Sep 17, 2017

Hangng out on a boat in Chicago



We arrived in Chicago in the small hours of the morning and tied up on an end dock. The next day after the staff arrived, I walked to the dock house to pay for several nights. 

There was one girl in the dock house talking on the phone when I arrived. Two other marina staff members sat outside chatting. Perhaps it was their morning break time. I stood waiting, reading a posting of marina rules. Several more people walked in Two of them walked up to the counter like I wasn’t there. I figured they were “city folk” and didn’t let it bother me, but I stepped up and made it clear the next guy wasn’t going to walk past me. 

The girl finally got off the phone and helped the other two customers. When it came to be my turn, I said: “I arrived early this morning and need to reserve a slip.”

“Do you have a reservation?” She asked.

I said “no.”

She told me “you have to make a reservation using the Dockwa App.”

I didn’t really want to download a freaking app just to pay for a dock, so I asked “there is no way to just do it here?”

“No.”

“Is it okay if I leave me boat where it is while I make the reservation?” I didn’t want to steer the boat on a busy holiday weekend while downloading an app and then using it to make a reservation. 

“I don’t know, where are you?” she asked.

“The end of G dock.”

“What slip?”

“I don’t know, the only one out of the two available.”

“Which one is that?”

I looked around for a map, she stood with an empty look in her eyes, like a robot waiting for some external input to trigger her next algorithmic response. Finally spotted and 8x10 map on the other side of the dock house. Exasperated, I walked over to it, found G dock, ran my finger down along it to the end, found the empty slip and said G-24 (or whatever it was).

She said “That’s someone’s slip. You can’t stay there.”

I’m not a violent person, but at this point I wanted to choke her. 

“okay” I said as I left.

The boys were in the stroller, hitting, kicking, fighting with each other. LeeAnn was anxious about the city, and how impossible it would be with the boys. I suggested we take a walk, find a park away from the water where the boys could run around a bit. 
I wasn’t concerned about making a hasty exit from the slip. The dock girl did nothing to help me, and I wasn’t going to feel bad if I inconvenienced her by being in someones slip when they returned. I was prepared to take my time. 

We found a park and unbuckled the boys. Hobie refused to get out of the stroller. Charlie found a stick and starting whacking it against the stroller which to his delight caused Hobie to scream and throw a fit. 

I searched for “Chicago” at Dockwa.com. Although I was reluctant to use it, I must admit, Dockwa.com was pretty sweet. It made it fairly easy to see the various places to stay and how much each one cost. I saw that staying in the Monroe mooring field was a fraction of the cost of Burnam. $38 per night verses $100 per night. I made a reservation for two nights and we left Burnam Harbor.

Muhaha! I win dock girl! Screw your stupid fancy marina!

Not that she cared. I imagined she sat behind her desk with a line of code repeating in her robot brain:

“waiting for external input….”
“waiting for external input….”
“no external input…entering sleep mode….”

We traveled a mile north, closer to downtown and picked up a mooring ball. Way better in my opinion. Our boat would face into the wind so we would catch the breeze, and rather than paying the $10/night electricity fee at the dock, we could run our generator guilt free. 

My one worry was having to dinghy to shore, but then I learned that Monroe Harbor runs a sweet tender service. They shuttle boaters back and forth using these awesome taxi boats. We loved using the tender service. It was part of the fun of going to shore. 

We spent the next few days exploring the tourist sights right near Monroe harbor. There was PLENTY to do. 

- We went to Shed Aquarium
- The super awesome kids playground across the street from the marina. Hands down the coolest playground we have ever been to. I mean, they had towers and slides that were at least two stories tall. Not to mention the “enchanted forrest”, the interactive fountains, boats, swings, and who knows what else. We definitely didn’t explore the whole playground. 
- The famous “bean” and face fountain.
- Navy Pier, where we rode the ferris wheel, carousel, then got deep dish pizza (which took a regrettable 45 minutes to cook but ended up being worth the wait). 

We didn’t go to the Field Museum which had dinosaur bones that Hobie wanted to see, or the planetarium, which sounded cool. Both of these educational field trips were within visibility and walking distance from the harbor. We also never went to the incredibly cool looking fountain on the edge of the harbor. Who knows what else we missed within easy walking distance. 
After a few days of playing tourist, we made the 10 mile jaunt down to Calument River to drop the mast at Crowly’s. Those guys were awesome. Expensive, but awesome. 

