Special Bulletin


On this side, 2 lines prevent back motion, 1 prevents forward and 2 in the back holds it side to side. 

I’m behind on getting all the text sitting just above this out. Part lazy and part busy, I guess. We are still traveling on the boat and having a good time, but we are seeing many things for the 2nd or 3rd time on the ICW, so there is no major news to give you. I do intend to marry photos to the text I already have and get it out soon. When I do it will appear in sequence before this entry since it happened before.

Some of you may be wondering about the hurricane. Yesterday I looked at Weather Underground. It said winds here (at Brunswick Landing Marina) tomorrow (Thursday) would be in the 20’s and nearly 40 mph on Friday. Today it says Friday winds will be 70. We were planning a nice 3 days in Jekyll Island but decided to come over here, considered a “hurricane hole”, after only 1 day. Good thing, because we had a lot of prep with the hurricane possibly hitting here. Winds will get pretty stiff, and may reach even over 100 mph, no one knows for sure. They are evacuating some of the Florida east coast now.


Nearly everything is removed up here. The motorcycle is well strapped down & I don’t have a better place for it.

So we have prepared for the worst and hope for the best. I took all the isinglass and canvas down today for the first time ever. All cushions and anything movable has been taken downstairs and stuffed in the V berth, on the bunks in the middle bedroom and in the front of the salon. The dinghy is down in the water between us and our sailboat next door neighbor. His dinghy is in in the water in front of ours. Looks pretty bare outside.

The docks here are strong, floating and with high pilings. We can tie the boat down tightly because it and the docks move together. The pilings are considerably higher than any predicted storm surge. The greatest worry we have now is that a larger power cat across the main dock from us gets caught by the wind and flipped clear over the dock on top of us. It weighs half what we do. It’s not tied too well. I think its owners are gone. That would take quite a wind, so hopefully it won’t happen.


Here you see the two back lines and another spring line preventing forward motion. At the front two lines prevent side to side motion there. The starboard one goes past the sailboat on the right over to its dock.

We are scheduled for yearly medical & dental appointments in Sarasota anyway, and were planning to leave Friday before any of this craziness started. Now we’ll leave Thursday (tomorrow) because if winds really get to 70 on Friday roads will likely be closed. Emergency services all shut down at 40 mph around here – they say nothing can really be done under those circumstances anyway, and we want to be out of here before any of that. All those living on their boats here (about 100 people) had a meeting today at 11 AM in the marina clubhouse. Many have been boating longer than us and have been through storms before. As far as we can tell they are all leaving for inland.

There’s nothing more we can do for the boat. If another boat does not hit it and there’s no major flying debris it will probably be OK.

Pretty exciting stuff. Might be nice to be here for the great adventure. Maybe next time.







Sue in a bedroom at Bellingrath

We woke up Sunday the 28th in Mobile and went early to Bellingrath Home about 30 minutes south to avoid rain and heat which was predicted to start before noon. We were a month or two past the best of the flowers but the gardens were still beautiful. The best we’ve seen since Brookgreen Gardens.

The home was impressive, especially the dining room. Most prominent was porcelain collection. No doubt one of the finest in the world, but seemed like an awful lot of that stuff for one house. They had a simple but nice restaurant in the gift center near the entrance where we ate lunch before returning to the city.


On the stairway at Bellingrath. The home was large, but not as large as some we had seen.

Of the 5 or 6 historic house museums in downtown Mobile only one, the Richardson DAR house, was open on Sunday so there we went. While we’ve heard of them before this is the first time either of us met an actual Daughter of the American Revolution. There were two of them there to show us through the home and explain its history.

Since most other things were closed, we decided to head on toward Florida the next day. We finished at the DAR house by 3 and headed east. After about 3 hours we stopped a few miles short of Tallahassee for overnight.


Some of the dishes at Bellingrath. One of Sue’s favorite things.

The next day the weather was rainy, but is not such a concern as with boat travel, so we started off around 9 and went the rest of the way to Sarasota. We got here around 5, taking slower routes that I hoped would be more scenic than the interstate. That didn’t work as well as it did in Louisiana. Florida isn’t the same as Louisiana. As we hit the central part of the peninsula near the Gulf coast we were on an expressway. I’m sure every year a few more stoplights have been added. We could have avoided the lights by driving the highways more inland. Near the coast didn’t mean on the coast. We did not see the Gulf, just lots of strip malls and businesses. After this in Florida I’ll follow the route the GPS selects.


A bit overcast but no rain as we walked through the gardens.

I’m thinking that maybe main roads are not on the coast in the upper and central peninsula west coast area might be that Gulf is very shallow for many miles out along the eastern panhandle and down the west coast until just above Tampa. There’s no place I would take our boat within miles of the shore in that area. Because of less maritime business at the coast, there was no reason any main roads would have ever been built there.


Laura & Houma plantations


Laura plantation house. More office and workplace than home.

Today we saw the Laura and Houma plantations. Laura was a Creole plantation. People living in the home spoke French up to 1977. Since we were in the middle of Cajun country we wondered about the difference. Creole was a mix of French, local Indians who the French dispossessed but stayed on and West African slaves. The French were the first settlers in the area which was claimed by France, sold to Spain, then sold back to France and then finally sold to the US in the Louisiana Purchase. Cajuns were French speaking people that came from Canada and settled later.


Houma plantation house


Inside the Houma house

Laura was strictly for the business of raising and processing sugar cane. It was kept in the same family for 4 generations before being sold to a German family (that spoke French when living in this area) for a number of years. It was vacant for about 19 years after 1977 and then underwent considerable restoration and became museum. Fires and other problems caused much of it to be rebuilt. It was originally built by a slave that went into the swamp for 11 months to supervise all its timber cutting. He had all the beams and boards cut, carved, notched, etc. When he returned the house was assembled in about 15 days on a brick foundation that other slaves had built.


