Monday, October 20, 2014

Cruising to the 63 - A Boating History

My recent discussions with Eugene Wheeler regarding the two yachts that I had worked on as first mate in the summers circa 1958 to 1961 prompted me to search the Internet for boats associated with my early boating career.  I had some success and that has prompted this article in which I recount how I got involved in boating and the journey to the 63.

The story starts around 1950 when I was 7 years old.  My uncle, Louis Schlager, owned a 28 foot Chris Craft three cockpit runabout, which I think was build around 1929.  Rumor had it that it had been previously owned by a movie star.  The boat was kept in Hull Massachusetts where I spent my summers from age 5 to age 20.

1929 Chris Craft 28' three cockpit runabout

The boat was named the Murray Wolf after his son
What's not a rumor is how Uncle Louis used to boat.  He was an avid fisherman.  He used this luxury speedboat, which was capable of speeds up to 60 MPH, to get to and from the fishing grounds off Hull Massachusetts. Needless to say he did not properly maintain this magnificent all mahogany masterpiece. Still, I would kill for a ride in that boat and every once in a while my dream would come true.  Imagine at 7 years old skimming across that water at 60 MPH.  It was thrilling.  The boat was sold after about three years.  Note: I recall it was powered by a Packard V12.

Fast forward a few years to the late 50s.  Louis' wife, Frances, was my mother's older sister and my mother and Frances were very close.  As a result, we spent gobs of time with them in Newton and Hull.  I became close to my uncle and began fishing with him along the banks of the Charles River in Millis Mass.  We fished for carp in the spring and fall.  It was great fun and Louis was an interesting man.

Around 1958, when I was 15, Louis bought a brand new 1958 Old Town Lapstrake 20 with a 50 HP Johnson outboard motor.  As I recall, this boat was actually 18 feet long with a very wide 9 foot beam, which pounded on the slightest wave.  Louis wanted to fish the waters off Boston Light and Nantasket Beach with his many fishing buddies.  I went with him to purchase the boat and during that journey Louis made me an offer I could not refuse.  If I would take him fishing on weekends and clean the boat, I could use it during the week and he would pay for the gas. WOW!  The 50 HP was replaced the following year with a 75 Johnson.  Top speed was 23 MPH and she cruised easily at 18. She was named the "Beverly K."

A slightly smaller version of the Lapstrake 20.  I think this is a 16
Louis was a genius.  Since I now had use of the boat during the week I was extremely motivated to keep it clean, which was a humongous task.  Louis with three or four of his friend and myself would catch lots of fish.  Also they liked to clean the fish on the ride back with the result that the boat was a bloody mess be the time we arrived at the dock.  Still it was a wonderful arrangement and unlike the 28' Chris Craft, which got trashed, the Old Town looked forever showroom new.  Note: I spent 3 to 4 hours cleaning it after every outing.

Enter Lester Glawson and the Randy Boatshu.  I met Lester soon after Louis acquired the Old Town. My recollection is that Lester had captained Louis' 28' Chris Craft and that is how they knew each other. Lester, a retired executive from Commonwealth Edison of Massachusetts, was the captain of the 50 foot Randy Boastshu that regularly tied up at the A Street Pier.

50 foot Wheeler Promenade Deck Cockpit Motor Yacht, Circa 1957
Sistership of the Randy Boatshu
A 50 foot luxury motoryacht was a big deal in the late 50s and an even bigger deal at the A Street Pier where even today you rarely see boats of that size.  I became friendly with Lester after I asked him for advice on the performance of the Old Town.  Eventually I starting helping him with maintenance tasks and then later helped out when his boss was entertaining clients.  The boss, Bobby Cohen, was President of the Randolph Manufacturing Company, a shoe manufacturer.  One of the products they made was a boat shoe which they named the Randy Boat Shoe (which was also appropriately the yacht's name).  Two years later the 50 was replaced with a brand new 65 Wheeler Promenade Deck Motoryacht and I wound up working the summer of 1961 as Lester's first mate.

Lester was an old salt who new the local waters (Boston Harbor, Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay).  I learned a great deal about boating from Lester and became good friends with he and his wife Annie.

