So, what’s happening?  We have been frantically working to get the house in Blunt ready to sell.  Our buyers (THANK YOU Joe and Bethany) have been uber patient with us getting things done.  In some future post, I’ll show several before and after pictures.  Mostly, suffice it to say this has been our biggest project to date, and we have had A LOT of projects.  Closing will hopefully happen later this week.  Here’s a teaser of 1 room that we have completed:


So-that’s a sample of what our life looks like right now.  Mike is also working at the ER in Pierre, up to five 24 hour shifts per month.  Since Matthew has started school, I’ve been home (in the 5th wheel in Sturgis) during the week and traveling on weekends to help and bring home belongings.  Fall soccer has also begun, so that hampers my travel plans, somewhat.  Of course,  I have had a few small assignments at home.  I’ve loaded dirt from the future apartment ground floor into the tractor bucket.  I’ve also dug a trench for the drain tile.  There’s been a few other small chores, but nothing worth mentioning.  Mostly I’m running errands and taking care of the home front.  When I go to Blunt, I’ve focused on taping and mudding drywall and painting.  I’m ok with a break from the drywall work for awhile, especially ceilings…..

Yesterday we closed on our Sturgis house.  It’s now officially Sean’s.  I miss the house daily, but I am soooo glad it’s staying in the family.  He gets to host the big family get-togethers now!!  I have visions (probably due to my preference for historical literature) of this being a family estate that is passed through the generations.  I really do hope that’s the case.  Sean is single, ladies, with 5 acres and a nice 4 bedroom house and 2 dogs…. see me if interested 😉

A trip to Brunswick to see Voyager was planned for the end of September.  We thought we would take my dad and get further prepared for the “big trip”.  However, with hurricane Florence taking shape, others behind her and the multitude of happenings on the home front, we have decided to wait.  The next trip may not happen until after Christmas, now.  This makes me nervous as that will be when we take the rest of our gear and we had  hoped for the last drive down to be a light one.  I think what will need to happen is we pull a small trailer.  Dad will be with us and maybe he will fly back.  These are things that will need sorted out.

I’m hoping that life will be settling down somewhat now that the 2 houses are sold.  Mike will still need to travel to Pierre for work, but we should be able to put a dent in the projects at home, I hope.  Matthew has some school events, soccer games and piano lessons to attend to.  That keeps us running, besides all the other.

I’m thinking I need to do an entry on books and what everyone is reading.  I’m not really sure how to do this without giving bland book reviews.  I’ve been trying to broaden what I read, so maybe that’s a starting point.  What are YOU reading?

Also, I need a catchy signing off phrase….. whatcha got?

Until next time……..  Fair winds







Sailing and Catching Up


Tracy, Mike, Barefoot Pete and Tommy headed out of the marina.
Chart plotter
Showing our boat headed to the open water.


To Neptune!



Still The One
Trying out an antique telescope Barefoot Pete has.
Sailing into the sunset
Sailing west towards the Jeckyl Island bridge.
Mike and his groovy pink bike
The bike Mike used to ride around Brunswick. He made it look cool.

I seem to have gone the rest of our trip without documenting anything…..and the best part was that we actually got out there and raised sails and sailed back to the marina at sunset!  This was something so exciting and I didn’t record it…. But I am now.

So, our attempted and aborted sail was on Saturday, I believe.  Mike spent the next 2 days replacing all the fuel lines (25 feet) and fuel filters (6)  and becoming intimately acquainted with Voyagers nether regions.  He also polished the fuel tanks to remove all the water and debris.  When there is water in a diesel tank nasty bacteria will grow making a black slime which plugs fuel filters.    I had spent a few hours cleaning out the inside of the small diesel tank.  This was no small feat, as I had to maneuver through a 10 inch wide locker and through a 6 inch hole into the tank.  My upper arm was very colorful with bruising by the time I was done.  Mike also fixed the tach and replaced the engine shut off switch which

was no longer working.    I spent one entire day swabbing (happy John?) the deck and drying out deck lockers.  I dropped one of these lids on my foot and bruised my right big toe.  After that, I had managed to add purple color to each of my 4 limbs.  :-/ The windlass still wasn’t working, nor the tachometer, but we headed out again on Tuesday the 7th to sail.

