113. Welcome 2021!

Last night after I finished writing, I did what I normally do before a days travel. I take a good long view look at the next day’s probable route (I use my GPS while driving but it’s good to have a solid mental picture since the GPS screen maybe shows you what’s up in the next mile or so). I figure out a logical end of day stop or two, what would be nearby for an overnight, make sure there’s adequate big rig fuel stops (not sure why cause there’s always a multiplicity of them well within range but I’m anal), check the weather forecasts at various places along the route and use my elevation finder app to see what, at this time of year, nighttime temperature changes there might be due to staying in a higher elevation.

So I’m planning on a longer than normal (for me) day taking I-10 across New Mexico, southerly at Las Cruces to El Paso and then easterly stopping for the night in Van Horn, TX. Checking weather – oops. Much of I-10 between El Paso and specifically Van Horn is bracketed by the White (Sierra Blanco) Mountain range and the Quitman range at the TX/Mexico border, is higher elevation and received a foot of snow, ice and black ice (is that a permissible term in this PC culture?). News reports were that both sides of I-10 had been closed due to weather, traffic snarls and accidents. Many reports of people stranded in cars and trucks for 12 and 13 hours. And that’s going to be tomorrow’s route?

The overall forecast though showed highs for New Years Day generally near 50 degreesand it would be at least early afternoon before reaching that area and no forecasted new precipitation. And that’s how today unfolded. East of ElPaso there were some snow remnants still near the road. The roads themselves were clear and dry and relatively deserted. There was a lot of snow on the mountain sides. And almost the entire route across NM was subjected to very high cross winds so even though traffic was light, it was a lot of work.


Outside of the wind, it was a boring drive. Desert morphing into near desert morphing into scrub land. Lots of time to think and let your eyes and mind wander. Some observations:

—- whoa! What is that? What am I seeing? I haven’t seen that for at least 3 months! Hmmm. Last time must have been in middle UT or just across the CO border. Not sure I can remember what those are called. I think they are called cattle or steers. Sure enough, there were about 10 head in sight munching on, it looks like dirt, except for that one trying to eat leaves off a scrub bush.

I don’t think in that interim, I seen a horse or a mule or a deer or any non domesticated animal in the wild or in an agricultural setting. During the rest of my travel day, I actually saw three more small groupings of cattle.

—- hmm. I wonder why there is such a plethora of places selling saddlery, etc. Where are the horses that would get saddled?

—- Oh I’m not seeing anymore Saguaro cacti; they’re all flowering yucca cacti now and lots of them. Wonder what causes such an abrupt change in species?

—- My goodness! Out here in the desert type landscape, I’m seeing actual trees. Miles, literally, of them all planted in nice even ongoing forever rows. This section is very mature and that section is quite immature. For sure it’s not an citrus grove like I’m used to seeing. No leaves – It’s winter. I finally decide they are nut trees and settle on pecans as the likely culprit. A quick google this evening shows a number of pecan growers in that area. And here I thought I was in New Mexico as opposed to GA.

—- Another time occupier. When crossing dry gulch/wash overpasses, it’s not unusual to see gravel or more likely dirt 2 lane roads that stretch to nowhere in the distance. Wonder where those go? Do they lead to someone leading their life at the end of the trail? Wonder how they live? What do they do here in the desert? What might it cost to live that lifestyle and even if and probably minimal, where do they get the money?

—- What’s that in the distance? It’s so far away. Am I really seeing what I think I’m seeing? I think so.


Google this evening provided the answer and a far better picture

I spent 5 weeks quarantining in Marineland while on the boat whilst figuring out what to make of and how to handle this Covid thing. Then I’ve spent months on the road trying to play dodgeball with this spikey round thing and now I drive thru the desert and see even inanimate objects downed by Chinese import.

2021!

I hope this first night of 2021 is a better one than the last night of 2020. It was a cold one and I was ‘camped’ in a truck stop parking lot; ordinarily no big deal. But during the night my generator, while it kept running, stopped charging my house batteries. About 3 am I awoke with interior temp at 59 degrees and not enough battery power to run either the heat pumps. I started the diesel which is in the coach’s rear to charge the batteries and turned on the diesel ‘mid ships’ AquaHot to provide and maintain some heat. So I’ve got a diesel running and exhausting below/behind my bedroom and a diesel boiler exhausting right in front of my bedroom slide. So now warm enough, I start to have my eyes get heavy only to get concerned if there’s enough little breeze to keep the exhaust outside and not infiltrate my bedroom. Not aware enough to remember I have a functioning carbon monoxide detector about 2 or 3 feet away. Am I sleepy 💤 or am I passing out, that’s the question that kept me coming back to an awake state till 5:30ish. I haven’t investigated yet, too cold, but believe I probably tripped a breaker or relay at the genny. Tonight hooked up to real 50 amp power in a campground.

An auspicious New Year start! My boat is sold as of today. It’s been under contract for some weeks subject to the buyers getting to Jacksonville to see it, subject to it being hauled onto dry ground for a thorough inside and out marine surveyor’s inspection and subject to sea trials and lab analysis of the oil and fluids of the various engines, motor and transmissions. All has been completed and the buyer has signed an acceptance so it’s a done deal awaiting closing paperwork in the next couple of weeks. It is my understanding that the buyers have done their research on the Last Resort name, found this blog and have read it. If so I’m pleased that they had the fortitude to wade thru my meanderings. In the event they still read the blog, let me just say to them –

“You’ve purchased a fine vessel that will take you wherever you want to go in fine style and in exceptional comfort! Congratulations and I hope you have as great a time as I had taking care of this bucket list item.”

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4 thoughts on “113. Welcome 2021!”

  1. Congratulations on selling that boat. You know the saying about the two greatest days in a boat owners life. Well today is one of those days although my guess is that like me, you really enjoyed your boats and selling them was never because they were a problem.
    Good luck on your travels to TX.

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    1. Would like to have kept it. But my crew was gracious enough to donate a year, which expanded to 15 mo and for which I was immensely grateful. But it was time, especially with the uncertainty of COVID back in March/April, and I’m just a bit too old to single hand it. Like watching your sailing vids.

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  2. Happy New Year!

    My wife Helen and I are buying Last Resort. Please know that she will be cherished and well looked after! We are very excited!

    When we first requested information from the broker, little did I know I’d find this blog. Not that the documentation was lacking – this is BY FAR the most well documented boat we have seen, but reading your adventure sealed it for me.

    You are a gifted writer, good photographer and a very interesting person. After staying up 2 nights in a row till very late reading, we made an offer the next day. I feel like I have gotten to know you as well as the boat, sharing your journey on Last Resort.

    Hopefully we will be able to talk at some point. We’re going to have lots of questions, and I’d really enjoy meeting you.

    Be well……..Brian & Helen

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    1. How nice! Great to ‘meet’ you! IMO you’re right to be excited. I don’t know if you took the helm at sea trial or not but you are going to love a part of the boat you generally don’t see. The massive props. They take a large bite in the water, both fwd and rev. This is/was my sixth and largest boat I’ve had and those props make the boat handle better than any other I’ve had or piloted. In normal conditions you can literally turn on the pivot point with nothing but nudging the trannies. You can dependably put the boat within an inch of where you want.

      I’m excited for you. Wishing I were younger.
      Al

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