April is approaching and it is time to head back to NC since Journey is safely tucked in at Port of the Islands in Naples, Florida for hurricane season. We are sad to leave but some fun and sad things lie ahead this summer.
New to us Motorhome
Once home we moved into our Class C motorhome and found it way too small to live in for weeks at a time, so we went searching to find a new home. We finally decided on this 2003 Holiday Rambler Endeavor and were soon enjoying the new space (sorry about the mess) as we began adjusting to motorhome life. Harley was super excited to be back on land and could not stop chasing the lizards, rabbits, and squirrels.
We headed home in April to prepare for some coming events that we want to share. First of all some friends had graciously invited us to their wedding. We wanted to be home with all our friends to enjoy this event. It was a beautiful ceremony, beautiful bride, and beautiful evening. We enjoyed ever minute of it!
The second event is a charity fundraiser that is near and dear to our hearts. The annual Evening with Dove House which is always the first weekend in May and we enjoyed a night of Kentucky Derby fun and raising money for sexually abused children. If you are looking for a charity to support look no further than the Dove House or any organization that follow their model.
But… The number one super big reason we were excited to be off Journey is to make our trip to Syracuse, Ny to watch our youngest daughter, Jesse, graduate from Grad School. Our oldest daughter Hannah joined us and we enjoyed visiting the Finger Lakes and all the wineries we could fit in. Another big highlight was visiting the Carrier Dome before graduation day. Finally the big day arrives and then it is time to celebrate
The last day before heading home was May 13th. Dee and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Many years have passed and two daughters have been raised with close family around us. Many friends are deeply a part of our lives today and we can not even name them all. Long ago the water began calling our name, and we are ready to begin our Journey.
Packing up and Moving In
But Before our adventure can begin we need to help get Jesse moved to Alexandria, Va where she will began working this summer. Dee and I packed up everything we had in NC into a trailer and had it moved to Alexandria. We hustled up to meet the shipment and Jesse to begin the unpacking process. It was a whirlwind weekend but she has a spectacular view.
After all the hard work we took time to see our Nation’s Capital. Always humbling to visit. Our favorite yet gut wrenching part was visiting Arlington Cemetery once again and the Marine Corps memorial with Dee - Always a Marine (Semper Fi)
Saying Goodbye to Harley
Now I have to begin the hard part of this video. After enjoying Harley on the boat and watching her happy and sad times, and doing the research of what Harley would need to endure to travel through the Caribbean, we made the hard decision to give her to our youngest daughter who is thrilled with her new roommate. The trip up was hard and Mom and Dad are sad to live their little girl behind, but we know she is being super spoiled and will be happy with the sun and her new routine. If you enjoyed Harley on the boat follow her on instagram @harleysride.
Summer cruising video is up next as we take a few trips out during hurricane season on Journey with friends.
We begin March in Naples before heading down to the keys with some good friends who now live in the Naples area join us on Journey. We share a beautiful day with gulf smooth like glass and an even better evening by watch the sun go down from Tiger Key and enjoy shelling along the beach. Even Harley enjoyed the beach trip at sunset. Finally, we are headed off to the Florida Keys. The day was perfect for some sunning on the deck and enjoying all the dophin visitors as we got closer and closer to our first anchorage near Islamorada. The evening ended with fresh fish! Dee caught a Spanish Mackerel and we feasted on fresh fish for dinner. It was perfect. The winds were up overnight and the morning was cool but we still enjoyed coffee outside before heading up into Lorelei-Morada Bay to anchor. The bay was rocky but we ventured out to explore a little. We were close to the library which is known for having one of the few beaches in the keys and I wanted to grab a photo. After exploring around Lorelei and grabbing a beer we decided that we wanted to seek a little more protection before sunset, so we headed over to Shell key to anchor for the night. Little did we know that this would become one of our favorite spots in the keys.
We took a much needed break and did some boat work and caught up on our notes and supplies. As we settled in for a week in our new location at Shell Key. The only downside we could find was the longer dingy ride into to town but Harley loved the rides and as always getting to go to shore. The best part of the location were the fabulous sunsets each evening. Speechless! Harley never liked us teasing her as we cleaned the boat, went paddle boarding, or fishing. She paced around the boat keeping her eyes on us, but as soon as we were back on board she crashed out on her pad. Always the showoff! Finally, we watched our last sunset here knowing we wanted to see more but hating to leave this perfect spot.
Time for stop in Marathon as a blow was coming and we needed more protection. Although Boot Key Harbor was full as expected we were able to find a spot to anchor for a few days to let the blow pass and the winds calm. We resupplied and explored the area finding a favorite happy hour spot at Castaways.
Next stop was Key West! The winds were up when we pulled into Key West for the St. Patrick’s Day Weekend and we were excited to have secured a spot at the City Marina. We headed out to our favorite spot at the Sunset Tiki Bar & Grille at the Galleon and met some great people from Upstate New York. The sunset did not disappoint here. We enjoyed a festive weekend in Key West for St. Patricks Day with the highlight listening to Irish Kevin sing at his bar Irish Kevins. If you can catch him there don’t miss the show. Time to head toward Miami and get some new batteries. Good bye for now Key West! We will be back in October.
As we pushed back north another blow was coming so we quickly secured a spot in Tavernier at the Mangrove Marina. We anchored out the night before and in hindsight should have just pulled in and added an extra night. The blow came in early and docking took at least an hour in the winds. Dee finally put her in the slip and got her secured. Many thanks to dock mates for helping us out with this difficult task. Another lesson learned. We enjoyed exploring Tavernier while the winds were up especially since a Dunkin Donuts was in walking distance!
After the blow we continued on North and were joined by some dolphins around Key Largo and Harley decided she needed to have a few words with them. Notice the tail was wagging, but After this Harley was exhausted and just enjoyed the sun as we headed through Key Largo and out into Biscayne Bay toward Miami. What can I say about Miami - one word Busy….. So much to see and watch out for including bridges. Luckily Journey only had one bridge that she could not maneuver under so our cruise up was a little easier as we did not have to get in line and wait for bridges to open. We tucked into a little harbor around Haulover Park just in time for a storm which left a beautiful rainbow behind. Next day we arrived at Just Catamarans in Dania Beach and began the process of having our new lithium batteries installed. We learned a lot about batteries (and I can add now that we are still learning) and are so excited to have More Power on board Journey. I am not sure that Harley was impressed. One night at Just Cats and we were headed back to Naples for hurricane season. We maneuvered through most of the Miami area and chose a spot to watch the skyline before heading back across Biscayne Bay and into the gulf waters. Watching the sun go down and the Miami skyline light up is even better than these pictures. The water just makes every view better.
A quick over night at shell Key with one more sunset before heading back across the gulf to Port of the Islands. The dolphins were playful again and the cruise was a smooth one as we arrived back into our slip until October. We had finished three months living aboard Journey. As we did back when we first arrived in Alabama, we had celebratory drinks to mark our now total of 1,713 nautical miles aboard Journey.
We settled in for a week of making new friends and memories. The night before we left we headed out on a dinghy trip with some of these new friends. I miss them already. Yes we got caught in the rain and were soaked but that made the adventure even better and added a few to our ride back to the docks. Maybe what we really have to get use to are the alligators and making sure Harley does not become dessert. We are headed back to NC for a few months for some exciting events we will be sharing next. Some exciting events are coming in the life of SolMates.
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