Monthly Archives: June 2016

A whole new dimension

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

Late last week we returned from our trip north. It was great to see our family at our nieces graduation. While at the lake house, we got to catch up with our good friends Mark and Irina…congrats on the up coming wedding…wish we could be there. We also got to visit with most of Tricia’s family, and spend a few days with our good friends John and Jen that live close to our house there. We had a dual wedding with them many years ago and got to celebrate our anniversary together, something we always enjoy.

As always, the plunge into what we call the “real world” was a shock. We are used to traveling at around 8 MPH in our boat, and when we ride around Southport, we don’t go over 45. Life on the freeways, especially in Columbus, was absolutely crazy. I still can’t believe that we dealt with that every day for so many years. Having a car and living in places that have a normal bath room, complete with flushing toilets that you don’t have to manage the waste for, and real showers that you don’t have to manage the water for, is really nice. We used to just take it for granted…now it is a treat. Also, having your own washer and dryer, sitting right there in your home, is a major treat. Dealing with laundry is a major pain when living aboard. In spite of the luxuries, we missed being on the water and I was happy to get back to Southport in general. It always feels like home when we return here.

We tried to get a few maintenance projects done on the lake house and ran into several unexpected roadblocks, so we will have to knock those out when we return in August. We have always kept our 1994 Jeep Wrangler in the garage up there, and having settled in Southport for the summers, we decided we would bring the Jeep back so we could have our own car. We still prefer to walk, but having your own car here adds a whole new dimension to living here. The Jeep only has 40,000 miles on it, but it is rarely used, and I was concerned that we would not be able to drive it back for 12 hours without it breaking down. Given that, I scheduled an appointment with an automotive repair place for a thorough inspection, a few days before we were going to head south. As I was driving it the day before the appointment, the brakes were locking up and it would not move…bummer. We had it towed and ended up having to replace the entire brake system. The difficulty in getting parts set us back several days in our schedule, but we rolled with the punches. We stopped overnight in Columbus and then made it back to Southport in one day. The Jeep has a terrible ride, especially when you get above 50 MPH. It bounces all over the road and you have to literally wrestle the wheel to keep control. It also has no air conditioning. Needless to say, after 12 hours of driving it, your ass is kicked! The good thing is…we made it without incident:
Yesterday was a good example of why having a car adds a whole new dimension to living here. We drove to Myrtle Beach (about an hour drive) and went to Sams Club, and Costco, to buy liquor. South Carolina has cheaper liquor, and Sams and Costco have even better prices. We stocked up and saved more than $10 per bottle over North Carolina or Ohio prices. Our friend Andy was visiting his parents in North Myrtle Beach, so we got to have lunch with them and catch up. Also, we won’t have to borrow a car to go to the grocery or to the beach (about 10 minute drive), or to get fresh seafood. The down side is that it makes life a little more complex: car maintenance, a place to store it when gone, towing insurance, and all of the associated expense of running a car.

The other “new dimension” change we made was the purchase of a new dinghy. If you remember, the old dinghy was leaking water badly, and we just made it back to Southport before it became pretty much unusable. We purchased a Highfield aluminum hull dinghy. It weighs a little more than our old one, but it is in a whole other league as dinghies go. I got it commissioned the day before we left to go north, so we only got one test run in it. Since we got back, we have run it several times, once across the Cape Fear River to the sand bar that we wallow at, and it is fantastic. The ride is very dry, and it can handle rough water, including boat wakes, very well. We could only use the old dinghy in fairly calm seas and it was almost always a wet ride, even before it started leaking. This adds a whole new dimension to cruising and living on the water here in Southport. I’ll post a separate post about it for the benefit of fellow cruisers looking for information about dinghies.
DSC_0051 fixed

Southport is getting ready to the big July 4th celebration. The festivities here run all week and it is the state of North Carolina July 4th festival, so it is crazy around here…thousands of visitors, and a fun time. You can see last year’s post of the festivities if you search the blog. Happy 4th everyone!!

