the journey


Back in the USA






transition



September 5, 2011

Location: San Francisco, CA

Two days ago I was sitting in a downtown San Francisco skyscraper office building wearing a suit and tie discussing finances. Yesterday I was out on an amazing 15 mile run in Point Reyes running through the moss-covered evergreens amidst thick dripping fog and footloose bobcats. Today Nicole and I did another session on DK in her slip in Sausalito slowly cleaning, sorting, and tossing our "stuff" from 5 years living onboard and slowly, slowly getting her ready for the market. As you can see, our daily life has been anything but boring, but "settling" and "slowing down" are still concepts we haven't quite grasped.

Yes, we are way overdue on our writing, on our BLOG, on our updates....we know.... And thank you friends and fans for keeping on us. For caring. For the little email reminders that you actually want to hear from us still and that our journey in some way has been entertaining, inspiring, or interesting to you on some level or another. And thank you to our fans out there who made the effort to stop by the boat to say 'hello' and meet us, and the ones that have wanted to hang with us but we couldn't work it out timing wise. That means so much and we are touched.

It's been over 2 months since we landed. It's hard for me to grasp that reality. Literally we feel like we haven't yet stopped and it still seems a ways off. But changes are indeed afoot and they are both exciting as well as a bit heavyhearted. When I used to work outdoor education courses I would often tell students that transitions are where the real psychological growth occurs, a difficult adventure bridging disorientation with reorientation. And that's pretty much what’s going on with Nicole and I....grappling with our reorientation with family, society, and our country. We are rocking in the ebbs and flows with a constant subconscious thought that keeps surfacing...how did we get here...did we really just sail around the world?

DreamKeeper, the boat



DK is almost ready to be put on the market. That is the bittersweet sorrowful reality of our lives. We need to say good-bye and it's not easy. In fact, it sucks. But we feel like we don't want to keep such a great boat sitting in a slip, not being used much and slowly depreciating both financially as well as physically. She is a blue-water cruiser and that's where she should be, at least we believe. We are hoping that the right buyer(s) will come along soon and embrace her as we have and take her out on another loop around the globe. That would truly make us smile.

We now have a yacht broker and we have some guys lined up to do some varnishing, polishing, and deep cleaning. Most likely in another couple of weeks she will be listed and we'll let you all know. Our part is almost finished.

Regarding DK, it has been a big 2 months. Being the way we are, and realizing that if she doesn't sell right away, we still want her looking and feeling good. That means work. Less then 2 weeks after we returned to the Bay, we decided to haul DK and did so at the KKMI yard in Pt.Richmond. Good choice. All I can say is everything we had done there was great and anytime I was there doing projects and needed a hand or to borrow a tool, it was given. Thanks again Jock and crew.

Because many of you are "boat people" reading this and truly actually care about this stuff, here's what we just did before splashing her back into the SF Bay:

*3 coats of Micron 66 Bottom Paint
*Grinded, buffed and re-painted all the scratches and dings in the hull
*Polished and waxed the entire hull
*Re-designed and re-painted the white boot stripe along the waterline
*Sent the Max-Prop back to PYI and had a full service done. It was just like new when I re-mounted it.
*Dropped the rudder, pulled the shaft, repainted the shaft coupling, replaced the cutlass bearing, replaced the dripless PYI shaft seal, and cleaned up all the tiller arms. Remounted the newly greased rudder, new rudder packing glands, and everything like new in there again.
*Replaced many interior plumbing parts
*Serviced and greased all the seacocks
*Pulled the Lighthouse Windlass and sent it back to the company for a full service. Re-mounted that heavy beast and cleaned up the wiring. Basically it's like a brand new windlass again.
*Re-galvanized our primary Delta Anchor

"Before"

"After"

Like I said, it's been a lot of work and it wasn’t cheap, but we are really happy with the results and feel like we can sell her in great conscience knowing everything we can fix has been done.
We will cross our fingers and hope she finds some new loving owners soon.

The Gypsy Wagon



About a month after we landed we bought a van. A '99 VW Eurovan to be exact. It is fitting for our transition....taking us from our boat to a new nest somewhere and allowing us to still travel around with our house. This time on wheels.

