Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Interesting Pin-terests

 First it was YouTube. Then Blogger. Along came Facebook. And now, Pinterest. Man, this whole sharing thing is seriously getting to be a full time job, but I LOVE it!

 Way back in 2007 I started my first YouTube channel, solely as an easy way to be able to share our fun boating times on our local boating web site. That worked great, as it was so much easier than embedding Quicktime Movie files or learning Flash programming and the quirks of getting that to work smoothly. After all, I was only doing this to share some laughs with the boaters in our local marina and didn't want to spend even more of my free time on this little hobby than needed.

Some early YouTube material (even before the days of HD)

 So it was a good, convenient fit for my purposes. But after awhile I started to get comments on some of the videos from 'outsiders' - people I had never met before - and they were telling me how much they enjoyed watching our boating adventures. Cool, I thought, especially since I had never considered my YouTube videos in that way. Suddenly I had a burgeoning audience. Go figure.

 When I started my little boating web site back in 2001, it was meant simply as a way to keep in touch with our boating buddies, as many of us lived far apart from each other and this seemed like a way to extend the fun through the cold, dark winter. But, as with embedding videos and all the background work that goes into building and maintaining a web site, I wanted a quicker, easier way of sharing the fun. In came Blogger and this very Blog. Again, as with YouTube, before I knew it, 'new' people were visiting and leaving messages letting me know how much they enjoy reading about our travels and the fun. Go figure.

In the Hot Tub with our boating friends, back in 2002.


 Fast forward to 2013 and I have seen the huge potential of not only sharing our fun online, but actually making some money from it. Perhaps a full time gig just doing this, I mused? Why not. But it was going to take more than merely posting videos and stories - I would have to get even more people enthused! That's where the dreaded and heretofore loathed Facebook came in.

 Sure, I had a Facebook account going way back, but stopped using it not long after initially setting it up, as I found that the only thing I was getting from it was 'friends' posting the same jokes and waste of time snippets that I was getting in my email every day. Why did I need to log into a separate account to see the same thing? I didn't, so I stopped using it (one can't actually delete their account, it only goes dormant).

Waiting for the lock on Boogaboo III at Fenelon Falls, summer 2006.

 Grudgingly, I decided to set up a new 'Page' in early 2013 so that I might be able to connect with even more like minded folks who could join in with the adventure and hopefully broaden my followers.  OK, before I go any further and hear 'I told you so' from my wife, I'll be the first to admit that Facebook has not only a great marketing tool, but a fun way to connect with others who also enjoy the boating lifestyle. Beyond that, it continues to be a great joy for me to open the eyes, so to speak, of those followers who have never even been on a boat! Now that is cool :-) Go figure.

A pretty shot of 'Boogaboo IV', 2013;
Boogaboo IV at Lock #42 of the Trent Severn Waterway

 So, now I got my groove going on YouTube, Blogger and Facebook. All set, right? Nope. Seems there is this social sharing network called Pinterest. OK, you've probably already seen it, or at least heard of it, but our immersion in it is only recent for us, so I tend to speak of it like it's brand new to everyone :-/ You might have also noticed that for the first time in this little timeline I'm referring to the involvement in Pinterest as 'ours'. That's because my lovely Anchor Girl is in charge of the selections for our boards and pinning from other member's shares. It took a bit to get the hang of the site, but now we are getting it and seeing why it is so popular with it's approximately 70 million users. So, we are now full time Pinners, and I'm OK with that ;-) Go figure.



 Now, here we are with four major social networking portals to work on, and that's something we do daily. I've made it my mission to see this new lifestyle of living on our boat all summer and traveling south in the winters come together and make it all come together, and to achieve that I work, I mean REALLY WORK all my sites, many hours every day.

 And I do LOVE it! Go figure ;-)


Moving Aboard A Boat - Downsizing The Car

This is another part in the continuing series of updates on our preparations to sell our house, downsize everything and move full time aboard our boat 'Boogaboo', a 1997 Sea Ray 400 Sedan Bridge.