Fast story.  In September of 1960 I helped Lester ride out Hurricane Donna.  That adventure involved bringing the 50 from Boston Harbor Marina in 6 to 8 foot waves to the pier at Paragon Park on the Weir River.  That pier was a perfect hurricane hole.

I graduated High School in 1961 and at the end of the summer I was offered a permanent berth on the 65 as first mate.  I declined the job and returned to school.  I suspect that I would not be the owner of Guided Discovery if I had gone south with them that winter.  1961 also proved to be the end of my boating for some time to come.

In 1972 I moved to Chicago to join the Pat Ryan & Associates.  Little did I know it at the time but I would go on to have a 38 year career and spend the rest of my working life with that company and its later iterations (Aon and The Warranty Group). I retired in April of 2010.

From 1972 to 1984 my interest (actually avocation) was flying.  That adventure started innocently with a conversation on the elevator with my neighbor as we descended from the 47th floor of McClurg Court Center.  He mentioned that he had been flying that morning and I said that was something I always wanted to try and he said he was a flying instructor.  By the time we reached the ground floor I had committed to an introductory lesson.

I got my private license in 1973 and my instrument ticket a year later.  During my flying career I flew Cessnas (150, 172, 177), a Mooney (m64e), a Beechcraft M35, a 1965 Beechcraft Debonair C33 (owned for 3 years 1977-1980), a Rockwell 112TC, a Piper Cherokee Arrow Piper and finally a 1969 Beechcraft V35A (owned for 2 years 1982-1984).  I ultimately racked up over 1,300 hours including 300 hours of actual instrument time and flew all over the United States. To this day I credit my knowledge of weather and navigation to the years that I flew.

My actual 1965 Beechcraft Debonair N885T (repainted)
225 Continental engine capable of 185 MPH
1969 Beechcraft Bonanza (sistership)
285 HP Continental engine capable of 200 MPH
The 1969 Beechcraft Bonanza (N3463X) which I bought in 1982 was sold in 1984.  My plan was to buy a boat and rent airplanes.  I bought the boat but never flew again.

Lesley's Toy: My first boat was a 1977 38 foot Hatteras Flybridge Double Cabin (FBDC) bought shortly after the airplane was sold.  I owned her from 1984 to 1986 and used her to cruise Lake Michigan including a two week trip to Mackinac Island in 1983.  The boat was berthed in Michigan City.  A divorce ended this short boating segment.

1977 38 Hattera Flybridge Double Cabin
This is almost exactly what I owned.
The Hatteras had the following specifications:
  • Overall length: 38' 4' 
  • Beam: 13' 7
  • Displacement: 33,000 lbs
  • Engines: Twin 300 HP gasoline
  • Fuel capacity: 300 gallons.  
  • Water capacity: 150 gallons
  • Holding Tank: 35 gallons
  • Heads: 1 
  • Cabins: 2 (V-Bert and Aft Master)
  • Sleeps: 6 (using the convertible sofa)
  • Cruise speed 15 MPH
  • Top Speed: 18 MPH 
  • Fuel Consumption at Cruise: 30 GPH 
  • Efficiency at Cruise: .5 GPM
  • Equipment: Dual stations, Radar, VHF, Full flybridge enclosure, 8KW generator
This was a heavy slow boat and it was not stabilized.  That said, I had her out on 10 foot seas in Lake Michigan and she handled it quite well.   We thought it was a bit scary.

Fast story: I took delivery in late June 1984 and soon after departed Chicago on a beautiful day with my wife (Gracie) and daughter (Lesley, age 1) for our in Michigan City's Trail Creek.  About 5 miles out we encountered flies and as we proceeded southeast the flies got worse (as in the whole boat was covered with them).  They were biting and we were forced to abandon the flybridge for the lower station in the salon.  Unfortunately we had left the cabin door open the cabin was full of flies.  We had a difficult 45 mile trip.  About 5 miles from Michigan City the flies mysteriously disappeared. My thought was if this was typical of Lake Michigan then boating was not going to be much fun. Fortunately, it never happened again.