We motored out past the bridge, turned her into the wind and pulled up the main sail.  There is nothing like the feeling when you feel the lift as the wind grabs the canvas!  It’s something like when an elevator makes it’s ascent, the sensation of weightlessness that is so brief, but tickles your insides.  We had about 6 knots wind at the time, but as we navigated the channel, were up to 16 knots, at times.  We wound through the channel markers and got as far as the opening to the North Atlantic (SQUEEEE!).  We decided to turn around as we were afraid of making our way back after darkness fell.  This also meant we were headed west as the sun set.  These conditions made for a beautiful return into the marina.

On Monday I had met a woman, Tracy, hanging signs on the bathroom doors for a Bible study to be held on Tuesday evenings at 630pm.  We didn’t make it to the study as we were late coming back from our sail.  However, we had agreed to sail with Barefoot Pete the next day, Wednesday and were surprised to see that Tracy and her husband Tommy were also aboard Pete’s boat.  He has a 37′ Hunter that is beautiful and soo different in appearance to Voyager.  We were given our safety tutorial and set out.  We hadn’t been on a boat with an” in mast” furling, so it was fun to see how that worked.  The sail actually took us out into the ocean and we were able to swim off his sugar scoop swim platform for awhile.  Pete had thrown a rope and flotation pillow out, but it was pulled under the rudder as the boat drifted.  I had no visibility when I looked and am NOT a diver.  Fortunately Tommy is.  He was able to free the rope and we continued swimming for 30 minutes or so.  There were a few jellyfish that would float by and with Matthew’s experience our last trip, he was hesitant to go in.  He finally did for a few seconds and was pretty pleased he got that far.  As we headed back, the main clew came unbound from the furling in the mast.  Tommy was able to rig it back so it could be furled in and we motored back.   Overall this was a most enjoyable day.

We decided to have sushi for supper when we got back and went to Basils.  Several people had recommended it and they didn’t disappoint.  We asked Peter (former Voyager owner, not Barefoot) to join us and he did for take out and some conversation.  We enjoy his company immensely and were glad he joined us for awhile.

The dingy was something we finally got to on Thursday.  She had some old gas and we got that sorted and she ran like a champ.  Her name had been Dove, we renamed her Meg.  I was able to get the old decals off the boat and her new name is now Voyager and the decals are on.  We had a brief, private christening ceremony for both the boat and dingy that Thursday night after all the decals were up as we want to keep Neptune happy 😉

Wednesday and Thursday were full of hurricane prep.  We pulled down, dried and folded sails.  Lashed halyards, cleaned and stowed the dingy.  It seems like so little to write it out, but it was time consuming.  We brought home the bimini top so Mike can make the flaps to hold the flexible solar panels.  We will be adding more solar, but this is a start.  He also has 2 sheets of ising glass panels to repair that are part of the enclosed cockpit.

In other news, Mike and I went to see The Spy Who Dumped Me.  Sam Heughen is in it and as a fan, I had to go.  It was such a funny movie!  We don’t get out just the 2 of us often, so it was a special treat!  Matthew and I also got Mike to use one of the marina bikes and ride with us to the pool one day.  He chose a light pink road bike and made it look macho and manly!  HAHA!

Our plan now is to head back the end of September and take a few more items.  I had taken our sails to a sail maker in Jacksonville to be repaired and inspected.  We will pick those up on our next trip as well.  The question will be whether we put them up or not, depending on how the remainder of hurricane season is looking.  It would be disappointing to go and not be able to sail.  I’m hoping my dad is able to join us then, as well.  He would enjoy the sail and I would hate to disappoint him.

I think I need address provisioning and what we are taking on board in our next post.  This is something that weighs on my mind several times daily.  If anyone has suggestions, or can offer expert advice, we would welcome it!

