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Saturday, 15 November 2014

On the Road...

After two final garage sales, we packed most of our remaining possessions into a 10' x 10' storage locker. The remains made us well known contributors to Goodwill. The sensation of being able to pack your life into a 10' x 10' space was extremely liberating!

We rented a 30' RV, and conned my parents, and Leanne's parents to accompany us down to Annapolis, where we would find a boat... hopefully! SHOULD be an easy process. Given we had already attempted to buy a boat twice previously, I was a little nervous.

Off to Annapolis, on a hope, a prayer, and a rented RV.

First stop was at the Fort Erie border crossing. With an RV loaded with boating supplies, and necessities, we expected the worse. Fortunately, we got an agent who was fascinated with our adventure, and more interested in our sailing experience, than our crossing. After realising he still had a job to do, he came around to "see faces" inside the RV. Imagine the look on his face when he opened the door to see two full size Alaskan Malamutes waiting there to greet him... along with the seven of us. He politely closed the door, walked back around to the driver's door, handed back the passports, and wished us a good trip!

While our departure was scheduled for 7am, stuff happened, and we made a hasty departure around the crack of 4PM. As a result, we found ourselves scrambling to make up lost time. With a ten hour drive sandwiched between our departure, and scheduled boat search appointments we needed to make miles. We switched drivers a few times over the early hours, before I settled in for the night shift. Suddenly, that romantic image I had of driving down the open road in an RV lost some appeal. None the less, we made it to within 3 hours of Annapolis before stopping at a rest stop for the night. At 6AM we were awakened by a security guard, advising we couldn't park there for more than 3 hours. I wondered if it had even been three hours, but nonetheless, we had boats to see.

First stop was Tracys Landing, MD where we had arranged to see two catamarans. The Wildcat was a 36' with a beam at 24'. We were excited about it, as it seemed to be within budget, in good shape, and offer more than the space we required. What's that saying about pictures can be deceiving?

Next was a Gemini. Our previous two failed surveys were on Geminis. Still we held out hope for this one to be a good boat. Not so much. It was time to re-visit our plan, so we asked the broker to show us what our money would get us in a monohaul. He went back to the office to do the research, while we cruised through the small town of Annapolis in our rented 30' RV. Did I mention it read "Cruise Canada" and "Rent This RV" all over the side?

After hopelessly searching for parking for we finally found a spot where we could park the 'Griswald' mobile across 4 spots, hoping we wouldn't get towed. The dockside pub was across the channel, so we waited for a water taxi for my parents who couldn't walk around. That's when we met Duane and Julie, of Boomdiadah, who offered to ferry them across in their dinghy. We learnt they were also from Toronto, and doing what we hope to do.

We enjoyed a lunch on the dock, wondering if we would ever become like 'those people' anchored out in front of us. Upon heading back to see the broker, we wondered it much more loudly! Turned out, to achieve our primary objective of 3 cabins, our budget would need to be tweaked a little... and some! We selected two boats to see the next day, and made the 30 minute drive to the nearest KOA, and settled in for the night.

Next morning, we were up bright and early, to see our next two prospects. Both were Beneteaus, that were originally used as charter boats. We accepted the downside of buying a 'charter boat' provided it had 'good bones'. Both appeared to fit the description, but one had a new motor, and appeared a bit cleaner. Either could work. We pulled the trigger on a 2004 Beneteau 39, with a 2011 engine. It was now Thursday, and the earliest we could get a survey done was Monday.

Back to the KOA, we decided to enjoy some downtime... if there can be such a thing, with 7 people, and 2 Alaskan Malamutes co-existing on a 30' RV. On Friday, we headed to Washington DC, and let the world know we weren't 'from around here' when we tried to figure out the subway. On a plus side, we made it to The Mall, Vietnam Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial. There was a Vietnam Reunion taking place while we were there, so we got to listen into many stories, and thank the vets for their service. It was a long day, but well worth the trip.

Monday morning we headed back into Annapolis to meet the surveyor at the boat yard... with our fingers crossed! A couple hours later, while hanging around the boat yard in the 'Griswald mobile', we finally got word, the hull and deck were sound... save for the need of a new bottom! Didn't I say 'never again' after the one on Tranquilo in the spring? We scheduled a launch and sea trial for the next day. We also asked the boat yard if we could park the camper there, rather than making the 30 mile trip to the KOA each day. When they agreed, I am positive they had NO idea what they were in for!Long story short, if we wanted to let anyone know where to find us, "RV" was all we needed to say!

By the time the hull dried after the sea trial, we had come to terms on the final purchase agreement, and started scrapping the bottom. We started painting the next day, and had the bottom finished in two days. We had Ryajen in the water on the Friday. Nearly two weeks after we began living on a rented RV with 7 people and two malamutes! We were a bit anxious to spreadout. I'm almost certain our parents were MORE than a bit anxious to get back to normal living as well! Having achieved their purpose in seeing us get a boat, and launching her, they made plans to head back on the Sunday.

On Saturday we made plans for a bon voyage dinner, and to celebrate my inlaws anniversary. As  a final exclamation mark of the 'Griswald Family Reckneck Road Trip', we made quite a scene when turning a corner, heading back to the marina. Seems we forgot to close an outside locker on the RV. As we turned a corner, our possessions scattered throughout the intersection. I wasn't sure what to think when we stopped, and I saw a large, scruffy man approaching me with an axe, and camp stove... until I realised it was ours! Fitting end to a fun chapter!