Soon after getting the 38 Hatteras I purchased a 10 ft Zodiac 310 inflatable with a Sears 9.9 HP.  This particular model had wooden floorboards along with an inflatable keel.  When deflated fit in a carrying bag.  This allowed me to store it in the cabin when we were away from the boat.  The 9.9 Sears outboard was also small enough to lift onto the boat.  The Zodiac could be assembled and inflated in about 20 minutes.  Alone, the little boat would cruise at close to 20 MPH.  It was a blast and like all the dingies to follow became my favorite toy.

Not the exact boat but very close.  Mine was orange.
Another fast story.  The Zodiac almost got me killed.  While lifting the 9.9 Sears from the boarding ladder to the aft deck I somehow lost my footing and fell into Trail Creek.  The Sears followed me into the water narrowly missing my head.  Had it hit me I probably would have drowned.  Still more luck. Trail Creek was very polluted and I did take on water.  Again I was lucky and did not get sick.  Still more luck.  After drying out the 9.9 it started up and remained reliable.

Fast forward to 1996.  Diana and I moved into a townhome at 1030 W. Wrightwood.  We were exactly one mile from the lake and Wrightwood Avenue ended at Diversey Harbor.  I decided it would be fun to have a 25 foot runabout at Diversey Harbor and put my name on the waiting list. Three years passed and I did not have a slip.  So I called the Chicago Park District and asked when I might get one.  The lady said "never."  After a little discussion I learned that the only way to get into Diversey Harbor was from the Transfer List, which meant you had to have a slip at another Chicago harbor in order to transfer.  So I agreed to take a slip in either Belmont or Montrose Harbor.  A few months went by and in early May I got a call saying they had a 35 foot slip in Montrose.  They gave me 24 hours to decide.  I called my good friend Jim and asked if he wanted to go partners with me on a boat.  He said yes and asked how big a boat could be put in the slip.  I though this was the equivalent of who is burried in Grant's tomb but called the Park District for the official word.  Thirty seven feet they said.  I quick conversation with Jim and we were ready to go.

We decided to buy a 35 to 37 foot boat, set a budget of $50,000 each and started searching.  We looked at a number of boats including a 1993 Sea Ray 440 Sundancer (for $210,000). Notwithstanding the fact that it would not fit in the slip, Jim went and bought it without consulting with me.  Hello!  We are over budget and over sized.  No problem.  Jim goes to the Park District and just like that we have a 45 foot slip in Diversey Harbor.  We named her "Magic."

Explanatory Note: The Park District waived the 2 foot limit as our slip was on an extra wide fairway that led to the launch ramp.

Our 1993 Sea Ray 440 Sundancer named Magic in Charlevoix, MI
Well a 440 Sundancer is not exactly the runabout that I had imagined.  Here are the specifications:
  • Overall length: 51'
  • Beam: 13' 11'
  • Displacement: 25,000 lbs
  • Engines: Twin Cummins 300 HP diesels
  • Fuel capacity: 400 gallons.  
  • Water capacity: 100 gallons
  • Holding Tank: 20 gallons
  • Heads: 1
  • Cabins: 1 (V-berth)
  • Sleeps: 4
  • Cruise speed 25 MPH
  • Top Speed: 28 MPH 
  • Fuel Consumption at Cruise: 27 GPH 
  • Efficiency at Cruise: .90 GPM
  • Equipment: Radar, 2 GPS and Chartplotter, VHF, Full camper enclosure, 8KW generator
One has to adapt.  So, Diana and I became cruisers and from 1999 to 2006, when we replaced Magic with a new 48 Sundancer, we cruised to almost every port on Lake Michigan.

The 48 Sundancer was my idea.  The boat had been introduced in 2005 and I thought we might pick up a used one.  I called Jim and asked him if he wanted to upgrade.  The answer was "Yes!"

