October - December 2012

Acosta Creek Harbor - First Sunset - View out our front window :))
Sunset - Acosta Creek Harbor

10/13/12
Acosta Creek Harbor - New Home
The move to Cummin's, service for the house and the move to our new home base at Acosta Creek Harbor all went according to plan. The closing on the new boat had a few hiccups, but nothing serious, just a few minor delays. So it turned into a hectic week with everything happening at the last minute, but it did finally all come together. While the coach was in getting serviced we moved the boat down to Doctors Lake Marina so we could practice docking it a few times. Carl, our broker, worked with Sheila mostly and showed her how to handle the boat - I picked up the idea just watching and then after she'd done it a few times backed it into the slip to await our return on Sunday to move it down to Acosta Creek.

The picture is our new space at Acosta Creek Harbor. It's a really great place and I'm sure we're going to be happy here for awhile. The picture for the month was taken out the front window as Acosta Creek welcomed us to our new home. Tonight as I write this there's another beautiful sunset out the front - but now when I look down at the marina I can see Change Is sitting in a slip at the end of the dock.

More on the trip down below.....
10/14/12 - Change Is leaving Doctors Lake Marina
Leave Doctors Lake Marina
Mike and Meg had come up for a visit and to help us with the boat move by driving us up to get the boat so we wouldn't have to leave the car and then return on Monday to pick the car up. We had a great visit - that's Mike in the picture above next to TisIt - and got them up early Sunday morning to drive us up to get the boat. We had to get all the way up there (to Orange Park) to find a place for breakfast so we were famished by the time we got there. But it paid off in the end as we got to the marina early (8am) and I got the head working. She has a Lectrasan which is a unit that uses salt water and an electrode process to sanitize the waste so you can then pump it overboard rather than into a holding tank and then have to pump it out later. Took me a little while to get that done and to get things put away enough to travel. But we shoved off at 10am and headed for Acosta Creek.

Sheila manned the helm to get us out of the slip while I handled the lines aboard and Mike got us untied from the pier. Then I took the helm and Sheila took over navigating. After a few minutes on the charts she had it down and from then on down we knew exactly where we were. We have a Raymarine Radar/Chart plotter so we used that to verify the honey's calculations and she was right not. It's good to know that if the electronics go out we can still figure out where we are :)) The run down went very smoothly, boat hummed right along. We cruised around 9-10 knots and tied up here at Acosta Creek at 4 in the afternoon. The practice docking also paid off and we slid right into the slip like we were pro's :)). So the new adventure begins. More to follow. Till next time - smooth sailing all - be safe, be happy and remember - It Is What It Is - so enjoy it.
10/19/12 - Let the learning commence
Where's the furniture??
I finally made it down to the boat on the 17th and started working on cleaning, learning and getting the A/C going again was the first priority. That started with figuring out where the filter were so I could clean them. So move the furniture, pick up the carpet and open up the hatch to get to the bilge. Got the back A/C going, then it ran for a few minutes and the pump quit again :( humm. Ok, move furniture, pick up the carpet - ok enough of this. I need a better system - so a quick inquiry the next morning and we found a new home for the couch, chairs, bar stools and carpet. Thus we arrived at the current state of affairs, no furniture, no carpet and easy access to everything while I learn the systems and figure out what's where.

For those of you who are not familiar with boats, all those panels in the floor are access hatches. You pick those up to get into the engine compartment and the bilge. This was the issue with the furniture and the heavy carpet. In order to lift those hatches you had to move the furniture out of the way and roll the carpet back. Today I was able to just raise the hatches I needed access to do some of the maintenance I needed to do along with just looking and finding where everything is at. I did get some new carpet to put down, but this is the real light indoor/outdoor type that will be easy to pick up and move. This is a temporary solution for now- the real flooring will come in time :))
There's a lot to get done, this was just the first step... we'll continue with organizing and getting things in order this week and maybe make a little cruise next weekend. Just have to wait and see.
10/22-28/12 - Dinner Out
In With The New
Well not a lot of 'new', mostly household stuff and some tools and a good shot of the new carpet. Getting the stuff we need to do what needs to be done took up a lot of time this week along with a Mayo visit and a Dentist - we tried the referral we got from our dentist down in Melbourne and both liked the new dentist up here. Sticker shock has also taken hold as I get some tools and other little things for the boat. I haven't been out in the real world shopping for awhile I guess - things that I used to get for 39 cents have moved the decimal place a couple of digits ($0.39 is now $3.99).

