Sunday, April 30, 2006


Just a note that Andrea has posted some pics and stories from her recent vacation to Enee Land. Go here to see them!

We have a KISS wind generator. No, this doesn’t generate wind, although that would be nice, it is a wind mill type thing that generates electricity in the wind to recharge the batteries. We always welcome free energy! There are two problems with this unit. When the wind is light there is too much static friction in both the bearing that allows it to turn in the horizontal plane to align itself with the wind (it has a tail like an airplane) and also the prop shaft itself which cannot get spinning even though if I give it a start it will spin just fine. The solution to the light air problem is probably to take the unit down, take it apart and grease whatever bearings I can find. The other problem is when the wind is heavy, say 15 knots and up, the unit spins great and generates nice high currents. The problem is what comes with current is heat and at some point the unit gets so hot that it shuts down. That is, it quits generating electricity. The company said this is because the permanent magnets inside have overheated and it is supposed to shut down like this and it is normal. Now there is no load on the propeller and it freewheels. This is scary as to how fast this thing is going. Usually to stop it I can flip a switch and short it out. This extreme load (0 resistance) grinds it to a halt. But now when it is freewheeling that doesn’t work. The only way to shut it down is to reach behind the unit with a boat hook and turn it off of the wind then jump up and grab a fin and lash it to the post.

In staring at it the other day (yes I'm always thinking! Sometimes it just LOOKS like a nap.) I realized that one problem was the solution to the other. When the unit is off of the wind it doesn’t spin efficiently. Well, when the wind is high it is spinning TOO efficiently! So I tied a long line to the tail and brought it over to a cleat. Now I can force the unit off of the wind when the wind is high until I find and angle where it will generate electricity but not go nuts and start free wheeling!

It really is a KISS brand wind generator (made in Trinidad) and this is a nice K.I.S.S. solution!

In other news we await the return of our front sail probably tomorrow. The sail maker in town has been repairing the roller furling cover. The parts to repair the cable that runs from the SSB radio to the tuner should be in today and maybe I can finnaly have a full functioning SSB radio. We require that to work before we head to Mexico. Speaking of Mexico, we’ve ordered the charts we will need for the Mexico/Belize/Guatemala coast. That’s about $200 and, I know, why not quit sinking (don’t say sink!) money in paper charts and buy electronic charts for the laptop? Because I don’t trust the laptop! If I ONLY had electronic charts and the laptop goes on the frits (which it has) I’d be totally screwed. Especially in foreign waters!

A couple dingyed up to our boat yesterday to say hi and tell me that we were the reason they were there! They typed in Flemming Key in a search engine and it directed them to this blog where I described the adventure of getting hooked to the mooring ball. Sometimes I forget that you guys are actually reading this! Weird how things are connected now via the internet. So keep reading and we'll try to think of things to write while we prepare for Mexico and points south.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Where To?

We came to Key West by following the dirt off our starboard side. Now that we are at ‘lands end’ it’s time to really decide where to next. Ever since we began planning this trip three years ago people have asked us, “What about hurricanes”. We never had a definite answer but knew that hurricane season would be a real concern once we got south. Now we’re there and here comes the next round of hurricanes.

We considered the Bahamas but decided that we’d feel like targets out there on the open Atlantic. Considered the west coast of Florida but they get hit like anywhere else. We’re NOT ready to head north so soon like many do and spend summer/fall in the Chesapeake or farther north. We feel like we just came from there.

Then we talked with an old cruiser who just came back from the western Caribbean. We’re talking Isla Mujeres, Belize, Guatemala and the Rio Dolce. There are many things to recommend this tack. For one we like the idea of continuing on. To reach Isla Mujeres we’d sail nearly west from Key West and a little south. Just continuing on. Isla Mujeres is just off the coast of Cancun and is around three hundred miles from Key West. From there we can follow the Mexican coast to Belize. Around there you encounter off shore reefs much like we enjoyed in the Hawk Channel off of Florida’s east coast. Here you have regular trade winds but calm seas within the reef.

The image above shows a satellite view of the route from Key West to Mexico. Isla Mujeres is located off the tip of Cancun.

Continuing south you come to Guatemala and the Rio Dolce. You can follow this river about twenty miles inland where there are two large lakes. Fresh water! There has never been a hurricane down here. One it is too far south and for another it is in the mountains. While we probably won’t want to spend months and months up the Rio Dolce it would be good to have it within a day or two sailing and then maybe hide in there for the heavy hurricane time of September and or October.