Well that was fun

Do you have friends or acquaintances that “things” happen to?  You know the ones, they go out for groceries and encounter all sorts of mayhem.  They witness a car accident or their brakes go out, or some random pulley on their Ford diesel powerstroke flies off leaving a 2 inch groove in the asphalt.  Well, we are those people.

Last night I’m walking the dogs and slipped down a wet staircase.  I may have cracked my ulna and if I wasn’t such a fluffy person, I would have broken my hip or pelvis for sure.  The bruising is quite impressive.

But, the big news is that as mentioned our refrigeration system is down.  If we have a hose hooked up directly to the system, it works.  We have flushed and used a barnacle buster to no avail.  But, as long as we are at the marina, we can run it this way.  The AC doesn’t run while charging up the fridge/freezer however.  I’m surely loosing water weight this trip;)

THEN, while desperately trying to reheat a 1/2 cup of coffee while the fresh pot brewed this morning I killed our power.  Mike remembered there being some sort of trick to the microwave power and called Pete and Linda who quickly got us sorted out.  Whew…

But the big news happened while we were underway during our maiden voyage.  Barefoot Pete, a retired attorney who does not wear shoes, whom we have just met last night and Peter, former owner, came with us.  I was at the helm and we were motoring out planning to raise some canvas and get some practice in.  We were 1/2 way to the bridge, maybe 3/4 of a mile and the motor died.  We quickly lowered the anchor and Peter and Mike dug in to the engine.  She was definitely fuel starved and after 4 hours they ended up taking the fuel line from the generator to make the motor run.  We decided we would motor out past the bridge and turn around as it was getting late.  We prepared to pull the hook and the windless had no power.  Right.  Mike and Barefoot Pete pulled up their big boy pants, sat at the bow and pulled up a 60# (my guestimate)  Rochna and roughly 60 feet of heavy chain out by hand.  This sounds much easier than it is.  So- out we went, turned around and motored back to our dock, where I parked us without banging her up.

I have a plan for tomorrow (hopefully) to make it a prettier job, but I was super stoked that I did as well as I did.  Voyager has quite a bit of prop walk in reverse and I wasn’t planning on that. Prop walk?  What the heck is that?  Well, when standing in the cockpit, looking forward, the left side of the boat is the “port” side.  When in reverse, Voyager has a port side tendency, where she wants to drift that way- hence “prop walk”.  All boats have a tendency to either port or starboard, it’s just a matter of getting the feel for what your boat does. There’s also 3-4 seconds of delay in the propeller from forward to reverse that felt more like 30 seconds.  This is due to the “feathering” prop.  This means it folds in when not in use and when going from forward to reverse, it causes a delay.  All of this I can now predict somewhat.  Voyager handles so well, though that I was thrilled just to be at the helm and get a feel for her handling.  Boats have personality and we are getting to know hers.

Several good things came from today.

  1. I won’t forget the microwave or toaster can’t run with AC and fridge.
  2. Mike is now intimately acquainted with Voyagers nether regions ie: the Ford Lehman.
  3. Barefoot Pete and I had some great conversation about boats, adoption and local culture while Mike and Peter slaved in the engine compartment.
  4. We discovered these issues while safely within the range of help if we needed it.  One of our dockmates was out on his dinghy and saw us and checked in.  We really like this place.
  5. We are quite accustomed to things going wrong and are adept at keeping level heads in all kinds of situations.  I have no worries when this happens because I have complete confidence in my husband.  Having Peter on board who of course knows the boat so well and Barefoot Pete who is so willing to help was a bonus!
  6. Matthew was easily entertaining himself and caused no disruption.

I don’t know the moral of the story, but although we had several set backs today, we are better off  knowing about these issues before we start out on a big passage.



Obviously the last pictures include my injuries.  I spared everyone the full body hip picture and chose just a “color swatch”.

Peace out~  We will see what tomorrow holds.  The current plan is church then sailing.  I’m sure there’s another adventure in store for us 😉


Per Mike’s request, I’ve attached a photo of the fuel that he removed from a fuel line going into the engine.  And with this fuel,  when it was running, it ran like a champ.  Crazy!!  But, he is now polishing the fuel after he removed a faulty fuel pump, changed 4 filters and replaced cracked fuel lines.  Hopefully that means the problem will be solved and we can head out tomorrow afternoon.

