Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Gerald Howard Stark 1951-2008

Today we remember our fallen soldiers, sailors, Airmen and Marines. For me today is especially poignant.
From Memorial Day 2009
This past July 4th my younger brother Gerald died. Gerald was a Vietnam Veteran with a service connected disability. He was part of a fire team that battled a blaze in the hold of his ship. They fought the fire for over 8 hours, several hours after the air masks were rendered ineffective. He suffered for the past several years with COPD, unable to walk across a room without being winded. He was very active in the VFW and never wavered in his love of God, family and country. Everyday and today especially, I salute Gerald and all the other Veterans who have died serving their country.

Herb Stark USMC 1961-1965.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Visit to Wefing's Marine I

As most of you know our current boat is a SeaDoo Challenger. While it is a very nice boat and very fast, it is not quite the best boat for us at this time. We were turned on to a C-Dory by our friend Jim who has a 25 Cruiser and lives here in Port Isabel.
From Visit to Wefing's Marine
So we joined the C-Brats, a discussion forum for C-Dory owners and wannabees. In the meantime, we found out about the Ranger Tugs. They are neat diesel powered boats with an enclosed cabin. They are extremely economical to run which appeals to Wilma.
From Visit to Wefing's Marine

We kept hearing really good reports from a dealer in Eastpoint FL, Wefing's Marine. Wefing's is a dealer for both C-dory and Ranger Tugs. The owner Marc and I started some email conversations and soon we were planning a trip to Apalachicola for sometime in the future. We had a trip to Louisiana planned for early May and thought we would continue on to the Gulf Coast after Louisiana. Due to some scheduling problems, we were not able to make the Louisiana trip, but decided to go ahead to the Florida Gulf coast anyway.

We loaded up the motorhome and headed North planning to take three days to travel to Apalachicola. The first day we made it to Orange, Texas. A little farther than we ususally like to travel in a day. But we wanted to be on the other sided of Houston to start the next day. We fueled up and spent the night at the Flying J.

We crossed into Louisiana and soon came to Rayne where our good friends Karl and Emily live. We called them and they came out to meet us at the Frog City Truck Stop. A nicer place than it sounds...grin. After a very nice visit, we continued on our way arriving at the Wal-mart in Mobile Al. for our second night out.

Having only a short drive to Apalachicola, we called our friend Patti in Pensacola for a visit. She recently moved actually to Pensacola Beach from Kentucky with her job. She said we would have no trouble parking our 42 foot motorhome in the parking area for her condo on the beach. She actually was right (this time, but that is another story). Her home in Kentucky was not so easy. Ask me how I know..grin. Wilma and I enjoyed a long pleasant visit and lunch with Patti. Then it was on to Apalachicola. I had forgotten how white the sand on the beaches are in this area.

Marc had suggested that we dry camp under the big bridge in Apalachicola. We arrived and did just that. We got a nice spot by a pier going out into the bay.
From Visit to Wefing's Marine
A little noisy, because of the dredge that was working in the channel. But it was very interesting to talk to some of the workers and watch the operation.

Apalachicola is a very old seacoast town that for some reason has dodged most of the Gulf hurricanes. There are many 100 year old oaks that provide shade for the mix of old and restored homes and new coastal homes. The downtown area has loads of interesting places and restaurants. The town sits aside the Apalachicola river which empties into the Apalachicola Bay. The river is part of the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway.

Our first visit to Wefing's was to meet Marc and look over the selection of boats he has in stock. I was impressed. He has a Ranger Tug 29, two 25s, and two 21ECs in his new stock. He also has several new C-Dorys in stock. After crawling over most every boat he had in stock, we made a date for 5:30 to take the R21EC out for a spin. He arrived at the City Marina at the appointed time along with his wife Anita. The four of us launched and headed up the river. After an hour or so we turned around and headed back down river to the bay. A short loop into the bay and we returned to the marina for the night. We then drove to an oyster restaurant Marc recommended. After about 10 dozen oysters, we called it a night.

The next day we started out about 3:30 PM with some fresh diesel in the tank. Ask Marc why...grin. We had quite a wind and some chop on the bay. A good test to see how Wilma would fair. The little tug handled like a dream. We went across to St. George's Island and just a bit out into the Gulf beyond. As we started back, the wind kicked up a little thunderstorm that passed to our East. Wilma really enjoyed our trip as she was clicking pictures the whole time.
From Visit to Wefing's Marine
The Ranger Tug is a fantastic little boat. I can see why folks take them many places. It feels so secure and safe. Even in the chop we had in the bay, the cockpit stayed dry. The little tug just bobs like a cork and keeps on chugging along. I was very impressed and extremely grateful to Marc and Wefing's for going the extra mile to show us the boat. We were treated like a buyer, even though we told him up front that we were not quite ready to buy now. Maybe he figured that a guy who would drive a motorhome over 1000 miles one way just to look, was maybe a bit serious. And we are. We are pretty sure that the Ranger Tug is our choice now. A C-Dory still is a possibility, but the Tug is way out front. Of course Wefing's is our first choice for a dealer.

We went back to Wefing's the next morning for a dollars and cents meeting. We resisted temptation and in the afternoon started back toward Texas. A good thing as we got a call that a medical appointment we needed was moved up to Monday. So we just had time to get back and make it.

Thanks again to Marc and Wefing's for a wonderful visit.

Our album for this visit is here

Walldog, Willie and Jake

A Day on the Water South Padre Island

Saturday May 23, 2009

A really neat day spent on the water of the Laguna Madre. It starts with the obligatory pictures of the Dolphins that reside here in the bay. One of the highlights of the day was as we were idling along the channel, three dolphins came along side of us and after riding with us a few moments then dove underneath our boat and came up on the other side. Of course we missed the pictures of this treat. This being Memorial Day Weekend, many people were on the water enjoying the day. You can see a few more of our pictures here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Interesting Tug

Friday May 22, 2009 3:31PM CDT.

Neat interesting tug came into our canal and harbor today. "Moonglow" out of Rockwood, ME. If anyone knows about her please post.

Thanks Walldog, Willie, and Jake.