Re-Entry

golden Gate comAh! The land of plenty, home of orange (they call it Royal Purple) cauliflower, vacume sealed, pitted and pealed avocados,  6-ply dog poop mitts and DJ (disk jockey, www.natalieelizabethweiss.com) classes for toddlers under 4 years old. As much as we want to setup a trust fund for our Grand Babies to begin DJ classes we still thought we were ready to enjoy at least some of the treats that this great Republic had to offer.   After all we just came from Mexico and everyone knows that Mexico is a backwards country with poverty, bad phone lines, drugs, crime, undrinkable water, limited access to culinary delights like peanut butter, Johnsonville Brats and tomato paste and a fairly limited curriculum of educational classes for toddlers.  We might have been a little premature.

 

Having parked the boat we began to get ready to enjoy the fruits and labor of all those people that has stayed behind while we were roughing it in Mexico.  Unfortunately there was just one problem: An inefficient transportation system and no Internet and limited phone service in the marina.  OK maybe that is three things.

 

We arrived San Francisco Bay yesterdayWecome home com afternoon (not knowing when we will be able to publish this, we should say, we arrived November 19th, 2013) at about 2 PM.   We had a great motor up from Port San Luis and the conditions stayed so nice that we blew off Monterey and Santa Cruz, pulled into Half Moon Bay to top off the tanks with good “Commercial Diesel” and then actually sailed the remaining 20 miles to get under the Golden Gate Bridge.   Surprisingly we had southwest winds for the better part of the trip from Port San Luis and when we left Half Moon Bay those winds picked up to about 16 knots which hits Beyond Reasons sweet spot and we set off at full sail toward home.  The only damper for this last leg of the trip was that it began to rain just after we passed under the bridge.  Heck it is San Francisco so with the smell of sourdough in the air (really) and Dungeness Crab season just opening we were happy to be home, rain or shine.

 

Lisa had arranged for us to spend the night and potentially home port at Fortman Marina. Fortman Marina is a bit rustic but has great access to the delights that Alameda holds.   It ia also home to the Alameda Yacht Club which is perhaps the nicest/friendliest club we have ever been to, just our style.   Unfortunately we started noticing some small warnings just as we entered the harbor.

 

The first indicator that the promise land might not be so promising was that we had to back down the fairway of the marina to get to our slip.   Typically there is some turning room in the fairways to allow you to maneuver the boat, but not here.   We guess there is 50 feet between the sides of the fairways and our boat length is 53’.  Even though Bill always brags that he can turn the boat around on a dime, we didn’t even try to come straight down the channel to the parking spot.  Instead we turned the boat around and backed down the waterway, passing up perhaps 45 other slips and then parked Kitty Corner into a fairly tight berth.  No dings so all is well and at least departures will be easy.

 

Once everything was all tied up we thought it best to order a pizza and check in on the internet.  The internet was a bit slow which was a small concern but the biggest trouble was that our favorite pizza joint (Crolls) discontinued their delivery service and we had to pay $33 to have a large (not extra large mind you) pizza delivered from Round Table.  We were starving so price was the least of our worries and we got the pizza delivery working.  It was only at the end of the phone conversation with our Pizzarista that Lisa got a bit concerned: “Delivery time will be 60 to 90 minutes”.  If it weren’t for the slow internet we may have looked up Domino’s when we heard this, but no internet meant patience would be critical so we poured another cocktail. Actual delivery time was 77 minutes, 1 hour and 17 minutes for our slower friends.  Even with this extended delivery time the pizza was warm and we were thrilled with its arrival.

 

With a bottle of wine and some tasty pizza in our tummies we called it a night around 8 PM.

 

This morning (November 20, 2013) was fresh thanks to the rain that we had overnight.  Things were looking bright until we tried to connect for some real internet time.  It seems all the free wifi that we used to find years ago has gone by the wayside and even the secure networks this morning were not even showing up on Lisa’s computer.  Never daunted by this, Lisa turned on the cell phone for a bit of data exchange; Surprise! No connectivity.   The tide was out in the marina and we found that there was no data connection even through the cell phone in this harbor.   Even a walk up to the harbor office couldn’t solve the problem.  “No the harbor master said, you are in a hole and lucky to get cell signals when the tide is up.  We were dejected.

