Daily Archives: July 1, 2012

Blow, big man

Once again we find ourselves in the middle of a band of thunderstorms that came out of nowhere. We had a sweltering hot day trying to get some chores done and by five o’clock it looked like we might have a delicious cooling rain. Instead we got a scary black storm with sustained winds of 20-25 knots and gusts in the forties. We’re on a cozy little anchorage, which is good and bad. It’s good because we’re protected from the worst of the winds except from the south. It’s bad because if our anchor should drag we’re surround by private docks, each one with a boat or two in lifts, and attached to pilings. Not anything you want to hit.

As soon as the wind kicked up Jack started the engines and held EV into the wind. He told me to keep an eye behind him to be sure we didn’t drag backwards toward either the shallows or the docks.

And just to add a little excitement to the evening, a sailboat that was anchored in the corner of the creek broke loose and is weaving back and forth adrift. Before it got dark we looked with our binoculars to try to figure out what’s going on with it and it appears that the anchor rode parted. First it headed away from us and beached itself on shore, but then the wind shifted and it broke loose again and looked like it was heading right for us. We tried to hail someone ashore to alert them and find the owner, but couldn’t raise anyone in the wind.

Eventually the wind died down temporarily and a man came out to see what the shouting was all about. He said he’d been trying to get the absentee owner of the sailboat to move it for six months with no success and went off to call him.

It’s dark now, and Jack is still at the helm. I made us a quick meal so we’ll be fortified for whatever tonight brings us. The rain has stopped but the wind is still in the twenties with higher gusts. I pulled out our biggest fenders in case the sailboat blows over to us. If the winds would back to the east we’d feel a little more comfortable, but they’re currently from the southwest and predicted to stay that way all night. No sleep for us!


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It’s not the heat…

Yeah, right. We’re suffering the same oppressive heat as the rest of the eastern part of the country. The humidity is so high that even the cat is damp. Here on Escape Velocity we have an occasional breeze, but there’s no denying, it’s hot.

Yesterday we accomplished another first. We launched the dinghy, lowered the bikes and laid them across the bow, then rowed to the dock about 75 feet away and lifted the bikes onto the dock. These are perfect conditions to practice bike deployment because the water is calm and the neighboring family offered their floating dock to us.

Once ashore we rode the few miles to Starbucks and sat in the delicious air conditioning for awhile. Then there was the obligatory visit to West Marine where we looked at potential options for replacing our ailing chartplotter, if it comes to that.

We find this area to be very bike- and pedestrian-unfriendly. Unlike other places we’ve biked recently, there are no pedestrian crosswalks or pedestrian push buttons, let alone bike lanes or even sidewalks. We resorted to riding through parking lots as much as possible to stay out of traffic. Even the road shoulder, where we can usually take refuge on a busy street, was narrower than the handlebars of our bikes. Not cool, North Carolina.

We would have loved to spend a little time in Morehead City (5 miles) and Beaufort (8 miles) but with the intense heat we decided not to ride that far, distances that would be nothing for us in normal weather. Instead we made our first foray into a Harris Teeter supermarket. Everyone we spoke with told us how wonderful they are, but we say meh. Nice, but no nicer than any other nice supermarket, and on some items, overpriced. We did a little shopping there, then moved on to the nearby Food Lion for the rest of our provisions. We bought too much, of course, and even after stuffing our panniers we still both had bags hanging off our handlebars. Luckily, the Food Lion is only a few blocks from our guest dinghy dock. We loaded up the dinghy with our purchases and took them back to the boat and ate lunch.

We haven’t spent much time in the dinghy so far, so we took this opportunity to explore the little creek we’re anchored in.

It was time to complete the bike deployment test, so we piled the bikes back on the bow of the dinghy and lifted them back up to the top of the radar arch.

It all worked extremely well. We’ll make a few modifications that will reduce the number of times one of us has to climb in and out of the dinghy, but we can live with this for as long as our bikes last. Yes, they are rusting, but they’re still working and Jack keeps them liberally sprayed with all manner of whatever-it-is. Eventually I imagine we’ll get folding bikes, but we sure do love having the full size ones for now.

We always smile at how non-cyclists approximate distances. Sometimes we hear, “it’s not far, maybe 6 miles” and we’re looking at a huge hill. On the other end of the spectrum we hear, as we did yesterday, “oh, that’s too far. I don’t think you can get there” and it’s a mile and a half. If you spend your life in a car and never walk or bike, I guess it’s hard to know what’s far and what’s not when you’re traveling under human power.

I think we’ve made the adjustment to Life Without a Car.


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