Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Southern Migration

We rolled in to Guaymas yesterday after an overnight bus ride from Tucson.  I was a little nervous about crossing the border with eight bags of gear plus a stroller and carry-on items but, surprisingly, we cruised right through customs without a hitch.  We're now sitting comfortably in a hotel room, where we plan to stay until the boat is ready to go back in the water.  I'll be working hard this week to get a few necessary projects done before Christmas.

We spent our last few days in Bend with Denny and Dawn.  The temperature dropped to zero on the morning we left Oregon, which only seemed to reinforce our decision to move south.  By the time we reached mom and dad's house in Magalia snow flurries were beginning to fall.  We woke the next morning to a winter wonderland with six inches of snow covering everything.  Colin got to ride a sled and build a snowman for the first time.  He also got to throw snowballs at dad for the first time, which made him giggle uncontrollably.

From there we drove to the Bay Area for a quick visit with old friends.  Todd and Antoinette were gracious enough to offer us a room at their place in San Ramon, and we got the crew back together for one more night out in Oakland.  Thanks Mike, Colleen, Julie, David, Maria, Lee Ann, and Miguelito for taking time to see us off.

We picked up our rental car last Monday and drove two SUV's to Ron and Colleen's house in Elk Grove, where I helped him work out a little drama involving a nosey neighbor and a tow-truck.  Mom and dad met us in the morning to take our car back to Magalia, and we said goodbye once again before continuing south to Templeton where we moved in with Ricky and Maria for a couple days.  Thanks Paul for organizing an impromptu barbeque.  And, thanks Cassy, Uncle, Tina, and Ron for coming over on short notice.

Before leaving the next day we walked across the street to visit with my grandmother.  She's a very special lady and loved dearly by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  She shared her lunch with Colin and we all shared a relaxing afternoon together.

Later that day we drove to Santa Barbara to spend a night with Monica, who I don't get to see nearly enough.  We had just enough time for a couple of meals, a bottle of wine, and a lot of laughs.  Thanks, Mon.

We got a late start from SB and had the agonizing misfortune of driving through LA on a Friday evening.  Bad idea.  I've spent enough time in Bay Area traffic to know better.  So, our three-hour drive to Hemet turned in to a torturous five-hours.  Fortunately, we won't need to do that again...ever.

We did, however, have a great time visiting my uncle Bill and aunt Keckie.  It was our first time down that way and we're glad we made the stop.  Thanks for letting us invade your home for the night.

And, then, after a long drive through the desert, we made our way to Tucson, dropped off the rental car and caught the late bus to Guaymas.  One journey ends and another begins. 

We want to thank everyone who took the time to visit and gave us a place to rest.  It meant a lot to us, and we enjoyed every day and every stop along the way.  It was particularly special since, at this point, we're not quite sure when we'll be back in the US.  Traveling always feels a little bittersweet -- excited to be on the move but missing loved ones already.  We'll definitely be in touch.
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Season Three

To be honest, when we left Guaymas in June I wasn't sure when we'd be back in Mexico.  To say our first two seasons did not go as planned would be an enormous understatement.  The long months in Barra and then Mazatlan dealing with engine problems took it's toll on captain and crew.  I promised Millie when we left Alameda way back in October 2011 that if she wasn't enjoying the cruising life after two years, we'd give it up and try something else.  Living, stationary, on a boat for months on end in the sweltering heat of a Mexican marina is not much fun.  And, so, when we put the boat away in that hot dusty yard back in June I was, therefore, a little uncertain of our return.

Spending the winter here in central Oregon, I have to admit, is appealing.  I haven't been skiing in three years now and Mt. Bachelor is only a half-hour drive away.  We both found jobs near our house that we enjoyed and were discovering new restaurants every week.  Colin was getting excited about going to school (the morning sob-sessions had finally ceased).  And, all the work on the house was done.  We played in the leaves as the big maple turned with the season.  We watched movies by the fireplace as the first snow fell over the yard.  Our house was beginning to feel like our home.  Did I really want to hand the keys over to renters again?

But, for me anyway, Mexico was unfinished business.  I felt we had started down the road less traveled and needed to see where it took us.  The work was done, the money was spent, the time was lost, there's nothing we can do about that now.  We have a great boat with a strong, if yet untested, engine.  We have to see this through.  I wasn't deterred just yet.

And, fortunately, neither was my wife.  Millie agreed give it all up again for one more season in Mexico and, if all goes well, a Pacific crossing in March.  Months of emailing white-sand postcard photos of French Polynesian anchorages had finally paid off.  Perhaps I'm a better salesman than I thought I was.  The truth is (and I know this) Millie has a gypsy soul and an adventurers heart, which is one of the reasons I fell in love with her.  Even though the idea of spending three-weeks at sea to get there is terrifying, the allure of the islands and the people and the culture is powerful.

So, once again, it's time to say goodbye to our beloved Bend.  The past six months went by in a blur, and we depart with mixed emotions as we were both beginning to feel very much at home here.  Tomorrow we'll spend the day packing the car and saying our goodbyes, and Thursday morning we'll begin the long journey south.  The plan is to drive down to the Bay Area, rent an SUV, drive it to Tucson, and then catch the Executivo bus for a five-hour ride to Guaymas.  This seemed like the least painful way to get us and our many duffel bags to the boat.  We'll be visiting a lot of our friends and family along the way, but I'm hoping to be in Mexico two weeks from now.

And, at some point in the unforeseeable future we'll be back here in Bend.  We've moved out of the house and have a new renter moving in this week.  I hired a property management company to handle all the messy details this time.  We considered that a prudent decision.  There's nothing else to do now...except go.
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