Welcome to The Voyage of Windbird . . . and Beyond.  My name is Judy Handley and I live on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  For six years of my life, my husband Mark and I sailed around the world.  I documented that story, one day at a time, in this blog that was then just called The Voyage of Windbird.  Those daily logs from 2005 to 2011 tell the story of our circumnavigation.  While sailing, my daily logs were sent via Ham radio to the internet to appear on this blog spot each morning.  My son Justin made that happen, and to this day, I don’t understand the process.  But it was like magic.  I would sit in the cockpit each afternoon around 4 pm and summarize the day’s activities.  During the evening when the conditions were just right for sending radio emails, my husband would send the log.  The next morning my son, my daughter, other members of my family and good friends would read the news and know exactly where in the world we were and what fun we were having.  

After almost 6 years of traveling, we sailed into Woods Hole on Cape Cod.  We continued living aboard for the next five years and I wrote about that, adding ‘and Beyond’ to the title of the blog.  Then shortly before Mark’s death in 2016, we sold our beloved Windbird and my travel logs became land logs.  At this point, I had written a daily account for each and every day for 11 years.  I fully intended to end the blog at that point, but when I wrote that news in a log, I got many responses saying that I really needed to keep posting.  At the same time, I realized that I couldn’t stop writing.  Summarizing each day had become a permanent part of my life and I will probably continue writing until I can no longer.  These postings reflect the ordinary, and sometimes the extraordinary, days in my life and I would like to invite you to join me on my journey.

NOTE: Due to Google upgrading Picasa to Google Photos, many of our old photos are now broken.  We are actively working on fixing this – thanks for your patience!

2022 Life Logs, Day 164: Slow Re-entry

2022 Life Logs, Day 164: Slow Re-entry
Date: Monday, June 13, 2022
Weather: Thunderstorms Early, Mostly Sunny Day; High 76, Low 59 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Slowly, every so slowly, I am getting back into my normal day to day life after my wonderful week in Virginia. Today I finished cleaning the refrigerator, took Shadow to the vet for a shot, watched some of the congressional hearing, planned a Newcomers field trip, went to Sullivan Tire to get help taking my old, rusty bike rack off the back of my car, went to the library to get a new book to read, and took Jonah and Sam to music lessons. I didn’t get any gardening done. Maybe that will happen tomorrow after my book club meeting.

2022 Life Logs, Day 163: Lost Day

2022 Life Logs, Day 163: Lost Day
Date: Sunday, June 12, 2022
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Some Rain; High 72, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

After returning from my week in Virginia, I was full of energy yesterday. But today I crashed. I felt exhausted and had absolutely no desire to do anything. I pushed myself to do some yard work and plant a few things in the garden, but that was it outside. Inside, I cleaned the bottom half of my refrigerator and hope to complete the job tomorrow. The refrigerator is almost empty, so before filling it up again I decided to start the cleaning process. I also had to deal with a hacked Facebook page. That seems to happen every time I travel. Sure hope I wake up a little more energetic tomorrow!

2022 Life Logs, Day 162: Reunion with My Shadow

2022 Life Logs, Day 162: Reunion with My Shadow
Date: Saturday, June 11, 2022
Weather: Sunny; High 76, Low 60 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Shadow might possibly be ill-behaved, but I sure was so happy to be reunited with him today. I really missed him, and I think he missed me. As soon as I arrived to pick him up, after jumping all over me, he got in the back seat of the car and somehow managed to shut the door behind him. It was obvious he was ready to head home.

I picked up Jonah on the way home so he could cut Shirley’s grass, and while he was doing that, I gathered sailing charts for the northeast. Next weekend Heather and Jed go to Maine for the the survey and sea trials for the sailboat they hope to own soon. If all goes well, the following weekend they will return for the closing and begin sail home. That will happen in stages over a couple of weekends. But sometime in July, there should be a new ‘Goldstone’ sailboat on a mooring in Marion.

