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Old 06-21-2013, 02:50 PM   #26
SGT RJ
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Awesome TR, subscribed.
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:26 PM   #27
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Re: *** Housekeeping, June Need More Towels LC Thread ***

Quote:
Originally Posted by chopstick View Post
I decided to fly to Florida, buy a car, and drive it from Key West up to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska.
Holy cow. That sounds amazing. I mean, the sailing part is great and all, but I'm really looking forward to OOT's vicarious road trip.

It sounds like you'll be doing the drive mostly solo? If that's right, what's your audio plan? Books on tape? Satellite radio? Something else?
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Old 06-21-2013, 05:47 PM   #28
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I like everything I'm reading and seeing in this thread
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:03 PM   #29
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Re: *** Housekeeping, June Need More Towels LC Thread ***

Dids - thanks for splitting out the posts from the LC thread and letting me have my own thread. I'll try to keep the posts interesting with ample photos.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpyetblunt View Post
wow, so cool. I dont think i could handle being on a boat for that long but im still envious of the lifestyle.
Don't be envious, be inspired! Channel that energy to do something similar for yourself that you'd enjoy. Being on a small boat for a few weeks is no big deal as long as you get along with the folks on board. I get along with pretty much anyone, so it's easy for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hey_Porter View Post
What's the background here? Kind of sounded like a delivery, but now it sounds like recreational? Either way, looking forward to it. Love sailboat/sailing porn.
It's a delivery, just a very laid back one. The owner bought the boat in Miami a month or two ago from a couple that had just finished a circumnavigation. He wanted to get it below the hurricane line ASAP, which is about 12 degrees latitude. Halfway through the trip, somewhere in the Bahamas, he decided he would rather hole up in the Dominican Republic instead. We'll be heading to Luperón in a few days. Cockfighting is legal in the DR, might go watch one of those. They have entire arenas for the sport if wikipedia is telling the truth.


Quote:
Originally Posted by buffett View Post
Holy cow. That sounds amazing. I mean, the sailing part is great and all, but I'm really looking forward to OOT's vicarious road trip.

It sounds like you'll be doing the drive mostly solo? If that's right, what's your audio plan? Books on tape? Satellite radio? Something else?
The drive will be mostly if not entirely solo. One or two friends may join for certain legs, but no firm commitments from anyone yet.

No audio plan other than lots and lots of music. I've never really been able to get into books on tape. I either get too distracted by them and don't pay enough attention to driving, or focus on driving and tune them out so they might as well be on mute.


Today we rented bicycles from a place near the marina and went riding around the island for most of the day. We ended up near the middle of Grace Bay where all of the resort hotels are. They had some 16' Hobie Cats there which I wanted to rent, but when I asked about it the beach guy said they were for resort guests only. I offered an implied bribe but was shut down. We did find another place up the beach that rents them, so that's on the schedule for tomorrow.

Also had a good chat with a couple of ladies who ran a souvenir shop where I bought a little fridge magnet. We talked about the barracuda that I had caught last week, and they raved about barracuda meat. They also advised that the best way to cook shark is to boil it first, then pull it apart by hand like you would do pulled pork, and then season and fry it. I never would have tried that, shark meat is already so soft I would have thought boiling it would make it disintegrate. We still have a couple of shark steaks left so I may give that a shot but it does sound like a lot more effort than just tossing some olive oil in a pan and sauteeing it up.

Looks like the photo evidence of my filleting job on the tuna does not hold up to my previous claims of mastery:



Mostly I was proud of getting the fillets along the back and leaving only the spine. That belly meat became sashimi about 45 seconds after the photo was taken. Didn't eat the bloodline meat.

Relaxing in Grace Bay:



The neat thing about Grace Bay was that the reef was far enough out and the sand smooth enough that there were a ton of shells along the beach that were undamaged. Normally shells get chewed up pretty bad getting worked over rocks and a reef, but there were good pickings here.

I found this amusing:



Not sure if it's that the bird is wearing a hat, that he's covering his eyes from the sun, or the shouted warning. I like taking photos of signs like this. I know it has nothing to do with sailing.

Back to sailing - here's a nice shot of the shark we caught during one of the failed lasso attempts. Took about a half dozen attempts but eventually we got him. Any shark experts want to identify what kind of shark he was? Besides a tasty one, obviously:



Bonus photo of the shark massacre scene:

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Old 06-21-2013, 07:52 PM   #30
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Definitely don't eat any Barracuda you'll get ciguatera poisoning, it's very prevalent in the Caribbean. Lots of locals don't really seem to believe in ciguatera but they're regularly getting sick from eating it.

