Last month I was in town and cleaned any non-essential things out of my truck in anticipation of quitting. At the time, the gasket material for my portlights had come in, so I got a small boat project done too. Last week, I indeed ended my Over-The-Road driving career.
The company I had been driving for bought me a bus ticket home after I dropped my truck off at the company headquarters. It was late on a Wednesday when I got back to Fort Pierce. The city bus was shut down for the evening, so I grabbed a taxi to the marina. The cupboards were pretty bare aboard Emma and I was too tired to walk a mile to the grocery. The rain started almost as soon as I was settled. The first couple days I was at the marina it rained and rained. This helped me identify that a few of the leaks I had blamed on the old gaskets were actually coming in around the ports.
The next morning, still raining, I went through a few cans in the galley and chose Clam Chowder for breakfast. By midday, the sun had peaked out and I walked up to the store. Something like normal life was making a start.
I've found a pretty ideal part-time job -- good pay and 3 days a week, but 30 miles away.
First, however, I am spending an extra long weekend in Annapolis learning about sail repair and rigging. The new job wants me to start as soon as I get back. So, I spent my first couple days as a local resident shopping for a car. This entailed a four mile round trip walking into town on Friday and then a 2 mile walk back on Saturday morning to buy a car with my debit card. And(!) I had planned on never having another vehicle.
After securing a car, I wanted to seal up my ports before I left town. With a little more than two days to spend, I tore all 14 bronze ports out in the main cabin. The cabin walls were in good shape despite the leaks. I cleaned up the surfaces inside and out; and then set out to clean up the ports themselves. Old caulk and wood fiber came off with relative ease. It was the drips and slops from careless interior painting that caused the most work, but I managed to maintain most of the wonderful patina of the 45 year old bronze beauties.
When I got ready to re-install the ports on the morning of my last day in town, I discovered that my caulk was solid in the tubes. The label said “do not store above 80 degrees.” Apparently, a year inside a locked boat in Florida was too much. I ran to the boat store; and the post office on a side errand. It’s just my luck that right after pledging to get back to ‘plant-based’, I discovered the closest USPS counter inside a restaurant that makes a fabulously decadent Cafe Con Leche!
Just after 4:00p, I was finished with the ports and wandered over to the marina office. Some special black caulk, for my next project, had arrived. Also, I wanted to let them know my ‘new’ car would be hanging around for a week without me. Back at the boat, I removed the rattling shade tarp and called the taxi again.
This time, however, my little local taxi guy was not available. I called Yellow Cab and they have given up on Fort Pierce and shut down. So, I schlepped my heavy duffel and book bag a mile to the city bus. I just missed the 5:30p bus. In fact, I saw him diappear down Jaunita Avenue. As I sat there, in the sun, waiting on the 6:30 bus, I realized that this later bus was only going to get me to the Central Transit Station before the buses quit running. So, lord help my ex-taxi soul, I installed Lyft on my phone and had a ride in 10 minutes. Charmaine took me out to the Motel 6 where I had a wonderful hot shower and slept like a mummy in a king-sized bed the night before I traveled.
I hiked with the same duffel from the motel over to the Love’s Truckstop where Greyhound picks up. All went well, up through Jacksonville, then Savannah but came to a screeching halt in Fayetteville, NC. There we spent 8 hours locked in limbo by a missing driver. It was a good test of patience and equanimity, but in the end Greyhound did me right. This evening I’ll get to Baltimore and then they’ll send me in a taxi to Annapolis. If all those T’s get crossed, I’ll make it to the start of my seminar tomorrow.
I am attending a couple seminars put on by Andy and Mia of 59 North Sailing. One is on sail repair and the other is on rigging -- the next big project after I install the diesel engine. Life is good. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.