Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I think I first heard about Bumfuzzle, Pat and Ali Schulte's 35-foot catamaran, over at a few years ago. It was the topic of much debate by overzealous armchair captains fighting in the cats versus mono battles. Boosted by the anonymity of the Internet the debate over Bumfuzzle even wandered into a split between those who admired the Schultes for circumnavigating at such a young age and those who derided Pat for being a money-hungry stockbroker who undeservedly bought his way around the globe.  People on the internet are jerks.  

For the most part, I ignored it all, but the name "Bumfuzzle" kept popping up.

It wasn't long after Mary bought Gimme Shelter that we started discussing the possibility of our own sea voyage, so we started looking for books and blogs for information and encouragement. That's when we picked up their book and read it together.

Not like "together" as in reading it out loud to each other. That would be weird. We just read it to ourselves over the same general time period, so we would have something to talk about during Houston traffic jams.  I remember our shock, as this was the first time we had heard about someone with as little sailing experience as we had, who was leaving on a real adventure. Before this we had always assumed it would take years of honing our sailing skills before we could ever consider doing something so crazy. It was amazing to read them figuring things out as they go, just as we had been doing. For the first time, we thought, "We could do that!" 

Their bravery to step into the unknown and their adventures around the world were inspiring. Pat and Ali came off as two really great people.

Of course, it's easy to come off as a great person when you're writing about yourself -- but even so, they still came off as good people.

The book led us to their blog, which was being written from Mexico while Pat overhauled the monohull they were now cruising in. I was excited that they were still out there and still having the same kind of boat repair issues we were facing on a regular basis.

Then all of the sudden, they quit sailing. They just left Mexico and went back to Minnesota.

It was a little disappointing. We had just found our new sailing heroes, and they had given up sailing.

Then suddenly there was a bus.

The Schultes were still cruising, just not on a sailboat, and I really enjoyed following Pat's renovations of the 1966 Dodge Travco. I also realized Pat had written another book, and I had just started reading, "Live on the Margin."

Never in a million years did I think Mary and I would ever meet them. Then suddenly, they were in Kemah.

We scrapped our plans to anchor out all weekend and headed to Super Target to find something to take to the pot luck barbecue being hosted at the marina next door.

As excited as we were to meet them, the weather was absolutely perfect for sailing, and still not having taken Gimme Shelter out of the slip this year, I began second-guessing the entire thing. I leaned over to Mary and said, "I'm kind of sad we're not sailing. I really hope they're not assholes."

She just gave me a look. He deserved the look. 

As you approached Waterford Harbor Marina, there was no missing the bus. It was proudly parked near the road, a beacon to all Facebook followers clutching their serving dishes and coolers full of beer.

And there they were -- looking just like the photos in their blog.

And guess what? They were some of the nicest people I've ever met.

I took my camera, but I think I was actually a bit star struck and just kind of forgot to take photos.

Pat indulged all my questions about the book and the blog. Ali gave us a tour of the bus. Ouest served us MANY well-decorated sugar cookies. It was a blast. Most people were polite the first time Ouest came around with cookies but then turned her down after that. Fred ate a cookie EVERY SINGLE time she came around, lol. No self control. 

It was also great to meet so many other people from the local sailing community. I met two different cruising couples about to throw off the lines -- one heading east, one heading west. I also reconnected with an old co-worker I hadn't seen in several years. Not to mention the fact that we witnessed the nautical send-off of a pair of newlyweds.  It was so great to hear that we are not the only people trying to figure things out.  It's nice to know everyone does not have such a clear cut plan for escape. Maybe we're over thinking it. 

One thing that absolutely amazed me was the organization of the bus. It was so neat and clean! How do four people live there?  I can't believe Pat and Ali sleep in bunks. I don't know if we would consider that...maybe after a few more years of marriage.  :)

We were only on Gimme Shelter for the weekend, and when we left to drive over to the party, there was already laundry piled up on the couch. Organization is something we're definitely going to have to work on. Nothing is neat and clean in our lives. We need to work on this for sure.  

I asked Pat if there was a secret to keeping things clean. He just said that Ali was a neat freak and that over the years it had rubbed off on him as well. (Neither Mary nor myself are struck with that particular affliction.) I try so hard. 

Eventually the afternoon wound down, and as we were saying goodbye I think I shook Pat's hand about four times. (Yeah, so much for not coming off as a weirdo.) Then it was back to Watergate where we spent the rest of the evening dreaming about sailing around the world.  I'm pretty sure a key part of boating is to sit around with your friends and talk about how you're going to finally make it happen. I feel like with each conversation, we get a little closer.  

Safe travels to the Schultes as they continue their voyage across the country. You can follow their adventures here: