July 15-31, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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 July 17 - I have to go back a few days and catch up. The first story we heard when we awoke on Tuesday morning was there were military people in flack jackets and M-16s looking around our boat at around 1 am last night. Then they moved down the dock looking at some of the other boats. Ok, you've got my interest peaked and I'm going to ask around about what happened. My theory was they must be checking out transient boaters for drugs but if that were the case, then wouldn't they have dogs? A little later in the morning, I asked one of the workers at the dock and he hadn't heard the entire story but it had to do with (no I am not making this up) alien signals coming from this area. Great, Deb is going to be real happy because they are looking for aliens right here at Green Turtle Bay. She hasn't watched the X-Files all these years without learning something. Probably something to do with loss of time or shape shifting or even a new signal technology.

Later that afternoon, I caught a glimpse of several guys in uniform carrying a directional signal locator. I grab the camera, told Deb and off we were to catch them in the act of finding an alien. We will finally get one on camera that isn't blurry and end the entire debate right here! On the guy on the right side it reads "Response Team." Great, it is starting to look even better but where are the guns or even the black helicopters??? Things are beginning to look like the first and second story might not quite be what is going on.


 Yes they were doing quite a bit of directional signal locating and I found out they were with the Civil Air Patrol. I'm quickly figuring this out and it certainly didn't have anything to do with aliens. I also said, from the length of your antenna, it looks like you are searching for a signal in the 200 MHz area. They came back with a surprised look and said it was 246 MHz. Then they said a satellite had picked up a EPRIB signal and had been showing it in this area since about 5 the evening before. Other people starting getting involved but lets just say we helped them out by changing their focus. Instead of focusing on several boats that never left the lake therefore most likely would not have an EPRIB on board, we focused on boats that might. Such as the boat at the end of the dock and I just happened to see the owner on board yesterday afternoon cleaning the boat. I always figure it is a big hint when you can put a body on a boat that has gone to sea and it is about the same time as when the signal started being detected.

The owner was found and yes, he had bumped the switch and it was his EPRIB. Now all the big wigs came over and the owner apologized for the hundredth time for bumping his switch. The unit was shut off and the world was saved. But where are the aliens? Maybe we are the aliens....


 My cousin Julie was coming down to pick us up and she left St. Louis at 4 pm. This meant she should arrive at about 7:30. I started putting together a great crab thing I make so that we could have a late dinner/snack while we sat and talked. At 7 pm I got a call and it was from Julie. She forgot to turn at Mt Vernon and was approaching Indiana. Oops. She had it figured out but I looked on Microsoft Streets and Trips and gave her the highways to follow to get down to Kentucky Lake from Indiana. Good thing she was enjoying the drive! She arrived at about 9:30 and we talked, ate, drank, talked, talked and you get the idea. I think we hit the sack at 1 am.

Wednesday morning, we packed up the car, pumped out the boat and were off to St. Louis at about noon. The first stop of course was to surprise my Aunt Sandy and that is exactly what happened. We once again surprised her as the first place we stopped when we arrived in St. Louis. That is Sandy, Deb, me, Julie and my cousin Tom. We had a great visit and then we were off to meet more friends at the little bar in the Central West End that is so convenient

Below left you might remember Anna from about a year and a half ago. She came down to visit us in Key West and went to the Dry Tortugas with us. In addition, on the right side is Dave whom we got to know from the Cathedral and then Christine.

To the right s Steve and Sherrie. We've enjoyed the friendship of all of these wonderful people for many years and also were able to work on a number of projects at the Cathedral with them too. They have more energy for volunteer work than I would ever be able to muster but boy do they enjoy working for good causes and also they enjoy each other too.

We ended up at Julies and again it was a late night. What a wonderful way to come back to St. Louis. It is truly a heart warming experience to know you have so many people who care about you.

