Saturday, March 24, 2012
To the States and Back
Just a few days after arriving back in La Cruz, we made our final trip to the States before our South Pacific crossing. We timed it so as to be in Los Angeles to celebrate Mark’s mom’s 84th birthday. Unfortunately, travel was complicated by the need to fly first to Seattle for doctor’s appointments. This did give us the opportunity though to see Anne’s parents, our good friend Abbe (who generously let us stay at her house) and make the usual runs to all of the fine marine stores in the area. As you can imagine, we’d been compiling quite a list for this last, pre-passage shopping run. The travel coincided with the President’s holiday weekend so, with flights between Seattle and Los Angeles looking impossible for our retiree standby travel, we had to rent a car and drive to Portland where we managed to get on a flight to Burbank, arriving just in time for the birthday party. The next morning, it was off to LAX early to catch a fight to Idaho, via Portland. Whew...even reading this makes us tired! All went well though and we arrived in Boise by mid afternoon where we picked-up our car that had been driven down from McCall by a friend who was flying out. By early evening, we opening up our house, turning up the heat and settling in.
Our time at home was hectic with trying to see our many good friends, dental appointments, doing taxes (yuck) and making sure our house was still standing. The weather was quite a change from what we’ve grown accustomed to in Mexico and we even awoke to a foot of new powder snow one morning. Unfortunately, with our crazy schedule, we couldn’t take time to enjoy the excellent ski conditions.
We were home in McCall for just four days before flying back to Los Angeles. The three days spent there with Mark’s family seemed to fly by and included provision shopping for our favorite treats at Trader Joe’s, Costco, and various other places. We tried to anticipate what cravings we’d be having in some of the remote areas we planned to visit where food is scarce and very expensive. We are worried less about sailing safely across the largest ocean in the world than we are about running out of peanut M&Ms on some tropical atoll. When Mark’s sister Kim dropped us off to catch the bus to LAX for our flight back to Puerto Vallarta, we were dragging six enormous duffel bags totaling over 300 pounds and four additional, carry-on bags. Thank goodness our airline benefits still entitle us to check bags for free.
Our return to wonderful La Cruz felt like a home coming as we lugged our bags down the dock and spent an hour trying to stow our new goodies aboard “Blue Rodeo” before rushing off to dinner with friends. The next day, those signed-up for the Pacific crossing (known as the Pacific Puddle Jump or PPJ for short) were scheduled for a meet and greet kick-off party at the Puerto Vallarta Yacht Club. Andy Turpin, from the sailing magazine Latitude 38, was there to meet and interview this years jumpers. It was a fun event and gave us an opportunity to get to know more of the interesting folks that we’d be seeing as we migrated across the ocean. Former “Puddle Jumpers” were on hand to share advice and information. In fact, many were organizing a series of weekly seminars to help our group gather information about the crossing. At a later seminar, we got to know many of the people who made the trip in 2002 and had returned to Puerto Vallarta for a ten year reunion. What a great group of folks! We found ourselves envious that they had such a cohesive group that still got together after all these years. Some of them continued around the world while others sold their boats and are now land bound. They had wonderful stories to tell and all, without exception, said it was the most incredible experience of their lives.
Thursday evenings, this year’s Puddle Jumpers who are in La Cruz are meeting on the dock for drinks and pot luck appetizers and to get to know each other and exchange information about the trip. There is quite a variety of people of different ages and backgrounds sailing all sorts of boats. Many have a variety of plans with some continuing this season to New Zealand or Australia and some going north to the Marshall Islands to escape the hurricane season in November. A few will be staying around Tonga and hoping that no serious storms head that direction. Everyone has some sort of a plan but all agree that cruisers’ plans are written in sand and reserve the right to change our minds at any time. We think that this is one of the things that makes this adventurous activity so special.