Home » 2016 Bringing the Boat West

Flying back to our roots, NJ

Monday, September 12, 2016 - 6:00pm by Lolo
178 miles and 3 hours from our last stop - 6 night stay


Sunset over Sandy Hook BaySunset over Sandy Hook BayBeing back in New Jersey felt so normal – I guess it should, as it was our home for 60 years. The flight went smoothly, and we were at my brother’s house in Monmouth Beach in time for dinner that night.

I couldn’t help comparing the ease of our arrival on the East Coast with the arduous journey we had ahead of us driving back to the West Coast in a 21-year-old, rusty Suburban, towing a 20-foot Grady White. For now, I would try not to think about it and just enjoy visiting old friends and places – and Herb could enjoy getting reacquainted with the underside of the Suburban.

The first two days were spent pretty much as planned, working on the vehicles to ensure they would safely get across the country. Lots of work for Herb, and his very helpful brother, but at least there were no major surprises.

Final cruise in the AtlanticFinal cruise in the AtlanticOn the third day, Herb felt confident enough in his progress to take the day off so that we could head up to our hometown in north New Jersey to visit with friends. We even made time to climb at Gravity Vault, our old climbing gym before going out to dinner at the Saddle River Inn.

On day 4, we decided the boat needed to say goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean, so we launched it in Keyport and took it for a 25-mile cruise over to Sandy Hook and back. Afterwards we went out to dinner with Herb’s brother and his wife at a typical Jersey Shore establishment called On the Deck - and that is exactly where we sat – “on the deck” overlooking the Bay.

Being able to sit outside comfortably is probably the thing we miss most (besides our friends) about the East Coast. The weather is absolutely beautiful in Sonoma County, but the swings in temperature during the day are huge. It can be 80+ degrees during the day, but come nightfall, it quickly drops into the 50s.

There's nothing like old friendsThere's nothing like old friendsWe pretty much were ready to hit the road on Saturday, but we added one more day in New Jersey, so that we could meet two very dear friends at the beach on Sandy Hook, which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. On the way to meet them at the beach, we stopped at a McDonalds for coffee. When we got back to the Suburban, we smelt gasoline. Herb bent down to look under the truck, and sure enough, there was gas leaking from our fuel line.

The leak was pretty slow and our friends were already on their way to the beach, so we decided to just go ahead with our plans for the day, and worry about the leak tomorrow. We put a pan under the leak while we were at the beach.

I’d have to say that I was very proud of Herb. I know how frustrated and concerned he must have been about the leak, but he did manage to put it out of his mind for the day, and we had a really terrific time – perhaps the beers helped.

While at the beach, I remembered that there is a second thing that I miss most about the East Coast – sandy beaches where the water is actually warm enough to flop around in the waves. Northern California beaches are drop-dead gorgeous, but nobody (except wet-suit clad surfers) actually goes in the water.

Rusty SuburbanRusty SuburbanBefore leaving New Jersey on Sunday, we (and by we, I mean Herb) had the not so tiny issue of the leaky fuel line to deal with first. Thank God for Herb’s brother’s knowledge.

What Herb had to do was cut out the rusty section of the fuel line, which was leaking, and quickly replace the missing section with rubber hosing. Right before he began the surgery, his brother wrapped rags around Herb’s upper arms. When Herb looked at him a bit quizzically, Ron responded, “When the gas starts pouring out, it can really burn your armpits.” Oh boy. This was not going to be fun.

However, Herb, my hero, worked so quickly that his armpits were saved and the patched together fuel line was no longer leaking.

It was time to hit the road.

We hitched the boat trailer to the Suburban, said our goodbyes, and with much anxiety and trepidation, started the long drive west. Why did the Donner Party keep coming to mind?


I think "New Jersey" speaks for itself.

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