Thursday, December 13, 2012

One Year Update

Well it has been one year today since we landed back in Georgia from our Caribbean cruise.  Neither of us anticipated staying in one place this long but apparently the powers of the universe thought it necessary.  Ellijay is a very nice small town, the people are friendly and welcoming.  I have spent a good part of the past year working on various projects with Leon, Beth's father and pursuing other varied interests. None of the varied interests generated any income and since Norm has well and truly screwed TicketPro, Willie and me, I find myself seeking gainful employment.  I must say the job market is really tough as an over qualified, almost 50 person seeks work.  With the re-election of Obama, it seems that it will only be getting worse. One of the exciting things we did this fall was working with Leon and Brenda in their concession trailer.  We worked 5 festivals including the annual Ellijay Apple Festival.  It was alot of fun and I learned quite a bit, mainly things not to do with hot oil.  I kept up the Casey "farm" over the summer and grew pumpkins that I sold around town and at the festivals.  The good part of that was that I made about a 2000% return on my investment on the pumpkins, the bad part was that I rolled the tractor into a ditch which cost several hundred dollars to put back together and get running again.  Luckily I was just bruised from the rollover and the biggest injury was to my pride.

Yep, I was under that.  Went down with the ship so to speak.

Beth took some additional classes pertaining to her accounting degree specializing in taxes and already has a job lined up after Christmas preparing taxes for Liberty Tax Services in Blue Ridge and Ellijay.  She had surgery to fix an "female issue" on Dec 6 and is currently resting and recuperating at home.

The RV remains parked but well maintained.  I visit it regularly and keep adding little things that will make it better for when we do get to actually use it.

We miss our sailing friends in Mexico and Guatemala and hope to head that way one day soon but that will have to wait until I can sort out the mess that Norm has gotten me into as well as take some time to refill the kitty so we can travel again.

I also wanted to update everyone before 12/21/12 just in case.  While we were in Mexico I attempted to do my own research and found this doomsday prophecy to be nothing more than the end of a cycle, I figured it couldn't hurt to go ahead and post now.  The blog will be updated from time to time, at least quarterly, until we do start adventuring again.  To make sure you do know when we are on the move, or there is a new post, be sure to become a follower by clicking the link at the top right of the blog.

As always we wish the best for everyone and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all !!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

August Update

Most of July was spent job hunting.  Not exactly what you would expect of a couple about to go traversing across the country in a RV.  Unfortunately, my previous business partner ( Norm Bumbieris ) has managed to screw up TicketPro Systems to the point of failure and because I was a nice guy and took my payout on a time basis, I don't get paid because he put the company into the toilet and there is no money.  While I pursue legal retribution, I feel that I will only get a judgement against him which is essentially useless.  You can't get something from someone who has nothing.  The bad thing is that he also managed to royally screw over Willie and the customer base that was built over 20 years. 

While this is extremely depressing news and major disappointment in someone who was considered a friend, all is not as hopeless as it seems.  I have a few irons in the fire and hopefully one will pan out.

Feel free to harass Norm on my behalf since he won't answer my emails or phone calls.

Be sure to sign up for email notifications for when the blog is updated.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4, 2012 - Status Update

First let me start by wishing everyone a Happy and Safe 4th of July !!

We spent much of June working on little projects with the RV, Leon and Brenda's projects and planning on getting going on our next adventure.

We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary by taking a cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival Cruise lines.  We drove down to Port Canaveral and departed on the 28th for our four day cruise.  Upon boarding, we were greeted with "Happy Anniversary" decorations and a great fruit/cheese/wine basket sent by my sister and family.  The cruise was enjoyable but so far removed from actual sailing the fact that we were on water wasn't even a factor.  The "veteran" cruisers have no idea what actual cruising is.  The food was good, plentiful and always available and there were always servers running around ready to take your drink order.  The ship entertainment crew always has something going on so there was always something going on.  The two comics that were aboard were Lewis Nixon and Mark Simmons and they were great !  We visited Nassau and took a great tour by one of the locals, Felton, who gave us an excellent tour of the island along with a through history.  If you ever find yourself in Nassau, don't book your tour through the cruise line, walk outside where the deals are better and if you really luck out and find Felton, you will be in for a treat.