We traveled back up to Chicago the same day, but passed Monroe harbor to anchor in the free “playpen”. This anchorage was a little exposed to the north, which wouldn’t have been a problem except for the northerly cross swell entering the harbor. This is also where the yocal boaters come to… be idiots. Although it was a cold, cloudy, rainy day, there were some college kids swimming from a power boat. This was an attractive sight that didn’t bother me at all 😃

But the dudes doing the wake surfing, I could do with out them. 

Soon the sun set and the anchorage was all ours. The city light up, and we had a beautiful, peaceful night. 


We arrived in Chicago in the small hours of the morning and tied up on an end dock. The next day after the staff arrived, I walked to the dock house to pay for several nights. 

There was one girl in the dock house talking on the phone when I arrived. Two other marina staff members sat outside chatting. Perhaps it was their morning break time. I stood waiting, reading a posting of marina rules. Several more people walked in Two of them walked up to the counter like I wasn’t there. I figured they were “city folk” and didn’t let it bother me, but I stepped up and made it clear the next guy wasn’t going to walk past me. 

The girl finally got off the phone and helped the other two customers. When it came to be my turn, I said: “I arrived early this morning and need to reserve a slip.”

“Do you have a reservation?” She asked.

I said “no.”

She told me “you have to make a reservation using the Dockwa App.”

I didn’t really want to download a freaking app just to pay for a dock, so I asked “there is no way to just do it here?”

“No.”

“Is it okay if I leave me boat where it is while I make the reservation?” I didn’t want to steer the boat on a busy holiday weekend while downloading an app and then using it to make a reservation. 

“I don’t know, where are you?” she asked.

“The end of G dock.”

“What slip?”
“I don’t know, the only one out of the two available.”

“Which one is that?”

I looked around for a map, she stood with an empty look in her eyes, like a robot waiting for some external input to trigger her next algorithmic response. Finally spotted and 8x10 map on the other side of the dock house. Exasperated, I walked over to it, found G dock, ran my finger down along it to the end, found the empty slip and said G-24 (or whatever it was).

She said “That’s someone’s slip. You can’t stay there.”

I’m not a violent person, but at this point I wanted to choke her. 

“okay” I said as I left.

The boys were in the stroller, hitting, kicking, fighting with each other. LeeAnn was anxious about the city, and how impossible it would be with the boys. I suggested we take a walk, find a park away from the water where the boys could run around a bit. 

I wasn’t concerned about making a hasty exit from the slip. The dock girl did nothing to help me, and I wasn’t going to feel bad if I inconvenienced her by being in someones slip when they returned. I was prepared to take my time. 

We found a park and unbuckled the boys. Hobie refused to get out of the stroller. Charlie found a stick and starting whacking it against the stroller which to his delight caused Hobie to scream and throw a fit. 

I searched for “Chicago” at Dockwa.com. Although I was reluctant to use it, I must admit, Dockwa.com was pretty sweet. It made it fairly easy to see the various places to stay and how much each one cost. I saw that staying in the Monroe mooring field was a fraction of the cost of Burnam. $38 per night verses $100 per night. I made a reservation for two nights and we left Burnam Harbor.

Muhaha! I win dock girl! Screw your stupid fancy marina!

Not that she cared. I imagined she sat behind her desk with a line of code repeating in her robot brain:

“waiting for external input….”
“waiting for external input….”
“no external input…entering sleep mode….”

We traveled a mile north, closer to downtown and picked up a mooring ball. Way better in my opinion. Our boat would face into the wind so we would catch the breeze, and rather than paying the $10/night electricity fee at the dock, we could run our generator guilt free. 

My one worry was having to dinghy to shore, but then I learned that Monroe Harbor runs a sweet tender service. They shuttle boaters back and forth using these awesome taxi boats. We loved using the tender service. It was part of the fun of going to shore. 
We spent the next few days exploring the tourist sights right near Monroe harbor. There was PLENTY to do. 

- We went to Shed Aquarium
- The super awesome kids playground across the street from the marina. Hands down the coolest playground we have ever been to. I mean, they had towers and slides that were at least two stories tall. Not to mention the “enchanted forrest”, the interactive fountains, boats, swings, and who knows what else. We definitely didn’t explore the whole playground. 
- The famous “bean” and face fountain.
- Navy Pier, where we rode the ferris wheel, carousel, then got deep dish pizza (which took a regrettable 45 minutes to cook but ended up being worth the wait). 

