Shakedown cruise (n.)- Cruise of newly commissioned ship to test machinery and equipment and to train the crew as a working unit.
Ah yes, the shakedown cruise, most of the time they are grueling, frustrating, and generally filled with consternation over issues that shouldn’t be issue but actually are issues. However, occasionally you are given a piece of gear told to break it and you do so in the first five minutes which means you get to have some fun (true story, but I digress.) If shakedown cruises are good enough for the fine Navies of the world then they are good enough for me.
This past weekend I went out to Cape Henlopen for my first shakedown cruise before the Grand Adventure. There is absolutely no reason in the world for me to figure all of this out while on the road. No, no, I want to work the kinks out before I’m 7k miles away from home.
Friday afternoon my brother John and I packed up the car and headed to the beach; Perry happily sticking his head out the window as we loaded the car. He knew we were going somewhere and he was not about to get left behind. We got to Lewes, John got his fishing license and then we headed to the park. After everything was set up we set off for the beach. On our way we (ok he) got a bit distracted by the WW2 base, bunkers, and artillery that he found. He was in his glory. Me? I was more interested in following the sound of the crashing waves, but I indulged him. He was so excited. As I dragged him away telling him that they would be there tomorrow and I wanted to get to the beach before it got too dark and we couldn’t see where we were going. (Lesson 1: Don’t forget your flashlight next to the pile of stuff you are suppose to pack.)
We spent an hour or so on the beach before the sun started to tuck in for the evening. After dinner and a quick clean up it was time to hit the sack. I should probably mention Perry refuses to crate. John climbed in and then I tried to get Perry to hop in. Perry gave me the “mama this looks an awfully lot like a big dog crate” look. I climbed in first and then he hopped right in. I guess he figured if it was going to be horrible at least he’d be with me. Ah the joys of a velcro dog sometimes you get to play Jedi mind tricks on him. (Lesson 2: A 3 man tent may be fine for 2 people and a dog, but for just Perry and I we are going to need a smaller tent.)
The next morning we were up and ready to go. Another fine glorious day at the beach and we were all very happy campers. Everyone played had a good time and by bed time Perry was a pro at getting in the tent. One tiny problem. Perry also figured out that my sleeping bag and Thermarest Neo was the warmest place in the tent. Um, excuse me sir, that’s my sleeping place. He was quite put out that he was not able to sleep there. (Lesson 3: Definitely going to have to figure out a good sleeping arrangement for him.) Perry says; What do you mean I don’t get the R4 rated sleeping pad and 0 degree bag. Say wha??? That’s puppy abuse!
Sunday morning we packed everything up (including half of the beach I think) loaded it back into the car and headed home. The boys (the two legged and the four legged one) slept the entire trip home. I guess they both had a good time this weekend. Me? I spent the 3 hour drive home running down the list of things that worked well (my Coleman stove, the Neo/bag combo so I didn’t freeze) and things that didn’t work well (my organization system, the tent). That’s what shakedown cruises are for though, working the kinks out before you get underway. I’ve got one more scheduled in June. We shall see how that one goes. Fingers crossed.