Goodbye

22 Oct

We have to say “goodbye”.

into Gufport

Our little boat, Bushranger, did everything we asked of her. 

rainbow

She braved the rough seas of Lake Michigan, rode the tide through the Carolina shallows, weaved through the crab-pots of the Mexican Gulf, and threaded her way through the crazy drivers in New Jersey.  She’s been exactly what we needed/wanted – an economical, stable, and comfortable home with which to explore the American Great Loop. 

But she is no longer ours.  Bushranger now has a new family to protect.  As of today, Heather and Mark have adopted Bushranger and decided to start their own adventure.

wp-1477152215948.jpg

This is bitter-sweet for Boyd and me.  We are so pleased that Heather and Mark are Bushranger’s new owners but we ache to say goodbye to our little boat.  Without Bushranger we would not have seen such wondrous and glorious sights…

dismal6

sunrise

2trump

mist

…nor would we have found such varied and special friends. 

I refuse to list all the wonderful friends that we’ve discovered along the way (such a list would make this final blog entry excessively long) but know that we will treasure every moment, every memory that you ‘all have given us. I will not say goodbye but I will say, “until we meet again” – and know that I pray that we will…

To all my gentle followers, thank you for supporting us through this five year adventure (yes, we actually started all this in 2011).  No one is more surprised than I at how much I have enjoyed this blog.  I would never have imagined that authoring a blog could be such a hoot!

 

It’s been an honor and a pleasure.  So, as of this moment, this is ‘Captain Starlight’…

gerogetown5

…and ‘Mrs Bushranger’ …me

…signing off

Loopy

17 Sep

home1

You know you’re a Looper when:

a.       Your favorite glassware and dishes will bounce when dropped

b.      Your new best friend (that you met for the first time, just last week) has disappeared this week and you’re starting to have trouble remembering their name

c.       You can instantly find bug spray and a hat in your handbag but can’t seem to locate your lipstick

d.      You have figured out that the word ‘salad’ has a range of meanings – from a small bowl of iceberg lettuce to a confetti-ed mixture of every vegetable known to man…but will always include cheese

e.      You can’t sleep due to all the noise – no, not the traffic…the cicadas and crickets

f.        You have begun to appreciate the finer points of laundromats – finding a dryer with a clean lint filter feels like winning the lottery

g.       The only witness to your stubbed toe is the osprey nesting on the passing buoy – so what’s the point in saying ‘ouch’?

h.      The sunrise is streaming through the window directly opposite where it made an appearance yesterday

…and you know that this lifestyle will continue to color your world well past that final day when you say goodbye to your boat…

Guntersville Alabama

16 Sep

Bushranger has found a new home. 

home2

As of last week, Bushranger acquired a lovely covered slip at the Alred Marina in Guntersville Alabama…

home3

It’s a quiet place, tucked away in the lush greenery of ‘the South’…

wp-1474041199220.jpg

…the home of grits, catfish, and Southern charm…

wp-1474041199226.jpg

After settling Bushranger into her new ‘digs’, Bushranger’s crew decided it was time to play!  We’ve been touring various glorious/quaint/interesting and all-round fascinating Southern cities. 

First we wandered to Huntsville Alabama where we visited the U.S. Space and Rocket Center…

wp-1474041199222.jpg

Next we wandered to Nashville Tennessee (via Lynchburg with a quick visit to the Jack Daniels Distillery) and reveled in the banjos, honkytonk and bar-b-que that IS Nashville.  We even took in a show at the Grand Ole Opry which was AMAZING…

wp-1474041199393.jpg

wp-1474046966218.jpg

But, ya’ know what, even Loopers need to get back to work eventually. 

Boyd and I said goodbye to our most recent auxiliary crewmembers (you will be missed, Ron and Adi) and started getting ready for Bushranger’s ‘Next Chapter’.  As you may or may not be aware, but we are rapidly approaching the end of this adventure…

wp-1474041199235.jpg

…and are starting to plan the next one.  What that adventure will be is still being discussed, so stand by…

wp-1474041199747.jpg

Chattanooga to Guntersville (part 2)

10 Sep

Bushranger’s auxiliary crew has favored us with our next blog entry.  This time Ron has penned the entry (thanks Ron!).  Enjoy!…

Bushranger weighed anchor just before 7am…

1

…and followed Summer Wind and another vessel, Quiet Company, out of Little Cedar Mountain Cove to the Nickajack Lock, two miles down river. 

