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On Living Aboard

September 25, 2017

The Blonde, my wife, and I enjoyed our weekend in Newport, Rhode Island so much that we decided to stay an additional day. The Blonde called her office and arranged for a personal day off. Never having done this before, it wasn’t a problem. She is an architect and is very good at what she does. She has twice turned down opportunities to become a partner in her firm, but both times that would have meant moving to locations far inland, and neither she nor I, are ready to give up this lifestyle.
The day after we got back, my friend Ritchie called and asked me to give him a hand on a couple things he had going. One was a kitchen cabinet job in a condo that was located on the third floor of the complex, and due to their size and configuration, wouldn’t fit in the elevator. I help him whenever he needs a second set of hands moving and installing the high end cabinets he builds. This is in exchange for him letting us keep our little runabout Mustard in his barn over the winter. It took a day and the better part of another before the job was complete. The second job would be the following week.
In the middle of this, I got a call from our friends Chris and Carol who’s lifestyle is much like ours; the only difference being that they live in a forty foot motor home full time, rather than a boat. They follow the sun and had spent a good part of the summer in northern New England, and were now slowly traipsing toward the south. Their plan was to spend a few days or so in the area and was hoping that we could get together.
Chris called back the next day with bad news: They could not find a vacancy in any of the RV parks in the area. One of the larger resorts had been ordered closed due to a problem with its waste water system. The town had shut it down until the problems were all resolved. This resulted in a shortage at the other area parks.
I told him I had an idea, and that I’d call him back.
“Hey Ray,” I said to the yard manager. “Do you think it would be possible for a 40 foot motorhome to stay here for a few days?” I explained the situation. He scratched his head the way he always does when presented with a problem.
“I’d have to check.” He said. “We don’t have any sewer hookup and we could only provide 20 amp electric. Lemmy check.”
Calling Chris, I told him my plan. “That’d work.” He said. “We can go a week or more on our holding tanks if we’re careful, and as long as we don’t have to use the air conditioning, 20 amps would be ok. How much?” he asked
Getting back to Roy, he said that they could stay for twenty dollars a day, with just 20 amp service. He also made it plain that the only reason they were doing this was because of us, and the times we’d helped them out. “fair enough,” I said.
The next day was Friday and they showed up about three in the afternoon and I guided them into the spot Roy had indicated, right next to the big storage building. I had asked Roy if they could use the yard’s head and showers which were just a short walk from that location and he replied, “Sure. Why not?”
Helping them get set up took maybe twenty minutes. Then we ambled down the dock headed toward Patty O’s slip. Over the years we’ve known them, there has always been a friendly banter back and forth about which was better: living on a boat, or in a motorhome.
“You can see so much more traveling in a motorhome.”
“Possibly, but I’d be driven crazy by all those idiots on the road.” And it goes on.
When the Blonde, got home from work, we chatted a bit and then headed out to one of our favorite sea food places for dinner. Over dessert, we made plans to head over to Block Island for the weekend and give them a taste of why we like this lifestyle.
Next morning, I called and booked a dockside slip on the Island rather than a mooring. Much easier to show off the island. By ten o’clock, we were headed east inside Fishers Island Sound toward Block Island Sound.
The forecast was for a typical summer day off the Rhode Island coast. Sunny and warm, with temps in the mid-eighties, with the possibility of thunder storms late.
The crossing from Watch Hill passage was pleasant and surprisingly, not too crowded.
We were all secure and sitting down to a late lunch by two.
As anyone who’s been to the Block knows, it can be somewhat hectic on a nice summer weekend. While there were lots of people around, it wasn’t overwhelming this trip. Walking into town, we watched the ferry from Point Judith disgorge its load of cars and passengers and then, proceed to load up an equal number for the trip back to the mainland. We all enjoyed poking into the little shops that line Front street, something we haven’t done in a while. I even bought a Block Island  t-shirt.
After a taxi tour around the island, we sat on Patty O’s sun deck and people watched. A lot of inhibitions seem to disappear in a place like this. A walk to one of the several restaurants for a nice seafood dinner, and then some more stories and we were ready to hit the sack.
Next morning, the Blonde whipped up a super breakfast of bacon omelets, and we continued people watching until shortly before noon. Back underway, I decided to return via the south side of Fishers Island, and give our guests a look at some of the big houses located there. Getting back to the dock around four, we enjoyed a beer on the sun deck and then each did our own thing for dinner.
Chris had asked me if it would be OK to use our address to forward the weeks’ worth of mail that they knew was awaiting them. He also wanted to order a part for the door on his coach. It was a warranty item so he was dealing with the builder. I agreed and he contacted their mail forwarding service and arranged for the accumulated mail to be overnighted. The small part for the door was going to take three days.
We had a good time and enjoyed each other’s company. Their mail did indeed arrive on time the next day. On Friday afternoon, I got a call from Roy. “Hey,” he said. “There’s a shipment here in your name for your friend.”
“Ok, be right there,” I said.
Chris was waxing the front of his rig when I walked up and together we headed over to the yard’s office. “Funny.” I thought to myself. “Wonder why that big semi-trailer truck is parked there?”
Getting to the office, I could see that Roy wasn’t too pleased. “This thing’s pretty big.” He said. “Where are you gonna put it?”
Looking into the back of the semi, there was only one box, and it was about eight feet long and maybe two feet thick.
“That can’t be for me.” Chris said. The driver showed him the slip.
Shaking his head, Chris said, “I asked for a door strut. It’s about two feet long and less than an inch thick.” Reading the slip he laughed. “This says it’s a whole door.”
Chris told the driver that he wasn’t going to accept delivery, and signed a document to that effect. He then apologized to Roy, who now thought the whole thing was hilarious. Chris excused himself, saying that he had some phone calls to make.
We were invited over to Chris and Carol’s for Happy Hour and dinner. Over drinks, Chris filled us in on the door debacle. Seems that the manufacturer would not send just the strut; they would only send the whole door if the situation was to be covered under warranty.
At nine the next morning I got a call from Ritc

 

hie about the other job. He had bid on a load of Honduras mahogany that a furniture builder in Rhode Island couldn’t use, and the cost of which was putting him in a financial bind. I asked if he’d mind if Chris came along, too. “Sure.” He answered. “Many hands make light work, I think that’s how that goes.”
It was Saturday, and the Blonde was off so she and Carol could do some ‘girl’ things.
I drove us over to Ritchie’s and we got into his box truck for the trip east.
The guy was located in Warren, Rhode Island, a little over an hour’s drive. It being a Saturday, the traffic wasn’t all that bad through Providence. With four of us working, it didn’t take long to load up the truck. The original boards had been shrink wrapped in plastic, but there was no way we would be able to move them into the box truck like that. They had originally arrived on a flatbed truck that had a fork lift attached for unloading. Because the lumber was going to be stored in Ritchie’s barn, keeping it wrapped and out of the weather wasn’t an issue.
The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying each other’s company, not knowing when it would be before seeing them again. That’s how it is when you live a mobile lifestyle.
Monday morning, Chris and Carol got underway at seven and with coffees in hand, we waved to them as they headed south once more.
“That was fun.” Said the Blonde. “But I like the way we visit Block Island better.”
“You’ve got that right.” I said thinking of the difference in cost between renting a mooring as we usually when we’re alone, or a dockside slip like we did with our friends. “You have that so right!”

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