The Wehmer clan takes the Hampton

Catawba Island, Lake Erie, Ohio
Posted by Bill

Last Thursday we rented a car and headed back in to the “real world”, something I was regretting, except for seeing the family. If you follow the blog, you know how we have come to hate going back into the regular dirt based lifestyle that we came from…traffic, out of touch with nature (for the most part), and back to land locked Ohio to boot (except for Lake Erie I guess). This time we were going to Canton Michigan, on the west side of Detroit, to see our niece Elise graduate from high school. We were going to go straight to our house at Lake Erie, and then on to Canton on Saturday, but we made a last minute decision to stop for a day in Columbus to see Tricia’s sister and her husband, and take care of a couple of things we could only do in Columbus. It was a busy stop over, but we managed to check out the Park Street Festival down in the Arena District. Lots of great people watching. Tricia and her sister Diane snapped this one while we were there:
Then we hightailed it to Michigan, meeting up with our kids and grand kids, my 3 brothers and their families, all staying at the Hampton Inn in Canton, except Andy and Robin who live there. Eldest daughter Sarah had 3 of her 4 boys with her. Oskar, the youngest had come down with a fever and had to stay behind with Pete (bummer all for all). Youngest daughter Jessica was there with husband Eric, and her 3 kids. Rick and Bev had their 2 kids. Chip and Brenda came late with their oldest daughter and her boyfriend. First stop…the indoor pool at the Hampton. Thank god there was no one else in the pool, as we arrived like a viking herd, complete with beach balls and pool toys. It was like a scene from a National Lampoon movie…think – the caddie day at the Bushwood Country Club pool. It was a blast!
Andy and Robin were brave enough to have us all over to their house for dinner. The next day we descended on the Hampton breakfast area. You could see the looks on people’s faces, as if to say, OMG what is going on here! LOL! We then attended the graduation ceremony and afterwards, Andy and Robin hosted a dinner at a great German restaurant. It was a real treat to have everyone together, something we rarely do unfortunately. Great fun, and sorry to see it end. Congratulations to Elise, and good luck at The Ohio State University!!! Elise is on the left:
Elise Grad Pic

Then we headed to the lake house. It was in good shape again this year and weathered the winter just fine…thank goodness. Last night we went to Put In Bay for dinner with our friends/family Jen and John, with daughter Allie, taking their boat over. The place was almost deserted. We had a great time catching up with them and got a good boat ride. We have a few projects here at the house, including getting the jeep ready to take back to Southport. We have kept our 1994 Jeep Wrangler in the garage at the lake house for the 16 years we have owned this place. We decided that we will try to get it back to Southport. Fingers crossed. Then it is back south early next week. This was a short and busy trip. We intend to be back for the month of August.

First time to do some fishing

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

It has been a few weeks since we arrived in Southport and since I’ve posted anything. Since I have posted so much about Southport last year, you will probably not see much posting for a bit unless something interesting happens. We got settled in shortly after our arrival here, hit most of our favorite haunts and places to eat, caught up with our friends here, and took to property hunting post haste. We looked for property here the last 2 years, and since the real estate market here is hot as fire, we knew we had to hit it hard right away. We have tried to make offers on several properties but have not been able to strike a deal yet. We will keep trying. We also started to attack the project list and have been able to get a few things checked off. True to form for the year, the weather has been a little crazy (2 tropical storms so far), and that has put a damper in our work schedule as well as our typical routines here in the marina (think fishing and watching the wildlife). The marina is now so popular that all of the slips are taken, including the ones at the end of our D dock where we used to sit and fish and watch the wild life, a major bummer. Last night the large cruising boat at the end of D dock left for a few days at Holden Beach, so we got our prime dock space back. Greg and I (mostly Greg) jumped in his fishing skiff and caught some bait fish, and we had a flounder catching tournament. We almost caught 2 skates, and also pulled up 3 crabs that had clipped on to our bait, but no flounder. We also got a good view of the boats coming in and out of the marina, like this beauty:
It is fun to see the number and kinds of boats that move in and out. Southport marina is a major cross roads on the ICW and the Cape Fear River, so there is a lot of transient traffic moving in and out.

This Thursday we are renting a car and driving up north to attend the graduation festivities of our niece Elise. All of the Wehmer side of the family is going to be there and we are excited to see everyone. Our kids and grand kids are coming, so it will be extra special. Then we are going to evaluate selling our house on Lake Erie. No one in the family is using it, and we only get there for about a month each year, so we will take a hard look at selling. If you know anyone who wants a place at the lake, let us know! Then we intend to swing by Akron to visit Tricia’s parents, and through Columbus for a short visit with our friends, kids, grand kids and Mark and Diane. We will need to get back to Southport to deal with everything we have going on there, so it will only be a week or so visit up north.