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Coeur ď Alene, Idaho – Last Stop on the Road for Kismet

Having never stopped in Coeur ď Alene before, during our travels across the northern part of the U.S.A., we decided it was high time we stayed at least a night near town and had a look-see. It is so much fun driving through parts of Montana and Idaho. The mountainous vistas and open skies are inspiring and entertaining, perking up the weary bodies near the end of our cross-country trip. Mid-afternoon, our RV Park app directed us to a park on Blackwell Island, located just across the Spokane River from Coeur ď Alene. Nice looking RV park, great location near the downtown area and, with it being off-season, plenty of available sites for the night. However, we had a little snag while checking in. Blackwell Island RV Park, in Coeur ď Alene has a policy about not allowing boats to stay at their campground. First we explained how we are like any RV, but just a different shape with an added benefit of being able to float.…

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Montana RV Park Stops – On the Way to Portland, Oregon

Miles City and Cardwell – Our Montana RV Park Stops Miles City, Montana RV Park was our next stop while driving to Portland, Oregon. In this part of the country, while driving west on I-90, we look on one of our RV apps to see what place is closest to the Interstate. We don't need to drive way off our route to get to an RV park. We aren't necessarily looking for a primo park, our requirements are very simple. We like a pull-through if possible, our rig is a total of about 55 feet (35 feet for just the boat and trailer), but we can back in and disengage the truck to park alongside if the site is not long enough. Our only other requirement is 30-amp power hook-up which most parks have, but not all. We need electricity to power our small plug-in heater. While the daytime temps are quite warm, it can get cold at night in these parts. Our…

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Medora, South Dakota

Taking a Break at Theodore Roosevelt National Park Well before we take off on a cross-country trip, Jim always does some research and tries to line up something fun to do. It breaks up the monotony of sitting in the truck day after day. Usually it's a visit to a national or state park. This trip was no different, he picked Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota. He timed our travel days to get to an RV park just outside of Medora. That way, we could get up in the morning and get to the park early. Theordore Roosevelt National Park, named for the 26th president of the United States, was established in 1978. The park covers about 110 square miles of breathtaking vistas, buttes and painted canyons in the arid and rugged Badlands of North Dakota. The park has a dense population of wildlife. Bison, pronghorn, elk, white-tailed and mule deer, wild horses, and bighorn sheep inhabit the park, as do numerous smaller mammals,…

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Shower Facilities at RV Parks Can Sometimes Be a Hit or Miss

Sometimes we just have to forgo a daily shower for a day. Not our favorite thing to do, but sometimes circumstances pop up that preclude us from our regular bathing routine. Our choices for boaterhoming, while driving across country, are sometimes limited to what's available off the Interstate. Our first night on this trip found us in Onconto, WI, at Holtwood RV Park. When registering, we were told that the showers were coin operated and while that would have been doable (we’ve experienced coin operated showers all over the country while boating, especially Canada), after further inspection of the facility, we decided to delay that activity and take our chances on finding suitable shower facilities at the next RV stop. It was a MISS on this one! One of the very few drawbacks of using our boat as an RV is that we have to be careful of discharging water off the boat, even if it is clean. RV parks frown on discharge…

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Off to Portland Oregon, with Kismet in Tow

First North, then West to Portland Oregon After months of packing, planning and organizing, we finally headed out this morning. First to 131, driving north to the Mackinaw Bridge. After we crossed the bridge, Kismet's bow was turned west towards our final destination of Portland Oregon. Not only will we get the boat out to the west coast before the snow flies, but we plan to spend time with our son, Ross and his family, in Portland for several weeks before flying home for the holidays. This is just the beginning of a year-long adventure in the Pacific Northwest. Because of the last minute change in our fall travel plans (see post here), getting ready to leave the house this year became a bit of a challenge. To further complicate the process, we had all our young men and their families home the week before. Jim kept saying that when he made up the schedule and presented me with a time table as to when…

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Tugnuts Group

Day Three – North Channel Presentation, Boat Crawl and Pizza Party

Day three began with another broadcast of the Little Current Cruisers' Net at the Anchor Inn for those who missed it on Monday. Jim and several other Tugnuts went back and helped Roy log in names of vessels calling in. We were also very fortunate to have another North Channel Presentation, again this year by Roy Eaton. Thanks Roy! After the North Channel Presentation, we had another fabulous creation for lunch, by Kelly and the Anchor Inn. Lunch was followed by a boat crawl. We all opened up our boats so that we could take a look/see at what improvements, changes or additions we made to the interiors or exteriors of our boats. This is a very helpful event for all the Tugnuts in attendance. Storage has got to be one of the most burning issues on our Ranger Tugs and I have to say some people get very creative on finding extra storage space. We always take photos of things other Tugnuts do…

