Awesome Road Trip: Destin to Panama City

A road trip just what the doctor ordered. Soon we should be back on our journey. We decided we would take a road trip and get a view of the anchorages and the passage way into the different areas. Just walking the boardwalk of Destin FL put me right back into the cruising mood. As we walked the boardwalk, Bryce squeezed my hand in a gentle loving way and whispered “It won’t be long now”. I know he is right. This layover wasn’t just hard on me; I needed to remember it was hard on him too. Now we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow our Little Red Engine is due in to North Carolina. We are told they will drop ship it the same day. Next week should be an exciting week for us. 

Our first stop on our road trip was at Destin FL. This stop got our blood pumping again.


Bryce laughed so hard when he read this sign. “ Transient Boat Slip Open to Public No overnight Mooring” If you notice, there is no water in the slip when the tide is low.  Must not cater to transients eh?


I like the name of this commercial boat ”New Florida Girl”. Blue really has never been a color that I have cared for.. but for some reason over the past few years the color blue has become one of my favorite colors.


As we walked along the docks looking at other boats we struck up a conversation with these two gems. Victoria and JP. JP is off the New Florida Girl.  Victoria captains an 85 foot (IIRC) sail boat.


As we strolled though the Destin docks, a nice guy offered to that our photo. I think he noticed this big white camera hanging around Bryce’s neck… LOL


Jimmy Buffet Margaretville. We were in Destin way too early in the morning to enjoy Margaretville.  On the other hand; “Its five o’clock somewhere..”


The streets were just starting to wake up. We could see early birds like ourselves out exploring the area.


This was the view we went for.  We wanted to see the passageway into Destin anchorage. Our mast is too high to go any further on the ICW. And we cannot make it under the bridge in the background. But we are told by locals this is good anchorage. Now we get to go back by boat and meet up with Victoria and JP.


As we were driving  down the road we could see this sailboat on shore. We found a parking spot and went out to investigate the issue. What we found out was crazy.. There were a few locals around and I started to ask questions. This is not a small boat. Phantom of the Aqua is a documented vessel from the US Virgin Islands.  


We were told that she came upon the shoreline during the hurricane 6 months ago.  Apparently it was blown from the Virgin Islands and landed here in Florida. The owners were notified and they came and put up not trespassing signs .  No one really has a good way to get her off shore. Apparently some one offered to help remove it for a mere $30,000.00 dollars 


I did enjoy some time on the beach even with the chilly air.


Back on the road again .. We reached Panama City. What another pretty place.


Guess what.. we got to eat at Margaretville. I thought this plane was cute. 


Cool these are sails portraying a gaff rig.


Debbie Graham and her date..sorry I forgot to write your name down. What a fun couple to talk to. Thanks for helping make our visit to Panama City a good one.


The next day we had the pleasure of hosting a small get together with, Greg, Pauline, Miranda, and Mike. 


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Pelican Marine-Pensacola Florida

Do to the freezing temps here in  Turner Marina they turned off  water supply a few days ago. . It really isn’t that bad they gave us warning. Today Wednesday they turned the water back on so we cold refill our tanks again.  Finally we were able to check out the seals on the new tank. They worked! All is good.Smile Even better news the weather map shows it’s warming next week back into 50’s and 60’s


It is such a good feeling to know we are getting a few things done on Beauty while we await the arrival of the replacement of the Little Red engine. With that said,we thought as along as we had our vehicle here we might as well go to Pelican Marine in Pensacola to check on our new–to-be engine arrival. It’s funny because we are replacing The Little Red Engine with another Little Red Engine. We are  Hoping for something like a tracking number, anything that might help us know when to expect her arrival. I think the tracking number is like an ultrasound it can give us an expected due date.. LOL Okay, so we arrived at Pelican Perch. We spoke with Jake. He was a very nice guy. But would not allow me to take his photo. He placed a call to NC office to see when the new Little Red engine is schedule to arrive. Drum roll please………January 12, 2018. I can’t wait; it’s only a week away. Once it is sent to NC, it will be dropped ship to us at the Marina. We figured we should have it no later than the January  15,  2018. I’m so excited….I just can’t hide it…That song is playing in my headSmile  

This photo is the office at Pelican Perch Marina & Boatyard


Bryce has taken the self tailer mechanism off the winch.  He is cleaning it here.


We had to order a part for one of our cabin top Winchs.  They finally came in.  A small plastic self tailer piece was broken.  Just another repair out of the way. LOL


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Time To Catch Up On Maintenance

Hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve. I thought I would share with you what we have been up to over the past month. It’s funny; it has been so cold here and with all the humidity in the air we had to purchase a few dehumidifiers for the boat. I can’t believe how well they work.