We didn’t go to the Field Museum which had dinosaur bones that Hobie wanted to see, or the planetarium, which sounded cool. Both of these educational field trips were within visibility and walking distance from the harbor. We also never went to the incredibly cool looking fountain on the edge of the harbor. Who knows what else we missed within easy walking distance. 

After a few days of playing tourist, we made the 10 mile jaunt down to Calument River to drop the mast at Crowly’s. Those guys were awesome. Expensive, but awesome. 
We traveled back up to Chicago the same day, but passed Monroe harbor to anchor in the free “playpen”. This anchorage was a little exposed to the north, which wouldn’t have been a problem except for the northerly cross swell entering the harbor. This is also where the yocal boaters come to… be idiots. Although it was a cold, cloudy, rainy day, there were some college kids swimming from a power boat. This was an attractive sight that didn’t bother me at all 😃

But the dudes doing the wake surfing, I could do with out them. 

Soon the sunset and the anchorage was all ours. The city light up, and we had a beautiful, peaceful night. 
















If you enjoy HoboSailor, check out patreon.com/hobosailor

Sep 14, 2017

LeeAnn Says Goodbye :(

In our latest video, LeeAnn talks about leaving, sheds a few tears, gets a little upset, but don't worry, it has a happy ending.

Leaving everything behind is hard. It's scary. I think this video does a good job of showing a little part of that.

Patrons get early access. See it now at patreon.com/hobosailor for $1. The video goes FREE to the public next week!


Sep 13, 2017

Saving To Sail Away


Saving money is very responsible, and being responsible is...very boring. As in, you don’t go to concerts, movies, or even on vacations kind of boring. But, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun. 

“Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight (I love cheap thrills)!” ~Sia

People think saving is boring. Or… maybe people just think I’m boring, because no one ever leaps to talk to me about money. 

But I don’t think it’s me. My sense is that people talk about how to get likes on Instagram more then they discuss financial strategies.

We have this trickery in the United States. Instead of just talking openly about money, we hide wealth and display it abstractly based on the house we live in, the car we drive, the clothes we wear. It is stupid to engage in this game. The truth is that everyone is broke. I know this because everyone goes to work.

Rich people don’t go to work. 

Or… if they are truly rich and still go to work, then they are just emotionally bankrupt. If someone is so rich that they don’t have to go to work, but go anyway because they can’t think of anything better to do… that person is a lost soul. That person should become my patron, because I can think of all sorts of ways to spend their riches. Just look at Steve Jobs. Super rich, and fucked up. 

We all portray these glamorous lifestyles on social media, but the truth is that 99% of us spend the better part of our day working for the man so we can pay off the loan we got to buy shit we couldn’t afford while trying to show off how rich we were.

It’s socially expected, an actual measure of achievement when a person can sell themselves into 30 years of corporate slavery in the form of a home mortgage.

The saying “you live, you work, you die” is just another way of saying “your childhood, your adulthood, your old age.”

Why is that normal? 

I’m sorry, but I’ll pass on “normal.” I don’t want to spend the best years of my life going to work. I don’t care how much you love your job. I had a great job. I was my own boss, I made good money, I worked with cool people and had cool customers. 

I still quit!

Not because I’m rich. Which, I’ll grant you, by many standards I am rich, but I’m no millionaire. I’m able to quit my job and sail away because of the decisions I made. Many of those decisions were financial. 

Whatever your dream is. Sailing away, touring the country in an RV, backpacking through Thailand, if your dream is not “commuting to my 40 hour per week job, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year.” Then you need to get smart about how you spend your money!

I’m not some bullshit 21-year-old content marketer fresh out of college with 60k in debt creating some bullshit tips compiled from the internet. I’m sitting on a boat right now. Sometime next week I’ll sail 100 miles from Muskegon to Chicago. It will mark the beginning of a vacation, nay, an adventure that will be measured in years rather than weeks. I’m the real deal, the living proof that these tips and tricks actually work. 

They worked when I was 21, exploring Canada’s stunning North Channel, they worked when I was 24, poor but living free in the Exumas, they worked for me when I was 28 and managing an annual corporate budget of nearly a million dollars, and they work for me now, a 33 year old who is debt and job free. 

