Thursday, September 27, 2012

Be carefull what you set out to do... It might just happen.

After months, years, days, innumerable sleepless nights, we're finally facing the repercussions of this crazy plan we hatched oh so long ago.

We are in Ensenada now, living on Traveler full time. No turning back.  The little Honda trucked all that gear and personal belongings all the way from Seattle to the Cruiseport Marina in Ensenada Mexico.  And now the little Honda sits, all dusty from the trip.  And all that stuff is stowed on board.  We've been here a few days, pretty busy days, but we're finally starting to acclimatize to the pace of life here.  Of course the weather is lovely.

Yesterday I removed the four lower main mast stays and today we spent the day traveling back across the border to San Diego to take them to rigger ED at Downwind Marine.  It was his birthday.  Happy birthday Ed.  Now we are arranging for various visits from friends and relatives and we might have a couch surfer or two joining us here.  My ulterior motive is to find someone to climb up the mast and help me remove that rigging.  We can only do so much at a time or the stick will fall over. 

So drop us a line and we will commiserate with you and send good cheers your way. We are on with a user name of swvoltz  or cbunyer.

Love you...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marina Del Ray

Punching out the miles, pushing the little Honda south following the I-5 Corridor through the northern California hills then down to the endless hot plain of the Central Valley (the nation's salad bowl) and finally popping out into the LA basin.  We're in the Marina Del Ray area now staying tonight at Marco and Naida's house.  The cool breeze is wafting through the house and I'm catching up on the internet duties while Connie stretches on the cool wood floor. 

That little guy you see sitting in the cabinet helping us drink the ballena (translates as "whale") of Pacifico is our dear friend Monkey. He's been a fixture in our house since we've been together and was with Connie many years before that. Wise, crafty, and very loving, Monkey encouraged us to jump off this cliff and head to Mexican waters.  Right now he is our car mascot.  Soon to be our boat mascot. Expect to see more of him in the future.  

Breath in... breath out
Drink in, breath out.
 Tomorrow we drive to then through San Diego then down to San Ysidro and across the border into Tijuana.  Then south about an hour to Ensenada and we'll be reunited with our beloved Traveler.

She will be covered in grit, stuffy inside, with splintering decks, and faded canvas.  Oh Traveler, we'll not be neglecting you further.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fare thee well

It's started. It's done. Saturday night Ocho Pies played their last gig and today, the first day of fall, the equinox,(how appropriate) we are gone from Seattle.  We're writing this at the kitchen table with Nancy and Debbie in Ashland Oregon.  Almost in California. Not wanting to stay in hotels on the road trip from Seattle to Ensenada we opted to couch surf our way down the coast.  See:  Couch Surfing

But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Saturday night the group of musicians that Connie has been performing with for the last 18 years, Ocho Pies, had their last gig.  It was a bitter sweet occasion.  We were at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park in Seattle.  Many of our Seattle friends showed up for the show.  Paul, Michael, and Steven drove up from Olympia bringing guitar, drums, and bass.  Connie had her accordion, melodica, and various percussion instruments.  Good energy but there was some sadness as they had played together for so long and had so many good memories.  A great show and memorable.

There were tears.

Then the next Monday was Scott's last day at work. Can you believe, giving up a perfectly good job to go gallivanting off to Mexico?  With help from our good friends Lindor and Daneen we emptied our little apartment with trips to Salvation Army.  And everyone cleaned and packed.  By Wednesday we were out of the apartment and Jeremy gave us our deposit back ( Thank you!) and we went to the Dekker's for the night.  Good times there with a rest day on Thursday then early Friday, today, the first day of fall, we are finally on the road.  Goodbye Seattle.

1341 Miles later we'll be in Ensenada trying to figure out where to put all that crap we brought in the car.  All those books we could not leave behind, all those clothes we won't need, and all those tools that will eventually rust and be tossed overboard.

Saturday night we're in the Bay area, crashing with generous (ex) relatives, then Sunday at Marco and Naida's in Santa Monica and then it's across the border to Tijuana and on to Ensenada. Heading south, getting warm, finding the sun.  When we left Seattle it was 58 degrees and misting rain.... appropriate.

