loop”.  One the gentlemen stepped forward to introduce himself and we had a great discussion.  It ended up with him giving me his name, email address, cell phone number and an invitation to stay at his yacht club, two miles north of the Tappan Zee Bridge on the Hudson.  The world of boating is full of great people.

After they were seated, I finished my dinner and was paying my bill when another couple came up and started a conversation.  They wanted to know where I was staying on the island, and of course that lead back to our Great Loop adventure.  They insisted that I join them at there table for “one more beer” so they could hear more about the adventure.

All in all I had a great night.  It is a good thing that I am shy.

Health Report:  Barbara’s eye is doing much better, we think that that crisis is behind us now.  My leg is doing.   I can walk fine, go up and down stairs fine, but at the end of the day it is really sore.  I don’t know if this is normal or not.  I go back to see the doctor on Wednesday.

Great Loop Plan:  Many of you have been emailing wanting to know if we will continue the Great Loop.  Barbara and I have discussed the options and all I can tell you is what we are favoring at this time.  We feel that if we try to continue to complete the loop in this calendar year we will not do it justice.  We will rush through the Hudson, rush through the Erie Canal, and then rush through the Trent Severn Waterway in Canada.  We do not want to complete the loop that way. 

So what we are thinking is that we will stay here until late July or early August, then we will resume our cruise up the Hudson, maybe going about 20 to 30 miles a day and really experience the Hudson.  We would like to visit West Point, the Roosevelt and Vanderbilt estates, etc.  Then, take our time exploring the Erie Canal.  There are so many small towns to see and we think we could spend August and September at our leisure there.  Then in October we would find a place to store our boat for the winter.  Go home (Yow!) and then come back in late May and continue our voyage.

What do you think?  Do you think I will ever get Barbara back on the boat?  I need a vote.

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