2013 - 2014, Whatever

Travelogue - April 4, 2014


I promised in the last Travelogue to describe our journey after St. Augustine. But I didn't. Short version: We visited Rick's brother Dac and his family in Ormond Beach. And we toured Cape Canaveral and that was pretty awesome in many ways. But we had just lost Goldie, and it was the last straw and nothing was fun and that's all we can say.


Back to Sea Gator the following January, 2014. But that year Lu faced a series of procedures and so we stayed dock-side to keep her company. Rick set up his office aboard Sea Gator in the backyard - a much longer commute than what he's accustomed to at home. I established Pierson Land Works' eastern branch in the spare guest room of the house, and traveled back to the home office twice (longest commute ever) so I got in a little cross-country skiing, right. Lu put up with us with her customary grace and humor.

In May, Rick's sister Denise came to visit! And Rick and I made a quick jaunt to Cayo Costa aboard Sea Gator. On our favorite day, mother and daughter took the launch, Island Star, from Fisherman's Village to Cabbage Key, where we joined them for lunch, and later climbed to the top of the water tower (left). Our brief week on the water was cut short late that night when my appendix imploded, and the subsequent - and seemingly endless - harbor crossing marked the abrupt end of boating for 2014.

I don't remember much after the nasty drugs were administered, except a speedy gurney ride and then someone (reportedly a surgeon) rushing in in his street clothes, taking one look at me and muttering "good size, good size..." before he ran off to suit up. And a very kind nurse. And counting backward from 100: "One hundred, n-." And then the recovery room people trying to tell me things, which was totally a waste of their time and mine, although admittedly I had no other pressing appointments at the time. And it cost a pile of money and all I got out of it was some headphones and an orange sippee cup.

And when I was released to return home, Denise made me the BEST smoothie ever.

Captain Moe sacrificed his own boating time to help Rick do the heavy lifting for Sea Gator's "putting up" including hauling Bump Head to storage and line handling (right) from la Marina, through the South Gulf Cove lock and in to Safe Cove boat storage - in the rain.

And a week later we flew home...

My, How They've Grown!

...we flew home just in time to attend Angie's graduation from nursing school! She was mistress of ceremonies at the "pinning" celebration, and her entire class was nearly giddy with pride and relief, what an accomplishment! The following day we went for a nice celebratory walk along a creekbed with Paul-Bob, Grandma, Angie, Rick (left).

As soon as we returned from southern Nevada it was time for Jake's and Megan's (right) high school graduation in Utah. How wonderful! Rick and I couldn't have been more proud if we had graduated with honors ourselves. Their family is my second family, so the whole weekend was a treat.

And soon thereafter we traveled to mighty Farson to celebrate Kyle's high school graduation (left, with his sister Natasha). Which occasion was another fun family reunion as Captain Moe and Pat were there, and Sylvia, and John and Jackie, and of course Kyle's parents Ed and Christie.

These joyful festivities made up for everything that had, or hadn't, gone before.

Because when the kids are all right, all is right with the world.

While Rick stayed home bagging peaks, I celebrated my birthday in Lake Havasu, cheering my friend Janet as she crossed the finish line of her first triathlon. Woo! And on the way home we stopped to see Angie and Brad, and Bob and Kayla and Zane as a huge bonus.

Visiting the Bay Area

Later that month we visited Marc (Rick's cousin) and Shana at their new home in South San Francisco. We had a wonderful visit with them, even though Shana sprained her ankle our first morning there as they were showing us their favorite running trails - oops. Back at the apartment (left) Rick demonstrated some of his favorite culinary arts for Marc's edification and Shana's amusement.

The next day we all rendezvoused with a long-lost college friend of mine, Anne, who is now a city planner in the Bay area. Everyone got along great, but Shana needed to go put her ankle up on ice so missed the tour of the decade: Anne took us through and around the city neighborhoods with her inside knowledge and quite impressive recall for facts and dates. It was a completely fascinating journey through recent history, civic planning, and community involvement. Here she and Elaine show us a fabulous staircase / public art project.

Thanks to family and friends, we experienced a delightful inside glimpse of a city that would have been otherwise impenetrable to we two rubes.

The California Zephyr

For our return trip we caught the eastbound California Zephyr in Emeryville and rode the rails back to Salt Lake City.

We enjoyed the wonderful scenery and marveled at the incredible effort that was required to build this railway through the Sierra-Nevada Montains, more or less by hand. We met a lot of interesting people - including a lovely young woman traveling by herself, who is now our "daughter", Jill. The rambling conversations we had with Jill and our other fellow travelers are best described by author Tom Zoellner in Train - Riding The Rails That Created The Modern World:

...Story upon story. The trip is rarely good enough as a solitary experience. The people you meet along the way give it shape and color, and Amtrak is one place where America converses with itself. It is a vestigial whiff of a commonality among citizens, rich and poor, and mode of collective destiny, "this thing we all do together."

In the observation car we sat next to a quite elderly couple; the man was vague and his wife seemed sunk in a strange numb grief. When they got up to leave and the man began stumbling in the wrong direction several of us leapt to assist him - his wife waited in stillness for him to be brought around to the right direction, and then they left, presumably to return to their car. Within two hours the man had died in his seat.

An announcement came overhead for medical expertise, a woman administered CPR for an hour, and eventually the train stopped at one of the very few road crossings in the mountains. Fire trucks and EMTs arrived at the crossing and they popped out a window to remove the covered stretcher and lower it to the ambulance using their extension ladder. As a group we stood in silent respect.

Soon the CPR lady was back in the lounge car and her friends were buying her drinks. The hushed discussions among former strangers throughout the train transitioned us back to ourselves: solidarity, community, humanity, life.

We arrived at the Amtrak station in Salt Lake City at about 3:30 a.m. From there we caravaned with our new "train daughter" Jill as far as seeing her safely to her exit at Park City, and we continued on into the night. Eventually making it home.

Where all was well.

We wish you all smooth sailing and calm seas!

- Pat and Rick

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