Saturday, October 23, 2010


For the last ten days, I've been in northern Virginia and Eric has been in Florida fixing up our boat Clementine, getting her ready for their trip home early next month. This is Clemen-tiny, Clementine's little sister, the dinghy.

Today, Eric replaced the screws, bolts, and washers with new ones, caulked the ribs, and painted the outside. He's still working on getting the outboard functional, but all in good time.

Me, I did very little. It's been a long week catching up at work and taking care of obligations. All the rest can wait until tomorrow ...

Friday, October 15, 2010


This sad little train station is where I boarded Amtrak to start my trip home. The safety poster reminds me of an IRA mural in Northern Ireland. The surrounding area wasn't as bleak as it looks but I sure wouldn't want to stand here alone at night.

It was a long 24 hours from Okeechobee to Alexandria, Virginia and I got to see a lot of America's country side along the way. When the train hit North Carolina and started to climb from flat swamp land to deciduous forest, I felt comforted by what's familiar, but right now it's too far a distance from my heart.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sugar Cane

Clementine is about 20 miles away from Clewiston in one direction and 15 miles away from Labelle in the opposite. In between are sugar cane fields and it's harvest time in southwest Florida. We kept seeing dark clouds of smoke in the sky and learned that farmers burn their crops prior to harvest in order to remove leafy material and help push out any poisonous snakes that might be lurking about.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Boat Yard Cat

This is Byc the boat yard cat (pronounced Bick). During the week, when Kim is in the office, Byc sleeps in a card board box and enjoys air conditioning. On the weekends and at night, she spends her time stretched out on the porch visiting the small group of people who temporarily have their boats on the hard.

Byc is too calm and friendly to have been a feral cat, but she definitely has the skills necessary to fight as is evidenced by the minor cuts and scrapes around her ears. Maybe Byc jumped ship or was accidentally left behind, or maybe she just found her way to the boat yard and decided she liked it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


(photo to come)

So here we are in the middle of nowhere ... the nearest town is something like 20 miles away and it's a full 2.5 miles of dirt road just to get out of the boat yard.

It's unbelievably hot without air conditioning. Like farmers, we rise at dawn, work until the sun is too much, and then turn in for the night at dusk. In our two days since arriving, we've gone through the entire boat, cleaned up the interior, and made the engine accessible. The galley is stocked with essentials: water, nuts, cheese, fruit ... all items that store well and don't require cooking or major refrigeration.

It's an adjustment for two people who are used to city living. We have no Internet, no television, and very little company outside ourselves and the few people who are working on their boats during the day. We sleep soundly and our daily labor produces satisfying results.

The best part, however, is waking up in the middle of the night and looking up to a full sky of stars. It's amazing how different the world feels when the Universe is right outside your companion way hatch.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Next week, Eric and I are going back to Florida to claim our boat Clementine. This time, however, there's no road trip for us. We're traveling by rail with comfy seats, a dining car, and free movies.

While making reservations, I noticed Amtrak's logo. Research tells me it was designed by Brent Oppenheimer and introduced as part of Amtrak's promise to improve customer service and overall performance in the year 2000.

With every brand, however, there's a history and this is what Amtrak's logo looked like in 1971 when the government-owned corporation was created by an Act of Congress to unify the nation's railways.

Called the chevron or the "inverted arrow" by some, it was also called the "pointless arrow" by others. The individual parts lack cohesiveness and the proclaimed patriotic colors are lost. There are many variations out there on the Web, some with the name on top and some with the name on left ... and many different designs on trains.

While it is said that an organization's logo should reflect its personality, this earlier version can be determined an accurate representation of Amtrak. It was used during a time when many different rail systems were struggling to come together as one entity.

Today, Amtrak has an online corporate identity page listing its Pantone color as 302 blue and acceptable alternatives as 1375 orange, 306 light blue, and 389 green. Their typeface is Frutiger. And, more recently, Arnold Worldwide, a creative agency right here in Arlington, VA, presented a coordinated ad campaign using the tagline, "Enjoy the journey." That's exactly what we hope to do.