Sitting here cooling off in the breeze, enjoying a view of ducks on the pond, listening to birds chirping, cottonwood leaves rustling, goat bells tinkling in the distance, our resident rooster crowing at his harem of hens, all mixed in with the sound of motorcycles shifting through their gears, and small airplanes circling to land in the field nearby. It’s certainly a different type of life style that we’ve been having this summer! It’s life on the hard!
Where are we now? Glad you asked!
At the moment we’re house sitting in a lovely peaceful home just outside Snohomish, with trees all around and a pond in back. We always seem to have good luck and once again lady luck came through. While we were sailing in Panama last February, we met some new cruising friends who were vacationing for a week on another friend’s boat. Long story short, we discovered during sundowner conversations that they needed a house sitter while they were sailing in Alaska for the summer, and we needed a place to stay while I recuperated from knee replacement surgery (I think they got the best end of the deal..ha!). Voila – conundrums solved cooperatively!
So, this summer has now marked the longest stint we’ve spent on the hard, and in one place, since we moved onto our floating home in 2012. It’s been a bit out of character for us and we’re definitely getting eager to start traveling again, but what a great summer we’ve had in the beautiful Northwest. My knee surgery was a total success and being in such a perfect surrounding to recover could not have been better.
How did we get here? Glad you asked!
The first thing that happened was that Happy Dance was lifted from her happy place in the water and placed on the hard. That very simple sentence doesn’t even remotely reflect the level of angst and anxiety we felt as we slowly guided Happy Dance onto the submerged hydraulic trailer then watched somewhat helplessly while the workers aligned her 7’ keel in between the hydraulic lift pads that would support her 25,000 lbs. as she was hauled to her summer home on blocks. With plenty of shifting, do-overs, and shouted instructions between the driver and the guys with their snorkel gear peering into the murky water to see if all was well, they soon had her on the trailer and began the slow pull up the steep (much too steep) ramp to her new home in dry storage where she’d sit on blocks for the next eight months. Now we just have to worry about the return trip!
Marty and I are also out of our floating element; we’re living on the hard just like Happy Dance, in a real house with wooden walls, a rigid roof, and even a truck for transportation in the driveway. It doesn’t rock when the wind blows, we don’t have to take the dinghy to get to the store, and there are no worries about anchors dragging, but we do miss our pool! It’s all so…normal…but very abnormal for these two sailors.
Where else have you been? Glad you asked!
We enjoyed some land yacht adventures before we landed in Snohomish. In May after Happy Dance was secure, we flew from Panama City to Pueblo, Colorado and picked up Murph, our 18’ travel trailer. For a month or so we drove around exploring new places in the southwest. Two of the most memorable adventures were Mesa Verde National Park, and Arches National Park. Wow!
It felt like we had Mesa Verde NP all to ourselves and because it was technically before the season had opened, we pretty much did! We pulled into the park campground and found a perfect spot with a beautiful view of the mesas. It was still pretty cold there, with even a few patches of snow hidden beneath the trees, but the sun came out and warmed things up in the daytime. We hiked every day to a new vista or cliff dwelling, rode our bikes around the Wetherill Mesa, oohed and aahed at all the ancient pueblo structures, and thoroughly enjoyed reading every plaque and adding archeological factoids to our craniums.
One of our favorite hikes was the Petroglyph Trail, that leads you down into a steep canyon and below the cliffs. It was impressive to look up at the enormous sandstone cliffs and to walk along trails that the ancestral people had formed all those hundreds of years ago in their travels from the canyons to mesa tops. The Petroglyphs themselves were amazing, spectacular, mind blowing; such a small speck in a hidden canyon brimming with forgotten memories. You could almost feel the grit on the artist’s fingers as he carved his stories into the rock walls. After trying to absorb it all, we eventually returned to the trail that now took us up, straight up, to the top of the canyon for the loop back to where we started. Perfect!
After enjoying plenty of solitude and communing with history for a week our next stop was Moab, Utah and Arches National Park. We soon learned that Moab is never out of season! The town itself was busy, but not yet overflowing with summer traffic. The biggest hurdle was finding a place to camp, but as our good luck would have it, we happened to drive into one of the BLM campgrounds just as another camper was leaving, so we were able to grab a prime spot right on the Colorado River. The campgrounds are mostly first come first serve, so campers are forced to drive around every day to see when others are leaving so that they can be there bright and early to try and grab a spot. It’s a crazy game, and we were so happy to have found a spot so easily.
As is our usual routine in busy National Parks, we were up at the crack of dawn each day and headed into Arches. We beat the crowds at the gate and enjoyed peaceful drives into the park through some pretty spectacular scenery! I must have said WOW a gazillion times. Every corner and slight change in elevation brought new views of the crazy shaped spires and arches unlike anything we’d ever seen. The guide says there are over 2,000 arches in the park, and it’s easy to believe as you see how the wind and rain shapes the stone.
We went to a different spot each day and hiked as far as our legs would take us. Thankfully we were pretty successful in avoiding the crowds; it’s all about timing. Early morning is the perfect time to beat the rush and it’s also a great time to really see the contrasting colors and textures of the beautiful sculptured stones. In my next life I want to come back as a nature photographer (or a major league baseball player) so I can capture the artistry of nature in these incredible places. I love national parks!
Our favorite hike in Moab was actually outside the park. Every day we drove back and forth along highway 128 and passed a sign for the Grandstaff Canyon Trail. One day we decided to give it a try and took the hike into the canyon to Morning Glory Bridge, a huge natural stone bridge. It was incredible to look up at the bridge and see how massive it is. There’s also a natural spring that comes flowing right out of the rock to form a small pond that feeds into the creek nearby. It was a beautiful hike, and yes, lots more WOWs!!
Pretty soon time and schedules closed in on us, so we started heading toward Seattle where the calendar dictated that we had to be. Along the way we stopped in some great river side campgrounds and eventually drove over Snoqualmie Summit, past my old Skier’s Inc. stomping grounds where our family spent nearly every winter weekend when I was a kid. On June 3rd I reported to Swedish Hospital where my left knee was replaced with a lovely new titanium version. Since then we’ve been in Snohomish while I got my knee to work again, and Marty took care of everything else (did I mention that he’s awesome?)!
What’s next in the adventures of Marty and Sue? Glad you asked!
We’re delighted and excited, jubilant and overjoyed to announce that Kyle and Rachael are going to have a baby boy!! We’ll soon be flying down to San Luis Obispo to welcome our grandson…WOW! We’re so excited and can’t wait to meet the little guy, and to share in the new adventures that await Kyle and Rachael and their new little family.
So, there you have it! Life on the hard hasn’t actually been too hard, in fact, it’s a little too easy! Need groceries? There’s a Mega-Mercado right down the street with rows and rows of shiny cans and bottles and boxes of every food stuff you could ever imagine. Every time I go into the grocery store or a big box store, I’m still a bit overwhelmed. I miss my tiny tiendas and the all day thrash to get to town and back; dusty shelves with a mish mash of foods all stacked together, a can of this, a box of that, expiration dates be damned, but always enough of what we needed.
So yes, we’re enjoying our excursion to life on the hard, where the living is easy, and yet at the same time we’ve been reminded that our favorite life style is to enjoy short stints here, there and everywhere, floating forays hither and yon to empty anchorages, and land yacht treks and travels. It’s time to put on our planning hats and figure out what’s next!!