|Driving into the rain in Tucson|
But finally we let go, knowing that it could possibly be more than three years until we physically meet again.
I had to think of the future. Hers and mine. She is starting a life of adventure with her Navy husband, traveling and seeing new sights. No time to miss her mother. I... well I will be doing the same. Returning to our own life of adventure with Caribbean dreams coming closer than ever... thankful that we aren't returning to a house now empty of her presence.
It was so nice being able to relax and stretch out in the home of new friends after a long drive. Jezabelle never missed a beat as we let her out to explore the spacious surroundings. B & C have a soon-to-be-boat-cat as well and we talked a lot about that too as our cats glared at one another.
We went out to dinner and Bruce and I answered all of their questions about cruising and prepping to cruise. We hope to be following THEIR cruising blog very soon...
In the morning when we began to gather our things to leave, Jezabelle was nowhere to be found. Suddenly she hides under the bed when she had been totally at home in this Palace. Evidently she's learning the signs of imminent departure and wants no part of another ride in the car! She LIKES Palace life...
|The back yard.|
This was our second visit to Deming and Jezabelle was right at home. She strolled the halls of this Palace with confidence and settled right into her previously chosen spot.
The short drive from Tucson left us with time on our hands. We took a drive around to check out this cute little town. The cost of living is low here. Goods and services are cheap... but to me, the cost is very high. You must be willing to live out here in the desert with very little to do. The views are lovely but unless you can be content entertaining yourself... pass on life in the desert.
We found a tiny Mexican food place down the road and picked up take-out to eat back at the Palace.
After dinner we enjoyed the view from the topmost deck as another small rainstorm crept over the distant hills at sunset.
Evidently this is "monsoon season" here in the desert. I don't know if I would call rain two days in a row a monsoon... but whatever. It sure made for a gorgeous view.
|Tiny strip of rainbow over the far right mountain|
As we passed this sign I could feel Texas. I wondered if it would always feel like "home" to me... even though our home is now wherever our boat happens to be. My guess is that it will.
I didn't get pictures of our time in Texas for whatever reason. I was just living in the moment and enjoying time with old friends.
Our first stop was at the home of our old BYC friends, Bill and Jan. We hit the ground and were at once whisked down the street for a neighborhood get-together. Bill and Jan had lived on this street for decades and had a group of long time neighbors who met once or twice a month for dinner.
|How Cruisers drink white wine...|
After a delicious dinner (main course was King Ranch Cod - YUM) we walked back to Bill and Jan's house where we continued catching up. Like true friends, we just picked up as if we had never been apart. We really miss our old BYC friends and have found none like them in our travels. We are so lucky to have these people in our lives.
One of the long-standing jokes in our Club has been that Bruce and I are light-weights when it comes to closing down the house. We were usually the first ones to leave any gathering, slinking off to our beds before the real fun began. But this time, we sat around the kitchen table and talked and laughed until finally it was BILL who said he was ready to call it a night. Thankfully we followed him upstairs and fell into the soft comfy bed that was waiting for us in their daughter's old bedroom... There were posters on the walls and when we turned out the light we were delighted to see the ceiling covered with glowing stars.
He had noticed a screw in our tire. Luckily for us (we lead a charmed life-I'm tellin' you) there was a Discount Tire just up the road. We limped over there with our cat and our car loaded down... They took one look at the screw and told us they would have to replace the tire.
We had purchased these tires at Discount Tire back in 2011 with the road hazard warranty. The new tire, rotate and balance cost us $37 and about half an hour. Suddenly we were on our way again! Hooray! Next stop, College Station and the home of our dear friends, Mark and Brenda.
We treasured every moment driving through the country backroads of Texas. The hills, the green grass, the lush trees... All so very different from our surroundings of the past two years. When we pulled into the driveway, Brenda came out and gave us the biggest, fiercest hugs we'd had in a long time. She hustled us into the house and showed us to our room... Another Palace! We don't deserve such riches!
Jezabelle had to stay in our room this time. There is another cat living here... Bizzy. And she doesn't like visitors of the feline variety. So Jezzer's time in this palace was not as much fun as ours, but at least we didn't have to look hard to find her when it was time to go...
|Ridin' in the PO-Laris|
We dined like royalty (Brenda is a fabulous cook) and visited with our friends until (again) THEIR bedtime.