So on a wintery day in February I took Diana to Skipper Buds to look at a new 48 on the showroom floor.  She fell in love with the boat and requested that we buy it ourselves.  Oops.  That's a lot of money.  Jim agreed to end the partnership, sold me his interest in the 440 and we bought the 48. Oops.  The 48 was almost too tall to fit under the bridge at Diversey.  (Note: Diversey is west of Lake Shore Drive and the bridge under the harbor entrance does not open).  No problem.  I made a slip in Belmont Harbor an unwritten condition of the sale and Skipper Buds used their influence to get me into Belmont.  Oops.  the 48 had an overall length of 51' feet.  This proved to be a big problem in two ways even though the Park District had waived the 2 foot limit.  We were next to a very wide sailboat (less than 3 feet of clearance) and the anchor obstructed the dock creating a hazard if you were not paying attention.  The Harbor Manager required that the anchor be lowered to the dock (a pain) and I told Diana that it was not a case of if we would hit the sailboat it was merely how many times.  Well we never hit the sailboat and wound up making many good friends in Belmont.  We loved it there (and it was only 2 miles from the our townhome).

Sea Ray Stock Photo
The 48 docked on H-dock the day after we bought her

2006 48 Sea Ray Sundancer off Streeterville in Chicago
Note the full camper enclosure
Here are the 48's specifications:
  • Overall length: 51'
  • Beam: 14' 8'
  • Displacement: 34,000 lbs empty
  • Engines: Twin Cummins QSC 540 HP diesels
  • Fuel capacity: 400 gallons.  
  • Water capacity: 100 gallons
  • Holding Tank: 60 gallons
  • Heads: 2
  • Cabins: 2 (V-berth master and aft stateroom)
  • Sleeps: 6 (using convertible salon settee)
  • Cruise speed 30 MPH
  • Top Speed: 33 MPH 
  • Fuel Consumption at Cruise: 44 GPH 
  • Efficiency at Cruise: .70 GPM
  • Equipment: Radar, 2 GPS and Chartplotter, AIS, Fishfinder, Sirius Satellite Weather, VHF, Full camper enclosure, Onan 11.5 KW generator, Satellite TV, Hydraulic Swim Platform

We cruised Lake Michigan from 2006 to 2010 when, in October, we departed for our one and a half year 6,150 mile Great Loop adventure.  See blog articles for further details.

Time for another dingy.  In 2007, I purchased a Caribe DL11 RIB (Rigid Inflatable) with a 30 HP Tohatsu engine. We named it Kodi's (which got misspelled by the signmaker as"Kodies."). The decision to purchase this particular rig was based on the 800 pound weight capacity of the hydraulic swim platform.  Boat and motor weighed in at exactly 800 pounds and fit perfectly on the platform.  I knew it would work when I saw it on a 2005 48.  Cost in 2007 was about $13,000.  This boat had a top speed of 30 MPH with myself aboard and would still plane and hold 24 with Diana and Kodi. However, getting the boat on plane required shifting weight around.  Note: She would not get up on plane with 3 or 4 adults on board.

Kodi loved the Caribe and we used it extensively on Lake Michigan   The hydraulic platform made launching and retrieving very easy.  We could be in or out of the water less than 5 minutes..  We used the Caribe extensively on our Great Loop adventure.  It proved our principal mode of transport to restaurants, stores and food markets along the water.

Caribe DL11 on the hydraulic swim platform
Upon returning in September 2012 we sold the 48 and contracted to build the Outer Reef 63.  This blog documents the entire build process building and our travels since taking delivery on February 10, 2014.  Full specifications are found on the Outer Reef 63 tab at the top of this page.

Commentary of the 63's tender (aka the dingy): The AB DLX 13 with a 60 HP Yamaha was one of options available to us when building the 63,  We chose it as it was the biggest one that the boat deck and davit could handle.  It too is named Kodi's but this time spelled correctly.  The AB rig has exceeded my expectations.

Stock photo of AB DLX 13 underway
The AB DLX 13 can carry five passengers
After re-propping with a stainless steel prop she has a top speed of 36 MPH with one person and can cruise at 30 with Diana, Kodi and I.  No problem getting on plane even with four normal size adults.  I recently tested her weight carrying performance when we loaded her with four adults weighing about 840 pounds (25 pound over capacity).  A little tricky getting on plane but once their she literally flew at 25 MPH.

Guided Discovery (photo by Billy Back)
Note the tender on the boat deck

You can also read about her in the October issue of Passagemaker Magazine.

