Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sparkly Casinos for the Princess

If you go to Biloxi, and you like sparkly things, choosing to go to the casinos is pretty much a given.  But the question remains - which one?

The answer is simple - all of them!  We had dinner at Hard Rock our first night.  We belong to their My Rock rewards program and our free dinner was about to expire.  So of course we had to go there.

And what type of cruisers would we be, if we didn't spend at least 2 evenings at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.  

There were people on stilts to gawk at, free Bloody Mary's as I lost money on slot machines, and a pretty good dinner.  

I had the Havanas and Bananas to drink with dinner.

But the best part of the night was when a pretty blonde girl in a swimsuit slid down the volcano slide and landed in the gigantic margarita.  And then it was slightly impressive to watch her get out and climb on the hook to be swung out over the crowd and twirled around.  I tried to get close and take video, but the crowd was a bit gathered.  

But I won't lie, my favorite one, the lil piece of Vegas smacked down in the middle of Biloxi was Beau Rivage.  It even smells like a Vegas casino and I love Vegas casinos (all the fresh flowers).  We had the sushi for 2 at one of their restaurants and got to chat with the 2 couples sat on either side of us at the sushi bar.  And I finally learned to play video poker!

I realize that may not be a big deal to many of you folks.  But I go into a casino realizing that I will lose every penny that I spend.  I've managed to break even once, and win 60 once, but every other time I lose.  So I go into casinos with the intention of drinking as many free drinks as I can, and having a little fun while I spend some time at the slot machines.  Learning to play video slots gives me longer playing time, thus more drinks.  So it's like I "almost" come close to winning.

We visited a few others: Isle of Capri and the Grand Biloxi, but I they were not where I had most of my fun.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Charming Little Town

After meeting the hubby in Lake Charles the next stop for me to join him and the boat was Ocean Springs, MS.  Ocean Springs is right down the road from Biloxi so there was tons to do.  I drove in at night, but even then could see the charm that this lil town held.  A lot of the houses were your old southern type and downtown looked absolutely adorable.  I couldn't wait to go walking downtown!  (Just wish I would have taken more pictures of the houses and beaches.)

The first stop in any town is almost always the local coffee shop for internet use.  Not downtown, but internet is a priority.  The coffee shop was just like the town and full of personality.  We even had our first experience with BUBBLES!

But I must admit, I loved everything about the coffee shop....except the bubbles.  The breakfast tacos, Orange Julius, and Viennese coffee I had were wonderful.  The bubbles, not so much.  But the funny thing about bubbles is that they are cool, they're cold, and even though they're completely tasteless.....  I couldn't stop eating them.  I would tell myself,  "this is the last one, you really don't like these", and next thing I knew...  I was eating another one.  

Then finally it was time for downtown.  So many shops, so many things to buy, so many things the hubby told me I couldn't buy because of space issues on the boat.  Just doesn't seem fair sometimes.  We went through a store called Klassy Komplements that had everything that your typical Southern Girl needs - sundresses, sunglasses, wall art, scarves, and WOOZIES. Of course I had to have one, and the hubby even agreed.

Bubbles and Woozies all in one day, I'm not quite sure how I managed to be so lucky.  If you're ever in Ocean Springs you should make sure to stop by this store.  It's at 714 Washington Avenue.


Saw this cute little sign while walking and had to take a picture of it.  Another one said "A.S.A.P." up top and "As Southern As Possible" below.

One of our last stops was an old timey Pharmacy with a Soda Shop in the back.  The hubby had a root beer float and I had a kid's scoop of Butter Pecan ice cream.  Yummy!

They even had checkerboard floors!

I love my beaches and sun, but getting to venture into this small town was a real treat for me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tiny Hanging Locker vs My Big Wardrobe

I'm not too proud to admit that I (like most women) have a small obsession with clothing.  I may even go as far to admit that my house in Tomball had 3 closets, one for each respective bedroom, and all 3 closets were filled with my stuff.

One closet was filled entirely with costuming.  This is where all the skirts, bodices, corsets, chemises, stockings, garters, and hair pieces for performing with Arsene live.  It's also where I keep all of the clothing pieces that I specifically have for photo shoots, but would probably never wear in public.  So this closet, in regards to the boat, is pretty easy.  It'll all go into large plastic tubs and put into storage (only for use when I visit back home).

Copyright Greg Vaughn
The next area of clothing is my work clothing.  Now b/c I am still working, these clothes are still in use, but not on the boat at this time.  Most of the dress pants will never see the boat, although a large portion of my tops are multi-purpose.  When I do go cruising full time, this area of clothing will be gathered up and probably taken to somewhere like Plato's Closet for cash.  Although I may try a garage sale first, b/c I do have a very nice collection of pants from Express.

That leaves me with the last, and largest, area of clothing.  Looking at all my clothes hung up, there is no way, in the largest of imaginations that they would ever all hang up in my hanging locker.  Heck, who am I kidding.  They would never all hang up in both of the hanging lockers on board (if I was to shove all the hubby's clothes in the aft lazerette).

