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Out of a rut and onto a boat, or, "Why we have a boat and thus a website"

If this was a rut, it was a pretty sweet one.

Out our office windows we see the snow-capped peaks of Wyoming's Gros Ventre and Wyoming Ranges. We can watch our neighbors' horses saunter lazily across their pasture; our "yard" is a field fronted by a tiny perfect garden; the night sky is a sea of glittering stars undimmed by city lights. We are blessed, and don't wish to convey the impression that we are not fully aware of it, or that we don't breathe a prayer of gratitude every day.

Rest assured, we do.

We are here in this beautiful place as a result of good timing and a whole lot of hard work on both our parts. And the long-story-short part of the hard work means that, as sole proprietor of a successful software company, Rick cannot take vacations. Ever. He is tied to his desk.

Well, we thought we would grit our teeth and wait it out. You know, Plan A: retirement at 75+ and then some travel. And until then we'd enjoy life to the fullest here in Wyoming, so far so good.

However, a few health scares and a horrible day in September of '01 brought us to this reality: There are no guarantees in any life. Who knows if we'll survive that long (individually or collectively) and if we do, who knows if we'll be in adequate physical or financial condition to travel? Well. We formulated Plan B.

Plan B: Bring the work with us.

The idea of taking our work on the road had kind of been simmering deep in our brains, but the boat came out of nowhere. Sure, they're pretty and all, but...

Next thing you know our dream became a plan with a timeline, and for the next several years we intensified our efforts saving, scrimping and planning. Rick estimated that by 2006 communications technology should have advanced to the state where, with a cell phone and lap top, we could communicate with clients from virtually anywhere. Well, anywhere within reason. He was correct, and "within reason" became the sheltered west coast of Florida.

Meanwhile we read every current- and back-issue of Passagemaker magazine, read Voyaging Under Power, Seven Miles An Hour and Chapman's Piloting - Seamanship & Small Boat Handling. We hired Captain Gary for three days on the water, and took and passed the America's Boating Course proficiency quiz.

Rick scoured YachtWorld and the rest of the entire internet for boat possibilities. Finally we chose a "trawler" for its fuel efficiency and stability; a "sundeck model" to maximize live-aboard space; a single diesel engine for ease of maintenance; a used boat for its lower cost. Sea Gator became available at just the right time for (almost) the right price. She survived Hurricane Wilma with a single ding on her starboard rub rail and we took possession in November of 2005.

As I write this, the aspens on the hillsides are golden and stunningly beautiful in the crisp fall air. If this year is typical there will be snow on the ground by the end of October, and we'll be on our way south to Sea Gator after Thanksgiving.

Is this a new, sweet rut or what?

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