After leaving Kissimmee, we made our way to Daytona to meet Blake and have him look at the outboards. Last April, Blake had wired Orion Jr's Nissan outboard for a tachometer. Over this winter, Dave had built the mount for the tachometer and wired it into engine. However, we couldn't get anything to register on the tach. Blake found the original sensor had been installed incorrectly. Once fixed, the tach worked great. We look forward to using this more next season, since it helps us control our fuel consumption.
While Blake had the outboards, he greased the lower units on both as well. All set for next season.
As we were delivering the outboards to Blake, the phone rang. It was George and Gail, our friends who live in Leland, NC. However, they weren't in NC, they were just south of Daytona on the their way home. Could we meet somewhere? Sure! Cathy chose the one place she knew that we were both familiar with: Angell and Phelps Chocolate factory. We took a picture to torment Fred and then proceeded down the street to an excellent meal at Stavros, before saying goodbye.
With the outboards done, we made another short hop north to St. Augustine. Miami and Shelly were on a mooring there, and we met them to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We took a tour of the San Sebastian winery, had some dinner in town and took a trip out to the boat before heading back to our hotel. The next morning we took another detour to Green Cove Springs to pick up our mail – in person this time – from our mail-forwarding service, St. Brendan's Isle. Thankfully, there were no unpleasant surprises in this packet
Over the next couple of days, we made progress north through Georgia and South Carolina, at which point we learned that Cathy's family was having an impromptu gathering in Winston-Salem. Her niece, Ann, who will shortly be leaving for a 2-year stay in South Korea, was coming to visit along with her 2 little ones, which included a 3-week old (a very little one). We wanted to take advantage of what could be the last chance to see them for a very long time.
Since we didn't want to haul the trailer that far out of our way, we worked to find a place to park the boat for a few days around Raleigh. What we learned was that Raleigh was not the most trailer-friendly location. We called hotels, truck stops, marinas, etc. We thought we had hit the jackpot, when a truckstop just south of Raleigh said we could leave the boat there. After getting the OK from the assistant manager, we parked and secured the trailer. Just as we were about to leave, the manager came in and told us we couldn't leave it. Wow! We called endless numbers of hotels and visited 2 different ones before finding a Days Inn near Duke in Durham that would let us park the trailer for 3 nights and had the room for us to maneuver it. (One hotel suggested we hook the trailer up by backing over a curb). When we pulled in at the end of what had become a long day, we were pleasantly surprised by how accommodating the staff was and felt good about where the trailer would sit for the next few days. And the hotel itself was the nicest one we'd found all the way from Marathon north. With Jr secure, we were free to visit the family without worrying. After enjoying some NC BBQ at nearby Bullocks, we took a drive through Duke University, giving Cathy a nostalgic look at her alma mater.
We accepted an invitation to spend Mother's Day with our daughter's family in Jarratt. That extended into a couple more days, which gave us time to visit and to help with some bigger projects. One of the more unusual ones was helping capture a swarm of bees to add to the couple of beehives that Bonnie and Troy are currently cultivating. Dave joined Troy on this one.
We were grateful to Steve to have a place to park the trailer in his yard once again. With the soaring temperatures, we took little time to secure Orion Jr, and quickly made our way to Orion. A storm was on its way, so we made quick work of some set-up tasks: scrubbing the deck, raising the canvas, flushing the starboard water tank, turning on the refrigeration, and dumping Cathy's phone in the Hampton River. Yes. You got that right. Despite successfully getting on and off a small boat from a dinghy all winter long with her phone in her pocket, Cathy waited until she was on a boat tied to a dock to send it overboard. Between that and some colds we acquired, it wasn't the best start to our stay. On the other hand, things could only get better, right?
With the unexpected stop in NC, we had missed an opportunity to see our son's family on the way to Hampton, so we made our way there the following weekend, to spend some time and celebrate some birthdays. It was a great weekend, so we grilled out and Grandma even joined the kids on the trampoline, although she didn't stay too long.