These tips and tricks have worked for me. 

I hope they work for you.

Purchase the e-book here: 

https://www.patreon.com/hobosailor/



Testimonials and Praise for "Saving to Sail Away":



"I make more money than Chad but he’s more successful than me. I have hopes and dreams for the future. He's already living his.

His ebook gave me insight into the mindset, habits, and, above all, sacrifices, that have allowed him to live his ideal lifestyle – sailing around the world with his beautiful family. Free from the daily grind, making memories, and experiencing the world. It's something so many people wish for, but don't achieve. 

Whether or not your ultimate lifestyle goal is quitting the rat race and sailing the world (mine isn’t), this is a realistic, practical outline of exactly what it takes to make your most ambitious goals a reality – on any size paycheck – if you want it badly enough. 

He doesn’t sugar coat it, he’s brutally honest at times, and what he recommends isn't easy to do. If it were easy, more people would be doing it. If you're considering this lifestyle, the ebook is an excellent introduction to the hard work you should expect to put it in to achieve the same results." ~ Brian Gladu





Sep 3, 2017

Moored in Chicago - Monroe Harbor

We arrived in Chicago this morning around 2:30am.

We were expecting the trip to take about 20 hours, but we had poor wind so we motorsailed. Made great time and finished in around 14 hours.

We first took a dock in Burnham harbor. Then today I went to register at the marina office. The lady told me I needed to make a reservation online before we could get a dock.

When I went to make an online reservation I noticed we could get a mooring ball closer to the city, two nights for $80 vs. $100 a night for a dock. I opted for the mooring so we have more spending money in the city.

There are a lot of weekend boaters out today. Everyone is rushing around in very large high speed boats. They are either crazy, stupid, ignorant, or all of the above. Some boats are  piled with people and I think a lot of them may be going to the "playpen" which sounds like a great party for college kids, but not so good for ... actual kids. We may anchor there in a few days. Can't beat free!

Overall, It's been a stressful few days! All the emotion of leaving home. Then an overnight passage through the middle of the widest part of Lake Michigan, entering Chicago at night, being tired today, but wanting to make the best of our first day on adventure.

Leeann is a pretty anxious personl... so when she gets stressed I get stressed about making whatever is causing her anxiety to go away. I can tell she has been trying hard to stay positive.

The kids are pretty emotional about leaving  but they don't really understand it. They are just acting tired and whiny and demanding a lot of attention. We are trying to give them all the emotional support they need during the transition. Then again, today Hobie asked if we could live in Chicago forever so maybe he is fine about leaving home.

I'm surprised how intuitive Charlie was about leaving. Yesterday he was asking to "go back" which broke my heart.

LeeAnn slept with the boys last night, and once we docked I climbed into bed with them. I always start to second guess myself late at night. I turned my life upside down for this. Sold my company. Left a high paying job. Sold our stuff. Rented out our house. Left our friends and family. I hope it all doesn't turn out to be a big mistake.

Overall, things are good and we are making the best of it, but I'm excited to get a good nights sleep tonight, and into a routine during the next few days.

At least the weather is good! It would be way worse if it were cold and rainy!

Sep 2, 2017

Sailing to Chicago from Muskegon

The boys watching Wall-E while crossing the lake to Chicago.
Passage sounds so dramatic. Like something that should be done on the ocean. But in my book, anything that requires traveling at night is a passage. It means traveling far enough that the weather could change and you will be stuck out in it.  LeeAnn and I also refer to passages as going "offshore" or "making a jump" due to the distance covered.

We take passages pretty seriously. It's not a boat ride, or what most sailors would refer to as a "day sail." We conserve energy (you never know when you're going to need it), nights on passage can be very long, and lacking in sleep. We don't drink. We don't let the kids use the rope swings or do anything that would increase the risk of them getting injured. They are already oblivious to danger, and when you are on a passage just getting to shore can take hours, not to mention getting from a marina to an emergency room. The worst case scenario is a helicopter ride from the coast guard. Something I hope to never experience.

All that being said, I think I've taken passages a little too seriously over the last few years. Granted, LeeAnn and I have had enough terrifying experiences to keep us from ever wanting to leave solid ground again. We have reason to be cautious. But I used to revel in the thrill of taking a boat to sea. I'd pretend I was in a movie, playing the part of a brave adventurer. After seven years of being submissive to customers and employees at work, this adventurous version of myself is what I want to rediscover.

