1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: July 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm back...sort of!

Ok, you all had your chance to become a world famous blogger by posting here, and you all passed on it! I can't believe it. Ah well....
Since my last post, I've traveled the rest of the Erie Canal (fleeing YeeHaw Junction), stepped the mast at RCR Yachts in Buffalo, and gotten through Lake Erie, the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River, leaving me at Sarnia at the moment.
Sarnia has always been one of my favourite stops, ever since my first visit. Went ashore, asked someone at the club where there was a grocery store. He handed me a hamburger AND A BEER!, and asked, "What do you need a grocery store for?" 
Well, he certainly had a point, didn't he? 
My first night here, I tied to a mooring ball rather than anchor because of the storm threats. Wasn't that a good idea? About a half hour after getting here, a storm hit and the winds spun the boat 180° in a heartbeat. Aduana was out of the v-berth and sitting on my lap about a half a heartbeat after that, poor pup. The winds probably hit close to 50 mph and stayed there for an hour and there I was, tied to a big fat mooring ball - something I usually don't do. Thing is, when I went to anchor, the ball was right there in the dark, so I thought, 'what the hey!'...another example of WallyLuck© in action.
Here's a map of my travels for the last while. Stopped in Port Colborne, Long Point, Port Stanley (some great memories of fun times there), Erieau (which I've often referred to as Eerie-oh! - there's a very shallow gene pool there that someone needs to put some heavy duty bleach into!), Pelee Island (met some great new people there, hello Jay and Aimee) and then Windsor.
Couple of notes of interest: 10% cream for my coffee is $4.09 a quart (litre) as opposed to $4.25 for two quarts in the US. Diesel fuel is $5.25 a gallon, compared to under $4 in the States. Beer, $5 or more per bottle in a pub, vs an average of under $3 in the US, and wine - don't ask. But we have 'free' health care here. 
Folks, the offer to guest blog here remains open....and I'm a bit surprised not to have heard from a certain lady sailor and writer in Boston (helloooo Meredith?), her boss (helloooo Peter?) and a certain Pirate in Urbanna (HELLLOOOOO Doc?) with some interesting tales...Oh yes, a Seafarer owner in St. Simons (helloooo James?), and some people who own a gorgeous Hinckley Bermuda 40 (helloooo Pat and Joe?). And Terri! 
Helloooo, is anyone listening?
Erie east, out of Buffalo - light winds, motored most of the way

Winds on the nose - as per usual

Actually got to sail from Point Pelee to Pelee Island. From Pelee Is. went to the Detroit River

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ever Wanted to Be a World Famous Writer?

As you all know, I'm working on a project to produce a tv show about cruising around Cuba 
This will be keeping me very busy over the next few weeks, as I try to put the funding together to make it happen, using the Kickstarter funding website. If you want to know more about that, check out Cuba - Forbidden Paradise
So, in order to make it all happen, and keep the fun happening here, I'm opening up LiveBloggin' the ICW to you! Yes, that's right - you too can be a world famous blogger, right here on LiveBloggin'! Ok, maybe not world famous, but there are people reading this blog in places like Russia, South America, Australia and South Africa. That's a lot of the world. It's actually amazing how many people in so many different places are finding this blog.
So - here's the deal: if you have a boating story of your own, or other story that you think would fit well in LiveBloggin', send it to me at bloggintheicw@gmail.com and I'll see if it fits. If it does, you're in! 
It can be about boating, about what you think about boating, about your favourite boater, favourite boat....whatever you come up with is fine with me.
For those of you who aren't professional writers, or who aren't comfortable having others see your writing skills, relax. I'll gently edit whatever you send so that it reads well - that's work that I've done for over 20 years, so your missive will be in good hands. If you're really shy, we'll publish you without using your name.
And for those of you who ARE in the business of writing - we all know there are some great stories that have never been told. Well, here and now would be a great time to put them out, as I'll guarantee anonymity - er, unless I get a really good cash offer or a subpoena! But barring that, I'll protect your identity to the death. Um, maybe make that to moderate pain... more than a hangnail, less than a really bad toothache.
So....who's going to be the first guest blogger here? Let's have some fun with this.

p.s. those of you with outrageous boating stories that include me in them....be gentle. Remember, I know where you live!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Visit to YEEHAW Junction...or How I Survived a Visit to Redneck Heaven!

I was nearly to Baldwinsville NY, sailing west towards Lake Erie on the Erie Canal, about a half hour before sunset. The boat was running fine, but a 20¢ gasket on the secondary fuel filter broke just 2.4 miles from my destination and there I was, stranded in front of this guy's trailer site. Picture a nice small camp, nothing nearby, with a ratty 27 foot camping trailer, I think this was an old Rambler trailer, and a bunch of people hanging around the campfire. Looked nice, people having a good time. I went ashore to borrow a phone to call the Boat US towing service.
The guy who was renting the trailer, Al, walked up with beer in hand, no shirt of course, introduced himself - nice enough so far. But then there's the rest of the cast of characters....Dennis, skinny, long hair nearly to his waist and tattoos everywhere, and drunk - he was also only wearing shorts. George - short, stocky, stumbling drunk out of his mind. Do you discern a pattern here? Then there's Carol Ann, who is a brunette version of Ellie May Clampett from the Hillbillies...her mother, who is NOT Granny, but damn near as old. A creepy woman in black, hat and all, who sat and stared into the fire the entire time I was there. Carol Ann's son, Peter, 25. A woman about 35 or so, said she was a Gypsy, about as flaky too, and who apparently had arrived with George and didn't know anyone else. There were others but they were bit players in this drama.

So...let me put it this way...another partier, Lee, loaned me his wife's phone to call Boat US, who indicated they would contact the tow captain and call me back. While I was waiting, Dennis fell in the fire, too drunk to realize it. Burned his legs badly, so badly the tattoos there were burned off. One couple took him to the hospital...and didn't return.
This left Granny and the Woman in Black pissed off because both thought they were going to jump his bones - and he was no prize, believe me. Were I a woman, I'd hate to ever get that lonely. I actually wouldn't have thought it possible, but I was coming to realize, this IS YeeHaw Junction.
Worse however is that I now became a possibility for Granny, since Dennis was out of the picture. Oh no! And I can't leave until I get a phone call back from Boat US, who I'm hoping will come get me at 6:30 the next morning. Or sooner!
While all of this is happening, Al is being as chummy as possible with Ellie May - er, Carol Ann, who is actually his niece. At one point, he tells me she had a fling with his brother (who is of course also her uncle), and he wouldn't mind a bit of that action for himself. Also, apparently, two of her ex husbands (no idea how many she has!) committed suicide. You have to wonder about that one...
The Gypsy, Jessica, had avoided George so assiduously that he got drunker still, and how he did that without alcohol poisoning I have no idea, then fell on and destroyed the beer cooler, then left. This left Jessica with Peter, the 25 year old, and they kept wandering behind the trailer where it was nice and dark. 
I was grateful for this because prior to this, Jessica the Gypsy wanted me to row her out to my boat, coincidentally named Gypsy Wind, which she found just fascinating. Fortunately, I had to remain and wait for my phone call, but things were getting dicey. I'm trying to be polite and social here since Lee is helping me out, and I have three scary women who are looking at me like I'm the winning lottery ticket.
My return call still hadn't come, so I was starting to panic...I needed to get out of there. It was getting dangerous by this point. Carol Ann has decided to chat me up and her mother is resenting the competition - and I didn't have the nerve to tell her there was no competition in any case. 
The woman in the black dress continued to stare into the fire and say nothing; more than a bit creepy let me tell you. A bit later, noticing my lack of interest, Carol Ann heads into the trailer and falls asleep in her uncle's bed. Al, of course, was pleased that she was wouldn't have to sleep in her tent, or some such reasoning...
Finally, my call came. YES! Yes, the tow was arranged for the next morning. Yeee Haw - er, I mean, yahoo! I could make my excuses, tell everyone how nice it had been to meet them, and head back to the boat, anchored at a distance that none of these people would be likely able to swim....I hoped, although, earlier when I was trying to fix the problem, Al had tried to canoe with Carol Ann out to the boat and tipped over. Neither one can swim, but it led to the high point of the evening.....picture Ellie May in a wet t-shirt contest and you'll get the idea.
So that was my Saturday evening. I grew up in a blue collar mining town, so I kind of understand redneck mentality - but the main difference was, we wouldn't sleep with anyone closer than a third cousin! Ok, just kidding, but you know what I mean.

The towboat the next morning was, of course, late by several hours.