Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Swallowing the Anchor: The Final Blog Update

The Admiral has informed me that it is my duty to write the final blog update, and it deeply saddens me to put these final words and photos together. :-( After 5+ years, 22,000+ miles, 149 locks, and too many new friends to count we have officially become C.L.O.D.s (“cruisers living on dirt,” for those who don’t know)!

At the end of our last update we had made it to St Petersburg and were awaiting the arrival of the soon-to-be new owner, Mike Sharp, to deliver the boat to Ft. Myers. Mike arrived around 9:00 on Wednesday, November 9th, and I spent the first hour with him in the engine room showing him how to change the oil in the engines. We also spent time going through systems and maintenance schedules for most of the equipment on “Life’s2Short.”

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We got away from Cathy’s dock around noon and headed over to Gulfport Marina to pump out the holding tanks. I figured we had moved pretty much all of our stuff off the boat and this was the last thing we needed to do to make sure all our “crap” was out of the boat! ;-)

A final picture with the Admiral on the bow of “Life’s2Short” before pulling away from Cathy’s dock.

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Mike and I had a beautiful day on the water. Tampa Bay was smooth and the traffic was very light on the Intracoastal. Our destination for the evening was Robert’s Bay, an anchorage we had never stayed in during the many times we headed south from St. Pete to Ft. Myers Beach. We arrived 40 miles later at Robert’s Bay and, after moving slowly into the anchorage because of “skinny” water, we had the anchor dropped shortly before dusk. The Captain spent some time with Mike showing him how to deploy the dinghy off the sundeck and then grilled steak for dinner for our first night out on the water.

The next day our plan was to cruise the 70 miles to St. James City. NOAA Weather was predicting some strong winds out of the north starting that evening and we wanted to find a place up against a south-facing shore to anchor. It was another beautiful day on the water with many more cruisers out and about. We arrived St. James City around dusk and found the holding there to be outstanding. I was going to have no problem sleeping when the wind started blowing later that evening.

Mike wears long sleeves and slathers on the sunscreen to protect his skin from the sun’s damaging rays!

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After eating a dinner of barbecued pork chops and consuming some beer and wine we were treated to a beautiful full moon. I was feeling very nostalgic on this, my final night aboard, so I spent a good hour sitting out on the bow, drinking wine and reminiscing about all the great times we’ve had over the past five-and-a-half years… and Lord knows we have had a bunch of those!!!

We were up early Friday morning and as predicted the wind was howling out of the north. Since most of our cruise that day was in protected waters the wind didn’t really affect our trip much. Our destination was Owl Creek Boat Works, 25 miles up the Caloosahatchee River. Owl Creek is where Mike had made arrangements to have “Life’s2Short” hauled out of the water for the insurance survey.

It was an uneventful trip as we cruised through downtown Ft. Myers and we were in the sling at Owl Creek by 12:30. Brenda, who had rented a car in St. Pete to drive down and pick me up, arrived just as we were pulling into the sling so her timing was perfect, as usual. After exchanging a cashier’s check for the documentation to the boat, we bid Mike and “Life’s2Short” goodbye for the last time. It was very emotional for both of us as we drove away and realized that this chapter of our life had come to an end.

Our final view of “Life’s2Short.”

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We arrived back in St. Pete later that afternoon, and after filling the rental car with the last of our worldly possessions, we enjoyed a nice evening with Cathy hanging out and watching TV. A HUGE thanks goes out to Cathy and her “kids” for all she has done for us over the past five years. We started our journey at Cathy’s back in 2006 and ended it there five-and-a-half years later. Thanks for everything, sweetie, especially your friendship!

Our rental was packed to the gills with the remainder of our belongings.

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Our plans for the next few days were to stop and visit friends as we headed north to Springfield, MO. Our first stop was at Lisa & Steve’s who live north of Tampa. We spent both Saturday and Sunday night there playing games, going out to the barn to feed the horses, eating great food and just enjoying their company. Thanks again for the hospitality, we’ll see you in Vegas in 2012!

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Monday morning we continued the journey north. Our first stop was Crystal River to spend a little time with our good friends Bob & Phillis. Bob & Phillis, who we met in 2007, have been a tremendous support over the years and we are thankful that Mo turned us on to them! We also got to see Mo’s good friend Joe again while we were there.

After spending a few hours in Crystal River we were on our way again. We didn’t have a destination for the evening so we just continued in our rental car in a north and easterly direction. We ended up that evening in Mobile, AL with plans the next evening to be in Tunica, MS for a little slots and card action. We arrived Tunica late afternoon the following day and took a room at Harrah’s. That evening we wandered around a few casinos but didn’t do any good with our gambling endeavors.

The following morning we drove the final six hours back to Missouri. After stopping at Brenda’s niece's home for the night, we finally made it back to our new home in Springfield Thursday afternoon, November 17th.

Sitting in front of the fireplace on our beach chairs in our empty living room using a cardboard box for a table. Time to go furniture shopping!