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Day Two – Featuring Roy Eaton’s Little Current Cruisers’ Net

Day Two Featured a Visit to Roy Eaton's Live Broadcast of the Little Current Cruisers' Net! Breakfast on day two was proceeded by a short walk from the marina to the Anchor Inn downtown. Roy Eaton's live broadcast of the Little Current Cruisers' Net (LCCN) was about to take place. We filled the room with mostly Tugnuts, but other boaters visiting the town docks that day also joined us for the broadcast, the room was overflowing. Roy (below right) started his career as a marine radio broadcaster while boating in the Abaco Islands in 2001. At that time he provided Canadian news to the popular Cruisers' Net, located in Marsh Harbor. Back home, Roy later formed Manitoulin Island's first yacht club, Little Current Yacht Club. In 2004 after receiving a generous donation of broadcast space (in the Anchor Inn) and equipment, Roy started the now very popular Little Current Cruisers' Net. He used the Cruisers' Net in the Abacos as a model. The broadcast starts with world…

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Ranger Tugs-Cutwater

DAY ONE – Thirty-Seven Tugnuts Arrive in Little Current for the 2015 North Channel Rendezvous

2015 Ranger Tugs-Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous. Fourteen Ranger Tugs and two Cutwaters arrive for the rendezvous in Little Current, Ontario. All boats were secure in their assigned slips by late afternoon, except for one who arrived during cocktail hour. Half of the boats are from U.S.A and half are from Canada. Half are repeats to the rendezvous, half are first timers. We are all here to share in the camaraderie of the friendly community of Ranger Tugs-Cutwater owners. We are also here to exchange stories, help one another with boat issues, trade boating knowledge, acquired skills and cruising interests. The term "Tugnuts" refers to the popular forum, TUGNUTS. The exchange on the Tugnut forum is an amazing tool for boaters, it covers a wide range of topics on trailerable boating and includes many different trailerable trawler owners as members (such as C-Dory and Rosborough). We launched Kismet in Little Current in the late afternoon, at Spider Bay Marina. The boat launch is located just around the corner from LC Town…

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Upside Of Downsizing To A Trailerable Trawler

Upside of Downsizing to a Trailerable Trawler – Book Review

Reading this e-book, I couldn’t help but wonder how many cruisers might be tempted to follow the example set by Jim and Lisa Favors, a couple with thousands of miles of Great Loop cruising experience who, after five years of full-time living aboard, gave up their comfortable 40-foot trawler for a trailerable 27-foot Ranger Tugs. Like many other PassageMaker readers, I’ve gone aboard boats like this at boat shows, asking myself whether my wife and I might someday want to downsize and try to squeeze into a smaller boat. A trawler yacht that can be towed over the highway and cruised in many different areas each year, avoiding long passages over water. After all, it’s a whole lot faster and cheaper to cover the distance between, say, Ft. Lauderdale and Halifax or San Diego and Seattle at 60mph, compared to displacement speeds. “One of the beauties of this plan,” the Favors wrote as they were planning their move, “is that we’d be able to cut out a lot of long boat travel days by driving to the heart of a spot and dropping the boat into the water.”
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Keys Disease in Full Swing for Crew of Kismet

Suffering from Incurable Keys Disease! When trailering our boat to the Keys, we had the added benefit of having our truck nearby, making it easier to stay a distance from downtown Key West. As we've mentioned many times before, our favorite spot is Key West Harbour Marina, on Stock Island. The best of both worlds when visiting Key West. Keys Disease is kind of like a virus that once caught stays in your system forever. It shows up like clockwork as soon as we hit the string of islands south of Florida.         Taking the Conch Tour Train was a new experience for us. Although we have extensively walked the streets of Key West, we learned a lot about the history and downtown area during the tour.        Happy hour in Key West is one of our favorite things and NO, we did not visit the upper floor of the Garden of Eden.     Key West is…