2022 Life Logs, Day 161: Roberts Mountain to Richmond to Boston

2022 Life Logs, Day 161: Roberts Mountain to Richmond to Boston
Date: Friday, June 10, 2022
Weather: Another Sunny, Beautiful Day, Cooler; High 74, Low 55 degrees F
Location: Back Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

This morning I drove Jo, Ziggy, and Coco to the airport in Richmond where they got on their Spirit flight to Fort Lauderdale and then on the San Juan. My flight to Boston was supposed to be at 2:30 pm, but there was yet another issue and I ended up on a 7:30 pm flight back to Boston. I dropped Jo, Z, and C off at the airport and drove back to downtown Richmond to check out the city. I drove by the capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson, then down to the James River to see a section of the canal system that George Washington had hoped would become a continuous transportation system from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. That never materialized as rail transportation took the lead. I walked along the river and came to the Tredegar Iron Works, the biggest ironworks in the Confederacy during the Civil War and one of the main reasons Richmond became the capitol city. It is now the Civil War Museum. Then I headed back to the airport to take an afternoon nap in the rental van before returning it and heading home. I knew I would be driving home from Boston late at night and thought a nap was the best way to spend my afternoon.

The flight home was without drama with a fiery red sky as we landed in Boston at 9 pm. Nighttime road construction caused the drive to the Cape to take longer than usual, so I didn’t get home until midnight. But I was bright eyed and busy tailed after that two-hour afternoon nap. After a wonderful week in Virginia, it felt good to be home . . . but lonely. I look forward to picking up my Shadow tomorrow morning.

2022 Life Logs, Day 160: Monticello, UVA, Evening at Roberts Mountain Retreat

2022 Life Logs, Day 160: Monticello, UVA, Evening at Roberts Mountain Retreat
Date: Thursday, June 9, 2022
Weather: Sunny, Beautiful Day; High 83, Low 55 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Gate House at the Monroe Institute, Faber, VA

Ziggy, Coco, and I spent our morning and early afternoon at Monticello in Charlottesville. We started with a Highlights Tour of the house and gardens, and we all found things we loved. Coco loved the flowers in the garden, Ziggy was amazed by the number of tadpoles in a small pool in the gardens, and I loved it all. The house tour was short enough for the kids to enjoy it and be awed by many of Jefferson’s inventions. We entered through the East Portico into a room filled with artifacts. The only remaining artifacts from Lewis and Clark’s expedition are in that room. From there we entered the library. At one point Jefferson had 6,000 books, the largest personal collection in the United States at that time. But during the War of 1812, many of those books were donated to the Library of Congress. Later Jefferson started adding books again. He always said, “I can’t live without books.” The next room was his most private room, his bedroom. His wife died before the main house as we know it today was completed, so she never shared that bedroom with him. He liked alcove beds, but Monticello didn’t have a wall suitable for that. Instead, he converted a doorway into what I would call a “cubby hole: bed. The head of the bed is against one side of the doorway and the foot against the other. These are the types of beds at the Roberts Mountain Retreat which was a point of interest for Ziggy and Coco. From the bedroom, you enter the parlor or living room and the dining room. The dining room was painted a bright yellow, the most expensive paint at the time, to give a bright feeling to the room no matter the weather. There are too many details and inventions of Jefferson’s to mention, but they were impressive. The flower gardens on the expansive front lawn were beautiful and Coco took close up photos of most so she can draw them later. Along the outside ground floor on the south side of the house is where the impressive kitchen, the most modern in its time, is located, along with the dairy, the smokehouse, and the rooms where some of the enslaved house servants lived in very cramped quarters. We wondered Mulberry Lane to where the slave quarters were located, the stables where the carriage horses were kept, and the beautiful vegetable gardens. Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man, a man of many talents and achievements, but hanging over this is the dark side of Jefferson. He wrote the famous words “all Men are created equal” and in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, in soaring, damning, fiery prose, Jefferson denounced the slave trade as an “execrable commerce…this assemblage of horrors,” a “cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberties.” But he inherited land and slaves from the generations before him and kept slaves throughout his life. And as the Virginia abolitionist Moncure Conway scornfully remarked, despite Jefferson’s enduring reputation as a would-be emancipator, “Never did a man achieve more fame for what he did not do.” At the end of our visit, we had a twenty-five minute question and answer time with an acting Thomas Jefferson. He was in period dress and was so convincing that I felt like I was listening to the real Thomas Jefferson. He answered questions addressing his anti-slavery rhetoric and his lack of action. Listening to his point of view was informative.

