July 30, 2019 On the “road” again

I’ll try to keep this short. When I wrote last in August, 2018, we were leaving Canada and Golden. David and I (mostly) wintered in the Pacific Northwest, while Golden spent the fall and winter out of the water, encased in plastic “on the hard” in Bluffer’s Park Marina just outside of Toronto. Ed Wilson, PDQ magician and manager of the marina, had agreed to switch out our old 75 Yanmars for two new 110 hp gold plated (they must’ve been, judging from the price) beauties in his spare time. Ed is well known in the PDQ community. After the company went out of business during the downturn in 2008, Ed bought up the remaining PDQ parts and pieces and built his own “Last Cat”. We made the mistake of going onboard his ship during the project’s planning stages, and ended up with a wish list which included many of the clever and/or useful upgrades he’d done. Believe me, remodeling creep works on boats too. However, let me state emphatically right here and now, we did not make a mistake. Our new engines are super efficient and quiet, and make traveling on Golden significantly more safe and enjoyable. We can now travel 17-21 mph if need be, but will probably cruise at around 16 instead of plodding at 8. This means that if an unexpected storm pops up, or we just want to get into port quickly to hang out on dry land for longer, and don’t mind burning a tiny bit more diesel, we can do so, However, the best part of going faster? Now we can plane, which means we fairly easily skip over the waves instead of plowing through a wall of water. It is SO much more comfortable! We are actually pleased with our decision so far (a VERY rare and remarkable occurrence).

Ed was supposed to have everything done for us by our arrival originally planned for late June, but because of extreme weather events beyond his control, we arrived in mid July and had to sit around the marina twiddling our thumbs waiting for him to finish up the bulk of our wish list. Most people wouldn’t agree, but for us, the good thing about staying at Bluffer’s is that, to get anywhere (like grocery, hardware, marine supply, or liquor store–you know, the necessities of life), one needs to travel up to the top of the bluffs above. The hill we rode on our little bikes with inadequate gears felt like a 45 degree grade for nearly a mile. We spent our time waiting for Ed to do his thing by doing errands, making friends with neighbors, and traveling up the bluffs by bike on a regular basis for necessary supplies for Ed, mainly the makings for copious gin and tonics. We tried not to hound Ed too frequently to finish the hell up so we could get out of Dodge.

After getting the ok from Ed, David and I then spent a hectic week breaking in the engines the way the manual specified, which meant roaring around Lake Ontario for hours and hours at high speeds. B-O-R-I-N-G. Ed finally decided that he’d done all the work on our boat he wanted to at Bluffer’s–he was exhausted working on Golden every night and weekend, starting immediately after his day job at the marina had finished. He proposed meeting him at a friend’s house in Lagoon City, 300 nautical miles from Bluffer’s, where he’d finish the last few jobs remaining. We agreed, and as soon as we had enough engine hours under our belt to satisfy Mr Yanmar, FINALLY headed to Trenton (remember where Hunny lost her tail last year?) and began roaring up the Trent Severn waterway. Actually one can rarely roar on the Trent Severn–it consists of what seems like hundreds of locks, narrow waterways, riverside communities that shake their fists if you create any wake at all near their docks/boats–so our gait would be best described as an amble, punctuated by frequent stops and starts. We didn’t care–we were on our way around the Loop once more!

After leaving the Trent Port Marina, we spent the next night in Campbelford (where Theo discovered a Lego store last year while traveling with us), then traveled 50 miles (and 12 locks) upriver to stay on the lock wall in Peterborough. We are spending our third night on the Trent Severn on the lock wall just past Burleigh Falls. These lock walls have no power available; we thought we could just use the generator. Of course we cleverly didn’t try turning on the generator during the weeks we spent at Bluffer’s, with our personal mechanic and wizard available, and of course it is not working now. We’re hoping once someone looks at it who’s smarter than we (not difficult), they’ll find that it is a simple fix, and wishful thinking is the sum of our mechanical/electrical prowess. So now we’re sweltering in the sun, trying to limit our battery use to the minimum. Luckily one of the improvements Ed put on for us was 400 watts of solar power cells, so we’re not as dependent on the generator as we were on our “old” boat.

Burleigh Falls is a pleasant place—grass, picnic tables, shade trees, and a boat ramp. Hunny disappeared almost immediately after docking, and came back soaking wet–apparently she couldn’t resist dashing immediately down the boat ramp to take a cold dip in the river. David and I relaxed for a few minutes before I remembered I needed to work on this blog and he realized he wanted to fuss with the generator some more, and try to pretend we were smart and could figure things out. No rest for the weary.

A few pics…

Hunny enjoying a Kawartha Dairy ice cream cone in Lakefield, Ontario. Voted Canada’s #1 ice cream for years–and they deserve it. Begun in 1942, only use local dairies.

Hey, we weren’t ALWAYS climbing up the Bluffs!!!

Our new dinghy on its new davits–new dinghy ALSO has a much more powerful engine (do you detect a theme here?), new davits ensure it rests well above our stateroom porthole to allow free exit in an emergency….

Ed Wilson, helping us improve location of the dinghy lifter things (pardon the technical terms)

Bonnie relaxing on our new stern bench–favorite place for morning coffee. Note gin and tonic in cup holder. Ed is a BIG believer in installing cup holders everywhere–including two (TWO) in our dinghy!!!! Note our new solar panels in the background (on Ed’s boat).

One of my favorite places to sit on a hot day while traveling—one of the new bow seats…

2 thoughts on “July 30, 2019 On the “road” again

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