 July 20 - We had dinner at my Aunt Sandy's on Thursday night and it was a community effort. We marinated the salmon and then my cousin Tom grilled it for us. You can see that in the background of the picture to the right. I was steaming the green beans and making the parsley 'd potatoes.

You can see below that the dishes came out pretty good and they were delicious. To go along with these, my aunt had made fresh bread.

 Once again, great conversations over some good food.

One of the things we were talking about was my aunt has my grandmothers china. The cup and saucer to the right are part of the set. Of course it is always fun to sit back and talk about the "old days" when my grandmother would entertain both her family and other people in the small town they were a part of.

In the end, we headed back to my cousin Julies house for our last night there before we were heading over to Mike and Gina's to continue spreading around our imposing visit. We try to ensure everyone gets imposed on for just about the same amount of time it takes for fish to start stinking and then we run.


On Saturday night, Mike and Gina had planned a party/practice with quite a few people who play in the band/s he sings with. They are sounding better and better and they even let me play a bit. Like I say, you just jump in with that imposing spirit.

To the left is Mike and John and below left is where I was jumping into the mix.
Below right is Dave who is the lead guitar player for the band Max Roby.

Fuzz to the left plays bass for the same band and all of us have a very large similarity. We all love music and enjoy it very much when it actually sounds pretty good.

Below left is Doug who is one of Mikes sons. Doug always likes joining in when he can. And the picture to the lower right adds another friend Jeff who also plays in the band.

As you can tell from this picture of part of the audience, they were having a great time and cheering on the rag tag fleet of musicians. We had a great time at the party and Mike and Gina had cooked a Turducken for the evening. Great food, great people, and great music. Who could ask for anything more?

Mike rolled out of bed early on Sunday morning to take us to the airport and dropped us off at 7 am so we would be early to catch or flight on Southwest up to Omaha. Of course now that I have a wimpy ponytail, I'm always looking for guys carrying guitars in the airport. So, here we are waiting to board the flight when two guys came up carrying guitars. Of course they had real ponytails. So I, once again, imposed on them and said, "Who do you play for?" They said, "Head East." Cool, now I'm hanging with the real guitar players of the world. We had a great conversation and they even found out I play guitar too. They were really nice guys and are playing all the summer festivals around the country. On the left is Greg Manahan and to the right is Glen Bridger. In the airport line, you can see them up front of the line on the left side. Ok, just look for the longer hair and ponytails. Again, great guys and I hope I get to see them play somewhere. You can check out the bands website at www.head-east.com.

We arrived in Omaha on time and Steve and Linda picked us up and then brought us back to their house showing us some of the damage that had occurred about 3 weeks ago in a tremendous thunderstorm with major hail and winds. They need a new roof, lights replaced and other items that were destroyed. They have a project list for me so we will catch you up on them and the projects over the next few days. I also received all my material and items I ordered for the boat so we will be going back with some new weight to take the place of the stuff I took off.

July 21 - The beat up vent you see to the right is the one I took off of their roof. The furnace company was out of them but should have us one tomorrow so I'll crawl back up the roof and put the new one on tomorrow afternoon. I was able to fix a number of electrical issues so my work list is quickly diminishing.

We also had time to run out to the airport and run the airplane. Steve is having trouble bending his legs because of pain from surgery. Therefore, the plane hasn't been running. You really should run an engine every now and then just to keep parts lubricated. Therefore, I was able to hop in the airplane and run it up. It started on the first turn of the switch! We put that toy away and headed back to the house. I'll give it the annual inspection in September when we return the Beetle.


July 25 - Going up to Steve and Linda's at the middle of July is always about getting ready for Oshkosh. For those not in aviation, this is THE biggest aviation event for experimental aircraft and if you aren't at Oshkosh as an exhibitor, in essence, you aren't in business. We worked each day on projects around the house or just helping out so Steve and Linda could do their thing to get everything buttoned up with the business and shipped before leaving. Every year it seems that someone calls at the last minute and needs just one more part and of course, they get it out.