Thank you, thank you, to everyone who helped us get this far by giving us encouragement, supporting our decision to bug out, buying all our junk, and contributing to this adventure. We hope to pay back the favor when friends come down to visit us in warm, blue waters.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My last Scone day

Today, as usual, I took the bus to work, walked from downtown Seattle up to Harborview Medical Center and, because it was Thursday, I went directly to the hospital cafeteria to get a scone.  Every Thursday morning they cook up scones fresh and hot.  My usual habit for the last almost three years is to stop in and get a fresh scone and take it back to my desk three blocks away.

The last scone.
And so this morning I found myself retracing those steps. Into the ER entrance then around the corner to the stairs to the basement, down the hospital hall and around the corner into the subterranean main cafeteria for the hospital.  Met a few people along the way and we said hello. Got the scone and the jam and paid my $2.24 to the cashier who I'm on first name basis with. Most places I go in the hospital are places I've worked, putting in a workstation or printer or helping out somebody or another.  I helped connect the menu screens near the food line in the cafeteria and set up all the registers for the cashiers.  Been there dozens and dozens of times and know almost everyone.

Walked through the tunnel and the automatic doors and used my card swipe to gain access to the hallway outside of the Maleng building surgery where I could glimpse briefly the electronic schedule board full of operations lined up for the day.  People in blue everywhere. Gurneys in the hallway and the small of antiseptic.  Elevator up to floor one and then exit through a back hallway that dumped me out on 10th st.  Walked the few blocks to my building, passing people walking their dogs or hurrying to work. Past the mental health folks loitering on the sidewalks, smoking and staring at the ground.  Then into my building and swiping the card again to access the fourth floor.  Walking into my office, saying hello to the gang I work with then settling down to open email and eat that still warm scone.  What a nice life.

I'm gonna miss that place, for sure.  And I'll miss the people I work with and work for.

Today at noon we went to a farewell lunch and stuffed ourselves with Mexican food.  As normal, the manager at Tacos Guaymas brought around a plate of fried jalapeno peppers and Jonathan, Bill, David, Francine, Kevin, and Brett displayed their machismo by sweating their way through the devil fruit. As we walked up Broadway I'm thinking this is the last time I'll have the chili colorado wet burrito there and the last time I'll walk up Broadway with those set of friends.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Moving forward, moving on, sometimes means moving south

 It was refreshing watching the Democratic national convention this week. It gave me some hope that things might some day get a little easier for those of us who are not rich.

In the meantime, many folks are counting their limited funds and discovering that they can live a much nicer life by heading south of the border.  Top retirement countries are now Panama, Costa Rica, Belize, Uruguay, Nicaragua, and our favorite... Mexico. These countries have excellent medical plans, much cheaper than in the U.S. and the cost of living so very reasonable.  For Connie and I, we could almost, but not quite, retire in the U.S. And with that, we'd be living in a very small, cheap apartment pinching pennies to get by. Forget about having health insurance.  COBRA health insurance would cost us $1,056.69 a month! 

We know of some folks who are either heading south now or planning on it in the near future.

View from Leslie's house under construction.
Leslie is moving to Mexico with her husband Graham. They sold their property here in Seattle and are building a small waterfront home on Isla Mujeres on the Mexican Caribbean. No these are not 80 year old retirees but mid age normal people who are ready to step off the treadmill and lead a relaxed life.

Keith and Lisa plan to move to Costa Rica where they can live at half the price as in Seattle. They have been visiting Costa Rica during our winter for a few years now, trying to narrow down where they'd like to settle. Moving south can sometime make the difference between being able to stop work and not. 

Another friend who lives on a small fixed income is barely making it here in Seattle but in Mexico, she can be comfortable, less stressed, and get better health care.  She's headed south too.

So when people ask us, "How can you afford to sail away?" I just tell them that we don't really have much money so we're going to a place where we don't need much money.  These last few months feel really good as we divest ourselves of our belongings.  Along with belongings we are ridding ourselves of debt and monthly payments. Imagine no mortgage or rent, no utility bills, no cell phone charges, no car insurance, no netfilx, no magazine subscriptions, no gasoline for the gas guzzler.  Give up all that stuff and suddenly your meager funds swell to proportions capable of sustaining an active, healthy lifestyle.  At least that's the plan.....  Stan

Just slip out the back, Jack, make a new plan, Stan
Don't need to be coy, Roy, just listen to me
Hop on the bus, Gus, don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free 

Two weeks and counting and we'll be headed south.