Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the first year of separation

Victoria Strane

by W. S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

Monday, August 30, 2010

the raising of the Bel Canto

The boat came out of the water this morning in a fascinating operation that took 2 hours. We stood around on the pier and sidewalk supervised. I have never seen a boat her size ~ 42' long, 22,000 lbs. ~ pulled from the water. Amazing to watch.

These funny-looking quadrapod supports are what the boat will rest on through the winter. She will be moved to a storage area, these struts will be arranged at strategic spots along her hull, she'll be gently lowered onto them, covered up, and put into a maritime coma to await next year's season.

This is our last day here; we will pack up and drive back to Halifax, spend the night and fly out tomorrow morning. Our plan is to fly to Detroit, then on home. Plans are made to be changed, however. We'll see how the flight loads are and if we'll get aboard.

We have had such a wonderful time here. We would like to come back and stay longer and see more of the Maritime Provinces. This is the perfect time of year to be here, too. The weather has been spectacular. As always, our time with Pat and Jon has been filled with much laughter and fine fellowship, very much worth coming all this way for.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

in position for the lift

This morning we drove over to Mahone Bay to sail the beautiful Bel Canto out into the Atlantic ocean and then hang a right to Lunenburg Harbor to position the boat for the big lift tomorrow morning.

This is the little lighthouse at the mouth of the Lunenburg harbor, below.

Tomorrow morning the hydrolic lift will drive to this slip, straddle it, drop huge straps into the water and under the boat, then lift it up and settle in onto braces set up in the storage area. We managed to get the boat into the proper slip first try, thanks to Jon's sailing and navigating expertise. She's tied and tethered safely for the night.

She is ideally situated for tomorrow's big event.

saturday on the land

Yesterday we drove to the eastern side of Lunenburg Harbor for this scenic view.

Then up and around through gorgeous countryside, along bays and ponds to Hirtles Beach on the edge of the Atlantic.

Here's a close-up of a very curious beach sculpture whose tail feathers are made of metal "seaweed."

We drove over to the Lahave ferry. We waited in line with this little yellow sports car was in front of us. First glance at the passengers revealed a blond and a darker haired couple.

Second glance revealed something quite different. This gentleman's passenger was a friendly black standard.

The ferry holds 10 cars on a ride that takes 5 minutes and is as scenic as all get out.

Next stop was a delicious lunch here.

Right next door was this edifice. Makes you wonder about city government . . .

We came home tired but very happy after a really glorious sight-see. We had stopped at the market in Mahone Bay and bought 10 lbs. of mussels for a yummy dinner of mussels in cream. We turned in early as today is a very busy sailing day. It's time to pull the boat out of the water for the winter, so we will sail from Mahone Bay out and around some islands into Lunenburg Harbor. Tomorrow morning the Bel Canto will be hoisted out of the water. I'll be there to capture the whole operation for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, August 27, 2010

friday on the water

This morning we packed up and headed into the town of Mahone Bay for a beautiful sail. First stop was a deli for sandwiches, then to the dock for a launch ride out to the Belle Canto, Pat and Jon's Pearson 42 boat. Weather clear and bright, water calm, winds light. We motored for awhile, then put up the sails,

first the jib, then the mainsail. We had a lovely run down the bay. There are many islands along the way, some inhabited, some not. Lots of boats out enjoying the day. Perfectly restful.

Patty was the pilot, Jon the navigator. Even Mr. C, who has come late in life to the enjoyment of sailing, was very content to find himself at sea (so to speak!).

Tonight we are going out to dinner at a place just down the street, Magnolia's, famous for scallops. Report tomorrow.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


How I knew I was in a foreign country.

At dinner last evening I ordered a glass of Chardonnay.

Mr. C ordered a glass of Cabernet. That's "caber-NEY."

"Right sir. That's one glass of caber-NET."

"Well,' he commented to me when she scurried away to get the order, " I guess I've been corrected."

But when she returned with the glasses and he took a sip, indeed it was "caber-NET.'

Detroit to Montreal this morning, then a switch to Air Canada for a quick flight to Halifax. Two hundred foot visibility ceiling when we landed. Thrilling. Picked up the rental car and drove to Lunenburg, about 1 1/2 hours. Gorgeous drive through pine forests sprinkled with lakes. Mahone Bay is so picturesque you'd think you were on a movie set for "Brigadoon" or some such fantasy. Right now it's cool and overcast. Jon and Mr. C have gone over to the bay to inspect the boat for possible sail tomorrow, weather permitting. It will be good to get out and explore.

