Reunited and it Feels So Good!

Hey there friends – we’re back!   It seems like forever since we were here – on the blog AND in Mexico onboard Air Bender.  But we are back to both!

We left Tampa in mid-October to start our adventure.  The boat has been on the hard in Puerto Penasco, a town in Mexico about 200 miles south of Phoenix, since we left her in April 2020 at the start of the pandemic. When we left her there, our plan was to come back that Fall for another 6 month sailing season, but pandemic life had other plans.  Fast forward 2 ½ years and we are finally back.  But I digress.  Because we had so much gear that needed to go to the boat, including 12 brand-new house batteries,  6 gallons of bottom paint, a portable generator and a myriad of other boat parts and all our personal stuff, we needed to drive to the boat rather than fly.  Now we have two perfectly good vehicles, but Mike had the wild idea to buy a cheap, older model van, drive it from Florida to Mexico, and sell it once we got there.  My immediate reaction was not just no, but, well, you can guess!  However, after some thought about where the vehicle would stay for 6 months, and how we would get it back to Florida (since our plan is not to keep the boat in Mexico during the next off-season), I started coming around.  Note that I still had my doubts about driving across country in an old and unfamiliar vehicle.  But – we got on FB marketplace and found Edith, the 2006 Chrysler Voyager Minivan! Mike cleaned her up, changed the oil, and did various other maintenance, and off we went. We didn’t even get out of Florida before we bought 4 new tires (they looked good when we left) and added freon, but amazingly, Edith pulled off the rest of the trip with no problems.  And, Mike was able to get her sold before we left Mexico.  

Edith loaded up for her cross-country trip
Just a Quick Little Side Trip
Did I Mention Edith’s Stereo Wasn’t Working? Bluetooth Speaker to the Rescue!

Along the way, we stopped in Texas to see my kids.  First, we stopped in Temple to visit Jordan and Koren.  It was so great to see them as newlyweds in their first apartment together.  We shared lots of good meals together and even went to a pumpkin patch at a nearby farm.  We had been there maybe 30 minutes when we heard someone yell that there was a fire in the parking area (which was on a field of dry grass).  Jordan ran over to see if he needed to move their car, but the fire was already so large and out of control that he couldn’t see or get to the car.  You could hear tires exploding and see flames and black smoke everywhere.  We, along with all the other patrons, had to just wait till the fire department could put the fire out.  Sadly, we discovered that the kids’ car was completely burned up in the fire.  We ubered back to their apartment and counted our blessings that no one was hurt and their car was fully insured.  A bit of an unnerving experience though, to say the least. We made a quick trip to Austin the next day to visit Dylan.  It was short, but sweet, and included amazing tacos at De Nada’s (if you haven’t been – you must go).

Jordan, Koren & Henry at the Pumpkin Patch – Before the Fire
Parking Area Fire
Koren’s Car (What was left of it)
Dylan and Bella and Their Brand New House!

We got back on the road and finally made our way to the border.  It was an easy border crossing and we made it to Puerto Penasco with no problem.  We knew it would take us a couple of weeks to get the boat ready to splash again, so we rented a small apartment on VRBO for two weeks.  It was out in town, rather than in the resort area, so we got a real taste of the local area.  The neighborhood roads are a sand and dirt mixture with lots of potholes.  We went immediately to the boat to see how she had fared over the last couple of years.  The boatyard is a large area near the water with probably 100 boats of varying sizes and types.  Some of the yard was on concrete, but we were in the dirt and sand.  It is often fairly windy there, so you can imagine how dirty everything was when we arrived.  We had the boat shrinkwrapped to keep the worst of the dirt out, but she was still a filthy mess.  We scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed some more,  all the while more dust and sand blowing back onto the boat.  We finally got the hull clean enough to sand and then paint.  All 12 house batteries had to be replaced and various other repairs were made while in the yard.  We almost completed everything in the two weeks we had the apartment, only having to stay the last several nights onboard the boat.  Which is a good thing, considering that you have no running water onboard when you’re on the hard, and I ALWAYs have to get up at least once every night to go to the bathroom.  

Our Home in Puerto Peñasco for a Couple Weeks
Next Door to Our Temporary Home in Puerto Peñasco
Air Bender Shrink-Wrapped
Henry Helping Remove the Shrink-Wrap
Dirty Girl
In Need of New Bottom Paint
First Red and Then Blue (so you can tell when the blue is wearing thin)
What Col Looks Like After Sanding
Y’all. I could NOT keep my dang fingernails clean!
Cap’n Mike Working on Details
Getting Close to Splash Time!

A funny thing happened while we were there.  Well, funny now, but not at the time.  The apartment had a keyless entry, where you had to use a 10-digit code to get in.  The owner had emailed me the code and I had also taken a screen shot of it AND texted it to Mike to make sure we always had it.  So we were leaving one morning to go the boat, and realized we had both left our phones in the apartment.  No problem – I’ll just run back in and grab them.  Except I couldn’t remember the code, nor could Mike.  No problem – I’ll borrow someone’s phone at the boatyard and get into my email.  Except I couldn’t remember my email password.  Mind you, I NEVER go anywhere without my phone.  How we both managed to forget ours on the same day is beyond me.  Anyway, we fretted and tried to think of how to get back into the place.  I went to a computer store, borrowed their computer, and finally found the listing for the apartment on VRBO.  I sent the owner a message.  I don’t even remember now how I thought he was going to respond to me since I didn’t have a phone or access to email.  This was about 7pm at night.  We were tired and hungry so we decided to go get some dinner at one of the taco places we had been to several times before.  As we were sitting there enjoying a margarita and trying to figure out what to do, my Apple Watch pinged with a random email advertising something or other.  But that’s when I realized, I had been connected to their WiFi before, so my watch was getting emails!!!  I was able to find the original VRBO email on my watch, get the key code, and just like that, problem solved!  The rest of that margarita was even more enjoyable and we both slept really well that night.

Yes – That’s a Pickle Ball Court Outside the Restaurant

We were so dang happy when we finally were hoisted up by the travel lift and dropped (ever so gently) into the water.  We couldn’t really test the engines before going in the water, so there were lots of prayers said beforehand that the engines would both start when the time came.  Our prayers were answered – they started with no problem.  And just like that– this adventure was off to a great start!  I hope you’ll follow along with us this sailing season, as we plan to traverse the Panama Canal and head to the east coast of the good old USA.

In the Lift and About to be Splashed!
Here We Go!
And Just Like That – We Were On Our Way!

So friends, until next time…live the adventure!

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