One of the coolest things about our RV trip so far is the number of “virtual friends” we’ve ended up meeting in real life. Every few weeks it seems we get in touch with or are contacted by people in the locations we travel to that we have only know over the internet. Fellow bloggers, long time blog readers, and simply folks out there who like our Vlogs and Blogs who are either living the adventure through us or are planning their own adventure. Just recently we had a great experience in Tacoma Washington meeting Mike and Melissa from the blog Little Cunning Plan!
*We somehow had way too much fun and left Mike out of all the group pictures:( Sorry Mike.
I was SOO excited to finally meet these two fellow boat refitters. It seems unlikely but we’ve been following each others journey for nearly 4 years from ocean boat ownership to refit to preparing to leave to actually cruising from opposite sides of the country. The waters they sail in Washington State are so foreign and totally different from the waters we learned to sail on in Louisiana. They are also a bit older with kids grown and out of the house.
When we were in the midst of our heavy refit for Sundowner in 2012 we delighted in watching them sail their Cal 34, SV Moonrise, so carefree around the beautiful waterways and islands in the Pacific northwest corner of Washington. Each year they took a 2 or 3 week vacation aboard which consisted of anchoring around the various beautiful rocky island spots.
Once they were dead set on sailing farther distances, like down to South America (and Galapagos) and perhaps the South Pacific and New Zealand they took a leap in the right direction and put Moonrise on the market.
Unfortunately boat markets are a funny and finicky thing and after 2 YEARS of Moonrise not selling they went ahead and bought their “for real” cruising boat, SV Galapagos, a 1975 47 foot Olympic Adventurer (Ted Brewer design). So for a time they actually owned TWO boats..that can be a REALLY scary thing but luckily great new owners soon came and took Moonrise to new pastures.
It was then that we were in the same boat so to speak. We were both refitting our boats (they also replaced their old engine with a new 60HP Beta Marine Engine, ours is a 38HP) though we were ahead of them in terms of leaving and finally in 2015 we wrapped up our refit and set sail in early January to the Caribbean and shortly to beyond. Now their goal is quit their jobs and set sail from Tacoma to start cruising indefinitely in 2017!!!
We never lost touch and I always found their story so compelling. Two people who aren’t quite the traditional retirement age, foregoing the security of the last working years to realize their lifelong dream of sailing to distant shores. They have the means through a lifetime of working and saving to take off cruising for five years or so. They don’t want to wait too long to realize their sailing dream because as time moves on unexpected thing can happen in life and in health that prevent cutting the dock lines.
You can read their story here at Little Cunning Plan.
After our time in the Snoqualmie National Forest (45 miles east of Seattle) we packed up the RV and headed to Tacoma Washington to Mike and Melissa’s (M&M) driveway and stayed a couple of days. We hit it off instantly and I’m not sure Melissa and I stopped talking for the 2 days we were there. I LOVE their house, it’s so beautiful and has so much character. You can tell that it has been loved and there’s no question why M&M are apprehensive about leaving it.
Chihuly Glass Museum, Tacoma Washington
Leaving the dock usually isn’t easy…there are ALWAYS reasons to stay and work just a few more years. We’ve heard countless stories of people who waited until retirement age to go sailing or “add lifelong dream here” and find themselves unable to actually make it happen due to health or other life mishaps.
In our case it was VERY scary (for me at first) to leave a great paying job, one I had worked so hard to get, to travel for many years. Now that we are 20 months into our trip I don’t regret the decision at all. We hike all over the place now on this RV trip and snorkel, spearfish and sail the hell out of our boat back in the tropics. It’s easy enough for us in our health. Of course there are Plenty of retired cruisers doing just fine out there as well. To each their own.
After having been away from the working world for this time I’m able to step back and view employment differently. Tate and I have our careers still to come back to if we want but we also see another way in life. There are many flexible traveling jobs out there that we research from time to time whenever we have to go back to work.
Maybe we’ll be long haul truckers, or open a business like an RV Park or Marina, or find jobs in our fields that are in WAY outta the way places for shorter time frames so that we can work a couple of years then travel a couple of years. Who knows where life will take us.
I can’t wait to read the post where Mike and Melissa take off from the dock that final time.
We got to see their new boat Galapagos, which is BEAUTIFUL and gigantic to my Westsail 32 eyes. I’m envious in a way of all that space. Their boat was built in Greece but sailed to the Pacific Northwest sometime later, which is how M&M got a chance at her.
They also invited us out sailing with the normal Wednesday night racing crew aboard SV Blue Moon, a 1980 C&C 40′ sailboat in Commencement Bay out of Tacoma. The race committee called the race off due to light winds though we simply motored out a bit and went for a little sail, spinnaker and all.
What is it with race committees? Why couldn’t they have just, oh I don’t know, MOVED the course to be in the wind. It was literally a 5 minute motor. We had similar experiences with the Race Committees back in New Orleans on Lake Pontchartrain (Yep Glenn, I’m looking at YOU!)
Sailing on the Bay was INCREDIBLE!! Mount Rainier towered over the horizon the entire time and we watched this beautiful 1960’s era Columbia 50′ slice through the water with ease. There was even a fiddle player on the bow. The weather was perfect, only needing jeans and a light jacket from time to time. The water here, as in Montana, was mainly flat even and it takes the slightest breeze to get moving. Lake Pontchartrain was usually pretty choppy with 1-2 foot seas at high frequency.
After the sailing, meeting and eating WAY too much we said goodbye to our new friends. It felt pretty much just like it does when you meet people you hit it off with out cruising. You feel the connection then proceed to spend as much time as possible together until one of you sails off over the horizon to your next port, maybe never to be seen again. It can be sad knowing that you may never see that person again.
BUT…the REALLY special part comes when you actually DO get to see that person again, which happened time and time again for us and the crews of SV Nimue, SV Tango, SV Motu, SV LaLuna, and SV Seawolf just to name a few. Reuniting with fast flames is somehow even more incredible than the first meeting and I hope we get to meet up with M&M perhaps out in New Zealand if we both end up there (there’s a chance!).
Tate and I made the drive from Tacoma to Port Angeles to stay at some fellow Westsailor’s house on the Olympic Peninsula. We visit the northwestern most point in the US, Cape Flattery and also the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park. But that is a story for next time.
Check out our new video for some live action of the above.
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