One of the most exciting aspects of this tack is the run to Isla Mujeres. Three hundred miles of open ocean. The typical trade winds should be with us but there can be fairly strong current against. We feel like we are ready and maybe need a run like this to move this adventure up one notch. If we’re interested in continuing this cruising life, and this is Sue speaking, yes we still are, then two and three hundred mile treks will become a regular thing. Of course we’ll look for a good weather window and be our usual cautious sailor selves. It is exciting, scary, and adventurous. That’s the idea, right?

Before we go we have much to do. The boat is in pretty good shape overall. We need to get the SSB working for sure before we leave. We still plan to have the front sail cover repaired and that should happen this week. There is still a lot to read and learn about the beaurocracy of entering and leaving various countries. As we plan this now we could be shoving off for those foreign shores around mid May. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Three Hour Cruise…

Easter Sunday and our first guests for an actual cruise! I was pretty excited and nervous as we had a big crew to accommodate: Mike D, his wife Julie, her brother, his wife and four kids! Oh and Mike D’s mom! Hoo boy. I wanted everything to go just right. Our plan was to pick them up at the fuel dock for A&B Marina. I had called on Friday to make sure they would be open on Easter Sunday. A nice guy named Mark said, “Sure we’re always open.” I asked if I could pick up some passengers and at first he said no, not if we were not renting a slip. I asked where we could pick up people and he was stumped and then said, “Oh that’s ok. You can pick them up here for a day sail.” Fine.

We brought Enee from the mooring ball on the east side of Flemming Key around to the west side and down to Key West Bight. Our crew was there on the dock waiting with lots of food and snorkeling and swimming gear. We get moored for fuel and the first thing I hear form some little shit working the dock is that we can’t pick up crew here. I explain that I was told my Mark that I could. He backed down. Based on engine hours (no working fuel gauge, remember?) I estimated that we’d need around 30 gallons of diesel. It took 12. I couldn’t really figure that out right then with all the confusion of getting people and gear on board so I just let it go. The little guy said it was $35. I gave him two 20’s. He bitched at me for correct change! I said sorry, that’s what I have. In retrospect I think this guy didn’t want to walk the length of the pier for the proper change. We settled on using plastic. He complained that this wasn’t a retail outfit and had some other general complaints about sail boaters in general. After that and getting everyone on board one of my crew said that the little guy said we couldn’t off load there. I had to get back in his face and said I damn well WAS and what did he think I was going to do with a crew of 8 sail them to Cuba? He complained about Mark (Like I care!) and another guy pulled me aside and told me to come back and not worry about it. Apparently he too knew what a jerk this guy was. Short people!

OK, Everyone settled in and we are off. We are planning to sail out to one of the reefs about 3 miles out where you can tie to a mooring ball and go snorkeling. Nobody except Mike had ever been on a sailboat before and I explained the workings of a few of the more obvious pieces of equipment and so forth. We raised the main and kept the engine on as the wind was very light in the channel as we passed one of the huge cruise ships moored there. Then it happened…

The engine sputtered, slowed…and stopped!

(Julie and 'the kids' during a happy moment)

Let me point out that we have been in Key West for about 3 weeks and have run the engine once or twice a day to keep the batteries charged and all has been fine. Now I have my first sailing guests and having been there before I know that this will now be a day from hell.

It was.

The last time this happened we were coming into Miami and had to bleed the entire fuel system. I checked the Racor paper filter and it was black! Why hadn’t I been monitoring that? Swinging on the anchor for too long can make you really lazy. I replaced the filter and we tried to start the engine. No. Stupid! Upon looking at this filter, it was already solid black from the dirty fuel that was in the Racor filter bowl. Damn! I have sucked tons of chunks up into this filter. Why? I empty the bowl and put in some clean diesel and another fresh filter. Start? No. I take off the fuel line and blow through it. A nice high ensued but did nothing for the engine!

Mike and mom, Charlotte enjoying the view from the poop deck

Meanwhile Sue is sailing up and down the channel like a schizophrenic sailboat! It is hot in the engine room from our morning run and now smells of diesel in which I am drenched. Yes I glisten in sweat and diesel but it is NOT a good look. Well, when this happened before we had to bleed the entire fuel system. Everyone topsides seems to be having fun. The kids were great and easily entertained by each other and by being on a sail boat, so might as well get to it. I start with the bleed screw by the screw-on filter and pump that about a thousand times. Start? No. From there you have to bleed all four injectors. I loosen them all up and put paper towel under them as Eric taught me to see that fuel is coming out. Sue cranks the engine and I look for the pink drips of diesel which I find on all four towels. The nuts for these are not the most accessible but I finally get them all tightened up again. Now let’s start it. Crank, crank, sputter, pop…..VROOOOOOMMMMM!!!!

