Wednesday, March 4, 2015
I may have taken my longest hiatus yet between blog posts, and I apologize. I know we've been busy, but I'm not sure with what, but one thing for certain is that the sunsets never cease to captivate us every evening.
The sun is taking its seasonal trek across the sky and has been setting more and more to the "right" or north, from its position shown on the photo above. As the days progress, the sunset will be behind the trees on Knights Key, which is the first key as you come north from the Seven Mile bridge. I wonder if our rent goes down when the sunsets are not as spectacular? As it is, we pay a 5% surcharge for our slip on the western docks. Believe me, it's worth it.
So what do we do all day? The photo above will give you an indication. If we can roust Holly up from a good nights sleep, she usually assumes her second favorite spot on the boat (my lap) while we are having our breakfast and morning coffee.
During this time we watch the view from the salon as the fishing and pleasure boats are heading out for the day. We watch the morning news since we have T.V. now, and I catch up on activity on Facebook and check our emails. We limit ourselves to two big cups of coffee, but this ritual can last up to two hours. Time well spent.
Next is time spent on the boat in the form of mopping down the morning dew, or continuing our ongoing chore of waxing. Always waxing. Swing Set is looking good, and some of our boat neighbors have enlisted in the waxing brigade since they've seen what can be done with a nineteen year old boat. It's nice to have a positive influence on other boat owners, on occasion.
The boat isn't our only possession that requires maintenance. We've begun to use our Yuba bicycle for weekly, or bi-weekly grocery shopping trips. One morning I noticed that the front tire or wheel seemed to be out of round. I searched for a bike repair shop near us and found the Overseas Outfitters Sport and Bicycle Store just down the street and made plans to take our Boda Boda bike in for a "tune up".
We haven't had the bike but for about a year, and last summer we hardly rode it at all once we bought our Zuma scooter, but wheels need to be trued up, and gears need to be adjusted, and more importantly, I wanted to establish a working relationship with a local bike shop in case we really needed some other service work done on our bike.
We dropped the bike off in the morning and picked it up a few short hours later. The wheels had been trued and spokes were tightened, but I noticed that the front wheel was still out of round, or at least it looked like the wheel was out of round, but it was shown to us that the front tire had a bulge in it. We decided to just keep an eye on it.
A few days later we went to Publix on the bike and broke a spoke on the way home. We popped into the bike shop and they replaced a spoke while we waited. Sometimes once you start fiddlin' with something that ain't broke...you know the rest.
Again a few days later we started out on the bike and I found that the bulge in the front tire had turned into a tread failure. A big flap of tread was hanging off and tire cord was showing.
Up to the bike shop we went.
The bike came with white rubber tires that soon turned yellow in the Florida sun, so we went with the whitewall tires you see in the picture above. Spiffy, but I had expressed some concern over the tread thickness of these tires but bought them anyway. We then took the bike straight home, not a quarter of a mile away.
Just a couple of days later we uncovered the Yuba and the back tire was flat. Yep. Up to the bike shop we went. Again.
A small "wire" was found inside the tire and it had punctured the new tube. "Musta picked it up on yer way home last time", I was told. How can I argue with that?
I renewed my concern over the tread thickness and asked them if they sold tire liners, a rubber insert that goes between the tire and the tube. "Sure we have those, would you like to have a pair installed?", I was asked.
A good time to suggest installing those tire liners would have been when we bought the new tires and tubes, but better late than never they say, so we had the liners installed.
I haven't been giving you a running count of the charges up to now, but they weren't low, in spite of some small charges that were not applied "Since you were just here", but they were not inconsequential I can tell you.
But here's the thing...when we load up the Yuba for a grocery run, I am certain that we are exceeding the weight limits of the bike. You put me, Rosie, three cases of Budlight, and a weeks worth on groceries on the aluminum framed Boda Boda, it's like trying to steer a motorcycle with rubber handlebars.
So I'll take some blame for equipment failure. On our radar screen for the Boda Boda is new wheels with thicker spokes. The cost of this bike is approaching that of my first new car.
Holly gets maintained too. Here she is sporting a new haircut that I gave her. I shaved off her "mustache" because her eyes water and the long hair on her face gets "crusty" even with daily face washings. Her face is too tiny to safely cut between her eyes and where the long hair on her nose would start, so I just cut it all off. I think she likes it, and she got a compliment on her haircut from the vet on her annual wellness visit the other day. Yes, wellness visit.
I know I've mentioned the four foot long dockbox that we have on the flybridge of Swing Set, but here's another picture of it. The box sits right abaft of our flybridge lounger, with our motorcycle ramps hanging on brackets between the box and the seat.
I'd rather the ramps fit inside the box, but not only are they too long by about two inches, the box is loaded with cleaning and waxing supplies, buckets, towels, my orbital polisher, and various solvents. I have two smaller plastic tubs sitting above one large plastic tub so that I can more easily get to the stuff in the bottom tub by lifting out the two small ones.
Recently I replaced the two standard steel gas struts with stainless steel ones from Taylor. The standard steel struts just fall apart with rust in this salt environment. I also replaced the ones on our flybridge hatch and the small trunk hatch on our stern. They look great and they'll last.
But it's not all work, oh no. In the photo we are in the dinghy heading home from Sombrero Beach where we go several times per week. We had some visiting friends with us who took this photo, but we're starting to meet some other cruisers in the area who also frequent the beach. It's a good place to meet folks.
Speaking of visitors, we've had quite a few in the last several weeks. In no particular order, we've met a friend who keeps his RV at Stock Island and who drove up to Marathon to meet us at happy hour. Some other friends were passing through on their way to Key West and met us for lunch, and then again for breakfast as they passed through on their way back up to Miami.
We are getting blog readers popping by to say hello when they are in the area, too. One night as we were watching the waning moments of a sunset, I had just pulled some steaks off the grill and a blog reader showed up at the boat just to say "Hi". I hated rushing him off, but no amount of propriety is going to come between me and a freshly cooked steak.
Another evening a guy showed up to also say hello, again with no notice. We had a little more time, but he had a whole tribe of family out waiting in his car and he just wanted to let us know he's been following the blog "since day one", and he just wanted to voice his appreciation. I apologized for not having posted anything in a while and he asked me to write something, anything, even if I had to make it up. I said, "How do you know I don't do that already?"
We were coming out of Lazy Days, the restaurant here, one early evening and were met by six folks in the parking lot who had been to the boat and were looking for us. One of the fellas had also been following the blog from the beginning too. In fact, he was the one who bought our old Achilles dinghy. Luckily he was still happy with the dinghy.
We met some nice folks from England on the beach about a week ago and we took them out for a boat ride on Swing Set. As we were cruising through Two Sisters Creek we were hailed on the VHF radio. I switched to another channel and was met by yet another blog reader who noticed us passing by and just wanted to say hello. I think our new friends were impressed.
Some friends were passing through last Sunday on their way "back north" and wanted to meet for lunch, so we suggested Sunset Grille. We arrived by dinghy and got a good seat. The place is hoppin' every Sunday for "Sunday Funday", so not knowing when exactly they were going to arrive, we wanted a venue that we liked.
We were well into our first bucket of Budlights when a young man walked up and asked if we were Mike and Rosie. He didn't look like he wanted to punch me in the nose, so I said that we were. He told us that his parents read our blog, and that he had also begun to read it, hoping to do what we were doing some day. I said, "Oh, you want to be hiding out from the cops too?"
No, not really. But we get that most of our blog readers are folks who want to someday live on a boat somewhere, and they wonder how it works on a day to day basis.