Each day our room steward would make us a towel animal

We missed taking the picture of the walrus :(
Cabin Decorations
Gift Basket for our Anniversary
Heading to the megaresort - Atlantis

Waterfall at Atlantis

Statue at Atlantis

Atlantis, Mega resort and Casino on Nassua

at Atlantis

The Queen's Staircase 
We were allowed to walk down and thankfully, we didn't have to walk back up

Nassau Watertower, the highest point on the island

Our tour guide, Felton

In the surf at Nassau

Dock at Nassau
Aboard ship, Beth and I took advantage of all the amenities and spent time in the pool, hot tub and even went down the funship slide and followed it up with a round of mini golf.  The crew aboard does a great job to take care of all the guests and our trip was very enjoyable.  I can recommend a cruise for a good escape vacation but not as a lifestyle.  We learned a few valuable lessons about "commercial" cruising especially about getting alcohol onboard, other than that, it was a nice vacation.

Back at home, we helped Leon and Brenda with the Sparks in the Park festival which was fun until it started pouring effectively killing the festival and drowning out the fireworks.  For the 4th, Beth and I relaxed and did lots of nothing.
Tomorrow, work gets started on the RV finishing touches and if Norm Bumbieris doesn't completely screw me on the payments he owes me, We may head out this month.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Check-in/OK message from John & Beth's RV SPOT Messenger

John & Beth's RV
GPS location Date/Time:06/05/2012 10:20:39 EDT

Message:Living the dream !
All is well.

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-84.50082&ll=34.66425,-84.50082&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

John & Beth's RV

You have received this message because John & Beth's RV has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Every day is an Adventure. Share Yours.

Friday, June 1, 2012

June 1, 2012 - Status Update

Things continue to be busy with different projects.  I am slowly getting the RV outfitted the way I want to and need about 3 full days of concentrated effort for it to be ready to go.  Beth's car is almost ready to be attached and officially become a TOAD.  I have been robbing parts off her old X-90 to make her new X-90 better and fully equipped.  Leon and I worked on his pontoon boat last week and got most things done, at least done enough to take the family out to Blue Ridge Lake for Memorial Day and celebrate my birthday.

Beth continues to organize and plan for our first RV outing but without a departure date, its kind of tough to plan.  My ex business partner has been causing some stress so I am unsure of additional funding for the RV trip so it may be delayed. 

My sister and family are coming to Blue Ridge for their getaway vacation next week so we will try to spend time with them and enjoy this area.  The Sisson family reunion ( Brenda's side of the family ) is next Sunday so that should be fun.

We have planned one last "vacation" for our 3rd wedding anniversary and depending on the situation, we may depart for points north sometime after the 4th of July.  Hopefully I can complete the highest priority projects before we leave for our vacation/celebration.    Next update, July 1.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Check-in/OK message from John & Beth's RV SPOT Messenger

John & Beth's RV
GPS location Date/Time:05/09/2012 12:14:27 EDT

Message:Living the dream !
All is well.

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-84.50082&ll=34.66418,-84.50082&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

John & Beth's RV

You have received this message because John & Beth's RV has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Every day is an Adventure. Share Yours.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thursday - End of the trip