This was the mindset I had as we began our 100-mile passage from Muskegon to Chicago. It would take us 14-20 hours depending on the weather. It was the most ambitious passage we've made in years. Although we've sailed over 1,000 miles on oceans, bays and the Great Lakes since 2014, all of it has been following the coast. This trip to Chicago was still "coastal." At most, we would be 35 miles from shore, but that's far enough to lose sight of land and be 7 hours from help. The route would take us diagonally through the bottom half of Lake Michigan. The widest part.

We were clear of Muskegon's breakwater by 11am. We watched the horizon slowly break apart behind us. It appeared to melt into the water. The boys had fun pretending to not be able to see land. Soon there came a time when they didn't need to pretend.
In the middle of Lake Michigan

By 6pm we were dead center in the middle of Lake with fairly calm winds. The lake was incredibly smooth, which was nice, but it also meant that the motor was on the entire time. Considering we would be dropping the mast in Chicago and motoring all the way to the gulf, I hoped we could sail to Chicago. For a while, we picked up some good wind out of the west and started making about 7knts. It looked like we would arrive in Chicago around 1am. Then the wind died and our speed dropped back to 5 knots. 

Our forecast for the night changed to winds out of the Southwest, 10-15 knots. right on our nose. It's pretty incredible. We had a prediction for winds out of the North. How can the weatherman be so completely wrong?

"North winds tonight. Wait. I mean Southwest. Definitely Southwest."

Being in the middle of the lake, it was kinda too late to turn back. At least there were no thunderstorms in the forecast.

The boys were a little cranky most of the day. Charlie kept saying "go back, go back" which was pretty heartbreaking. 

We grilled steak and some brats for dinner. Then since we were motoring and had plenty of hot water, LeeAnn and I both took showers. I love taking a hot shower while on a passage. It feels mysteriously good.

Then we figured out a watch schedule for the night. With the Southwest winds slowing our progress, I figured we would be on the water most of the night. Mike would take the first watch, then LeeAnn, and finally I would come up to bring us into Chicago.  

Around 7pm Mike spotted something ahead. We thought it was a ship on the horizon, dead ahead. It was far off so I didn’t worry about it at the time. After a little while, it hadn't moved, so I got out the binoculars. At first, I thought it was big racing sailboat with a spinnaker up. Then I noticed the two spears on top, and realized it was the Sears Tower! We were all very excited and surprised to be able to see it so far away. 

A blurry picture of the boys passed out and cuddling together.
By midnight we were 16nm Northeast of Chicago. The winds had clocked around to the Southwest at about 10 knots. Adding our 5 knots of headway made it feel like a stiff 15-knot breeze.

Small choppy waves built up. LeeAnn saw fireworks and a few passing ships on her watch.

I was eager for our cell service to pick back up. I wanted to let my mom know we were okay. She was worried about us taking a b-line across the widest part of Lake Michigan in the middle of the night. 

By 1am the moon was breaking through a patchwork of clouds. The skyline of Chicago brightly lite our way. The wind full in my face. Not warm, but not cold. The waves were building at about the same rate that we were approaching Chicago, so the weather felt balanced. Looking to pass the time quickly on my watch, I started watching episodes of "Silicon Valley". I set a timer to 10 minutes, and each time it went off I went outside to scan the horizon for freighters. 

The approach to Chicago at night was a lot easier than I expected. There weren't any navigation lights for a channel. This reduced confusion, but it was a little unnerving. I was really bummed when I couldn't find my spotlight. When coming into an unfamiliar marina a night, it's extremely handy to have a powerful spotlight. Fortunately, the moon and the city provided plenty of light to see by. 

We found a vacant end dock, tied up, and went to bed!


Chicago on the Horizon

The Moon over the skyline of Chicago



















Cut The Dock Lines And Dump The Weed!



We headed for the fuel dock right after waking up. We needed to top off our fuel, and pump out. I had filled our water tanks the night before.


More people came down to the dock to see us off than I expected. It was a little hectic working with the dock hands to get the boat taken care of while also talking with guests and keeping the kids under control.


The toughest person to say goodbye to was my Mom. When we were ready to go, people slowly made their way off the boat, but my mom lingered. I could tell she didn't want to get off the boat.

