Archive for the ‘Spring 2010’ Category

On the road to Labrador and the CAP’T LEM

Monday, June 7th, 2010


Road worthy and rolling again, Tacoma, Spokane, Coeur‘d Alene, Missoula, Billings, Custer all behind.  The shift into travel mode is complete. Being on the road in Ol’ Thumper, a name passed down through the years from one old Junker to another, is a lot like being on the boat. Small quarters, big expense.  I like traveling best when I can be self contain and somewhat self reliant.  That means carrying a lot of extra man-things, jacks and tools, electric cords and an array of spares.  Just like boats, something always happens.  I came with a hair breath to losing the license plate near Fargo ND.  Can you imagine trying to cross the boarder with no plate on the trailer?   Note to self:  Always, always walk around the trailer looking, before getting underway again.


The sailors of old were forced to carry everything they could need to replace the broken the chaffed and the lost.  One thing I’ve always admired about sailors is their ability to make do and keep going.  I’ve had to do a lot of that myself on land and sea!  The hardest thing to come to grips with is “enough”.  When is there enough extra screws, lines, sail tape, peat moss, coffee?  The surest way to test ones addiction to something is to ask “do I make sure I never run out”? Check again and ya, there’s plenty of coffee…and creamer.


I’ll cross the boarder tomorrow at Windsor Ontario.  I have my Nexus card and hope that will help make the crossing easier.  It was just another detail to be taken care of before leaving.  Mostly I wanted it to make my entry back into the states by phone.  I’ve checked and double check to see that I’m not caring anything questionable such as fresh fruits, no booze, no cigarettes.  I take customs very seriously.  They check their humor at the door when they punch the timecard.




Arcticle on the Arctic Sea Ice

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Here is an interesting article on the Arctic ice and the NW Passage.  I hope to give everyone an unbiased first hand account of what I find.  One thing for sure is things are changing and they are changing fast.

Progress Report

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Progress Report

I’m fast eating up my wiggle room, but progress is being made. Ol’ Thumper is road worthy again. The cosmetics lack perfection. After all it has been an armature face-lift, or in this case “butt lift”.

She’s just been too good to end up in the scrap yard. So the insurance company sold her back to me as salvage. I budgeted one week and of course it’s taken two. With all the other things she survived, the blizzards Ken and I braved to get the CAP’N LEM to Minnesota, hitting the deer in Michigan and the wild ride through downtown Manhattan with Josh and Tiny, how could I just let a tow tuck haul her away without at least trying to put this humpty dumpty back together.

So with hacksaws, saber saw, table saw, band saw and of course sawsall, with hammers and drills and lots screws I cut and beat and braced until crumpled became flat and concaved became convex and slowly, so slowly, she once again took her former shape.

But lets let the pictures tell the story:




A Minor Set Back

Friday, May 14th, 2010






It is one of the basic lessons of life that other people’s action can have profound effects on us totally independent of intent and knowledge.  Recent events bring this home to me with a bang.


It seems some 50 years ago the land I live on was logger and some logger unknown to me (and I to him) used a certain young fir tree as an anchor.  He put a choker of some sort around the base of the tree.  So it did what chokers do and choked the tree.  But, that simple act reached into the future, my future, to become a stumbling block to my returning to Labrador! 


The young tree took offense at being choked and reacted with a deformity of growth by growing outwardly below the choker and outwardly and upwardly above the choke but not at that point around the girth of the tree.  It was a bad defect but not too bad because the then young tree continued to grow into a now old tree withstand wind and rain and the comings and going of men through the years.  Well, not too bad a defect until last week, when in a creak and crash, it came down to thump “Ole Thumper”, the motor home, a fatal blow.


Once again Mister Murphy and his damnable law came knocking on my door.  Because things that can happen will happen and at the worst possible time, I am once again convinced to the core there is no such thing as luck!  You see, using luck to explain away events always stops short.  I’m not unlucky because the tree fell on motor home anymore than I am lucky the tree didn’t fall on me! It is just what happened, caused by unknown events long ago that took this time to reveal themselves.  My challenge is how will I deal with this?  I chose not to waste a moment of time blaming my “luck” but rather adjust my schedule, make the best repair I can and get on the road to Labrador by next week.