We also got out for dinner a couple times during the week - out being to the boat :)) It was a lot of fun having diner and our evening meditation a the sun set across the river. It's really peaceful on the river and as the sun moves across the horizon and dusk arrives the fish have a feeding frenzy on the evening bugs flitting over the water. We were even treated to a couple of islands floating by to the accompaniment of Jimmy Buffet's "Island" (YouTube video is not mine but is really good) coming from the stereo. I'm holding off on some of the engine room work until my Boat owner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual gets here. Some of this is new and I want to get some tips from the experts before I start in :)). But I did get one of the windows ready to paint. They are showing signs of their age and a little corrosion so I'm sanding them down and repainting them. Not ready for publication yet ;) but pics will come in time.
11/04/12 - Where do the time go??
Another Sunset
Here it is November already and I've hardly gotten anything done I don't think time moves faster, I think my old brain just moves slower making time appear to move faster lol

So no pictures of the ride, but we did get out for a ride and some sightseeing of the area around our new 'home' base. We have some parks and some nice country roads. Found a few places that we might also want to take the Hummer for a spin. Looks like it's going to be a good area for rides and wheeling and the weather is turning cool so it's time to start riding a little again.

Today was one of those days - a ride, which we were starting to need badly, we haven't been out for awhile between the hot/humids and moving, new boat and a lot of work. It was a great ride, mostly back roads, forest and lots of scenics. Then we got back and went down to the boat for another dinner out and sunset. They are all pretty special on the river.

Boat has made a little progress, I redid the incoming line for the back A/C and made a little more progress on the window cleaning. The paint is here now so have to start getting the one I have prepped painted. We'll be hauling the boat shortly to get the bottom paint done again, refresh some of the zincs, and rework a few of the thru-hulls and last but not least get her new name on :))
11/07/12 - Good thing I'm small --
Electric Compartment
If you look carefully - you'll have to blow this up to see it, but back behind that while board in the back is the aquahot - our boiler type heating and hot water. It's filled with a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze and it's been losing it's mix for awhile now, but I've had a devil of a time trying to figure out where - a check of all the interior hoses didn't turn anything up and no puddles under the coach, so I couldn't figure it out. But time to service it (past time actually, it's been 2 years since the last service) and in order to service it you have to remove the electric reel, the vacuum (that box next to the reel) and then try to snake under that white board to get to the unit. So I found a good site on servicing the aquahot and he also has an Allegro Bus and he had reworked his compartment to make this task easier. Good Idea!! So I spent the day yesterday working on that and it's starting to come together.

But back to the leak, I poured a gallon of my mix into the overflow bottle - see the picture, the pink stuff in the bottle - and it just flowed out of the bottle. So I started looking again and this time I found it - I had turned the unit off so it was cold and that was the secret. It's coming out where the exhaust comes out (a very hot pipe normally) so it was boiling it off instead of letting it flow to the ground. So today I'll get into it and find out where it's leaking. I hear, from the forums, that the overflow tube is a likely candidate -we'll see. Finished fix and new compartment pictures in a day or two.
11/11/12 - All finished :))
Electric Compartment After Rework
Finished up the Hydrohot (Aquahot) repair, annual service and reworking the electric bay. My sincere appreciation to RVcruzer for his excellent write up on servicing a hydrohot and his suggestions on reworking the electric bay. He also has (or had) a 07 Allegro Bus 42QRP and his suggested rework makes it a lot simpler to get at the Hydrohot unit to service it. It did take me 2 tries to get it right (I had inadvertently moved the air adjustment and the bent the backing place a little) but a quick glance at RVcruzers excellent guide and I spotted the problem and was able to get it fixed fairly quickly.

