Monday, March 20, 2017

Texas Summary

We're back from Texas. This year was quite different from the previous two years. The temperature seemed to be almost the same the entire 2 months, with some days in the 70s in January, and days in the low 60s in March. Most of the rain came towards the end of the trip; in previous years, we saw more rain earlier on.

This year was windy! We sailed 29 days, just about every other day. That includes only one day of light wind sailing, and we love light wind freestyle. There were a few more sailable days that we did not go for various reasons - including that we were tired from sailing 3 or 4 days in a row before, with better wind. We'll go back next year, but probably without the light wind boards.

Driving back was easy this time, once the van was packed. That, however, was not so easy, since we bought a new board, two new sails, and a new mast in Corpus. All the new gear and great wind made it easy to set new personal bests in 4 of the 6 GPS Team Challenge disciplines. Corpus Christi is great for speedsurfing!

Back home, it became apparent that our house had missed us badly. Major pout attack: electricity was out in about half of the house, and neither heat nor hot water worked. But a friendly electrician stopped by within 15 minutes and got most of the electricity back up (with a second outside repair scheduled for tomorrow), and we had backup heat from a gas stove, a wood burning stove, and several electric heaters. So we waited until today to get the heat fixed; all that was needed was a new "thermal fuse" for $25. It did cost us $120 to learn that, but the repair guy was very friendly and professional, and showed up within a couple of hours after we called. He did not have the part that was needed in the van, and would have had to come back a day later to put it in; but instead, he asked me if I was "somewhat handy", and then explained where I could get the part, and how to put it in (which was trivial). 40 minutes later, we had heat and hot water again. These little outages sure make you appreciate things you usually take for granted!

We knew about the heat and electric problems before we even started to drive back, thanks to wifi thermostats and switches. The thermostat alerted us that the heat was not working when it showed that the heater was running all the time, but the temperature never reached 50 degrees. Not a problem, since we had backup electric heaters hooked up to wifi switches ... until two of the switches went offline a couple of days later. At that point, we got a bit nervous. In previous years, our neighbor would have checked on the house, but he just moved to Arizona. Fortunately, Bruce and Gerda live less than a mile away, and were kind enough to check for us. Since the electricity was out, they could not get in through the garage as planned, but they were able to peek into the basement windows and assure us that we'd not be faced with the worst-case scenario: broken pipes and a flooded basement. Big thanks to Gerda and Bruce! Also many thanks to Jerry for recommending Alex, who went above and beyond to help us get the electricity back up.

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