Wednesday, August 31

Hello from Norfolk - we left Solomon's Island at 6:30 and arrived here at Cobb's Marina at 1:30 (102 miles).   It is HOT!    We were able to exercise along the way - gentle waves, but then they picked up, so had some beam seas for a while.    Mark has made arrangements for the marina staff to lift Catrina out Friday morning.    We will end this phase of our trip here as the lock/bridge south of here are not operating cause of Irene.    The plan is to come back in mid Novemnber and continue our journey south!     Ya never know if/when another hurricane is lurking out there, so best to be on land instead of stay in the water.    Tomorrow, we'll get the canvas back down and start stowing our stuff!!!    Didn't we just do this????   Laundry and packing, too!

Navy ships near our marina
Beautiful skyline in the harbor tonight on Little Creek

Tuesday, August 30

Beautiful morning in Annapolis and many folks were out and about downtown sipping on their coffee, strolling their babies, walking their dogs, etc.    This is a very dog-friendly town with restaurants and shops all welcoming the critters - in fact, last night at the Middleton Tavern, a lady near us had her little pooch on her lap while eating and another large dog was tied up at the entrance and given a bowl of water by the waitress!!!

We left around 9 and had a comfy 4 hours on the Chesapeake arriving at Solomon's Island (southern Maryland) at 1:00.   We are at Zahniser's Yachting Center and it is full of boats - this particular area of the Chesapeake (from Annapolis on) is big-time sailboat country.    The marina has complimentary bikes for boaters to use, so we each took one and checked out the boardwalk and had a wonderful lunch at "Stoney's Kingfisherman" - I had a rockfish gyro that was excellent along with Mark's rockfish sandwich.

Mark rode off to West Marine and I walked a while checking out some shops - not too much here, but quite popular in high tourist season - several restaurants.     We met on our bikes and toured the Calvert Marine Museum - very interesting with sea otters putting on a little show, going up in a lighthouse that was furnished and lots of memorabilia from all phases of boating/fishing in this area thru the years. 

Drum Point Lighthouse - charming!

  Sooo much good crab out here too and any ole way you like it - crab bisque soup, she-crab soup, crab balls, crab cakes, crab this and crab that!    It's sooo good - but sure have to be on the watch (4 eyes) dodging those crab pots on the water!    They can sure pop up not of nowhere!

Had a good report from Linda (Dad's nurse) - he's eating good and going to dining room once or 2x a day!!!

Solomon's Island had a lot of damage from Irene - several areas are still without power, lots of trees down (heard the whirring of the chain saws) and schools will not resume till at least Thursday. 

And now another glitch in the cruising plans - south of Norfolk, the Great Bridge Lock suffered major damage from Irene and not sure when it will reopen?    The other option to get thru that area is the Dismal Swamp, but they have many fires that are burning...   So....Mark is busy trying to figure this out - Plan B, C, D, etc.????    Our plan had been to get to the New Bern, NC area and leave Catrina for 2 months as that's as far south we could travel till after hurricane season (11/15).   So....may be leaving Catrina in Norfolk???

Mark has been reading online some horror stories from upstate NY and all the damage Irene brought on  areas where we were just a few weeks ago.   The Erie Canal is completely closed with boats stranded and and some of the lock houses are gone.   Oh hard to comprehend.    The town of Waterford where we tied up along the wall with farmer's market, nice downtown area, etc. is the end of the Erie Canal lock system and now totally under water.    They were expecting heavy rain but not devastation.   They got 13".    The pictures are incredible - what horrific damage to this beautiful area.    Also in Albany, docks broke loose and boats were piled in a big heap! 

 Seeing and reading all this makes our latest challenge so very insignificant!