We are happy with our van but it wasn't quite what we wanted. You see, we’ve kind of had one in the works being put together for us. Did we ever mention that we are "planners"? ha ha.
The one in the works was a '95 Eurovan camper up in Oregon that was being converted from a V6 gas engine to a TDI diesel engine. Why, you maybe asking?
Besides the huge mileage per gallon difference (the TDI gets about 30-35 mpg and the V6 gets about 18-20), diesels can also run on bio-fuels. Nicole and I have also both been big proponents of trying to "walk our talk" regarding our environmental beliefs...in the automobile world, Nicole once having a VW Jetta TDI wagon that we ran on biodiesel and me having an older '85 Mercedes wagon that I converted to run on used vegetable oil. Having a TDI engine in our van to us is a win win and the way we would like to approach our re-entry life back into the land of automobiles, fuel consumption, and conservation.

But, unfortunately, the van wasn't ready and we would have had to wait an additional 2 months, for us not enough time before we had an camping and road trip engagement in the northwest.

So, we bought another Eurovan instead, and still have the diesel conversion plan for later. We will either have this one converted this winter when we have time or sell this one and have another one converted. Regardless, we are loving our current gypsy wagon.

NW Road Trip



At the end of June we piled into "Gypsy" and headed north, destination: the Columbia Gorge River. My dad, "old-young man windsurfer", whom at the age of 70 is still ripping up the Gorge and has been doing so for over 30 years there, has created an annual family and friends camping/windsurfing/kitesurfing trip and we are in. We camped at Maryhill Campground right on the river just outside of the Dalles for a week. My whole family, friends and their families, and other vagabonds and characters all showed up with vans, tents, motorhomes, bbqs, hammocks, bocce ball sets, dogs, and heaps of windsurfing boards, sails, booms, kites, harness', and boards.







I was there a whole week and we had 5 1/2 out of 7 days of wind, with 5 of us on kites and 2 windsurfing. All I can say is that by the end most of us were EXHAUSTED.






(Thanks Gia and Justin for the Photos)

Great re-connection time with everyone, massive amounts of fresh blackberries, dog and kid love galore, and plenty of time just to lie around in the shade and turn some pages in a novel was just what I needed to start the unwinding process of returning home.

After the Gorge, I drove up to visit with my family for a few days in Bremerton, Washington. Nic flew in from Salt Lake City a couple days later after helping our friend Bronwen at her booth in the Outdoor Retailer Show for a week. She had a great time, but was totally exhausted from it all. Not only did they work their butts off, but she also was able to hang out with 3 of her closest girlfriends and chat it up girly-style for days on end!



Nic and I then took Gypsy for a quick trip around Washington. We did a loop over to Leavenworth to see our good friends, Zack, Marion, and family. Then drove over the gorgeous North Cascades Highway where I ran the most beautiful mountain trail run I have ever run in my life. We dropped into Bellingham for a few days and hung with friends, Paul and Marijo, (thanks again Guys!) and then be-lined it south for a couple days in Bend, Oregon, a couple of days with Nic's Uncle/Aunt in Lake Tahoe, and then back to SF.

Unfortunately, the road trip was much faster then we had intended. DK was still in the boatyard and we needed to get back to finish the work on her and get her in the water....it was costing us $. Originally the plan was to have the boatyard work on DK finished and then spend some quality weeks up in Washington. We wanted to see so many other friends up there as well as spend more time in the beautiful NW places, but just couldn't swing it based on the time crunch with our boat. It was a bummer but thanks to all you guys up there for understanding our reality...next time.

Nicole, the Photographer

Well, it's now official. Nicole has a business name, a business card, and a website. Yay! I'm super proud of her.

Here's the link:
nicolefriend.com



With only a few galleries uploaded already, it's a great start and a great foundation for her to keep building on. She’s taking the leap to put herself out there professionally and I'm super excited for her. Nicole has some great ideas and projects for this year and for our next little road trip coming up.

If you are looking for an amazing, warm, extremely approachable, talented photographer to shoot some images for your small company, organization, agency, hotel, and/or lifestyle oriented magazine, brochure, or website, you can't go wrong. Email her!

