Monday, February 22, 2010

Joshua Tree

We decided to take advantage of the warm weather and President's Day holiday last week by hopping into Thin Mint and venturing out to the desert. Our first instinct was to camp at the Salton Sea, just west of Anza-Borrego Desert, but upon arriving, we realized how lame the sea could be and headed north to Joshua Tree.  We entered the park from the southern edge...
First stop: Cottonwood Spring.

Then we continued on through the park,
stopping here and there to take in the scenery...

We set up camp at Jumbo Rocks...

And went for a short hike before sunset...

Then we cooked up some grub:
Panang Curry with Mock Duck

We spent the night watching shooting stars
 and headed north again in the morning.
We detoured south for a bit to check out
Keys View (Elev: 5185 ft.)

Then we headed home again...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chillin' Like Dylan

I guess I've mentioned our reefer (aka refrigerator) a time or two in one posting or another.  Mo-C came equipped with a reefer/icebox which we've used from time to time.  The problem with it was... well, let's be honest - there was more than one problem.  First, it was wasting energy.  Ben suspected it needed a freon charge because after a couple days of use, the fan would remain on 24/7.  We considered fixing the problem, but that's where the other problem came into play: Location. It is situated beneath the only counter space available in our galley.  Besides that, it is very difficult to open and, because of its depth, even harder to find stuff in. This means every time we open it, we're in a race against the clock to find whatever we need without wasting precious energy.  It's a race we'd never win.

Ben did some research and came up with the Engel MT35 Fridge/Freezer (pictured above).  It uses between 0.7 and 2.5 amps (even at start-up) and we placed it where we can easily open it, find what we're looking for and close it without wasting energy.  He hooked it up yesterday afternoon before the sun went down and we had solid ice cubes in it when we checked at 7:30 this morning!  And this new addition frees up our old icebox for much-needed dry storage in the galley. 

The Fridge/Freezer only works as one or the other, so we'll use it as a freezer and keep the cooler for refrigeration. Now that we have ice on-demand, we can rotate ice packs from freezer to cooler each day to maintain a cold cooler for refrigeration.

Oh, the money we'll save not having to buy ice every other day and waste food that's gone bad from lack of refrigeration!
Now... I've gotta make a trip to the store to stock up on some frozen foods and ice cream!...

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Pirate's Boo-tea

Good organization is one of the most important elements of living aboard.  With limited space, we need to make good use of every cubic inch, but of equal importance, everything must appear neat and orderly or it can drive a person crazy.  (Or at least it can drive me crazy.)  Feng shui is the only way. 

Last week, I created this hanging box to organize my teas.  Previously, they were all tossed into a hammock (shown in the upper right corner of the photo to right), which not only looked cluttered but was also difficult to reach into. 

My new box is a simple planter box with holes drilled into the ends for 1/2" sisal twine hanging lines. In the future, I'll add a couple lines to the bottom to keep it from swinging while we sail. It looks much better than the hammock and is a lot easier to reach and find what I'm looking for.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rainy Day Woman

One of the first things I invested in after we moved onto Mother Culture was foul weather gear (aka "Foulies").  There is nothing more uncomfortable than taking a seat in a soaking wet dinghy with your street clothes on.  So after our first rain storm of 2008, I saved up my duckets and bought this snazzy red suit.  It serves two purposes really:  1) It keeps me dry.  2) If I fall in the water (and am able to stay afloat long enough wrapped in this ridiculous Santa Claus suit) someone is sure to spot me and save me.  Luckily, I'm not much bothered by looking like a jackass. 

The most important accessory to my outfit are my knee high rubber boots.  These boots are important for two reasons: 1) Girls can never have too many pairs of shoes. 2) These boots enable me to stand in puddles of water 12 inches deep (aka "my dinghy after a rain storm").  My neighbor Ray informed me of an unfortunate truth about these boots, however:  if you fall into the water while wearing them, they fill up with water and act as an anchor, dragging you down.  [Note to Self: Never, NEVER fall into the water wearing these boots.]

This here is our Thirsty-Mate.  Actually, it now belongs to the thief who stole it from us.  (Anyone who knows about the mooring field knows that people will steal anything that isn't locked down. And unfortunately, we didn't lock this one down.)  Upon first glance, and based on the name of course, you might suspect this little device is used for sailor drinking games.  But that isn't so.  This is a nifty device used to pump water out of dinghies.  Oh, how I miss the Thirsty-Mate!  Here you can see me hard at work in my dinghy, wearing my boots, pumping the water out with my Thirsty-Mate.   

Sometimes it happens that I'm caught on land when the rain starts.  To minimize the possibility of getting soaked in situations like these, I keep a pair of Frogg Toggs in my car.  My mother bought Ben and I each a pair for Christmas a couple years back.  I can't tell you the number of times I've outsmarted the rain by having these in my car. 
So, to the Rain I repeat some very wise words I heard once upon a time in Texas or Tennessee: "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."