Living life

It’s 2019.  February even.  And we haven’t posted a thing to this blog.  It isn’t that we haven’t been busy with (and without) Red Rover, or that we didn’t have anything to share.  I think rather it was just that we have been running fast on the treadmill.  Now that the snow is melting in Seattle and we’re back to February cold rain, it is blog time.

It rarely snows in Seattle… so far 14″ in Seattle this February.  Nordhavn offered a baseball hat for the best snowy image so of course we had to get up at 6 am before the big winds started and get a photo!
Zoe’s snowy dock
This is taken on our 17th anniversary – in the snow, just like our wedding day.

First, the big news – dessert first, you know.  Because as the saying goes, life is short.  And while we could wait for retirement to take Red Rover on an extended cruise, you just never know what might happen.  Lately, we have watched a number of friends, family and acquaintances become terminally ill, pass away, have a serious family illness or tragedy take place.  Many of these people were right around our age, and some even younger. That made us think.  A lot.  With the knowledge that you only get to be on this earth once, we have decided to eat our dessert first and focus on living life instead of waiting for someday.  This coming fall we are leaving Seattle winters behind and heading to Mexico for the season.  We told Red Rover (we simply call her “Red” when we chat with her) and she’s just psyched!

So what’s the plan?

We’ll leave the PNW in the fall, cruising to Port Angeles to meet up with a small fleet of other Nordhavn vessels owned by friends and future friends.  We’ll then crank up the stereo with our “Big Left Turn” playlist and head out to the Pacific to make that long-desired turn.  I will likely cry.  It’s a certainty actually.  (This is Alison writing in case anyone is wondering who will be crying – happy tears of a long-time dream coming true.)

From the BLT (Big Left Turn) we will take the trip to San Francisco in two big chunks with a rest likely in Coos Bay, Oregon.  We’ll spend a week-ish in San Francisco (one of my absolute favorite cities) and enjoy all that the city by the Bay has to offer before beginning a leisurely cruise south to Dana Point, CA, the home of Nordhavn.  When we brought Red Rover north to Seattle 2.5 years ago we were on a mission, and didn’t get to enjoy the southern California coast or Catalina.  We cruised by and waved.  Except for Morrow Bay of course where we spent a few days waiting out weather and being fed by the local yacht club. Once in Dana Point we’ll attend the Nordhavn Film Festival!  We can’t miss this.  In order to ensure our attendance however, we need to create a film to submit for the festival.  That’s the focus of our summer cruising.  Our film plan?  Double top secret. Fierce competition out there. We want to win! We probably won’t though – I bet the winner is either Shawn and Elizabeth Krenke (N43 Freedom) or Mike and Nicole Potter (N62 Pendana).  Or maybe Kaj Liljebladh (N78 Ammonite).  Or Dougal, Jen and Cassidy Gardyne (previously N40 Cassidy) but they are going to need to get a new Nordhavn STAT.  🙂 They all have mad video skillz.

From Dana Point we’ll gather up a few more Nordhavns and continue to San Diego, and from there down the coast to Ensenada.  The group will clear into Mexico and then work our way slowly down the Baja and around the tip to San Jose del Cabo, La Paz and beyond.  It’s a casual, loosely organized cruise with adventurous people.  We’ve begun calling this little gathering the Nordhavn Taco Run 2019.  Why?  Because tacos are life.  And living life requires tacos.  Lots of them.  In the sun.  Not in the rain.


But what about work, you say?  You two are in your 40s (eek, closing in on 50).  Kevin is going to take a sabbatical from work and is handing the reins of his company over to his incredible executive team.  I’m going to work from the boat and of course with my friends at Alaska Airlines.  We’re figuring out a new satellite system to enable my work life.

#iflyalaska – over Mazatlan where we first met Red Rover.

Prior to heading south of course, there has been, and will be a lot to do to get ready.  In December we kicked things off with a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (on a plane) with our daughter Kirsten.  We did take care of some things while we were there including getting a new Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for Red Rover which turned out to be quite involved.  We’ll do a separate post on that adventure. We also joined the Vallarta Yacht Club to give ourselves a new home base and some great reciprocal moorage offerings.

