July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow

June 20, 2013
New Adventures

May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug

May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference

May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy

April 15, 2013
In The Middle

March 29, 2013
On The Hook

March 18, 2013
Tinker Time

February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix

February 15, 2013
Time Travel

February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation

January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending

January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports

December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current

December 1, 2012
New Neighbors

November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?

November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?

October 15, 2012

October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable

September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem

September 1, 2012

August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options

August 1, 2012
Go West!

July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination

July 1, 2012

June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly

June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour

May 15, 2012
Making New Friends

May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New

April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast

April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler

March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature

March 1, 2012
Last Dance

February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique

February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound

January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World

January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation

December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell

December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds

November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love

November 1, 2011
On the Water Again

October 14, 2011
First Impressions

October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun

September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road

September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!

August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row

August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat

July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home

July 1, 2011
One Step Closer

June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future

June 1, 2011
Made in the USA

May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice

May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around

April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude

March 15, 2011
Helping Hands

March 1, 2011

February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options

February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!

January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing

December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing

December 15, 2010
The New Plan!

December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg

November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water

November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile

October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough

October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?

September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool

September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland

August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"

July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time

July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous

June 1, 2010
On the Hard

May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West

May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board

April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance

April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures

March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise

March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound

February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters

February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise

January 15, 2010
New Frontiers

January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences

December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port

December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady

November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

November 13, 2009
A Cult Following

October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time

October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye

September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature

August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote

August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North

June 1, 2009
Northern Migration

May 15, 2009

May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye

April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!

April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy

March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound

March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?

February 15, 2009
Slow Motion

February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View

January 15, 2009
High Anxiety

January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands

December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure

December 1, 2008
All Together Now

November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike

October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River

October 16, 2008
Big City Lights

October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins

September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop

September 1, 2008
The Space Ship

August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle

August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!

July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around

July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop


Getting Our Ducks in a Row
By Kismet, Monday, August 15, 2011

While lying in bed, I started to hear it ever so faintly, off in the distance, as if in a dream. What I hear is the familiar sounds of serenading birds, they start their early morning routine just before the sun comes up. I listen intently; amused by their chatter as the day starts to unfold at 5:30 a.m. Lisa states that I must have slept well as I didn’t move all night, which made me wonder how she knew this. So, being the polite, dutiful, husband I am, I asked Lisa how her night’s rest was and she told me she didn’t sleep so well. She went on to tell me she’d been awake for a couple of hours thinking. Concerned, I asked her what was troubling her. Lisa told me she’s starting to worry about all the things that need to be accomplished before we head west in a few weeks. Now I start to worry, but thank goodness I soon remember that all we need to do to stay on top of this schedule is to tackle something every day and by the time we’re ready to leave all this worrying will magically disappear. We’ll be singing like all those birds announcing a new day outside our bedroom window. It’s now 6:05 a.m. and I’m feeling good about our future plans!
This looks like the gate around the White House, that’s what I call secure!

I’m a list guy you probably know the type! Since college, I’ve had a continuous list of items I need to get taken care of on any given day. The list never goes away, I just cross off completed items, add new things and rewrite, or update the list every few days. I’ve been doing this for over 40 years and it seems to work for me, this is how I get things done. With that said I guess I’d better start a “things we need to do before we leave to head out west to get our new Ranger Tug R-27” list.

With I-75 in the background this photo shows the width of one of the storage buildings. My list starts with all the chores associated with closing up the house. Putting services like cable and garbage pickup on vacation service, finding someone to mow the yard, calling the Doctor’s office to set up an appointment for a physical, having the mail held, arrange for someone to pick up and have our mail forwarded to us, just to name a few. We’ll be having friends use the house on and off while we’re gone, so we’ll also need to make a list with instructions on how to open the place up. My list continues with items to do with our road trip out west, places we want to stop during our trip including hotel reservations at Glacier National Park. We have a separate list, which includes what we want to pack in the truck, mostly boating related. Before we leave home we’ll need to make arrangements for boat insurance and BoatUS Towing service, and I’m just getting started. I wonder what’s on Lisa’s list? The birds have stopped singing, it’s 7:26 a.m. and Lisa’s gone back to sleep, most likely processing her own list as she gets another forty winks.

With I-75 in the background this photo shows the width of one of the storage buildings.

While preparing our to do list I complicated matters by moving our departure date up by three days. So, not only were we tackling our lists, we now had to do it all three days sooner than originally planned. Nothing like a little self imposed pressure to get us motivated to stay on task! To make things a little more manageable I broke our 2.5-month inaugural trailer trawlering exploits down into three parts. First, I had the pre-trip planning list (close up the home front and get out of Dodge), the road trip out west, culminating with the Ranger Tugs purchase list and finally the cruising and towing list.

