When You Need Some Food But You Don’t Want to Exercise

I was told today that I have been remiss in keeping up properly with my blog. I have yet to give the gruesome details of our first real bike errand. I’m not an exercising kind of gal. In fact, I go waaaay beyond hatred. It just doesn’t even show up on my radar. So perhaps, writing a story revolving around what is, in essence, exercise disguised as survival (getting food) is merely an extension of that. But we all have our crosses to bear. Besides, my doctors tell me exercise is important. Sigh.

The Panama City Marina, while close to some things are at a little distance to much more. We took bikes on several errands that were each several miles. Our first ride was all Rick’s fault. Doing some work on the Aft Deck, he stabbed himself with a rusty nail. We’ve been married for going on 25 years and I don’t ever remember him getting a tetanus shot. The nearest doc-in-a-box was about three miles. The few times we had gone out for test run bike rides, Rick had been adjusting my seat afterwards. It just wasn’t comfortable. On the advice of a friend, we had gone to a bike shop and I’d been “fitted” for the correct seat. This is the seat I used for this trek. Incidentally, I always insist we wear helmets. Rick thinks I’m worried about an accident. Really, it’s just because I hate to exercise. I’m hoping he will decide against bikes because he hates the helmet so much. Hasn’t worked yet. Bummer.

Besides, I knew we had to do this. He really did need that shot. I knew there was no such thing as Uber here, the cabs were inconsistent, and the bus route was published nowhere. So off we went. We alternated between sidewalk, bike lane, and hoping not to get hit on the side of the road. The worst was having to cross into a left turn lane. I know people don’t pay attention to motorcycles, I could only imagine what happens to bikes.

I need to stop here for a minute and explain the “Neilson calves.” Rick’s family has the most massive calves on the face of the planet. He is now an old man that rarely exercises, but his legs. His legs look like he works out twice a day. It’s not just smoke and mirrors either. He can pedal that bike, I tell ‘ya.

So, Rick is in the lead because he knows where he’s going. I’m putzing behind, because I don’t exercise and I’m a slow loser. He’s casually pedaling like he’s sauntering through the park. Meanwhile, the music that plays when Mrs. Gulch from the Wizard of Oz rides her bike past Dorothy’s house after she takes Toto away is running through my head and my little legs are pedaling as fast as they can. Rick’s not winded. He gets to rest at each stoplight while he waits for me. Meanwhile, I arrive at the light and it immediately changes, so no rest for me. We do make it and he does get his shot. But my butt. My butt was ON FIRE. I’m in so much pain. I can’t believe I spent that money on the special seat. Or maybe it was the fact that I have no ass. It certainly didn’t help that I felt like I was sliding forward the whole time. At any rate, the thought of getting back on and traveling another three miles was about as inviting as getting liposuction. We stopped a couple times at my insistence so I could rest my butt cheeks. But we did make it back. And yes, that incessant song played in my head the entire way back.

Our next bike excursion was to the Farmer’s Market. Rick installed the saddlebags on the bikes and adjusted my seat to try to make it more comfortable. While the ride was less harrowing with less crowded streets and more sidewalks, I felt like my backside was one giant bruise. I was no longer sliding forward but that didn’t help the butt pain.

Being the handsome, gallant, gentleman that he is, Rick offered to swap seats to see if his seat would work better for me. The time came when we had to grocery shop. While I made the list, Rick swapped seats. I was inside when I heard “LINDA!! LINDA!!”

I made my way to the door. “What?”

“Argh. Forget it. I set the bolt down and it rolled away. It fell in the water.”

My heart leapt. Perhaps we’d have to walk into town for dinner and shop another day. He quickly found another bolt (damn it) and got the seat installed. We did a test run and it seemed better. We started our journey, again dealing with traffic. We hadn’t gotten very far when the seat began to loosen. We stopped to retighten the bolt but found it was bent. Although I have a nonexistent looking ass, it was big enough to bend a big ass bolt. He had luckily brought a second one just in case. The seat did feel better and the adjustment kept the seat tilted so that I wasn’t sliding forward. We ended up stopping to tighten the seat a couple times and Rick told me not to move around much. Well. How do you do that? He also conceded that my old seat (now on his bike) was awful.