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The evening of November 18th, we got together with some friends and former co-workers at a local establishment in downtown Springfield called Boca Mocha for happy hour. The group meets the fourth Friday of each month but was meeting on the third Friday in November because of Thanksgiving.

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The following week we went back to Brenda’s family’s for Thanksgiving and spent some more time with her niece, Jennifer.

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We were invited to a holiday party on the campus of Missouri State University the evening of December 3rd. The Captain hasn’t been this dressed up in a very long time. Where are the flip flops and shorts?

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It is now mid December, the butter has hardened, there is snow on the ground, and today is the first day we’ve seen the sun in the last five days. Needless to say we (at least one of us) are missing that warm Florida sunshine! The Admiral is happy to be in her new home and to be able to go to the store and run errands any time she wants. We have about half of the new home put together with furniture and accessories and hopefully we’ll be ready for guests after the first of the year.

What’s wrong with this picture?

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Brenda has interviewed for a position with Missouri State University and we hope to hear back from them within the next week. The Captain has yet to put together a resumé but will get on that project by the end of the month. He has no idea what he’s going to do but feels confident that the right job will come along.

It’s still hard to believe that this chapter in our life is over. I find myself still thinking we are on a “vacation” from “Life’s2Short.” We’ve had a great run over the past five-and-a-half years and we feel very blessed to have been able to have this adventure so early in our lives. A BIG thanks goes out to all of our friends and blog followers. We’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you and hearing from others via comments on our blog.

And to those of you we’ve become very close to, we want each of you to know how much you have enriched our lives while on the water and how thankful we are for your close friendships. Please, please, please, keep in touch and let us know how your lives are going… both on and off the waterways. And if you happen to see “Calypso Poet” out on the water tell Mike you used to know her as “Life’s2Short.” Happy Holidays to ALL of you and may peace and good health follow you throughout your time on this earth!

10 comments:

Iceman said...

So here I sit 6' 1" 270 lb with tears of happiness and sadness trickling down my cheeks, being thankful for stumbling across you guys at 'The Falls' some 6 years ago. It is a wonderful friendship, and although I will miss seeing you pull up to 'Our Sunset Point of View' on Life's2Short, I eagerly await your arrival back here via whatever transportation. Your suite awaits my friends.

Roy and Doon said...

It's obvious what's wrong with the photo - Brenda should be cutting the lawn.

Women are genetically predisposed to this type of work as their feet are smaller, making it easier for them to stand closer to the lawnmower controls in the same way as it is for them to stand closer to the sink.

Now will someone please pass me my hard hat before Brenda actually reads this............

Anonymous said...

“Off Island” will miss you in the Exumas! Who can forget that “liquid” night on board…
Paul
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I hope you have a wonderful new adventure with your home, jobs and every day life. I enjoyed the time we had at Bonita Bill's and St Patty's Day/birthday celebration for sure. Ginger
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Hi Brenda & Todd,
The very best to the both of you. Meeting up with you guys was one of the nicest things to happen to Robin & I while cruising. And ditto, if you ever get near the Big Apple give us a heads up and while put the sheets on the guest bed. Merry Christmas and a very happy & healthy New York,
Robin & Warren
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Hi Guys,
Sad reading your "last" blog it brought back memories of of when we walked away from Bold Endeavour - over a year ago now and my how time flys! Don't make it your last blog. Life is too short and the boat's old name can stil be a rallying cry for new adventures on dirt. Doon and I found that for a long time after leaving the boat that our "lives" had come to an end and I in particular got very down for a while. We decided to keep our blog going and to have different adventures - but still adventures and still stuff that your friends and family will want to hear about - especially those that you are not in contact with on a regular basis. Good luck with the job hunting. A year on we have settled back into dirt dwelling, but despite begging Doon to NEVER allow me to buy another boat EVER I still hanker after one and a return to the crusing lifestyle.
Maybe it's something that never leaves you and you just have to reconcile with. But as Brenda has noted she is enjoying beeing close to family and like her we enjoy the 'luxury" of driving to the supoermarket in a few minutes instead of a trek in a dinghy, a long walk - the return with a rucksack full of food on your back - and then a wet ride in a dinghy back to the boat. It's not all bad being a CLOD! Anyway enjoy your new life and please stay in touch - we dont' quite have a guest 'stateroom" in our apartment but you are welcome in the UK anytime! Roy and Doon
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We'll miss your blog postings which were an inspiration to us while we were planning our own cruising life. Luckily, we can still go back to it to refresh our memories about places you went, such as the Bahamas, which we have yet to visit. Thanks!
Sharon and Ken
M/V Docker's Inn
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Todd and Brenda,
It was with a heavy heart that I read your last blog. I can not begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed your posting about your adventures. Every morning at the restaurant when your latest blog would arrive it put a smile on my face and for a few moments I wasnt running a restaurant in Homewood, Illinois but out with friends on an adventure messsing around with a boat. As I mentioned to you I am actively trying to sell the restaurant without success at this time. Colletta and I have decided that if it doesnt sell by April 30 I will close it down. Not my first choice but life is too short. :-). That gives me a month to get the boat ready for her retirement from teaching on June 1st. Then our new adventure will begin. We will keep you posted. Thanks again for all the great memories you shared with all of us. Tom

Anonymous said...