We departed very early, basically as the sun was coming up we untied from the mooring ball and headed south.  Thomas was debating parking the boat in Ft. Pierce and going to pick up his car, take care of his business then continue his trip down to the keys.  It was another motoring day with the wind still on the bow.
We tried fishing but didn't catch anything.  The weather was beautiful and we were making good time.  Thomas had spent part of the afternoon calling marina's to see who had the best deal to dock the boat.
He had decided to park as our days had been long and tiring and to make it to Ft. Myers, we still had several 12 hour days to go.  He was feeling good about his decision and it was about that time that the motor had a very disturbing squeal and stopped.  We drifted a bit and were being pushed into shallow water by the wind.  We quickly dropped anchor to give us time to figure out the issue.  Upon investigation, the cam pulley had separated from the motor and upon further investigation, it was found that the actual camshaft had sheared and this engine was not going to be running anytime soon.  Thomas, surprisingly, wasn't surprised.  He had researched Honda's and they did have a reputation for having a flywheel issue which I had repaired under a Honda recall back in 2006 or 2007 so I was the one truly surprised.  Apparently this wasn't a flywheel issue but another issue that has plagued Honda's and is pretty well documented.  The camshaft had sheared where the cam pulley attached and would require a complete engine breakdown, new parts and rebuild to get it going again.  A 1995 engine wouldn't be worth the repairs.  This is the engine that took Beth and I from Savannah to Mexico and back safe and sound and without much of a hitch.  I trusted this engine with our very lives and it did not let us down, Thank God for that.
So, we were dead in the water, the wind against us and anchored in shallow water.  BoatUS to the rescue !  If you own a boat and use it in US waters, A BoatUS membership is a necessity!  They were most courteous on the radio and followed up on the cell phone.  The Captain arrived in about 1/2 hour and we were already rigged to be towed.  He towed us to the marina that Thomas had picked which was only about a mile away from our position.  The slip they had assigned was a bit tight to get in to but the BoatUS Captain skillfully guided us in and we tied up.  Thomas went to the office to take care of the paperwork while I secured the boat and got us hooked up to shore power and water. 

After resting for a bit, Thomas checked online for a replacement engine while I made arrangements for a rental car.  Thomas is partial to Yamaha so that was his priority and was very sure he would never own another Honda.  It had been a long day and did not go as we had planned.  Thomas took it in stride, while disappointed he was in decent spirits.  The plan was to head out in the morning with the rental car with me taking Thomas to Jacksonville to pick up his truck and me continuing back to Ellijay. 

Friday 04/27/2012

I said goodbye to "Second Chance" and we headed north in the rental car.  Thomas and I had a good road trip north and we parted in Jacksonville.  I wish him all the best in his journeys.

Over the next month or so Beth and I will be readying the RV so stay tuned or follow us by email by filling in your email address in the box below.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Wednesday - Continuing South

We started off early again mostly at my urging but Thomas got into it and ran the ship most of the morning.  We stopped a little after 8:30 to get some ice and pick up some fishing lures and we were back on the way.
After a bit Thomas got a bite and reeled in a small spanish mackerel which we tossed back.  We went the rest of the day, motoring on with the wind on the bow and not another bite.  Just as we were making the final mile to the marina, Thomas caught a blue and 2 more spanish mackerel which were all decent sized.  We kept the fish on-board planning a fresh fish dinner.  We were aiming for the Anchorage Marina in Indianharbor but arrived too late and they had closed.  We chose a mooring ball and after a bit of "anchor dance" we managed to tie up securely.  I cleaned the fish and Thomas cooked them on the grill with lemon, salt and pepper and potatoes.  The meal was great, nothing like fresh caught fish served with a gorgeous sunset.  By the time everything was secure and dinner was done, it was pretty late and we both turned in early.  This was our best day yet covering just over 60 nautical miles.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday - Headed to Daytona

We were up early and headed out in time to make the 7:30 opening of the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine.  We arrived at the bridge at 7:28 which was perfect timing, had we missed the bridge we would have had to wait until 8:30 as they don't open the bridge at 8 because of rush hour.  We timed the tides well and made excellent time all the way to Daytona.  We passed through Daytona at about 4pm and continued a little bit further to the Adventure Yacht Harbor.  The wind was kicking up a bit when we docked and it wasn't the prettiest approach but nothing got dinged and we successfully tied up to the dock.  We refueled and got everything squared away.  I did some laundry and took a nice hot shower while Thomas caught up on some work. 

The sunset was great and you know what they say.  Red at night . . . . . . . . .

