August 1 – 31, 2005
Friday, August 12, 7:15 AM… the sounds of gulls overhead, the crash of the waves, the flight attendant reminding everyone that this was the flight to Denver… Denver? “wake up!”… I look around, and no, it was not a dream I’m in a cramped seat in row 24 of a jet on it’s way to Denver… how the heck did that happen? Just two nights ago, I was enjoying the sights and sounds of a sunset over Northport Bay.
Ah, yes… it all started with a call Tuesday afternoon… darn cell phones! I was needed in Denver on Friday. Oh well, Maine would have to wait. We started the process of finding a transient slip for Rocinante, she would have to stay behind and patiently await our return.
Wednesday morning found us in our cove, having breakfast: half a grapefruit, raisin bran flakes and of course, freshly brewed coffee. We ate and waited for high tide… we draw about 6 ft. of water and the channel leading to our slip is tight and not very deep; about 9 ft. at high tide – plenty of room to spare! Around 11:30, we start getting Rocinante ready. We cleaned up a bit, set up our fenders; two on the port side, high up to fend off any potential slip mate and three on the starboard side just skimming the surface to protect Rocinante from chafing against the floating platform we would be tying off to… slip F30 at the Britannia Yacht Club. A yacht club, she’s never been to a “Yacht Club”… I wonder if the other boats will turn their noses up at her… unlikely, she may not come from money, but she has class… can’t buy that! We haul up our anchor; we are really getting good at this part, and start on our short journey to the marina… sorry, “Yacht Club”
As we pass the town docks, I radio in “Britannia, Britannia, Britannia this is the sailing vessel Rocinante… we are just passing the town docks and request assistance at slip F30… over” pretty impressive no? … “vessel hailing Britannia, we copy… an attendant will meet you at F30, over” VESSEL hailing Britannia? What, they can’t pronounce Rocinante?
Anyway, as we round the turn at “F” dock looking for slip 30, we see a young man wearing a light blue T-shirt waving us in, ready to take our dock lines and tie us off… normally it’s Ada up on the edge, with line in hand waiting to jump off onto the bouncing dock… ah, the benefits of a “Yacht Club”
We slide gently into our slip (seriously, gently… I’d tell you if I went in screaming and yelling; slamming the transmission into reverse to avoid impaling the attendant with my anchor) finished tying off, moved the tender to the bow and tied it off as well. “it”, doesn’t sound right, we’ll have to name “it” as well… later.
As we finished settling in, the skies opened up and it started to pour… perfect timing. We waited out the downpour… brief passing thunderstorm… and headed to the office to sign in and find a place for lunch. Nice bunch of folks, fairly painless process, nice little café by the pool, better than expected cheeseburger platter. I track down the number for enterprise rent-a-car (they deliver you know) and called to arrange for our transportation home… “what do you mean you don’t have any cars at the moment?” Time for plan B: “very expensive but oh so nice car service, please pick us up at the Yacht Club” that should do it… “at best three hours wait… but we’re calling from the Yacht Club!” Ok, no need to panic, there is always plans C, D, E and F!
Some where around plan “Y”, as we stood there madly clicking our heels together, somone took pity on us and offered to drive us to the train station in Huntington… I thought that was very nice of them, Maria figures I was starting to scare the “Club” members and they just wanted to get rid of me as fast as possible!
We made it to Huntington station without much incident and boarded a 4:05 train to Penn station… we would have to wing it from there. Several switching delays later, we pull into Penn station, quickly spot the sign for NJ Transit trains and race for the gates… need to catch the 5:37 to Trenton (stops at Secaucus) so that we can catch the train going to Hawthorn. We catch a fleeting glimpse as we rush along… West Gates, track “H” (something like that) I run over to the ticket machine credit card in hand, “swipe!” “select destination” this, that, the other place… “no, no show me more destinations!”, this, that, the other other place… what the heck is this, how could it not show Hawthorne?… oh, it’s an Amtrack ticket machine… %@#&*!
We race down the escalator and jump on the train… a few minutes to spare… yes, almost home!
We purchase our tickets on board… $5 dollar surcharge, thank you… we pull in to the Secaucus transfer station, head up the escalator and come face to face with a turnstile expecting us to slip one of the little cardboard tickets through the reader in order to exit… but wait, we have a flimsy little green paper ticket with funny punches in it… how the heck are we supposed to get out… Trapped!
We look around desperately for an attendant, no one in sight! We contemplate jumping the turnstile.. yeah, yeah like you see in the movies… we can do it! Fortunately, an attendant showed up and let us through before I had time to lace up my converse all-stars… you know, sneakers! Anyway, we made our connecting train to Hawthorne and I pulled out my trusty laptop with wireless aircard technology – Oh Yea! (In case you’ve forgotten, this is 2005 – no WiFi on the trains!) and proceeded to “Google” us up a cab ride from the Hawthorne train station… what, no cabs in Hawthorne? Darn those suburbanites and their six car garages! Ok, ok, Paterson… yes, Paterson will have cabs and they are only a few miles away… that will work… “ring”, “ring”… “the number you have dialed has been disconnected” “click”… NO! Ridgewood station, yes, Ridgewood station would have cabs waiting around to whisk us home. One of the passengers must have noticed the panic in my voice as I asked the conductor about it, because he offered me the number of the Ridgewood Cab Company… excellent… “At least an hour wait?!” “oh, you can recommend a cab company in Paterson?”… please don’t let it be the one with no phone… “Thanks” … a few tense minutes later, the cab arrives and we’re on our way… keys? What keys?! A quick, panicked search through the backpack finds them at the bottom of the pack… absolute, unadulterated luck… Maria had put them in the backpack the day before when we went to the beach… yes, score another one for the home team!
We get into the house and feel a strange sensation… it’s cooler inside than it is outside… what is this? Ah, yes, AIR CONDITIONING!
So here we are my friends, me, winging my way to Denver, Maria, at home awaiting my return and Rocinante, tugging at her dock lines, restless in her slip… each of us looking forward to resuming our journey northward first thing Monday morning.
Till next time,
Carlos & Maria