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Lovers Key

Lovers Key – Party Central During the Day, Quiet and Peaceful at Night

Lovers Key, at New Pass Inlet, South of Fort Myers Beach, is a Wonderful Anchorage Surrounded by Two State Parks – This is a place we “LOVE” to return to. After a brief stay at Salty Sams, in Fort Myers Beach, we followed Matanzas Pass south, past Ostego Bay. We then crossed Big Carlos Pass on our way to this anchorage between Lovers Key State Park and Pelican Landings Beach Park. We anchored in six feet of water, with the Dog Park (part of the Lovers Key State Park) to our north. The beach park was west of us and the opening to the Gulf, New Pass Inlet was between the two. It was Saturday, by the time we arrived the place was full of weekend activity. Dogs were running and playing in the dog park. Many boats beached on shore. Ferry boats hauled people back and forth to the parks all day long. Plenty of boating activity all around…

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Roosevelt Channel

Valentine’s Day in Roosevelt Channel with My Sweetie– Captiva Island, Florida

First Stop After the Flotilla to Cayo Costa is Roosevelt Channel – One of the fun parts of cruising, and anchoring, is discovering new places to throw the hook. Kismet is beginning the slow process of heading down to the Keys. On this morning, we left Cayo Costa State Park, after anchoring with the flotilla of tugs for two nights in Pelican Bay. Our destination is Roosevelt Channel, off Captiva Island, next to the Buck Key Preserve and Patterson Island Preserve. We were buddy boating on this day with the crew of Liberty, another Ranger Tugs R29S, heading to Roosevelt Channel off Captiva Island. We also had company (below) join us on the boat during lunchtime, think it was the tuna salad he was interested in, more than a boat ride.   Look who we bumped into at the head of the channel, Miss Norma, as in Driving Miss Norma fame, Norma's son, Tim and his wife, Ramie are taking a page…

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Christening Kismet

Today We Come to Name this Lady… Kismet

Christening Kismet – Christening is a Ritual Started by Seafarers Thousands of Years Ago – We finally got the boat graphics installed on Kismet – time to christen her. Christening, or naming ceremonies, were meant to bring good luck to new vessels and those who sailed on them. The tradition of christening goes back to the early days of boating – thousands of years ago. Viking ships were marked by the spilling of blood in early rituals. In the Middle Ages, religious shrines were placed on ships and a libation of wine was offered as the vessel hit the water. Wine became a substitute for the earlier practice of a blood sacrifice, consequently, for good luck and a safe voyage, wine was poured on the deck to appease King Neptune. Ancient seafaring peoples, rimming the Mediterranean, launched their ships with rituals having religious overtones. These practices, varying in form as nations and cultures evolved through the centuries, have carried over to the present christening…

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Fort Myers, Florida

Kismet is Wintering in Florida – Palm Trees, Dolphins and Beach Walks for the Crew!

Our long-range plan last year was to spend the winter in Florida this year. After hauling the new Kismet across country last fall, we put her away in a storage building in Sidney, Ohio for a three-month winter's nap. We like to be home with our family for the holidays and always leave northern Michigan after the new year. It would be tough, due to ice and snow conditions, to leave Traverse City with a 10.500-lb boat behind our truck. Ohio is a little safer bet. Even if it is in the throws of a storm, we'd be out of it within a day, driving south. We stored our boat in this same building just last year. It is the perfect spot for us due to it being so close to Jim's mom's house, just off I-75.   After three days of successful trailering to Fort Myers, Florida, we launched Kismet at the downtown ramp. Then cruised less than a quarter-mile…

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Cross-Country

Delving Into the Oversize Load Permit Process – DIY to Save Money!

