Three years and Counting
Many have said that I am a numbers guy so I guess I will get all the numbers out-of-the-way as we finish up our three years as peregrinates, (travel or wander around from place to place). First off we are now thinking we can continue running all over the world for another 5 years.
During the last three years, we have been to 300 different destinations. Some were back and forth to ATL, our base of operations, but that still means that every 3.65 days we were unpacking and packing up our bags. I hope to get that rate to more like every 5 days in the coming years.
Also during that time period, Catherine’s daughter had her third child, this one a girl. My middle child, Shawn got married. Catherine participated in the Mindset Clinical Trail for Early Onset Alzheimer’s and completed both phases. I had my second major surgery, this time to repair an Aneurism in my gut.
No real changes for Catherine and hope our participation in the Clinical Trail will help others in the future. They say the drug RVT 101 is still about 2 years away from final approval. It really does not help ones short-term memory but does improve those inflected cognitive skills. That gives her the confidence to do things she routinely did in the past.
We spent 9 weeks on Windstar Cruise ships with at least 7 more weeks scheduled in 2018. 4 weeks on AMA Waterways river cruise line with at least one more week scheduled in 2018. Four weeks on Royal Caribbean cruise line with two more weeks scheduled in 2018.
Including my 37 years as a commercial pilot, I have visited 69 different countries, territories including Vatican City and Antarctica. We completed Abbott’s 6 major world marathons and at least a half marathon on all 7 continents. Last but not least we have run 10 marathons, 25 half marathons which take our countries that we have run at least a half marathon to 27 plus Antarctica.
Upon our return from New Zealand we immediately headed to Indiana for a great Thanksgiving with Catherine’s folks were we got meet her third grandchild, Ada. The two older brothers were very happy to show her off and were very doting towards her. That was one long trek from New Zealand with only a 12 hour stop in ATL to recoup.
After a few days back in ATL and 4 days in the Crib, our motorhome, on Pine Island we are now getting ready to go out on another Windstar Cruise out of San Juan for two weeks, where it all started. Not necessarily San Juan but on Windstar back in December 2014 out of St Maarteen.
This was our third trip to Pine Island and we love the area but doubt we will be back. No-see-ems were out in droves and literally ate me alive. They say that over time you become immune to them but, for me, I believe the blood thinner I am taking for my artificial aortic valve attract’s them to me. We put the Crib back up in storage and really not sure when we will back to the Fort Myers area. We will probably move it further north maybe to the St Pete area or northwest to Tallahassee.
It is rather sad to come back to San Juan after the hurricanes ravaged the area back in September. I use to fly into San Juan for many years and always enjoyed visiting the area. Some progress has been made but you can tell there is still a lot that still needs to be done. You can also tell that vacationers have yet to return to the area. Catherine and I were still able to get in a couple of long walks while here.
Unfortunately with some of the different Island also being heavily damaged the itinerary for our cruise had to be changed. Because of that instead of going from Island to Island, we are now experiencing a rather rough sea day as we head all the way to Martinique. Simply put Catherine is not faring well.
After that we will work our way back to San Juan stopping in Pigeon Island, St. Lucia, Les Saintes, Guadeloupe, Little Bay, Montserrat, and Gustavia, St. Barthelemy. I would agree that most have not heard of these islands and that might explain why this particular cruise is only about 2/3rd full.
While in Les Saintes, Guadeloupe we did run into our sister ship, Wind Surf. Turns out that is the same ship we will be on for 2 weeks in February out of Barbados. That itinerary has also changed but we will be going to different islands then the ones we will be visiting on this two-week cruise.
Our ship Star Pride on the left and Windsurf on the right.
We ran into another couple that spends about 12 weeks a year on cruise ships. I am sure that would take our cash burn rate well above the $500 a day that I strive for. However, there is a cruise line that has a cruise that goes around the world in about 6 months. Right now I don’t think Catherine is up for being on a big ship that long.
Speaking of expenses the top three expenses for 2017 are Airfare, Marathon Tours, and Cruising. They were also the top three for the two prior years. Our cost per day for meals and misc expenses have decreased over the years and hope to reduce Air Fare and Marathon Tours next year.
My knee is starting to cooperate but now I have challenges with one of my blood pressure meds. My cardiologist doubled the dose of Losartan Potassium and now my blood pressure is so low that it makes it very difficult to run without passing out. He did tell me that would probably happen but since I still have another Aneurysm above my heart of my Aorta he felt it would be best to keep my BP down.
Since we routinely run in the morning I am now taking that med after I exercise each day. Taking care of one’s health is like whack a mole. As soon as you think you have one thing taken care of something else pops up. Not a problem here. I love solving problems but at the same time hate playing games.
Windsurf Sail away
I have often said that it is better than the alternative. As one gets older our cells do not replicate as they did when we were younger. With that said, it is no surprise that if we are allowed to wake up every morning we must all learn deal with personal health issues that crop up from time to time. As a pilot, I got a full physical every 6 months and it looks like the routine will continue throughout my life.