Bryce took the bus home to Michigan to see his mom just before Christmas and brought back the Trail Blazer.  It has helped us out a lot having our own vehicle.   He said the bus trip was nothing like the old Greyhounds.  The 1000 mile Express trip took 24 hours and had only 8 stops every 150 miles or so.  Many stops had 24 restaurants right inside the terminal.  The bus had WIFI, electricity to charge devices, bathroom and comfortable reclining seats that were much better than planes.

With so much spare time on our hands waiting for the engine, we have been doing some maintenance. I have to laugh.. before we left home back in August, we wanted to paint our top deck. But we ran out of time. We forgot to bring the paint with us. Now to make this a short story; Bryce brought the paint back with him and it has done nothing but rain and the temps are 30’s to 40 and in the teens at night. We were able to replace the front hatch and the aft water tank.  They say its been the coldest here since 20 years.

Here, Bryce is putting on the new hose attachments on the new aft water tank. On the old tank, you can see the dark spot where we tried to seal it.  It did not work well.  We have since found that 3M makes 8005 specifically for polyethylene.  Virtually nothing sticks to this plastic.  No sure it would fix this huge crack in the old tank though.


You might be asking yourself why did we replace our hatch.  Not that I like to spend money…LOL The answer to that question is. We had already reseated it once and the darn thing just kept leaking.  Heavy waves and rain washing across the bow would make its way through.  So we replaced it with the much more rigid Ocean series hatch.  The Ocean Series is used on the newer boats. It is so pretty. The funny thing is now I want to replace all my glazed hatches.  But this is the only one that has issues. The top photo is our old hatch and the bottom port (left) is our new hatch, The other two show Bryce working hard cleaning off the old sealant and getting ready to seal in the new.     


One of the advantage of having our Trail Blazer here is the freedom it offers to explore the area.   We took a drive on New Years Day and had lunch at Tacky Jacks in Orange Beach AL. As you walk in to the restaurant can take a piece of duck tape and write your name or a message then stick it anywhere you want to inside outside. On the floor, wall, celling, anywhere you want. It was a fun place with good food.


I received a few Christmas gifts that I would like to share with you. Cynthia & Bryon I can not thank you enough for the Christmas gifts.  Cynthia made me a beautiful Christmas Tree that I hang from my wine rack.  Bryon made me a beautiful bracelet. I will treasure them. Thanks so much for the perfect gift.


Roger and Chris what a great night we shared with you on Christmas and New years Eve. Thanks so much for the shrimp and fantastic margaritas.  Roger; so far I keep flipping the pages. Roger is the Author of Fayal Roads. I just started reading it; but so far I can’t put it down. I love the Julia’s spunkiness.  She was born in London. The oldest daughter of Admiral Jonathan Langston. I remember my grandmother telling me if a women wasn’t married by a certain age she was known as an old maid. But Julia finally decided to marry Mr. Reston Howe and move to Washington State of New York. Not a marriage made in heaven. This is a tale of History in the war of 1812. Roger said the sequel is in the making.  I find it so far a good read.


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A Very Merry Christmas from Mobile, Alabama

Well, We have been here nearly a month now. Our new Beta Marine engine has been ordered. They say we should expect it mid-January. I am bound to keep a smile on my face no matter how long it takes or how bored I get. I am waiting for the weather to warm so I can get my swing out. Yesterday was pretty nice but the breeze was chilly. I saw all the snow our family and friends are getting back home in Michigan. I cannot say I miss it. I think snow is beautiful; but most of all, I hate driving in it. Be safe out there to all our family and friends and everyone else.

We have had a small get together here on our boat. Tom , Lili and Jim and Shirley came down for cocktails one night. It was a ton of fun.


I received a text from Karen one of the couples we meet in New Orleans saying they were in Orange beach. So on Christmas eve we drove up to see them. It was such a lovely place. They were staying at the Wharf. We went out for a delicious dinner. I ordered Oysters they were magnificent tasting. However, later that night, I once again saw those oysters coming out the way they went in…. what a bad night it was.


Our wonderful bartender David.. He was very pleasant. 


After our dinner we took a walk around the Wharf. The lights were beautiful.


The following afternoon we meet up with some of our new friends to celebrate Christmas at Turner Marine. We had such a wonderful dinner. It was a smorgasbord of food.

Pauline & Greg left, Roger & Chris on top, in the center we have Bryon and Cynthia and Paul on the right.

New Phototastic Collagegroupphoto

Tom, Shirley, Chris & Jenn


Well, Christmas arrived and passed now its  time to think of the New Year’s.

