November 18, 2012 – January 11, 2013
We left Blue Heron in Carrabelle, FL at around noon on November 18, and after a stop for the night north of Knoxville, we pulled into our driveway early afternoon the next day. It felt great to be home, and our house looked wonderful, but both Craig and I had the same reactions: “This house is so big, and we have too much stuff!” Living on a 43’ boat for seven months changes your perspective quite a bit.
We spent almost two months at home and had so much fun spending time with family and friends and enjoying our favorite holiday traditions and outings. We cut back on the Christmas decorating this year, but in addition to our regular tree, we put up a small tree in our bedroom with ornaments we had collected along the Loop. As he does every year, Craig set up his dad’s old Lionel under our family room tree. He and Karen always build a little Lincoln Log tunnel over the tracks.
In addition to spending the holidays in our own home, we visited our daughter’s new apartment in Indianapolis after Thanksgiving and spent a few days after Christmas with my mother in the suburbs of Chicago. We took my mom to the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago to share a meal of lutfisk, a traditional Swedish holiday fish that pretty much no one but Swedes enjoy. We also stopped by the house my grandfather built and that my mother grew up in.
Both of my brothers and their families joined us for part of the visit.
We had a beautiful snowfall the day after Christmas. It was so pretty and festive, and we enjoyed it because it is probably the only snow we will see this winter. Joey loves the snow!
Bailey spent most of her time at home curled up in her favorite bed. I know she was hoping that we had come to our senses and given up on the boating life!
We stayed home long enough to celebrate New Year’s Eve with good friends (although we didn’t make it long past Looper Midnight – 9:00 p.m.!).
Soon after New Year’s we started getting ourselves and the house ready for our return to the boat. Just as we left last spring with raccoons in the ceiling, this time we left with squirrels in the attic. Thank you friend Mike and the critter guy, for taking care of this for a second time!
I had become pretty comfortable at home, and felt a bit melancholy about leaving again, but Blue Heron was calling and we needed to get back to Florida to prepare for our Gulf crossing. So on January 11, we set off on the drive back to Carrabelle.
The drive was uneventful, and we experienced some local color on the back roads of southern Georgia and the rural Panhandle – such as hunters hunting deer from the backs of their parked pick-up trucks while their hounds chased the deer through the woods. I’m happy to report we saw no action, just a lot of pick-ups nose-first into the woods, waiting for something to happen. We stopped for the night in the small town of Blakely, Georgia and had a tasty meal at a lively local pub in the “Peanut Capital of the World.”
We arrived back in Carrabelle before noon the next morning. Blue Heron looked beautiful after two months on her own, the weather was sunny and warm, and it felt good to be back.
Next: Carrabelle, Round 2 and The Crossing!
(Real-time update: on January 22, we are in Tarpon Springs, FL, having crossed the Gulf two days ago.)