Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Up North and Back

We are now back on board good old Enee Marie after a perfectly wonderful 5 weeks in Chicago!
How strange it was to be on land for so long. What is perfectly normal for 99% of the population seems somehow just a little off. A little confining. A little complicated. We truly enjoyed spending much quality time with our many friends and family in the Chicago area while at the same time have longed for our simple days aboard our boat.

The boat was fine upon our return on Monday. Engine started right up. Batteries were at about 60%. We did learn while we were away that the mooring field in Ft. Myers Beach is no longer operated by Salty Sam’s Marina. That was a bit of a shocker as we had come to know them well and felt ok leaving the boat more or less under their watchful eye. Now it turns out that the city of Ft. Myers Beach as taken over the operation! One always worries when a government tries to run anything but we’ll see. Many of the fine marinas we’ve seen over the years are municiple marinas and they are typically cheap and well run. Today I went down and re-registered with the new operators. They seem friendly enough but are perhaps not prepared for this endeavor. Not many boats in the mooring field anyway so they probably have time to get better organized. It is being run out of Mantanzas Inn right by the Mantanzas pass bridge. Their "facilities" consist of an emptied out motel room for bathroom and shower. That means there is ONE. Well, like I said maybe it will be better when they get going more. I do miss our friend Dale who used to cruise the mooring field everyday just to check on boats, perform pumpouts and say hi. Everything changes.

Anyway, while we were up north we especially enjoyed having large hunks of time to enjoy my daughter and her husband and knock around their Chicago neighborhood with them. We never ran away from Chicago...we love that town but, rather, we are running toward other lands and adventures. Win. Win. My daughter lives in Ukrainian Village neighborhood in Chicago which if you don’t know is quite the city for neighborhoods. This one is in transition from the truly old world Ukraiinian motiff to the upscale, young, artsy crowd. Most interesting in its transition. There is a very nice little cyber cafe up the street along with a Ukraining Deli nearby where one can read NONE of the lables on the food. Buy by pointing. Sue and I took some long walks down Division Street and were amazed by the new and the old and the ever interesting. My kind of town!

The talk of the town of course is DA BEARS! We were lucky enough to get some tickets from my nephew and then were forced to watch the Bears completely fall apart against Miami. Damn! I also discovered at the game that I’m no longer so good with large crowds. Who knew! No big thing but just an answer to my frequent question as to how the adventure might be slowly changing Sue and I. The press of humanity was a little off putting for me and I don’t remember it being so before. I'm reminded of the Michael Smith song, "How does the Sea Change the Sailor".

Of course the highlight of the trip was watching the Chicago Marathon as reported here earlier. Just about Chicago’s biggest party. The run goes through many of Chicago’s ethnic neighborhoods and everyone turns out to line the streets along the entire 26 mile route.

Back in Florida I find that the outboard that I left with the yard to fix is still dying. We thought it was running fine and went to get groceries yesterday only to find ourselves paddling back! Good thing it was slack tide because there is no paddling the inflatable against it. Tried that. They are working on it now and think maybe the oil sensor (4 stroke) may be sending false information and shutting down the spark. We'll see.

Winds are to be south east for a few days so we'll wait for something a little more in our favor for sailing down toward either Marco Island, Everglades City or maybe all the way to Key West. We'll see.

A final sad note, we learned that while we were away Gracie the Cat that Sails checked out of this mortal coil. I'm glad she got to have a little AC before that. She was fun and we do kind of miss her.


LeahC said...

It was so AWESOME to have you guys up here for so long! Glad you liked our neighborhood :-) We'll see you where it's warm in just a few months now! Come on MARCH....wait I still have to clear it with the boss man...soon soon!

deborah said...

Goodnight Gracie:-(