Monday, August 29

We were eager little beavers this morning waiting and hoping that they could get Catrina launched today?    We were up to exercise, have breakfast, Mark ran some errands and returned the rental car.  We put the canvas back on, fastened down Tigger (dinghy) and tidied up a bit from all the stuff that had been put inside when we left last Friday.    And finally, at 3:04 PM, we were back floating (#56 to be launched today) and took off.   Tonight we are in Annapolis (ya think we like this town??? second visit by boat and 1 by car)!    Well, we needed to head south and since Irene had us a bit discombobulated, we really didn't get to "celebrate" Catrina's finish of the Loop!   So, here we are tonight in "Ego Alley" where everyone wants to be....right in the heart of downtown and there was a spot for us, so......we are enjoying a pretty evening and had drinks and a great hot crab dip w/crackers at the Middleton Tavern and back to Catrina for BLT's.     Good ole home-grown tomatoes came from the Central Market in Lancaster Saturday.....veerry good!

Proud Navy Dad and our new Looper Flag ("GOLD" for officially completing the Loop)

It was neat this afternoon coming into Annapolis past the Naval Academy - the band was playing and the football team and another team were on the field (maybe a scrimmage game)???

Gee, at 7:30 tonight it's getting dark - far from up north in Canada where at 10:00, it was still light!   Oh well...fall will be coming soon!

Sweet Connor called us this afternoon and told all about his first full day of kindergarten!!!

Sunday, August 28

We are back from our little mini get-away to Pennsylvania!    All is well with Catrina and we saw more evidence of Irene in Harrisburg than here in Dundalk???   There are some downed trees around town, but the boats are all fine and tomorrow, Art and crew will begin the launching.    They took out 65 boats from Thursday-Saturday, so not sure when we'll get back in!   

Had some strong winds overnight and rain off and on today as we were traveling.   We went to 9:30 Mass at St. Catherine Louvre in Harrisburg, drove around the area, got a few groceries, and then a leisurely trip back here with the sun coming out just as were arriving back in town!    Philip had told us (he's been there and thru that) that our weather would be beautiful after the hurricane passes and that it is!  
  Sunny, blue skies and breezy!

Thoughts and prayers for those who lost their lives during Irene and also for all the devastation and long hours ahead for the clean-up and dealing with flooding.    But thankful it wasn't a lot worse as predicted!

Saturday, August 27

Turn up your volume as you read along....we've had a busy, full, fun day starting with a very good Amish-style country breakfast at our inn.    Then we were off to the country and stopped at a farm home and got some cinnamon bread (could've bought lots more, but decided my hips didn't need all those goodies)!   Enjoyed the ride thru Lancaster County ...

Tobacco drying in the barn
Pretty Amish farm house where we bought our bread - beautiful lush flowers everywhere
and nary a weed in sight!!!

  Spent the next several hours in Gettysburg and took the guided tour (guide drove our car) and  what was suppsoed to be a 2 -hour trip was 2 hrs. 45 min.     Ted, our guide is a history buff (big time) and was so aminated as he described what all developed on July 1-3, 1863 in the Battle of Gettysburg when 51,000 lost their lives.

Ted, made us feel we were there right in the heart of the deadliest battle ever on US soil.
Ted in front of a fallen soldier at the Louisiana memorial
Day 3 of the Battle of Gettysburg at Little Round Top

We drove thru Harrisburg and onto Hershey.    Very interesting story about Milton Hershey and how the candy bar, cocoa ( in my cupboard back home), chocolate syrup for Mark's ice cream, etc., etc. came about!    Good self-guided tour and then enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate and cupcake (all Hershey's, of course) in the Zooka Cafe.  Milton Hershey founded a school in 1909 for children in need and today, it continues to thrive.   Drove to the beautiful Hershey Hotel which Milton and his wife, Catherine (Kitty) built and been in operation since 1933.   It is beautiful (totally full tonight) and sits high overlooking Hershey with flowers, flowers everywhere!   
Hershey Kiss in on every lamp post and when we got out of the car - even smelled like

We checked 2 more hotels - totally full tonight (according to the hotel staff.....all Irene related with many from New York who've escaped to Harrisburg - 3.5 hours away).   We got a room at Country Inn and Suites.  Normally we do not do chain restaurants, but that's what was in this area,  we were tired of driving and so...had a nice dinner at TGI Friday's.

One week ago we were in NYC with Philip and Annette - spent the afternoon in Manhattan and it was such a bustling place.    Tonight, as we watch the Weather Channel, Times Square is abandoned!

