A quick trip south to help prepare “Prairie Dog” for another Florida summer…

Two weeks following our second vaccine, we celebrated by a days-long drive to Philadelphia with stops only for bathroom and fuel. It had been one week short of a year since we’d last seen our son and daughter-in-law. Much has changed in that year: They have moved into their new house AND they adopted a German Shepherd mix puppy. It was SO good to finally spend time together!

Meet Kahlo!

We spent a lovely afternoon checking out Wissahickon Valley Park (Chase and Erica’s hiking grounds) and Valley Forge National Park.

And we can’t forget the food… Our kids care about the food they eat, and are all amazing cooks (may have something to do with the boxed macaroni and cheese we used to supplement their diet while sailing Calm Psalm & Itch!). Chase fed us well!

Three days later, it was time to let Chase and Erica start their work week, it was time for us to get south to check out Prairie Dog. We drove as far as Brunswick GA, then to our friend, Melissa’s, near Sarasota. We spent a lovely evening with our good boating friend, talking this coming summer’s plans and enjoying her hospitality. And THEN, it was time for the dirty work!

It’s much easier arriving at the boatyard in the morning hours, with a mostly full day to unload the car, air out the boat, and begin cleaning up our sleeping space before light fades. It had been a week short of one year since we had quickly packed and closed up Prairie Dog, thinking at that time we would be back later in the fall. At first look, we were pleasantly surprised how well she had weathered the year.

Ron spent a full day cleaning the bridge, cabin house, and decks of the dirt and green gunk that accumulates as it sits in the boatyard. I mostly cleaned inside. We kept the insulated foil on most of the windows and ports to help keep the boat cooler inside. Still, clear skies with hot sun every day heated the interior of the boat by late afternoon. The heat was tiring, even for Zola.

Five days in we were pretty much done with everything we’d wanted to accomplish. And after a year of COVID caution around home, we were both more than a bit uncomfortable with how open everything is in SW Florida. Our boatyard is privately owned and though we are asked to wear masks when inside the “common area,” there are those who disregard their rules. There were always a number of people without masks at the hardware stores and Publix (only two stores we frequented). We ate at restaurants three times (all outside), but only one seemed to take COVID concerns seriously—masked staff and tables socially distanced.

For years, I’ve felt an “edge” in Florida that makes me uncomfortable. That “edge” seems to be growing more and more. I “get it” at some level, but in these times I wish we all cared more for one another. My yoga teacher often ends our practice with these words: “In a world where we can be anything, be kind.” It’s what I strived for when confronted by those who felt offense by my wearing a mask. It makes me sad.

After just 5 days, we closed up the boat once again, hoping this time we will be back in the fall, and drove home. It was a shorter trip than we had planned, but that’s okay. The weather in Michigan is warming, the snow is gone, crocuses are blooming, and it’s time to start spring work on Mossy Paws, getting her prepared for an earlier launch this season.

Sun sets on another day in the boatyard.

4 thoughts on “A quick trip south to help prepare “Prairie Dog” for another Florida summer…

    • Roy, so good to hear from you. You and Margaret are well and have survived the Manitoulin winter? We so missed seeing you this past February… and all of last summer. We’ve missed being with so many friends and family over the past year. Hoping with vaccines we are beginning to turn the corner and will be able to be together again. It’s hard being separated from our dear Canadian friends!

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