May 10, 2009

I’ve finally gotten around to adding video to the site. Just go up to the top of the page and click on the “VIDEO” link. These are all hosted by YouTube and if you have the bandwidth (or patience), please click on the HD button to get high-quality. It’s been a real hoot making the videos.

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Day 506 — Best of slideshows

To recap the trips we’ve had so far, we’ve compiled slide shows to highlight each trip.

The first collection called American Roadtrip I was assembled not just with the prettiest pictures, but with the lofty goal of providing the viewer with a glimpse of what it’s like to travel from San Diego, up West Coast to Vancouver, B.C. then back down through the Southwest, west at Texas, through the Appalachians and Virginia to the tip of Long Island, up to Maine and back down the East Coast all the way to Miami where we flew to board our sail boat.

The slideshows are Flash-based and will scale to fit the size of your screen. The entire American Roadtrip I show takes 14 minutes with a decent connection.

Check the top of the main page for the “Best of” tab to check for “Tropical Atlantic” and “American Roadtrip II” soon.

Enjoy.

American Roadtrip I

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Day 485 — Moose, Bison and Bears (O My!)

Escrow a funny thing. You agree to plunk down hundreds of thousands of dollars you don’t have to buy a house you likely can’t afford and a bunch of people are making tens of thousands of dollars off you and the seller in that magical one- to two-month period called escrow.

This last time, instead of waiting around to get plugged back in the grid, we boogied and checked out the South West all the way to the California coast and back.

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Day 484 — Porn Stars

Thanks to all of you, www.playtoplay.net has become the top porn site in the universe. It gets a hit every five seconds, every hour of every day.
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Day 442 — Homeless in America

There’s a fine line between traveling around the continent in a trailer and living in one, down by the river. For the last month now, we’ve been doing the later.

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Day 413 — Getting outta Dodge

Just as we were contemplating putting an offer on an out-of-date farmhouse on Shelter Island, N.Y., we did the next logical thing: we got outta Dodge, both figuratively and quite literally. Figuratively, ’cause we decided to do an about face and look in the West for our next project, and literally, ’cause we stopped at (and left, of course) Dodge City, Kansas along the way.

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Day 403 — The road to: a) perdition; 2)happiness; 3)Shelter Island

1,2,3.. I admit it, we have no idea where we are going to go next. We’re back on land, the hurricane season having begun again in the tropics, trading dingy rides to beaches for SUV rides with realtors, and drinking rum with random adventurers to drinking rum with relatives.

After buying the new King Ranch twin turbo F350 at a wonderful Ford dealership in Pennsylvania, we drove down to Punta Gorda, Florida and rescued our trailer from a thieving scoundrel that operates as Camper Depot and should be avoided like the black plague. If you’re thinking of buying a Rage’n or any other brand of trailer, stay far away from these people. There was a sheriff and a lawyer involved and possibly a civil suit in the future. But he has to wake up with himself every morning and his pimped out Escalade indicative of too much MTV and stealing.
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Day 365 — Great spinnaker fiasco of 2 a.m.

The build up was greater than the story, but the story turned out to be better than the build-up. (I’m not sure if that even makes sense, but our trip to the US turned out to be a lot different than trying to out-race a storm).

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Day 362 – Bahama tamara?

Like The Force, the lure of the Bahamas is strong. And it’s so primal. There’s something amazing that happens to the soul when it put knee-deep in absolutely clear water, bright sunshine and an seemingly infinite array blues in sky and water.

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Day 351 — Weather permitting

With hurricane season fast approaching and one storm already named, weather is dominating our thoughts these days.

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Day 336 – Take me now, Lord…

I’m anchored in 5 feet of gin-clear water on a sandbar in the Bahamas on my own boat with no job. My freezer is full of mahi-mahi and lobster we caught, my kids are quietly playing in their cabin and my wife is cleaning – in a bright-red bikini. I have nothing else to live for.

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Day 325 – Green sky’s the limit

The sky has a strange green cast here and I am in heaven. Green because there is an enormous bank of water less than 10 feet deep that reflects it’s turquoise cast on the bottom of the clouds. Heaven because that water is as clear as gin and that makes me about as happy as I get.

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Day 311 — Like a Virgin

The Virgin Islands rock! It’s hard to sail 5 miles without running into another island and there is so much coastline that within hours one can go from pristine bay to circus-like resort and back again. All the amenities are here and the seclusion can be found, the water is generally clear, the beaches fantastic.

Or course, I’m sure everyone already knows this, but I can tell you it was a pleasant surprise for us.

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Day 298 — Adrift, again.

There’s a fine balancing trick between succumbing to the overwhelming power of the wind a sea and harnessing it for survival, utility and pleasure. It’s a hot flame to play with though: the ramifications of each action can be absolute. The ocean is both indiscriminant ruthless.

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Day 289 — Charting plans

Lately, when I look at the charts, they remind me more of blueprints after a few months on the job. No longer the representation of the unknown and the mysterious, they are there to tell me the depth of a shoal at Dogwood Point or at what angle St. Barts is from Nevis. Months ago, an unfolded chart showed glaringly white beaches with brilliant clear water, colorful houses, exotic spices and rum. Now they are more like certain parts of a building set: the foundation sheet or a window-framing detail – more so I don’t make a mistake rather than to feed my wanderlust.

While certainly not as romantic as it was, it is inevitable that the trip take shape, as a house does after it’s been framed, so I have a much clearer idea of what to expect and what is likely to happen.

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Day 252, or so — C’est la vie

We’ve been hanging in the Frech Caribbean islands for more than a month now. My French is abysmal, and majority of the residents aren’t very helpful about it, but we’ve managed to fill our bilges, bellies and britches with enough wine, baguettes, cheese, wine, pain-au-chocolat and wine even to impress the likes of Henry Miller.

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Day 225 – Rope: The old wireless network

We are sitting on anchor and the trade winds are blowing a stiff. The port engine is running, charging the batteries. It’s 10:30 in the morning and Jack is watching, A Land Before Time while Bayla asks me a series of identical questions.
“What’s this Daddy? What this?”
“That’s a screw.”
“A scwew?”
“Screw. It’s a screw,” I say, exaggerating the pronunciation.
“Oooooooohhhhhhh,” she sings.

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Day 207 — Shingle Bells, Shingle Bells…

Since we didn’t get Christmas cards out this year, we would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays. Come New Year’s Day we expect to be in Carriacou, the next populated island up from Grenada. We have been up there for a two-day stint, but returned to Grenada to drop a visitor back off for their flight to the U.S.

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Weeks 25-28 — Rollicking times on the High Seas

The feeling of force and speed was so pervasive and constant I got the feeling that we were on a runaway train, unable and unwilling to stop. Of course I knew something had to happen, but the tiredness brought on by the motion, the all-night trip and the rough bashing into and over the oncoming swells and wind lulled me into a complacency that tricked me into thinking it would be okay to slam right up onto shore, across the street and deep into a neighborhood before finally grinding to a stop, intact.

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Weeks 23 & 24 — The low seas

We made it. We’re in Trinidad and after days of hard work, the boat is in the water. We have slept on it (like heavy rocks) for two nights now and all is essentially well. We’ve still got to put up netting around the boat and find some harnesses for the kids so we can strap them in underway.

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