Observing the Sabbath and finding clarity



Oh my….. where to begin.

The last 6 weeks or so have just flown by.  If you are reading this, thank you.  I had intended to write weekly as a kind of diary for our adventure.  As it turns out things have just been too hectic to actually do so.  I am all the time thinking, “this is a piece of information or feeling or occurrence that I should be recording.”  As I was driving to Blunt late last Sunday night this phrase from a Frost poem popped into my head, “miles to go before I sleep” (Stopping By Woods).  It had occurred to me that we had not observed a day of rest in months.  Yes, I am serious.  MONTHS.  I’m guessing there might have been a day in April that we took a rest day.  So, the point I’m making is that our trip to Brunswick this week needed to have a little lower key or less ambitious milieu.  My back has been killing me as well as my knee.  These aren’t new injuries, just an ache and pain that I wasn’t having enough time between activities to let settle.

Right, so just what have we been doing that has brought me to this point?  So many things.  We had to get moved out of our house, so our son Sean could take it over.  We moved into our camper, but had to move out almost immediately because we had it rented out for a week.  I have helped Sean with his vacation renters and house cleaning.  Mike has not worked since May 30 at the clinic, but has continued to work in the ER in Pierre.  Besides that, we have worked on the hay barn that will eventually have 2 apartments.  Mike has been insulating, then we prepped and poured concrete in half the building (the shop side).  The Blunt house has had some major changes that are finally visible as well.  We have completed the 2nd floor bathroom and made major headway on the first floor bathroom.  The walls in the living and dining room are finally up and mudded, primed and partly painted.  I have broken 2 mowers and Mike has been able to fix one.  This next week in Sturgis is the Rally and we have again moved out of the camper for rally renters.  This seems like it should be a small project, but actually isn’t.  We live there, so the “things” being moved are our daily used items, mostly.  I’m ashamed to say how long it takes to do this and how inadequately I get it done.

I stopped working at the clinic much earlier than planned, but am now grateful it happened that way.  I don’t know how I could have managed otherwise.  We have continued to have Lucian on Sundays and when Megan gets called in.  We have also been able to keep the K’s a couple of times and are so grateful we can do that.  Pearl, our 10 month old niece has visited a few times and we were able to help Jamie and Bree with her.

Vacation Bible School is something I have helped with for the last several years.  The last 3 or so, I have headed up the craft class.  Our theme this year was “Game On” and our verse was 2 Peter 1:3 which says, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”  It was during this week that I began to feel a sense of what the Lord was calling us to do on our sailing away project.  GEAR UP, GET READY, GAME ON!

Matthew and I took a trip to Branson for a week, as well.  This is a trip that although restful, was very busy.  Helena, our 10 year old niece was able to go with us.  Megan, Lucian and Mom also went.  We had just turned in our VW jetta for the TDI lawsuit and bought a Conestoga wagon (I refuse to admit to owning a minivan, therefore it shall be known as Connie the Conestoga Wagon).  We filled her up and headed south.  My Mamaw is the reason we travel to Branson, but the town sure does offer a lot for the kids and us to do.  We took in Silver Dollar City and White Water, Samson at the Sight and Sound theater and shopped for school clothes.  Yeti shaved ice is conveniently located across from Holiday Hills where we stay, so I always stop there for my favorite treat.  I never feel like we have enough time there and miss my Mamaw more every time we leave.  Below is a picture of us celebrating her 89th birthday while we were there.

Mamaw's bday

Just as we were arriving back in South Dakota we learned of the tragic sinking of the Duck in Branson.  This was so unfortunate and shocking!  It sounds like a triad of mistakes were made and 17 people died as a result, 9 in one family!  We have ridden the Ducks countless times and have pictures of all the kids at the wheel.  It just felt to unbelievable.  There is probably a name for the grief we felt, but it just left a hollow, sad feeling.

Here’s Matthew driving the Duck Aug 5th, 2013.