 

Over the years Lisa has been able to use her Kindle in places that others could not even receive a signal.  Through-out Mexico we have used her Kindle to send emails (yes, Kindle Lisa kindle comcan do this as well as read books) and keep her updated on Facebook as well.   Thinking we could at least look for another marina on her Kindle with it’s magical signal finder she whipped it out and Ta-Da, nothing.   Not even the Kindle could find a signal.  She stepped up to the top of the cabin and held her Kindle high as if praising the Kindle God and even this, with arms outstretched could not acquire a signal.  We were out of options, we either have to pay to have a cable network brought in or we will have to move, the promise land might need a bit of improvement before we can call this home again.

 

For now we will take a walk up to the local Coffee shop, if we can find one without Google Maps at our fingertips and post this update.  After that we could be without connectivity to the outside world for some time.  We can’t wait till the Mexican cell phone company TelCel makes its way into the American market.  We never had lack of coverage in Mexico..Heck our favorite anchorage, OPi-1 was 15 miles out into the Sea of Cortez and we had data coverage there.  We are sure things will improve as the week goes on, so for now we will dream about the future of our new Grand baby:  D.J. Giggles, AKA Parker Piel.

Destination Northern California

It has been a busy morning today.  We are up and well on our way to Santa Cruz, Monterey or Half Moon Bay, perhaps even San Francisco.  It feels good to say those names knowing that we are almost done with our nearly 2 month old journey.

The Chick has had time today to post a nice update about our morning activities and it is suggested that even on this Monday, you grab a cup of coffee and visit the Chicks Version for a couple of minutes.  It is bound to brighten your day.

Happy commuting

Shake and Bake!

Last night the crew of 11172013283Beyond Reason stayed at Cojo Anchorage, just a bit south and east of Point Conception. Our GPS location was 34 26.725 North by 120 26.301 West. The reason we want to call out the way point is that Bill spent hours looking at websites last week and the only reference to the anchorage with a GPS call out put us on the beach.

Under typical wave and wind patterns our location would have been nice. We have stayed there before and had a very pleasant stay, last night was the exception. About the only thing that wasn’t an exception last night was that we sailed to Cojo in 10 knots of wind and when we were 4 miles outside the anchorage the wind climbed to 28 knots and stayed that way till it was time for bed, at which point the wind died, the boat turned sideways into the west waves and we rolled incessantly till Bill woke up and said we were leaving.

We hadn’t planned to leave today. Monday looked like a better weather window and we could both due with some extra sleep, but away we went at 0500 this morning. As we write this we can say we have passed up Conception and Arguello points and left them with only about 10 knots of wind in our wake. We are pressing in on Port San Luis which is San Luis Obisspo and will spend a couple of hours there before continuing on to Monterrey Bay or Santa Cruz tomorrow (Monday morning).

The weather midway between Port San Luis and Monterrey looks a bit questionable this evening so we are waiting about 7 hours for more pleasant travel. So Hello, CenCal, and so long SoCal. We hope to see our favorite portion of California tomorrow afternoon. We can almost smell the traffic exhaust from here.

Santa Barbara rules and bargains.

Santa Barbara palms comYou certainly practice your patience when you are cruising.  We have had so much time to wait around in Santa Barbara that we even  found a place to buy a $5.00 lunch that was filling and was, you guessed it, $5.00.  Having not come from a fast food place was a bonus and being available at the wharf made for a pleasant dining experience as well.  Lisa was able to locate a picnic table right next to the rail-less edge of the wharf after picking up our Fish and Chips from Moby Dick’s restaurant while Bill gathered up a couple of root beers from the bait shop.  Total meal cost was $12.00 for two.

