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Goodbye

22 Oct

We have to say “goodbye”.

into Gufport

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

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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.

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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…

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sunrise

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…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’…

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…and ‘Mrs Bushranger’ …me

…signing off

Trent-Severn (Part 4)

17 Jun

 

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This part of the world is lovely…

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We had a very interesting day…

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Bushranger went through eight locks today, going up 148 feet. Some of the locks were very old-fashioned (they did everything manually, including opening/closing the doors and raising/lowering the water)…

manual locks

We ‘locked through’ with a couple of very substantial boats, so it was tight quarters for a while…

tight locking

There was one lock that was amazing…

Lift Lock 1

It’s called a ‘lift lock’. Essentially, you have two platforms for the boats to float in that raise up and down (picture a ‘stairmaster’ at the gym and put a boat on each of your shoes).

lift lock 2

Yep, it was so cool. I think that’s the highest altitude that Bushranger has ever seem (both ‘above ground’ or ‘above sea level’).

up high

After Lock 8 we’ve called it a day and tied up at Young’s Point. We’re expecting a quiet night…

Young's Point

P.S. t/4

Trent-Severn (Part 3)

16 Jun

 The leaves are a different color. They shimmer with silver; less heavy – more ethereal than before.

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I think we’ve traveled into some other reality…one where humanity has blended rather than dominated the world.

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The air is filled with scents less poignant than before. Even the flowers seem to understand that subtlety is needed. The startling perfume of honeysuckle and rose has been replaced with a leafy, fecund presence with a hint of wood smoke – brimming with life and potential.

We’ve wandered along the Trent-Severn and ended up…

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…at the Peterborough Marina, in, you guessed it…

city
…the City of Peterborough! Two ‘dock hands’ caught our lines with such professionalism and efficiency that I felt I just HAD to mention them in this blog (thank you Ben and Kate – hands down the best we’ve seen along the Loop).

Tonight will be filled with a bit of a wandering around the city, and will eventually end with dinner at one of the local craft breweries. It doesn’t get much better, does it?!?
P.S. t/5, s/5, l/3

Dancing in the Wind

12 Jun

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The weather gods are messing with us again.

Bushranger is dancing and swaying, doing a jig to the music of the wind. Thank goodness my Captain had decided earlier that there is no reason to wander from this beautiful marina until the weather settles.

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Hopefully tomorrow will be the day we start the locks of the Trent-Severn.

The Bay of Quinte

10 Jun

I am determined to blog about the journey today…not the destination (although, I have to admit, the destination is looking phenomenal – but disregard that! You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow’s blog to hear about where we are).

So, let me tell you about the day…
…it was very chilly when the sun decided to wake us – which was just after 5 am. Chilly as in 7 degrees c (or 45 degrees f for my friendly Yanks). But that’s okay, because the winds were calm and the sky was a beautiful blue. So, we set off for what we considered to be a looooong day of cruising (all of 71 miles/114 kilometers). Given that Bushranger likes to poke along at just over 7 miles per hours, that meant we could enjoy a good 10 hours of motoring.

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What’s so nice about having a trawler for a boat is that as you move from point A to point B, you bring your ‘home’ with you. Which is very good in some ways (you don’t have to pack and unpack), but bad in others (you DO need to clean the toilets every once in a while (you nautical folks out there, don’t be shakin’ your finger at me for calling it a toilet. As far as I’m concerned, a ‘head’ is where you put your hat, a toilet is where you put ‘other things’…)).

Anyway, this 10 hour stretch was a lovely opportunity to do a bit of scrubbing, and even take a little nap. As Boyd and I shared a latte and cinnamon roll, it occurred to me — yep, this trawlering (that’s not a real word, but you get my drift) is pretty good.

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Today, Bushranger transited the Bay of Quinte, a very lush and green section of the world….

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…nice, huh?

Kingston Ontario (part 2)

9 Jun

Forgive me, my friends.

Yesterday’s blog about Kingston Ontario was sadly lacking. It did not mention the wonderful history, graceful buildings, and pleasure that IS the City of Kingston. So, to rectify yesterday’s oversight, here is Kingston Ontario (part 2)…

The city was calling, and the lake most certainly was NOT (once again the winds were determined to make Bushranger dance), so Boyd and I decided that tourism has the duty of the day…

hop on hop off trolley
We hopped on the Hop On Hop Off Trolley to see the sights. Here are some of the highlights…

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fort henry

 

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buildings

 We stopped to visit the home of Sir John A. MacDonald, the first Canadian Prime Minister…

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What a lovely way to step back into history…

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…would you believe me if I said that we could almost sense Sir John’s wife watching, making sure we didn’t leave any grubby fingerprints on her well-preserved furniture (just kidding, ha!).