We Decided to Secure the Oversize Load Permits Ourselves – There are many things in life I enjoy, two of those things are saving money and learning. In this spirit, I forged ahead with the Oversize Load permit process one has to go through when traveling on highways with an oversized load. I looked forward to learning how it works, as well as saving money doing it myself.  If you are trailering a load, that is wider then 8 1/2 feet, you have to get an oversize/wide load permit from every state and each Canadian Provence you’ll be traveling through. You can do this yourself or pay a company to obtain the permits. Each has advantages, obviously if you do-it-yourself you'll save money. In either case, you need to gather the same data to provide each State/Province government agency. Your planned route, dates of transit, trailered measurements and weights, insurance information, state registration information and more, depending on the government…

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Loading Kismet

A Little Apprehension Loading Kismet for Her First Cross-Country Trek

Heading Back to Des Moines Where We Will Be Loading Kismet Onto its Trailer for the First Time. Apprehension is defined in Websters Dictionary as "anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen.” As our time in the Pacific Northwest was coming to an end, I was beginning to feel a little uneasy about trailering our new boat cross-country. The new Ranger Tug R29S is two feet longer and one and one-half feet wider, a little taller and a couple thousand pounds heavier than our previous R27. I've been known to worry a lot when faced with something new to me. Trailering an "oversize load" through city traffic, construction zones and steep grades in the mountains was not something to take lightly. After loading Kismet onto the trailer in Des Moines, our plan was to tow her cross-country to Ohio, where my mother lives. We would visit with her a few days after Kismet was stowed in her berth, a…

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San Juan Islands Sucia Island

Island in the Sun – Sucia Island, San Juan Islands, Washington

Sucia Island Marina State Park – As long-distance cruisers we are routinely motivated by an appetite to explore the unknown. We push ourselves to seek out that which we have not yet seen, filling in with returns to some of our favorite finds. Sucia Island is one of those "return" places for us – this being our third visit to this horseshoe-shaped island refuge. We still remember the first time we set foot on this island paradise with its natural sandstone caves. The park includes 564 acres of parkland with over 77,000 feet of shoreline Spanish explorers, circa 1781, called the island “sucia” or “foul.” A nautical term describing navigational obstacles such as the rocks around the island. Previously we've moored in Shallow Bay and another time anchored in Fox Cove, but this time we opted to tie Kismet up at the southern dock in Fossil Bay. Sucia Island is roughly two-and-a-half miles long and one-half mile wide. The island…

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Port Madison

A Gem of an Anchorage – Port Madison, WA

Port Madison is One of Our Favorite Anchorages in the Puget Sound Area! – Still getting to know our new Kismet. Our first get-a-way after we dropped our grandson Silas off to his parents was to return to Port Madison, Washington. Located east of the Olympic Peninsula, at Bainbridge Island, We first visited this anchorage in 2012 soon after we took possession of our then Ranger Tugs R27. So we thought it would be appropriate to make a return visit with the new and improved R29. We are headed north of Puget Sound now, anchoring out as we make our way to Anacortes and then the San Juan Islands. We remembered how peaceful and beautiful it is there and after a week with our active grandson, Silas on board, we were ready for something quiet and restorative. There are a couple yacht clubs in this long narrow inlet, we passed them to go further back, seeking the quietest spot we could…

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Tacoma

Out of the Wild and Into City Life – Tacoma, WA

Lots to do with Silas in Tacoma! – By Thursday, knowing that Silas would be ready to burn up some pent up energy, we headed to Dock Street Marina in Tacoma. Just cruising into the busy port gave Silas some maritime visual stimulation. He asked lots of questions about his surroundings at the busy marina – all day long. After docking, we gathered up the accumulated garbage bags to dispose of, and walked a short distance into town. One nice thing about Dock Street Marina is its close proximity to a fairly vibrant harbor town. We wanted to take Silas to Tacoma Children’s Museum, where he could hang out with kids his own age.           Silas had fun at the museum, which was more of an inside play ground chock-full of activities.         We had all really worked up an appetite by that time, so next we headed over to The Spaghetti Factory for…