I personally know quite a few locals who raved about Barracuda until they finally got sick. Ciguatera will make you wish you were dead for about a week and effects your joints. Even worse is that after you get over it if you eat any fish for the next year or more you can get sick again.
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:57 PM   #31
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Sail safely chopsticks. Am a sea man myself.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:59 PM   #32
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

<subscribed>

Open ocean - Tail says thresher shark.

Reef - Black tip reef shark?
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:06 AM   #33
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail



A sailor? Good man!
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:34 PM   #34
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

great report.

less bloody fish and dude pics though. Surely there is an island girl out there somewhere who doesn't think the camera will steal her soul?
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:16 AM   #35
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

you fish for sharks?

what the ****.

insta sub.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:31 AM   #36
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Safe travels! Glad dids made a thread for this.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:42 AM   #37
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

If you've never had it get some fresh conch. I have a feeling you'll like it.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:09 PM   #38
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

When we last left the story, the sailboat had made its way into the Turks & Caicos and the crew had been chilling for a few days. Before we get into that, let's have a few more photos:

Another angle of lassoing the shark:


Making sure the shark was actually dead by driving a spike into its brain:


Our high tech alarm system to alert us when a fish was on the line, since we didn't have a clicker on the reel:


Fishing at sunset:


Sailing at sunset:


What happens when you don't bring a fish on the boat fast enough:


That's a barracuda that had its guts ripped out by something else while it was still on the line and before we reeled him in. They don't normally look that skinny.

We spent a few days biking and Jeeping around the island. The Jeep we rented had at least three holes in the floor through which you could see the road. On St Thomas, we call vehicles like this "island cars". Most of the island was fairly desolate, here's what the main road looks like:




We saw a pretty cool capsized boat in one of the coves:



No clue how long it had been there. We considered snorkeling it, but decided against as the current was fairly strong there. The color of the hull and the rust was a nice contrast to the color of the water. That boat is about 80-100ft long.

We made our way down to Pirate's Cove on the southwest side of the island, where we walked around in the cove while infinite tiny fish swam all around our legs. There had to have been at least 5,000 fish there just swimming around. Whenever a big fish would show up, all the tiny fish would immediately swim toward us and hide around our legs. There were so many that they were swimming into our legs and you could feel the water change direction.

After we finished exploring T&C, the captain flew back to NYC and the three remaining crew sailed out of Provo for the Dominican Republic. We got a somewhat late start, heading northwest from the top central part of the island out around West Caicos.

As there were now three of us, we altered the watch shifts. We decided to each do two 4-hour shifts. I had the 0400-0800 and 1600-2000 shifts. After my shift ended at 2000 somewhere south of West Caicos, I headed off for a nice rest in the salon berth. We had recovered nicely from our late start, and were making good time with the mainsail and jib up.

That's right about when things started going wrong. At 2100, I was woken up to a bunch of yelling by the owner who was up in the cockpit on watch. I ran up to the cockpit and quickly saw what he was yelling about - the mainsail had ripped in half. Yes, ripped in half. The jib was still out on the inner forestay, but the main had a horizontal tear all the way from the leech (rear side of the sail) to the luff (front of the sail where it is up against the mast). There was maybe a foot or so of untorn sail near the luff.

We quickly started to drop the main, and luckily the tear was right under a reef line, so we secured the main at its first reef point. A reef is something you do to a sail to reduce the size of the sail by only exposing part of it to the wind. For a main, this usually means dropping the sail somewhat, and tying the slack part of the sail down to the boom. This reduces the size of the sail, which reduces the power of the wind acting on the boat, which means you are less likely to capsize or damage the boat under heavy weather conditions.

After we secured the main to the first reef point (if you think of the mainsail as a big triangle, imagine it shrinking to a smaller triangle - that's the net result of reefing), we had a short discussion about what happened to cause the tear, and decided to defer the discussion to the next morning. We decided to continue sailing on to the DR using the jib and the reefed main, as we also had the engine for backup if needed. We were sailing a very close haul, just barely off the direction of the wind (40-45 degrees), and wanted to maintain course and speed as best we could. I went back to sleep at this point.