 Now, this blog would not be accurate without mentioning last night’s dining experience. While looking for a convenient place for dinner, we fell into this…

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…little did we know that it is Ontario’s oldest brew pub. This is what we saw as we entered…

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…and this is what we ate…

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Absolutely unforgettable! Thank you Kingston.

P.S. I’ve decided to add a little postscript to each blog entry where we’ve visited a marina. Specifically, I’m going to give a score (between 1 and 10, with 10 being the best) for the 3 things that are closest to my heart:  the toilets (t), the showers (s) and the laundry (l).  Of course, these numbers reflect only my opinion (and I don’t intend to present any supporting data for whatever number I give)…it’s JUST MY OPINION…

t/8, s/8, l/7

Kingston Ontario

8 Jun

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Bushranger has chugged up the St Lawrence Seaway and landed in Kingston Ontario. The first thing I noticed was the city’s fascination with round buildings…

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(yep, that's the City Hall behind a cool train)

(yep, that’s the City Hall behind a cool old train)

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…hold on a minute, that’s NOT round!

Actually, Boyd and I thought it was such a cool phone box (and our friends Chris and Denny had one in their front yard) that I decided to share it with you.
The next thing I noticed was the selection on cafes, gelato shops and restaurants. Woo-hoo, this is MY kind of city!

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Thousand Islands

7 Jun

bridge alongFive years ago, if Boyd and I had wanted to visit Canada we would have driven over this bridge…

bridge with bushranger
…but today, this is how we went to Canada…
…and how cool is that?!?

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.

thousand islands
This morning the weather gods smiled on us. The winds had lessened and the rain had temporarily disappeared…so off we went, and this is what we saw…

big house
I didn’t count them, but I swear there were at least 1000 Islands.  There were huge mansions with amazing rock gardens…

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…and small wind-blown cottages that occupied every foot of their personal island…

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…and then we arrived at Boldt Castle…

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You probably have never heard the story about Boldt Castle. Let me tell you: Mr Boldt (a gent of modest origins who built a large fortune in the hotel business) decided to build the most beautiful home he could envisage for his wife, the love of his life. Unfortunately, just as the builders were putting on the finishing touches of Boldt Castle, Mrs Boldt died.

bolt castle story

Heart broken, Mr Boldt told all the workers to go home; they abandoned the nearly finished castle (as YES it WAS a castle!), and it was left to languish for years and years.

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The vandals did their thing, destroying and corrupting the castle, stealing anything of value and covering the walls with graffiti. Finally, the Thousand Island Bridge Authority purchased the island (which was appropriately named Heart Island) and began restoring the home. This is what they have accomplished…

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inside bolt 1

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Amazing!

After Heart Island, Bushranger continued past the US/Canadian border, and snuggled into a dock in Gananoque Canada.

aglca into canada

There we were met by two wonderful friends, Francis and Helene, who happen to own a lovely ‘Looper’ boat named Miss Jazz.

So the day closed with a beautiful dinner, with some lovely wine (or beer for those that preferred that beverage), in a historic restaurant with a ‘view to die for’.

Gananaque flads

Wow, what a day!

Whoa Nelly!

6 Jun

I don’t know if you know this, but I KNOW people. Yep, there are folks out there that can fix just about anything, and I know a bunch of them. So let me show you what’s happening…

windy coast

…the waves are flappin’ at us, the winds are pushin’ at us, and poor little Bushranger is just about dancin’. Thank goodness my stalwart Captain elected to keep us safely tied and heavily fendered at Clayton, NY.

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We just listened to the marine weather forecast and they mentioned winds gusting up to 50 kilometers per hour (for you Yanks out there, that’s about 31 miles per hour).  I know a few sailors out there are snickering, thinking, “50 kilometers per hours — that’s nothin’!” …well, maybe a sailboat would like to play with those winds, but for us trawlers that kind of wind is a recipe for disaster!

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So, here’s my plan. I’m going to call my nephew who works at Accuweather. I’m sure if he knew what was going on up here, he would fix it!  After all, how can we go exploring the St Lawrence River and Thousand Islands if we are tied to the dock?

Right, where’s my phone…

Clayton New York

5 Jun

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Clayton is a lovely little town, full of family owned shops and quaint restaurants. We parked Bushranger at the Municipal Dock (our original choice, the Islander Marina, was all booked up) and we really lucked out.

clayton dock

The folks that run the dock are wonderful.  Even though the dock was just a short walk to the downtown shops, the folks at the dock office insisted on driving us (as you can see, the weather was not the best)…and it was SO worth the trip!  Clayton as the BEST little olive oil/vinegar shop, which happens to be near a family owned cheese shop, which is just down the street from the ice cream store — triple yum!.

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My only regret is that the weather gods dripped on us the whole time…