I finally walked her to the side. We had to go. She turned to get one last look at the boys, then gave me a long, tight hug. I was glad to be wearing sun glasses.

She stepped off the boat, and for a moment there was an awkward silence. Something was supposed to happen next. Then I remembered. I was supposed to take the helm.

Several people lined up to push the boat off the dock. At least 50% of them were dock hands, and I wish I would have had the sense to instruct the guests to help push us off. Especially my Dad.

I was 20 when LeeAnn and I left on our first sailing trip to Canada. My dad helped push the boat out of the slip, and when he reached the end of the dock, he shook my hand and said: "have a great summer." I felt so proud in that moment.


This time, he stayed back. Perhaps satisfied to watch from a distance, or perhaps snapping photos. I told my Uncle Troy to give the bow a good push, then for a moment, I panicked.

I'm very comfortable maneuvering the boat, but in front of friends and family there to see us off, in front of the marina staff, as we departed on a cross country boat trip, I worried that I would crash. We'd ram the dock in front of us with our bow or hit the gas dock with the stern and everyone would question my ability to take the trip.


Fortunately, it didn't happen. We had a smooth departure out of the marina. Then my dad sent me a text that they were heading to the end of the pier to take pictures and wave goodbye. So... even though there was no wind, I felt like I had to raise all the sails.



As we approached the channel, I remembered something very important I forgot to do. I had a small bag of pot on board that I meant to throw away before leaving the dock. I didn't want to risk going past the Coast Guard station with it, so perhaps more suspiciously, I went to the back of the boat and emptied the bag overboard.

A sad waste, but the coast guard is federal, and being a branch of the military, they need no "probable cause" to search your boat. It's not worth the risk. I also tossed my pipe in the water and sadly watched it sink.


I wondered how long it would be before I smoked again. I thought about the time a group of us bought weed in the Bahamas. The purchase was shady, and I worried the guy we bought it from was going to turn us in to the police for some kind of reward. I suggested we go back to the Norwegian couple's boat to smoke.

It was during a cold front with 20-knot winds uncomfortably rocking the anchorage. The weed hit me hard. So hard that I couldn't understand anything the Norwegians were saying.  For all I knew they were so high they stopped speaking English. I went outside to lay down in the cockpit. The Norwegian girl followed me.

I kept saying "I just need to lay down."

She kept talking to me..."Du må legge deg ned?"

No seriously lady, I don't have a clue what you are saying. I just need to lay down. 

"Du må legge deg ned?"

I think LeeAnn finally got her to leave me alone. Perhaps LeeAnn was so high she could now speak Norwegian: "Han har det bra, han trenger bare å legge seg ned."

After a while, LeeAnn and I stumbled into our friend's tiny inflatable dinghy for the ride back to our boat. We got lost in a universe of anchor lights, high winds, and waves splashing into the boat. We turned around several times, zig zagging through the marina laughing and probably making more of a scene than we realized.

LeeAnn said: "I see my parents!" and I snapped back from my daydream.

They were the first of a few people in the channel to see us off. A short distance later we saw Ken, who has become a good friend. And at the very end, my dad, Aunt Joni, and Uncle Troy.

Without thinking, I turned south, following the shoreline, but our deck hand, Mike, questioned what heading we should be on for Chicago. I checked my route and turned to the Southwest. A course that would steadily leave the coast a Michigan behind us.

LeeAnn and I watched our home port shrink into the distance. We wondered whether our boat would ever come back to Muskegon, and if it did, how many years it would be.








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Ready or not... here we go!


I got up this morning, checked the weather, and found a pretty good report. I went over it with LeeAnn and we decided to go for it.

First we started calling around to see who could help with the sail over to Chicago. It's a long trip through the middle portion of lower Lake Michigan. Having an extra pair of hands and eyes will make life a LOT easier.

Then we rush around, packing up last minute items, going grocery shopping, etc.

I'm exhausted. It's 12:34am on Saturday now. I just finished one last sewing project. The sewing machine isn't coming with us.

It's freaky to think that tomorrow... everything changes. I start a new life. No idea where it will take me.

I've tried very hard to stay calm and centered today. I want to make smart decisions, and anytime I felt myself getting carried away, felt like I was thinking too fast. I just stopped. Sat down. Reminded myself that nearly everything was done, and as for tomorrow all we need to do is get fuel and a pump out. Everything else can be done after we leave the dock.