One of the last items of preparation are haircuts. Yes, the girls get to head in to the salon while the guys always get it done on the cheap. I keep thinking just as good but the girls never want us to reciprocate the service. Steve was a good sport and let me take this picture.

Below, you can meet some of their very good friends Tony and Lisa. They live so close they can walk down after work and are always fun to have around. In addition, to the lower right is Keith. He lives in Canada and met Steve when Steve was out on a motorcycle trip about 25 or 30 years ago. They've been friends ever since and Keith likes helping Steve out at Sun and Fun along with Oshkosh.

Ultimately, we stole the volkswagen beetle back for a month and a half and left waving. For us, it is enough vacation away from the boat and we need to get back to start our projects. For them, it is off to Oshkosh.

We departed on Thursday morning at about 7:30 am to head back to St. Louis. Why, I'll tell you why, I was going to sit in with Mike and John on a number of songs at one of their regular gigs so I didn't want to be late. We arrived at the lady's house where we left Jimmy Buffett (our bird) a little after 3 and found him in great spirits waiting for us to return. He is always so happy when we get back. Then we were off to my cousin Julies house to once again impose. Boy this imposing thing is really going well for us and I hope we aren't wearing out our welcome too much.

We packed everyone up in Julies car along with my guitar and were off to Colorado Bob's for an early evening gig. I played a few songs with Mike, John was late because of bridge traffic, and then John arrived and ready so it was back to being part audience and part musician. By the way, I'm sure you've noticed the wimpy ponytail by now. This is the first picture of it on the website. Do I look like a wannabe rock guy or a guy with a bet gone bad? It is absolutely hilarious the looks I sometimes get. Don't you just love breaking stereotypes? I was talking to a friend and instead of weird, she said I was unique. I don't know what I am but I'm having fun with it.

John and Mike got rolling and then invited me back up and we had fun with a number of songs that we play in a similar manner. The sound was good because my acoustic guitar and John's electric have such unique sound differences, they sound good when played together.

I also caught the picture below of Deb sporting her new dew. I think when she and Linda get together in Omaha they try to spend our entire retirement. Oh well, it's a one time a year thing and she really enjoys pampering herself along with the wonderful company.

July 28 - We made it back to Green Turtle Bay and immediately started seeing more people that we knew. It is always great seeing the friends we have here at the marina. On top of that, we now have quite a bit to offer with respect to experiences that many of our fellow sailing friends would love to also experience. I just hope that we can provide the information and the experiences about cruising so others can "feel it too."

I have started the sewing projects however, I will update those at another date. Instead, I have talked Deb into sharing a very personal and very scary experience which is something cruisers typically don't talk about. I asked her to write it up from her perspective. You might get a hint of it in the picture to the right.

 A Long Trip Back

We have been cruising for almost two years. We have had storms, high seas, boat problems and have weathered all situations well, and have our systems down to a fine art. I have learned a great deal from Jim and we are enjoying our adventures. The one thing that is the hardest to deal with is the unexpected. I feel the most terrifying time in a women’s life is when she feels a large lump on her breast. That is exactly what happened coming up the Tenn-Tom Waterway in July. I conduct monthly breast exams and I found a large lump on my right breast. At first, I thought it was nothing, however, I could not keep from feeling each and every hour and it didn’t go away. I didn’t tell Jim until the next day and he felt it also.

When you are cruising, many times you are in remote areas that are not accessible by car or plane. We discussed many options – I called my doctor and he said come in that day. I explained that we were the couple that was cruising and if you have ever traveled up the Tenn-Tom from the Gulf, you know that it is a long and tedious trip. We were about three weeks from getting to Green Turtle Bay at Kentucky Lake. The sense of urgency on my doctor’s perspective gave me more trepidation and anxiety. Jim I talked about our options when we got near Memphis he suggested that I take a plane to St. Louis, but we ultimately decided to wait it out until we got to the lake.