Written by Les.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cruising Plans: South to Sarasota

We will be part of the annual migration of boats that spend summers in the north and then head south in the fall.  For us it will be the mid fall with a planned departure date of November 4.

I will be joined by my friends Dick and Phil for the run to Sarasota while Diana drives with Kodi. Dick and Phil accompanied me on the run from Norfolk to Hingham last May.

My plan is to take advantage of a weather window, if we have one, and run direct to Stuart for a total distance of 1,217 NM.  This can be accomplished in 6 days (five overnights).  My thought is that if you are trying to "make tracks" it makes no sense to waste good weather sitting in port overnight.  You lose the weather and you add unnecessary time and expense to the trip.

To facilitate night running I am in the process of adding night vision equipment.  Night vision in combination with radar and AIS (vessel location, course, speed and collision potential) will give us the ability to operate with a reasonable degree of safety.

Raymarine T353 Thermal Imaging (same as FLIR M625XP)
Thermal Image
Explanatory Note:  Thermal, technically infrared, imaging (night vision) picks up the heat signature of objects on land and in the water and displays them on a screen.  In our case, we will use the Garmin 7215 multifunction screens in the pilothouse to display the data.  We chose the Raymarine T353 unit (which is the same as the FLIR M625XP).  This unit has a single thermal imaging camera that can pivot 360 degrees. It has 640 x 480 field of vision with 2X zoom capability.

HinghamVirginia Beach447447 Long Bay PointCoastal53.953.92.2
Virginia BckBeaufort191638 Beaufort DcksCoastal23.076.91.0
Beaufort, NCCharleston212850 CharlestonCoastal25.5102.41.1
CharlestonStuart3671217 Sunrise BayCoastal44.2146.71.8
Stuart Fort Meyers1171334 TBDICW14.12.0
Fort MeyersSarasota701404 Marina JackICW/Coastal8.41.0
9 days

Once we hit Stuart we head southwest on the Okeechobee Waterway to Fort Meyers.  No overnight runs on that segment.  The good news is the segment is more forgiving with regard to weather.  We could complete the Okeechobee in as little as two days.  Fort Meyers to Sarasota is a short 8 hour trip.  If all goes well we will complete the journey in 9 days.

Assuming good weather I will stop at either in Virginia Beach or Beaufort for fuel.  (FYI: The 63 is capable of running 1,638 NM at 8.3 knots with a 10% reserve)   We would refuel again in Stuart.

Of course all of this is weather dependent.  Weather will dictate whether we run along the coast or seek, as necessary, the protected waters of Long Island Sound, the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay or, once we reach the Virginia Beach / Norfolk area, the ICW.  

The good news is that sudden thunderstorms are less likely at this time of the year and we will be cruising south at the tail end of a hurricane season (that so far has proved to be mild).  By running along the coast we will always be in cell phone range thereby allowing internet connectivity via my Verizon Air Card.  This gives us access to 6 days of NOAA weather information and the ability to make weather decisions while underway.  We also have Sirius Satellite Weather with easy access to radar and wave height information along with forecasts for 48 hours.

For comparison, the run north last spring from Stuart to Hingham took 33 days (4/2 to 5/5). However, we were only on the water for 13 days.  The extra days were the result of bad weather (6 days), waiting for crew in Norfolk (6 days) and casual cruising with Darrel and Sue (Present Moment) from from Stuart to St Simons.  We also added over a 200 NM running the ICW from Stuart to St Simons and from Beaufort NC to Norfolk.

Written by Les.

New England Adventures: Portsmouth and Kittery

On Monday, October 6, we decided to go north to show Kodi the fall colors as part of her Birthday celebration.  Turns out it was still just a bit early as there has not been a fall freeze and we stayed to close to the coast.  Heading northwest up into Vermont might have produced a different result.

In any case, we drove about 90 minutes north to visit Portsmouth New Hampshire.  Had our schedules worked out differently this summer (i.e., not running the Pershing 64 north and not spending weeks in Chicago selling our property) we would have stopped in Portsmouth as part of Maine cruise.  Maybe next year.