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Parrot

Key West Harbour Marina – Stock Island

Staying at Key West Harbour Marina affords us the best of both worlds. We've stayed at Stock Island several times before. We keep going back to Key West Harbour Marina because it just makes sense. We usually stay a month in the Key West area and the downtown marinas are too expensive to stay long. Not sure we'd appreciate the crazy activity of downtown Key West for more than a few days. Staying at Key West Harbour Marina affords us the best of both worlds. Because we trailer our boat to Florida, we have transportation while in the lower Keys. So, we enjoy the laid-back island lifestyle on beautiful Stock Island knowing we can drive the short distance into Key West any time we want to experience the attractions of that busy little tourist town. But first, we have to leave Marathon. We'll anchor out a few nights on our way to Stock Island. So, we went from the Florida Bay side of the Keys,…

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Ranger Tug And C-Dory

Ranger Tugs, C-Dorys and Rosboroughs – Marathon, Florida

Ranger Tugs, C-Dorys and Rosboroughs are everywhere! The numbers of small trailerable boats on the east coast of the United States is growing. During the past ten years, while we've been extensively cruising the eastern waterways, we've seen this movement snowball. Ranger Tugs, C-Dorys and Rosboroughs and a few other, small live aboard type trailerable boats are everywhere. During our almost month-long stay in Marathon, we were surprised how many "pocket trawlers" there were scattered at the marinas on the island. There is a certain amount of excitement among the boaters we've met recently and that of course translated into an casually organized cocktail party at Marathon Marina, where a few Ranger Tug owners were staying. Watching the sunset on the other side of the dock before the party ended.

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Blackfin Resort Marina – A Diamond in the Rough

We left our anchorage in Curry Hammock to face a fairly windy day cruising to Blackfin Resort Marina in Marathon. This is our first stay at Blackfin Resort Marina. We've walked through the marina when we were visiting the Keys before, because we are always on the lookout for places to stay. It helps with future trip planning. Blackfin is a fairly rustic and laid back establishment, but it's big on delivering an authentic Keys experience. We had all the amenities we needed for our month-long stay. The marina is within walking distance of the local shopping area. We enjoyed a heated swimming pool, clean shower rooms, nice docks and a beautiful outdoor boater's lounge. We could relax there at the end of the day to watch the setting sun while mingling with the other boaters at the marina. The staff was friendly and very accommodating. We just felt like we were at home.       Jim  change the zincs today, so he had to go…

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Keys Eco-Tours? John Pennekamp State Park

Keys Eco-Tours? See Captain Sterling – John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Looking for Keys Eco-Tours? See Captain Sterling at Everglades Eco-Tours Our first stop in the Keys this year was John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, time for another Keys Eco-Tours. This was a new stop for us and we're glad we had the opportunity to check it out. We left Boca Chita while it was still quite windy, but manageable. When we got to where the waterway narrowed down a bit, we passed under the Jew Fish Creek Inlet and Bridge, in Key Largo, Florida, and passed the Anchorage Resort and Marina. We've stayed there in 2010 when we helped the new owner of our Fathom 40 take the boat north from Key West to Palm Coast. Shortly after we emerged from Jew Fish Creek into Blackwater Sound we headed toward the man-made cut, Marvin D Adams Waterway (mile-market, 103.6), it would take us into Largo Sound and shortly after our destination, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The "Cut," created in the late…

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Kismet Docked At Boca Chita Key, Florida

Safe Harbor Before the Start of the Keys

Boca Chita Key, an Island Paradise! Kismet is on the wall at Boca Chita Key. Twelve miles south of Key Biscayne sits this beautiful bahamian type island. It is part of Biscayne National Park and consists of 32 acres of land, beach and harbor. It includes a beautiful 65-ft. ornamental lighthouse which sports an observation deck overlooking the beautiful harbor, nearby islands, Key Biscayne Bay, ocean, Miami and Key Biscayne Island. Down below the lighthouse sits an old canon salvaged off a nearby shipwreck. There is a nice hiking trail and picnic facilities with several grills. There is a little campground, an open-air pavilion and saltwater restroom facilities. This island always makes us think we are in the Bahamas. We left Key Biscayne Key and Miami in our wake as we headed south to one of our favorite Florida islands, just north of Elliot Key and the start of the Florida Keys. Over the years we have learned to time our arrival to Boca Chita Key to fall during a weekday. Since boaters from Miami…