What I do see in all this commotion is the opportunity to grasp yet one more lesson in awareness.  I talk to myself, (I’m 64, I can do that now) …”Tommy” I says to me, “there will always be the unknown and unknowable.  You are attempting to go into a very hostile environment, you best be ready old son, you best be ready”.


Monday, March 29th, 2010

It’s Monday March 29, 2010.  I’m getting ready to head to the gym and start my week’s work on the elliptical and rowing machine.  I’ve been ask how I’m preparing for the trip and right now this is the major thing.  Staying fit is a hech of a lot easer than getting fit!  Its not easy, just easer.  I’ve lost track of the hours spent there and that’s a good thing.  It means it’s a habit.  I spend a lot of time working on flexibility because as I progress in the years it is the key.  A very wise woman once told me, “Tommy, you will be as young as your spine is limber”, words I have never forgot.  That was over half my life ago and I embrace that wisdom more now that ever. For that I use my Teeter Hangup.  It’s an inversion table that lets me hang upside down by my anckles like a bat and that streaches everthing!   Oh, I still have the normal aches and pains of a 64 year old but I just fight not to give into them.  I also use the jump rope in my program.  It is the best heart rate raiser so I sandwich it in between the elliptical and the rowing machine.  I hate treadmills even though sometimes they make a welcome change up.  Now that spring is hear I can take it outside when the eager to just run overtakes me.


As the weather turns, I have other projects at hand:  food prep again, a few minor repairs to the “Thumper” the motor home that will carry me back to Goose Bay, the boat trailer I need to launch the CAP’T LEM again and my kayak.


I’ve decided to retire “The Rubber Parrot” the dinghy and replace it with my faithful kayak.   Oh, have I had some adventures in that baby!  I took to Antarctica with me many years ago and kayaked among the icebergs and penguins.  I sleep in it over night in Tasmania and Australia.  Snorkeled from it in Tonga and shot white water on the Spokane River, (Not one of my smartest moves, I must add, but it sure beat trying it in a canoe).   One of the great discoveries I’ve made about water craft is the closer one sits to the surface of the water the more fun one will have. 

Spring At Last!

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

The sun has crossed the equator and is heading north.  The geese honk and wave on their way north.  Even the hummingbirds are on the move north.  And so I’m, too, drawn by forces I don’t fully understand to shake off the webs of winter and start my way to that irresistible land of adventure, Labrador and the CAP’T LEM. 


I’ve work hard not to let the winter soften me up too much.  My trips to the gym, the never-ending battle with easy food, another birthday (my 64th) all remind me adventure is not free.  I’ve spent many hours contemplating the lessons learned in 3388 nautical miles sailed form Two Harbors Minnesota last April and many hours of an over active imagination visualizing the thousands of miles yet to come before the journeys end.


With the coming of spring, so comes the time for action and an awakening of the ArcticSoloSail website and updates of the plans to rejoin the CAP’T LEM.  If I leave Port Angeles in mid-May I can be back to Goose Bay-Happy Valley Labrador by mid-June with time to re-outfit, repair and be on my way once again.  I’ll miss the company of Josh and Tiny to be sure.  Both are off pursuing their own adventures.  There’s a 4000-mile drive just to get back to the boat!  But what is that to a sailor?


More and more I’m convinced of the “mile ahead” theory as the only way to travel.  Many I met along the way will recall me saying “the voyage is only one mile long… the mile that is in front of me!”   It was what brought me thus far and only when I lost sight of that did I ever find myself in trouble.  I’ve regain that vision and am vowing to keep it at the forefront every step of the way.


The journey thus far has been one of such beauty and humility.  Beauty in the things I saw and humility in the kindness and well wishes of those I’ve met and those who were so willing to go out of their way to help me along on mine.  I’m humbled by the fact that not one inch of the trip have I made by myself, there are so many who have helped.  Perhaps that is the purpose of a solo voyage, to come to the understanding of just how connected we all are.  I’ve been following Jessica Watson’s wonderful voyage closely and my prayer for her, among many, is she finds that same sense connectedness with those following her daring adventure.  From her writings,  I think she has.


So with these thoughts, I open once again the blog of the great adventure known as ArcticSoloSail.