Portsmouth in located in the northeast corner of NH at the border with Maine
Portsmouth turned out to be a gem and well worth the effort.  This beautiful harbor town is located in the northeast corner of NH at the border with Maine.  Notice the forts on the map.  Portsmouth harbor played an important role in the creation of the US Navy and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard survives to this day.  The population is 23,000

One of the first sites we visited was Sheafe Warehouse in Prescott Park. It is considered to be one of America's best preserved examples of early eighteenth century waterfront architecture.   The Revolutionary War ship Ranger, built by Colonel James Hackett and commanded by John Paul Jones, is said to have been outfitted at the Sheafe Warehouse.  John Paul Jones is considered to be the founder of the US Navy.  We visited his tomb in Annapolis when we visited the Naval Academy as part of our Great Loop adventure.

A gundalow in the foreground.  Sheafe Warehouse behind.

Tomb of John Paul Jones at the US Naval Academy

Bridge to Badger Island and Kittery Maine

Bridge to Badger Island is a memorial to WWI sailors and soldiers
Restaurant row on Bow Street
All have water views

Restaurant on Bow Street

Our view from the Riverside House where we dined alfresco
Market Street shops

Moffatt-Ladd House.  Home of William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence
New Hampshire representative to the Continental Congress
North Church on Congress Street

Kilwins fudge shop, a clear indicator of a tourist town

Passengers ready to set sail on a gundalow at Sheafe Warehouse
As we walked back to our car we passed Sheafe Wharf and the gundalow Piscataqua now loaded with passenger for a late afternoon sail.  Gundalows represent a new category of boats for me. Wikipedia to the rescue.  A gundalow is a flat bottom cargo vessel that was common in New Hampshire and Maine.  They first appeared in the 1600s and were used into the 20th century.  They range in length up to 70 feet with a 19 foot beam.  The were primarily propelled by tides, which took them up and down rivers augmented by poles or "long sweeps" (oars).  Unique is a lateen sail that acted as auxiliary power.  It lowered to allow the vessel to shoot under bridges.  These vessels, each of which was unique, carried up to 50 tons of cargo.  The Piscataqua is a replica maintained by a not for profit corporation for educational purposes..

Gundalows Piscataqua under sail
Written by Les

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Quincy Adventures: Visiting the Adams National Historical Park

Tuesday was a beautiful day despite some light spotty shower activity in the late morning.  It was the perfect day to sample an area treasure, The Adams National Historical Park in Quincy,

Quincy Massachusetts a town of 93,000, is just ten minutes west of our summer "home" at Hingham Shipyard. It was named after John Adams' grandfather Colonel John Quincy in 1792.  We've been wanting to come here all summer.

The tour starts with a 26 minute movie at the Visitor center after which you board a trolley that takes you to two sites, the birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams (2nd and 6th Presidents of the United States) that sit side by side and then to Peace field, the home he returned to after years abroad representing the colonies during the revolution and then the United States as minister plenipotentiary.

Explanatory Note: The sign below shows "Peace field" as the name of the Adams' home at 135 Adams Street.  Wikipedia shows the name a "Peacefield" while other references show it as Peace Field.  I suspect that the National Park Service carefully researched the name's format before commissionng the sign and printing their literature, all of which shows the name as "Peace field." Note: The home is also known as "old House."

This fascinating wall shows the Adams family history in context with US history 

Diana and the park ranger in front of John Adam's birthplace
The 133 Franklin Street house was build in 1650

Birthplace of John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States
The 141 Franklin Street house was build in 1663 
John and Abigail Adams returned to their new home, Peace field in 1788
This house was built in 1731.  135 Adams Street

Diana in the garden at Peace field


The main house and library

John Adams Library
Park Ranger Bob conducted a fascinating tour of Peace field and the library
Four generations of Adams served the United States over a period of 150 years and all are associated with the Quincy properties:
  • John Adams 1797-1801, 2nd President of the United States
  • John Quincy Adams 1767-1848, 6th President of the United States
  • Charles Francis Adams 1907-1886, US Minister at London
  • Henry Adams 1838-1918, Historian
  • Brooks Adams 1848-1927, Historian
While I am tempted to recount the story, it's so rich that to do it justice would require writing a Wikipedia article.  If you are interested here's the link.

