And, There Goes Free 'n Easy...


I took this lovely photo from Lake Michigan this summer just after I'd dove off the side of my sailboat into perfectly temperate water.  The lake was so calm and sway (as you can see), we didn't even need an anchor and incredible day sails like this one are the exact reason to own a boat in Chicago.  The reason I bring this up now--busting in on the beginning of my massive road trip dispatches--is because I just SOLD MY BOAT!  What exciting news to get whilst on the road! 

As I cruised the back roads of Texas Hill Country (just stunning) and made my way down 57 in Mexico, I was plotting my next sailboat purchase (of course).  As much as I love little Free 'n Easy, this next boat will be out in LA where I can keep her in the water year round.   It's just the natural flow of things right now....

Free N Easy Comes Out of the Water...Summer is OVER~

Img_2901The early morning definitely started off calm, cool and collected.  But, by 2:00 pm when Lis and I arrived down at Crawley's Yacht Yard on the deep south side, it was dead hectic out on the water.  Ahhh, but we made it!  After tying down the dinghy on the bow, we delivered my little C & C sailboat to her winter home in record time (at least for me)--and we were hauling ass the entire way (seriously, we were never under 5.5 knots...more like 6.8).  There was (per usual) a small craft warning on Lake Michigan--only two other sailboats were out with us--and by the end of the journey the swells were feeling like the high seas.  We had a ball, though and I am now straight depressed that the sailing season is over.  Thank god for my upcoming travels...especially the one to the BVI to check out another boat.  It's in my blood, eh?


Back on the Boat~

Img_2133All day, I did nothing but lay in the sun on the boat.  How is that sort of time to be beat?
Once again, it freaks me out to take the boat out because it's been such an escape for me.  I really spent some time these past few days exploring the intricacies of my Garmin GPS (the incredible 545s).  I was plotting trips left and right from here to Panama and it was breathtaking (and empowering) to be able to zoom all the way in on the Bahama's and get that satellite view.  Makes me want to blow out of here all the more.  Well, I'm still planning the Indo trip (coming up in early Nov.) and the Central America trip (coming up in early Jan.) but always swings back to the boat somehow.  Stay tuned for updates on that late Summer 2008 adventure.  I mean, wow....who has time for work?  Seriously.

Summer's Almost Over and The Rum Is Running Dry...

Img_2670Today was the best sailing day ever...most likely because summer is coming to a close and full blown winter is just a hair away from being here.  Me and B rolled out onto the water 'round about 11 AM and didn't show face back for hours upon hours.  I'm quite certain we consumed a bottle of Flor de Cana (that 5 yr goes down reeeeaaaallll smooth)...and I played with my GPS (see the little boat on there, that would be us) while B perfected Dance Party USA on the water (I guess I was in on that one too).  After we tucked the boat back in (and did some boat tours on my star dock), I managed to make it over to N. Lincoln Square for some sushi and karaoke in some joint that I swear to God was ripped straight from a dark, terrifying back alley in Shanghai.  How me and my pal Jen managed to get the bartender to let us pour our own drinks is beyond me.  I think they were just straight stunned we showed face in there...Jen's convinced we were amongst Asian mafia. Indeed.  Ahhh, summer in the city, eh?

Garmin 545s and My Sassy Little Boat~~

Img_2116OK, after a week full of posts about Baja, it's time to get back to the boat and all things important.  I just finally got my new GPS fully installed and I love it (this screen is sans the g2 overlay, though---which is all the awesome satellite imagery--i will post that pic soon).  It made me so excited to get this thing up and running and will be even better next summer when I have my fish finder installed.  This little piece of gear is what makes really remote and really distant travels seem absolutely doable.  After being away from her for so long and having a hellish spell of mad rain, I took the chance the other day to completley flip out on the boat...just scrubbing her down for hours (i.e. slaying hundreds of spider webs, destroying everything I was wearing and getting bleach all over my favorite hat) and I literally just sat in the cockpit when I was done, meowing in the sunshine at how happy I was.  Even though I will eventually upgrade to a much bigger boat, right now 30' is absolutely perfect for me.  I cannot imagine tooling around anything else for the time being.  And, someday, I will sail to the Sea of Cortez and enjoy a sundowner during a beautiful sundowner (see blurry pic below)~

Sailing is back on in Chicago...

