13 March, 2015


Location: Blacksburg, VA

As Mark's Dad used to say, “Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where dem boidies is?”. Well, the grass hasn't actually risen, yet, but we've had a couple of warm days and the daffodils, crocuses, and snowdrops are poking their heads out and starting to flower. The snow is gone, the buds on the trees are swelling, the birds are chirping, and spring is definitely in the air. And yesterday we got to wear short sleeve shirts outside for the first time in months!!

And big changes are afoot in Rachel land, too.

After our thoroughly enjoyable camping trip in Wanda the Honda two summers ago, it came to us that there are lots of places we haven't seen yet that we can't get to by boat. So we bought an RV. It's an old, funky camper built in 1987 on a Toyota pickup frame. It has a 4 cylinder engine, gets about 14-18 mpg depending on how it's driven, and goes from 0 to 60 mph in, oh, about 5 minutes or so. It's like a tiny Rachel inside – sink, stove, fridge, bathroom, settee, bed, generator, and more - all packed into a 20' length. Much smaller than Rachel, but way, way bigger than Wanda. 

We're currently refurbishing the inside – new linoleum flooring, some shelves, shades, curtains, and new paint on the cabinet doors. Unfortunately, it looks like a tornado has passed through it, and the only photos we had of the inside were on the previous owner's ad which he removed from the Internet after the sale. Rest assured that we'll take more and get them posted as soon as things are a bit more settled in there.

When we're done fixing up the camper and finish the outside house jobs that have been on hold for most of the winter, we'll start tootling around in it for a few months. Hopefully, we like the lifestyle!!

After that, we've been thinking we might enjoy going to some exotic place and immersing ourselves into their culture for a few months. Some friends we met while cruising in Honduras have been doing that for the past three years and are really enjoying it. So we thought we'd give it a try, too. We're currently thinking about Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Thailand, or the Philippines – time will tell where we end up, and we'll make sure to keep you posted as it all unfolds.

Our other “a-bit-sad-and-really-quite-momentous” news is that we've made the difficult decision to sell our Rachel. After more than ten years and over 25,000 nautical miles, it's time for us to move on. We're not done cruising, but we are done with long trips - Mark's seasickness has really put a damper on future blue water passages. Our current plan of action (drawn in sand, as usual) is to to “land cruise” for a couple of years, then buy a smaller boat with a shallower keel, allowing us to continue our boating adventures with more of a focus on coastal cruising and “gunkholing” rather than passage making. Rachel's deep draft and extreme seaworthiness are quite simply overkill for the type of cruising we expect to do in the future. So we thought it would be best to pass her along to someone who will get more use out of her and get her back out there in the deep blue sea where she belongs.

But life is change, that is how it differs from the rocks, change is it's very nature.
John Wyndham, “The Crysalids”

Mark & Julie

s/v Rachel