Friday, January 15, 2016

"The white line is the lifeline of our nation"

“The white line is the lifeline of our nation”  14 January, 2016

This year’s trip to Submit starts differently for us.  We normally fly to her.  It takes a day to a day and a half depending on flight schedules and distance from her to the nearest airport.  This year it took 11.5 days.

Good friends and fellow members of North Flathead Yacht Club (check it out at decided to join us.  Ray and Anita have been thinking/ dreaming/ preparing to go cruising for a long time and this year was chosen for the acid test.  Is cruising really for them?  Do they have the right boat?  And myriad other questions need to be answered.  What better introduction than buddy boating with experienced, knowledgeable cruisers.  When they couldn’t find any, they decided to come along with us!

Submit is currently in Placida, Florida.  Their beautiful Dana 24 was in Somers, Montana, sitting on its excellent triple axle trailer in almost a foot of snow.  No problem.  Hook onto it with their ¾ ton 4 wheel drive GMC crew cab pickup and tow it 3, 715 miles!  We didn’t even have to chain up the truck.  Gust-O came right out…on the third try.  And, since the truck has 2 rows of seats, why don’t we just ride along with them?  We can help drive, share expenses, and try to help if there are problems.  Road trip!

The plan was to get as far south as quickly as possible to get past any snow storms and bad roads.  It worked fairly well.  Our first day saw us driving bare and dry roads under cloudless sunny skies to Pocatello, Idaho.  The second day provided gray smog in the Salt Lake valley, then several days of clouds and rain showers.  We saw snow in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Texas but didn’t have to drive in any.

As we drove south, see started to see billboards advertising all the good deals and entertainment to be had in Nevada.  One recurrent advertiser caught our eyes, rooms for $27 per night at the Virgin River Motel and Casino in Mesquite, NV.  For real?  And if real, would the rooms be awful?  Since the theme of the trip was adventure, we decided to try it.  The rooms really are $27 per night if booked on line, $32 if you just wander in.  They had 2 queen size beds and were nice and clean.  They only lacked in-room coffee (cut rate!).  Prime rib dinners were available for $6.99 if you wanted to wait in line at the café.  We chose the buffet and it was great.  Next morning I had eggs, hash-browns, toast and the largest ham steak I’ve seen for $3.99.  Then Barbara and I gambled.  $5 disappeared quickly in the first machine.  The second machine allowed bets as small as 1 cent.  I made a $1 donation to it and played it up to $7.65.  Barbara insisted I cash in, leaving us with a net gain of $1.65 over all.  Who says you cannot be big winners in Vegas?

Our next memorable stop was in the Phoenix area where we were wined and dined and spent the night with two couples who are friends and fellow sailors from NFYC. 

Next was a brief stay in El Paso with our son, daughter-in-law and newest grandson.  He was not quite 4 months old.  He barely survived all the squeezing!  Even thought the stop was brief, it was great and we even had a short visit with a niece.

We could not believe the amount of rain we saw in areas which are supposed to be deserts.  At one point, we had to pull off and stop to wait out a cloudburst so heave we couldn’t see the road ahead of us.

We made a lunch stop in San Antonio and met nice friends of our cruising partners.

Our road trip had no snags.  The boat traveled beautifully and turned many a head.  It is too bad repairs to our interstate highways didn’t make it onto that famous list of “shovel ready” projects we supposedly funded a couple years ago.  Some of it is really bad.  However, lower fuel prices took some of the sting out of the trip.  The lowest price paid was $1.54.9 per gallon.  We averaged about 8 miles per gallon.

It seemed the nearer I was to Submit the more apprehensive I became.  What would we find?  Had she been invaded by cockroaches and other wildlife in our absence?  Had she leaked and flooded the interior?  Had she been converted into a pit of toxic mold?  None of the above.  She fared well.  A little cleaning and reassembly and she’ll be good to go.  And it always brings a smile to see her.

A much better and more entertaining write-up of our trip can be found in our friends’ blog   You are invited to enjoy it.

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