But for someone who loves clothes, the thought of selling all these beauties or (gasp) giving them away might make me cry.  So instead, I've come up with a way to keep the majority of my clothes and never get bored with my wardrobe again.

First let's get rid of a few things:
Panties - you're never going to wear them daily again, they will be replaced by swimsuit bottoms
Socks - you don't need them with your flip flops, and if you're currently wearing them with your flip flops.....we need to talk, until then you're banned to a different anchorage
(that was 2 large drawers in my house right there)

Second take anything you do not fit into (but plan on, b/c you've recently gained 30 lbs b/c you sit in your car and at a desk for 12 hrs a day) the Extra Large Spacesaver bag.  Seal it up with a piece of paper that says "Open under xxx lbs, and list the articles of clothing by type and number).  This goes at the very bottom of storage in the boat, ours goes under our berth.

Third, take everything you own, that currently fits, and categorize it by clothing type:
Skirts (long)
Skirts (short)
After 5 dresses
Cute tops
Warm tops

Fourth, take these clothing types and separate each clothing type into 4 piles.  For example: I own 3 pairs of Miss Me Jeans, along with 2 pairs of off brands from the Alloy catalog.  So I will be placing each of the Miss Me's in a different pile, and the 2 pairs of off brand jeans together in the last pile.

Fifth, take 3 of these piles and place them in 3 different Spacesaver bags.  Store these as you can on the boat.

Sixth, take the last pile and hang it up in your hanging locker.

Seventh, in 3 months exchange all the clothes in your hanging locker for all the clothes in one of your Spacesaver bags.

You now have 4 (or possibly 5) different wardrobes!  And they all fit on the boat!!!

PS  If you're like me, swimsuits are all kept hanging up in the heads and worn daily :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Bilge Detector

Back  in Kemah we had gone out to run some errands and upon arriving back at the boat I unlocked our hatch, pushed it back, stuck my head down and breathed in deeply.

My hubby raised and eyebrow and asked me "Sweetie, what are you doing."
To which I promptly replied, "It's my Bilge Detector Technique."
Hubby - "Your what?"
Me - "My Bilge Detector Technique."
Hubby - blank stare....the one that borderlines on thinking that I've finally crossed the crazy line
Me - "When we're on the boat we get used to the smell.  So every couple of days I like to be gone from the boat a couple of hours.  Then when we get back and my nose is sensitive to bilge smell again, I get the biggest whiff of it I can to determine if I need to do some bilge cleaning."
Hubby - "Hmm Sweetie, that's pretty smart.  You should write a blog about it."

Everyone has probably noticed that they may smell something very strongly for a time, but then they get to where they barely smell it at all.  The reason is that your nose is full of phasic receptors.  Now phasic receptors respond to stimuli with a large burst of activity, but then quickly diminishes with constant stimulus.  So there's my small science lesson of the day.

What I have noticed, and am extremely grateful for, is that the dreaded bilge smell seems to be the worst when you're at a marina.  At marinas our boats are closed up and still, two things they don't really like to be.  (I personally think it's their little way at getting back at us.)  But at anchorage, where our boats are opened up and getting to travel from place to place the bilge smell is pretty non-existent.  

Another one in the "Pros" column for cruising!  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

So it begins....

Well the princess has been throwing a royal fit and wielding her scepter like a mad woman demanding that I post about the journey down the ICW (or the ditch as I like to call it). So to appease the royal pain, here it goes.....

Leaving out of Galveston was easy. I pulled into the fuel dock at Galveston Yacht Basin for fuel, water, ice and to let the princess off and take on another crew member. GYB is the place that almost every cruiser stops at before leaving the Houston area. (Unless you are stubborn like our very good friends on Bettie Del Mar) Well I got the fuel flowing and to my dismay, 70 gallons and $290 later I was feeling a little violated, especially knowing this was going to be the first of several fuel stops. (FYI, this is the first time I had filled the tank up, and the previous owner and I were debating on how much the tank held, he says 50 gallons, I checked the bilges, he is obviously wrong, my wallet says so.)

I had everything I needed to begin this journey. I had meticulously planned the trip and had the chart plotter programmed with anchorages and emergency anchorages so that I would not have to travel the ICW at night. (With our current complement of electronics we could easily travel at night but no reason to push our luck.)

Some of the first stretches of this run are pretty desolate and just outright boring. Extremely boring. (The pictures prove it!).

I was trying to make Taylor Outfall, a mere 60 miles. No such Lucy luck. I was told by a friend who had just done the trip about a good little anchorage and as I came up on it I decided to pull in for the night.

See very desolate, even the cows look bored!

First sunset of the trip.

Let the gator spotting begin! This one was small, he was only a 5 footer.

Our second day, I made a short run of it. I stayed at Shell Island. No clue why they call it that, because there was not a shell in sight.

It was pretty uneventful.

