Well, no chance to “beat the boys from VMI” this year (not on the schedule) but we did get to see a good test of the football team at Shep’s alma mater. And boy, someone had to get way high, up on High ZZ’s mast (thankfully not Shep) for some much delayed rig work.
After arriving in Norfolk in mid-June, we sweated out, both figuratively, and literally (Florida summer weather in Virginia in July), a standing rig replacement on High ZZ’s. The experts tell us we should be refurbishing the standing rigging (stainless wire and fittings that hold up the mast) every 10 years…well the previous owner never did this, so after 18 years, it was time. As Shep did not have a bucket lift, and the replacement is very complex (we found out our mast system was only made for two years, after getting the wrong parts), we enlisted the help of Mack Sails and Rigging in Portsmouth to do the work. From Portsmouth, Shep made his first solo transit in High ZZ’s to Deltaville (Deb drove our Rav4 up), so that we could leave the boat for a quick visit to our house in FL. Our usual pit stop, Deltaville Marina and Boatyard, will pull the boat out of the water in case a hurricane threatens, even if we are not there; thankfully, not necessary this time.
Deltaville is also a relatively short trip to Blacksburg, for our usual fall activity…watching the VT Hokies play football. A loss to Ohio State (actually, I tell folks VT has won 1.5 games against the NCAA National Champions, OSU…only ½ of a game) was followed by two wins…the most fun, a return trip to Shep’s Alma Mater, Purdue University, in Indiana. Deb had some reoccurring nightmares about the exceedingly cold winters, but it was fun to see that our apartment buildings, the forestry school, and Deb’s office, were all still intact, 40 years after we left West Lafayette! And the 51 to 24 VT win…well that was nice too (forgive me, fellow Boilermakers, but I know who paid the bills for 32 years).
Part of the fun this fall was a short backpack trip on the Appalachian Trail with Martin. Shep’s first backtrack trip (other than in and out of remote wildland fires) in 38 years! But, since it is starting to get cold (defined now by any daytime highs less than 75F) here up north, we will be pointing High ZZ’s back south in the first week of October. And then, sometime around November 1, when our boat insurance says the hurricane season is over, we hope to be crossing over the Florida State line, in our retirement enabled pursuit of an endless summer!