We successfully reached the Publix and locked up the bikes. We had a long list. I mean a LONG list. I was doubtful we’d fit it into our saddlebags. But my husband isn’t known as “Master Packer” for nothing. Everything made it into the bags and we even had a backpack to spare. My seat was adjusted again. I had noticed that, although my butt didn’t hurt, the pain had shifted forward. The seat was now angled back too far. (Can I just say that THIS alone is a good reason for my distaste for exercise.)

We had to get all these groceries into our saddlebags. Oh no!
We had to get all these groceries into our saddlebags. Oh no!
Mission Accomplished!
Mission Accomplished!











It was a little squirrely when we started riding back with all that weight in the bags. Once we both got used to it and adjusted ourselves, it was fine. When we reached the road leading to the marina, a feeling of exhilaration hit me. We were back. I had made it. I was still alive. ALIVE! And this trip seemed easier than the last one. Rick said it was because I’m getting in shape. I’m not so sure about that. At any rate, I was more proud of the accomplishment than I had a right to be. And maybe exercise isn’t so crappy after all.

*FOOTNOTE: We got a proper bolt for my seat (formerly Rick’s seat) and it is now adjusted properly. My old seat was donated to charity and Rick got himself a new seat. Our asses are thankful.



Can We Please Cool It On the Country Music??

The most frustrating thing about our lives is the waiting. Because we aren’t stupid and we aren’t in a hurry and we are novices, we wait out any and all bad weather unless it’s absolutely impossible to do so.

So when we glided into the low docks at the Sea Hag Marina on Monday afternoon amid a brewing storm, we knew we’d be waiting awhile for fairer conditions. (Incidentally, at dinner the other night we bantered around our best guess of the term “sea hag” but didn’t get very far. I finally looked it up today and I’m just as confused as I was at dinner. Apparently a “sea hag” can be defined alternately as: a fictional witch character created for King Features Syndicate; a specific type of women with bleached blond hair and blue/green eye shadow you see on the California beaches; an American rock band; and something from Dungeons & Dragons that made me leery. So I don’t know.)

At any rate, today is Thursday. So this is our fourth day in Steinhatchee, Florida. It’s a nice enough town, but the little marina Tiki Bar plays country music via a local radio station. They apparently have a dozen CDs in their collection and several obnoxious DJs. Now I admit I dislike country music. I grew up on big band and swing from my parents, 60s music from my sisters, and what is now deemed “classic rock.” I also loved jazz growing up and beach music (the Beach Boys!). I particularly enjoy blues nowadays. In other words, I pride myself on being able to listen to just about anything for a significant amount of time, even that which I have little knowledge. Hard rock? No biggie. Classical? Sure, why not? Hip Hop? It gets old because its so repetitive, but okay. I admit opera grates on me, but even that I can tune out for awhile. There is something about country, though, that just bores into my skull the minute it starts. I despise it. I loathe it. I’ve walked out of places playing county and refused to return. But here I was. Stuck on the dock. It started every morning at around 10 and ran until dinner. I swear it was the same damned song over and over again. I mentioned this to Rick who assured me there were different song playing but that, yes, there were repeats throughout the day. I think there were about five songs in heavy rotation and that’s about it.

But I digress. Today is Thursday, which means we leave at 6 a.m. tomorrow. We are headed for Crystal River, Florida where we will visit with the manatees and then rent a car to go see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. So excited! I have been re-reading the books so I can get the most from my experience. I bought the tickets today on-line. Yippee! I’m making the most of it since I was informed today it is, apparently, my birthday present.

For those of you who are following, here is our itinerary for this next leg:

Friday, February 24: Leave Steinhatchee, FL and travel about 70 miles to Crystal River, Florida. We are still traveling with two other boats. During the week, we will visit Harry, leaving the boat in the capable hands of the Crystal River marina.

Friday, March 3: Leave Crystal River, FL and travel to Clearwater, FL.

Sunday, March 5: Travel from Clearwater, FL, anchoring out near Sarasota, FL.