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Silas Onboard

Silas Onboard Kismet – Penrose Point State Park and Filucy Bay

We've Waited a Long Time to Have Silas Onboard for a Weeklong Adventure! – Monday afternoon, Lisa, Silas and I waved goodbye from shore to Ross and Hadley and headed back to the boat. To see the wonderment in Silas’ eyes, as we departed Gig Harbor, brought back memories of when I was a child spending time on the water in a boat. From Gig Harbor we cruised through the Narrows into Hale Passage en-route to Penrose Point State Park, off Carr Inlet. We have never cruised much in South Sound, except for one trip to Gig Harbor in 2011, when we took possession of our Ranger Tugs R27. The day was sunny warm and clear, the water very calm, so we decided to anchor out for our first night. What a delight to have Silas onboard with us. We wondered what Silas would think about sleeping on the boat, which he has done many times, but always at a…

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Silas First Boating Adventure

Silas First Boating Adventure – Gig Harbor

Our First Guests on Our New Ranger Tug, Kismet! – It is often said that people are a “product of their environment.” We had our grandson, Silas, on his first boat ride, in 2013, before he was a week old. Since that day, we’ve had a few boat rides with him, his parents and recently minted sister, Hadley. As he is now almost four years old, we thought it was time to immerse him into our boating lifestyle. So we invited him to join us for – Silas first boating adventure – a week-long cruise in South Puget Sound, Washington. There was no hesitation in his reply. "When do we go?" he said. We chose South Sound for its close proximity to Portland, where Silas, his sister, and parents live. After our Ranger Tugs orientation in Des Moines Marina, we spent several days commissioning the boat with many shopping expeditions to stock and equip the boat. We left there Saturday…

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Ranger Tugs R29S Kismet Orientation

Ranger Tugs Gives Orientation on Volvo Penta D4-300

Kenny Marrs met us at the boat in the morning of day two of our orientation. He would be covering the Volvo Penta D4-300 engine operations, Garmin electronics, dinghy deployment and retrieval and much more. We’ve known Kenny from the beginning of our Ranger Tugs association, a nicer young man you will never meet. We have seen Kenny in action, the dedication to his customers needs is intuitive and honest. Thanks again, Kenny!  

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Ranger Tugs R29S Kismet Orientation

Ranger Tugs R29S Kismet Orientation Day

Even Experienced Boaters Need Help Sometimes! – Because of our many years of boating experience (six of those years on a Ranger Tug) we didn’t feel we needed to have the “New Boat Delivery Experience” provided by Ranger Tugs when we took possession of our new Ranger Tug R29S – but, they insisted. Boy were we wrong! Way wrong! We have been avid boaters almost all of our adult lives. In all the new boat purchases we’ve made we’ve never, ever, EVER had such a thorough and rewarding new delivery experience like we recently had when taking delivery of our new R29S. The only other experience that was close to comparing was when we took possession of our R27, in 2011. In six years, Ranger Tugs has only improved the process, amazingly not cutting back on it in any way. We think they get how important this is to the new owner’s buying and satisfaction quota meter. Pretty smart in…

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Packing

Insights Into Jim’s Packing Science

Packing for a Cross Country Trip is Like Preparing for a Marathon Getting ready for a cross-country trip requires some mental gymnastics! We’ve only got one shot to pack up the truck before we head west. Better to be well organized from the start. We knew it was going to be tight, especially since we were taking a few containers of personal items to our son, Ross and his family, who live in Portland, OR. We actually started the packing process back in April when we unloaded the contents, of our sold Ranger Tugs R27, from our truck into the garage. I sorted through it all and weeded out things we never used. Then I put most of the boat paraphernalia into containers that would eventually fit neatly in the bed of the truck. Once we depart home there's no chance we’re turning around, unless it’s Lisa who’s not in the truck. We are fairly familiar with the drill and…