We are still having a tough time coming to grips with California law.  We know you must wear a helmet if you are under 16 years old and ride a bike. Being real children of the 60’s we both know that falling off of bikes can be great life lesson with some potential danger but still feel it is up to the parents to either figure the gene pool will separate it’s own layers, or force the helmet on to their own kids head.  There is no reason for the law, but if the law is made, why not be consistent.

There is a skateboard park not far from the boat.  It is concrete, loaded with jumps and rails and every type of “hazard” you could possibly throw in front of your “under 16 year old kid”, but do you think you need a helmut, nope. We didn’t see one child or adult in this popular park sporting anything thicker than a regular stocking cap while hurtling through the air or sliding off any of the 3′ high rails in the place, Darwin do your sorting!   The wharf we had lunch on is another example of inconsistency.  Here is a tall structure with water deep enough to drown in just below it.   I would think rails would be a requirement, yet at the farthest end of the dock there are no rails, you could roll your stroller right off the end without any interference.  Way to go California.   The guy at the bait shop mentioned the lack of railing as being the only reason Bill could not buy beer.  Apparently the city counsel figures it is only people that drink beer that could possibly walk off the end of the peer, well that and it is a lot cheaper to give up the alcohol revenue received from a couple of thirsty fisherman than it would be to put railings up around the entire wharf.

The Chick has updated her site, so if you made it this far and are looking for a bit more casual reading and some photos, shuffle over to the Chicks Version and have a look.

We are still watching the weather, but Sunday looks good for departure.   Northern California get ready.

Desperately seeking Arnold!

Santa Barbara, and stuck again.  Santa Barbara bouy If you don’t have the time to waste, don’t cruise.  It is always the same, we get in a rush and something pops up.   We fear for ourselves that if we talk bad about the engine it will let go again, but fear not, we are in a rush and now the weather is in the way.

Point Conception has a reputation as one of the most dangerous areas on the west coast to sail around. Some have called it the Cape Horn of the Pacific or something like that.  For our friends in Winters, Cape Horn is the very tip of South America that was notorious for sinking many of the Clipper Ships in the early 20th century and taking the lives of many more sailors on those journeys.  Of course the phrase the Cape Horn of the Pacific was probably coined by somebody in California, as Punta Tosca on the Baja Coast, Cape Flattery in Oregon, Point Sur and the areas around Cape Mendocino in Northern California all have their bad days.  We have been around Conception three times and only once was it tough, passable but tough.  We didn’t have to wait for Conception to clear at any of the other times, but this week looks like she is living up to her name and with 15 foot waves every 8 seconds we are going to stay in port for another couple of days before we venture over to Cojo anchorage which is just behind the Point making it a great place to stage for the 20 miles of passage we need to make.

WelcomeWe know in the background everyone is giving us a collective sigh of angst and sympathy as we endure our personal nightmare and test of patience here in Santa Barbara.  Santa Barbara with its steady 75 degree temperature, sunny afternoons, perfect sunsets, happy homeless population and beautiful parks that line the harbor drive.  No it’s no picnic here.   Bill walked over 5 miles yesterday locating grocery stores and securing propane.  The poor guy almost broke a sweat, and had it not been for the 5 knot breeze coming in off the ocean Lisa was sure he would have come back glistening like a Spartan warrior, but he didn’t.  Bill delivered the propane and reported that the selection of stores was nice and within walking distance, but he never did find Arnold Schwarzenegger, who we were sure lived close by.

With a couple of extra days to burn around here we are not giving up.  Bill is keeping a bottle of Barefoot wine unopened just  in case Arny drops by unannounced and there are always cigars available on Beyond Reason.

Before we close out we Big Star comwill say that the trip from San Diego was without any trouble.  The fix that we made on the engine took well and even though we ran the engine a bit harder than usual, everything looked good when we arrived Santa Barbara. To tack on a bit of other good news, even Sparky has perked up and with his daily runs on the beach (yes, the beach is just a couple of yards from the boat), back on track he is looking pretty good for an old dog.

Enjoy your commute, wish we were there…since we are not we will take a walk up to the boardwalk and have a tad of ice cream just to help our sorrows melt away.

