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With Ruth's passing in August 2014 I had some major decisions to make. With her loss my life took a whole new approach to living. I'd also lost a wife, Jane, to cancer when we were in our 30's so way back then I decided that some things, if important to you, shouldn't be put off if at all possible. Ruth's sudden passing and my age, 70 at the time, made that even more true.
Ruth and I had some great trips on the Macgregor and both really liked that boat. We had kept her but put her in the back yard on the trailer and had bought the Endeavour and put her in the Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage yard and spent 2 long springs working on her and still hadn't gotten her in the water. We did enjoyed the work and living on her in Florida in the boatyard for those 2 springs plus undertaking a number of canvas upgrades at home. We came close to having her back in the water as 'our boat' with 'our mods' and such but didn't make it. Now alone I had to make a decisions if I should sell the Endeavour either before finishing the work (not much) or finish her and sell or keep? I first went for the sell decision but then thought I was being hasty so decided to keep her but really wanted to get back on the water and felt the way to do that being alone was with the Macgregor as I could single hand her much easier and I'm really attached to all she has to offer. So I spent the fall and early winter making some additional mods to the Mac, most documented here, and then took off for Florida just before New Year's.
As I get older I worry more about problems on the road with the tow vehicle or trailer even though they are both in good shape but still on a 2200 mile trip things can happen and they did. Not to the Suburban or trailer/boat, but unfortunately me. I'd worked hard packing to get on the road and went to bed the night before at 10 pm and then woke at 4 am and couldn't sleep so got on the road. The plan was to stop in east New Mexico for the night but I didn't. I drove down to I20 west of Dallas, not eating or drinking much. It was 10 pm and I didn't want to spend the money or look for a motel so pulled into a truck stop and slept in the Mac freezing with below 40 degree temps. Woke at 4 again and got on the road. I was going to stop and eat on the east side of Dallas but didn't quite make that.
At 8 am in rush hour traffic on I20 on Dallas's south side 1000 miles from home I started to feel ill and looked for an off ramp. Next, or the last thing I remember was my vision gong black. At that poing I passed out while driving. I have on idea how I got to the side of the road but came to on the shoulder. The Suburban/boat are about 45 feet long and I think I was in the second lane when I blacked out. Some how I didn't cause a massive wreck and still have no recollection of how I got to the side of the road. An officer found me there and called an ambulance and they hauled me away with my blood pressure at 60/29. I really thought I was going to die going to the hospital and for most of that day.
I've always had a slow heart but the last couple years it had gotten down into the low 40's and high 30's at times but since I didn't seem to be having any problems the heart doctor didn't recommend a pace maker at the time. Well the doctor in Dalas said he felt it was time so I got a pace maker in Dallas, had to hang around a few more days and then was on the road again towards Florida after 10 days in the hospital and a motel when released. Any time I felt a little strange I was looking right away to see if I could get off the road. That didn't prove to be necessary and I made it to the boat yard in Florida with no further excitement. I wasn't suppose to lift anything heavy for 6-8 weeks so that limited me some but I worked on finishing the jobs I'd started at home, Mostly wiring the additional solar panels I'd added and other wiring and putting in an AIS Standard Horizon radio to replace the old one plus some smaller jobs.
I'd gone down to Florida with the idea of going back to places Ruth and I had gone before plus more time in the Keys and Lower Keys where we hadn't gone. But then I started thinking Bahamas as a number of people in the yard head there every year. I bought paper and digital NV charts to use with OpenCPN on the computer and also Explorer Bahama paper charts as they seem to be the best for the area. Still I didn't know if when the time came to cross the Gulf Stream I'd go or change my mind about the venture and turn south back into the Keys.
So the trip and my decision follows..................
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