A cheer goes up from the cockpit which I can’t hear but which the crew gladly recreated for me. I decided to shut the engine down and only use it at the end of the day for fear we would suck up some more junk and be back where we started. Now to the reef!

Todd and Cindy enjoying non-Minnesota weather!

The wind had died and what there was was on our nose. Is this the day in hell as predicted or what. We tack back and forth or as Hornblower would say, “Clawing our way up the coast.” We finally get clear of the southern island off of Key West and head a little west. We decide that it will be a very long day if we go all the way to the reef and back especially if what wind there is dies even more. We opt to anchor right off that island and eat the delicious food that Julie had made and brought. Now, when you are anchored and there is some boat traffic the ONLY motion you get to experience is up and down. And up. And down….and up….and down…This had the unfortunate effect you can imagine on Julie. I could see her separate herself from the crowd and begin that long stare at the horizon.

So after eating and straightening up a little I thought the best thing to do would be to sail right to the mouth of the harbor and then motor in from there using minimal engine that way. The wind was a little abaft the beam now and we headed up the channel under full sail. At one point Mike said, “Hey, we’re on a treadmill.” I watched the cruise ship beside us and sure enough our position was not changing with respect to the ship. Now what? Of course! The tide was falling and there is about a 3 knot current in this channel. Remember me predicting this day? Well, there’s nothing to do but start the engine and use more than I wanted to. She starts right up and runs for about 20 seconds. Dies and refuses to start again.

I. do. not. want. to. live.

Now even if I could get it started I’m not going to trust it in a tight harbor with million dollar boats all around me off of which I would probably be bouncing. The alternative? Our good friends at Tow Boat US!

The boat came out within half an hour and a guy by himself did a great job getting us in. I listened to the radio as he talked with that little guy back at A&B Marina who said that we were the ones who picked up crew ‘when we weren’t supposed to’! He’s still mad about that! It was agreed that we could be put at the end of their fuel dock behind a catamaran but we could only stay one night and then we’d have to leave. Big fishing tournament coming in. I’ve never felt less welcome in a marina.

We got tied up and the nice guy helped us. Passengers and gear off loaded and apologies fill the air. Mike says not to worry. Since nobody knew what to expect whatever happened was fine. Nice to say. Still…

Sue leaves to get beer. Do we have priorities in a crisis or what? I poke at the engine a little and think what the hell. I give her a start. sputter, pop…grind…sputter…VROOOOOMMMMM. Ran perfect for about 5 minutes until I shut her down. What’s left to say?

OK now that all this has happened we think about the clues we were getting before this day.

  1. When we ran the engine lately to charge batteries the rpm’s will slowly climb all by themselves. I figured it happened as the current draw from the alternator is decreased.
  2. We only took on 12 gallons when it should have at least been double that.
  3. When an engine runs lean (not getting enough gas) it will run fast.
  4. The trouble started right after adding fuel.

Ok boys and girls, today’s quiz. In 25 words or less what was happening to Scott and Sue’s engine that could have been avoided.

Times up. Pencils down. The answer is the fuel filter was no doubt slowly clogging up. I promised to always check it but became complacent. As it clogged the engine was running but starving for fuel (lean) hence the fast rpms. When we added fuel we stirred up the gunk in the tank, sucked large amounts of that into the paper filter and that was the last straw. I like when it all makes sense but not so much when it is after the day in hell. The reason it started ok later in the day was probably because gunk had resettled to the bottom.

On Monday morning we called around and found a guy (Cory Stuard) from Atlantic Marine who agreed to come right out and polish our fuel. What he did was suck fuel from our tank and put it through a filter/water separator and back into the tank. We found LOTS of water in the tank. Probably 5 gallons or more. It sits on the bottom and nothing too bad happens as long as it doesn’t reach the engine but you don’t really want water in your fuel, right? After about 3 hours and several filters we were no longer getting water and no longer seeing chunks of stuff floating in the fuel. Cory did a great job and taught us a lot about fuel and fuel tanks. You might be wondering how the water got there in the first place. Diesel engines return unburned fuel to the fuel tank. This fuel is warm and the engine compartment is warm so at the end of the day you have warm fuel. Now it cools off at night and the air above the fuel has moisture in it which then condenses on the inside of the tank and sinks to the bottom being more dense than diesel. The other growth in there needs oxygen to grow and that can be provided also by the oxygen in the water.