Hello L.A., good-bye San Diego

 

Well we came up a bit short today.   It seems that somebody forgot to get fuel when they came into San Diego and delayed it again until we left this morning at 7 AM.   HE apparently thought we had full tanks till somebody else reminded him that he had only put in a maximum of 36 gallons of fuel since we left Turtle Bay, perhaps 400 miles ago..hmm, guess we ain’t makin’ it to San Francisco on this tank fill.

 

So we are pulling into Dana Point.   Had we announced it weeks ago that we would be here we no doubt would have had friends from all over come by and drink up all our beer.  As it is, we are here at 8 PM, and the only one waiting will be the security guard who will tell us to pick up after our pet.   We do plan to be back on the road by 8 AM in the morning trying to regain the distance we had planned to cover this evening.  If all goes well we will be looking at Ventura tomorrow evening and eyeing Point Conception by Monday morning.   The plan is to pull into San Luis or Morro Bay by Monday night and check the weather for the last big trip we will take in a while, Point Sur, but we are getting way ahead of ourselves.

 

P1020699Today was the birthday of our latest child.   Bill’s Ukulele from Nicaragua was born today and we are looking forward to it’s delivery in a couple of weeks.   As you can see by the picture, the Uke is something special and Bill and the makers have been talking for quite a while so it has been a great day.

 

We will update as we can.  The engine has run nicely all day.  We continue to baby it, and will do so till we get much closer to home.  We still have another 400 miles to cover, so Bill is thinking we can do it in one stop.  Lisa on the other hand thinks we should stop a bit more often and fill the tanks.   There is a lot of distance between some of the gas stations and she doesn’t want to take any chances.

Fire for effect

healthy engine comWell, she fired up and ran like the champ she is.  The engine is back together and with only a little added work it appears to be ready for another five hundred miles give or take.   Bill did have to call in a lifeline today.   He didn’t ask the audience but instead asked his favorite engineer a question about an ill fitting part.  Turns out his big brother John had just the right amount of “check the inside dimensions and if they are between .912 inches and 1.05 inches you should do this”, and when all else fails “take it to home depot” and check the part sizes there.  The faulty issue was a pipe threading on the manifold and within 30 minutes of the conversation Bill had dismantled everything that was done last night and had the manifold jetting across the water and over to Harrison Marine.   Seems Steve at Harrison has a soft  spot for Bill and was willing to adjust the tapping that Chrysler had done to make our parts fit the manifold.  Total cost $20.  From there things came together nicely and with the exception of a small drip on the back side of the manifold everything was pretty spiffy.   The drip was quelled by putting a bit more torque on the 4 nuts that held the gaskets in place.

We ran the engine for a bit to heat it up and all appears well.  Our departure time is early tomorrow morning with a destination of Ventura.

While all this was going on Lisa was busy pounding out an update that can be read on the Chick’s Version.  She always has a different point of view so take a look when the boss is at lunch, heck you are making enough to go out to lunch anyway so what else would you do.

 

Dodging the Bullet

Oh my god com“Oh my God!”  It was Bill in one of his animated moods exclaiming that something had gone wrong while trying to unhook the exhaust pipe from the engine in anticipation of the new manifold showing up on Thursday.  Thursday you might think, being a loyal reader and expecting that we would have received the manifold on Monday  and should be just about on the way up to San Francisco.  Well, if you are loyal you will also know that receiving parts on time has not been a big part of this trip and as usual the manifold got diverted to Sylmar along the way to San Diego.   In the big scheme of things it probably didn’t matter since our exhaust tubing needs to be repaired/replaced/welded before we can leave anyway.

 

We worked out the repair with Harrison Marine here in San Diego and are hopeful to see the new exhaust before Friday night.  The weather is looking pretty nice beginning Saturday morning and having a full week to transit the coast of California would be nice.  Bill has to report to his new job on the 18th, and although his employer is sympathetic to our situation, we don’t think it is good to show up late for you first day on the job.