Finally out of Texas! Yes it is that big.

Our first big hurdle, the Ellender lift Bridge. You must call in 4 hours in advance to have it lifted. Here is the kicker. It is at 50', my masthead is 46' out of the water, however with my fancy new WiFi antenna will I have the clearance I need to get under without having it lifted. Guess we will find out.

Yes I had the clearance but just barely.

Well the princess was getting all antsy in her pantsy to see me. (I think she was really just nervous about the boat and wanted to see it.). I was looking at all of the possible anchorages that I could make and they were all well away from civilization. The way it was looking was that she was going to miss the boat. (hehe). That was when the Royal tantrum began. There was scepter waiving and royal decrees being tossed about, it was nuts. What's a wary sailor supposed to do. Well like anyone would do in that situation I found an alternate port of call. It was way out of my way (20 miles, maybe 30). So Lake Charles, here we come.

I start searching all of my books and charts looking for a stopover. That is when I found this amazing little marina. Bowtie Marina. It is in Contraband Bayou, right around the corner from L'Auberge du Lac Casino. What princess doesn't like the sparklies of a casino. So I call her up and tell her where we will be.

Go here, cheapest fuel on the gulf coast. If I would have known this I would have fueled here and not GYB.

Bowtie also houses the lake Charles sector of the coast guard.

It was an eventful 3 days. But there is lots more to come.

- The Hubby
- Posted from aboard S/V Jus CrewZen

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cutting the lines

It's finally the day (and yes we're still doing chores right up till castoff)!  It was great to see everyone come out to wish us well and have a mimosa as we cut the line on Jus'CrewZen.  And i only teared up a little (for the record).

If you're wondering where I was during all the picture taking festivities.....yep, down below mixing up mimosas.

Thanks Scott for taking the pictures!  

Goodbye Kemah!

On Jus'CrewZen's first official day cruising we went down for a night on the hook at TeaCup Anchorage in Galveston.  I drove the whole day, bc I thought it was nice to give the hubby a break since he would be the one taking her all the way down the ICW, with me only meeting him along the way for the next while.

Mike and Sherry followed us down (ok fine, they ended up beating us there bc they were in a trawler).  And it was a nice relaxing trip, slightly humored by chatting with one of our marina neighbors who seemed to be having a bit of trouble on the radio with the barges and whether he should be on channel 16 or 13.  I asked hubby why they were saying 13, and should we be on 13 instead of 16.  But he said that we were barely on the edge of the ship channel so we were good for now.

 We finally saw him off in the distance and got a chance to talk with him, tell him he missed a heck of a party, and exchange email addresses and such.  (Ok, I get it, you're probably not finding this that humorous quite yet.)  As we're finishing up on channel 68 we hear him say "Liberty back to 1-6......or 1-3, whatever makes the barge captains happy."  This made us crack up laughing for a whole five to ten minutes.

Down in Galveston we got to introduce Mike and Sherry to "Bullets".  They weren't as good as they normally are b/c they had only been marinading about 24 hours.  But they were decent.

Making Bullets (in case you are wondering) is a way that my family cooks deer meat.  Backstrap is best, but ham steak will work in a pinch.  You marinade it in italian dressing for about 5 days (the acidity in the dressing keeps the meat from going bad).  At the end of 5 days you wrap the deer meat in bacon and grill until the meat is a nice medium.  Don't overcook or you'll ruin the taste.  If you like jalepenos and onions you can put them in the middle to grill as well.

After dinner we settled into our own boats for the night, and on Jus'CrewZen it was SURPRISE......more chores until about midnight.  But after midnight it was one last night of snugglin' before Jus'CrewZen would set out on the ICW.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Last 24 Hours

In Kemah that is.

(So I'm a tad behind, but I am trying to catch up as best as possible.)
Waking up sick is not my favorite thing to do, especially when it's been several days now.  But things must be done today, a very large amount of things.  Because in 24 hours the dock lines will be cut.    I have to clean up from the party.  I believe it was 3 bags of trash, not bad considering the large amount of beverages consumed.  And hubby has to do an engine service.

The sickness got the best of me for a little while and I had to lay down.  Well ok, it got the best of me for about 3-4 hours.  I slept through the entire engine service.  But I did wake up long enough to hear something about very black stuff being cleaned out.  Ewwwwww

Then it was up again to scrub the dinghy. Top, sides, bottom and oh goodness it was gross.  There were a variety of disgusting colors that came off with the scrubbing: black, red, green, brown...  But I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed again until it was clean.

The bad thing about scrubbing the dinghy is that I was in desperate need of a shower and we were in a hurry to celebrate the hubby's bday with dinner at La Brisa with Jim and Elaine.  So I had a first....  I took a garden hose shower on the dock (in my swimsuit of course).  You might think it's silly, but I was pretty darn proud of myself!

Dinner was good and a perfect way to spend our last night in Kemah.  Margaritas, tuna, good conversation and fun listening to band.