2

Once in the lock, Bushranger’s first mate issued instructions to the auxiliary crew…

me

…whose only prior experience on such a maneuver was sitting in a deck chair on a cruise ship going through the Panama Canal 40 years prior.

3
4

5

Once through the lock, Captain Boyd hoisted the Boxing Kangaroo (Bushranger’s battle flag)…

6

…and LynnAnne served up another of her excellent breakfasts which set all the ship’s company in excellent spirits for the day’s 50 mile journey.
7With 10 miles down, Bushranger crossed the State-line into Alabama and just before the Widow Creek Steam Plant, Adrianna confidently took the helm for the next 40 minutes giving a new meaning to the nautical term “blind pilot”.

8

Bushranger docked at Goosepond Marina just after 1pm and shortly after, hosted a visit from Alex who had driven from Florida to farewell Boyd, LynnAnne and Bushranger.

9

Later we joined Summer Wind’s crew for a cool drink and walked to The Docks restaurant and bar for a most enjoyable meal as the sun set on another wonderful day.

10

Chattanooga to Goosepond (part 1)

9 Sep

Today one of our auxiliary crewmembers, Adrianna, has graciously volunteered to write the blog for me. Thank you Adi!… 

With a beautiful sunrise behind us we headed to the dock for a pump-out… 

morning

Enjoyed morning tea on the top deck while sailing along the Tennessee River and taking in the scenery.  Driving through the gorge and the narrowest, yet deepest part of the river with reflections of the cliff face and houses dotting the river bank was picturesque and delightful…

river-view3 

river-view1

Following a Master Class from Boyd, Ron took the wheel of Bushranger for awhile…

ron

Eleven barges moved quite smoothly on the river despite their size and load which included benzene, and a very, very long train passed us in the distance. 

river-view

The daytime temperature was a sizzling 39 degrees (that’s 102 for you Yanks out there) with much cooler nights.  However, despite the heat there is lush green foliage with just the slightest hint of colour coming through for fall. 

river-view-4

In the afternoon while Bushranger rafted alongside Summer Wind for a rendezvous near Nickajack Dam we all settled with a round of cold drinks and plenty of conversation onboard Summer Wind. 

rafting

We dropped anchor a short distance away from Summer Wind and took in the last tinge of the sunset while the moon rose high in the sky…

boyd-anchoring

…what a fantastic and memorable experience. 

sunset

Playtime in Chattanooga

7 Sep

Alright, I admit it – we had a heap of fun today. Guess what we visited first.  I’ll give you a hint…

wp-1473297069653.jpg

…that song hit #1 on the US charts on Dec 7, 1941.  How’s your history, ladies and gents?  That’s a date ‘that will live on in infamy’ (okay, fine, I’ll tell you – it’s the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked).    US lads (and a few that were a bit long in the tooth) signed up to solute smartly and wander off to boot-camp.  …and HOW did many of those lads GET to boot-camp? Well, many took the train…

wp-1473298565641.jpg

…how’s THAT for a segue into our first tourist destination?!?

wp-1473298565622.jpg

Yep, we visited the Chattanooga Choo-Choo…and it really IS called the Choo-Choo!  Take a look…

wp-1473297070330.jpg

…great fun!…

wp-1473297069640.jpg

…and gorgeous!…

But, the fun wasn’t over yet.  Next we regressed to our childhood and took a ride (oh, alright, TWO rides!) on the Chattanooga Carousel…

…I LOVE auxillary crewmembers!  They are always catalysts for wonderful memories!

Chattanooga Tennessee

7 Sep

There is SO much to tell you!

Our auxiliary crew members have arrived.  Ron and Adrianna seem to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, even after their marathon journey from Sydney…and we have jumped into this tourist thing with both feet! 

