Monday, September 19, 2005

Kavenga's Wake - Email from Jesus

Yes, Jesus is on the net.  Of course he is; how can one expect to do business these days without an email address and a website?


Actually, we have traded emails with Jesus (hay-soos) at the boatyard in San Carlos, Mexico throughout the summer, keeping tabs on how Kavenga is coming along with her drying out process—no, she’s not going through rehab, she just has a slight water retention problem.  The moisture readings Jesus has sent us tell us she still has a ways to go before being ready for her epoxy barrier coats.


Nevertheless, we have elected to head in that general direction.  This edition of Kavenga’s Wake is being composed while on the road back to Mexico. It started at a picnic table next to our shaded campsite at the Mt. St. Helens RV Park. And is being concluded from a chair in the shade of the van’s awning at Bethel Island in the California Delta.


As of our last blog, I believe we were just ready to haul Kavenga out of the water.  That was quite an experience.  The yard uses a huge boat trailer with hydraulic arms which rise up to grasp the boat once it is in position on the trailer.  Before we knew it we were going about 25 miles an hour backwards down the freeway, about a mile to Marina Seca, the boatyard. 


They initially put us in the sandblast pit where they sandblasted the old anti-fouling paint off the hull.  They then used a special planer to remove the fiberglass gelcoat, exposing the blisters that need to be ground out, filled and faired.  But before that, the hull needs to dry out for three or four months.  We were subsequently moved into the storage yard to commence the dry-out phase.


We hung around until this point to make sure things got done correctly and on schedule.  Since it was not realistic to live aboard Kavenga in the yard, we stayed at a small motel called Departamientos Adlai.  We loved this place.  We had a big room with two double beads, huge bathroom with shower, a kitchenette with microwave, fridge, and stove—and air conditioning—very important.  All this for $25 per night.  Kay enjoyed her morning jogs, counting her sightings of jackrabbits, cottontails, and roadrunners.


When it was time to leave, we lucked out and caught a ride up to Tucson with our friends Ron and Diane of Batwing.  We spent four days in Tucson searching for and buying a 1993 Chevy Coachman 19-foot camper van.  It has almost everything Kavenga has, just in a much smaller space.


Initially we had thoughts of driving all the way to the East Coast to visit Steve’s relatives, but we soon realized with the van’s low gas mileage, that would be an expensive trip.  In retrospect, maybe gas at $2.19 a gallon wasn’t so bad.  At any rate we made the decision to head north and west instead.


In the course of about three weeks we visited the following national and state parks:
            Montezuma’s Castle, N.M. – incredible pueblo in the side of a cliff

            Grand Canyon, N.P. – what can you say about 1.6 million years of visible history

            Lee’s Ferry, S.P. – 104 degrees; where the Grand Canyon raft trips begin, great hike

            Zion Canyon, N.P. – bottom-up perspective vs. top down like G.C. & Bryce

            Bryce Canyon, N.P. – perhaps the prettiest of the canyon parks

            Capitol Reefs, N.M.  – incredible gorges, less crowded

            Kodachrome Basin, S.P. – amazing pillars or chimney rocks, dangerous hike

            Escalante Petrified Forest, S.P. – smaller version of the national monument

            Goblin Valley, S.P. – featured in the movie Galaxy Quest, totally bizarre rock formations

            Yellowstone, N.P. – lucked into seeing several irregular geysers, abundant wildlife


We had originally thought we would keep going north to the Glacier and Banff parks, but after the foregoing, we were kinda overdosed on beautiful scenery.  So, instead, we hung a left at Yellowstone and headed for Gig Harbor.


We had hardly arrived in Gig Harbor and got a space at the Gig Harbor RV Park, when we were approached by our friends Bill and Marilyn Owel about house-sitting for them.  It turned out they needed to be out of Gig Harbor almost the same amount of time we wanted to be in.  So after a little more than a week at the RV park we moved into their beautiful home in the Spinnaker Ridge planned development.  Aside from caring for the house, our primary responsibility was caring for their two cats, Pooh Bear and Poco Rojo.  They were taking their black lab, Petey, with them.  We also had the responsibility for caring for their boat, a 36-foot Nordic Tug.


Steve went back to work part-time for West Marine, to have something to do and to regain employee discounts for materials we’d need for Kavenga’s barrier coat project.  In addition to working at his original store in Bremerton, he also had the  opportunity to work at the new store in Gig Harbor, just a short downhill walk from Spinnaker Ridge.


Kay got back into her old routine of heading over to LWM Stables every afternoon.  From Owel’s place it was an easy bike ride or walk.  In exchange for barn chores, Kay was given the opportunity to ride and exercise a 7-year-old Arabian mare named Annie.


It was two days prior to Bill and Marilyn’s return that our morning routine was disturbed by a very loud boom!  Steve was reading the morning paper and muttered that he hoped whoever was responsible had a permit.  But Kay, who was upstairs at the time, noticed a huge tower of smoke rising from the harbor down the hill.  We turned on the radio and immediately heard that one of the downtown marinas was on fire.  Yikes!!  Please don’t let it be Bill and Marilyn’s Pleasurecraft Marina.


We hurriedly threw on our clothes and walked briskly down the hill.  We were relieved to find that it was Harborview Marina, the marina next to Pleasurecraft.  However, the flames and smoke were licking out towards Bill and Marilyn’s tug, Lady Bump, and burning boats were coming adrift and only being kept away from the Pleasurecraft boats by the streams of water coming from the firehoses of firemen down on the Pleasurecraft docks.


Later that day, when the fire was nearly out, and before security tightened up, we managed to get down to Lady Bump for a quick inspection.  We found that she had not escaped unscathed.  Her Inflatable dinghy had it’s tubes partially melted and deflated.  One of the rear windows in the cabin was shattered and two more were cracked (this from the explosions).  And the beautiful varnish job on the rear cabin door was freckled with heat blisters.  All things considered, it could have been a lot worse.  Had not the owners of a sailboat at Pleasurecraft managed to douse the flame that leaped over to their wooden mast, it is quite possible that Pleasurecraft could have suffered the same fate as Harborview—total destruction including almost 50 boats.


At the conclusion of our inspection and the taking of digital photos, we called Bill and Marilyn and gave them the news.  Fortunately, they were due to return the next day.  Ironically, Lady Bump had technically been sold and was only waiting for the buyer’s old boat to be sold to remove the final contingency.  We are still waiting to hear how that plays out as Lady Bump goes to the yard for repairs.


When Bill and Marilyn returned we were all set to move out.  We spent the Labor Day weekend camping out in the parking lot at our marina, Murphy’s Landing.  Once the Holiday was over and traffic was back to normal, we hit the road.


It was a great summer.  We managed to snag the best summer weather the Northwest has to offer and had the opportunity to see and spend time with many old friends and catch up on their lives.  Perhaps we will have a similar opportunity next summer, or maybe we will finally do Steve’s Magical History Tour back east.  Who knows?  We only know what we’re likely to be doing for the next month.  Beyond that it gets fuzzy.


The next edition of Kavenga’s Wake will take us from Gig Harbor back to San Carlos.