There wasn't much new on Orion's checklist – another coat of Cetol on the wood, wax the hull, wax the upper deck, clean and polish the enclosure glass, clean the interior, top off the batteries with water, and update the inventory. It was just a matter of getting it done. And there was nothing like a deadline to make that happen. It's always ironic that she starts to look the best just before we leave her. In addition to prettying her up, we also had Jake dive on the boat to clean the hull and change the zinc. For added protection against galvanic corrosion, Dave replaced one of the 2 hanging zincs that was almost gone with one that was much heavier. That should last a while, especially since we unplug Orion for most of the time we're not there. The only time she is plugged in is if it is expected to get really cold. Then we run some work lights that will give it a little heat to raise the temperature above freezing.
The final tasks waited until our last couple of days. We removed the canvas enclosure and stowed it, winterized the water, A/C and head, and packed up our stuff that would make the transition to Orion Jr. By late Friday, the 7th, we were ready to walk down the dock at Joy's for the last time in a while.
The truck and trailer needed some attention before we headed out as well. Dave had been considering the possibility of getting a back-up camera ever since we hooked up the trailer for the first time back in the Spring. He finally decided on one for the truck, which he purchased in 3 components: the monitor, a wireless transmitter / receiver pair and a camera. The camera was designed to mount over the license plate, with a wire that ran to the wireless transmitter. Dave positioned this under the bedliner on the side of the truck bed. (Our original choice was on the inside of the tailgate, but Steve quickly pointed out this was very likely to get stepped on. Oops.)
But Dave didn't want to stop there.
While Cathy's hand motions are not obsolete, Dave is starting to rely more and more on his new set of "eyes".
Food and Fellowship
Between chores, we made time for some visits with friends and family, especially since we wouldn't be seeing our Hampton neighbors for several months once we hit the road. Dave's parents and sister were traveling to Richmond on the spur of the moment, and we met them in Richmond for a few hours. Instead of handing out candy on Halloween, we met Steve and Sue for dinner at a Tucano's, a Brazilian steakhouse in Newport News. And our last night in Hampton, we spent at Steve's roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a roaring bonfire. As the temperatures plunged, it started increasing our motivation to get to warmer climes, countering our regret to be saying goodbye for so long.
As usual, by late October, we weren't the only cruisers sitting in Hampton preparing to go south. Although most of our neighbors were making the trip by boat. This was the 2nd year of Hampton's Snowbird Rendezvous, which filled the Public Piers and the anchorage for almost a week before they started their trek. It was followed a couple of weeks later by Sail Magazine's first ICW Rally, which was using Hampton as its starting point. In one the first blog posts, Wally Moran took a picture of some of the participants, which just happened to have Orion sitting in the background. However, you had to know that that green canvas in the far left of the picture across the water was Orion or you would probably (definitely) have missed it. Then the Salty Dawg Rally (which takes off on an outside run), left a couple of days later. We were getting the message.
So, on Saturday, November 8th, we hooked up the trailer and pulled out of Steve's yard. With a stop in Emporia to see Bonnie and Taylor, we headed on down I-95. Before pulling out of Emporia's truck stop, we had a chance to weigh the truck and trailer again. You may recall, we had been stripping all unnecessary weight off the boat after our last weigh-in on our trip back from the Erie Canal. With the mast, boom, sails, dinghy, gin pole, etc back in place, it was going to be a toss-up. Did we get her under the limit? As we waited to get the result from the cashier at the truck stop, there might have been just the faintest of drum rolls . . .
And the number was: 6960. 65 lbs under the trailer's capacity. Whew! We just made it.
Let's hit the road.