We went to the local restaurant for dinner and enjoyed some good conversation with the locals.
Afterwards I retired for the evening.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday 4/23/12

I was up early as usual and ready to go but a few things still had to be taken care of.  Thomas had to put his truck in storage and we needed to fuel up.  Thomas didn't return from his errands until 10:30 so by the time we had fueled up and cleared the marina it was 11am.  That actually worked out well for us as the tidal current was giving us a nice push and we averaged a bit over 6 knots.  During one straight section of the intracoastal we put the genoa up and in 22 knot winds we were doing better than 8 knots.  Unfortunately the winding, twisting turning of the intracoastal really isn't conducive to sailing so we only sailed (motorsailed) for about an hour.  Over all it was a very good day as we made it to St. Augustine in 4 hours and docked in the same 20 knot winds at the Camanchee marina.  Beth and I stayed here when we made the trip up the east coast in December and the people here are as nice today as they were then.

After we docked we took advantage of the courtesy car and took a drive around St. Augustine but it was still pretty chilly so we just did the drive by sightseeing.  We retired back to the boat as we plan to head out early tomorrow so we can make Daytona.

Sunday - Hurry up and wait

The weather wasn't cooperative with severe thunderstorms predicted over the area all day.  The weatherman was about half right as usual, it was rainy until about 2pm when it cleared and was quite nice.  A cold front came through and cooled everything off. I was glad I had brought some warm clothes.

For the most part Thomas spent the day organizing things on the boat and I went over a couple of the ships systems with him.  The plan was to depart at 9:30 am on Monday where the weather was forecast to be sunny and windy.

All in all it was a pretty peaceful day with no real excitement.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Second Chance has been sold and delivered. 4/21/2012

Thomas showed up at the boat shortly after noon and we proceeded to take care of the paperwork and banking details. With all that finished, we grabbed lunch and headed back to the Marina.  Thomas had brought alot of stuff with him that needed to be loaded so the remainder of the afternoon was spent loading the boat.  Once everything was aboard, the rain started.  Right now I believe Thomas brought more stuff than Beth and I took off.  Maybe its just the organization as everything is everywhere and there is hardly room to sit.  We decided to wait out the weather on Sunday which will give Thomas a chance to get organized and acclimated to the boat.  He also brought his two cats which seem very well behaved and are currently staying in the port aft berth to stay out of the way and not get into things they shouldn't.  The cats have come out and taken the tour and seem ok with things so far.  Thomas is currently overwhelmed and ecstatic.  After all, they say one of the happiest days is when you buy a boat . . . . .
It rained throughout the night off and on but was pretty calm aboard.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Delivery Trip - April 20 2012

I was up early simply because I get up early.  That is one habit I wish I could break but since I was up I decided to tidy things up for the new owner who should be arriving later today.  I arranged for one of the local guys to give the bottom the once over since it hadn't been cleaned since about July last year and some pretty weird things were attached.  I arranged for one of the marina guys to refill a propane bottle for me and I gave the boat a bath and took care of a few little things on the boat.  Most of the day was spent watching other people do things as I was in wait mode.

I grilled out again and enjoyed a nice meal on the boat.  Made a trip to Publix and then watched a movie online.  I heard from Thomas about 9 that he wasn't going to make it here tonight and that he would see me tomorrow.
With the weather forecast I am quite sure we won't be heading out on Saturday anyway and Sunday looks iffy.  From Monday on, it looks great.

"Second Chance" at Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville, FL

Delivery Trip - April 19 2012

Caleb, the dockhand at Amelia Island Yacht Basin came by the boat about 9 am to return my cell phone to me which was much appreciated.  I headed out about 9am for the short run to Jacksonville.  The weather was 30% chance of showers under partly cloudy skies.  It was quite a nice day to motor south as the winds were still pretty much out of the south but had calmed down to just a breeze.  The waterway was smooth and I didn't see but a few boats along the way.  Just before noon I apparently ran into the 30% chance and it rained for about 2 hours but just rain, no lightning so I kept going.   I went through the drawbridge at Sisters creek and entered the St. John's river in Jacksonville about 2pm.  The rest of the bridges are all fixed bridges until St. Augustine.  I docked at the Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville around 3 just as the next wave of rain hit, and this one had lightning in it.  I was happy to be docked and not the tallest mast in the marina.  The storm was short lived.  I ordered Pizza Hut for dinner and enjoyed a quiet night on the boat streaming Netflix to my computer.