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Mobile Alabama, Weekend Car Rental Exploration.

What a nice weekend cold and all. Enterprise has a great weekend special; Three days for $46.00 dollars. Bryce said it was time for us to get a way for a few hours. We drove in to Mobile on Friday evening after receiving the car. It was wonderful just driving around for a few hours. While we are waiting for everything to settle down here with ordering the new engine and all, we might as well enjoy the sites.

Saturday we drove over to the Alabama Air Craft Pavilion. Due to the snow and ice they weren’t allowing tours to walk up the ramps, so we walked the grounds.

The Battleship Alabama is moored here.  There was also a B52 bomber named “Calamity Jane”!!


This is the first time we have actually seen a sub out of water.  There were also a number of tanks and armored personnel carriers displayed.


Afterwards, we drove along the eastern Mobile bay shore and stopped at Shux On the pier for a bowl of soup and a beer.


It was chilly out had to put on the winter coat. This is called the Fairhope Pier. The first Fairhope Pier was built in 1895 it was used as a commercial dock for the bay boats. In 1968 they built the first concrete pier and it remained opened until she was hit by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She reopened in 2006 after renovations.


There is a small marina off the pier but really needs some repairs done to her.  A few broken docks. The tide is down in this photo.


Sunday we took 5 loads of laundry into the laundry mat. We then decided to take a drive to Dauphin Island.


I think this Heron is waiting for the fisherman to catch his lunch.


Do you notice anything different? Yes, Bryce colored my hair. Sometimes I just need a change.


We stopped and had a lunch at Jt’s Sunset Grill. What a nice place. Susan the Bartender is magnificent; so much fun to talk to. When we walked in we were greeted with hellos from these two couples. They are RV’er and are staying at a nearby RV park.  It was really nice to talk to them.  Sorry I did not get their names.  The near couple is from Iowa.  The far couple is from Indiana.


OM!! we were coming out of a tunnel and right before my eyes a semi truck didn’t look at the clearance of 12 feet. We saw pieces of his truck or tunnel land on the ground. I was very happy to get past  the opening. The bottom photo is tunnel number 2. it was really cool. I love the reflection.  These two tunnels go under the Tombigbee River that dumps into Mobile bay.


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The Little Red Engine Conclusion

After many hours of hard diligent work on the head gasket, fuel injector, hone of the cylinders, and much more The Little Red Engine said no more.  After 21 years, she passed away at 9:16 on December 8th. It is sad but It is also a celebration. She has sailed/motored the great lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean. Now we wait for the new arrival of her predecessor. 

This is the cylinders after hone; aren’t they pretty.  Deck is very clean, pistons de-carbon.


Putting the engine back together.


It’s funny the poor guy keeps trying to resuscitate the little red engine.  Here, we try to boost the crank speed with an electric drill.  The engine is getting fuel, air and now a bit more compression. She chugs every other revolution, but will not quite start.


We had a get together with some new friends, a few days ago. I am sure they are all getting restless and ready to set sail. It’s funny we are all from Michigan. There is at least 4 other boats here in Mobile Alabama from Michigan.

Grace the young lady on the starboard side with the long hair also stored her boat at Sailor Cove for winter storage with us.  It’s a small world. LOL..  Grace is next to Emily.  Then there’s Todd on the left.  He is headed to Panama.  And Mark and Linda are in the back.


Good food with good guests.

food for getoghtermobile

Look at the snow… We are in the south and it snowed. Mother Nature didn’t want to deprive the people from Michigan of snow. LOL


George is covering his eyes from the lights. LOL


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Playing the Waiting Game

Waiting for prices on parts and engine prices seems to take a bit of time since most places aren’t open on the weekend. Bryce continued to clean the head and block on the Little red engine. I am very positive that she will over come her sickness and we will be on our way soon. We have been taking walks and found 3 more marinas right next store. There is also a West Marine here at Turner’s but they were closed on Sundays. On Saturday evening we went down to the end of the dock and we watched a parade of Christmas lights. It sure is nippy in the evenings here. Bryce pointed out that we haven’t seen spider webs. I think it’s to cold for them.

I was so bored I make cookies for Bryce..  His favorite is oatmeal raisin.


Bryce putting together his list of things needed. Along with measurements of this and that for the new engine.  He has also priced parts to repair our little red engine.


After cookies I made bread…Little bread maker with purple lid


One problem! Now that I made this bread and cookies they have to be eaten. LOL


I liked this one best! They drove the boats close to the sea wall and tossed out candy. 


2nd best. These guys tossed out bags of candy with a glow stick in the package so the kids could see where the bag was.. Awesome idea.


The two Queens on the bow of this vessel where tossing out beads to the kids.