So once again we learn our lesson the hard way and our passengers had to pay for it. Tomorrow we are getting more Racor filters and inspecting them every, oh I don’t know, 15 minutes of running time? Sound about right?

Stay tuned...our next blog will be "Where in the World are Scott and Sue Going Next".

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Moving to the Mooring Ball…

On Sunday night we heard the weather report regarding squalls and high winds. We’ve been living just off of Christmas Tree Island for just over two weeks and with the frequent boat wakes from fisherman and the worry about dragging our anchor we decided to move the boat to the mooring ball field on the other side of Fleming Key first thing Monday morning. No problem getting there and no problem finding an empty ball. The problem is in retrieving the mooring ball. The way it is suppose to work is that the mooring ball has a heavy line or chain that passes through it. On the top side of the ball this line will have a ring attached to it. When you come in you grab the ring with a boat hook, haul it up on deck (the mooring ball line is typically plenty long enough), thread your dock line through the ring and cleat that line to the boat at both ends (both ends of the line not the boat!) making a long yoke to the mooring ball ring. We’ve done this a lot and other than the occasional miss on grabbing the ring it is pretty routine.

We pick a mooring ball and head for it. I don’t see a loop or ring on top but there is something there. When I put the boat hook down I see that the ‘ring’ is the line itself with a loop formed in the end. That’s fine. Attached to this loop is a large shackle. What the hell…There is no open space within the loop to insert the boat hook. We tried three times and then went to another ball. Must have been a malformed ball. The next ball was the same! Nothing to grab! What moron designed these? With some reflection I see what has happened here. The designer made a nice loop (with cloth around it even) to put your mooring line through. What he didn’t allow for is that when the ball starts moving due to wind and waves, this loop is going to get sucked into the hole in the ball! That’s why a metal ring might have been better. The ‘solution’ was to screw a big ass shackle to the top of the loop to keep it from getting sucked all the way through the ball. The result is that although the loop does in fact stay with the ball it still gets jammed really hard down in the hole making it impossible to retrieve.

Our solution: A woman on a boat nearby, watching our frustration with the boat hook, told us to loop a line UNDER the ball to hold the boat near then she made swimming motions. I get it. So we looped a line around and under the ball and cleated each end. Now the boat will stay near the ball and I can get in the water and wrestle with the loop which is exactly what I did. The loop won. The loop is jammed in so tight that I can’t put a needle through what remains of the hole in the loop let alone my half inch mooring line. I can’t lift the loop out of the hole in the ball either because it is jammed so tight and I now have my boat pulling on the underside of the ball making it even harder to expose the loop! What to do? We got another line and formed a slipknot around the loop/shackle. Sue then motored up a little to take pressure of the mooring ball line so that I could pull some line up out of the ball. I then cleated this line and jumped back in the water. I still had to force my mooring line through the loop but managed to do so. With the free end of this line back to Sue on board we are now properly moored to the mooring ball. Oh, one more thing. We have to untie or uncleat the line we tied to the loop to pull it out of the mooring ball. It is so tight we can neither untie it NOR uncleat it. So we cut it! I can form another loop in this old line some other time.

All in all it probably took us 30 – 40 minutes and three swim sessions to moor our boat. No wonder there were so many empty balls!

Now to town. We took dingy to the dingy dock for this mooring field. It is a longer ride than we had from our anchorage but we are gaining security and surrendering some convenience. Cleverly, Key West City Marina has put the very nice floating dingy dock on one side of a big bridge and the dockmaster, bathrooms and showers on the other! Who builds stuff like this? We stopped back in later in the day to sign up for a month on the mooring ball. The dockmaster didn’t seem to know what she was doing. She gave us a 9 page legal document that I had to initial on each page…like a house sale agreement but this document has no information about how to USE the facilities or where anything is. She took our money and then looked at us. Now usually, a place like this gives you either verbally or in writing, where the showers are, where the water is, how to get about and so forth. Nothing from her. We had to remind her that we’d like a shower key. Oh yeah. She gave us the key (and took a deposit) and still never told us where they were! We had to remind her that we needed some kind of sticker for the dingy. Oh yeah. For this she gave us a ‘temporary’ sticker from a sheet of labels like you’d make mailing labels from on your computer. Not exactly ‘all weather’. Still no general information about facilities and so forth. Very unprofessional in keeping with the design of their mooring balls!