Right around 0030, I was woken up by a very loud sound, followed by lots of yelling. I again ran up into the cockpit and looked forward to see that the inner forestay (with the jib attached and out) was swinging around the starboard side of the boat, banging the rolling furler against the lifelines, stanchions, and side of the hull. The forestay is a steel cable that comes from the top of the mast down to the bow of the boat, and in our case, has a sail wrapped around it. I didn't understand what I was seeing at first, it took me a moment to register what had happened. The chain plate attaching the forestay at the bow had snapped, and with the tension on the forestay from it still being attached to the top of the mast, as well as the wind in the jib, the bottom of the forestay had swung out over the starboard side of the boat.

This was a much trickier one to deal with. With the main ripped in half, we weren't that concerned with anything other than lowering it and maybe getting smacked with the sail. With the forestay ripped free and swinging around, it was a lot more dangerous both to us and to the boat. We had to secure the forestay quickly in order to reduce damage to the boat, but the forestay was whipping around in the wind and getting hit by the furler would not be good. The winds were probably about 20kt at this point, and of course it was pitch black.

We were able to grab the starboard jib sheet (a rope that you use to control the jib) and tighten it down to a cleat, which reduced the movement of the forestay to a range of about 6-8 feet. The owner then grabbed the furler and immediately lashed it to a mid-deck cleat and around a stanchion. Once it was somewhat more secure, we dropped the sail and lashed everything down around the stanchion and the lifelines. It ended up looking like this:



Not pretty, I know.

When the forestay was finally deemed secured, we had another discussion about what to do. We were around halfway to the DR, with a reefed main, no jib, and no genoa (this had broken much earlier in the trip). We decided to fire up the engine and motorsail the rest of the way. I went to sleep again.

Somewhere around 0330, not too long before I was going to wake up for my 0400 shift, I was woken up again. No loud noises this time. No noises at all, actually, which is why I woke up. The engine had stopped and would not restart.

At this point, we were pretty much in the middle of the bottom of West Caicos and the DR, out in open water. We were now down to a reefed main as our sole method of propulsion or steering, and basically drifting through the ocean. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the other crew had left the bathroom sink running that night, so our fresh water tank was drained empty as well. Morale was not high at this moment. After some additional troubleshooting of the engine, we decided to just drift until morning, and then revisit our plan of action after we had gotten some actual sleep.

I finished out my shift, went to sleep, then woke up around 1100. The owner had been trying various things with no success, but had eliminated some possible problems from contention. A diesel engine is not particularly complicated, but none of us had any real diesel experience.

What we did have was a diesel repair manual, though. I sat down and started reading. Eventually we determined that there was some kind of clog in the fuel line somewhere in front of the fuel pump and initial fuel filter. This left a hose from the fuel filter to the tank, the tank outlet, or the tank itself as the culprit. Lucky for us, there was a second tank outlet due to the previous owner having run a generator on board. We ended up taking a second hose and running it from the second tank outlet to the fuel filter. You can see that ugly solution here, it's the black hose running along the floor:



After we re-routed the fuel line, the engine started back up and we started back on course to the DR again.

One fun interlude to that session was when the other crew member casually mentioned a ship contact that we might want to be aware of. I came up out of the cabin expecting to see a little grey dot somewhere on the horizon, but instead saw a tugboat pulling an enormous container barge the size of a huge tanker, less than .3nm away. The owner and I deferred yelling at the other crew to make immediate radio contact over the VHF, to advise the tug that we were drifting without any propulsion or steering, and that we were unable to control our course or take evasive action. Luckily the tug was listening, spoke English, and let us know he'd steer clear of us. That was probably the scariest part of the entire trip.

Not long after we had the engine running again, a pod of about a dozen or so dolphins showed up and swam alongside us for about 20 minutes. I don't have any photos but have some great short video, including one where three dolphin jump in unison right alongside the boat. This would have been awesome on its own, but coming right after we fixed the engine and after the night of hell, it was an incredible moment.

We kept motorsailing on through the afternoon and into the night. We spotted the DR sometime around dawn. This is also when we noticed the above barracuda on the line. We eventually pulled into Luperon, which is a hurricane hole on the north side of the DR. Here's a few shots of the damage from the forestay breaking:

Forestay lashed to stanchion, after ripping a lifeline off:



Forestay chainplate snapped in half:



Same shot, a little further back. The headstay is still in place:




It was nice to finally be anchored at Luperon:



Not exactly where we were, but close:




After resting at anchor for a bit, a dinghy motored up with three guys in shorts and tshirts. These were the customs guys. They didn't have uniforms or IDs, and just pulled out a blank sheet of computer paper to write down our vessel and crew information on. Much more casual than the T&C customs folks a week prior. These guys did a far more thorough inspection of the vessel, though. They looked in every nook and cranny. The DR has a bad reputation for drug smuggling, so I was somewhat expecting this.