Gar, the trail runner

I am finally getting my ass in shape again. It's been too long. With my strange breathing enigma this past 6 months (no it is still not resolved but at least not getting worse), lots of stressful and difficult travel on DK, and barely anytime for exercise, I needed a serious jump start. So I am running. A lot.

I’ve been eyeing this race in the San Juan mountains of Colorado this past year. It's in June, on Solstice, and is a tough one. A 50 miler trail run in the mountains at serious altitude. That's the goal. Of course, I got one of my best buddies in Boulder, CO, Billy, to go for it with me. He is always up for some crazy-ass challenging scheme of mine and this is a perfect fit for the two of us after already having rock climbed many big walls in Zion and Yosemite together....why not a 50 miler together?

But first, we need to qualify. We need to run an official "ultra race", basically any race longer then a marathon which mostly are 50 km races (31 miles), before the year ends. The one that works the best for us with timing and location happens to be in Utah right before Halloween. It's called the Goblin Vally Ultra, a 50 km trail run through the desert in a crazy beautiful part of Utah called the San Rafael Swell. We love the canyons of Utah. Perfect.

So I am running. Training. I have a pretty strict schedule and have been feeling better and better each week in both mind and body. My long runs on Saturdays are starting to push 20 miles and I've been able to find some gorgeous serene locations for my 2-3 hour plus outings. And just in case you are wondering, I've never really been a runner. I've only run a couple of short races with my dad when I was a kid and that's it. This is a whole new world for me, and I am loving it. I will keep taking one week at a time and hopefully the race in Utah will go well.

The Next Leg

Nicole and I are taking off at the end of the week. DK will be in our broker's hands and they will be running the show. It's not easy for us to release control, but that is what we are choosing. We think they will do a great job.

The upcoming road trip is going to take us east this time. This weekend we are heading up to Yosemite, one of my favorite places in all of the United States. Hoping for a few nights camping in Tuolumne Meadows with some beautiful hikes, trail runs, and quality time with just the two of us unwinding from the frantic SF Bay area pace we are still in.

Next week we will travel up to Bozeman, Montana, and then work our way down through Yellowstone and into Colorado.

The goals of this roadtrip are two-fold. To spend some quality time with some of our best friends and also to look for a new home. Yes, you heard me right, we are thinking we will try to find a nest in the mountains. As much as we love so many things about San Francisco and this area, there are also so many things we don't like about it. The good thing is that we will always be tied to this area with Nic's folks and relatives all here and also my sister and her family as well. Lots of connections both socially and professionally. And also our boat, for now.

But right now we are thinking about a mountain nest. And part of this next journey is to find a place to begin to settle. It might not be a perfect fit, but it will be a new beginning and a place to start unwinding from our crazy whirlwind of change. Both of us are realizing we still haven't grasped the reality of what we just did and that it's going to take time for it all to sink in and for the reflection to happen. We will do our best to be patient with the process, but know it's not always going to be easy.

So this next adventure in Gypsy will be another journey reconnecting with parts of America, places we love, and people we love. Nic is super excited to pop off her lens caps and start snapping away. We will both do our best to post a few blogs along the way to fill you all in, even if we are "off the boat". It seems like many of you still care. Thanks.

A BooK?

Yes, we are seriously considering writing some type of book. Even though initially freaked out by the idea, after getting so much positive support for this idea, we are almost convinced. We think if we do it it might be more of a collection of short stories from our journey with some of Nicole's images rather then a more day by day travelogue. If we commit, it will happen this winter once we are "nested". We'll keep exploring that option as time goes on. We're happily welcoming suggestions so please send them along.

Transition

So here we are, back on terra firma, completely moved off of DreamKeeper and searching for the next chapter in our lives. It hasn't been easy and at times tears have flowed. We are very sad about letting DK go and doing our best to adapt back into the world of USA. Some days are so great filled with optimism and joy and excitement, and on others we just want to scream at the top of our lungs, jump in our boat, and sail back out into the South Pacific.

We are living in the "between" right now, one foot in this new land we both come from, and one foot back out on the ocean slipping through the whitecaps with our flying fish friends. We don't know how our lives will unfold, but we are embracing the changes and doing our best to slow down and let it all sink in.

Thanks for being there with us. Thanks for caring.