 

Speaking of jobs, the exhaust pipe removal ended up being fairly easy.  The four bolts that attach the thing came out with just the small exclamation of “Oh my God” when Bill lightly touched the Marine Tex repaired manifold nipple and the entire thing came off!   We had once considered taking the boat up to San Francisco with the quasi repaired manifold.  Seeing how close we were to having the raw water tube break off from the manifold, we are glad we made it to San Diego and spent the money to stay safely in a marina while the new part was ordered.  Bill remarks after the piece snapped off, “Marine Tex may not be the magical solution, but at least it got us far enough to do a proper repair”.

 

Stephanie comSo we hope to have everything back together by Friday night.   Our transit time to San Francisco should be about a week and by then our daughter Stephanie will be just about ready to unload our new grandchild, so the stars are lining up nicely.

 

The Dude has written up a little blurb on how we feel about taking off and going cruising now that we are on our final leg.  If you have some time, click on over to the Dudes View and spend a couple of minutes with him.

 

Save room on the freeways for us, and enjoy your commute.

It’s a long way to San Francisco

long way comWe were looking at the charts today thinking of our next move.   Conservatively we have voyaged about 6,000 miles since we left San Francisco.  This included the trip down to Cabo, A trip to the Bahia de Los Angeles, several trips to La Paz and then on to Puerto Vallarta as well as Guaymas, Topolobampo, Altata, Mazatlan and our cruise 2 summers ago to San Felipe with a return Zihuatanejo and finally back the nearly 2000 miles to San Diego via La Paz and Loreto.   You could double check our math if you like but there is a lot of travel under the bilges of this barge.

 

Now that it is almost certain that we will return to San Francisco (Bill did get a verbal job offer), we are trying to get our heads around the fact that it is nearly 500 more miles up current to get home. Lisa is sure that Bill had told her it was only 300 miles max last week, but today the map shows it is nearly 150 miles just to get to Los Angeles and we still have to transit Point Conception, San Simion, Big Sur and Monterey Bay before we can say we are just an overnight cruise from San Francisco Bay.  It sometimes feels we will never tie up to a permanent dock again or fix our final engine problem.

 

Our cast in gold balboa park commanifold should have arrived on Friday, but things rarely come on schedule so we checked the UPS website and were sure we saw the news that it would deliver by the end of the business day on Monday.  Today we checked and the marker has now moved to the end of the business day on Tuesday, so we will see.  Heck it has only been two weeks since we paid for the manifold.  In Mexico it would have taken a full three weeks for UPS to deliver.  The funny thing is we don’t even believe that the part is correct.  The shop said the package weighed 83 lbs, so we figure freight is going to be expensive, but Bill guesses that the max weight of the actual manifold would be 20 – 25 lbs, so either we got the wrong part, Bill was really strong last time he took the manifold off or because of an earlier discussion that Bill had with the guy at Blue Ridge Marine, the package actually contains two manifolds so we might be stuck with a decision, return the second manifold or sell it on E-bay.   I am sure that our integrity will find us packaging up the second manifold if it really does show up and sending back to Blue Ridge, heck what would we do with the money we got from the sale of it anyway.

Balboa Park Pnd

The waiting has not been all that bad for us.  San Diego is lovely and Lisa and her friend Beth have been doing walk-a-bouts seeing the sites.   With the possible job looming, Bill was visiting the Toy Store and has picked out a celebratory new Ukulele.   Assuming we get something in writing, his play The candy shop comtoy will be coming from Nicaragua in the next couple of weeks, custom made of course.

If you are in San Diego and have a hankering to look at a hundred different Ukes drop by Hale Ukulele’s on Clairemont (3650 Clairemont Dr. #5A, San Diego, CA.  858-414-4492, haleukulele.com), uke store comthey have everything you could ever possibly want and then some, bring money.

 

Will will let you know how things progress.  We have one more smallish engine item to complete when we confirm we have the right manifold, but we will leave that episode for another day.  For now you can check out Sparky’s page.  It has been a while since he wrote, he’s got his reasons.