The last month prior to our departure was a complete whirlwind. We both wrapped up our jobs with a strong final push and then immediately pivoted into “get everything ready to leave” mode. This included moving our personal effects out of our house, pickling the cars, setting up insurance (COBRA, Travel, & Boat), transitioning phone plans, updating all accounts online as needed, visiting friends and family, taking Piper to the vet and preparing her Grandma for a year of PiperDog care, finishing a large number of house projects, doctor appointments, and all kinds of other odds and ends. We employed a Kanban board to help track our work with sticky notes. (Could do a whole post on this if there is interest). 😉

Board displaying sticky notes, most of which are in a "done" column or reprioritized.
Our Kanban board at the very end.
The cutest dog ever sits below a picnic table, looking up.
Saying goodbye to the Piper Dog was the hardest part about leaving.


We had been lifting heavy objects for several weeks, which was good physical training for what was about to come – the SCHLEPPING of SCHTUFF to France. This is not the light backpacker fare we were used to in our twenties. Oh no, this was full on heavy middle aged waddling with enormous bags. We estimated each of us was carrying 90-95 lbs. Embrace it. Mmmm!

Randy stands next to a cart full of large luggage.
Our leaning tower of luggage in SeaTac. We each had two large check-in bags and two carry-ons.

Amazingly, even with COVID and carrying so much schtuff, the flights were mostly smooth save a small panic in Reykavik (KEF) where we faced a sweat-inducing mile-long line through border control between us and our connecting flight. Once in Paris, we broke another serious sweat carrying everything to a hotel within the Charles de Gaulle airport grounds. We did our best to stay awake and made it to 9pm before crashing, and both of us woke up at random times in the middle of the night for several hours. Up at 6am to schlep more schtuff back to the Terminal 2 TGV station for a morning train to Guingamp, with one train transition in Rennes (involving going up and down stairs with all the schtuff).

In Guingamp we transitioned from train to automobile and stuffed said schtuff into the back of a fairly good-sized SUV rental, drove the last leg to Tréguier and finally stepped aboard Randonnée. Our exhaustion fought with the excitement deep in our guts. It was surreal to finally see our boat after so many years of planning.

We made it! This moment was surreal.


Randy and Eric standing on a doc, with. Eric handing Randy a key.
Eric Vautrin, Boréal’s new general manager, hands Randy the keys.


Randy walks between the galley and settee in the boat's interior.
First look at the interior. This is what exhausted excitement looks like. 😉


The galley
The galley. It will never again be this clean.

We didn’t stay long, however. More schlepping needed to be done. We drove back to the boat yard where we were reunited with the two giant crates we had shipped back in March, with even more SCHTUFF. As we opened the boxes we asked ourselves, WHY, WHY DID WE PACK THIS? Diana must have at least 5 sweaters. It was cold when the crates were packed. We’re heading to the Caribbean… this might be a leetle excessive. Needless to say, we’ll be finding a donation center here in Tréguier.

Randy standing in front of two large crates that were shipped to the factory last spring.
More schtuff to schlepp

With the car packed to the hilt, we took a load back to the marina. By this point, we were beyond exhausted. We’d been schlepping schtuff for weeks, and this was the grand finale. We just so happened to be doing this at low tide in a huge tidal zone (Brittany has some of the largest tidal swings in the world), meaning we had to run up and down a super steep ramp to the docks with a seriously overladen cart. Randy had strangers coming up to him later in the evening commenting on how impressed (surprised) they were that there hadn’t been a disaster – a hapless boater dragged by his cart, helplessly screaming down the ramp with all kinds of items dropping into the drink.

Randy standing at the top of a very steep ramp from street level to the docks, at low tide.
Randy braces himself for another ramp descent at low tide.


Diana was not as successful. She inadvertently destroyed a perfectly good bottle of olive oil within 5 minutes of entering a small grocery store. Jokes were made such as “and she’s a tourist to boot!” and “we could make a pizza with this!” as they poured flour onto the ground to absorb it. Sigh. Nothing like starting a boating trip with an oil spill!

What happens when you try to hold onto a bottle of olive oil when delirious… (it should be noted that this bottle was on the bottom shelf. It didn’t go far. And yet…. kaboom!)

We should have gone to bed immediately, but adrenaline got the better of us. We stayed up past midnight, drinking wine, packing things into the boat, writing this blog, and running around with a multimeter screaming with joy on discovering that the stereo power was live. Don’t judge us. 😉 

Yay, speaker wire!