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Kismet Ranger Tugs R29S

Ready and Waiting at the Factory – Kismet a Ranger Tug R29S

When does a boat become a boat? My thoughts are... “when it is ready to float and cruise!” Based on the final assembly production photos we just received from the factory, it appears Kismet, a Ranger Tug R29S, is ready to become a boat. The Ranger Tug R29S sports a larger head than our R27. There will also be more privacy with the head being positioned in the stateroom. The stateroom is a step up for us, having slept on a V-berth for the last six years on the R27. We are also loving the spacious under bed storage area. There will be plenty of natural lighting, more elbow room in the galley for better maneuverability. We had our new Kismet built in the same Hero Red as our recently sold R27, as this is our favorite boat color. You just can't beat the photo op of a bright red hull sitting on deep blue water. You might also notice the brows around the…

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Kismet Ranger Tugs R-29S

Construction of the New Kismet Ranger Tugs R29S

Marrying the Hull of the New Kismet Ranger Tugs R29S Having something built from scratch, such as a house, car or in this case a boat is usually best left to the professionals. As you’ll see from the following photos there is evidence that a tremendous amount of thought and mindful design goes into building a boat, before and during manufacturing. There is a coordinated effort, before the actual production starts, to have on hand all of the hardware, wiring, hoses, batteries, glass, lighting, engine, generator, electronics, solar panel, seating cushions, tanks, etc. This ensures production occurs smoothly and on time. If not planned properly, I could see how delays and backlogs in production could very easily happen. In this case our new Kismet was complete almost before we knew it, that’s because of the efficiency of the professionals at Ranger Tugs… they know how to build boats and they build them well. In the past, when we've ordered a…

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New River View, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Rendezvous with Ranger Tug “Pour House”

Fort Lauderdale has it all. On our way for a week's stay in Fort Lauderdale. This Florida boating destination has it all... lots of canals to explore, a beautiful beach to walk on the ocean, shopping on Las Olas Avenue, a beautiful River Walk for leisurely strolls along New River and  now we can add one more thing to our ongoing Fort Lauderdale list... the warm and welcoming home of Carolyn and Harry House, (homeport for their Ranger Tug, PourHouse). We left our anchorage at Lake Sylvia to secure our reserved dock space at Cooleys Landing, on the New River at the head of the River Walk. One of our favorite marinas in Florida. We took our time cruising there as it was a beautiful day and, as you can see, lots of nice scenery on our route. One of the main reasons we love to stay at Cooleys is we are easily entertained by the parade of mega yachts that slide by our cockpit all…

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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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Pristine Anchorage at Mullet Key – Fort DeSoto State Park, FL

Two Fortresses Were built to Guard Against Invasions that Never Came, Mullet Key is one of them As one leaves the Gulf of Mexico to enter Tampa Bay, Mother Nature provides two keys that stand sentinel to the entrance of Tampa Bay. In 1889, Mullet Key, to the north, and Egmont Key, to the south, had fortresses built to guard against invasions that never came, remnants of both forts remain today in the parks that were created in the late 1800s. Robert E Lee made the recommendation, in 1849, that both Mullet and Egmont keys become fortified. Fort DeSoto, on Mullet Key, was built in 1889 and later abandoned by the military in stages from 1910 to the mid 1940’s. In 1962 Mullet Key was turned over to Pinellas County and became the Fort DeSoto Park. In our quest to find new and unique anchorages during our winter cruises, we stumbled upon Mullet Key while doing some research of Florida West Coast cruising grounds. On the charts…