Now I am lying propped up in bed, contemplating a nap before dinner. Haddock is promised. Since leaving home yesterday at 5:00 AM I've had 3 cups of coffee, 2 cups of Bloody Mary mix, 2 tiny pkgs. of peanuts, 1 hard boiled egg, 2 crackers, a few mixed greens, about a 1/4 of an overcooked hamburger. But when we got here Patty had some delicious acorn squash and apple soup that hit the spot.

Eagerly await what tomorrow will bring.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

helooooo Deeeetroit!

We made it this far but no farther. All seats sold out on the Detroit - Halifax leg. We'll try again tomorrow. To LaGuardia and then to Nova Scotia. Or perhaps Detroit to Montreal to Halifax. Or to Toronto . . . But one way or another we'll get there, I hope. If we get to LaGuardia and again the seats are all sold we really have to think twice about carrying this on too long. We're checked into a hotel close by the airport. Hallways and room smell like the inside of a damp ashtray. Dashing out for a quick bite, then to bed. Have to be back at the Delta desk by 6 AM and hope for a seat.

Daughter Cait has booked us into Montreal tomorrow morning, then out to Halifax. Think good mojo.

Even later:
We went across the parking lot to the Day's Inn restaurant ~ Wings and Ribs Grill or something like that ~ for some calories. Looking around I realize there's a whole cultural phenom in this country that I know nothing about. I've lived a remarkably sheltered life.

I saw more exposed skin in the various airports we were in today that I usually do at the beach.

two in one

I was determined that we take ONLY one carry-on for this trip. Why? When you travel stand-by your luggage is the last to be loaded. If your travel has a second airport, it is off loaded and set aside to wait for the OK that you have made the next flight, then loaded. And so on. What do you suppose are the odds of your luggage getting sent to Barcelona while your body goes on to Memphis? And as a stand-by it is YOUR responsibility to fetch your luggage if it doesn't arrive when you do. In other words, let's say you are planning to visit someplace such as, oh, I don't know, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. But when you land at the Halifax airport, no luggage. You are told that perhaps in 24 hours ~ the next flight from Detroit where your bags didn't get the word to hop aboard ~ perhaps your bags would be there and you can come back and get them. But you are planning to drive 3 hours away to Lunenburg. Change of plans. You sit around until 9:00 PM the following night hoping your luggage shows up. This brief nightmare scenario is brought to you to explain why it's all carry-on for this trip. We got it all into a nice soft-sided "wheelie" that actually belongs to Alex and was brought up here by Andrew. He graciously packed all his stuff into my hard-sided "wheelie" and left me his for this trip. Both Mr. C and I are notorious over-packers; too many turtlenecks, too many pants/shorts/T-shirts. Careful yet severe pruning has gotten the load waaaaay down. So it's one bag, one computer case, one tote.

It will just have to do. How many changes of costume do you need when spending the bulk of the time on a boat?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

weekend with the whiz kid

Grandson Andrew was with us over last weekend. Much too short a time, but he heads back to university on Friday, and we leave for Canada tomorrow, so this was our window of opportunity. Much talk, a spot of shopping for new dress shoes ~ do you have any idea how expensive those things are? ~ and best of all, some computer fiddling. While other kids were eating potato chips, he was noshing on computer chips. It's astounding to watch him navigate around the nether regions of the Mac, tweaking and clicking and making all sorts of interesting things happen. He plays the keyboard like a Steinway Grand.

He got the two computers, the laptop and the desktop, to talk to one another. Some things done on one will miraculously show up on the other. Amazing! Andrew is yet another example of his mother's careful and loving child rearing skills; smart, funny, handsome, kind and very sweet.

Tomorrow morning we head off to Halifax, spend the night, pick up our car on Thursday morning and drive to Lunenburg, on Mahone Bay if you're checking your map. Looking forward to a week of sailing, snoozing, walking, eating fish, and catching up with our hosts, Pat and Jon. Cait has assured us that stand-by seating will be no problem, at least on the first two flights ~ Sacramento to Minneapolis to Detroit. It's the third leg, Detroit to Halifax that looks tight. We're hoping for the best. Taking the LapMac. More from wherever we end up.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

to Portland with Lewis and Clark

Back to the trip to the great Northwest, the reporting on which has been shamefully delayed by a bout of ennui . . .

