Tall Ships

Days 29, 30 • March 30, 31, 2012 • Marina Del Rey to San Pedro •  27 miles

We spent the first half of the day exploring Hollywood.  We rode the buses there and back, one transfer each direction.  The Metro public transportation system in LA touts itself as IMG_8882the best and I don’t doubt it.  Their web site made it easy to plan our excursion and the buses were well maintained and if not exactly on time, at least ran frequently and all hours.  An hour and a half or so on buses each way didn’t leave much time for exploration so we made the most of it.  We checked out the stars and signatures on the walk of fame.  We had a milkshake at the Disney soda fountain.  We looked for the Hollywood sign but could barely see it due to low visibility. Zoe chose a “star tour” over Ripley’s or the wax museum.  In the tour we rode around the area in an open-top SUV while our tour guide pointed out homes of the stars.  It was entertaining but creepy peering into peoples’ homes.

By mid-afternoon we were ready to check out of our bungalow at the Marina International WP_000195hotel we were staying at.  This place was a little out of our price range but it was near where we wanted to be, had secure trike storage,  and the woman who booked it got us a good price.  Phil Zeigler was working again this afternoon and helped get us on our way—she’s a super nice lady.  So Mom, here’s a genealogical challenge for you:  she hails from Oklahoma and spells her last name differently, how are we related?


The next challenge was finding a decent bike route through LA to San Pedro.  This was off the Adventure Cycling route so we were on our own.  Phil pointed us to a nearby tourist information station and the woman there popped up the bike routing on Google Maps and together we created an awesome route.  A similar query at a bike shop in Santa Montica didn’t get us much more than a “you want to ride where?”  look.  This was one of the more pleasant 27 miles we’d experienced in a while, on a Friday in LA rush hour traffic.  The reason we hadn’t already figured out this route is that it is almost impossible to select the bike routing option in Google Maps on a Samsung Slate running Windows 8 using the pen without a keyboard/mouse.  Carlson, here’s an easy bug for you.

We enjoyed our ride into San Pedro and found Cap’n Rob and the green Metro waiting for IMG_8960us as we neared the dock.  The sight of the twin brigantine ships Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson docked there was pretty inspiring and two crews, outgoing and incoming, greeted us as we pedaled onto the dock and parked right next to Rob’s ship, the Irving Johnson.  Our timing was perfect as the crews were celebrating while everyone was together.  As you might imagine, the community of tall ships personnel is pretty small and closely knit as crews rotate through a relatively small number of ships operating worldwide.  This night the crews were ramping up a pretty good party and Phil, the ship’s cook, was serving up some awesome sushi.  The crews for the Irving and Exy Johnson ships consisted of a mix of paid staff like Cap’n Rob and Connie, the First Mate, as well as volunteers like Phil.  Paid or volunteer, all of these folks had an obvious and inspiring passion for operating these large and complex ships and helping kids in the process.









I think our trike adventure resonated with some of the crew because it shares some of the characteristics of what they are doing–   overcoming fear and risk to pursue their passions—and that someone as young as Zoe was getting a taste of it.  I think a lot of the crew are taking significant career risks, such as turning a full-time position as a movie set designer into a seasonal one to dedicate the summer to sailing, or switching from a career track with a medical degree to life on the sea.  Other’s like have retired retired from careers such as writing and software development. 

Zoe and I spent the night under deck in the fore cabin.  The next day it was sailing, all day.  Spending the day teaching a bunch of Girls Scouts to sail a tall ship no easy task but these folks were great instructors.  They taught way more than I would have thought possible in a single cruise, including knot tying, hoisting sails, furling sails, navigation, and on and on.  There were kids working like ants all over the boat, top to bottom.  Zoe can never again use the “I’m afraid of heights” excuse because she climbed the rigging several times to help unfurl the sails, once climbing all the way to the topmost sail, some 80 feet off the deck.   I did a little climbing as well and can attest to it being, um, challenging.  Special thanks to Marann for taking Zoe under her wing.  We had a blast working with the crew and other girl scouts to sail a tall ship and then went out on another sail later that day as passengers.  Thanks to Cap’n Rob and the crew for giving us such a unique and rewarding experience.













7 thoughts on “Tall Ships

  1. You are very welcome. Hope we get the chance to see you two again sometime. We really enjoyed having you, and I’m enjoying following the blog. All the best on your journey and hugs to you both! =)


  2. Hey Zoe & Kurt- now that you are versed in tall ship lingo better than anyone I know, you are primed to read the cool historical novels of Patrick O’Brian. The books’ central characters are a commander of an English tall ship (based loosely on a real person) from the 1800s and his friend who is a doctor and a biologist who observes animals and plants like Darwin did. Very cool stuff. First book is Master & Commander.

    Check it out!


  3. K and Z, it was a great pleasure having you sail, and no doubt more adventures await you out there. Really love what you’re doing. Keep pedaling!


  4. Pingback: Travel by Map | TransAmerican Trike Adventure 2012

  5. Pingback: The Cut | TransAmerican Trike Adventure 2012

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