Skies looked threatening all day, but just a few sprinkles off and on and windy.   The rain is really coming down now and we could get 1-2".   

Friday, August 26

Hello from Lancaster County, PA.....we've had such a fun day!   Left Dundalk at 9:00 and the marina was a happening place again with 2 travel lifts taking boats out of the water.
Our "escape" car

In 1994 we visited our son Michael who was living in Williamsport, PA at the time.   We brought my parents along and also toured some of the Amish country.    But we did not go into Lancaster and today, enjoyed this city, especially "Central Market" - a huge indoor farmer's market open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday year round.  I'm sure glad today is Friday!   It was wonderful with sooo much more than fruits and veggies.   The bakery goodies, meats, cheeses, flowers, etc. were awesome!   This Pennsylvania Dutch countryside is just gorgeous with rolling hills and all the neat farms.    We stopped in Bird-in-the Hand and Intercourse and enjoyed the shops and had a late afternoon lunch Amish style with good ole comfort food..

We drove around the countryside and saw some neat sites
 (even for these 2 kids who grew up on the farm)!!
Amish boys bringing in the corn which they cut by hand to make silage
Laundry strung out from the house to the barn
Pretty farm country

...Kept the weather radio on when we were driving with updates on Irene - even in these parts, there are signs to stock up for the storm, etc.    They are expecting 40-50 mph winds and plenty of rain - already nice and green here.     We are staying at a lovely Amish Inn in Ronks, PA tonight with gorgeous views
from our room.

Walked to Plain and Fancy and shared a piece of delicious Shoo-fly pie!   Tomorrow, we may head to Gettysburg as we've never been - also Harrisburg, the capital!    Thinking of the Outer Banks tonight!
Will be back in touch! 

Thursday, August 25

We are hanging out on Catrina tonight (in the boat yard) in Dundalk, 8 miles from Baltimore.  She was lifted out at 7:30 AM and we are packed like sardines in here - boats everywhere with still more to come out tomorrow.     After battening down all the hatches, Mark got the rental car and we took off for Annapolis - amazing how many boats are still in the harbor (maybe they are waiting till the last minute or have no plans to get their boats to higher ground)???    This city is soo exposed to the Chesapeake....
It has been raining almost all day - currently under a tornado warning!

Had lunch at McGarvey's and then drove to Baltimore and walked around the Inner Harbor.   Brought back many memories from when Philip lived there on his boat "Terraphobic".   I got a manicure/pedicure at the Galleria and then back to Dundalk.    Got the fridge emptied out and will take the cooler with us.  We do have power tonight, but ya never know when it could go out?

The bags are packed, laptops, Nooks, etc., and  we will leave in the morning - no idea where we're going, just heading north or west.    Appreciate the offers to hang out with Michael and Brooke and also,
friends in TN. 

So glad this wasn't all happening last week when Philip and Annette were with us.    It's time to kick the prayers into high gear!!! 
Till tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 24

What a day...but tonight we are settled at Dundalk, MD (near Baltimore) and waiting for Catrina to be lifted out tomorrow morning,    Mark was up early and on the phone checking to see our options of where to go and what to do with Catrina.....we were advised that a lift out would be best and that Dundalk (Anchor Marine) would be a safe place up Bear Creek off the Chesapeake.    Thanks to friends, John and Heather in Tennessee who recommended this.

We spent the day exercising (40 minutes) and having Jill and crew come to clean and wax Catrina (Mark had arranged this for when we arrived in Annapolis)!   What a nice treat - they had cleaned the inside/outside of Catrina before we took off from Annapolis in 2009 and did such a super job.    Both of us got "expensive" haircuts - whoaaa...most either of us ever paid???  Did 3 loads of laundry in the afternoon!   I enjoyed walking around the downtown area and Maryland Avenue.....sad that there are several empty stores, but just love this charming town with narrow streets, brick sidewalks and steps, old buildings with long narrow windows, lots of flowers, and just oh-so-charming.   We left Annapolis at 4:00 and arrived in Dundalk at 6:30.    There is neat outdoor restaurant (Yacht Rock Cafe) here with live entertainment - fun place and good food.    After we ate, came back to boat and took down the canvas - so much to prepare for.    We may hang around this area, but Friday, we'll head inland somewhere?     Guess we'll be going on vacation from our vacation????   This is just bizarre.    We were worried about Philip and Annette in FL not really thinking about us on the east coast, but time will tell...praying that Irene fizzles and just goes out to sea???   No one seems to be taking this too lightly, though!!!   They remember all too well, September, 2003 when Isabel came ashore and did lots of damage and unfortunately, several businesses in Annapolis never recovered.   This was the worst hurricane of the season causing $4.3 billion in damages and 16 deaths in 7 states.