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Ranger Tug Kismet Anchored, Hurricane Harbor, Florida

Sky On Fire – Hurricane Harbor – Key Biscayne, Florida

Hurricane Harbor Provided Us with an Idyllic Sunset! Leaving Miami in our wake, we pointed our bow toward Key Biscayne Island. Jim did some research and found this beautiful anchorage, a spot further enhanced by a flaming sunset. The sky was on fire, I must have taken a hundred photos as it morphed with varying shades of sky blues, oranges and hot red tones. Soon after we threw the hook into the harbor, we had a visit by local law enforcement. Hurricane Harbor is adjacent to a popular boater's weekend hang out, located just outside the entrance to he harbor, consequently there is quite a lot of law enforcement visible in the area hovering ready to maintain order. They must do double duty while overseeing the day spot by patrolling and retaining a presence in the small harbor. They work at establishing a casual and conversational dialog, checking boats for their anchoring plans and intentions, making sure people who anchor there are not inebriated and…

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Ranger Tug Kismet Cruising Miami, Florida

Miami – A Last Glimpse Back at the Skyline

Leaving Miami Behind! We departed Fort Lauderdale today to cruise through Miami to our end destination, Hurricane Harbor, an anchorage Jim found off Key Biscayne Island. So, we left a multitude of cruise ships in our wake in the wide expanse of Port Everglades before we entered the narrower part of the ICW heading to Miami. It's an exciting area to cruise through with the beautiful homes lining the waterway, yachts of every shape and size and finally the towering buildings of Miami and if you happen to be cruising by at sunset, even better. We left Miami behind us as we entered Biscayne Bay. Bridge after bridge lines the ICW in the Miami area. Luckily, Kismet fits under most of them. As you can imagine the waterways around Miami are full of boats all shapes, sizes and kinds. The water is constantly roughed up by all the boating activity. It's really exciting to cruise through this area and see the variety of…

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Kismet At Dock, Palm City, Florida

New Friends, Laughter, and a Cozy Bed to Boot – Palm City, FL

One of the reasons we love to boat is that we are more prone to make new friends while we're cruising, Visiting friends in Palm City, Florida, was no exception. We had briefly met Alyn & Diane in our hometown, Traverse City, they also live there part of the year, we share a passion for boating. One day they stopped by to look at our Ranger Tug, which Jim often works on while it is parked in our driveway. It's as simple as that and before we knew it (well, actually a few months later) we were visiting them at their home in Palm City, Florida. They found us a dock nearby to tie up to for the night and insisted we join them for an overnight at their home. We had a nice tour of Palm City, shared happy hour and pizza with a them and another couple and slept in a very cozy king-size bed. It was fun, we shared boating…

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We Found a Boating Haven in Indiantown, Florida

Short Cruise Today – Transiting from South Bay Cover to Indiantown, Florida. Leaving South Bay Cove in the morning put us with an early arrival to our day's destination of Indiantown, Florida, located on the St. Lucie River, just off the big lake. Indiantown was established by the Seminole people as a trading Post. On the way to our destination, we were intrigued by Slim's riverside sign (below), too bad we didn't have time to stop, it looked like it might be an interesting place to investigate off the river. Finishing up the last leg of the "Rim Route" today to go through the lock and enter the St. Lucie River. The St. Lucie Lock and Dam awaited us this morning. We were the only boat locking through and, as usual, it was an easy process. By the time we made it to Indiantown, the sun made a spectacular reappearance. Indiantown Marina looked like a peaceful haven for boaters looking to get off…

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Sunset, South Bay Cove,, Lake Okechobee

Rim Route to South Bay Cove on Lake Okeechobee, Florida

"Big Water" – Lake Okeechobee and the Rim Route From our one-night stop in LaBelle, we proceeded toward Lake Okeechobee (or in Seminole Indian language, Big Water), we'll be taking the rim route around the lake instead of going straight across this time. The Okeechobee Waterway, which includes the Caloosahatchee River and the St. Lucie River, boasts a 134.3 nautical miles from west to east and is the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the United States. You can transit the lake by going straight across or by the more protected, though shallower, rim route that follows the southern edge of the lake. We've never done this path before and are looking forward to seeing something new. We'll stop one night to anchor at South Bay Cove, a spot Jim found on Active Captain and heard other boaters talk about. It is located at the southern end of the lake. It was a very thickly overcast day so we did not get very good…

