March 15, 2011 Day 1137
> Shell Morgan Dock, Intracoastal City, LA, USA
> roughed up, stressed, need to relax > tied up
O.K. - I've had better days. A lot better days. That's an understatement. At 8:30, the smell of frying eggs, plus Mom tickling me, ripping the sheets off, and shaking me, got me out of bed. For about an hour and a half, we had had this little battle, and I'd say it ended in a draw. We moved to Intracoastal City, fairly uneventfully. Saw a 2 story house on a barge goin' down the ICW! I did school on and off all day, but I got a day's worth done.
Around 2:00, my day started going downhill fast. We learned that my Great-uncle Clarence died this morning of a heart attack. That is a major blow. He was perfectly fine until yesterday! He was always a fun guy, and he has always been really good to us. He's loaned dad a deer rifle practically every year for the past decade! We've all taken it pretty hard. I know it shocked me, like what the --! L I just sat there takin' it in, and I saw a spider scurrying in the cockpit drain. I took two steps across the cockpit, and heartlessly snatched it up, squeezed it dead, and flicked it overboard - that was my reaction. Harder, though, is that we can't make the funeral. Aunt Gladys and Dianne and Carol are making the funeral Thursday (today is Tuesday). Even if we could get a car, it's a 14 hour drive to Littlefield, TX. "Southern Louisiana is a third-world country," says Dad, and the nearest Enterprise has 2 cars both reserved. I am a sad little boy. So sad. So very sad.
Then school trouble, then Josh trouble. Then, trying to dock here, Dad was the all-powerful captain who wouldn't take any suggestions and had to so some fancy "I can do anything" maneuver with our home. Then, as we sidle up to the dock, I hop/step off onto the bulkhead to stop the dinghy from rubbing up against the sharp rusty metal edging, and take lines/stop boat. Dad goes off on me for jumping off before he told me to, made me get back on and let the dink rub up. Then I got to step off, push the dink off, and deal with the boat according to his "patient"-ly lousy instructions. I bet the dink has a hole, but it's too early to tell.
Then, in an attempt to get Wi-Fi, I went into the not-working computer system to try to connect us. I changed settings and IP addresses and "hacked" my way into the router system, but 45 min. later, I figured out that the antenna just wasn't talking to the router, but got nowhere.
Walked to the new small grocery store. Last time we were here, it was dilapidated from Hurricane Rita. This time the motel is in disrepair from Hurricane Ike. Was going to fish, but the mosquitos/no see-ums came out, plus I had to haul trash and do English. Josh beat me twice at "Total-War Chess" (kill everyone - king same as queen & knights "sweep -move"). Burgers for supper were good, and they have raised my mood. Now we will watch some Gilligan's Island as soon as I take a luke-warm shower in the ladies mini-bathhouse (only one with warm water). That will maybe make me worse and then better. OMG.
March 16 - 18, 2011 Days 1138 - 1140
> en route to and from Intracoastal City, LA and Littlefield, TX
> tired, sad, crimped >land
These three days were spent going to Littlefield, TX for Uncle Clarence's funeral. Somehow the Enterprise in Abbeville (25 min. away) got a little compact Hyundai Accent and picked us up and got us on our way. It's 14 hours of driving to Littlefield. As they sang/said in Smokey & the Bandit, we had "a long way to go, and a short time to get there!!"
In the car, we did school and then listened to iPods or read or whatnot. I brought a Rubik's Cube to keep me somewhat busy. Every couple o' hours, we stopped for gas or a drink or a meal and to stretch. Josh and I had minimal legroom. I'd say our route went like this: Intracoastal City, Abbeville, backwoods marshy LA, Lafayette, flatter and drier LA, Shreveport, similar East TX, Dallas/Fort Worth, ranchy hill country TX, flat dry West TX, Sweetwater, Lubbock, Littlefield. And then back (except swap Eastland for Sweetwater). We ate lunch in Shreveport, LA both times. To break up the trip, we stopped in Sweetwater Wednesday night and then went the last 2.5 hours the next morning. Thursday at 5:00pm, we left Littlefield and drove 3.5 hours to Abilene for dinner and then a little farther to Eastland for the night.
We learned a bit about our little part of Louisiana from the local guy who drove us to and from the rental car place. They all farm rice here, and have some big rice paddies with dikes around to keep in the water. This time of year, though, they fill up the paddies and the crawfish come. Then they set traps in the knee-deep water and come by in boats every couple o' days and gather 'em up. The rice crop only came back from the hurricane damage a year or two ago. When Rita hit in '05, they had flooding 8 miles in as deep as 8ft, and the salt left behind made the land fallow for a time. Then Ike destroyed some stuff, too, in '08.
