Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Bern, NC to Solomons, MD (Mar 20, to Apr 27,2014)

After some careful weather watching, Joe decided that Thursday, March 20 was the day to leave Northwest Creek Marina in New Bern.  It was in the 40's as we cast the lines off.  Who knew that we would consider that a reasonable temperature.
 It's been a long cold winter in New Bern.  At one point we had 12" of snow on poor Carolyn Ann's deck!  Thank goodness we had installed the new diesel heating system the winter before.  We stayed snug and warm as we mopped up the condensation inside the boat.  I swear it was actually raining in one cabinet.  In an attempt to cut down on condensation and add some insulation, Joe covered the windows and doors with bubble wrap.  Actually, it worked pretty well and didn't block the sunlight!
Winter wasn't all bad, of course.  We celebrated Thanksgiving in Cary, NC with our son, his wife and our two wonderful grandsons.
 Alex, now three, is talking up a storm (saying the funniest things!) and, thanks to a little melatonin, is finally able to sleep at night. He loves to look at pictures of people - and remembers all their names. He also loves to watch Colbert - a habit his parents are trying to break.
Samuel was the perfect baby and, at one, continues to have a laid back personality - most of the time.  We had a quiet Christmas Day with Jerry and Janet (GH37 at last, formerly Forever 39).  After a visit with my sister Jean and her husband Rich, my other sister, Lynn, and I went to the beach at Duck for a chilly weekend.  Early the next week we met Joe at son John's house and celebrated a belated Christmas with the kids and toasted the New Year.  Alex loves music and received a keyboard this year to go along with the drum set John made him for his birthday.
After seeing a list of what a ten month old really wants for Christmas, Joe gave Samuel a roll of toilet paper.  He loved it!  
Daughter Caitlin and her husband, Andy, didn't make it from Washington for the holidays as they had hoped, but instead settled on their "new" house in North Bend, WA, overlooking a river that I can neither pronounce nor spell.  The house looks wonderful, though.
We made several trips to Cary to visit John's family and help them with their house hunting.  They didn't exactly have to twist my arm to get me to come to look at a few houses!  They found one on the north side of Raleigh and will settle on it soon.  More on that later.
Luckily, as we cruised down the Neuse River to the ICW, our last trip down the river remained a distant memory.  That trip had been one of the worst beatings we could remember, but on this day the river was calm and we enjoyed a long cruising day before reaching our anchorage in the Pungo River.  After another long day we reached Coinjock, VA.  At first we were going to stay in Coinjock an extra night because of weather coming through, but the timetable had changed and we decided the earlier we got moving the better it would be.  Along this route there are several bridges that need to open for us to pass, but they only open on restricted schedules.  We were moving at a fairly slow pace - even for us - so we wouldn't arrive too early at a bridge that only opened on the hour.  A large sport fishing boat radioed from behind us that he'd like to pass - he was hurrying to make the opening an hour earlier than we were.  We slowed down for him and he gave us a nice slow pass.  This might not seem like much, but even at a fairly slow speed, those boats can produce an uncomfortable wake - we were almost smashed into the rocks by one once.  At any rate, this guy was a pro and passed us nicely and continued on his way.
 But, as we approached the bridge - way more than an hour later - he was tied up to a wall having lost a clutch.  He asked for a tow to the marina we were both planning to go to.  After his courteous pass we could hardly refuse.  Fenders were dropped and lines were secured to attach the sport fisher to Carolyn Ann's starboard side - and we even made the bridge opening that we'd been trying for - an hour later than the one he'd been trying for.  It was a bit of white knuckle trip for Joe as we had to go under several bridges that had rather narrow openings but we eventually arrived at the Atlantic Yacht Club in Great Bridge/Chesapeake, VA.  We moved to the fuel dock before heading to a slip and a work boat towed our friend into the work area.  As Joe was putting in the fuel, the captain who we'd towed came up and paid for 100 gallons of our fuel!  We told him that was awfully generous but he insisted that he had an engagement that he could not miss and could not have waited for a tow boat to arrive.
So we got Carolyn Ann all nested in; Jean came and drove us to New Bern to pick up our Explorer - and then the fun began!  We drove to Raleigh on March 31.  Settlement day for our son and daughter-in-law.  We met up with them at their rental house and packed up what we could in the Explorer and drove to the "new" house.  Then a friend, Emilie, was kind enough to drive us to the airport for our flight to Pensacola. Our friend John had offered his hospitality and picked us up.  After a great dinner with Joe's brother Mike and his wife Bev - who did all the work! - we went to John's house and crashed.
The next morning we picked up a Penske truck, drove to our storage unit and hired a couple of guys to load it all up for us.  John cooked us and some neighbors another great dinner and we crashed again.  We took two days to drive the much less than comfortable truck up to Raleigh where two more guys unloaded it all for us.  Our son John now has unlimited use of all the tools and furniture and anything he can find in a box.  And we have storage space in the unfinished basement.  And we were all tired!
The new house is great, the neighbors are hospitable and the setting reminds us all of Accokeek, MD, where John grew up.  Actually, so many of his old friends are now living the area we've started calling it Accokeek South.

After getting things reasonably settled in the house, we rented a car and returned to Carolyn Ann in Chesapeake, VA.

Jerry and Janet (GH37 at last) arrived to spend some time at Atlantic Yacht Basin between some planned road trips.  We managed a dinner together before we took off to head north again.

The bridge opened and we locked through - going up about a foot.  Not one of our more dramatic lockings.  In less than three hours we were tied up at the south ferry dock in Portsmouth, VA.  This is our traditional stop to go see a movie at the Commodore Theatre.  We thought we'd be seeing Noah, but the day before we arrived they had switched to Johnny Depp's Transcendence.  Not a fantastic movie, but not bad and we always enjoy the experience.
The weather was not looking great, so we moved about two hours north to Hampton, VA to cut some time off our run up the Chesapeake Bay.  The next day we got an early start and stopped in Kilmarnock, VA before the predicted storms hit.  We didn't have much of a storm, but the bay didn't look good for the next few days.
Finally, on Friday the 25th we left before dawn to beat the next storm.  Our run up the bay and past the mouth of the Potomac - which can be rough - went well.  As we neared Solomons, though, the wind was starting to pick up.  We made it to our friend's dock in Helen Creek before the storm showed up.
We had been trying to get to Judi's house as quickly as we could.  About a month earlier, her husband Jim had passed away suddenly.  We visited with Judi for a few days, tried to do anything we could for her, and raised a glass in farewell to our good friend who always considered the Patuxent River his home.  Rest in peace, Jim.

More pictures on picasa http://picasaweb.google.com/joseph.pica

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