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Lisa On Ranger Tug Kismet

The Belle of the Caloosahatchee – LaBelle, Florida

Free Dock in LaBelle, on the Caloosahatchee River! On our way east on the Caloosahatchee River today with our eye on making it to the free town dock in LaBelle for a one-night stay, we had to go through two locks to get there. The Caloosahatchee River always provides us with a scenic cruise and the easily accessible free dock was a welcome stop, one we had not taken advantage of before. LaBelle, Florida, was settled along the Caloosahatchee River, in the late 1800s. At the turn of the 19th century, rivers were the highways of Florida. The region was populated by cattle and citrus farmers in 1895. There were several boats already docked when we arrived, but still plenty of room for a few more boats. The newly reconstructed docks have stern-to berths for six vessels between fifteen foot wide concrete pilings. We spent happy hour talking with the crew on the trawler next to us (above). The next morning before we shoved off…

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Crew On True North, Fort Myers, Florida

Friends Helping Friends – Fort Myers, Florida

First Stop Legacy Harbor Marina, Fort Myers, Florida After spending the holidays at home in Traverse City, MI, we returned to Legacy Harbor Marina in Fort Myers, Florida for the start of our 2015 winter cruising season. Our plan this winter is to cruise to Key West from Fort Myers, spending most of our time in the Keys. Legacy Harbor Marina is a fun spot to spend a week, a month or a whole season. Last year we spent a month enjoying the amenities of the marina while exploring all the events in the Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral and Naples area. One of the Friends of Tom and Patsy Conrad helped get True North, to Fort Myers. Eddy and Jeff co-captained the boat to Legacy Harbour and its owners, the Conrad's who were anxiously waiting to see, and move back onboard their boat again. Linda, Skip and Lolly were the support team back at the marina, helping the captains into the…

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Kismet Docked, Legacy Harbour Marina, Fort Myers

Fun Times, Good Friends – Fort Myers, Florida

Kismet Secure at Legacy Harbor Marina, Fort Myers We planned our winter trip to include a month-long stay at Legacy Harbour Marina in Fort Myers. Many of our Looper friends stay in this area during the winter months, some of them at this marina. We find that boating is like that, we bump into Loopers or boaters we know everywhere we go– planned or not. We did parts of our second Loop with buddy boats, Bella Luna and C-Life. We know other Loopers docked here from being involved with AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association). In the past, when in Fort Myers, we've always stayed at Fort Myers Yacht Basin, but this year we wanted to be where our friends were even though the Yacht Basin is only a few blocks away. When we arrived at Legacy, we were given a couple of choices for dockage. We chose the dock in front of Joe's Crab Shack. It was the perfect spot for Kismet for the month…

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Kismet Docked In Sanibel, Florida

Kismet Shares See Life Too’s Dock – Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island, Florida – An Invitation We Couldn't Refuse While at the rendezvous, we had an invitation to stay at a fellow tugnut's dock in Sanibel Island. How could we pass that up? Steve and Laurie, on See Life Too, were so gracious to share the dock behind their house with us for a few days. Sanibel is a beautiful island with excellent shelling beaches. We borrowed our host's bikes to go grocery shopping and visit an art fair, we also got some good walking exercise in on the beautiful trail near their house. Our hosts, Laurie and Steve, on the back deck of Kismet for coffee and coffee cake. We were joined for breakfast by two other tugnuts, Dominic and Carolyn who just happened to be at a marina two blocks away.

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Jim And Kismet, Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Hooking Up with Friends – Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Fort Myers Beach – Gulf Star Marina Not a lot going on this time around for the crew of Kismet in Fort Myers Beach. We usually take a mooring ball, but this time we docked at Gulf Star Marina. It was Sunday when we arrived and we were treated to live music at the nearby restaurant, Doc Ford's. Our main objective while here was to hook up with some friends in the area. We scheduled breakfast at this Greek restaurant on the beach with friends, Hal and Marianne, from Charlevoix, Michigan (Kismet's one time homeport), they were renting a house on the beach and rode their bikes to meet us at the restaurant. Next, Looper buddies Linda and Charlie, on Freedom's Turn, met us on the boat, we had done parts of our second Loop with this couple. We later went out to dinner and while waiting to order saw this pitcher of beer. This method of keeping beer cold in the Florida heat…

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