Our 2.5-month introduction into the world of trailerable cruising starts when we depart our hometown of Traverse City, Michigan for Kent, Washington. Our plan is to head west on route 2, cross the continental divide in Montana, snake our way through Idaho, ending up in Kent where we’ll pick up our new Ranger Tugs R-27, 6 days later. After a couple of days of orientation, from the good folks at Ranger Tugs, we’ll spend a month in the Puget Sound, San Juan Island area before we tow the boat to the Columbia River to visit our son Ross and friends in Portland, Oregon. Next we’ll move on to Lake Tahoe, California (I promised Lisa we’d go back some day), Lake Powell, in Southern Utah, and finally east again, to Alabama. After a 10-day cruise on the Tennessee River, we’ll complete the circle back to Traverse City to enjoy the holidays. That’s a lot to pack into 2.5 months so I guess it’s a good thing we started our planning lists when we did.

Close up of the yard light and camera security devices.

As I peruse my list later that day it suddenly jumped out at me that I had not considered what we would do with Kismet, (same name as our prior three boats) once we’ve finished our cruising time on the Tennessee River. At first blush it might seem logical that we would tow our Ranger Tug the 849 miles back to Traverse City. However, and you may recall, our new boating adventures are meant to be flexible; since we plan on taking her to southern Florida after the first of the new year it made more sense (to us) to leave the boat in Tennessee. So, rather then towing Kismet on a 1,700 mile round trip during the start of the winter season on snow covered roads, as well as being faced with the winterization of all the boat systems, we made the decision to store her until we head back south – hence the search for a boat storage facility began.

A clean ship is a happy ship; I guess that applies to Motor Coaches as well.

I thought to myself that we had several options, including leaving our boat in the water at one of the many marinas along the Tennessee River. The more I thought about this idea the less I liked it. With fresh memories of the 2010 storm season and all the devastation it left in its wake, I couldn’t imagine leaving our Kismet alone to fend for herself for that period of time. We could leave the boat in a storage yard on the trailer but, again, it would still be exposed to the elements of nature. I also lamented about the boats security, especially with us being too far away to watch over her.

As luck would have it I solved our boat storage situation quite by happen chance. While reading the AGLCA forum (Americas Great Loop Cruising Association) I read a posting from a fellow Ranger Tugs owner. He had written about the virtues of an indoor RV and boat storage facility where he was storing his boat, not far from where we plan to be at the end of October. I couldn’t get onto the web site of RV Park Palace fast enough (www.rvparkpalace.com) to learn more for myself.

 This shows the security monitor, with 16 separate feeds from inside and outside of the buildings.

The thought of indoor climate-controlled storage had not even crossed my mind and my initial thought was that it would be pricey. While visiting their web site, I was happy to find that their prices were reasonable, less then I’d pay at a marina, but more importantly, my separation and safety anxieties would be calmed.

After checking out their web site, I had a good understanding of how the mechanics of the place worked but I needed more information. I made a call into RV Park Palace (423-305-7275) and had a very informative conversation with their Office Manager/Marketing Director Tim Aslinger. Tim helped me gain more clarity about their overall operation. Besides having two 80,000 square-foot warehouses conveniently located off of I-75, the property is completely fenced in with an automated gate which opens by a pass code. Tim told me that RV Park Palace takes pride in their superior customer service and the security they provide for stored motor coaches and boats.

Three Ranger Tugs comfortably tucked away until their next cruising adventure.

One of the unique features they offer is the ability to make arrangements for a mobile repair company to call on RV Park Palace to address your service requirements and to perform minor maintenance on your boat or RV. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to haul your boat all over an unfamiliar town and your boat is being worked on in a secure environment. The secure environment consists of 16 surveillance cameras mounted inside and outside of the warehouses that stream their feed onto one large monitor in Tim’s office. Since Tim cannot be onsite 24 hours per day, everything is recorded for an added element of security – no one can access your boat without prior written consent. It appears to me they take this business very seriously. Tim told me that in the three years they’ve been operating they’ve not had one incident.

Another reason RV Park Palace works for me is that we can contract on a month-to-month basis; in our case, we only need 2.5 months. Because of their central location and the transient nature of their cliental a large percentage of the stored units are from outside of Chattanooga and Tennessee. I don’t know about you, but for $199 a month (under 30 feet) I feel this is a great value; we’ll get Kismet inside climate-controlled storage, a secure environment; she’ll be pampered, even serviced if we want and it’s conveniently located just off I-75 for retrieval when head south in January.

Three Ranger Tugs comfortably tucked away until their next cruising adventure.

By the time this article is posted the construction of our Kismet will be about complete so, as my father used to say, “It’s time to get this show on the road.”