One of our summer tasks every year is to get our routine check-ups. Although we had both seen the ophthalmologist in Hampton, our dentist is in Rochester NY and our doctor in Reston VA. So that gives us a good excuse to hit the road and visit with family and friends in both of those places. (Although, we don’t have to have the excuse just to visit.)
Adam’s illness delayed us a day, but we were still able to head north to see Dave’s family over Labor Day weekend, stopping first at his sister’s in Bethlehem PA. After spending a day with her, we joined Dave’s parents and his sister Wendy in Rochester for a wonderful Labor Day picnic. Sitting outside in the courtyard after the picnic, we realized that it had been a few months, since we had wanted to spend this much time outside. The temperatures and humidity were mild, a beautiful late summer day in Rochester, but nothing like summer in Hampton Roads. After the dentist gave us a good review on our teeth, we headed back south. One check-up down; one to go.
Our next trip was to northern VA and our annual physicals. We usually try to be in our best shape when we get our check-up. This year, we found a new website that helped us reach our weight targets, called MyFitnessPal. It did the trick since we both came in under last year’s numbers. We enjoy our trip to Reston each year, which allows us to visit with our friend, Cookie in our old neighborhood, and this year we also got to share a meal with our former next-door neighbor and wannabe cruiser, Joe. This trip was our first opportunity to try the Megabus. The bus leaves from the Hampton Transit Center, which is walking distance from us and drops us off at Union Station, which is a Metro stop. For $22 total, we were both able to make a roundtrip to DC. It’s hard to beat that.
Our last trip was south to NC to visit Cathy’s mom. We picked up our youngest grandson Troy, who joined us for the visit. (When we picked him up at school, he was carrying a stuffed M&M man that he had won at school, so we had two kids buckled into the back seat). We enjoyed the visit with Cathy’s mom and sister Chris, and Troy enjoyed a trip to the SciWorks museum nearby with Grandpa Dave.
We did make a shorter trip to Richmond, while Adam was still recovering from his illness to entertain the kids for a day and give Adam and Christina some rest. We spent the day at the Science Museum of Virginia, which was free with our membership to the ASTC. It is in the restored train station downtown Richmond, and has a lot of hands-on activities that kept all three kids engaged. Even Serenity at 2 ½ had a good time.
We managed to arrive back in Hampton from our Rochester trip just in time for Hampton’s Bay Days Festival, the first weekend of September. We enjoyed the festival and even won a few prizes. As usual, we were close to the fireworks. However, this year, a front moved through just before the show started. It started to rain and the wind shifted to the North, putting Orion and the other boats at Joy’s Marina now downwind from the show. The rain was a good thing and a bad thing. The bad thing was that it forced the embers and ash down to the water level sooner, causing a live ember to land on our bimini. The good thing was that the canvas was so wet, it didn’t do any damage. When the sun came up the next morning, we were surprised at how much scrubbing it took to get the ash off. After a few phone calls (the responsible Bay Days staff was not helpful), we found the key to removing it -- a $1 bottle of spray bathroom tile cleaner.
Dave continues to join Steve on Bay Dreamer for race night, but no trophies are coming their way yet. And then there are mini-dramas in the marina, such as the boat whose prop fell off, with the ensuing leak burning out her bilge pump. With so much water coming in, she was at risk of sinking at the dock. Dave helped with the salvage operation, which involved a tow by some local crabbers to a boat ramp so it could be loaded onto a trailer for repairs on shore. Cathy’s still working at the canvas shop. She’s getting better and getting some tips about making new cushions for Jr.
Dave’s pride and joy on Orion is her Yanmar engine. He has taken meticulous care of it and received countless compliments on its condition. Although Orion hasn’t moved in a year, Dave routinely starts the engine and runs it in gear to keep the engine lubricated and help keep the prop from fouling. The engine always starts smoothly and runs well. So, we thought nothing of it when we prepared to start the engine in preparation for moving Orion to a different slip in the marina. Having done one of our routine engine runs only a couple of days earlier, we were floored when instead it shook violently and sent black smoke out the exhaust. We shut the engine down to take stock.
Dave suspected the injectors were the source of the problem, so he removed the compression from each one, discovering that when he did this for injector # 1, it made no difference. He had to wait for some parts, but soon after they arrived, he had the new injector installed and the engine sounded much better, but was now producing white smoke. Further discussions brought the focus now to the fuel and a need for injector cleaner. Putting the cleaner directly into the fuel filters, he started the engine and looked for the smoke to clear, which it did. He slowly raised the rpm’s to 1500, then 2000. Each time the smoke cleared up. It was looking good. However, once he reached 2400 rpm, a metal-on-metal sound in the engine caused him to kill the engine quickly.
This wasn’t good.
A visit from a local mechanic didn’t take long to confirm what Dave was beginning to fear. The cylinder was damaged and would need to be re-built. Wow! The engine only had 3300 hours and Yanmar diesels are supposed to run for thousands of hours without a problem. At any rate, Dave dug into the options for rebuilding the engine or installing an already re-built or brand new engine. He finally settled on having our engine re-built, since we know how well it has been maintained up to now. With another engine, we won’t know its history as well. Also, the local mechanic is going to pull the engine out of Orion while she sits in her slip at the dock and then plans to re-build it over the winter. Once the job is done, Orion will have an engine with zero engine hours, making her much more marketable. So, there is a silver lining.
And now we have one less system to winterize.
Stop and See Us
We won’t likely be heading south (by car) until around the first of November. If you’re passing through Hampton on your way south, we are just across from the Public Piers, so give us a call if you happen to be staying in Hampton on your travels south. Fair winds.