Monday, March 6: Continuing to Ft. Myers, FL. We plan to stay in Ft. Myers to work on some boat projects we’ve started but not completed.

As always, this schedule is “weather permitting.”


Updated Itinerary

So we are leaving out of Apalachicola, FL this morning. We had thought we’d be gone already but the folks we are traveling with during the open water had engine trouble. They arrived yesterday instead of Wednesday, worked on the engine this morning but are still having problems. So they are moving on one engine today.

So the plan is to head over to Carrabelle, FL today (about 30 miles) where there is a bevy of mechanics who can get that engine running again. Then we are supposed to hit some bad weather. Best guess is we will be heading to Steinhatchee, FL on Tuesday, but that may change.

The next leg will be to go to Crystal River, FL and on to Tamp, FL. Once we know what the weather is doing, I will update on dates.

Moving On

We’ve been in Panama City so long that we know our way around town. So, it’s time to move on. Here’s the plan:

Monday, February 12, 2017: Leave Panama City, FL for Apalachacola, FL.

Tuesday, February 13Wednesday, February 14, 2017: Stay in Apalachacola while we wait to meet up with a couple we’ve met in Panama City. The next leg of our trip will require open water which we haven’t attempted yet. The couple we are going to travel with have done the trek before and, in fact, he is a Coast Guard Certified Master Captain. Makes us feel a little better about the open water.

Thursday, February 15, 2017: Cross the Gulf to Steinhatchee, FL.

More to come.

The Wind, She Is A Blowin’

We ducked into the Panama City Marina just as the sky was blackening. The wind had already picked up and we quickly tied up before it got unmanageable. The anticipated storm was supposed to bring high winds and torrential downpours. We noticed in our haste we had centered ourselves so that we took up two places on the dock. Our electric and water would reach and there were plenty of spaces, but still we felt we should move.

Normally, we would untie and walk it to where we wanted it to be. Rick would pull and I would take the back end pushing as needed to keep the boat from hitting the dock. With the wind blowing against us, we struggled to get the boat to go anywhere. We decided we’d leave it where it was until the next day with calmer weather. It was only then that we realized in our haste, we had forgotten to untie the middle line. No wonder it wouldn’t move! Well, good. At least we know it’s not because we’re weaklings.

Following, we had several beautiful days and spent the time sightseeing, enjoying every last bit of it. We rented a car and got some needed errands done, but that allowed us to use the car to visit the beach and enjoy the sunshine.

Bird strolling on the beach in Panama City Beach area.
Bird strolling on the beach in Panama City Beach area.

We planned to stay until the storm front passed and were second guessing ourselves, with the beautiful weather showing itself.

But soon we got what we’d expected with overcast days heavy with rain. The wind was high and reports were saying it would only get worse. The seas were fairly high and expected to become more violent. There was a tornado watch (although the skies didn’t look ripe for it and the temperature wasn’t right). We decided a movie might be a good distraction and called for a cab (we’d already given up the rental). The cab showed up much faster than anticipated and we raced around, grabbing necessities before flying out the door. As we reached the marina gate, Rick looked back and commented on the battering our bimini (a canvas type of awning over the fly bridge) was receiving from the winds. I hesitated for just a minute, about to suggest sending the cab away and securing it from the wind, but climbed into the cab instead.

Driving along the shoreline, we could see the waves increasing. We passed a sailboat at anchor that was rocking wildly and wondered if it would hold. Our cabbie regaled us with tales from her childhood of “things in the sea so big you’d never get ME in that water.”

We reached the theaters in record time. We were early so we had to stand in the wind for about 15 minutes, with no car to shelter us. As we were waiting for the movie to start in the virtually empty theater, Rick’s phone vibrated. There was a tornado warning in the area until noon (right when the movie would start). We left the theater to check the sky, himmed and hawed, and decided to stay put. (We learned later from our neighbors they spotted a twister about a mile the other side of the marina. They were sitting outside pushing against the dock with their feet to keep their sailboat from getting banged up. Glad I didn’t know that until later.)