The vacuum - that tan unit on the left in the before picture above, is now moved next door. You can just see the edge of it in the bay next door near the top right corner. My autoformer, which used to hide behind the hose reel (and hard to get in and out as its fairly heavy) is now in the spot where the vacuum used to be and much easier to get to if I need it. I prefer to use my surge guard  (top right corner) and only use the autoformer when I run into a low power issue. Like Cruzer I have added some plugs and made the entire incoming electric system plug and play so it's easy to switch from one to the other and I prefer having the autoformer inside (they're heavy but easily carried off and at $500 a pop don't want to have to replace it).

Busy day, I've noticed that while I still get it done seems to take me twice as long as it used to. But I guess it's 'getting it done' that counts not the time it takes lol-- Next up, a little work on the boat :))
11/24/12 - On the river
St Johns River
We had made plans for an outing last weekend but an attempt to fix a minor seep in the fuel pump resulted in turning a small crack that was weeping into a big crack that was dripping, so the weekend was spent fixing instead of Cruising. It was a learning experience - the push rod that actuates the pump is at an angle and slides down so you have to hold it up in place finally found a hacksaw blade to use) while you put the pump in and then get the bolts started, remove the hacksaw blade and tighten it up. I didn't have a hacksaw blade that I knew of, so tried a number of other strategies before finally finding a blade in the bottom of my toolbox. But all's well that ends well, so today it was out on the river - Capt. John (lol) in his glory. Still learning the turning radius so we nudged the piling on the end of the dock on th way out, but no real problems. Everything hummed right along and we had a nice couple of hours exploring the river. Then back to our home port where getting back in the slip was a little challenge with a stronger wind this time, but again not too bad for a beginner. A dock mate came to help get a line or two secured. We went further south, so a new part of the river we hadn't seen before.  The west back in protected land, so no houses on that side of the river, just a lot of natural Florida, trees, vines and moss.

It was a great holiday weekend - Thanksgiving day a bike ride to Palm Coast, great ride and followed with dinner at Perkins - the traditional Turkey & Dressing (and a splurge of the chocolate chip variety :))).
12/01/12 - Yuck :(
Dirty Roof
So the weekend project is at hand, but before we embark on that lets' talk about Fridays excitement. Around 4pm the phone rang and it was the Mayo. A lady in a coma was going to be shut off in a few hours and she was a match for Sheila. The questions was - "Are you ready?" Sheila answered yes and we learned that it wasn't certain how things would go or what condition her lungs might be in so they didn't want her to come in yet, just be ready and they'd call back in a few hours and let us know. Eat a light dinner and be ready..... So we got a little excited, but were able to get back into the moment after a brief lapse into 'is this it, what if's, etc'. Around 7:30 the second call came, they had found pneumonia in her lungs so they could not use them. 1st Dry Run down, but it let us know for sure that this is a reality now and that the call may come any time.
 
Now back to bird shit - we're under a tree here. Nice tree and we enjoy the birds singing, but the price is obvious. So the chore for this weekend is do the roof and the rest of the coach (or as much as I can in 2 days). Awhile back I purchased a small portable Pressure Washer and then never used it so today I decided I'd give it a try. So rub-a-dub-dub - here's how we looked a couple of hours later - I think I like the power washer :)). Took a break for lunch and then I power washed the rest of the house. We're on well water, so it's spotty now, but it's clean. I got the front finished up before petering out. Tomorrow I'll see if I can get the roof and the rest of the house wiped down. Progress report tomorrow with the 'after' pictures.
12/02/12 - Shine :))
Clean Roof
Long day and wore myself out (yes I do wear out now days but usually not till I get whatever it is done :)). Skipped my morning walk and starts on the sides, roof was too wet to start up there. Go about 1/2 way done before breakfast and then went up on the roof after breakfast. The roof is an all day job even after the pressure wash has done 1/2 the job for me - but it used to be a 2 day job on it's own and this time the 2 days got the roof and 1/2 the coach done so I think that's an improvement. I have the front and the sunny side done now (the east facing side that gets the morning sun) so just have the easy part left now. The west side is pretty sheltered from the sun so it can be done any time of day.