First there was Ruby Falls (an underground waterfall)…

rubby-falls

…then we decided to split our responsibilities.  The gents went to the battlefield… 

battlefield

…while the ladies did Rock City…

(as you can tell, I LOVED Rock City!)

Last night we joined Summer Wind’s crew for a wonderful Italian meal at Tony’s in the Art’s District, then wandered around this beautiful city…

wp-1473208795940.jpg

Today is the Choo-Choo!

Journey to Chattanooga Tennessee

5 Sep

Goosepond was nice but we had places to be! 

3lovely view

Bushranger and her good friend Summer Wind continued their wander up the Tennessee River…

ainto inlet

…stopping at Cedar Mountain Inlet for a bit of comradery…

crafting1

…note how close Bushranger is to Summer Wind…

drafting2

…yep, for those non-nautical types, this is called ‘rafting’.  In this case, Summer Wind dropped her anchor and we pulled up next to her (with lots of fenders hanging – we wouldn’t want to mess up her lovely paint-job), tossed a few lines across, then climbed onboard for a great dinner.  Afterwards we separated,  Bushranger dropped her anchor and spent a quiet night bobbing ‘on the hook’…

bkids

…nice anchorage, isn’t it?

1our view

Sunday morning we were off again, this time Chattanooga bound!

2summer wind

The river was glorious…

4mcdon

…of course, there are certain things you never seem to get away from…

5chattanooga

…arriving at this beautiful city!

wp-1473080591389.jpg

We plan to spend a few days here.  We’ll be picking up some auxiliary crew members (welcome Ron and Adrianna!), so I expect we’ll have some stories to tell when Bushranger and Summer Wind get back to Guntersville.

6cycle bar

Sisters

2 Sep

Bushranger is contentedly sitting next to her very ‘flash’ sister, Summer Wind, at Goosepond, Alabama.

1asisters

Please don’t think that I’m slighting Bushranger when I call Summer Wind ‘flash’.  This is not a Joan Crawford and Bette Davis relationship like the movie “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane”…

heaven forbid

  No, no, no – think more Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen in “White Christmas”…

sisters

…where each sister is appealing in her own special way.

Anyway, today Bushranger and Summer Wind wandered down the Tennessee River…

1the river

…working their way towards the beautiful city of Chattanooga Tennessee.

If it had been only Summer Wind, the journey from Guntersville to Chattanooga would not take the three days that we have planned.  Nope, Summer Wind lives up to her name – she flies like the wind (rumor has it that she can top out at 20 miles per hour!)…

3fast summer wind

…while little Bushranger’s engine-room gerbils are breathing hard just trying to maintain eight miles per hour.

…whatever…

The bottom line is that we BOTH made it to Goosepond…

4entering goose

…and are currently sharing this lovely view…

6view

Plans for tonight include a stop at The Docks, a wonderful restaurant right across the street from the marina. The ‘house specialties’ include southern favorites like ‘shrimp and grits’ and ‘chocolate pie’ (oh man!).

Primped and Proud

1 Sep

Bushranger is looking lovely today.  She has been primped and pampered and looks just marvelous!

cleaning 

I don’t know if you remember but Bushranger has had (since the day we met her) an embarrassing problem.  We seldom mention it (as it’s rather personal) but, if the truth were told, Bushranger’s mast was a bit ‘wonky’…well, NOT the mast, really…the BASE of the mast!

Yep, when we first bought Bushranger we noticed that the base of her mast had a bit of a crack. 

old mast base

Concerned, we pulled the mast off, loaded it onto a truck, and drove it to a gent who does wonders with metal (thank you Hoyt at the Peden’s Prop Shop in Iuka Mississippi).  He fiddled and mended and did the best he could with the old bronze, we stuck the mast back on, and off we went to ‘do the Loop’.

Well, we’ve now ‘done that Loop’ and have decided that Bushranger deserves better (and the next owners of this little boat shouldn’t have to worry about the embarrassing ‘mast problem’).  So, Boyd designed, and Hoyt constructed, a brand new mast base.

What do you think?

mast base

We’ll do a bit of sanding and painting and I think that this mast will stand proudly on Bushranger for another 34 plus years…

raised mast