Skip to Thursday @ 9:30am. We drove into Littlefield and stopped at the Best Western where most of the family was staying. Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Gary, Uncle Mike & Aunt Rita, Keith Bauer, Craig Bauer, Christine and daughter Sarah Samms (cousins), Aunt Edie, and Patti and her kids. We hung there until it was time to go to the funeral home. Open casket, crying, lots more family, lots of Hobratschk's, friends, idle chatter, etc. Then on to the cemetery. Quick little sermon and then to the church for lunch. It was good to see everybody, but the circumstances could have been better. Dad's talking about getting all of his cousins (like, descendants of Herman & Christa Gohlke - Grandpa's 1 of 8, and Dad has 17 1st cousins) out at the ranch for a family reunion. The ranch has become the hub where we all see each other. It used to be Uncle Eldon and Aunt Vadarae's farm there in Littlefield, when Dad was a kid. The memorial service was at 2:00, after lunch. A couple of other people showed up, including Brad Knippa and fam, Margie McCreery, Dick Lowke, and Virginia Becker (more distant cousins). The service was okay. It seemed like it barely touched on Uncle Clarence, which I didn't think was right. Then we all went back to Aunt Gladys' to visit. Got to chat more with all the family. There was a pretty good turnout, seeing as he died Tuesday morning, everyone got funeral plans that afternoon, one day for transit, and funeral on Thursday. A lot of folks rushed in. We were not the only ones to drive 13 hours. We had to make some time Thursday evening, or else we wouldn't make it back to Abbeville, LA, by 5:30 Friday when Enterprise closed. We stopped in to see Aunt Vadarae (out with a newly replaced knee) and then hit the road. I saw a prairie dog, but I guess that's off topic! J Anywho, drive, drive, drive all day Friday and we're home to hit the seas tomorrow.
P.S. Dad pointed out that we spent 55 hours on this trip total and only 7 hours of it in Littlefield. That means 48 hours of driving and sleeping!
March 19, 2011 Day 1141
> Bayou Petite Anse, LA, USA
> calm/relaxed >same as us
Today was a nice lazish day. We only went 15 miles to Bayou Petite Anse. It was foggy the entire way. For a while, I couldn't even do school because I had to help Dad keep a watch for other boats. At one point, we were completely socked in - you couldn't see either bank or 100 ft. in front of you. Not nice! Funny, you could see the sun the whole time through the vaguely translucent upper fog, and every half hour or so, somebody would say something along the lines of, "Yeah, but I think the sun will burn it off," and the rest of us would laugh at the nonsense. In fact, by noon, when we were anchored and enjoying the day, it was clear sunny blue.
The fish were jumping everywhere and the fishermen and their little go-fast boats zipped around, and I got an hour and a half off school for lunch/fishing, but no luck. I bet they use crabs, shrimp, or finger mullet and let 'em sit on the bottom, whereas all we can do is pop artificials.
The reason we came to Bayou Petite Anse is two-fold. Firstly, we wanted to get out of Intracoastal City and break up the long trip to Morgan City. Secondly, we wanted a "day off" to clean up the boat, but didn't want to be in Intracoastal City (see #1). I got school done, as did Josh, in time to relax, as did Mom and Dad. It's really pretty here with the long marshes and green-brown water with land distant in the background. The sun even looked purple as it set through distant pines. Aaaaah. Louisiana!
March 20, 2011 Day 1142
> Morgan City, LA, USA
> ttr (elax) > @ the seawall
Well, I really don't have anything to say about the main body of today. We moved. Again. This time to Morgan City. Did school underway. Wrote some more papers. I am getting sick and tired of papers. They are just making my head spin. L
I really do have fond memories of Morgan City, from 3 years ago. We peeled shrimp on the seawall, ran along the top of the 20ft. flood gates/wall, ate at these little local restaurants, and walked the town. Plus, 6 years ago, I remember we came through late at night on New Year's Eve. Dad ran down the street to some restaurant and brought back 2 desserts. I think one was a chocolate lava-cake. I definitely remember designing an "underwater" lave-cake with Dad, using blue curaçao/gelatin as the "water" with cookie crumbs and molten chocolate to lace over the surface and center as smoke and debris over a filled chocolate lave-cake base. Check my 2005 trip journal for more use details, but I doubt I knew what blue curaçao was back then!
This time, this single evening, there is less fun for me to recollect down the road.
We sidled up to the seawall in front of another sailboat, which broke up the line of shrimpers before we arrived. We said hi, and learned that they were headed west back to Texas. We couldn't take on water or electricity because they blocked the only set of outlets. We were going to Rita Mae's - that little old kitchen/restaurant with the wonderful food - but they were closed. It's Sunday, and 5:00 when we arrived. Of course, everything's closed in Morgan City, Louisiana. Instead, Josh and I just ran around. Actually, at the Holiday Inn in West Texas somewhere, I found one geocache at an old earthen-works fort here in Morgan City. We decided to take a short walk and find it - 'cross the tracks and then into town. The little fort was cool. It was used (and then lost) by the Union in what was then called Brasher City. Fort Star is the name. It was simple, you know, just a 4 ft. tall dirt ring, dug 7ft. deep in the inside, with holes for cannon and a nice old-fashioned firefight. J The disappointing thing was that we couldn't find the cache. It should have been easy, but my GPS put me in the center of an empty field. Too bad. So we went home, to log a DNF whenever we get internet. Our new "Bullet Wi-Fi" system isn't working. Yay! L Ah, well; better tomorrow. Off to Houma. I like it there. They are very nice there. It'll be just our luck, though, if there everything's closed on Monday!
March 21, 2011 Day 1143
> Houma, LA, USA
> nice > docked (w/power)
Ah, well; here in Houma. It's nice. Yeah, well the Coffee Zone closed A MONTH AGO (that Wi-Fi spot where we liked lived 3 yrs. ago), so we had to go to the hospital to get Wi-Fi, but we got it. The docks are nicer and this neat park got built. It's even got a seesaw (they seem to be practically outlawed - because of kids like me), but this one is a cool "safe" one with a compression spring system to keep it level and with 4 seats. Anyway, Josh met 3 kids, all 11 too, and I played with a 3 year old, Deantre, and his 6 year old sister Zarea. We all had fun. Little kids can be fun. More fun than Josh and his crew by a long shot!
That's a nice summary, and we'll let it lie there.