The customs guys finished their inspection and we locked up the boat and headed to shore. We went to a little trailer that was subdivided into a bunch of tiny offices, and went through immigration, agriculture, port inspector, and something else. Eventually we were free to walk around Luperon. Not much interesting to report there, just lots of dogs, cows, and people walking around a small port town. We found a pizza place, had some pizza, and headed back to the boat.

The next day, I caught a taxi to the airport in Puerto Plata. The taxi I caught was called a gua gua. This is a private vehicle that is used as a taxi with communal passengers. The gua gua was an older Toyota Camry. There were 8 of us, including the driver. We were all pretty much sitting on each other. At one point we picked up a guy with a bag full of live chickens. The chickens were very well behaved. Just a little cluck here and there when we hit a pothole or rounded a rough corner. Cluck cluck.

From the airport, I flew back to Miami to kick off my Key West, FL -> Prudhoe Bay, AK road trip, which I am currently about a third of the way into. I'll write more about that later with some photos. Right now the plan is to fly to Hawaii after I finish the road trip, and chill there for a while. Then either back to St Thomas, or another delivery somewhere. Preferably to French Polynesia.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:22 PM   #39
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail



Love this thread.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:38 PM   #40
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

You, sir, make the internet much more interesting than Herman Melville ever did.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:13 PM   #41
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Road trip preview photo:



Drove up that road yesterday in the mountains west of Denver. No idea how long that building has been ready to fall, but it definitely looks ready. Drove past it to get that photo, then someone else drove by and parked almost right under it. They had more faith in the remaining structural integrity than I did.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:17 AM   #42
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

That was quite a trip. Nice TR. Did the chainplate that snapped have rust in the crack? Did the captain go over the rig before you guys left?

That's not a barracuda.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:28 PM   #43
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Nice TR, enjoyed the read.

Can we get some more fishing pics?
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:19 PM   #44
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

The chainplate had rust in the center:



The captain and a surveyor went over it before we left.

Any idea what it was, if not a barracuda? Here are more photos of it:









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Old 07-23-2013, 02:09 PM   #45
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

"those offshore snaky fish". I don't know what they actually are and never bothered to look it up. I've only ever caught them quite aways offshore and usually at night but they're definitely not barracudas and they're always super skinny.

They have totally different teeth, eyes, color and body shape than barracudas. Almost like a barracuda, a wahoo and a sea snake had a dirty three way and ended up with the ugliest child imaginable which they then banished to the open ocean to only come out at night.

Barracudas are very rarely caught very far off the continental shelf.

Surveyer definitely should have caught that chainplate. It was a problem that's been festering for a long time and the hairline cracks should have been easily visible as well as the rust. Anytime you see rust weeping from any stainless you have a problem.

Good learning experience since you didn't get killed.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:44 PM   #46
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Quote:
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Good learning experience since you didn't get killed.
Doesn't that apply every time you safely come back?
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:45 PM   #47
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Do you think it's a snake mackerel?









I just discovered fishbase and wow is it awesome.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:35 PM   #48
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Time to kick off the road trip portion.

After landing in Miami from the Dominican Republic, I started to look for a vehicle for the road trip from Key West to Prudhoe Bay. I knew that I needed to balance a few different needs. The vehicle needed to get decent miles per gallon, as I'd be going an estimated 7-8k miles on the trip. It needed to be either 4-wheel or all-wheel drive, in order to be able to sell it in Anchorage and to tackle some of the roads I was planning. It also needed to be something I could sleep in, as the last leg of the trip includes a few 250 mile stretches with absolutely nothing. That's the Dalton Highway, the road between Fairbanks, AK and Prudhoe Bay, AK.

My initial goal was to find a 4WD 4Runner. That didn't work, there only seem to be 2WD 4Runners in Miami. I expanded the search to a few other vehicles like Nissan Xterras, Honda Elements, and Honda CRVs. Eventually I found a 2001 Honda CRV with just under 150k miles on it. It was a single owner vehicle, bought off the lot, with primarily Florida miles, and an owner who had it serviced at the dealer at regular intervals. The Carfax looked good, so I found an ASE master mechanic on Craigslist to check it out with me. He gave it a clean bill of health, and a few hours later I had my road trip vehicle.

