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The boating life

On Thursday morning I got all my escrow paperwork done fairly quickly. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, it all seemed much more over whelming when I bought the house five years ago, but maybe that was because I was signing a new mortgage as well. With all pages signed and/or initialed, last minute lease documents received by fax, all that I needed to do was run by AAA to get the final signature notarized before dropping it all in a DHL pickup box. It all went smoothly and I picked up maps for the entire northeast while at AAA. I’d taken Tucker with me and took the opportunity to stop by the kennel he’ll be staying at when necessary. Tucker has never been kenneled, I’ve always been able to get a friend to watch him. I’m happy to say the boarding facility is really nice. It’s small, which is good, and they do both day and night care. The have several large indoor rooms, a couple small outdoor areas and one large outdoor area. At first I was a little bothered the outdoor area didn’t have much grass, in fact virtually none. However, he’s never had a yard before, so frankly a big asphalt play yard is a step up, and I suspect if the boarding facility had a grass yard it would soon be dirt and then mud anyway. Tucker does have a big yard now at Matt & Em’s, so that’s an improvement too. The daycare dogs are kept downstairs and inside or outside during the day, then there are rooms upstairs for the over night dogs. The rooms really resemble office cubicles with white picket fence doors on them. I think he’ll be happy there, especially since he’ll only be there with his two new buddies. With all that taken care of I grabbed a late lunch and headed back to the house to relax a little.

Matt and Em were planning on spending the weekend down at their boat, in fact Em was already down there when I arrived in. Lucky woman actually works from the boat at the marina a day or two a week. Gotta love wireless internet, and I’ve got to figure out how to do that some day myself. I was a bit worried about sending the dogs all off to the kennel so soon, but also liked the idea of Tucker spending two nights at the kennel, before spending six nights at the kennel as he would next week when we all head up to the Adirondacks.

Friday morning I dropped all three dogs off at the kennel and then took the opportunity to run a few errands. The first errand was to wash and vacuum the van. I expected the dog hair build up to be bad. I’ve long become accustomed to living with lots of dog hair in my car, on my clothes, on my bed, everywhere… I frequently find dog hair places the dog has never been, because it sticks to me and my stuff and the sheds from there. The hair build up in the van wasn’t as bad as I expected though. I am glad I’d put blankets over the bed and passenger seat, that helps a lot. I’d done it mostly to fend off dirty paws, but the fleece acts like Velcro to the hair and probably helped keep it from flying around the van. Exceeding expectations however was the incredible build up of dead bugs all over the front of the van. Bikes…. I could barely see the paint under or even between all the bug guts. I’d been squeegeeing the windshield at every gas stop, and once had to stop just to squeege bug guts off the windshield because I could barely see out the window one evening. Lots of scrubbing and pressure washing got most of the bug gut plaster off, but not quite all. I’m hoping in the next few weeks of driving in the rain the rest will finally slough off. With the van clean and empty for the first time in weeks I picked up a few things from the house and headed down to see Em at the boat. The boat by the way is in Elkton, MD. Technically it is on the Elk River, but it is basically an arm reaching off the northern tip of the Chesapeake Bay.

Friday afternoon was nice and relaxing with plenty of time to catch up with Em. That evening Matt got me an invitation to an after hours work event he and Em had been planning on attending. Which while I was looking forward to spending some time alone to write blog entries and get photos up to date sounded like more fun. The company he is currently working for has been making wine at a local winery for the last year. The group gets together every 3 months at the winery to drink a little wine and to do some of labor in the wine making. The first event was crushing grapes, the second event was just moving the wine into tanks and the third I think didn’t actually require any work, it was really just an opportunity to get together. During the first three events they get to drink leftovers from other groups that have made wine at the winery in the recent past. At his final event, bottling, they got to drink there own wine of which there were a couple verities. It was fun to see how the bottles get filled, corked and labeled. I was enlisted to help out and did a lot of corking and a little bottle filling. Once all the wine had been bottled and labeled, we all sat down for a bite to eat, some more wine drinking and socializing. All together a very fun company event. After the event we all headed back to the boat for a good sleep.

OspreySaturday we took the boat south and across to the Bohemia river were we hung out, swimming, eating, drinking and catching a few crabs. I could really get into this lifestyle. I’ve never caught crabs before (haha I’m sure someone will comment on this), however it’s an interestingly simple task. One takes a crab trap (a metal cage) places some bait in it (a chicken neck) drops it to the bottom of the bay and then periodically hauls it back up, hopefully with a crab inside. FWIW, the commercial style traps (called pots) are different in that the crabs actually get “trapped” inside the pot. In these crab traps the crabs can easily walk in and out of the trap, you’re just hoping you pull the trap up while the crab is in there picking at the bait. You also need to pull up quickly, as pulling up closes the trap, and if you hesitate the trap will open and the crabs scurry out. There is a lot of life on the bay, including these gorgeous Osprey that were nesting on this channel marker (click on the picture and you’ll see there lunch hanging off the side of their nest).

DSC 2122Saturday evening we took the boat back up the bay to met up with some of Matt and Em’s boat neighbors at for drinks and dinner. We all met at the Chesapeake Inn which also happens to be where Matt and Em keep their boat last year, so I’d been there before. It’s a fun place, but frankly I’m happy they don’t kept their boat there any more. It is a big inn and restaurant right on the water in Chesapeake City, with small marina. It attracts a big crowd, with live music and has lots going on all the time. It was a lot of fun getting to know their new boat neighbors, all of whom seemed really nice. Between the great neighbors and the much quieter, but still enjoyable, atmosphere of their new marina in Elkton I see why they’d rather stay in Elkton and visit the Chesapeake Inn. We headed back to their marina after dinner with bad weather treating to move in to continue the drinks, snacking and socializing.

I don’t think the rain actually hit until we were all asleep, but I woke well before sunrise to the sound of thunder. I got up and went above deck to watch lighting. I really love thunder and lighting, while I was treated to quite a bit while living in Idyllwild but it really is somewhat rare in most of Southern California. I am looking forward to lighting and thunder while I’m on the east coast, hurricane season is just starting after all. With the rain however we decided to head back home earlier rather than later on Sunday. Which was fine with me since I was already looking forward to picking the dogs up. There were lots of dogs on the docks, but managing all three of ours on the boat would have been nightmarish. Here are a couple of the dogs. Onyx, Tucker (another Tucker, not mine)DSC 2155DSC 2130-EditDSC 2150 , and Winnie.

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