Sunday, December 21, 2014

Things to remember, and things not to know ...

It takes some effort to get a cruising boat ready to sit on its own for a couple of weeks. The day before departure we did all we could to close this and put away that, but the morning of was still an early roll out and busy couple of hours. Kintala secured and the dink safe on deck, the shuttle got us to shore. Good Friend Ann then got us to the airport. And Southwest Airlines … eventually … got us to St. Louis. There we were met by Daughter Youngest and Grand Daughter, a happy occasion that lit the passenger pick-up area with smiles and hugs that have yet to abate, even these several days later.

An afternoon or two ago I met an old Friend and flying partner for some coffee, catching up on what happens when one pilot calls it a day and another takes his years of experience into the airline instructing world. Word has it some parts of the regional airline arena are so hurting for airplane drivers that I might could find me a seat if I looked hard enough. Pretty sure there isn't enough money around to make that happen, even if the industry went back to paying pilots a real salary and treating them like valuable members of the team. Since that isn't likely to happen in what is left of my lifetime, Kintala's helm will fit my hands just fine.

Later that same day Deb and I went to a local eatery not far from Daughter Middle's home, where we are staying. Daughter Middle's home is also home to a handful (really, five) of Grand Kids, including the newest. Heading out meant letting go of Grand Daughter Youngest, not an easy thing for Grampy T and DeMa. But at the eatery we met 30 some odd of our closest friends, who make up a good portion of the Boulder Yacht Club. Said Club was ground zero for our basic training and then launch into the cruising world. It was a loud and happy celebration of one of their own getting “out there”. We are not the first, will surely not be the last, but are the latest. It was also an excuse for them to get together in the middle of the off season, so double celebrations ruled the night. This is the group of people who helped make it possible for us to be counted among the tribe of cruisers, and their importance in our life is simply impossible to overstate. It isn't often one gets to spend such an evening.

Still, even with Family Most Important and Friends Dearest close at hand, we are back on land. Land, which is not our home anymore. Each time I get behind the wheel, it feels foreign, like I'm forgetting things. And it turns out I usually am. Things like looking in the rear view mirror, staying in the middle of my lane, not taking long looks to the side to check out something interesting passing by, and moving along somewhere near the speed limit. Not like in my old life where the legal limit was usually some number far down the dial from where the needle rested on the GSXR. No. Now that limit is often some 10 to 15 numbers up the dial from that showing on the old Saturn. (The one we bought nearly two decades ago, that has 240,000 + miles on it, and that now belongs to Daughter Youngest.) It turns out, when one is traveling I-70, 170, or 40 in St. Louis at 45 to 50 mph, many St. Louisans will find that annoying, or even take it as some kind of personal insult. Really, none was intended. I'm just not used to helming at speeds much quicker than walking, and I'm not really in a hurry to get anywhere. Its getting better though. By the time we head back to the airport I'll be buzzing along just like the rest. If not, Daughter Youngest will be glad to do it for me. She drives like I used to, which is probably how I taught her, and now has me riding along with my eyes closed.

I'm also not used to the quiet at night, being indoors for most of the day, needing this many layers of clothing to be comfortable, or shoes. Each day it all feels a little more “normal” and, come to think of it, it is kind of odd that it feels so odd. We have only been on the boat since July of last year, and a good bit of that time has been spent on the hard or a dock. I spent six weeks of the summer in Pittsburgh. So how did this land living thing get so strange so fast?

And how, pray tell, does anyone who has lived the life of a cruiser for years upon years, ever make it back on land? Better yet, don't tell. I'm not sure I want to know.

1 comment:

Rharriscpa said...

Enjoy your Christmas with family you have many months of great cruising ahead of you this year and hopefully many wonderful years to explore all you want to see.