Leaving the theater, we walked into sunny skies but still a brisk wind. Rick called for the cab; there was no answer. Terrific. Earlier, we had already tried and failed to find a bus schedule, so we decide to walk back. Thank goodness we had our all-weather coats to block against the wind. For five miles we battled the wind along with missing sidewalks and racing cars. I was freezing and dreaming of some hot cocoa. When we passed the anchored sailboat again, it was flopping around rail to rail.

Beautiful sunset, but the sailboat would lose its mast by the end of the storm.
Beautiful sunset, but the sailboat would lose its mast by the end of the storm.

The waves had gotten worse. By the next day, the sailboat had lost its mast and the following day it was gone completely, presumably being pulled out for repair.

Heading into the marina, we could see a section of our bimini flapping violently. No cocoa for me until we got that thing stowed. Approaching, we realized the first thing we needed to do was adjust the bumpers as the boat had shifted in all that wind. It was a struggle. Rick pushed with all his might against the boat to make room between it and the pilings. I untied the bumpers, readjusted them and attempted to shove them in place. The wind was so high at this point that it took both of us with all our strength to complete such a simple task.

Next, we went up to the fly bridge. We had to get the canvas off its metal framing, fold the framing, and secure it. Rick gathered up the loose section and asked me to hold tight to it and the section of frame where it belonged while he started unzipping. We hadn’t ever done anything with this bimini yet. It was just there keeping us shaded. So we weren’t sure what to expect. The wind was coming in bursts of higher and higher velocity. My fingers were numb from grasping so tightly. Starting at the back, he unzipped the first section. Chunks of dirt dropped down while other bits got caught up in the swirl of wind. The mud dobbers (I think that’s the name of these wasp like things) had done a good job of nesting in there. Disgusting but no time to think about it now.

Rick struggled more each time he unzipped a section. With the wind getting worse, he needed me to hold on to more than one section for fear if I didn’t, it would tear beyond repair. So I had a firm grip with my left hand on my original section; I had to reach across the width to hold onto the other section while he unzipped the final section at the very front of the frame. But it was stuck. He tugged and a section of the frame clattered to the ground. He started to explain, I grew impatient and snapped, “I won’t be able to hold it much longer. Hurry up!” which didn’t help the situation at all. He went downstairs to get pliers and tried again, breaking off the zip tab used to actually unzip. He cursed (always helpful). Using the pliers around the metal that holds the teeth together, he muscled the zipper open. We quickly pulled the bimini off its frame and shoved it down the hole into the aft deck. We folded the frame as best we could and clumsily tied it together.

Once we were inside, we checked the weather again and saw that there was another tornado watch. TV reception was spotty, so I went down to the office to find the weather radio. What I found was running water into and between the shelves. We pulled everything out (including our printer). Using beach towels, we dried everything and set up a system to catch the water. In checking the rest of the boat, we discovered water coming in under the doors and drips around several windows. We staid the flow of water there as well and waited out the storm.

But we had to figure out where the water was coming from. Rick had already caulked everywhere on the fly bridge. It became apparent over the next few days that we needed to remove the headliner in the aft deck to see how the water was traveling and where it was originating. It looked as if it was a new headliner and we weren’t sure we could save it, which was a pity.

Look what we found under the headliner while searching for the water path.
Look what we found under the headliner while searching for the water path.

After removing the edging, it was obvious there was no way to reattach the headliner once we removed it—it had been trimmed to closely. So we decided to go old timey and make the ceiling wood. I’m excited to see the outcome over the next week or so. We’ve decided to stay in Panama City to get the work completed. We shall see how THAT goes.

ADDED BONUS: I took a lot of pictures on our tour of Panama City and the beaches. Here are a few.

The city of Panama Beach: IMG_3709 IMG_3711 IMG_3712








The state park and beaches: IMG_3707 IMG_3705 IMG_3703

Bird strolling on the beach in Panama City Beach area.
Bird strolling on the beach in Panama City Beach area.
Just strolling past the hubster.

IMG_3688 IMG_3684 IMG_3683 IMG_3682 IMG_1529































The Panama City Marina: IMG_1500 IMG_1508