Posted on June 30, 2018
Whatever the state of the bank account, we are undeniably rich in friends.
We had a fantastic weekend in Victoria, BC, visiting folks we hadn’t seen since Tino was two days old.
Yes, we were just in Portland, home of hipster microbrews and hyper-local cuisine; but not having had a real job between us in over two years, we kept out of the sweet restaurants and stuck to pizza. Our friends took our budget into account, and fed us just as though we were luxuriating in the coolest dining spots.
It was a bit of culture shock, after subsisting on Mexican beer for the better part of the year, but we quickly rose to the occasion when Ian stopped off at his favorite brewery to pick out some tasty beer for the weekend. So many environmental habits need to go a bit by the wayside when cruising, including conscientious refillable bottles; the denizens of Victoria have no such constraints, so we had three bottles to fill with local beer. Such a good system! Try before you buy, sample the goods, purchase what you need. Meanwhile, the kids were sampling some local, ice cream; we gathered them up and headed back to their lovely home for our first fantastic meal.
When our kids were babies, Kristina and I were in a six-mama hiking club; we toured all the local, county, and state parks, schlepping the little guys on our backs every week. Thank god I didn’t need to carry anyone the next day; our hike went basically straight up. The views were great, but our lazy boat butts were pretty challenged making it to the top.
It was really hard to say goodbye to these guys, without knowing when we might see them again. N has become a really competitive swimmer (she put in about three miles in the pool before that brutal hike), and as the kids all get bigger, it’ll be harder to pull them away for gigantic road trips–even for dedicated adventurers like our friends. Hopefully, they’ll be swinging through Madison, so we can repay them for their hospitality. Already planning a brutal hike.
Posted on June 23, 2018
After an intensive week of family and friends, we headed back to the wilds of National Park campsites with a trip up to Crater Lake. Everything was as beautiful as expected; what we did not anticipate was the freezing cold! Snow everywhere, and sleeting rain; we huddled inside the van and watched a movie, instead of trying to coax out a campfire.
5000 feet lower, the weather was much more temperate. We’d planned to get as close to Portland as possible, to maximize our one hotel night and time in the city, but in the end decided to bail off the highway to a random piece of public land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, right next to a dam. It turned out to be one of our favorite spots—warm and sunny, right next to a winding stream, with lovely neighbors and lots of room for the kids to run around.
The next day, we struck out for Portland. We haven’t been spending time in the types of places with kids’ museums, so we splurged on a day at OMSI, including their awesome robot exhibit. A little pizza, a little check-up for the van (all good!), and a long morning at Powell’s City of Books, and we headed back towards the coast.
So far, we’d been pretty lucky with waltzing into campgrounds and asking for a site, and Cape Disappointment was no exception. We hiked up the cape to check out the infamous entrance to the Columbia River. No huge waves were breaking over the bar that day, but we were still happy not to be navigating through the shifting sands. The history of the river mouth goes from shipwreck to shipwreck, and as we hiked past the Coast Guard station, we were thankful for all the work that’s gone into making it safe for boats like Milou.
In my mind, I consider Olympia National Park to be remote and rarely visited—because it’s so far from Wisconsin, and I’d never been there. Obviously, that is insane. Thinking we could squeeze into Kalaloch campground, right on the ocean, we pulled in optimistically around noon; the campsite is one of the few in the park that takes reservations, and it was packed. South Beach campground was not so much to our liking, so we reverted to our original plan of spending two nights in the Hoh Rain Forest, and hoped for clear weather.
We lucked out; our time in the Hoh was marked by clear skies and warmer temps than on the coast. We hiked through trees dripping with moss, and checked out the tide pools at Ruby Beach—a big contrast to the coastal conditions of Baja.
We’ve been back in the US for three whole weeks now, so we feel it’s time to leave the country again. We’re off to see friends in Victoria, BC, for a few days. We suspect clearing into Canada will be more complicated than when we were cruising the North Channel of Lake Huron, which required only a call from a phone booth.
Posted on June 15, 2018
A rash of visits. Cruising friends, family, friends of family…we haven’t been on our own for a week.
We’ll be continuing on north, all the way to Victoria to meet up with friends we haven’t seen in a decade. Still finishing up boat sale details, and happy that Hurricane Bud seems to have fizzled before reaching San Carlos. Iron Van is a hero on the twisty mountain roads, but we’ll get the brakes checked before heading to the Rockies; a long day at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland should give the mechanics enough time to make sure all is well.
Posted on June 13, 2018
Boilerplate disclaimer: this is not what it will cost you to go cruising.
People’s constant advice, discussing cruising finances, always seems to be: It’ll cost what you have. We did not find this helpful in our planning, however true it may be. What we’re trying to show is the cost to us, more or less, for one month to go cruising. We’re going for monthly expenses, because they’re easier for us to track; so you won’t see the boat insurance amortized, you’ll just see that expense when we pay it. It won’t be what you’ll spend, but it was the kind of information that helped us out when we were trying to wrap our heads around that magical number for our cruising kitty.
At some point in the future, we’ll try to do a two-year cost round-up; but for now, we’re putting out our final monthly numbers for our costs to cruise. We’ve tried to eliminate repatriation expenses, which for us have included an advance trip to Tucson and the purchase of a van; these kinds of expenditures vary so much from person to person, we’re not sure they’re helpful for someone making plans to cut the docklines.
This has also been, frankly, our worst month for actually keeping track of things. We’ve been so meticulous, this whole trip! But things fell apart a bit during that last week; it was so hot, we were so busy, and we often couldn’t even locate a pen. We did our best to reconstruct. The family conveniently drove out of Mexico on June 1, so these are our costs through May 30.
Marina: $512.27 Restaurant: $373.12 Grocery: $374.69 Transportation: $15.72 Boat Parts: $13.43 Hotel: $58.39 Fuel: $105.18, diesel Supplies: $116.97 Water: $39.48 Laundry: $36.08 Booze: $21.24 Ice Cream: $48.95 Communications: $170.69 Boat Sales: $95 Grand Total: $1923.02
Some final notes on monthly expenses:
- The marina costs include hauling the boat out of the water in San Carlos, as well as ten days at the dock while we showed the boat and got her prepped for storage.
- Ice cream for the WIN!
- Our monthly expenses for our sat phone apparently went up to $144.15 a month at some point. Clearly, we hadn’t been looking too closely at that bill. Nice to have canceled that service!
- We spent two nights in a hotel, the 29th and the 30th, finishing out the boat prep. Once the toilet was decommissioned, we weren’t going to stay on board.
- “Boat sales” expense is the second month of an ad in Latitude 38. We ended up finding our buyer through the Facebooks–Women Who Sail are collectively the best!–but we had several serious inquiries from Lat 38 and would recommend advertising with them.
Since we’ve been traveling on land, we haven’t been keeping track of expenses, but boy, do we miss how inexpensive boat travel can be. Anchoring out, cooking in, sailing instead of motoring…it all seems so easy in retrospect. The stress of finding exactly the right spot to anchor, or worrying about the weather, has already started to fade from our memory (although we’re keeping a close watch on Bud, out there in the Pacific).