WPSU

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Whatever Possessed You?

Who could resist the cuteness?
When we meet people along the way, they generally ask a set of predictable questions.  "How much electricity do those solar panels make?"  "How fast can you go?"  And . . .  "Whatever possessed you to make this trip?"

We're in Upstate New York this week, visiting Cap's folks. Spending time with them is a fun reminder of how this trip started.  Quite innocently.  Here's the story:

Bill (he wasn't the Cap yet) wanted to give his parents a little treat--a fun vacation. Mom and Dad live not too far from the Erie Canal. And they like to bird watch.  So summer before last, Bill said: "What if we rent a houseboat and take Mom and Dad for a cruise on the Erie Canal?  They could go birding without having to walk a lot of trails."

Berge said: "That would be OK.  But I don't want to rent a houseboat. I want to rent a boat that's CUTE!"

Bill turned to his computer and started tapping.  Twenty minutes later, he spun the monitor around. "Is THAT cute enough?"

On screen:  An old-fashioned barge with curvy lines and a scalloped canvas canopy, like a circus wagon, gaily painted in shiny maroon, green, and gold.  Click, click.  Inside, she was fitted out with knotty pine panelling.  A small but complete little kitchen.  Cozy looking bunks. Her name? The Honeyoe ("Honey" for short.)



Yup, that's cute enough!  We signed up for the four-day tour.

And had a fantastic time. (Check out the SLIDE SHOW from that trip. For the compleat experience, click on "captions" before you start.)  And the boat was for sale.  Bill was like a guy who's met the girl of his dreams.  He'd fallen fast, he'd fallen hard.  He HAD to have her.

Ignoring many, many skeptical  remarks from the women of the family, he sealed the deal.  Now we had a boat.  What were we going to do with her?

The original concept was that buying the boat was like buying a little rustic cottage on an Adirondack Lake.  It would be a weekend get-away.  With one difference:  If we got tired of the view, we could change it.

But then, a Penn State colleague said to Bill, "Aren't you overdue for a sabbatical? Why don't you take your sabbatical on your boat?"

Bing Bing Bing!  Flashing lightbulb illuminates. And the rest, as they say, is history.



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