One more component in our Big Move is downsizing our current car. The beast that is Anchor Girl's daily driver (as well as our weekend ride) is a Dodge Challenger R/T. Ya, it's got a HEMI :-)

 A sexy, fun car, but simply not practical for our future plans. and we're are looking for something both more economical to operate as well as being a little better suited to what will be akin living like Gypsies ;-)
Anchor Girl's HEMI Challenger R/T
 The working plan for now is to stay on the boat for the summer, then head south by car next fall, when the 'northern' boating season ends. Again, driving a performance sports car to Florida (??) and area isn't the best idea, so we are looking around at our options. Maybe a mid sized sedan, maybe a small SUV. Not sure right now, but that's OK. Half the fun is shopping around and building on the excitement for what we are doing!! That is, if it's possible for me to be any more excited about this life changing adventure :-)

 Here's some video from our first test drive, taken a couple of weeks ago. I'll post more updates as we move forward with this portion. It's just a matter of us finding the time to get out and look!


Stay tuned :-)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Moving Full Time Aboard Our Boat!!

 I am absolutely ecstatic to share the news that my beautiful wife (the lovely and talented Anchor Girl) and I (the less lovely and talent challenged)  have committed to moving full time to our beloved 'Boogaboo' !!

Our New Home :-)

 This idea is something we have thrown around for the past couple of years, but were 'held back' by excuses too numerous to even think about any more. Can we afford it, financially? No. Is it the most prudent decision, many would ask? No. Are we doing it anyway? YES!

Here's me making the big announcement;


 For those of you who haven't been following along on my YouTube channel (YouTube.com/Boogabooster) and were not aware of my condition, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis - MS - early this year (2013) and we went through a rough and very scary time over the winter. Being hit with the news and dealing with the symptoms is something that stopped us both in our tracks. These days, what's the first thing one does when told by their doctor that they have something like MS? Google it. Some pretty scary stuff we saw when learning about the disease, but eventually we saw a glimmer of hope and the fact that we didn't have to live the same life that other sufferers were dealing with. We had options, but it wouldn't be easy or overnight.

The fear, emotions and questions, for a very dark period of time, overwhelmed us. And the way I was feeling during my worst 'flare up' was very shitty, to say the least. I don't have to go into the details as to what was going on with my body, but it really, really hit home that our time on this planet is very limited. Now I am the first to say (something that I had to repeat to Anchor Girl over an over) that things could have been much, MUCH worse. It was only through the hard work and dedication of Anchor Girl's efforts that, for the most part, I have had a very positive turnaround. For the past few months my symptoms have mostly been in check and despite the recommendations of my doctors (G.P. and two neurologists), I am not on the heavy duty medication that has been suggested. Despite the fact that there is no way to know when, where or how severe the flare ups (or attacks) will be, I am very hopeful that I will be good for a long time to come. Even without drugs!

 If you want to learn more about our MS journey, as well as learn POSITIVE information about food, stress reduction (huge part of my 'recovery'), vitamins, gluten and more, feel free to check out both my Facebook Page (Facebook.com/MotivateSuccesses) and/or YouTube Channel (YouTube.com//MotivateSuccesses).

   Move forward to April, 2013 and our boat has just gone in the water for the season. Apart from the benefits of the uber healthy diet I am on, the hugely positive feelings of simply arriving at our boat each weekend has been something I cannot put into words. We step onto the boat and the not only does stress melt away, but there is both a physical and emotional sense of well being, as if there is a cloak of a welcoming, reassuring presence that is saying 'you are here now, no worries, everything gonna be alright' Ya, I don't think Bob Marley could have said it any better ;-)

The 'side yard' view from our boat ;-)
 It's that great feeling that we both want to have every day and our boating lifestyle gives us that. So why not live it every day? That is why we are making the jump and I am on an indescribable high that now permeates every part of my life :-)

 But the fun doesn't stop there, no sir. The working plan is to move on to the boat for the boating season - April to October - and when the boat comes out of the water next fall, head south. Where south exactly? We don't know, but the goal there is to be somewhere a lot warmer than where I am sitting right now. Florida is looking good and high on the list. But I don't want to park our butts in just one location for the whole winter. More like find a base for a month and then move on. Kinda like following the warm weather south. And even at that, we would be doing little mini adventures within the overall winter journeys. I'm thinking a few days in New Orleans, perhaps visiting Memphis (gotta see Graceland, man) and wherever else the flying fickle finger of fate points us :-)

Anchor Girl enjoys a spectacular Florida Gulf Coast sunset on our hotel balcony, Christmas/12.


