04 February, 2007

Surrounded by boxes

Location: Blacksburg, VA
Date: Feb 4, 2007
Current position: Surrounded by boxes

A little over a month ago a couple of friends we met when we were anchored in Annapolis got in touch with us. They have been down in the Caribbean for the last year or so and are planning to sail across the Atlantic to the Azores in early June, then on to England in August. They asked if we would like to join them, as crew, for all or part of the trip.

Our response was rather subdued - something like "What are you nuts? Of course we want to go!!!". And the timing was perfect. We had just, I mean maybe 2 days before, made the decision to quit work, cut the dock lines and sail off into the sunset.

Maybe our friends are psychic, or maybe it's just because they don't know us that well . Not that it matters - we are just so excited about having this opportunity. After emailing and Skypeing back and forth to iron out some details we are finally, definitely on. Neither of us have much offshore experience to speak of, and since they do, this will be a great learning experience for us. We are also looking forward to having the time to practice our navigation and newly acquired weather skills after having just taken an intense 2 day marine weather workshop.

We will be flying down to St Maarten on May 28th, then the plan is to leave around June 2nd to sail the 2,000+ mile, 2 week or so trip to the Azores. After a week or two of rambling around and island hopping, we'll fly back to the US.

More details later.

In the meantime we're packing, making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of (as we'll be renting out our house), surrounded by boxes.

Fair winds,
Mark & Julie
s/v Rachel

01 February, 2007

A Sad Day

This morning we received the following email from one of Mark's cousins:
"What a sad day. I have the local news on. They said Edgewood Gardens will be torn down, and the wrecking ball swings at 9:00 a.m. today. They showed a picture of the house, calling it Reed Hall. They quoted the president of AIC, saying they did everything they could do to save it, but they owed it to the neighborhood and the students to take it down. "

Without going into a lot of family history, Edgewood Gardens is where Mark's father grew up along with his brothers, sister and two cousins. The house was donated to American International College and was subsequently used as a dormitory.

Over last Thanksgiving weekend, Mark & Julie and Mark's mom & dad visited Edgewood Gardens and managed to take a few pictures before their camera's memory became full.

It was sad to see how derelict it had become, and it quite obviously wasn't long for this world. We're grateful we had the chance to see it one more time (Julie's first) before it was torn down.