Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Our long search is over. As we slowly worked our way around the country, we looked at more sailboats than I can remember or count. Sometimes it was fun. Sometimes, not-so-much. We started our search last July in Seattle where we met Pete the broker, who has been more helpful than we could have ever imagined. He has answered what seems like an infinite number of questions that Jason has emailed him as we looked at what seems like bazillions of boats, exhibiting super-human patience as he replied to us with incredible detail. Two weeks after getting home from our camper van trip, we headed to Seattle for a work project so we also set up an appointment to meet with Pete to look at a few more boats. Long story short, we finally found what we were looking for, and as soon as all of the paperwork is done, she will be ours. Marinero is a 1980 43' sailboat from New Zealand made from ancient swamp-salvaged Kauri wood and she sails like a dream. We had no idea that a boat could be so responsive and sail so well. With her cozy forward bunks for the boys and huge fore-decks to sprawl out on, she is perfect for us and we can't wait to sail her through the Pacific Northwest. In the meantime we are going to enjoy being home among friends and family. If this isn't our mid-life crisis, I feel a little worried to discover what we'll do when the crisis does hit.
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Monday, May 21, 2012
It's been a crazy year. I feel a little tired, but am happy we have had the opportunity to travel and see so much. After resting and playing at home for two weeks, we headed out to Seattle for a work project. Since we used to call Seattle home, we have our favorites that we love to visit, the zoo, the aquarium, the Pacific Science Center, Pike Street with all of its yumminess like the French bakery, the Crumpet Shop, and all of the fresh fruit. In addition on this trip, we spent an evening with Jason's team that will go down in history starting with dinner at a funky little neighborhood restaurant called Skelly and the Bean where the boys bonded electronically with a co-worker's kids. Afterwards we headed to what is called the Shadow House, an old mansion that three of Jason's hacker co-workers live with a few other hackers to roast coffee beans...at 9:00pm (after all, this is Seattle). Upon entering we each stood under a jaggedy knife to measure our height where we wrote our hacker names on the wall. After watching some coffee bean roasting action and taking stock of the impressive number of different coffee-making apparati (we didn't even get to see the French-press cabinet), a non-hacker resident of the house who is a gemologist enthusiastically showed us her gem and jewelry collection, giving the boys all kinds of gems to bring home and allowing us to check things out under her uber-microscope. It was very cool and at 10:30 we reluctantly pulled ourselves away to head back to the room to get some sleep. Other highlights from the trip were meeting with an old college roommate and his family to eat dinner and play in the park, a trip to the Japanese garden in the arboretum, a hike up Little Si mountain for mothers day, and accidentally walking into the middle of a street fight where I got run over by an enormous black guy.
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Saturday, May 5, 2012
We had doubts that this day would actually come, but we successfully almost-circumnavigated the U.S. in a 1985 VW camper van. Clocking just over 13,000 miles, in a surreal moment, we finally drove Sylvia back into our driveway and tucked her back into her space in the garage. It is with relief and regret (it's funny how we can miss home and feel sad about the trip ending at the same time) that we close out this chapter in our insane camper van life. We will miss being smushed into such tight, stinky quarters together. We discovered along the way that we live in a very big country, especially when traveling at camper van speeds. I love that the kids have seen so much of it now. I love the diversity that we were exposed to. I love that our kids are at home in the woods and water of Maine, the streets of Boston or New York, the warm, tropical mugginess of Florida beaches, the swampiness of Louisiana, the cool dampness of Carlsbad caverns, and the dry deserts of the Southwest. I love that they have seen so many different ways that people live, the quiet neighborhoods of Newton MA, deemed the safest city in the U.S., peering across the border into battle-torn Juarez Mexico, the brownstones of Jersey City, the tents and dilapidated campers of the Appalachians, the high-rise apartments of Washington DC, the uber-mansions in Atlanta, the cute-as-a-button cottages in New England, and houseboats in Boston. I love that we saw so many different forms of wildlife, manatees, raccoons, dolphins, alligators, crocodiles, owls, portuguese-man-of-war, sharks, bioluminescent plankton, sea turtles, iguanas, lizards, and more fish and bird varieties than we can name.
Here is a collection of photos shot from the camper van windows as we drove across the country and back.