Instead I will only speak to a few key points that stood out for me.

John Adams was an important part of American history.  He was part of the Committee of Five that wrote the Declaration of Independence and is one of its signers.  He served with Thomas Jefferson in France during the revolution and successfully raised large sums of money for the fledgling country. He helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris (1783) with the British that ended the Revolutionary War.  He wrote the Massachusetts Constitution that later served as a model for the US Constitution.  He was the first Vice President of the United Stated and our second President.  He was defeated by Thomas Jefferson in 1801 after one term.

Treaty of Paris 1783 (painting by Benjamin West)
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are seated in the center
Seated are the US envoys John Jay, John Adama, Ben Franklin, Henry Laurens and William Templeton Franklin
The artist left the right side unpainted when the British envoys refused to sit for the painting
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were close friends and served together in France during the Revolutionary War.  They were signers to the Treaty of Paris that ended the war.  They then served together with Adams as President and Jefferson as Vice President during a period of US history when presidents were elected by the Electoral College.  The winner, Adams, became president and the runner up, Jefferson, became Vice President.  During this period their friendship deteriorated which may well have been due to their different political views,  Adams was a Federalist who believed in a strong central government while Jefferson, from Virginia, a slave state, was a Republican who believed strongly in States Rights and wanted a weak central government.  The result was that after serving together they never spoke again.  However, years later, Adams wrote to Jefferson and over a period of 13 years leading to both of their deaths the two corresponded and through that renewed their friendship.  Adams' last words at his death on July 4, 1826 (age 91) was "It's a good day.  It's a great day and "Jefferson survives."  Unbeknown st to him Jefferson had died the same day - exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

John Quincy Adams, his son, accompanied John Adam to France and the Netherlands during the Revolutionary War.  John Quincy's public service is also extraordinary.  He served as Minister to the Court of Saint James, Minister to Russia, Minister to Prussia, Minister to the Netherlands, our 8th Secretary of State, 6th President of the United States (1825-1829), United States Senator (1803-1808) and United States Representative (1831 - 1848).  He holds the distinction of being the only US President to serve in the House of Representatives after serving as President.

The two hours we spent on the tour of the three homes and Presidential Library was like a US history lesson on steroids.  I came away with a greater understanding of our history after seeing it from the perspective of this unique family's accomplishments..

Written by Les.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Celebrating Birthdays: Kodi Turns Seven

Kodi turned seven on Monday, October 6.

Kodi on her 7th birthday (56 pounds)
Her birthday celebration started on October 5 when we were celebrating my sister, Myrna's, birthday (also October 6). After a lovely brunch at Atlantica in Cohasset, the birthday party consisting of Myrna, Peter, Mary, Liza, Lesley, Amelia, Diana and I adjourned to Guided Discovery for more champagne and conversation.

Amelia at Atlantica with "flower" turtle
Amelia loves turtles

Liza and Mary at Atlantica interacting with Amelia
Kodi's official celebration started by having her sing her song.  We sing "If you're happy and you know it" and substitute the word "speak" for the phrase "clap your hands."  Kodi performed flawlessly despite not performing this particular behavior for many months.

Kodi joined Peter, Mary, Liza and Diana on the settee
Lesley opening a present for Amelia (a Marimeko jacket)
We then sang happy birthday to Kodi (and, of course, acknowledged Myrna's).  Following this, I used the occasion to convert Kodi from counting to six when asked her age to counting to seven.  It took two repetitions.  She now reliably counts to seven when you ask "how old are you?

She then performed for the group with the following behaviors (all flawlessly):
  • Sit
  • High five
  • Left paw
  • Right paw
  • Down
  • Settle
  • Count to 1
  • Count to 3
  • Count to 7
  • Stand
  • Back-up
  • Turn around
  • Down
  • Crawl
  • Sit
  • Get your hedgehog
  • Get your squirrel
Kodi got extra cheese and seemed very content with herself.  She then resumed her position of the settee.

She continues to be an absolute joy.

Written by Les