Going Transcontinental – notes from the road

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We’re going on a road trip. You carrying any liquor, explosives, weapons?


We’ll stop and get some.

road trip

Big Red and I cast off from Brunswick, GA and tacked North West. We kept on the left side of the shift and made good westing before nightfall. Tide and weather were with us, and we anchored out in a nice cove in Kentucky. We cast off early and worked thru the shoals off Kansas City and St Louis making north and west to the straits of Wyoming. We tied up in Rawlins and effected minor electrical repairs. Then, we tacked on the weather and made our way west thru a pass in the Utah reef. Tide and wind turned against us in Ogden, visibility dropped and  a deft hand was required to keep her off the rocks.  We anchored securely for the night off Baker City Oregon. Got under weigh early next morning and rode a nice fast southerly across the basin. The wind shift put us close hauled across Snoqualmie but we were able to  bear away for a fast run North to Anacortes.

Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Oregon but, strangely, not Washington required Maravilla to be inspected upon entry. The officials were looking for the insidious and migratory zebra mussel. Maravilla has only been in salt water and so was not suspect – yet all watercraft (including paddle boards) are required to be inspected. Should Zebra mussels get into and clog the intakes of Columbia River dams the consequences could be disastrous. Hard to believe the entire power grid for the Pacific NorthWest is threatened by a gypsy mollusk.


This is a huge country, most of it rural and open. It is busy, frantic, speeding down ribbons of asphalt and concrete making time and money. Most of the population lives in 25 or 30 identical metroplises (metropolii?) like so many beehives. Another Target, another Home Depot, another McDonalds, Burger King, Chevron, Shell…..is this Kansas City, Nashville or Charlotte? Yet….off the interstate, in the outback, away from the roaring traffic is beauty, serenity and  calm. The juxtaposition between the topography of this land and the society laid across it is jarring. The land is quiet, placid, ancient and timeless – the society brash, noisy, agitated and alarmed. The beehives hum distracted and over-stimulated by constant bombardment of bad to awful news yammering from media and internet. The outback shimmers a different reality – miles of wild flowers, blue-gray mountain vistas, sparkling lakes and rivers, peaceful fields of alfalfa, wheat,  and corn. There is nothing wrong with this society that can not be improved by turning away from our televisions and taking long walks in the country – or sails across the lake. The answer lies – as it always has – with the outdoors.

The interstates are howling, mechanical wilderness connecting the hives. They transport food, fuel, clothing, gizmos, doo-dads and machinery. They grind, whine, roar, and jangle to deliver infinite goods to insatiable consumers. They are the arteries of the nation. They are no place for a sailboat.


It takes a maniac to haul a boat across the country and a lunatic to bring her back. I am both. Fueled by coffee, trail mix, jerky and gasoline, sometimes hung-over, I launched my beloved boat down neglected, wash-boarded interstates at 70 mph, kept the hammer down and survived intact. The universe has a special fondness for fools, drunks and sailors.

I brought Maravilla from Brunswick Georgia to Anacortes Washington – 3000 miles in 4 and 1/2 days. Only a foiling MOD70 crewed by crazy Frenchman could go faster. And isnt THAT amazing!

I thrashed the gear and it never complained – the truck, trailer and boat all survived the rough handling with no issues.

The custom trailer manufactured by Tuff-Trailer in Ferndale Washington was stellar. Sealed oil bath bearings, Aluminum I-Beam construction, trailing arm suspension, LED lights – the thing took a pounding and came back for more, while protecting its precious cargo.

The 2010 Toyota Tundra 5.7L crew cab with topper also was spectacular. Big Red hauled Maravilla across the Wyoming desert into a stiff westerly without a shudder or hiccup. Love my truck!


The truck, trailer and boat combination allowed us to traverse the United States, sail in California, Florida, Georgia, Bahamas, Washington. In nine months we crossed the Santa Barbara Channel, the Gulf Stream and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Cruised the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and the Golden Isles of Georgia. Maravilla is now set to continue her adventure in the San Juan Islands. Not many boats can claim that!

bahamas pic

See you out there! 


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