So many trees on the Houma grounds


Houma plantation and home was much more elegant. It was a much finer house and has a lot of its furnishings as well as some other period pieces added to fill some gaps. Very nice inside. The grounds around it were extensive and very well kept. We spent a lot of time in its gardens and spectacular oak trees. Laura was more interesting in many ways, but Houma was where we took pictures.


Into Louisiana



The Shadows on the Teche home.

We traveled on toward Lafayette LA and were surprised to get a room about 5 miles before reaching the city. Good that we did not even try to get one in the city or east of it. I’m sure they would have been full.


No other place has trees like in the South.

Today we visited only the Shadows on the Teche home and plantation. This was kept in the same family for four generations and finally given to the government national trust by the last family member. Much of the furniture and other things were unchanged from the original family, so it was not terribly elegant inside, but pretty decent and functional.


The Teche river is out in the back.

Tonight we just called every hotel within miles of the Burnside – Donaldson LA area and all are booked for the next month due to the flooding that hit Lafayette and Baton Rouge areas. We assumed some staying there were flood victims driven from there homes, but the only thing we heard from some hotels was that they were full of FEMA and government people for the next month. We finally got a reservation at a La Quinta about an hour’s drive to the south of our first stop the next day.


Beaumont Texas


Mcfaddin House. Most homes don’t allow photos inside. This guy was very rich and it showed everywhere.

We left Austin on the 24th at 3 PM and drove to Beaumont TX near the border. Our 94 Camry drives great. From the inside of the car, both appearance, handling and sounds from the engine and road we can’t tell that the car isn’t new. No rattles, no squeeks. The finish outside looks pretty bad, but we’re hoping that can be improved. We traded cars with Jordan, who got our Mercury with half the age and half the miles of the Camry. Still, we’re wondering who got the better of that deal.

The next morning we went to see the McFaddin-Ward House Museum, a 12,000 sq ft home built by a man who had bought up property in the area and then found oil on it. This was pretty spectacular, with a lot of interesting beautiful furnishings. These were the best money could buy at the time and still look it today.

The docent recommended Kathy’s about three blocks away for lunch. It was an upscale version of an order and fetch it from the counter restaurant. I guess that makes it a fast food place but it really seemed much more sophisticated and trendy than that. While we didn’t know anyone there they seemed to represent the more “with” it part of the Beaumont society.

Afterwards we were blocked by a train as we tried to get to the Chambers House just a few blocks away. The train was so slow and we waited so long that we finally drove in the direction the train was running and crossed ahead of it a few miles away. Chambers House was a middle class home known because two sisters lived there from 1924, kept everything and changed nothing. We were the first visitors there since the 16th. With so few visitors the docent demonstrated everything in the house. We were surprised at how loud the old console Victrola was even though it had no electronics. All sound came from the energy produced by the needle on the 78 record.


Leave for Texas


Front of our Texas condo. We swapped Jordan’s and our cars.

We left Bridge Tender Marina at first light and reached Myrtle Beach Yacht Club by 2 PM on August 17. We spent a few days organizing the boat so some work could be done while we were gone and flew to Austin on Saturday the 20th to get things ready for the movers who were coming on Monday.


Taken a few years back from our back deck. Beige strip in distance is trail to town around lake.

Once in Austin we threw out a lot of things, gave a lot to Goodwill and the movers took the rest. Sue’s used furniture and Goodwill shopping habits have not led to us accumulating a lot of family heirlooms, so moving is getting easier each time. The lady we bought the Florida condo from is leaving all her appliances and a lot of her furniture, so moving in should be not so hard.

It has been a great place to live while in Austin. Most of the advantages of a home as well as those of a condo along with having a park and the lake in our backyard.


Christmas shot inside the living room.

On the Wednesday we sign the closing papers and hit the road for Florida. We’ll visit East Texas, Louisiana, bits of Missisippi and Alabama before we drive along the Florida west coast to Sarasota.


Our Longest Day


Fishing boat just below Beaufort NC

This is our third day since Sharon and Paul left us in the wee hours of the morning in Chesapeake, VA, just below Norfolk.

I was up at 4:45 and we left at first light, which occurs around 5:45 now. This will be getting later each day because summer is ending and also because we’re going south. From Whitaker Point Marina we crossed the Neuse River and took the canal south down to Beaufort/Morehead City. There the ICW stays close to the coast for the 80 miles to Wrightsville Beach NC. In all we went from mile 181 to 283, by far our longest day trip on the ICW.

Some bridges made it longer. As we approached the Carolina Coastal RR bridge just above Morehead City I noticed it was stopped at only partway up. I thought I could make it under. It is normally open except for a rare train. Just as we got to it it lowered the rest of the way right in front of us. On the radio the bridge tender said they were doing maintenance which hopefully would take an hour and a half, but who knows?


We raced to the bridge. By the time the other boats got through it was too late to close it for us.

We decided to backtrack 2 miles and take the alternate channel that goes to Beaufort. This is longer and has a bridge that opens only every half hour. We’ve been through this bridge before. If we hurried (which in our boat is 11.5 mph instead of 10) to that bridge we would be about 3 minutes late for the 8:30 opening. I called and explained, but the bridge tender just said if I wasn’t there when she opened I would just wait another half hour. We made it because the opening starts at the exact time and boats going the other way took up enough time for us to get there for our turn.


Nothing like the trees along the ICW in North Carolina

After that there were two on the hour bridges about two hours and ten minutes apart. At least they were not having live fire as we passed by Camp Lejeune.

We got into Bridge Tender Marina just south of the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge right after its 7 PM opening.