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Goodbye

22 Oct

We have to say “goodbye”.

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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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…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

Loopy

17 Sep

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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. 

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

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

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

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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…

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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…

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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…

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

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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…

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…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…

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

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

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…great fun!…

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…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)…

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

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…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…

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Today is the Choo-Choo!

Journey to Chattanooga Tennessee

5 Sep

Goosepond was nice but we had places to be! 

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

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

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…note how close Bushranger is to Summer Wind…

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…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’…

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…nice anchorage, isn’t it?

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

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The river was glorious…

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

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…arriving at this beautiful city!

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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.

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Sisters

2 Sep

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

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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”…

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

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

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

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…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!)…

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…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…

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…and are currently sharing this lovely view…

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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!

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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. 

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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?

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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…

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Lake Guntersville Yacht Club

30 Aug

Bushranger is on a sleepover!  Yep, her good friend Summer Wind…

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…invited Bushranger over to her place at the Lake Guntersville Yacht Club…

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…for some pillow fights and manicures…

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…well, maybe no pillow fights.

We’ll be enjoying this beautiful place for a couple of days. 

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Bushranger will get a bit of TLC and Boyd and I will be able to enjoy the company of our good friends, Carol and Gregg (Summer Wind’s mum and dad) and Petey

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(the guy who’s really in charge).

Ditto Landing Alabama

28 Aug

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When we called the Ditto Landing Marina yesterday they told us, “Sure, you can come in – but you won’t be able to leave until tomorrow afternoon due to the Rocketman Triathlon.” 

…and what is the Rocketman Triathlon, you ask? 

…well, it is Huntsville Alabama’s “premium racing, training and social club for athletes of all ages and abilities”.

So, since Bushranger was required to remain in her slip at the marina all morning, Boyd and I got to watch this amazing event…

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…hundreds of folks did the swim/bike/run…

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…and it looked hard!

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…this talented gent appears to be able to balance on a yellow ribbon (ha ha, just kidding).

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That was this morning…as of now we’re cruising down the Tennessee River on our way to Guntersville Alabama.

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…I’m sure we’ll talk later…