Brenda took us on a tour of College Station and the A&M campus the next day and then in the evening we got to play with little Hess...
Hess is their grand baby. Daughter Sally, and her husband Matt arrived in the evening and Hess became the entertainment. He is the smartest little kid I've ever seen and looks just like an angel.
|Light at the end of the tunnel...almost there!|
Once again we were welcomed into the home (another Palace) of our friends. This time, Cruiser friends we had met way back in our first few months of cruising. We are anxiously awaiting Jerry and Sally's return to Cruising life after some extensive upgrades to their boat and hope to do some Buddy-Boating with them in the near future... but for now, they're On-The-Hard.
|Shrimper on a placid Mobile Bay|
|You can see the wind beginning to ruffle the water's surface|
The folks at FYC know this bay and expected the afternoon sea breezes to pick up... and so they did. Very. Slowly.
Bruce is very good at sailing on other people's boats. As soon as he boarded, he took note of where everything was and how it was run to the cockpit. He made himself invaluable as trimmer and never stopped tweaking sails throughout the race.
|First time racing with Sally!|
|Photo courtesy of FYC|
We stood proudly with Sally, Jack and C.Y. to receive our very nice FYC coasters as our prize for the day... and then rushed back home to get cleaned up for dinner.
We arrived back at the Palace just in time to greet guests Mary and David (avid Blog Followers :) ) for a delicious steak dinner and much talk of cruising. Mary and David are planning some short term cruising this fall and we hope to see them out and about.
The following morning we made a quick trip out to see Encore and take a look at what has been keeping Jerry so busy for the past three months.
He has single handedly re-painted the hull and put a new bottom job on the boat (and many other things). In the heat. Working tirelessly. Every. Day. I don't know how he's doing it frankly. Thankfully he is almost done and the boat looks great.
Next we had lunch at Wintzell's Oyster House with old BYC friends, Lynn and Susan. They live nearby and we visit them every chance we get. Lynn has done some cruising in the past but now has gone over to the dark side... he sold his sailboat and bought a sport fisher. But... we will forgive him because he practically INSISTED that we all come out fishing with him the next day.
I didn't know how much I had missed this until we got out there. I'm just happier on the water than anywhere else and my grin just would not stop as we motored out onto the smooth waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
It was fun driving the boat. Lynn told me to follow the previous tracks and go from one point to another on his GPS... easy peasy.
It was a glorious day. The water was blue and the waves were small. We followed the reef and did a loop around the offshore weather buoy, then out some more. I think we went about 16 miles offshore in total, then turned around and retraced our path.
Bonito. Not what we were looking for, but hey, at least we caught SOMEthing! But to me, it wouldn't have mattered. We were out on the water and it was a grand day. Just after noon, we turned towards shore. Lynn took over the helm and we all drowsed as we made our way back.
The wind was dying, the water was flat calm as we breezed along up high like on a magic carpet.
Being boaters ourselves, we tried hard to get Lynn to allow us to help him put the boat away... but he said "I've got my system" and that was the end of that.
All good things must come to an end... After more than a month of road-tripping, and visiting with friends and family.... it was time to return home.
(these photos taken by Sally)
|Where to NOW???|
It has been a good trip. If we hadn't been traveling with cats, we would most likely have flown. Sadly, we left Jetsam back in Texas, now past the point of no return... I will admit that it is easier traveling with only one cat.
Jetsam seems to be adjusting and settling into life back at our townhouse with my Mom (another palace). Jezabelle is a fabulous traveler and just makes herself right at home wherever we happen to stop...
If we hadn't traveled by car, we would not have had the opportunity to
Upon arrival back at the boat, Jezabelle rushed to the companionway and zipped down the stairs. She found our solar panels taking up her spot on the bed, so she settled right down on her settee next to it.
Our pre-trip preparations were well worth it. The boat had no new smells and no mildew. Everything was clean and ready for our return. The air conditioners had kept the air dry and both of them were still working. The fridge and freezer started right back up and started cooling again. Relief. I had half expected to return to disaster.
We re-installed the solar panels and Jezabelle reclaimed her customary place on the bed... without Jetsam. (Now is when we will REALLY miss her.) She was home. We are home. Back safely to our own Tiny Palace on the water for good and ready to resume our Caribbean Dream.