Thursday, November 19, 2009

PC-centric traveling

Savvy travelers are increasingly planning their trips online. Many often travel with their notebooks. Which is why I decided to add this category (computers) to my blog. We may not be early adopters (no iphone or Windows 7 yet), but we love our computers (a desktop and a notebook) and we continue to be amazed by the internet. As ex-IT professionals, we have, over the years, provided technical support to friends and family, and fixed many a PC (personal computer).

We use our PC for everything. We listen to music, display pictures, edit videos, watch movies on DVDs, and surf the internet (emailing, blogging, social networking), in addition to all the regular PC Windows applications. We also use our PC to watch TV. Hauppauge Computer Work's WinTV-HVR-950Q USB Stick transforms our 22-inch monitor into a high definition TV and a digital recorder system. Recording our favorite programs has never been easier. The key is to have plenty of hard disk space.
Passport external drive, Roku, Samsung tablet
We keep an external hard disk drive as a back up for our personal data. Anyone taking videos and pictures with 10 megapixels will need plenty more hard disk space. Prices for storage have come down tremendously. Walmart is selling a 1 Terrabyte External Hard Drive anywhere from $90 (Western Digital) to $123 (Iomega). At Amazon, Seagate has the same for $99.99. With Black Friday approaching and retailers vying for your dollars, perhaps you can find an even better deal! Who knows?

Good luck, and happy Thanksgiving!

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updated 4/29/15

Friday, November 13, 2009

Remnants of Hurricane Ida drench the Mid-Atlantic

Hurricane Ida lost steam when it came ashore Alabama Tuesday this week. Still, it soaked the Deep South pretty good. There have been some reports of rock slides, and flooding along rivers and creeks. Boaters doing the Great Loop passage are starting to reach Mobile, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle area. While these boaters wait for a good weather window to cross the Gulf of Mexico either from Pensacola or Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs, the rest of the loopers are stuck further north. Until marina slips are freed up, they have no place to go. It's better to be stuck in an area that is safe and sound than to be caught out in the open seas with 10 to 15 foot waves!


Meanwhile on the mid-Atlantic side, snowbirds on the IntraCoastalWaterway(ICW) are being hammered with the remnants of Hurricane Ida - rain, waves, and wind, which continue to gust in excess of 35 mph.

I feel for them. Around this time in 2004, we were one of those boaters on the ICW. Having spent that summer cruising the Chesapeake Bay, we were headed south in mid-September. If you recall, that was the year Florida was battered with four major hurricanes - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. When Hurricane Ivan hit in October, we were in Annapolis, Maryland, hiding in a lovely anchorage called Weems Creek.
By early November, we were exploring Ocracoke on the Outer Banks of N. Carolina.

Following is our trip's log:

Oct 19-23, 2004
We split with "
Colorado Cat" and headed east to Ocracoke on the Outer Banks. Entering unfamiliar territory can sometimes be a challenge, and this was no exception. You leave the red markers to port as you enter Big Foot Slough channel. To add to the confusion, there were a bunch of range markers sticking out there. We made it in ok and were the only boat at the Silver Lake anchorage. During our stay here, we would hear boaters over the radio asking questions on the approach, and to our surprise, boats and ferries come in and out, no matter what the weather.

Home to the 1823 Ocracoke Lighthouse, Ocracoke is a charming town that exudes Cape Cod ambience. It is dotted with restaurants, and hotels, inns and many private homes are all for rent. No doubt this is a busy place in the height of summer. And apparently, fishing IS the thing to do here. We saw 4-wheel drive vehicles on the beach carrying fishing rods up the ying yang.

High winds had us hunkered down inside the boat for two days. North winds blowing at 25-30 knots, and seas building to 9-12 feet made for boisterous conditions outside. We were stuck. It is no coincidence that the Outer Banks has been called the "graveyard of the Atlantic." Over the centuries, thousands of sailors and boats have met their fate here, as did the notorious pirate Blackbeard. When we had a good weather window, we got out of there as fast as we could!

Nov 11-15, 2004
As we entered Georgia, a nor'easter whipped up north wind of 25 knots with gust to 35. We sought protection at Cumberland Island. The wind was relentless for two days, causing "Mai Thai"to rock and roll much of the time. That was the toughest we've endured in our cruising life. By the time the ordeal was over, a couple of zippers in the bimini had been ripped. All things considered, we rather be here (temperature in the mid 60s) than be in Boston (temp 30s)...


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Monday, November 2, 2009

Fall Colors and Color Cruise

This past weekend was our marina's annual Color Cruise Festival. Grey skies and rain threaten to dampen the spirit. Saturday(Halloween) morning was windy and raining, but luckily the wind died down in the late afternoon. The festival this fall was much smaller in scale, with a handful of vendors and two bands. With pretty good singing, I might add.

Dockside, the vibe was more vibrant. The marina employees were running around helping to tie up boats when one after another started arriving Friday. Rumor has it that our dock had great parties in years past, and that was why these boaters kept coming back, each year with a bigger flotilla. This year saw about a dozen boats coming from Irwin Marina, Island Cove and Guntersville. Boaters, in general, are a fun and gregarious bunch. These folks were no exception, and boy, can they P A R T Y. We had one potluck after another. The array of food was incredible, enough to feed a whole village!

On Sunday, after the visiting boats departed, a few of us took our boats out in search of some fall colors. What we found were mostly shades of yellows and gold, not so much the brilliant reds and orange that are typical of fall in New England. Next week perhaps?



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