 Point is that we are at a place in our lives that we don't need a house to call home. After our current house sells, we will get a smaller place for the rest of this season and then rent it out next year. Our kids are keen on moving out of their apartment and we would be able to give them a good deal on the place, as well as a nicer environment for our granddaughter to grow up in. That way, we would always have a bedroom to use for those days that we are between living on the boat and heading south and vice-versa.

Anchor Girl and I discuss our plans on the final day of the 2013 boating season;

 Money. What are we going to do to sustain this lifestyle, you ask? Well, you are going to have to come back for the next installment to get the down low on those plans . . .

A beautiful sunset sky at the boat.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Boat Cruise on Trent Severn Waterway 2013, Part One

After many years of visiting Georgian Bay, we decided to spend our 2013 boating summer holidays with a return cruise through the eastern part of the Trent Severn Waterway. As we had only two weeks to venture from - and back to - our home port on Lake Simcoe, we were only able to get as far as the village of Lakefield. I had hoped to be able to get down to Peterborough, but that's going to have to wait until next summer.

Yes, yes, I know we could have made it to Peterborough and back easily within two weeks, but the days of hammering the throttle just to say we did it are behind us. Theses days, it's more along the lines of 'sit back and smell the roses' kinda mindset.

 As things are, we are hoping to have the whole summer of 2014 to go on extended boating trips, as we have recently put our house up for sale, with the intention of moving full time aboard 'Boogaboo' during the seasonal months, but that's a whole other Blog post ;-)

 Back to this years' fun.As mentioned, we traveled east from Lake Simcoe towards Fenelon Falls and beyond.

Leaving our marina gas dock.

The weather was spectacularly clear and calm. A great way to start the voyage.
Lake Simcoe was unbelievably calm. A beauty day for boating.

For those of you who have traveled this way, you know that there are quite a number of locks to pass through. Oh well, a small price to pay for a voyage like this. And it provides a great opportunity to master your driving skills ;-)

Going through the fist of many locks.

 This is both a funny and sad photo; the car rushing along the side of the canal has the lock staff that has to run between these locks to let the boats through. One example of Parks Canada's way of 'saving' money. Hmm, I wonder what the vehicle costs for the year, with fuel, wear and tear and maintenance costs?
A Parks Canada vehicle rushes to the next lock.

 After traveling for a few hours, we decided to make Lock #39 our first stop and stayed there for one night.
Lock #39 of the Trent Severn Waterway.

 Staff closes the big lock doors after some boats dropped down
The lock chamber.

I love the nature at these locks. Keep in mind that all of the locks are operated by Parks Canada and are mini national parks. The trees are one nice part of the attraction.
Big trees, big sky and a lovely, peaceful afternoon.

As the locks in this area are very close to one another, the lock staff generally tries to have a number of boats all go through at one time. That's why you often see groupings of 4 - 6 boats passing through together.
A group of boats head towards Lock #39 of the TSW

Here's a shot of yours truly walking over to the other side of the canal for some picture taking.
Walking over a lock gate.

 A cool shot of a big trawler, the 'M/V Quimby' that pulled in for the evening. These folks were part way through their voyage through the Great Loop, a circumnavigation of the eastern portion of North America. Affectionately referred to as 'Loopers', the boaters who do the trip typically take about a year to make all the way around the roughly 6,000 mile route.
One of the 'Looper' boats we see along the TSW

Perry The Penguin, our mascot, enjoys a lovely sunny summer evening from the deck of 'Boogaboo IV'.
Perry The Penguin on board 'Boogaboo IV'

 I took this photo hanging out of the forward hatch - the first one I've ever taken from that vantage point. An appropriate spot to finish up this entry, as that is the direction where we will be heading on the next leg of the journey . . .


 Next time, we will be heading to the Kirkfield Lift Lock :-)

:-)