Oh yeah, the sticker blew off on our way back to the boat as predicted. We came back to the boat just ahead of some ugly weather but it all missed Key West. Since Monday the wind has been blowing a steady 20 knots with occasional gusts. This is supposed to continue through thursday and maybe into Friday. Looks like we moved to a ball (even a stupid one) at the right time!

So, let’s summarize where you can keep your boat in Key West. Anchorage: You can anchor on either side of Christmas Tree Island but are pretty open to weather. On the south side you are especially open to boat wakes from fisherman. You can anchor on the west side of Fleming Key with probably less boat wake problem but same openness to weather especially from the north. You can take a mooring ball for more security and the problems above. Finally you can go to a marina but they are crowded and expensive going for between $2.20 and $3.50 per foot per night. Our mooring ball is $261 for the month. I’d say that this mooring ball even with the moronic design is a good solution for a long stay. If you are just staying a few days you might as well anchor and keep a close watch.

No storm AND a rainbow. Life is good...

Good and short!

Epilog: A little bit after writing this piece I heard the repeated blasts of an air horn. That usually means some boat is drifting through the mooring field and sure enough there goes a big Morgan ketch dragging her mooring lines and heading right for another moored boat. The couple on board got the engine started and beared off just in time to avoid collision. I took a look through the binoculars to see what had broken. As I suspected, their looped mooring line was sliced in half. Here is the other bad thing about attaching a big ass shackle to the nice cloth loop: Chafe! We are sitting in 20-25 knot winds today and tomorrow so there is a lot of movement on boats and lines. I went out in the dingy to inspect our line and sure enough it is starting to show significant chafe after only one night!
I put my feet on the mooring ball to shove it down a bit and was able to pass another mooring line through the loop. Now it would be very unlikely to have both lines wear through at the same time. I’ll have to keep inspecting them while we’re here.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A walk around town….

Thursday morning we dingyied into town about 8a.m. You can tell when it’s 8 o’clock because the Coast Guard Station plays the national anthem. Piped music traveling throughout the town while the roosters crow. How quaint. We both walked to Scott’s worksite and I took a few photos of the 'regular' neighborhood on the way . Regular in that the houses are very small and a little run down and priced at around $500,000. We're not making this up! Of course the picture of his building he’s working on has the lens cap in it. Bummer.

I continued on to the Publix with my little blue West Marine cart. It took awhile for the bus to show up but then a quick ride to the grocery store where I replenished for another week or two. Everything except booze. Hmmmm. It was a short wait for the bus return trip to town. While waiting I threw away all extraneous packages like cracker boxes and such. No need for them on the boat and less to haul around. When the bus arrived I pulled my little cart up the short step and found a seat by the back door. A few minutes later I was loading the dingy with the goodies and heading out to Enee. It was very warm and calm this day and very little waves on the bay except for the power boaters, which there weren’t many, thankfully.

As I unloaded the groceries Gracie came out of her slumber and joined me in having some cheese and carrots. Well she only ate the cheese. I ran some engine to charge the batteries while doing these chores which unexpectedly included washing the sheets because Gracie decided to hurl a fur ball right in the middle of the bed again. Yummy! Not a big deal since a quick rinse, wash, rinse of the bad spots then out on the life lines to dry. By the time the batteries were charged the sheets were back on the bed.

So back into the dingy I go this time with the computer and my camera. More photos to be taken of Key West as I walk around town. I walked down Simonton to Flemming heading toward Duval. Oh look there's our favorite book store and, who knew, a liquor store right across the street. I think there might be just enough room in this backpack for a bourbon treat.

There is only one cruise ship in town and Duval Street is pretty quiet. Although it's only 1:00 in the afternoon, Irish Kevin’s is jamming, as usual but it’s not our favorite guy! The 'I love you man' guy must have a day off.

I pass a church on the corner of Duval and something where I hear music. I look closer and notice a rooster at my feet. These critters are everywhere and still part of the charm of Key West.
Duval Street is a shopper and drinker's delight. T-shirts, jewelry, tatoos, sunglasses, cigars are readily available among the many, many restaurants and bars. In fact there are beverage stands to get a beer for the walk to the next bar! We love this town!

Finally I made it back to the harbor neighborhood where our favorite internet café is located: Coffee Plantation. A great place, very friendly, accommodating to lounging and internetting, and they accept packages and mail for you! Talk about a home away from home. You can sit inside or out, the signal is strong and you can stay all day if you want.