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Captain Jim On Phone

Launch Day – Tarpon Springs, Florida

Tarpon Springs is a Favorite Stop for Kismet! Kismet was launched at the usual place, Anaclote River Park, just northwest of Tarpon Springs across the river. Turtle Cove Marina was our choice for dockage during our week-long stay while we did all of our usual activities which included, food shopping, visiting our favorite Greek bakery and restaurant for Greek salads. We walked all over town and the sponge docks soaking up the distinctive aromas and unique sounds of the Greek culture. In between all that we did our final provisioning of the boat for our trip south down the ICW. We got the boat organized and cleaned up, a few things needed fixing, so we got parts that were readily available in town. It's nice to start out on the water with a clean, organized boat. One of the highlights of our stay was when my brother, Mart rode his bike all the way from Dunedin to visit. Turtle Cove Marina is located just off the…

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Oysters For Dinner

“Oysters Rock Yo Fella”

In Search of Apalachicola Oysters! First we stored Kismet at TTC Storage in Eastpoint, then we went in search of a well-deserved oyster feast. We found TTC to be a great place to store the boat. We feel confident she will be in safe hands during our return home for the holidays. After Kismet was stored in her spot in the building and with the recommendation of Mike, owner of TTC Storage, we headed out of town to Lynn's Quality Oysters. Nothing short of delicious is how we found their specialty, Captain Jack's oyster platter. This meal of Apalachicola oysters was going to have to last us awhile – until we return to pick up our boat in January. The shallow waters of Apalachicola Bay produces most of Florida’s oysters. Big Bayou, a remote and pristine area on the western part of the bay, near Saint Vincent Island, a National Wildlife Refuge may produce the most. Oysters from Apalachicola Bay are considered Apalachicola oysters. Apalachicola…

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Eastpoint, Florida – A Heart as Big as the Bay!

Retrieving Kismet from Storage – Eastpoint Florida Seems like it was just yesterday when we left Kismet at TTC Storage in Eastpoint Florida, in fact it has been several months. We like to cruise in the fall, somewhere south of Michigan and then leave our boat in storage somewhere near where we plan to cruise after the holidays. This time, after our trip to the AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association's 2014 Rendezvous and cruise through Florida's Panhandle, we ended up in Eastpoint to store the boat. We arrived at TTC Storage and met the owner, Mike, at the building. Within half an hour we had Kismet out of storage and ready to go. With a little help from Mike, we located a great oyster restaurant within walking distance of the storage building, had to get our oyster fix before heading out on the road toward Carrabelle.     Eastpoint is an authentic fishing town with a heart as big as the bay. Here you…

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If You Rest… You Rust!

The crew of Kismet is On the Road Again! If it appears that we are eating our way back to the boat, you are right, we are! Seems like we are always on the move, north, south, east or west. Not much to report on during our road trip south to Florida to pick up Kismet, however we found some exceptional food stops along the way. When trailering our boat, or driving back to where she is stored, gives us an opportunity to explore some little towns off the expressway. Shan Chinese Buffet was tops on our list, it was just a fluke that we happened upon it, as it was out of town, off the beaten track and very unassuming. However, one step inside and we knew we were in for a treat. It looked like a well-known trucker stop with a huge parking lot for big rigs, plenty of room to park Kismet. One thing we have to consider when stopping for food…

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Nautical Store, Appalachicola, Florida

Apalachicola, Land of the Friendly People

The Little Fishing Village of Apalachicola is the End of the Line for Our Fall Cruise Apalachicola is definitely "Old Florida." Famous for their fresh oysters, Appalachicola employs a variety seafood workers. It's our favorite place to eat oysters. Apalachicola Bay is well protected by St. Vincent Island, Flag, Sand, St. George Island and Cape St. George Island. We'll leave Kismet tucked away in TCC Storage's building, just across the bay in Eastpoint, while we drive the truck home to spend the holidays with family. We'll return to pick up Kismet January 1st for a winter of cruising in southern Florida. This is our third time docking at Scipio Creek Marina. The restaurant, Papa Joe's, is no longer in business at this location, but being just a short walk from downtown, it's a great place to dock while visiting Apalachicola. The town is focused on providing a shopping experience for its visitors while maintaining that old Florida fishing village appeal. Just love Apalachicola!   We visited the…

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