The final day of this week’s cruise finished up with the island of Saint Barthelemy often called St. Barts. The capital city of Gustavia was under repair from the hurricanes. They were in much better shape than Little Bay where we were yesterday which is under construction.
The official capital of Montserrat at Plymouth in the south of the island was abandoned in 1997 after it was buried by the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano. So the plan is for Little Bay to be the future capital.
We pulled anchor at 1:30 pm and now making our way back to San Juan to finish up the first week of cruising the Caribbean. Turns out we will spend 6 out of 12 weeks in the Caribbean for the months of December thru February. 5 weeks on cruise ships and 1 week on St. Kitts and another week on the island of Utila near Roatan, Honduras.
For Immigration reasons, everyone had to leave the ship by 9 am. That included even folks that are going out on another trip with them. With that in mind, we decided to go for a nice long walk from Old San Juan back to the Marriott Hotel area where we stayed before the cruise. First, we had to locate a laundromat nearby.
With the help of the locals, we were able to find one that provided a wash, dry and fold service. After we dropped off our clothes off we went for a 2-hour walk. There were areas along the way that you can tell that there is no plan of ever fixing the damage done by the storms. Most of the traffic lights were inoperative which made crossing some intersections a bit hazardous.
Now that we are in our second week I have learned how best to handle the first day at sea.
Dramamine, Dramamine, Dramamine.
Catherine did a much better job. During our first stop in Martinique, we decided to catch the ferry from Anse Mitan over to Fort-de-France and walked around the area. The weather once again was perfect so this week in the Caribbean is getting off to a great start. We did have a great dinner last night at the Captain’s table.
This time around while in Les Saintes, Guadeloupe we decided to actually go on an excursion. That is something we do not typically do. Last week we ran while on the island. I had heard from other guests last week that the speedboat tour of the island was a great trip. The water was a bit choppy but that made the excursion, even more, fun as we whipped around the island.
We did stop for about an hour for some time in the water to snorkel and a bite to eat and some homemade rum drinks. The passion fruit was my favorite and when you added the lime variety to the mix that was simply perfect.
After that, we were able to make the walk up to the top of the nearby mountain for the views from Fort Napoleon. On the way back down we took a side trip over to a very secluded beach. We finished off the day with a great swim off the back of the ship. The infamous deck barbecue once again did not disappoint.
We finished off the week once again back in Gustavia, St. Barthelemy for a short stop there. This time around we decided to walk over a mountain to get to the local airport. It was great watching the small passenger planes fly between the two hilltops and then drop into a very short landing strip. We had our last sail away once back on the ship. Now, all we need to do is figure out a way to stow away for another week in the Caribbean. We understand that the ship is full for the Christmas week trip.
We also need to meet up with my kids in Tybee Island, GA. The original plan was for us all to meet up in San Juan for the week but with the storms that passed thru in September, it was decided to find somewhere else to go. Maybe we can meet up there next year.
As we close in on the 3 years on the road a couple of things have come to mind. First and foremost is the fact that there are people much older than us that love to travel just as much as us. They may all have homes to return to between trips but they are on the road a lot. They might not be as active as us but seem to get around pretty good and are all enjoying life within their limitations.
The second one concerns my take on why we are still on the road. During our conversations with others, they continue to tell us stories about places we still have not been to and why those places should be and why we should go. It seems as so we will never run out places to go but just run out of money to travel on.
Many have posted to Facebook about how many miles they have run last year. Unfortunately, since my right knee has been giving me a problem on and off since last September I have had to include my race walking miles. For 2017 that would be 1525 miles. Going back to 2000 where it all started I have run, swam or biked nearly 23,000 miles. Only 2 thousand miles to say that I have gone completely around the earth.
We finished off the end of our third year of running all over the world on Tybee Island outside of Savannah, Ga. I was hoping for moderate weather for our family get together. Not so fast as the bitter cold made its way our way. Not to fear the snow did not arrive there until after we left.
We all enjoyed the Savannah area and the Airbnb we rented on the Island was very nice and we were able to enjoy the New Years fireworks show right off the deck. Luckily, I put together an extra bag of warm clothes for our trip there.
My New Years resolution this year is to not sweat the small stuff. With our health issues, Airplane departures and new and exciting destinations, I am going to try my best not to allow the little stuff along the way to bring me down. Life is way too short to dwell on the fact that there was not a mint on my pillow.
Another tradition there is for the New Years Polar Bear plunge at the pier area. I only expected a few since it was 35 degrees with wind above 20 miles an hour. Surprisingly enough there were several hundred that braved the cold to jump in and the same amount there to just watch.
We are going to kick off our 4th year as peregrinates in Utila, Honduras for a week, St Kitts for a week and 3 weeks cruising the Caribbean. We will make a trip to Bloomington to visit Catherine’s daughter and family. She lives in Bloomington, In so I guess I will need to bring our warm clothes bag with us.
I asked Catherine if it feels like it has been 3 years on the road. She replied, “it feels like our lifestyle forever”.