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


By Kismet, Sunday, July 1, 2012

By Jim Favors

By the time we arrived in Marathon, Florida this past winter, we had owned our Ranger Tug for seven months. We've had fun cruising, trailering, and exploring on the new Kismet; we were rather astounded, though, when we looked back and began to calculate our travels. During this period of time we'd boated in seven states: Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, Alabama and now Florida. We had towed our boat from the Northwest corner of the United States east to the Great Lakes and then all the way Southeast, to the Florida Keys. Our cruising had been in both fresh and salt water in many rivers, lakes, bays, and sounds. We are beginning to feel fairly comfortable with how the boat handles, how it performs on the water, trailering and towing. We hadn’t forgotten to install the drain plug before launching; we hadn’t left the boat windows open while trailering and we’d always remembered to lower the mast and antenna when we trailered the boat down the road. Heck, it was all beginning to seem second nature to us, that is… all except for having enough propane.

The propane locker (above left) securely and safely houses our propane tank (above – right).

Kismet is equipped with a propane powered stovetop and oven. We'd always had an electric combo unit in the past so having this propane setup on a boat was new for us. I know what you may be thinking, and I thought the same thing – propane and boats don't go together, but I soon learned that with the properly installed safety features available with propane-powered equipment today, propane is a very safe option on a boat. In reviewing the safety measures, I learned that the propane tank needs to be mounted outside of the cabin, inside of an enclosed locker. In addition there should be an electric panel on/off switch that controls power to the igniter. One of the most important safety measures is to have a gas sniffer in the interior of the boat cabin close to the oven, in order to detect and warn of any gas leaks. In addition to all this, it takes two hands to ignite the gas on our stove. The benefit of this is someone cannot accidentally turn the gas on by leaning or falling onto one of the stove’s knobs; we have to push and hold in one knob to activate the igniter and simultaneously push and hold a burner knob in order to activate the gas and produce a flame. This is better than childproof, it took me three weeks to master. It took a lot longer, though, to calculate how much gas we were using, where and how to recharge the gas canister and that it makes perfect sense to have a spare tank available.

The activation knob (above – left) on the left hand side of the stove needs to be held in, along with the burner or oven knob, before anything will ignite. The sniffer (above – right) would warn us of any gas leak.

It was on our second day in Marathon that Lisa asked if we had enough propane to prepare a dinner we were having for quests that evening. She asked me because the tank sits on the outside of the cabin and therefore it’s considered an outside job and falls under my jurisdiction. (As a general rule, Lisa takes care of everything on the inside of the boat; I take care of everything outside.) As I mentioned earlier, by this time we had owned our boat for seven months, over that period of time I had deduced that a gallon tank of propane (5 lbs.) would last approximately four weeks. So, when she asked, I was very confident when I told her, "Don't worry, there's plenty of gas," and as it turned out there was – that time. Somehow, by the look in her face, I could tell she didn't completely trust my guesswork. But this whole guessing game of, "Do we have enough propane on hand to make, and complete, dinner" got me thinking about the learning curve I had to go through to get to the point where I knew, with certainty, that we'd be able to eat dinner that night when our guests arrived.

An old boating friend of ours used to say, when he got into trouble for something with his wife, that he "received a hot tongue and a cold shoulder." This sentiment, although not 100% accurate in my case, is close to the reaction I received from Lisa when we ran out of propane. Let me be clear though, it was not Lisa’s reaction the first time it happened (remember, this was a mutual learning experience), or not even the second time (mistakes can happen) but by the time we ran out a third time I was in big doo-doo, at least for a short period of time. The reason is that Lisa takes a great deal of pride in the meals she prepares and having to deal with my propane mismanagement in the middle of a full blown gourmet meal was wearing thin by the third go around. In fact I was beginning to see that my future meals might soon be reduced to anchor food (easy to fix food while anchored out and Lisa doesn’t want to cook) on a regular basis if I didn’t get this propane thing under control.

Locating a place to refill our propane tanks is typically not a problem; it's the times when you need to have one filled that it can become problematic. I've learned to be alert and take notice of places that provide propane when at dock or while trailering, but if you run out after hours (usually this mean dinnertime), while at anchor or if you leave the spare tank in the truck, because space is limited on a trailerable boat, 100 miles away from you, you're simply out of luck… just as we were on three different occasions.

On the left you see one light lit, this indicates power is available for the stove, however the stove will not start unless you push a button and two lights are lit (above – right). The second light indicates power is being delivered to the igniter.