My 3rd best..Loved the lights… Santa had a lot of helpers on this sleigh…..


This pontoon looks like it was transformed into a 60’s motorhome… Kinda cool..


This cruiser was the leader of the pack. Full of Ho..Ho…ho’s.. and dancing animals on the bow.


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The Continuation of The Little Red Engine

This is the continuation of my story The Little Red Engine that huffed and puffed. As most of us know it takes time for a doctor to make his diagnosis after he receives all the test results. I believe this is also true when collecting or looking for reasons why anything stops running. My thoughts are  The Little Red Engine is Beauty’s heart so we must carefully look for reasons why she has been spitting out quite a bit of blow-by.  Here at Turners Marina they have a vehicle we can use to get things we may need. We took a trip to Harbor Freight to collect a few tools that we did not bring with us.


After we arrived back, the testing of the Little Red Engine started right away. I feel like a cheerleader. LOL I stood by watching Bryce hard at work while he (unbolted) I would say unbutton her covering. I handed him tools as needed or just plainly stepped out of his way.  


The burgundy Trail Blazer is the Turner loaner car. We are back from Harbor Freight  


Now I must tell you, Beauty is a bit shy… She doesn’t want to be seen naked; but has agreed to let me show you her heart. Bryce is undoing her Buttons and bolts and looks pretty happy at the moment…LOL


Glow pugs show a bit of difference between cylinders, but nothing bad.


Compression test is a key test that must be performed.  Normally, this test must be run on a warm engine.  However, Bryce is only looking for differences between cylinders.  Dry compression is 120,120,280,60.  Wet compression is 200,200,500,120.  Bryce is expecting all cylinders to be close and over 400 when warm.  Looks like only #3 is good.  Other three are low.


Okay looks Like he has collected antifreeze out of the engine. It looks a bit brown.


OM…Look It’s her main artery (her cylinder head) and the test results came back fabulous; NO Blown head gasket … that’s good and bad. Now we must look deeper into her. I am afraid she might need exploratory surgery! Are you sure doc? I asked. Without a thought…So lets see…..


Now look closely… you might have to zoom in with me…Now during the compression check the top piston was not firing well at all.  Her compression was only 60 you can see the brown that looks like rust right?  It is not rust, it is extreme glazing.  It is the source of the low compression.  The next one down had great compression, it is only glazed near the top.  The two bottom cylinders are low in the 100’s and show glazing at different parts of the cylinder and places not shown in this picture.

Well, I found out that the brown and black is called glazing.  But this glazing isn’t so good for pistons and rings so I am told.  These Dirty artery’s (cylinders) have to be cleaned.  Bryce says they only need to be honed and any stuck rings need to be unstuck.  He says otherwise the cylinders are like new.  There are no ridges at the top and some original hone marks can still be seen.  This engine has nearly 3000 hours on it.


Now, we really must make a decision… There are so many reason that we should say just clean her, put her back together and see if all is well.

Okay This is me Jane… I am not normal… see I understand saving money and I don’t gamble. Matter of fact every time I gamble I loss my twenty dollars!  No joke. The stakes are too high to gamble here for me.  I need to be able to depend on Beauty’s heart. I have lost faith in this engine. We were very lucky coming down the Mississippi that this didn’t happen. With that said my vote is to replace her engine with a new heart. I am not sure the out come yet. But I will keep you posted.

Do we look tired? The young man below Mark took this picture of us after we settled in at Turner’s Marina. 


I am sure Bryce wants to clean her cylinders/rings and verify by compression all is ok. Darn why can’t I feel that way Steaming mad  I am so mad at myself…We had oil leak issues caused by the blow-by and that concerns me.. What happens if we are in the Gulf or the Atlantic and the darn thing won’t start again.  I told you I am not normal.. so we will not stop… We will figure this out together and keep going. I think I would suffocate if we went home. LOL

Ok back to the bright side.. .Sun

We have meet some great people here already. Mark and Lynda Arman.. We have to laugh.. a young girl by the name of Tamara reached out to me asking me if I had meet her parents on the river. She told me what boat they were in and their names I believe. but they were behind us. I told her if I saw them I would tell them I had spoken to her.

Mark and Lynda helped Tow boatUS and the deck hand help us come in. Our conversation started when they asked about me posting on FB..I said yes that’s me. We all started laughing.. Mark said they had followed our trip down the Mississippi. It’s a small world. Get this…Are you ready… They are from Michigan too. I believe there are 5 boats here right now all from Michigan doing the loop. 