Thanks so much to all who've e-mailed or texted concerned about where we are and how we're doing???

I talked to Linda, Dad's nurse this afternoon - she was happy to tell me that he was having a really good day - had his 1st shower in a long time and so enjoyed that!   AND, he went to the dining room for breakfast.   He had lunch in his room but fed himself!   I was really surprised and happy to hear all this!!!

Stay tuned for further developments...

Tuesday, August 23

Today, it's all about the weather...... we started out at 7:15 and had beautiful sunny skies all day long.   Some choppy water and beam seas (from the side) for a bit, but then really flattened out and almost like glass (my kind of water)!    We decided to put in a long day with Annapolis as our destination.    Annette texted me early this afternoon asking if we were ok after the earthquake????    We checked GOOGLE and got the scoop, but we never knew a thing (guess on the water is the best place to be)?    We arrived at 5:00 and stopped for fuel before going into our slip.    The nice young man asked if we felt anything from the earthquake?    Well, they sure did....buildings shook, computers crashed to the floor, stuff knocked off shelves, etc.    YIKES!    And of course, all the talk on Irene.    As transients, we will have to move (marina will make that decision Thursday).    We had planned to stay here a few days, but will check our options if we have to evacuate - now, isn't this exciting????   NOT!!!!

But on a brighter note....Catrina is back in her original home as this is where we picked her up in October, 2009.    But not a very warm welcome with an earthquake AND hurricane lurking in the distance?    So, Catrina has officially completed the loop.

As much as we dislike salt water and all the crustiness on the windows, chrome railings, etc., it is where the dolphins and other sea life live, and today, we enjoyed one frolicking along with us.   We went up Delaware Bay to the Delaware River to the Delaware/Chesapeake Canal to the Chesapeake - 131 miles.    The crab pots are something to reckon with, too!    But we are so happy to be here - Annapolis is one of our favorite cities. 
 Sites as we were coming into the harbor...

Maryland's state capital
United States Naval Academy
Fleet of sailboats in front of  the Academy

We walked across the bridge to Eastport to our "must-eat-at-places" in Annapolis - The Chart House where we had a fabulous meal (their spinach salad is thee best).   We topped it all off with Mark's all-time favorite dessert - warm chocolate lava cake w/ice cream and heath bar crunch coating! Without a of those to-die-for desserts!   Oink oink!!!!
Nite nite - we'll turn on the weather channel and get the latest on Irene!

Monday, August 22

We left Bayville at 7:45 and after cruising on the ICW with lots of shallow water, we came thru the Barnegat Inlet out in the Atlantic - going thru the opening was like riding a wild roller coaster (I'm NOT into roller coasters).    Mark said this was a combination of the tide coming in and the wind going out which made for slow, high rollers!    But shortly after that little adventure, we turned south and had much improved (we were surfin' along) conditions off the Jersey Shore.

The lighthouse at Barnegat Inlet is one of the tallest in the country (book says 2nd tallest; internet, says it ranks #4) - at any rate, Cape Hatteras, NC is the tallest at 200 feet or 268 steps for incredible views (haven't done that)!   The locals at Barnegat affectionately call their lighthouse "Old Barney".
Old Barney
Atlantic City skyline
Para sailors came very close to Catrina