We drove from Monticello to the University of Virginia to have our picnic lunch under a huge, old ginkgo tree, my very favorite tree, right next to the Rotunda designed by Jefferson. And then we headed back to Roberts Mountain to spend some afternoon free time with Justin and Jo. Then Ziggy, Coco, and I headed back down the mountain to the Gate House to pack and do a little clean up before going back to the Retreat Center for dinner and a final gathering around a fire where the Retreat participants shared their music.
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Tomorrow morning Jo, Ziggy, Coco, and I head to Richmond for our flights home. We will leave Justin behind as he has two more weeks of work here. It has been a wonderful seven days here for me—quality time with Ziggy and Coco that I have never had before. We have all found Roberts Mountain to be a very special place in this world. Hopefully we will get to return for a repeat performance.

2022 Life Logs, Day 159: Enjoying Roberts Mountain

2022 Life Logs, Day 159: Enjoying Roberts Mountain
Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Weather: Mostly Sunny with Periods of Rain; High 85, Low 66 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Gate House at the Monroe Institute, Faber, VA

Today was our day to enjoy our home base here on Roberts Mountain. Ziggy, Coco, and I started our day with a nature walk. On our first day here, Justin discovered a patch of black raspberries growing across the road from the Gate House property, but the berries were not quite ripe. When we walked by them today, Coco immediately saw that many had ripened, so we picked what we could without climbing through the poison ivy surrounding the bushes. Each kid got only a handful and I only a taste. Oh, so good! We also looked carefully at the leaves from some of the trees. There are about four trees that all have similar leaves, leaves arranged in rows on either side of the central stem.

They could be black walnut, hickory, ash, butternut, or ???. The kids weren’t really interested in deciding which, but they did start seeing the details and noticing that they have trees in Puerto Rico with the same growing pattern.

In the afternoon, we met Justin, Jo, and Caz, a young woman attending the conference from England, at the lake. We all jumped in, and all but Coco and I swam most of the way across the lake.

It had rained earlier but was sunny when we got into the water. But before the crew swam back to the dock, Coco and I started hearing thunder. Just as they got out of the water, the sky opened and it poured. By the time we walked back out to the van, the rain had slowed considerably. We decided we could dry ourselves off enough to put dry clothes over our wet bathing suits and go to the main campus to the bookstore. We did that and then we walked to the top of the observation tower attached to one of the buildings and walked down to the once again hug the huge crystal sitting in the expansive lawn behind the main campus buildings. Then we hurried back to the Retreat Center so Justin, Jo, and Caz could attend the 4 pm session. Ziggy, Coco, and I went home, took nice hot showers, and wrote in our travel journals before heading back to the Retreat Center for dinner and more time with mommy and daddy. Justin will not be leaving on Friday with the rest of us. He is here for two more weeks and the kids, particularly Ziggy, wants to spend as much time with him as possible.

While at the Retreat Center tonight, I took advantage of having cell service to make some phone calls. My niece, Jennifer, in North Carolina, had emergency brain surgery yesterday morning and I needed to talk to my sister. Jennifer came through the surgery just fine and seems to be doing well. I was supposed to go visit my sister on Friday, but due to my flight screw up on the way here, I have to fly home on Friday. I will wait to see how Jennifer is doing before planning my next trip down to see my sister. My thoughts are with her and with Jennifer.

