Sunday, September 5, 2010

Envisioning provisioning...

One of the last and most important tasks we must do before releasing the lines and cruising off is provisioning - the job of having the things we need onboard. It's a big planning process in which Karen spends a good week of inventory analysis, estimating, and list making. It isn't just about food stores. We also plan everything from toothpaste to toilet paper. After 8 years of cruising, we have a lot of history and perspective - like we know we consume less beer that we think we do and use more paper towels than should be allocated to any pair of human beings.

The Mecca for all provisioning is Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, and Costco. It's one of the reasons why we track the location and provide phone numbers for all of those stores in ActiveCaptain. The closest Sams/Costco is hours away but there is a Wal-Mart Superstore in Tappahannock, VA, about a half hour away:

Our general strategy is to have all consumable products that we need onboard until the next time we'll be provisioning. In this case, that will be Thanksgiving. We also like to get all meat onboard and all non-fresh-foods. This means that we only need to find fresh vegetables and refrigerated items during our cruising. It significantly cuts back on the shopping we have to do week-to-week and also guarantees that we have plenty of food and supplies even if we have to stay in a remote place for a week or more due to weather (even if that means living on frozen vegetables).

Turning the provisioning plans into purchases is a big job. We walked into Wal-Mart rolling 2 carts. Some 2 hours later and $600 poorer, we walked out with 3 filled carts and another large job of getting everything back onto the boat.

Needless to say, I managed to sneak a few bags of special dog treats into my cart when Karen wasn't looking. As captain, my job is to make sure all crew members are happy!

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