In September of 2000, Mark, Ryan, Philip, Jason (friend) and I did a boat delivery for Philip from Boston to Baltimore.   We stopped at Cape May arriving late at night and leaving early the next day (we were on a mission).    Today we are back and what a charming town!    We settled in at  Utsch's Marina, a family-owned operation since 1951.   When Mark returned from checking in, he had a goodie bag with a bottle of wine, package of 3 different flavors biscotti, bar of scented soap from a local soap company along with all kinds of brochures (my kind of marina)!!!    We grabbed our map and took off....we found the trolley and rode it downtown and along the promenade.    Had good dinner at Carney's overlooking the water and then found the mall - what a neat place with many shops and restaurants all outside on a brick street.    Mark had some ice cream ("chocolate therapy") while I browsed the shops and then we headed to Columbia Street which was filled with so many neat B and B's, inns, private homes, etc.    The architecture is just wonderful (lots of gingerbread trim) and these folks are very patriotic as so many proudly fly the American flag and/or have the red/white and blue bunting out.

One of many B and B's 
Charming home
Sweet and colorful

Cape May has a population of 3,600, but swells to 50-60,000 in the summertime and is known as one of America's original premier resort towns and still going strong!

We walked a total of 5 miles, but such a beautiful evening and so much to see and oooh and aaah over!
We cruised 74 miles today and tomorrow, we'll go up Delaware Bay onto the Chesapeake.

Sunday, August 21

Hello from Ocean Gate Yacht Basin in Bayville, NJ across from Toms River.    We got a very early start to our day with Philip and Annette leaving at 4 AM and saying our good byes.   Didn't go back to sleep and left at daylight (6 AM).    Lots of activity in the harbor at this early hour - 3 large cruise ships (Holland America, Norwegian Gem and Celebrity) plus many freighters, tug boats and ferries.    Mark was able to get one last picture of our Statue of Liberty and it was neat to see her torch lit up which doesn't show up in bright sunlight.

Lady Liberty

We traveled 60 miles today (30 on the Atlantic) and had some pounding....then entered the Intracoastal Waterway and oh my...along with all the Sunday boat traffic,  the winds picked up, shallow water to deal with and started  raining (storms had been predicted for later today).    We were glad to get off the busy ICW and hunker down.  Gave Catrina a good rinsing of all the salt water (ugh)!     Have heard about the Jersey Shore and when we got off the Atlantic and came to the Manasquan Inlet, many big, big homes and big, big yachts, folks on the beach, etc.   Great vacation fun in this area...

Watching the news tonight, we now have to keep a careful watch on "Irene" and see what path she's going to take???   The kids are back home safely and we just finished dinner on Catrina (grilled chicken breasts, pasta, salad)!   

 The weather radio keeps going off..............
Sure had lots of rain off and on while we were in New York (21 days)  and they are getting major storms tonight again.   Sad that other parts of the country are so in need of moisture!

Saturday, August 20

Sunny Saturday and after checking our laptops, exercising (pretty neat overlooking Manhattan), breakfast and showers, we were on our way to the train to the ferry to cross the Hudson and tah dah.....we are in the Big Apple!

This is the view from Catrina - straight across from the Empire State Building

Enjoyed walking around, but soooo many people out and about!    Had delicious lunch at Roxy's Deli (big ole pastrami on rye sandwiches w/cole slaw!)  YUMMY!

Philip and Annette in Times Square
All of us - one final walk along the waterfront

Back to the boat for naps and rummikube (Annette and I), dominoes, fixed BLT's for supper and then enjoyed the pretty evening on Catrina's upper station watching NY come alive with all the lights.

The kids are leaving EARLY in the morning to catch a flight back to FL....sure have enjoyed the past 4 days!    They were fun to have onboard (Annette likes hanging out in Catrina's galley which is fine with me and Philip helped Mark with some projects, etc.)   We packed in a lot of neat stuff and made some wonderful memories cruising from Albany to NYC.

Friday, August 19

After rockin' and rollin' most of the night (south winds hit us on the open wall) we woke to warm sunshine and left Newburgh at 8:20.    Just a few miles away was West Point - oh my, sooo impressive...
West Point Academy

This is absolutely gorgeous country with so many mountains, hills, etc....

Just one of many awesome views heading towards NYC
Palisades (tall rugged cliffs)
1 World Trade Center (tall building with cranes on top)   When completed, it will be the tallest building in the US (1,776 feet) and tallest office building in the world.    It was formerly called Freedom Tower and will be completed in late 2013.    Philip also pointed out approximately where Captain Sully safely landed US Air flight 1549 on January 15, 2009
Lady Liberty....sooo proud to be an American!

