Updates for Jan - Mar 2004

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20 February 2004 (Update #53)... Hello from Santa Fe, NM!

The Goosebumps crew arrived safely in Santa Fe, adding 2 extra days to the trip: it was utter chaos getting out of town Wednesday night because of Thanksgiving traffic; and we took what proved to be an unnecessary precaution of following the southern route into New Mexico. The later choice made for an interesting side trip, though, as it took us through the town of Hatch, NM which claims to be Chili Capital of the World. The next town west of Hatch is Nutt. I guess somewhere in between is an area called the Nutt-Hatch. You helps to have been born before 1945 to appreciate the humor in that bit of trivia! :-)

Boy what a difference walking into an empty house that we had last seen when someone lived there! Gone are all the wonderful furnishings the Kerns had used to decorate the home. Their departure left the house with that eery and hollow sound of echoing foot steps. We were clearly starting from scratch. But since this is where we'll live once we stop cruising, we knew we had to get it right because we'll have to live with our decisions a very long time.

We were able to get a few essentials ordered before the movers arrived, but we really couldn't do a lot till the truck arrived. And arrive it did. In San Francisco we had all those boxes spread between 2 floors, but here in the new house everything was right in our face on a single floor. The den and guest room became the main dump site for what seemed to be 5,000 boxes. An exaggeration, but certainly several hundred. Thankfully all the tools are stashed off-site in a 10'x20' storeroom and we only had to deal with what needs a hiding place inside the house. It took two and a half months, but the last of the boxes and packing paper went to the recycle center this past Tuesday and (almost!) everything is out of sight. What a relief!

We bought some new furniture to replace what we left behind plus we got a few wonderful Zapotec rugs from Jeff Seppanen down in Madrid, NM. Going to Madrid (MA-drid; population less than 1,000 people) was a fun excursion just before Christmas. And it came complete with a genuine small town parade: ranchers on horseback, fire engine, the Mayor rode in a vintage convertible with his wife and family. We had a great time and were able to do some shopping for gifts. Plus we had a great lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern (Madrid used to be a coal mining town). The tavern is mostly a cowboy bar and happens to have a great kitchen. They make their own salsa and it's wonderful!

Some local trivia: in most New Mexico restaurants, the waiter will ask "red or green?" He wants to know if you want red salsa or green cuz everyone has salsa with their meal in this state. You can answer with one or the other, but if you answer "Christmas", you get both; if you also say "on the side", they'll for sure know you're a wimp! :-)

Besides sofas and chairs and rugs, we also needed a few other pieces of wood furniture, but we were put off by the prices at even the discount stores. [ Talk about out of date... you'd almost think we'd been out cruising for 3 years! :-) ]. One salesman mentioned a local craftsman that builds rustic-style furniture. The shop happens to be only a few blocks from our house. We checked it out and found we could buy what we needed for less money and it would be built to our dimensions. We felt pretty good supporting a local craftsman while getting exactly what we wanted and actually saving some money. It's taken over 2 months, but we should see everything this coming week.

We realized that we should have seen a property tax bill and went to the assessors office to check it out. Sure enough, we hadn't received the bill. When we saw how much it was, we were floored: about 1/3 the tax bill Celia paid on her old house which sold for about what we paid for this one. We paid it quick before they changed her mind! :-)

During all this time we've been gone from Florida, our friends Michael and Layne have been keeping track of the Goose... Before we left, Michael and I re-bedded 1 hatch on each of our boats. Miki G ended up in good shape, but when we talked to Michael by phone he told me we were still getting water inside the Goose... Then a week later he discovered that The Captain had failed to dog the hatch that had been re-bedded. Amazing how much better a hatch does at keeping water out if you close it properly! :-(

In any case, I'll be heading back to Florida for a couple weeks to do some long overdue maintenance while Celia stays in Santa Fe to keep working on the house. We don't want to let boat maintenance pile up any more than it already has or we'll find ourselves work-slaves when we head back for some cruising in late fall. It's pretty clear we won't make it out this year with so much left to do in Santa Fe, but we expect to have the Goose... out cruising next season.

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