The Western Flyer YTD 2014
As 2014 came to a close, and while watching, count’em three, three grand children; I quickly wrote down a short list of what the Western Flyer taught us. What it taught US is probably way different from what it taught ME. For starters, trying to write, even a short story with interruptions is extremely hard work – add to that trying to single finger type on an Iphone or Android tablet with the same story started and not finished or saved in either the family computer, the android or Iphone and ….. you get the point.
Sorry for the initial automatic posting on Facebook before this story was completed – in my defense, instead of finding on my tiny , tiny screen (save draft) I accidentally hit (publish).
This initial post started out simply with a list like for example; what have we learned; our plans thus far; boat upgrades present and future, fun with water sports like adding a stand up paddle board to the fleet, inflatable kayak, or breaking out the scuba.
Americans are (not only good – but great) with to-do lists; just tell us what to do, and we’ll do it. Throughout our history, we have accomplished the following:
Win our independence. Check.
Form a union. Check.
Expand to the Pacific. Check.
Settle the West. Check.
Keep the Union together. Check.
Fight the Nazis. Check.
– Marianne Williamson
My initial year in review revision then took a direction towards reflecting on the past – going back almost four years ago. Initially, my idea of a happy, healthy retirement was to spend about a third of the year planning for an expedition of some kind, a third of the year on the said expedition, and possibly the other third recovering from said expedition. Then repeat.
Subsequently growing both older and wiser in the process.
The expedition of finding, buying and working on a trawler proved great at bringing out both our good and not so good past working life skill sets. Also, on the great side it meant taking a much-needed – ROAD TRIP! On the not so good side, I knew that my past working life skill sets for working on a fixer upper project did not include great carpentry or mechanical skills – but, I could learn. Also on the good side as 2014 came to a close – glad to report that everything needing improving has improved – with US having a total hand in it.
If you are not yet aware – this Western Flyer experiment led us to a boat commute of over 1,000 miles (each way) from our home to work on her.
Patti went along with this, you might ask?
Somehow unwittingly (not knowing; unaware: an unwitting subject in an experiment. Not intended; unintentional) ….. she also added that the trawler we found had to be in a city that we know very little about.
And once again to add to the adventure we used Craigslist (humor intended, ha ha) as our most trusted source for finding this great fixer upper trawler in need of a refit.
My plan B or C options instead of finding an old boat that I would’ve sprung on Patti also included joining the Mongol rally. Yes, I/we seriously considered driving from London to Mongolia as part of the Mongol Rally – a 10,000 mile charity road trip. Hundreds of cars participate in this event every year. Hey, it’s for charity, it’s an expedition and adventure all rolled into one. Plus, at the time I was feeling quite charitable and in need of a little adventure to continue healing from my past work life.
Instead of the Mongol rally that you could be reading about today I for the sake of Patti opted for the more sane and sane option; the Arctic Jeep Yukon Expedition. Solo trip (alone) on my jeep – final tally roughly 10,000 miles from start to finish.
Google Trawlercat and Arctic Jeep Expedition for the rest of the story and blog.
In retrospect, the expedition of finding a trawler turned out to be a way safer option than say Mongolia and better yet, and we did get to see and visit Portland, Oregon and all cities near, in between, and to the west. Also met some great people along the way. Hiked all over with my new friend Scott; visited the Ape Caves with my Seattle son Matt and a whole lot more.
Some of the real world challenges of this trawler expedition turned out to be the drive – at least a 1,000 miles from home. Also a given – and the greater challenge was managing the $$$ needed for this project to take care of everything mechanical, electrical, or even cosmetic, like the new trawlers custom hard top. For a list of projects completed visit the PROJECTS postings.
And she said – – Let’s also go looking for this said boat, in the dead of winter. Taking one long road trip – in the dead of winter. And he said – – and we shall not return home to our sunny and warm Southern California home till we find this elusive fixer upper trawler.
Also in retrospect, February in Portland, Oregon was not a great time to be looking at boats. When we finally saw her and I stepped foot on her the diesel heater was cranked way up. Her intimate smells suspended like the snow flakes that were now falling. Patti followed me into the boat, and before a single breath was consumed; she sprang back out and was gone. We’re out of here and this boat stinks – famous last words! I now knew there would be no stinky boats in our future.
On the short drive to the coast we quickly made laughter of our trawler experiment – thus far! Why this is even similar to how Robin Williams describes the invention of the game of golf. Nothings easy – Not straight. I put shit in the way. Like trees and bushes and high grass. So you can lose your ‘ing ball. And go hacking away with a ‘ing tire iron. Whacking away, and each time you miss you feel like you’ll have a stroke. ‘uck, that’s what we’ll call it, a stroke. Cause each time you miss you feel like you’re gonna ‘ing die.
And so with the ancient Chinese knowledge that it is better to walk – or in our case DRIVE 1,000 miles to see a boat; better than to read 10,000 more Craigslist trawler ads we found dinner and an ocean view. At just about the time that we both figured out how to crack open our delicious Alaska King Crab claws – my cell phone rings. The stinky trawlers owner, feels rather slighted at our rather quick departure.
Me, not so sure as to what he could possibly tell us that would cause us to drive back those past 90 wet and snowy miles. In the end he made us a deal too good to pass up. And so, on the way back down the coast, we stopped at an Office Supply place; purchased a fill in the blanks contract form, included a deposit check for $500 in the sealed FEDEX envelope, and we now became stinky trawler boat owners.
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
– George Bernard Shaw