What an amazing adventure. I loved following you guys on the blog. Hats off to ya. Love Connie

Todd and Brenda Lanning said...

Hi Todd and Brenda,

Wow! Back on the dirt again after 5 wonderful years … I’m sure with very mixed feelings. Lynnie and I had so much fun meeting and laughing with you guys over the years, and we hope we can see you again sometime. I hope it goes without saying that you are most welcome here in Cary, NC anytime you might be in these parts.

Hope you guys have a great holiday and a prosperous 2012, albeit back on the dirt.
Hugs,
Rick
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WHAT A FINE ADVENTURE ....I am so glad that we were able to share part of your experience...and look forward to another opportunity to visit and play. Keep us posted as to your on land life. Wishing the best to both of you and know you will continue to find success and many new friends. Hope the holidays are especially fun and rewarding. Sandi & John "That's Me"
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Sorry to hear. You guys had a good long run with the boat, and I'm sure a bunch of GREAT memories and photos. You got to do what alot of people would give an arm to do...! Good for you guys... Stay warm...
Fred and Mare Winkler
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Oh, you had me in tears as I read your final blog. I've so enjoyed reading about your adventures and ya know, you could still write one about being C.L.O.D.s now! Congrats on making it happen, good luck to Brenda about the job & may your home be filled with the fun & joy you've shared with others. Anyway, hope you're getting acclimated to the cold & you know you can't "mow" snow!
All the best to both of you & should your travels bring you to FL look us up. Have a wonderful white Christmas and a joyous New Year!
Hugs from Steve & Di
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Just read your last blog. It was strange to remember that the Admiral's name is Brenda. MSU had better do the right thing for B.'s application--wish we were there with some power for Todd.
All of our gang is expected for Christmas, coming and going for 2 weeks. We're hoping for enough snow to snowmobile but not enough for an avalanche that tends to block the road. We are watching the herd of 62 elk nibbling on what's left from last year and leaving their signs.
Merries, Nancy K.

oneseptember said...

I will miss following you along!
-Mike
Virginia Beach

Susan said...

Hello - and welcome to being a CLOD!!! We love our life on the dirt - but we always knew we didn't want to give up our home on land! Like you - we consider you both treasured friends and the memories are so special. Here's to making new memories. See you in Missouri, we hope - and Lake Powell??? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year - get out there and shovel some snow, Todd. It's good for your heart! Love, love, love.....

Mike T. said...

I’ve been following your blog for a few years, and have always enjoyed it.

I hope you don’t end it, but keep it going as C.L.O.D’s, and by the way I don’t see that as a derogatory term. I think it means you’ll return to cruising sometime in the future.

I’m surprised we never ran into you on the waterways. My wife and I just spent the last six years living aboard and cruising on our 40 foot DeFever. Our loss.

Like you, we just bought a house. The difference is our house is on the water, and our little DeFever is tied up to our dock in our backyard.

We sold our last house in 2006 when we started cruising.

I met several cruisers that year who sold their boats because they just had to get into the real estate market. I don’t think it worked out for them.

Anyway, we bought a waterfront house this summer because it was half priced, and for a home base. We plan on continuing our cruising in June of 2012.

My question is this - and maybe you have answered it on the blog - and I missed it - but what made you decide to give up cruising? None of my business you say? Fair enough.

My best to both of you, and thanks for taking us along for the ride.

Mike T.
DeFever 40 “Full Step”
Palm Coast FL.

Todd and Brenda Lanning said...

I remember when Chuck and I followed you two down the dock after you looked at the boat. I whispered to him, "I pick them for her new family." Glad you sold the boat and the new owner wil learn to be a better person. You can't help but grow when you boat.....grow or sink.

Have a great life. You sold your house at the right time and are now in a great buyers market for getting one now. Have fun. I imagine you will lay in bed and giggle for years remembering all the boating adventures. Chuck and I loved all those years of boating.

Take care. Even though you are now dirt dwellers you will always have boating in your viens.

Linda

Skimmer said...

Wow! I was in tears after reading your blog, but also realize you had a wonderful 5 yrs of cruising, that I have yet to do! So, welcome to the CLOD life. Maybe we should start another group - where one could trade one's boats for homes and jobs, so that everyone can try the cruising lifestyle? We hope to become cruisers in the next 3-5 yrs. We will keep our Florida home during our cruising, so we have a home base to come back to. That's the plan anyways. Thanks for keeping such a detailed blog on your journeys. It's good to see people actually out there "Living the dream".