2022 Life Logs, Day 158: Caverns and Mountains

2022 Life Logs, Day 158: Caverns and Mountains
Date: Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Weather: Overcast, Afternoon Rain; High 75, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Gate House at the Monroe Institute, Faber, VA

The weather forecast for today was right on . . . cloudy all day with afternoon rain. I drove to the Retreat Center at the top of the mountain first thing this morning to pick up Ziggy and Coco after their overnight with mommy and daddy. They were having breakfast on the patio when I arrived, and we discussed plans for the day. We would be able to come visit with Justin and Jo in the afternoon, but for the morning we decided to take advantage of the cloudy weather to go underground. We went to the Grand Caverns, discovered in 1802 and opened for tours in 1804. Their claim to fame is that they have been open for tours for longer than any other caves in the US, and maybe in the world. We walked a mile and half in 70 minutes and saw a massive array of fantastic formations. We then drove home via the Blue Ridge Parkway that we visited yesterday. But today the wind was whipping the trees limbs and we were driving through the clouds. It was truly dramatic. As was the shortcut Google Maps suggested. It was 9 minutes shorter, so I took it. It was Turnpike 610—a one-way gravel road straight up a mountain. It was quite an adventure, but it did come right into the Parkway. We got back to the Retreat Center to visit with Justin and Jo for a couple of hours and then came home to make a taco dinner. Later in the evening we drove up and brought Justin and Jo down to spend time with Z and C. Justin and I started talking about the Monroe Institute and about the conference he and Jo are attending. I felt guilty keeping him away from the kids, but really enjoyed learning about his work with the Institute and the interesting people I have met attending the conference. Ziggy, Coco, and I have set tomorrow as our day dedicated to exploring Roberts Mountain afoot, so Justin and Jo drove the van back up the mountain tonight. We will walk to meet them at the lake in the afternoon.

2022 Life Logs, Day 157: Country Roads

2022 Life Logs, Day 157: Country Roads
Date: Monday, June 6, 2022
Weather: Bright and Sunny; High 80, Low 54 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Gate House at the Monroe Institute, Faber, VA

Today was all about driving country roads. We drove only 14 miles of the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but in those 14 miles we had wonderful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. Just as we entered the Parkway, a black bear crossed the road in front of us. But something was wrong. This bear was having a very bad hair day which made Coco think he looked like Dracula. He looked nothing like the plump, furry black bears in photos that make you want to hug them. Later in the day, we discovered the problem.

After seeing the bear, we stopped at the Dripping Rock parking area and got out for a short hike on the Appalachian Trail. The name literally comes from a dripping spring emerging from a rock right off the parking area. Signs warn to boil the water, but we watched a number of Appalachian Trail hikers wearing sturdy hiking boots, carrying big backpacks, and using high tech walking sticks. Ziggy looked at me and said, “Don’t you think that is a bit of overkill for a 1.7 mile hike?” I smiled and explained that these hikers were going much further, maybe all the way to the state of Maine. He simply could not understand why people would do such a thing. We did half the loop trail and Z and C thought that was long enough! I always find myself in awe in the beauty of the delicate blossom and Coco shared my awe.

On we drove to a visitor center where we had a picnic lunch and then on to the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rockfish Gap where we switched to the Skyline Drive. The Skyline Drive is in the Shenandoah National Park, so we had to stop and show my National Park Card to continue on. I started talking to the ranger and asked him what our chances were of seeing black bear in the next few miles ahead. His reply was surprising. He said that black bear in the area all seem to have mange, some with no hair at all, and are very sickly. They are basically in hiding, so I guess we were lucky to see one mangy black bear. I didn’t ask what is being done to help the bears, but I do hope something is being done. We drove a few miles to the first Shenandoah Valley overlook and then headed back to the Blue Ridge Parkway to hike part of the Humpback Rock trail, a 2-mile loop trail that leads to a rocky summit via a very steep trail. There is a 4-mile trail to the summit that is much gentler, so we did a bit of that, took a side trip on the Appalachian Trail, and back to the van.

It was then time to head home to visit with Justin and Jo who are not in sessions from 1 pm to 4 pm. We didn’t get back until almost 3:30, but the 4 pm session didn’t start on time so the kids got a bit of extra visiting time. We then went home to have some relax time, write in our journals, and have dinner before I drove Ziggy and Coco back up to the Retreat Center for an overnight with Justin and Jo. I am here in the Gate House by myself tonight, but will pick Z and C up in the morning when our Virginia adventure will continue.