At the end of the day when Captain Stinky comes home from work it's time for a swim and some anchor untangling. The boat turns 180 degrees twice a day which makes for very confused anchor rodes. Captain Stinky is to the rescue!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Paying Taxes in Key West

The nice days just keep on coming. It is about 80 every day and about 60 at night with a breeze. On Saturday Scott, Sue and Andrea decided to go out in the dingy and explore on and around Christmas Tree Island near where we are anchored. We too some sandwiches and beers. The island is really ragged and pretty trashed up from prior visitors. Lots of cans and bottles and even an abandoned port-o-potty! We thought the view from the dingy was better so we began motoring around the island. On the East side of the island is the best evidence for why you don't stay here during hurricane season!

When we reached the far end of the island we passed the local fish and wildlife police...and yes, they 'pulled me over'. Jeez-o-peet!

Officer Friendly: Where's this boat's registration?
Me: Well, it has vaporized in the sun and I can't read it (expired a year ago).
Officer Friendly: But it IS registered, right?
Me: Oh sure...out of Illinois
Officer Friendly: Any ID.
(note I'm in a swimsuit in an 8 foot dingy)
Me: No
Officer Friendly: Do you have some on your main boat?
Me: Yes
Officer Friendly: Lifejackets?
Me: I have three seat cushions (which can be used as a floatation device in case of a water landing)
Officer Friendly: Those don't count.
Me: (to myself...uh oh)
Officer Friendly: Hang on to this line and we'll tow you back to your boat (OK, I don't know why...I guess we were being 'apprehended')

Once back on the boat Sue and Andrea went below to switch our y-valves to holding tank in case these clowns boarded us. But no, just gave me a ticket for not having life jackets and a warning to get the boat visibly registered. $61 for the life jacket fine. Oh well, since I'm basically living here for free I guess I should put some money in the Key West kitty.

Now for our first guest columnist. Here's Andrea's report on her first night aboard Enee Marie.

by Andrea

I’m going to blah,blah,blah my trip down to the keys, and start right in to when I met up with Sue & Scott. There were hugs and beers – my kind of greeting. We walked around Key West a bit – added more beers, and decided to head out to Enee. I was certain I heard whispered asides between them, but did not understand what it meant until we were in the dinghy, and heading out to the boat.

BOY was it choppy. OK – it’s a little dinghy, with three adults plus my bags, and a few supplies in it, so I assumed that once we got on board, everything would be a lot smoother. Never assume.

“Hey Andrea, would you like another beer?” (pitch,roll, pitch,roll – don’t hurl,don’t hurl) “Oh, no, I’m good.” (pitch,roll, pitch,roll – don’t hurl,don’t hurl)

I go below to the vee berth to stow away my stuff. (pitch,roll, pitch,roll – don’t hurl,don’t hurl) and hurry right back up top. The scenery is beautiful, the stars are breathtaking (pitch,roll, pitch,roll – don’t hurl,don’t hurl) . Sue says “It’s going to calm down soon.” I say “Oh this is fine – I’m a little woozy down below, but I’m OK now. (pitch,roll, pitch,roll – don’t hurl,don’t hurl) As bed time approaches, I begin saying things like “It’s so nice here under the starts – I think I’ll sleep out here.” In Budde-speak, that means “I’m going to hurl any minute, I have no idea how I’m going to survive this for 5 days, and OMG what have I gotten myself into?” (pitch,roll, pitch,roll – don’t hurl,don’t hurl)


We head into town – and I am NASEOUS, but of course, keep saying things like “I think I’m a little dehydrated – maybe some water.”, Or “I could really use a diet Coke” We walk around – the place somewhat defies description, so I won’t try right here, and end up in Mallory Square for the sunset. One of the street performers with a dog act, who looks like Jimmy Johnson on acid with long scraggly hair takes a “likin” to me and asks if I would move to West Texas with him. He asks where I’m from. I say “Illinois.” “Where in Illinois?” Joliet He asks – and I am not making this up – “Are you a guard at the prison?”

Well, I can do nothing else but smash my beer cup into my forehead and walk away.

It takes Sue and Scott at least 20 minutes to stop laughing.

But miraculously, I am no longer nauseous at all, and have no more trouble with (pitch,roll, pitch,roll – don’t hurl,don’t hurl) .

More to come on WRB Junction when I get back home & download some pictures.