At the well-known Yelapa Yacht Club
Our daughter Kirsten and Kevin waiting on a panga back to PV.
Christmas dinner at Tuna Blanca in Punta Mita
Vallarta Yacht Club members – discount for those under 50!

In January we celebrated Christmas and our birthdays and our anniversary and every other holiday in 2019 by starting our mad “Mass Boat Unit Distribution Strategy” aka shopping spree with the Seattle Boat Show.  We picked up a new lightweight dinghy for easy shore excursions as well as a Torqeedo electric motor for the new, still nameless dinghy.  (Hey!  We are now a two dinghy family!)  We investigated satellite data systems, stack extensions and all kinds of other things.

The boat show brought so many friends to town – it was like a holiday every day for 10 days.  And we loved it.  We went to the Nordhavn Seattle Owner’s Party and saw even more friends, til 2:15 in the morning even.  Don Kohlmann, a stand-up gentleman if there ever was one, allowed us to bring Red Rover over to Elliott Bay Marina and hang at the Nordhavn dock to ensure ease of access to the party.  We take our house to parties, you know.  So with our house present, we of course had to throw a house party.  Til the aforementioned 2:15 AM timeframe.  Love our Nordhavn family.  Truly, the extended family we gained upon purchasing this boat is the absolute best part of owning Red Rover.  Dan Streech, president of Pacific Asian Enterprises – the company behind the Nordhavn brand – went so far as to give us a new title which you can read here.  We’re blushing, Dan. But happily so.

Such an inspiration – James and Jennifer Hamilton (N52 Dirona) receive their 70,000 nautical mile pennant from Dan Streech
Kevin concocting drinks on Red Rover with Don Kohlmann and Anna looking on!
I look a little odd, but it was a good party…
James and Jennifer chatting with Christopher Dent (N50 Calibri)

Also in January we took Lugger Bob’s Captain’s Class and his Owner/Operator Class.  If you are going to take your boat to Mexico, it seems prudent to know how to maintain, troubleshoot and fix your generators and engines.  His class was amazing.  I used to ask Kevin to “tell me how engines work” when I couldn’t sleep, so for me, attending this class was a stretch.  I learned so much.  It was great!  Kevin is drafting a separate story on that too.

This is likely enough to make anyone who knows me fall over in surprise.  Love Lugger Bob – kind, patient and an expert in his world.
Engines.  🙂 With Lugger Bob and Jeff Huber (N47 Igloo)

Oh!  And after the Boat Show was over we had a quick regroup with local Nordhavn friends, heading to Bainbridge Island to celebrate Jill Bernard’s “double nickels” birthday, complete with a dinner at the Queen City Yacht Club outstation.  Jill and her super husband Don own N43 Seabourne, a gorgeous ship.  Fun all around!

Other than all of that, Kevin has been madly shopping for large parts and spare parts, working down his 8 page boat to-do list and considering details for all of the projects that must be complete before we go.  A new 6kw Northern Lights generator (a companion to our 20kw generator) is on its way to Red Rover and that satellite system is going to land here at Shilshole as well, among other things.  While Kevin has been working, I’ve been dreaming up a plot for our Nordhavn film festival submission and have been playing lovely assistant in the engine room while wearing my Northern Lights baseball hat.

6kw genset(1)6307410380532479365..jpg
An installation of 6kw NLs genset on another N55 – just like ours will be!

We’re getting ready to go!  It feels unreal and it feels great and it feels a little crazy as in “we are doing what?!?” all at once.  I guess that is what living life is really about – experiencing all the feels.

A bracelet to remind me when I get nervous.  And a bracelet with Shilshole’s lat/long (given to me by my daughter) should I get lost and need someone to return me to my home.

3 thoughts on “Living life

  1. Look forward to all your boat projects and following you on your adventures from a someday future Nordhavn owner!

  2. Great blog kids! Reminds me of our left turn event… it was amazing ..( I won’t bore you with the details but you can read it at and yes, it is an amazing milestone. We planned to spend a week or two in San Fran too, as we didn’t stop on the way down, but weather router Omni Bob has other ideas for us and we were thrown out to the ocean gods again within 24 hours in order to avoid a big bad weather event. Schedules are indeed written in sand at low tide….
    but your story makes me want to do it all again!!! The Taco Run sounds fun! But we will be waiting for you in La Paz hopefully!!!!

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