Here it is in the mechanic's garage (his actual garage), where we bled the brake lines to replace the brake fluid, as well as swapping out the valve gasket and a few other maintenance items to prep it for the cross country drive:



I bought the car on the 1st of July and drove it down to Key West the same day. The actual road trip kicked off the next day from Key West on the 2nd. Here she is again, this time in Key West:



The trip had to be started at the southernmost point in the continental US, so here's that:



I dipped my toe in the water right behind this monument, and the trip had officially started. There was a 20-30 person line at the monument to take photos, it was a very popular spot. People were well behaved, and no one cut into the line. It was mostly Americans.

I've had Key Lime Pie before, but I didn't know you could put it on a stick:



Headed out of Key West with the odometer reading 150150.

Not too far north of Key West, there's a very large lobster at an artist conclave:



There's also a dolphin research center with a very large dolphin and calf:



The highway between the keys is pretty flat and barren:



You aren't allowed to stop on any of the bridges between the keys, nor fish from them:



but there are some designated areas where you can fish:



That "fishing allowed" sign is probably one of my favorite road signs so far on the trip.

After driving out of the Key West area, I booked it up through Florida on scenic byways. Didn't touch 95 at all, went up through the center of Florida on various state highways. Very little traffic. Lots of orchid farms and RV parks. Ended up making it into Georgia the same day. Stopped for the night in southern Georgia, then headed up to Atlanta the next day to visit a friend for dinner. After that, kept moving north the next two days through the Carolinas, mostly near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Not much to say about Georgia or the Carolinas, just a lot of peach stands, Jesus billboards, and adult store billboards.

Eventually found this drive thru (drive by?) BBQ place just inside Virginia:



Here's a closeup:



You pull up, tell the guy your order, put your money in the red bin, and he pulls it up to himself with the attached rope. Then he cooks your food, puts it in the red bin, and lowers it back down to you. I had a pulled pork sandwich.

For the most part I'm avoiding interstate highways, so here's a scenic byway in the middle of Virginia on the way from the Shenandoah to D.C.:



That's most of what I'm trying to drive on when I'm not pressed for time for some reason. The little scenic byways and state highways are usually free of traffic and have much more interesting things to see along them.

Eventually I made it up to the D.C. area, where I decided to work on mosquito netting for the CRV:



I had gone to Home Depot and bought a roll of mosquito netting, along with some strip magnets. You can't sleep in a car without cracking a window for air, but the mosquitoes and other bugs will attack you if you leave a window open. The solution is to make your own screen window to be able to sleep in peace. I knew I'd eventually have a night or two in the car so I figured I'd get it built sooner rather than later. That was the measuring process. I then cut it to the shape of the window. It fits very snugly, no mosquitoes are getting through that.

After visiting with family and friends in D.C., it was time to head west. I made good time through West Virginia and Kentucky. Visited with some family in Kentucky before heading north up through Indiana to Madison, Wisconsin to pick up some friends for part of the road trip. The hotel I stayed at in Indiana was literally in the middle of a corn field:



I knew I'd made it to Wisconsin when I started seeing the signs for Butterburgers:



There is a botanical garden in Madison with a cool butterfly exhibit. You need to dance the Butterfly Shake dance when you exit to make sure you don't bring along any stowaways:



My friends took me to a place for breakfast with a lot of different toast options:



I went with sourdough.

After a day in Madison, the two friends I had come to pick up hopped in the car and we hit the road toward Denver, Colorado for a wedding of another friend. Nebraska was very, very flat and very, very boring. Here's the most interesting thing we saw during the 1,000 mile drive:



Someone told me later that this is where most B-vitamins come from. I had no clue.

After we arrived in Colorado, the road was much less flat:



The wedding was a lot of fun, and I got to see a lot of friends I hadn't seen in a long time. After the wedding, a friend took me to see Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which I had wanted to see for a while:



The view from the stage area:



There are quite a few recordings made there, due to the interesting natural acoustics afforded by it being surrounded by enormous rocks and boulders. It's also just a beautiful place to go see.


I'm playing catch-up with the writing, as I'm actually in Oregon right now. I'll try to catch up tonight or tomorrow night and start updating closer to real-time now that I am going slower and taking more photos.

Bonus photo of the tub in the hotel I'm currently at:



I thought those things only existed in movies.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:44 PM   #49
de captain
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

jealous
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Old 08-04-2013, 04:07 PM   #50
eblah
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Great...another thread that makes me want to buy a boat...even though I'm stuck in the middle of the country...

Loving it so far though!
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