TEXAS TO SEATTLE BY TRUCK
|Loading truck at Watergate Yachting Ctr.-Clear Lake, TX
It wasn’t easy: getting Charlotte from Houston to Seattle over land. We finished
the aquatic portion of our journey at the end of June and began work to prepare Charlotte for trucking.
Texas was HOT. Even the locals were complaining about how hot it was, and humid to boot.
Luckily the new docks at Watergate Yachting Center were fitted with ample 220V AC power to keep our air conditioning
running and the interior cool and comfortable. With the help of El Indio and crew at South Texas Yacht
Services Watergate yard, we stepped the mast and spent the next week removing dodger, davits, and other gear to get our height
down. We took a break from the sweaty work over the fourth of July weekend to visit with friends Tony and
Teresa who had recently moved to San Antonio. We celebrated the 4th with a fun cookout
and broke in their new pool and volleyball court. On Sunday we toured San Antonio’s Riverwalk and
of course, The Alamo.
|Loading the U-haul in 105 degree heat
|About 5000 lbs of boat gear
Back in Houston we also shopped for a new car and cell phones. Some twisted evolution of
logic found me convincing Kirsten that purchasing a used Subaru Outback wagon in the “low demand” region of Texas
and then driving it back to the “Subaru-haven” Seattle made perfect sense. We ended up at Clear
Lake VW and settled on a 1998 Outback Wagon with 120K miles on it. Hey, the VW dealer would have wholesaled
this one if it wasn’t in great shape. With this confidence I figured we could be assured it was up
for the 2300 mile trip home.
|From The Bilge--Some Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum
With our truck waiting at the boatyard, and Charlotte ready for the road, we motored from our slip to the
travel lift. We had purchased tickets to visit the Johnson Space Center and we guessed that we’d
be able to spend the afternoon there. Once clear of the water, El Indio maneuvered the travel lift
and deftly positioned Charlotte over the trailer. Ron, the truck driver, quickly began installing
and adjusting supports. I headed back aboard to remove the steering wheel and pedestal, and secure the
dinghy on the bow. With enough supports in place, the travel lift backed away, placing Charlotte’s
full weight on the trailer. It quickly bottomed out, hitting the pavement. Ron tried
pumping up the trailer’s airbags but soon declared that the boat was “too heavy.” After
a series of tense phone calls to Deepwater Transport(the company owning the trailer), and Dudley Trucking(the company we contracted
for the haul) we came to the sickening realization that we need to remove about 5,000 lbs of weight from Charlotte
if she were going to be hauled on this trailer. Gerald at Dudley Trucking whom I’ve known for years
assured me that a larger trailer would be difficult to find and very costly. We were in for a lot of hard/hot
disappointment we all felt. Kirsten and Alden didn’t stay down for long and we all rallied to “make
it happen.” We first phone a local U-haul store and reserved a 14’ truck and car trailer.
We then began removing all the gear lashed on deck, jettisoning it over the side, and into the parking lot.
I arranged an hour of yard crane time to remove the dinghy and batteries (seven 8D’s weighing 150lbs each).
We then snuck away long enough to pick up our U-haul truck. We then worked until about 6:00pm removing
sails, anchors, chain, line, rigging, on and on. Don, the truck driver, was inspired enough to help us;
an amazing contribution in the sweltering Houston summer heat. It kind of felt like the Grinch removing
Christmas items from the Who’s homes: everything up and over the side and into the U-haul. Alden
was a great help, playing Gungadin, supplying us with ice and water. By 6:00pm we’d had enough.
We spent the evening with our Kings Point friend Ronnie Baughman who happened to live just a few miles down the road.
Hot showers, cold bear, warm pizza, and soft beads in Ronnie’s air conditioned, lakefront home did wonders for
our soles and bodies. The following Saturday we hit it again. Ronnie graciously helped
rather than do his normal Saturday morning Harley ride. Two more hours of work had Charlotte’s
lockers and bilges empty. We ended up leaving our rust anchor chain, very heavy stainless steel swim
ladder, some Panamanian beer and Caribbean rum with the boatyard crew. Ronnie ended up with one very used
12’ Caribe RIB and some Caribbean rum. By noon we were locking the companionway and jumping into
|Just about to Jackson Hole, Wyoming
meet them I was alarmed but an overheating engine. This is not supposed to happen. After
letting the engine cool, we topped off with water from the fountain and headed down to Jackson for dinner. With
one eye on the temperature gage, one eye on the road and a third eye on the adjacent meadows looking for wildlife we made
our made our way through Moose lane and stopped for dinner in Jackson Hole. On our way back through Jackson,
the temperature gage began rising forcing a pit stop for more coolant. With extra coolant aboard and a
tank full of gas, it was about 10:00pm as we started our forty mile return to the Hatchet Resort. Our
cooling system was not to allow a successful transit. With a spiking temperature gage, we were forced to
pull over, pop the hood and proclaim more than a few explicatives. In short order, a local contractor pulled
over to assist and was extremely helpful as we conscripted him for a ride up to our hotel. My plan: return
to the hotel, get a good night sleep, then drive the U-haul and trailer down to pick up the car for delivery to a mechanic
in Jackson. Once back at our hotel(thirty miles from the car), we determined that the U-haul key had been
left in the car. Ugh! So much for sleep; I spent the night tossing and turning while
coming up with a new plan. Right after sunrise, I headed back to the car, hitchhiking with some extra water
and tools. After a half hour with my thumb out, another nice Hatchet Resort guest picked me up and drove
me down to the car. After draining the coolant into one of Alden’s Lego bins, I removed the thermostat
and refilled the coolant system. I then drove to Jackson and purchased a new thermostat. As
the car was holding temperature I decided not to have it worked on and returned to pick up Kirsten and Alden.
We spent the rest of the day driving up to Yellowstone and Old Faithful before returning to the Hatchet resort for
dinner. Only one small coolant temperature rise and a distressing “check engine” light illumination.
We woke early the following morning, hoping to make McCall Idaho by dinner. The best laid plans
were quickly dashed when we somehow locked the U-haul keys in the cab. It was at this point that
I sat down on a rock and contemplated the meaning of life while Kirsten ordered pancakes and called a locksmith in Jackson.
Two hour later and a locksmith’s fee and travel expenses poorer, we were trucking west again, headed for the
engine straining, brake smokin’ 8500’ Teton Pass. The rest of the day was uneventful as we
enjoyed our drive through the mountains and fields of Idaho. From Boise, we headed north up the Payette
River valley to McCall where our Seattle friends, the Bogets were vacationing. How wonderful it was
to spend the weekend enjoying splendid Lake Payette with them, skiing and touring on their Century Resorter. On
Sunday morning we set off on the final leg of our drive to Seattle. After two years away, it was with mixed
feelings that we crested Snoqualamie Pass and entered the city just before sunset. The next morning we
started a new chapter of our lives as we unloaded “Charlotte” from the truck at Canal Boatyard and began accumulating
the things one needs to live and work in a big city.