Detour Ahead for Rode Trippers!

I’d never leave you hanging ‘By the Numbers’…and so the story of Rode Trip and Rode Trippers continues!

When we’d paused, Rode Trip had been hauled from the water in Deltaville, VA and had undergone a mini-makeover to prepare her for prospective buyers. We’d set the price just right, and provided a thorough advertisement hoping that we’d not wait long for the right buyer to emerge. Fascinating people come along when you try to sell things. We received some interesting offers for Rode Trip and here are two of my favorites:
1. An email that read simply, “too little, too slow, too deep, too old to enjoy the $ spending.” I’m sorry, were you actually interested in our boat? I just couldn’t tell from your enthusiastic inquiry. And so, I replied, “Everything else about her is perfect!” Our email respondent replied once again with his opinion that we were asking too much money for a slow moving boat accompanied by a low-ball offer. Maybe, he should have been making offers on faster moving boats.
2. A trade was offered; 7.83 acres of land in Virginia. Interesting. We investigated the land and determined that although it was equally priced (a fair trade), the parcel had been on the market for some time and had not sold. For those interested, send us a note because this man was also willing to trade for a motorcycle or a house boat.

While a fresh coat of deck paint was still drying, we received a serious offer from a man in India with whom we’d been corresponding via email. He had a genuine interest in Westsails, and was particularly interested in Rode Trip because she was water ready. Due to the man’s current location in India, he would be unable to view Rode Trip and so we answered many questions that he had regarding the condition of the boat. He didn’t want her to slip away, and we’d had other inquiries, so he made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Just like that Rode Trip sold! We were very fortunate to have not needed the services of a broker. We completed a Purchase Agreement with our buyer and he provided us a deposit via wire transfer. We established a final closing date that allowed time for him to make travel arrangements from India to the United States. Chapter One of our cruising lifestyle would soon come to an end. In the meanwhile, Brian and I prepared for Chapter Two to begin.

We locked Rode Trip for the last time and said our goodbyes. Then, Brian and I did what so many transitioning, adult children do; returned to our parents (temporarily) in our hometown in Pennsylvania where each set of parents had readied a guest room for us. During the next few weeks we’d visit friends, sort our belongings, tend to medical appointments, and prepare for our next big move!

The End of an Era

We christened our Westsail 32 ‘Rode Trip’ on 23 June 2012 and among family and friends stepped aboard our new home. Our dream had become a reality. We set sail for anywhere, everywhere, somewhere…we’d figure it out!

20140918-231025-83425544.jpg
It has been 812 days since we shared champagne with Neptune and started our new lifestyle at sea. The day Rode Trip was hauled from the water marked the end of an era for us.

20140918-230754-83274232.jpg

20140918-230912-83352031.jpg
Thanks, a BIG THANKS, to our parents, to Grandma G., and to Aunt Margaret and Uncle Barry for helping us to move off of Rode Trip. Many hands made light work and the use of vehicles was much appreciated to move our personal belongings from Deltaville, VA back to our storage corner of Grandma’s basement in Honesdale, PA. Throughout the transition, our family made sure we had plenty to eat and comfortable places to sleep.

Rode Trip underwent a mini-makeover at the yard. She’s looking so good I might buy her myself (I’m sure Brian and Bruce can handle the new boat). Rode Trip is ready for a new captain and more adventures!

20140918-230954-83394966.jpg

Behind the Scenes at Deep Creek Lock

The Grandjeans commandeered Rode Trip!

20140902-134031.jpg

They just left me at the dock…homeless, family-less…

20140902-134336.jpg

…and off they went for a leisurely motor down the Dismal Swamp Canal. Bruce and Kathy had traveled from Pennsylvania to experience this magnificent, original stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway. Meanwhile, I’d been left at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center where I settled into the lounge of the Welcome Center with iPad in hand and utilized the free WiFi for some much needed emailing, phone calling, and writing. The women working in the Welcome Center were most friendly and we chatted intermittently during our work. When finished, I headed back outside to the parking lot and hopped aboard the car hoping that I still remembered how to drive.

I planned to meet Rode Trip at the Deep Creek Lock; 17 statute miles by canal from the Welcome Center. Rode Trip would travel for approximately four hours to reach the lock, but my trip by car would take only 20-minutes. No wonder our land friends always wonder what’s taking us so long! They should try driving their cars around at 4.5 mph…swing by the grocery store on the way home, no problem as long as you don’t mind starting to cook supper at midnight.

There is a bridge just prior to the lock, and as I approached I spotted the lock-tender parking his car at the bridge to open the bridge for a southbound vessel. I parked the car along the roadside to watch. Afterward, I approached the lock-tender to inform him that Rode Trip was traveling northbound and due to arrive within the next hour. “Would you like to wait at the lock?” he asked. “Yea,” I replied, “that would be great.” “Follow me.”

Robert is the lock-tender at Deep Creek Lock. He is somewhat of a rock star among the cruising crowd, especially the snowbirds (seasonal cruisers who head south in the winter and north in the summer). Robert not only does his job spectacularly, but he also knows a wealth of information about the Dismal Swamp, Dismal Swamp Canal, and surrounding areas of Virginia. He welcomes passers-through and provides excellent instruction for safe passage through the lock as well as history and stories and if you are very lucky he’ll demonstrate his skills blowing a conch horn. I followed Robert via car to the Deep Creek Lock and joined him inside the air-conditioned lock cabin. For nearly two hours we talked covering a variety of topics. We were interrupted only once when the VHF squawked and to my surprise (Brian’s voice sounds very different to me over the radio waves) “northbound sailing vessel Rode Trip” was calling to notify Robert that they were at the bridge awaiting the 1300 opening. Rode Trip made fabulous time! They’d arrived one-hour earlier than anticipated and tied at the dock near the bridge until the opening.

At 1320, Robert and I drove down to the bridge. “Come on in,” Robert invited me into the bridge’s control room. Robert hailed the two waiting northbound vessels (a motor vessel had joined Rode Trip at the dock) to inform the vessels the bridge was preparing to open. Then while Rode Trip cast off the dock, instead of my usual task of tending dock lines and fenders…

20140902-145024.jpg
…I was behind the scenes watching Robert in action.

20140902-145518.jpg

The bridge quickly rose and Rode Trip and the motor vessel proceeded through. (If you are looking closely at the photos, they are all wibbly-wobbly; the iPad could not focus through the old glass window panes. Next time, I’ll ask Robert how old the control house is, he’ll know!) Brian, Bruce, and Kathy gave a wave. Then, Brian did a double-take and recognized his wife through the window. He pointed and I watched them all wave again enthusiastically once they realized I was behind the scenes.

20140902-145741.jpg

20140902-145750.jpg

“That was LOUD!” I commented to Robert while the boats passed through. “That’s not loud,” he replied, “put these on,” he handed me ear protection. Apparently the bridge is enormously loud when going down. I thanked Robert as we returned to our cars to head back to the lock.

Robert was at the ready to assist the incoming vessels.

20140902-150626.jpg
Rode Trip entered the lock, lines at the ready.

20140902-150847.jpg

20140902-150857.jpg

Robert recognized Brian; although he sees many captains, he reaffirmed that most are about twice our age. While the lock was preparing to lower, Brian presented Robert with his choice of conch horn. Robert played us a tune!

20140902-151234.jpg

20140902-151241.jpg

Robert regaled us with historical facts while the lock lowered Rode Trip eight-feet down.

20140902-151559.jpg
Afterward, we waved goodbye to Brian and Bruce. They would continue to Norfolk. Kathy had come ashore; she was anxious to begin the next expedition of the day…SHOPPING!

20140902-151923.jpg