If anyone ever suggests to you that you go along for the ride from Spokane to Portland, drop everything and go. The route takes you along the banks of the gorgeous Columbia River, on the route taken by Lewis and Clark in 1804-06. What a spectacular sight! The weather could not have been more perfect; clear, warm, sunny, with the broad blue river flowing from its headwaters in British Columbia to Portland and on to the Pacific Ocean. The forest comes right to the edge of the highway. Washington state is on the other side of the river; there's the occasional trestle bridge to the other side. Along this road are some of the prettiest rest stops I've been to, with wide lawns, lots of picnic tables under fragrant conifers, and stunning views. I saw people in sailboats, canoes and kayaks out enjoying the river, plus a few fishermen trying their luck.

After lunch, as we got closer to Portland, we came around a wide bend in the highway and there, looming ahead of us, Mount Hood. I actually gasped when I saw it, snowy and sparkling in the sunshine. It seemed incongruous to have this sight in the heat of August. Some reading about the mountain says that it has snow year around and summer skiing is not unheard of. There's the beautiful blue river, the green forests, people out enjoying the water, and this snow-covered mountain topping the whole thing. No wonder people love living in Oregon. I want to go back and explore more of it.

We got to our friends' house about 4 o'clock (after getting lost several times, driving around for about half an hour until we finally found the right road). Patti and Joann live in a wonderful big, light-filled house up on a hill at the end of a cul-de-sac. We had dinner outside in the warm evening ~ until the mosquitoes drove us indoors ~ and got caught up. They have an apartment in Cuyutlán so we will see them again in December.

Then next morning we headed off down I-5 toward Grants Pass. From there we were going to go out to the California coast, perhaps Crescent City, for the night. But as we got closer we decided to make a full court press and go all the way home. Soon, another spectacular mountain sight, this time Shasta.

Not as much snow but stunning nonetheless. It's a long slog from Portland to Villa Splendido; 600 miles, 10 hours. But it was good to be home. We rolled in at 7:30, had a quick supper, and were asleep by 9 PM. I love seeing all those beautiful places, but it's always good to get back. It hadn't been blistering hot while we were gone so the garden survived nicely.

The next chore was to tidy up the guest quarters for daughter Caitlin who arrived the next day from Bozeman for her 25th high school reunion. And I can remember her first day of kindergarten.

NOTE TO READERS: This is probably the most uninspired piece I have ever posted about travel. If I don't do it right away the thrill is gone. Next trip I am keeping the LapMac open and running as I speed down the road (when Mr. C is driving, of course) so I can jot down what I see and what I think about what I see at that very moment. Next week we take off for a week of sailing and frolic in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Perhaps that reporting will be more interesting. It could possibly be quite exciting; we fly stand-by and have to get seats on four flights to make it to Halifax. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

shouldn't happen to a dog

Zeke and Huck are home from the hospital after their life-altering "procedure." Zeke is not happy. Well, would you be? Mike calls this his lampshade. Such insults!

Monday, August 2, 2010

from Spokane

No photos because I left my camera cable at home (used Mike's for Bozeman pix). The drive From Bozeman was longer than we had anticipated as most of western Montana is undergoing road repair. These chaps only have about 3 months to get everything done before the winter snows begin so there were diversions and slow-downs all along the way. The road (I-90) from Bozeman to Missoula is fairly boring; flat grasslands with irrigated agriculture from time to time. But after Missoula we pick up the Clark Fork of the Columbia River and it is gorgeous; pine forests, lots of aspen trees, gorges and valleys. I would take that road again any time. Since it had taken so long to get where we were going we didn't stop in Coeur d'Alene, but will definitely do so the next time. We are about to head out for dinner at a Thai restaurant that Mr. C found on his explorations. I'm interested to see how these Washingtonians "do" Thai.

Well, they did it very, very well. We went to Thai Bamboo and had a delicious dinner, including some Thai beer. Yummy all around. So now it's time to turn in, get a good night's sleep, and head to Portland tomorrow. More from there.

leaving Bozeman

One thing Bozeman has plenty of is weather. Days start out sunny and warm. On go the shorts and T-shirts. Time to move out onto the deck for some reading and relaxing.

Lunch is al fresco at some trendy (and always delicious) café. But by around 2 PM the clouds roll in, the wind picks up, and the thunder rolls to announce a drenching.

All of this sky and weather activity then gifts us with a spectacular sunset.

We have had a lovely visit with people and dogs. Went to the Museum of the Rockies yesterday morning to see the Leonardo daVinci Marvelous Machines show; he was quite a clever fellow indeed. Today we leave this beautiful spot and head west to Spokane, with a stop for lunch in Coeur d'Alene, ID, at Mike's suggestion. A beautiful little town, he says. I'll let you know.