M driving the duck

Link to one of many stories about the tragedy:


Since deciding we were undertaking this huge life change, I have struggled with the reason God is allowing me such a wonderful adventure.  I have for years thought this would be such a great thing to do, but felt it was a selfish ambition.  I mean, who doesn’t from time to time, just feel like walking away from life and doing just whatever is in your heart to do??  I had been asking God why I had this strong desire (along with Mike) if it was selfish.  And if He has a plan for us, to show us.  As pieces of our “normal life” were falling away and it became more clear that this really was what we were meant to do, I was becoming more convinced and yet more anxious.  Mike was able to see it a little more clearly, “Erin, these are signs we are on the right path”.  I couldn’t get past the “what are we supposed to DO?”  Thinking my sole motive would be living a life of leisure and not having a purpose was driving me crazy!”  There has to be a calling, a plan, SOMETHING!

Right.  When we were looking at boats, the owners of the HR had mentioned something from their cruising years that stuck with me.  She said that they kept little “gifts” on board to offer to people when they visited.  For children, they might have little stuffed animals or for women, a perfume sample.   So, while teaching VBS that week in July the Holy Spirit began to move me in a direction of simple clarity.  Why can’t I have a few VBS type  materials on board?  Why can’t I have a couple totes devoted to small but thoughtful gifts that can be given to people we come across that just need to be shown that Jesus loves them?  These are simple ways that I feel can make a difference.  Just throwing these ideas out to a few friends, our church family and family members has taken that burdon of “what am I supposed to be doing” questioning off my shoulders.  Pastor Bob brought it to the attention of the congregation last week and now there are several people being thoughtful in what we can do for others we meet as we sail.  That they are calling us unofficial missionaries is a little overwhelming, but we will try to live up to that expectation!

Back to the Sabbath.  Our first day on board Voyager was pretty restful.  Mike, however, struggles with a full day of not working.  He replaced a headroom faucet and organized a few areas.  I slept, read and M and I took a bike ride to the pool.  We have trouble adjusting to the time difference, so our nights are pretty late as are our mornings.  Strange that 2 hours can make much difference.

We brought Katniss and Falcon this trip.  I admit I have been pretty apprehensive about these 2 living on the boat with us.  They are territorial, quirky dogs.  So far, they have proved me wrong in every aspect.  They have behaved on leash, there have been no accidents and haven’t shown any hostility to those docked around us.

getting settled

We are now finding our refrigeration system has a glitch and is short cycling.  This means it’s kicking on and off and not working/cooling efficiently.  It’s also not cycling water and will burn up the motor if not addressed. we have tried a few recommended fixes, but to no avail.  We are also cleaning our water tanks and Mike will be polishing the diesel tanks.  We still have a few items to organize and stow, as well.  I’m taking this moment to write in hopes I can get into the groove.  We really are doing the blog as a record of events for personal revisiting, but hope others find it useful, entertaining or something of the kind.

So- while all this is going on, I am determined to keep our family reminded that we need to set limits on how much and how long we are working.  I also am determined to remind us all that we need to rest.  God intended us to take a day each week, from what I understand.  We need to be faithful and obey.

I’m adding this last picture for two reasons.  1. The boat is gorgeous.  2.  I’m fascinated with all things Scottish.  (Yes, it’s Inverness Canada, but still…..)



A word from Matthew

I would like to tell  a story about how I got stung by a jellyfish.  One day I walked in the ocean as deep as I could when was  I was as deep as I could, I started swimming back to the beach.   But when I went   under water I got stung by a jellyfish. I came out of the water thinking it was seaweed. I tried to pull it of but it was not seaweed.  I  put my hand on my face saying ow.I ran to my mom and I told her what happen and said you problly got stung by a jellyfish .So we put warm salt water on my face until we got home.  And when we got home we put vinegar on it  and it healed. So from now on I will never do it again.              THE END.

Changing Seasons

The last month has been a whirlwind!  In one week’s time, we sold our medical practice, moved our 2 foster children to their new home & moved out of our house and into a 5th wheel camper.  We have traveled back and forth to Blunt countless times for Mike to work and to further the construction along in that house in preparation for it to sell.  We are now sitting on S/V Voyager, but headed back to Blunt early tomorrow morning.