Cousin Julie came to get us when we arrived and I had an appointment the next day with my doctor. I had an exam and sonogram with my OBGYN. He sent me to St. Joseph’s Hospital the next day for another sonogram and mammogram. The results were negative and it ended up to be breast tissue, which was benign.

The moral to this story is cruising has times that are up and down. Fortunately we have had more ups than downs. I prayed each day and gave myself up to God. I thank Jim for his support and encouragement. He planned a contingency plan for each scenario – from all being well to having surgery. I felt good that we did not panic, but had good problem solving discussions. That helped me to go through the three weeks of anxiety and uncertainty with the knowledge that we can weather any storm.

 July 30 - Do you remember the Beverly Hillbillies? I have in my mind a picture of the Clampet's showing up in Beverly Hills with an old car loaded down with a bunch of junk looking like it belonged in the trash. I've seen a number of cruisers who's boats look exactly that way and honestly, ours was beginning to show some wear. So, my sewing projects this summer have the anti-Clampet theme to them.

To the right is our sail cover. Previously, the letters were falling off and I resewed them. However, over the last two years, they started rotting and falling off again. In addition, 12 years have taken their toll on the cover with some spots wearing through. So, I started out by making a new sail cover. I've never made one before but I have the old one as a guide so off we go.

You can see below that I started out by marking and then cutting out material on the dock. Since I don't have a house to work in, it is either the dock or the boat which becomes my workshop. Lower right you can see that I've taken over the inside of the boat for the projects during the daytime. Besides, it is really hot outside. Some days we see upper 90's as the temperature. Good thing we have A/C inside the boat.


 To the left you see the finished cover. You can't see where I added the extra material on the inside to act a chafe protection for the winches but it is there. I wanted to put on some lettering for Gemini 105 and also add our boats name. However, I couldn't find 4 or 6 inch letters so I've decided to leave it off. Maybe someone knows where I can order some.

Below left is a new cover for the bimini so I don't get sunburned through the plexiglas. Then to the right is one of two bags I made for us to put clothes pins into after things dry. This way we won't have that line of Clampet clothes pins lined up on the lifeline.


 I had a cover for the outdrive boot but somehow it was lost. I had been putting a towel over the boot to protect it from the U.V. but again, I'm trying to clean up my act since I have my sewing machine back. To the right and lower left show the new boot cover I made. Of course it was really good that I did this because I found some cracking on the boot so that means it must be replaced this summer when I do the bottom job. Just another thing on the list.

To the lower right you can see some gas can covers I threw together before heading for the Bahamas on a friends sewing machine. However, the material was from Home Depot and just as I thought, it didn't hold up and when it got dirty, you couldn't clean it. So, off to make three more gas can covers.


On the left you can see one of the gas can covers. This one covers our extra 6 gallon diesel tank. It serves two purposes. First, it keeps the fuel cooler since it sits outside and second, it makes the boat look better since we don't have red tanks sitting on the side of the boat. Of course you can see one of the bags hanging from the lifeline with clothespins in it.

Below left is the cover I made to keep the generator out of the rain and also protect it from the sun. It seems that if it is going to rain, it will be during the night when we are trying to sleep. I just hated jumping up and running out to put the generator away. So, the fix is to cover it.

The project I'm working on right now has to do with the cockpit cushions. After 12 years of use, they were stained and wouldn't come clean. I decided that I would cut out the top material and then sew new material in it's place. Ok, that is kind of cheating but still I don't have the right attachments for the sewing machine to make the covers from scratch. Not to mention that I don't know how to do it either but that doesn't stop me since I didn't know how to do any of this before I started each project. Below right you can see the difference between one of the cushions I finished and the one adjacent to it. It is fairly dramatic and makes the cockpit look much better. Now I just have the four big ones to complete. I think I'll do that tomorrow.

We will be off to Nashville on Friday to pick up stainless steel tubing along with some other items from West Marine. I identified the part number of the frozen steering block and they should have it at the store along with some other items I need. More later.

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