I need a shower? I can take it under way. I need to secure the dinghy? I can do it underway. This is one of the reasons why we wanted help for this first big leg of the trip. So while the things we forgot to do need to get done, someone can still man the boat, help with the kids, etc.

Here is our forecast for tomorrow:

 SATURDAY
 East winds 10 to 20 kt backing to north 10 to 15
 kt...then becoming variable late in the afternoon. Slight chance
 of showers in the afternoon. Waves 2 to 4 ft.

 SATURDAY NIGHT
 Southwest winds 10 to 15 kt becoming northwest
 10 to 20 kt. Chance of showers in the evening. Waves 1 to 3 ft
 building to 2 to 4 ft.

 SUNDAY
 West winds 10 to 20 kt diminishing to 10 to 15 kt.
 Waves 2 to 4 ft.

The forecast this morning didn't call for any wind out of the south until Sunday. Saturday afternoon with variable winds isn't the best, but I'll happily take it. Saturday night with Southwest winds is a bummer. We will be headed south west and the wind will be right on our nose.

I hope the SW wind will be short lived. We could motor sail as close hauled (into the wind) as possible. Or we could change course and head more west so when the wind switched around to the NW we have a better angle to turn south toward Chicago. I suppose heading west would be better than going east.

I'll check the forecast again before we leave, then make a plan while underway!

Aug 27, 2017

Two weeks before departing on the great loop

Here is a video covering what we are up to.

Two weeks prior to departing on the inland river portion of the great loop!

http://www.patreon.com/posts/14254084

Aug 22, 2017

Thinking About Money

I'm starting to worry about money, which you can probably tell based on this being my second financially related blog post in five days. We're not in a dire situation at the moment, but I'm trying to be proactive and figure things about before the well runs dry. I started a managed wordpress hosting business called wowie.co. It has potential but still needs some work before it will generate income.

I also signed up for a service called Patreon (patreon.com/hobosailor) which helps bloggers get paid for their content. Without Patreon I'd have a hard time justifying the time I spend creating blog posts and videos. Time I could otherwise spend working on Wowie.co. Regardless of Patreon, I'd still create blogs and videos. It's something I enjoy doing. But I don't think I would make it as high of a priority.

To be clear, this post isn't about plugging my two potential sources of income. I simply wanted to be transparent about what I'm thinking and feeling right now as we are less than two weeks away from departure. I also wanted to be clear about the ways I'm hoping to make money to pay for this little adventure.

We have also rented out our house, but 100% of that money will go towards property expenses, health insurance, and our emergency fund. We have not yet started receiving rental income.

At this point we have enough cash to last 4 or 5 months based on the following budget:

Food: $150/week
Based on our transaction history, we spend about $513 a month on groceries or about $128 per week. I'm budgeting $150 because I want to be a little on the high side. Better to plan for the worst case scenario and come out ahead. I figured out past spending habits using Mint.com. A totally awesome service for budgeting that I highly recommended!

Fuel: $50/week
We have 2, 25-gallon fuel tanks. We burn about a half a gallon per hour, which means we can travel for 50 hours per tank. If we only run one engine at a time, which we usually do, then we can stretch the fuel to about 100 hours. We plan to travel about 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. This means we can go about a month before needing to refuel. I'm assuming fuel will cost around $3 per gallon or $150 to fill both tanks. The marina we are at right now is charging $2.52 per gallon, so I feel my assumptions here are on the safe side.

Fun: $100/week
This is a total guess. I don't know how much we will spend per week on sight seeing, but we've taken a number of sailing trips with no budget for fun and it sucks. It's like going to an amusement park and not being able to go on any of the rides.

Repairs and Upkeep: $25/week
I'm probably way under budget on repairs, but it's better than nothing for now.

Dockage: $50/week
We anchor most of the time, but there may instances when there isn't an anchorage isn't available (rare) or when we just need a dock for some reason. I figured it would be better to have it in the budget.

Saving: $0/week
At this point, we are not saving any money for retirement. Scary!

Total: $375/week, $1,500/month


If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out patreon.com/hobosailor where every month I'll be posting details on our actual income and expenses once we get underway.



Aug 18, 2017

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Shout outs to Katie, Mike, and Trey. Our newest, first, most coolest Patrons. 
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