Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Open Air

Much like there is only one way to get to Cantler's Crabhouse on Mill Creek, there is only one way to make it to Pirate's Cove for the Wednesday night sailboat races.

And just as most of the trips I have made to Cantler's have been by boat, many of the trips to Pirate's Cove in Galesville have been in a car with no roof.

After owning the Jeep Wrangler for a couple of years I knew I really enjoyed riding around in the open air... as long as it wasn't raining. And since I would completely remove the top from the Jeep in the summers, those rain squalls that would come up on any given afternoon would often catch me 'with my top down'. I thought that a vehicle which carried around a well-fitted top at all times, and which could be deployed in minutes, would definitely be the way to go. After selling the Jeep last year, I immediately began to miss driving around and being able to see the whole sky.

So this summer, having been relieved of paying the yearly tax bill on a second house, I decided to make alternative use of the funds, and after clearing the potential purchase with the proper authorities, went out in search of a Miata, which I felt would be the perfect solution to my "no-top envy." This one must have had my name on it, it was just advertised the same week I started my search, it was less than 5 miles from my work, and it had everything I was looking for and then some.

And it was far more exhilarating than I had even imagined. I think the Mazda website describes it best:

The original roadsters were designed for one purpose: the pure, unadulterated enjoyment of driving. With light weight mated to a lively engine, precise handling and a drop-top that left nothing but a windshield between driver and the rushing wind, the roadster provided the thrill of the road like no other vehicle.

The car was designed for one thing, the enjoyment of driving. From its road-hugging stature, to its quick acceleration and tight handling, to its completely open feeling, it is simply a blast to drive. Simply driving to work, the grocery, anywhere, now becomes a little mini vacation, out in the warm sunny summer air. Each trip I have taken so far I have not wanted to end, I wanted to just keep driving. Not since I was 16 have I been this excited about simply driving somewhere. It truly is life-changing.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Corduroy Cruise 2005

We just returned from a cruise with friends Ben and Jen on their boat Outre Mer. Outre Mer is French for "overseas," in case you were wondering. The boat is a 40-foot Jeanneau, a French-built boat with fun labels on things, like "GAZOLE," where you put the fuel.
She's a wonderful boat, and Ben and Jen were generous to have us aboard (Sandy included) for a cruise to celebrate the recent removal of the tan corduroy that used to line the interior.

Outre Mer has a guest cabin which we found quite comfortable. Sandy often joined us for a morning cuddle.

We left Annapolis Friday and sailed with what sailors call the "iron wind" (the motor) to St. Michael's, Maryland. We docked at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and on Saturday celebrated Mark's birthday at the Museum's Big Band Night.

Sunday morning Mark captured this gorgeous sunrise.

Ben kept cutting up... did the dogs.

Sunday, we biked to Bellevue, stopping at an amazing Italian restaurant and market for lunch. We took our bikes on the ferry to Oxford, and biked around town. We stopped at the general store for ice cream, and then returned to St. Michael's.

Sunday night, we joined Ben and Jen's friends Wayne and Sheila for a sunset cruise aboard their boat, complete with up-close views of the waterfront mansions and a sumptuous feast Sheila provided.

Monday, we sailed to Herrington Harbor South, a resort-like marina on the Western shore of the Bay. We lounged by the pool and had a great dinner to celebrate Ben's birthday (33, we're told) and Ben and Jen's anniversary (13th;they must have married very young.)

Tuesday, we sailed north to an anchorage on the Rhode River. There was a small island nearby, to which we ferried the dogs in the dinghy (which Buckley considers his boat) for play and potty time. Not satisfied, Buckley demanded a pleasure ride on the dinghy afterwards.

Wet dogs drip dry in the cockpit. We all had such a great time!