The new owner of Second Chance should arrive late tomorrow for his first night aboard.

Delivery Trip - April 18 2012

Wow,  They say the happiest days in a boat owners life is the day he buys the boat and the day he sells the boat.  Well, I have owned Second Chance for almost 11 years ( about a month short of 11 ) and I can't say that saying goodbye is a happy occasion.  She has served me very well, taught me so many things and provided shelter and reliable transportation.  Together we have weathered many storms, been to beautiful beaches and the bluest water you can imagine so saying goodbye is not a happy day. 

I set sail on Wednesday Morning from St. Simons under partly cloudy skies headed south toward Jacksonville Florida where I would meet with the new owner and provide instructions on the onboard systems of the boat. 
Waving goodbye to Beth at St. Simons Fredrica Yacht Club

Sailing wasn't going to happen as it was wind out of the south and about a two foot chop crossing the inlet.  After that it calmed down and by mid afternoon, the sun was out, the wind had died down and the water smooth.  About 2 pm I came across a group of kayakers that flagged me down. They were tired and told me they just couldn't go on and would I please give them a lift.  It was a group out of Ohio being led by a guide to one of the Cumberland Island campgrounds and their guide had gotten them off course and lost.  After comparing maps with the guide I determined they had passed their cutoff by about a mile.  We tied the kayaks to Second Chance and headed toward their cutoff.  I hosted by offering drinks and a restroom which they appreciated.  I dropped them off about 1/4 mile from their destination and waved goodbye.   I hoped to stay at Fernadina Marina for the night but they were booked solid so I continued to Amelia Island Yacht Basin.  We stayed here about a year ago and they actually remembered the boat.  It was a pleasant stay until I realized I had lost my cell phone.  One of the dockhands gave me a ride up to WinnDixie and I was pretty sure my phone had fallen off in his car.  I called it several times but couldn't get in touch with him until morning.  I grilled porkchops on the grill and spent a relaxing evening.

Status Update April 2012

Beth and I have been in Ellijay since December and while it's quite comfortable, adventure calls to us both.
We mad the decision to sell the boat, Second Chance and continue our adventure in an RV.  In late February we purchased a 35ft Fleetwood Pace Arrow RV.  It is powered by a V10 Triton gas engine, has two twelve foot slides and all the comforts of home.  I have been working on projects on the RV to get it up to our standards in-between working on different projects with Leon, Beth's father.  One of those projects was working on Beth's Suzuki X-90 and getting it ready to two behind the RV.  We are almost done with that project but overall, Leon's project list is very long and I don't think we will stay in Ellijay quite that long.
Beth has been working on stocking the RV with what we will need and while we don't have a particular destination in mind yet, we are thinking of heading north first.  Catie and Cocoa seem to like the RV and will probably be much more comfortable than they were on the boat.

The decision to move to the RV was one of convenience.  The RV has the ability to pull over if the weather gets too bad and there isn't the requirement to take the dogs ashore with a dinghy.  Also the RV can get to places we want to see quicker.  While the overall motto is " It isn't the destination, its the journey", who wants to spend days getting to where you are going when there is nothing to see along the way.

Second Chance has been sold and part of the deal was that I deliver it to Jacksonville, FL and then spend a few days teaching the new owner everything I can about her.  He has eluded that he would like me to continue aboard with him all the way to Ft. Myers.

So, while the adventures of Beth and John took a pause, they are far from over.  Stay tuned and be sure to sign up to follow us by email at the bottom of the page.

Cocoa has already picked his spot.

We attended opening day at the festival

Beth's Christmas Surprise.  Suzuki X-90