Our first propane episode occurred at a remote anchorage on Lake Tahoe in Emerald Bay on the California side of the lake. Before we launched the boat for a three-day trip, Lisa asked if we had enough propane. I had recently inspected the tank and when I lifted it up to gauge its weight I thought to myself, "We can make it." Remember now, we had only had our boat about five weeks at this point and that first batch was sure to run out soon. Obviously, we were both a little optimistic concerning the propane. Shortly after we had our hook set and were getting ready to sit back to take in the Alpine wonders of Lake Tahoe, Lisa began to prepare dinner. "Something’s wrong with the stove," I heard filtering out from the cabin to the cockpit where I was relaxing with a cold beer. It couldn't be, I was so confident, but sure enough – it was empty. This was lesson number one and what I learned was that we should have a backup propane tank. We survived our first propane shortage with a lot of humor and by finishing dinner in the Crockpot that night, later we used that unit and the microwave for the remainder of the trip. Our boat was so new to us we had not even equipped it with a cockpit grill yet for barbecuing or in this case to use as a backup cooking device. Within a few weeks, we had purchased both a spare tank and a rail-mounted grill.

Propane episode number two happened while docked in Fort Myers Beach. We had just spent three wonderful weeks cruising from Tarpon Springs down Florida's west coast, our truck and trailer were stowed over a hundred miles north, back in Tarpon Springs. Our spare and fully loaded propane tank was securely stored in the bed of the truck. My calculations of one propane tank lasting four weeks were completely shattered when again I hear surprise in Lisa’s voice as it wafted from the cabin, "The stove stopped working." When I checked the tank it was frosted up like a Fudgesicle, indicating that it was bone dry. No problem, I thought as we now have a deck mounted grill with its own small canister of propane. Lisa was not amused and was almost as frosty as the propane canister. She thawed out some by the time I had completed cooking our meal on the grill, it was spaghetti – please don’t ask how I managed this as it wasn’t easy. Lesson two, for me, is to bring our spare propane tank on long trips to make sure we have hot meals and avoid frostiness on all units.

With our spare propane tank full and nicely stored over 100 miles away I ventured out the next day to have the empty tank refilled. I had found an RV park a few miles away, right off of the bus route. Fairly convenient I thought, until I got on the bus where the surly driver stated, "Where do you think you're going with that?" Catching on real quick, I stated that the tank was empty and I was going to get it refilled. He said that was good because propane is forbidden on the bus. Happy to get to the RV Park and have the tank refilled I figured I'd better camouflaged and stow the recharged propane tank in a black garbage bag for the return trip. Much to my surprise, and really… what are the chances – the same driver stopped to pick me up and immediately recognized me. He noticed the garbage bag right away and just shook his head in disbelief and looked the other way. I’m also just figuring out, this whole propane learning curve could get me into trouble in more ways than one.

The deck mounted grill was meant for cookouts but has helped bail me out of a couple of tough situations.

Lisa had everything prepared for the arrival of our friends to our boat in Marathon that night, but I still have to tell you about our third, and hopefully last, propane episode. With the lessons learned so far we now have a spare tank and will either keep it on our boat when we are on long cruises or in the truck, if the truck is with us at a marina. Sounds simple enough but wait there's another potential problem and of course it happened to me. Lisa ran out of propane the third time, but I calmly stated we had the spare tank in the bed of the truck and I'd quickly go retrieve it. Back at the boat I installed the spare tank and there was no pressure showing on the gauge. I guess at some point I had completely forgotten to have the empty tank filled. Lisa was a little more than perturbed with me this time, talk about getting "hot tongue and a cold shoulder." I was back at my grill duties, so I could finish up cooking the very nice gourmet dinner Lisa had already spent considerable time procuring and preparing. It was a little quiet around the boat that night. Lesson three for me is to always get an empty tank filled as soon as possible after it has run empty, so we can have a hot meal and I can stay out of the dog house. One would think I was trying to get into trouble on purpose, but the good news is I learned from my propane mishaps and I hope you can benefit from me sharing my mistakes.

Shortly after our dinner guests arrived and in the course of dinner conversation, Mike asked if we knew of a place in Marathon where he could get his propane tank refilled. Lisa and I just looked at each other smiling. I was a little leery to ask if he'd run out, like we had on three separate occasions, so I simply stated I knew of a place close by.