What a great couple looking forward to a few more glasses of wine with them. The boat name is Alice


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The little Red Engine That Said NO! More

This is my story of our little red engine that huffed and puffed and just could not reach it final engagement point to turn over. Along with the sails, it is the heart and soul of Beauty.

We were sailing in Mobile Bay sailing early afternoon towards Turner Marine.  The winds were awesome perfect 10. Dolphins serenaded us buffing air through their snout and conversing with a high pitch sound.   It was as if they were talking to each other.


I lost count there were so many playing around us


They looked so in love…..


Then it happened !!! We lost our wind and had to start the engine. He tried and tried we both looked at each other in disbelief not a word was said between us for a few moments.  Beauty was moving at 1 mph under sail. Bryce tried it again but it would not start.  I took over the helm while Bryce took her cover off (Engine cover). I don’t think anything was left uncheck. Bryce checked the glow plugs, fuel, filters and even tested an injector.  Nothing seemed wrong. Everything has checked out great. It sounded like it was going to start just couldn’t reach the final engagement.  Earlier the morning, it started fine as we left the anchorage and raised the sails.

Bryce suggested that he tow Beauty with the jetski.  I did not want to steer into Turner.   It was time to call Tow BoatUS. We took the sails down and Bryce put the engine back together. It was a sad moment. In the 30 plus years of our boating life we have always been the one to help tow boats in. Now it happened to us.!

Mark from Tow boatUS came to our rescue.


It was a beautiful calm day.


Beauty glided easily through the water at about 6 knots.


After we arrived in front of the marina Mark pulled his tow boat on our Portside to push us in to the docking area. It ended up being less complicated than what I thought. 


Mark friend Capt. came along and handed Mark a helping hand for a few moments.


Now in Turners Marina.  Bryce wanted to warm the engine to help it start.  The following morning Bryce he figured out how to warm the engine.  “You know how it pushes out hot water to heat the water heater when the engine is running.” I nodded yes, “I am going to pump the engine coolant to put hot water into the engine to heat it up.” I know what you mean like reverse cycle air conditioning! Anyways that what came in my thoughts. LOL

After heating the engine, it still refused to start.  After thinking about it Bryce is suspecting the head gasket.  He replaced the head gasket about 5 years ago.  It seems to be one thing that could explain the sudden failure.


Here is the steps Bryce did to heat the engine.

Step 1 heated up the water tank

Step 2 remove the belt

Step 3 he used my head band for a tiny belt

Step 4 he used a drill to spin the water pump

Step 5 find something to hold the drill using my pink step stool.

Step 6 should be ear plugs due to drill noise.. LOL

Step 7 wait..wait.. wait.. drink coffee..; wait…wait…  Bryce continues to work..

Step 8 results? failed

Does Beauty need a engine Transplant? To be continued…….

Time to make a decision on fix engine or new engine

While we were anchored in Biloxi a photographer by the name of David Salters took this photo of us anchored out. It was sent to us by a friend of ours on Facebook Nick Gault. Thanks to you both for sharing this amazing picture with us.


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Biloxi, MS to Aux Herbes

It’s so funny, I have to stop and think about where I left off. Crossing the open waters, doesn’t offer for a great photo shots. After leaving SeaBrook, we anchored near Half Moon Island. It was a nice place to anchor but we had to keep our eyes out for crab pots. The following morning we headed to Biloxi MS and found a nice sandy Shoreline to anchor near. It was perfect for the northern winds that blew in. When morning arrived, we pulled up anchor and headed towards Aux Herbes Island near Mobile Bay Alabama. Today we will head to Mobile Alabama. It is suppose to be a great day for sailing.

We were amazed at the smoothness of the Mississippi Sound today.


One of our daily entertainments are still watching Tows & barges passing by us.


I know you can’t really see them, but two dauphins were dancing next to the boat. 


Here they are coming towards us. I smile every time they come near. It never gets old.


The Mississippi Sound…How beautiful she is with only a ripple of a breeze.


Bryce is being funny taking a photo of me stretching on the bow.


As we were pulling into Biloxi I noticed these birds resting on the number 5 buoy.


Coming into Biloxi we could see the battering the waterway also took from hurricane Katrina. Very sad. Perhaps they need to add floating docks.


Apparently, Biloxi is known world wide as one of the largest processors of shrimp and oysters in the world.


When we left early morning this vessel was gone out looking for his daily catch.


After leaving Biloxi we headed towards Aux Herbes Island. Looking at WindAlert it alerted us to the North east winds that were to get pretty strong during the night so we protected ourselves snuggled up to this island. It was perfect.


During the night a fisherman anchored near us. His vessel looked so pretty all lit up.


When daylight arrive I took this photo of him. I think his favorite color is green.


As always Thank you for following us!Red rose