This is an update on our transition from living aboard Rainbow Chaser on Lake Travis to Cruising.
We got the boat moved to the Gulf. It was a struggle, but seems to have been successful.
We left Lake Travis, near Austin, Texas, on Monday, August the 12th. Originally we planned to just pull it out on Tuesday on a smaller trailer, get it up on a flat area, then set it onto the semi with a crane. For those of you who haven't seen Lake Travis lately, it was about 32 feet low on August 12th. There was no way to set a crane at the waters edge and lift it out, turn around, and drop it (gently!) onto a semi.
So, we developed a plan of using a local fellow who routinely pulls out and re floats boats with a medium size trailer with hydrolic arms to fit the boat, then pull it out with his 454 chevy dually 4 wheel drive. He would get it up onto the flat part of the parking lot, then a crane would lift it off of that trailer and sit it onto the semi. (still, very gently!) The more I thought about it, the more I didn't sleep. I decided to add to the equation a large semi size wrecker to pull both of them up the hill, as my boat is about 50% heavier, at 23,000 lb, than what he has pulled in the past.
Also, the more I thought about it, I could imaging having a crane sitting there at about $100 an hour, a semi and driver sitting there fuming, while some little something went wrong with the first part of the operation. So, I elected to do the chevy pickup part on Monday, de rig it that afternoon, then have the crane and semi show up on Tuesday. If all didn't go right on Monday, I still had time to cancel or delay the Tuesday part.
However, Monday went just fine, although, if I hadn't had the wrecker there, the chevy wouldn't have had a transmission on Tuesday. I spent the afternoon taking off shrouds, stowing things, and just getting it ready for the next part of the trip. I spent Monday night on the boat to ward off pirates.
Tuesday morning about the time it started getting light the crane showed up, and by the time we had the mast out of the boat the semi arrived. I had hopes of getting it loaded fairly quickly and getting it to Clear Lake (near Houston, a 200 mile trip) in time to put it back in the water that afternoon. That way, I would have air conditioning to sleep with that night. It took a little longer than we'd hoped, and when we got the route the state highway department dreamed up for our over width load, we knew we were doomed. We went in on highway 71, through Oak Hill, and up to the intersection with the new extension of Mopac. Then we turned south on Mopac to slaughter lane. Yes, it was the wrong way, and back almost to where we came from. Next we went to I35, back north to Ben White. Again, we'd already almost been there. But, then, instead of Highway 71 to I10, on to Houston, we had to go north at Bastrop to highway 290. Then on to Houston. But, Houston has a restriction for oversize loads from 4 pm to 6 pm, so we ended up sitting outside Houston until 6 pm. Got to the boat yard about 7:30, much to late to launch. Another night sweating and warding off pirates.
My plan had been to spend about 3 days in the boatyard getting the boat back together, then sail it to Port Aransas. After 3 days, it was pretty obvious I still had too much to do, so I rented a slip at the shipyard for a month. I then left for Missouri to take care of the things I'd planned to do after Port Aransas. I was feeling rather let down that I hadn't finished. I thought I must be getting lazy, until I realized I'd worked 14 days straight on the boat, at least 12 hours a day and most a lot longer. Hell, I needed a break.
I went over to Ill. to visit Nellie's mother, where she'd gone a week earlier, then we went back to Missouri. We stored stuff, took care of business and I worked on a pond/small lake I started last year. I got 1/3 of it done then and the transmission went out of the bulldozer. This time I got another 1/3 done. No, it won't be two thirds full soon, since the finished thirds are on the sides and the third left is in the middle. But it's a start.
We drove back to Clear Lake where the boat was and looked at the mess. We went instead to visit some friends who were on their boat a half mile away. Nellie's car didn't make it. The transmission just died half way there. 2000 miles and then it made it another 1/2 mile. And our plan was to sell it this week. We still will, but not until it comes back from the transmission shop. Someone should get a good deal.
We've spent a week putting things together, finishing half finished projects, getting a leak stopped and jut trying tho figure out what else needs to be done. We still plan to go to Port Aransas next week. We're going tostay there for a month or two until hurricanes aren't such a threat. Nellie wanted to go down to check it out before we sailed down. I voted to sail down and check it out, but we drove down yesterday (Saturday). I pointed out that this was the last time she'd have the luxury of driving around in a car to find a marina that suited her. After a minute, it seem to register exactly what that meant.
So, as I write this, we're anchored out a couple miles in the bay outside Clear Lake, Galveston Bay, and it is nice to be out. We'll sail back to the slip later and I'll try to find a phone I can plug into to get this and some other emails sent. That seems to be a chore, finding places to connect to a phone.
I'd welcome email from anyone who wants to write. I'll answer when I have time and can get a phone connection.
By the way, one problem we've already recognized is that Zachary, age 10, needs somewhere to get rid of energy. He has no other kids to get worn out with. Guess who he has left to take it out on?
Gene Gruender aboard Rainbow Chaser