Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Loop Interrupted

We had very intention of completing our Loop this summer- from the top of the Chesapeake to the top of Lake Michigan. We were excited about the Hudson, Lake Champlain, and the Canadian waterways. But we will pursue that dream next summer. Mark injured his back on June 10 while we were at a family reunion in Washington D.C. We returned to Mara Beel in Georgetown, MD, and then moved to a hotel room in Chestertown. Mark was treated by a chiropractor 6 times, (even on a Sunday evening!) and was examined by an MD who prescribed pain relievers, steroids, muscle relaxants, and an X-ray. He did not improve, so he then had an MRI which showed protruding discs. Pain made it almost impossible for him to sleep or even stand upright or walk. Everyone we met in Chestertown treated us with concern and kindness- we will carry fond memories of this place. We flew back to Iowa on the 18th. It should have been a relatively easy trip with wheel chairs in the airports, but a 5-hour delay made it miserable indeed.

Yesterday Mark received an epidural steroid injection and another Rx. We will be seeing a spine surgeon soon to evaluate whether or not surgery is needed.

While we are disappointed about not completing the Loop this summer, we are happy to be home and near our kids and grandkids. This delay will give us a chance to get to know our Ranger Tug- we have not driven her or changed her registration numbers. Mara Beel II is still in Maryland and we are working on having her trailered to Iowa, where we have a place for her.

It's wonderful to be back on the Mississippi!

Friday, June 2, 2017

We Have a New Boat!!

Big news from the crew of Mara Beel- On May 16 in Deltaville, VA, we sold our well-loved trawler, a 42 foot Ocean Alexander. It happened a lot faster than we expected- we were thinking August would be a reasonable time to part with our large trawler and downsize to a trailerable trawler to explore new waterways. As luck would have it, however, Mara Beel’s new owners appeared within days of listing her back in February. The deal took some time to close, which gave us time to formulate our plans.

Saying good-bye to Mara Beel I- photo by John Short

On May 25 we took possession of Mara Beel II, a 2014 Ranger Tug R27, in Georgetown, MD. We decided to keep the same name for the sake of continuity. In order to keep our Loop intact, we traveled with our AGLCA burgee on Short Vacation with our great friends Pam and John, from Deltaville to Georgetown.

Mara Beel II- a Ranger Tug R27

It's compact!

The cockpit has a full enclosure.

With Mark painting the big picture, I formulated a 15-step plan to make this huge transition work. It is not easy to move from a 42x15 boat to a 27x8.5 boat! We rented a storage unit for the shifting of things form one boat to the other. We hauled a van load of belongings home in February when we went back for the birth of our fifth grandchild. On May 27 we again loaded our mini-van, plus a rented mini-van with more excess belongings. We drove both vans back to Iowa on May 28-29 with Mark also pulling the now empty trailer. The trip was nearly 1,000 miles and took around 17 hours. At least we could both choose our own radio stations!

We have unloaded, cleaned/washed and sorted our boat things and will soon head back to our new to us tug. We have about ¼ the space on the new boat, so we will be taking the bare minimum of stuff. We will then head north through New Jersey and New York, the Hudson River and Lake Champlain into Canada. We intend to finish our Loop in Leland, MI, in August after attending the Lake Michigan Rendezvous for Ranger Tugs. We have plenty of ideas for cruising all over the country since we will be able to trailer this boat on the highway and then cruise. The Pacific NW is on our bucket list. So stay tuned for the further adventures of Mara Beel!