As you can see from the picture it's back to shiny again and I think I'm going to hit it with the power washer again in a month and see if more frequent washes will avoid needing to do the whole day scrub/wax/polish routine. It's not really hard, mostly sitting - I put a big towel all folded up down as a cushion and sit on that, and then just slide along the shiny side as I get it done. It had been too long I think so I had a lot of staining that I had to work on getting up and that's time consuming. I'll finish up in the next couple of days and we'll be all spic and span again. I have been kind of neglecting the spit and polish lately and I can see some spots that show the effect so I need to get back on a regular schedule. I think what finishes up the house for awhile - next up, some more fixing and installing new things on Change Is and maybe another day out on the river next weekend. Till next time happy trails if your roaming and happy sitting if you're not :)
12/06/12 - Moving Day
Change Is in her slip
It was a sunny morning and we were looking forward to a busy day moving Change Is up onto the hard (the hard is a boating term for when the boat is out of the water) and starting the process of getting her bottom done, hull cleaned and polished and all her through hulls serviced. The first step was getting the dingy lowered and paddling it into it's TEMPORARY HOME. There will be more picture of this whole process so I"m going to start another page just to track all this as it goes along. For today - the picture at the left is s"Start Here", get her ready, start the engines, cast off and BACK OUT, make a sharp turn to STARBOARD (right), this is easy PORT is LEFT, four letters in port, four letters in left. So the other one is starboard. Right and left depend on which way your facing, port and starboard are always the same no matter which way your facing. So turn to starboard and then EASE INTO THE SLIP
it was real still out this morning and the current was at one of it's limbo points not sure if it wanted to flow upstream or downstream. Made it perfect for navigating and turning with twin engines is a snap. Turn to starboard - port engine forward, starboard engine reverse and she just spins around. So once she's in the slip, UP SHE GOES, then it's time to bring her up to the wash bay, POWER WASH her, drive out ON THE HARD  and deposit her in her NEW PARKING PLACE

So Change Is us happily ensconced on her blocks, the cleaning crew will be here next Thursday and I have my work cut out for me tracking down through hull sizes, disassembling and replacing sea cocks, etc. It'll be a busy weekend :))
12/16/12 - The Haul Out & Current Events

Cresent Lake
The haul out and thorough inspection and repair is a long process so I've decided to put it on it's own page. If you're interested you can find details of the haul out, the work we're doing and the pleasant and not so pleasant surprises HERE.

For this page Christmas and the end of the year are approaching and we'll cover the rest of the events here. There will be a little RV work between now and the 1st, a small Christmas this year for us and a big Christmas for Change Is, and a lot of smiles along the way and possibly a few bruised knuckles along the way.

We had the company dinner for Truckers Helper last night and I think a good time was had by all. It was certainly good food and good company. It was really good to see everyone and get a chance to catch up on life, love and the pursuit.

I spent a few hours yesterday and will spend a couple more today finishing up the RV clean up. The birds appear to have headed for greener pastures so hopefully the roof will come into the new year still bright and shiny and the sides are beginning to follow it's lead :)) Going to be in the 80's today so we headed out for a little ride - have to take advantage of this beautiful weather. Didn't go far, but road a new route over to Cresent City, picture is by Cresent Lake, I didn't have the camera so this is an iPhone shot from arms length :)).  Been a good week, looking forward to another one next week. Till then keep smiling :))
12/25/12 - Merry Christmas
Christmas Sunset
Christmas broke clear and warm and was a wonderful day. TisIt was decked out in his Christmas Finery, and Pooh, in his Santa hat seemed especially joyful this morning. There was also a present or two and a little paper tearing seemed to be in the offing for us. But we had to get our motors running first so we started the day with some fresh baked pastries prepared by the Honey right after her morning coffee. Nothing like warm Cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven. Then we got down to business and shredded a little paper. I didn't get any picture stuff - a new otter case for my phone and some tools that I really needed for the boat tool box, and a new Leatherman pocket knife :)). Honey, seen here sporting her new robe and her boating hat, also scored some new dish towels and a vegetable peeler.... rather mundane presents but the big present for this Christmas was an afternoon on the river and a riverside dinner followed by a curl up in front of the tube and Avatar a favorite with both of us.

All in all it was a great day. The weather was great, we spent the afternoon on the river. We both took a turn at the helm and  enjoyed the sites along the river. We both enjoy the birds and other critters along the river and find the forest with the moss covered branches peaceful and enchanting. The sunset, feature picture for the day, was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

So to all of you out there, May Peace and the Joy of the Season be with you today and throughout the new year. Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night :))

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