I talked to Heather tonight. They had a good time with Shadow this weekend and he is now with Sheri and Meghan. Jonah’s band concert was tonight. She said Jonah looked the role of a bass guitarist and the band and jazz band sounded fantastic. She reported that Ollie had a great weekend camping with Jed, Sam’s soccer team won their game on Sunday and won their division, Jonah made the ACI soccer team for next year, and Heather really enjoyed hosting the team she works with who all live in different locations around the country. It was the first time she had met the team that works for her in person. The only downside of the weekend was that Heather and Shadow came home from a walk, both covered in ticks. Yuck. But other than that, it sounds like all is well at home.

2022 Life Logs, Day 156: Laid-Back Sunday with Z & C

2022 Life Logs, Day 156: Laid-Back Sunday with Z & C
Date: Sunday, June 5, 2022
Weather: Bright and Sunny; High 79, Low 54 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Gate House at the Monroe Institute, Faber, VA

It was a laid-back Sunday . . . slept in until 9 am as we didn’t get to bed until after midnight. Ziggy fixed pancakes for breakfast and then we drove up to the Retreat Center to go swimming in the pool and walking in the woods. When the morning session for Justin and Jo ended, we had lunch with them and spent time around the pool before Justin drove Ziggy, Coco, and I back down to the Gate House. He and Jo had a 4 pm session and thought they would drive down to read bedtime stories to the kids later tonight. But the plan changed, and Justin came to get us to come up to the Center for a nighttime fire and music. It is almost 11 pm and we are still at the Center but will be driving down the mountain soon. It was a clear night out with a crescent moon and so many stars. There was a very powerful telescope set up and Coco and I took turns trying to get a photo of the crescent moon through the lens of the scope. The best part of the night for me, however, was getting to watch Justin and Jo make their electronic music together. It was a special evening.

2022 Life Logs, Day 155: Wonderful First Day with Ziggy and Coco

2022 Life Logs, Day 155: Wonderful First Day with Ziggy and Coco
Date: Saturday, June 4, 2022
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 81, Low 57 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Gate House at the Monroe Institute, Faber, VA

An early morning walk with Justin and Jo down through the field to explore an old log barn . . . a walk up the mountain with JJZ&C to a beautiful little lake . . . jumping off the dock into the water (even Oma) . . . canoeing in the lake (even Oma) . . . having lunch at the Roberts Mountain Retreat . . . seeing the largest single quartz crystal in the world in the side yard of the retreat center . . . having Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in Charlottesville followed by a shopping spree at a thrift store for Coco, Target for Legos for Ziggy, Whole Foods for sustenance, and to Love Sushi King to pick up dinner . . . seeing lots of deer on our way home . . . seeing a deer looking in the bedroom window of the Gate House as we drove into the driveway . . . making our first entries in our nature logs . . . having sushi dinner back in the Gate House . . . later driving up the mountain to the retreat center to pick Justin and Jo up . . . seeing a skunk on the way up the mountain . . . Justin and Jo having story time with the kids and then driving them back up the mountain where they will be spending their evenings, overnights, and mornings into the early afternoon for the rest of the week . . . seeing an eastern gray fox and a deer on the way back down the mountain . . . tucking the kids intro bed and Oma writing her log. That was our wonderful day in nutshell.

It is after midnight and I just tucked Coco and Ziggy into bed. None of us really knew what the schedule would be like this week, but now we know that we will only have three hours in the afternoon with Justin and Jo. But we are welcome to go up to the retreat center and swim in the pool and walk on the mountain paths at anytime as long as we are quiet and don’t interrupt. Tomorrow we will go up around 11 am, take a walk on a mountain path, and then swim in the pool until Justin and Jo are ready to come down and have some afternoon time with us. On Monday and Tuesday, Ziggy, Coco, and I have plans to go to Monticello and to the Grand Caverns, but we will try to get back in time to have time with Justin and Jo. We’ll just be flexible and see where the week leads us.

All of us are really enjoying our time here. The area is beautiful, teeming in wild life, and the atmosphere is just so relaxing. I don’t think Ziggy and Coco have ever spent this much time away from their mom and dad, but they seem to be adjusting to the idea. They have been so helpful and so much fun to be with. Let’s just hope the week gets even better!