Montana Time + Canada Time + GUST-O Trips > 365 Days
On January 2nd of this year, we embarked on a big adventure on our little cruiser, GUST-O. We Towed her behind our GMC 3/4 ton from Montana to western Florida. For the next 90 days, we sailed her around Florida, jumped off to the Bahamas, and mostly motored back to our truck again via the Okeechobee River. Lying in our V berth in Lucaya in late March, we realized that the above formula needed to be addressed in order to restore some long term life balance.
Previous to this trip, GUST-O trips were not in the equation, and there was balance. However, Anita had just retired, and we were enjoying the new reality of where our pocket cruiser and our heavy duty pickup truck could take us. Something had to give. We must spend at least 5 months in Canada in order to maintain our universal health care eligibility. Non Negotiable. We needed time to travel for coastal or warm weather cruises outside of home. There are only 365 days in a year. Non Negotiable.
The Hard Solution:
The sad reality was that the “Other Life” we were enjoying in Montana for the last 16 years was turning out to be the round peg in the square hole. Reducing the days spent there would not work, or justify the investment that we had made. Health care expenses would rise over time. kids were not able to visit often enough, and the sailing season was only 120 days. Restoring equilibrium to the formula meant that we had to relocate within Canada to make better use of our Dana 24, keep our health care, and leave room for excursions. We cried at the prospect of leaving our vacation home, friends and familiarity we loved. Then we moved forward…
The Typhoon Transition:
Just like the waterspout that had passed through the marina in Lucaya, the events that followed sometimes seemed chaotic. We sealed our resolve with an e-mail of intent to trusted friends Milt & Diane in Vernon, B.C., on Okanagan Lake. They were enthusiastic, and lined us up with a trusted realtor to explore options for early June. Following our six day journey back to Montana, we called a local realtor, and initiated the emotional process of parting with our vacation property.
Our Flathead Lake sailing season was shortened this year, as we packed GUST-O up for another road trip. In mid August, after emotional farewells, GUST-O crossed into Canada to our Alberta address. The process to have her federally registered as a Canadian boat was also begun. A couple of weeks later, we became owners of a home in Vernon, B.C.. GUST-O came across the Rogers Pass in October.
The highly detailed registration process was completed. GUST-O is now called “Go with GUST-O” with a home port of Nanaimo. The number of official home ports is limited and arbitrary, and the new name sidestepped conflict with another boat name already registered. We have also been warmly accepted to the Vernon Yacht Club, and have been out as race crew on Lyle’s Santana 525 a couple of times before the season ended.
WHEW! Our family has been mostly supportive, and paved the way for future moves for more togetherness with extended relatives and old friends. Now 90 days at our new address, we are increasingly comfortable with our decision, and looking forward to exploring the 100 mile long lake, and planning for the next Go with GUST-O excursion.
New Canadian Address + Grandchild visits + Go with GUST-O adventures = 365 days/yr1