Img_2106Finally, the weather is back on track and you all know what that means!  MST is back in the game...Me and Lisa took the boat out today for hours and it was nothing short of awesome.  There were light winds and loads of sun, so we just lolled around at an easy clip and got sunburned.  I got all my new cushions put in, which I love!  The yellow cushions that I had recovered in the cabin are so cute and I got navy cockpit cushions from Bottomsiders and they make the cockpit so much cozier.  Both totally-worth-it investments and I am hating the fact that sailing season is over in a few really makes my stomach churn.  Or that could be all the mouthwatering food I just wolfed down at La Unica~


Continue reading "Sailing is back on in Chicago..." »

My Love: A Swiss Army Knife

Img_1636This Swiss Army knife is the most useful tool I've ever had the pleasure of handling.  I haul it with me everywhere I go:  from my truck to the boat to the cafe at work, I whip it out religiously when something needs trimming, unlocked, cut down, shaved off, sliced up, uncorked, etc...It's masterful at slicing up fresh lime for cuba libres; uncorking bottles of vino on long road trips; scraping off stickers from random locations on the boat; carving out grapefruit and halving sandwiches at work; screwing off bolts and locks on pesky items in the galley; and a myriad of other uses.  I love its purple/blue color, the weight of its body in my hands, and the power it provides me in almost every situation.  Swiss...get one.

Diving in Lake Michigan

Img_1645Lake Michigan is totally luminous and so is the city of Chicago.  It can be utterly breathtaking, especially when you are absorbing it from the middle of the lake after you've dove in from the bow of a sailboat.  The lake was so eerily placid this past week, I could literally stop the boat and not was enough to where I had to not worry about dropping's so very bizarre and amazing to witness.  I've been spending quite a bit of time on the boat, just to escape the heat of the city (lots of diving off the side like a banshee and snorkeling under the keel to check out what the hell is going on under the surface).  For this photo, I was just clinging to the swim ladder, gently lolling about a mile or so offshore.  It was ethereal to see all the other sailors just swaying, barely moving an inch and the waves slowly rolling in tiny cascades.  And, all that purple heavy~

Garmin 545s, New Dock Lines and Stunning Chicago from the Boat~

Img_1619Ahhhh, today was a banner day from the US Postal service.  I got four new bright blue dock lines and my insanely amazing new GPS from Garmin--the 545s.  I cannot wait to get out to the boat to hook this thing up...bought it from Abes of Maine (best price) and the dock lines from Overton (both places were way cheaper than West Marine).  Also, went sailing all weekend and all that time on the water has me dying (and I truly mean that) to be somewhere totally off-the-grid way out there in the tropics REAL soon.  Major improvements are being made on the boat, slowly but surely--got new curtains made from a fantastic 'lil seamstress and she came yesterday to get all the cushions from the cabin so she can recover them; measured out the cockpit for new weatherproof cushions and those have been ordered; had my mechanic install my new stereo that has a CD player and Ipod link as well as hooking up my new Bose Environmental 151 speakers and my Jensen cockpit speakers--can't tell you how lovely that little setup sounds.  Installed a new furling line and I guess just all sorts of stuff.  It's like the list never ends....I love projects on the boat~

Solar Panels, Stereo's, Cockpit Cushions and On and On...

Img_1452_2This weekend on the boat was bananas.  First off, me, Lis and B took the boat out early in the AM on Sat. when it seemed like gale force winds were blowing.  I know they weren't but when the bow of the boat was CRASHING through wave after seemingly gigantic wave, at the time, it was like holy moly! I was at the tiller and Lis was fiddling with the lines, while B was down in the cabin making us breakfast and then calmly chowing on his delicious tofu fritatta.  At one point, I believe I screamed, "get your ass up here and steer this boat, boy," so he could get a taste of the chaos.  After being out all morning, we cruised back in and got to work making some cocktails (we looked and felt as though we'd just gotten back from war at sea) and taking care of some projects.  B was delighted to measure out the template for cockpit cushions I'm ordering (Bottomsiders, navy with white trim) and me and Lis set to organizing the Powerfilm solar panel I'd gotten.  I am so happy that I went with a very flexible panel and not the rigid panel, that way it takes up way less space and can be tucked out of the way.  It set to charging my starter battery immediately.  So genius.  This one came from Outlaw Camping and I might have to pick up a few more of them eventually.  But, first I gotta take care of the re-covering of the cabin cushions and new curtains.  So much, just so much.  I did get a new stereo though that is ipod compatible (which my mom hooked me up with).  That goes in this week, with the new cockpit and cabin speakers.  It's all coming together...