We arrived at the Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club in Weehawken, NJ  this afternoon (67 miles).    We got a map and took off for downtown Hoboken where we were told was "thee" place to be!
Stopped for drinks at Helmer's (long-time German restaurant in Hoboken)
Great dinner (recommended by Iris at the marina - "East LA")
Mexican fare - not sure how the name came to be? 
Washington Street in Hoboken - sooo many neat buildings, restaurants, shops, etc. (15 blocks of fun)
We had an unbelievable storm - just back to the boat and it was sooo dark and the heavens let loose with heavy rain, wind, lightning, thunder.....the whole shebang!   

More highlights from yesterday...

FDR's Home in Hyde Park
Eleanor Roosevelt's rose garden (and other pretties)
The Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park (one of 43 Vanderbilt homes around the country with this one being the smallest and the Biltmore in Asheville, NC, the largest)

Annette and Philip with another view of the Vanderbilt as seen from the water

Thursday, August 18

Busy, busy day....started with waking up to RAIN.....that wasn't supposed to happen till this afternoon.    Mark and I exercised, we all had breakfast and left at 9:15.    Went 31 miles to Newburgh     Saw some interesting sites along the way along with several neat lighthouses.   But, first of's our youngest grandson on his first day of kindergarten!
Annette's birthplace- Vassar Hospital in Poughkeepsie (background)

   Skies cleared and it was a nice sunny afternoon.    Lunch on Catrina and then Mark went to pick up a rental car and we were off to Hyde Park (22 miles) where we toured the Franklin Roosevelt home and Vanderbilt Mansion.   Enjoyed both very much.

We had the most wonderful experience for dinner.....eating at the Culinary Institute of America where the aspiring chefs learn what it's all about to make their dreams come true of being a chef in some fine restaurant or owning their own place.    It was top-notch and along with the food, ambiance and service, it all made for a very memorable evening.
Philip and Annette enjoying a glass of wine before dinner at the CIA

I took lots of photos today and planned to include more in this update, but having trouble downloading, so??

Tomorrow, New York we come!

Wednesday, August 17

The air is so fresh today with beautiful blue skies, few puffy clouds and we are back to cruising!    Didn't get to Catrina with Philip and Annette till 11:30 last night.   Sooo good to see them...Annette fixed her delicious veggie, ham and cheese omelets for breakfast and we left Renssalaer at 9:00.

Pretty country with the wide Hudson, lots of trees, rolling hills and the Catskill Mountains in the distance.

Cruising down the Hudson River
The Spirit of the Hudson
Annette and Philip
The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse

Arrived in Kingston at the municipal marina at 1:30 (66 miles) and then off to explore the town (mostly little cafes and other restaurants)  Had a very good Mexican lunch outdoors at Rosita's Cantina along the Kingston River.   Philip and I walked around; Annette took a nap and Mark did computer stuff.   Warmed up to 86 degrees.

Kingston was New York's first state capital in 1777. 

Annette's aunt, uncles, cousins, little ones, all came to Kingston - we hung out on Catrina and then walked to
The Steel House for dinner.    It took forever to get our food (we were there almost 3 hours), but fun visiting.
Back:   Alyssa, Rodney, Annette, Philip, Mark, Ron, Liam, Jeannette
Front:  Diane, Pat, Dave, Heidi and Ken

Tuesday, August 16

Rainy morning - got the boat cleaned outside, ran some errands and then headed south!    We drove past the farm where Annette's grandparents used to live and had a delightful visit with her Aunt Roberta and Uncle Ron at their gorgeous home (a converted barn) - just wonderful!

Ron and Roberta
Beautiful home that was once a barn
The sun came out this afternoon and oh-so-pretty!    Upstate NY is very picturesque.    As we crossed the Hudson River with the Catskill Mountains in the distance, all I could think of was how scenic the next few days of our cruise will be.

We drove to the Newark Airport to pick up Philip and Annette and now on our way back to Catrina 2.5 hours away.