I have not had a ton of time to really let the changes sink in.  When I think about the clinic not being ours, I feel like someone has knocked the wind out of me.  When I think about the boys not being there when we get home, I am weak in the knees and my heart hurts.  I have to remind myself almost without ceasing, that both of these pieces of us are in the best hands possible.  Lynn loves those boys like we do- I know this and have no doubt!  Ann and Toni are not going to do anything that will hurt the clinic- they will in fact make it better, I believe!  Our patients and those boys are so blessed to have so many who love and care about them!

Right – Voyager-

I felt so at home with this boat from the minute we saw her.  She is comfortable and appealing to look at.  Insomnia is something that I have struggled with for years, but I have slept like a rock every night we have been here!  I’m so thankful for this!

We have been taking inventory and buying supplies we want to make her homey and functional.  We went to Target the first night and bought groceries, a few pieces of bedding, toiletries, etc.  We have gone back a few times since and making list upon list.  Pete & Linda the previous owners came and gave us a rundown on the boat systems.  They shared some pointers and just general encouragement for what we are doing.  We so appreciate them taking the time to be available to us.
Today, before we head out, Mike is organizing and stowing the extra filters, hoses, clamps, fluids and everything else we have come across.  Matthew and I have cleaned the canvas in a few areas that needed it as well as the deck and downloaded movies to watch later.  We are wrapping up this trip, but already planning for what we will do on the next one.   Hopefully our electric winches are replaced by then and we have good weather to take her out for a spin.  Drew, the man doing the work came by.  He is very nice and seemed competent.  He will keep in contact with Mike as the work progresses.

I’ve included a few pictures from this adventure.  We drove from Blunt to Sioux Falls, flew to Sanford then rented a car and drove up to Brunswick.   Ignore my mis-speak in the video calling the dodger a windshield~ I was slightly excited!  Of course, it’s pretty amateur anyway.  😉
I will sign off for this post~ Matthew also wants to write, so I will let him make the next entry.

Falls park
We visited Falls Park in Sioux Falls for the first time.
SV Voyager
Love the way these lights on the mast look!
SV Voyager.jpg2
Matt checking out Pappy’s berth.
Headed for Sioux Falls for our flight
After working on the boat, this was a nice reprieve.
M got a jellyfish sting to his face.
Recovered face.





Going Home

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Robert Frost

The end of our unexpected vacation is here. Mike and I had some really great adventures over the last week. We hiked and walked a ton, rented kayaks, paddled the mangroves, saw alligators and crocodiles, sailed on a 100′ schooner, the America 2.0 and tried key lime pie in a variety of establishments and contemplated which was the best. Mike found a few alligators and ceocodiles (I wasn’t looking as hard as he was) and we took several pictures.

Going back home is always bittersweet. I love to travel. I’m maybe obsessed with travelling. I will gladly give up a few luxuries if I can take a trip somewhere new or a favorite place. However, I also love to be at home. I love to be near my children and grandchildren, my parents and brother and his family. I love the familiarity of home and the routine. For awhile. Until I get restless and need to GO.

I am happy in the woods, hiking. I’m happy camping. I’m happy in nature. I’m happy on my mt bike. I’m happy in my home. I’m happy making my house a home. I’m not a high maintenance kind of person. I’m not afraid to be alone or in the wild, alone. Give me some good walking shoes or boots and I’m generally happy. A book and a hammock, am I’m happy. Sometimes I just need to GO.

I think that home is an anchor. It is where I’m grounded and where I’m known. Where my people are. Where, despite my travels and desire for newness and adventure, I have security and peace. Home is where I can be me and they love me despite it.

As we prepare for our adventures away from home for 6 months at a time, I know that as exciting as this is, I will always be glad to have HOME and the ability to go there. That security along with my Lords direction will sustain me.

Hebrews 6:19-20 says –

19)We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, form and secure. It enters into the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. 20) where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

Sunset aboard the America 2.0. SV Hindu is in the foreground.