My Travel Blog

The Rabelo Travel Log (Facts Collected Along Our Journey)

Over the last six months, though we were only traveling for 4.5 months, we covered 1952 kilometers (1210 miles) of rivers and canals. We past through 455 locks, and at our highest point we were 280 meters (918 feet) above sea level.  It would be interesting to see how many total vertical feet we negotiated.  I would estimate 4500 feet. I’m not sure how many miles of tunnels we went through.  It was probably around 25.  We did all of this, and it only cost 650 Euro to use the French Canal system for the entire summer.

“Rabelo on her way back to Holland. Note the new crane lying on the deck.”

“I’m glad we are back in Southern California.”

“Some bent pins from the old crane.”

“Rabelo getting cleaned off and ready for new paint.”

Eighty percent of the time we did not have to pay to tie up.  The most expensive place to moor was Strasbourg where we spent 50 Euro per day.  Probably the single largest cost was fuel.  We had to fill our fuel tanks four times.  On average each fill required 2,000 liters (520 gallons).  Rabelo is not exactly a Prius when it comes to fuel economy, but when you consider she weighs almost 200 tons, and we also have to run our generator I was pleased.

“Lisa back in Holland to pick out flooring and fabric for the new pilothouse. She forgot her bathing suit.”

“New colors for the pilothouse.”

This winter we have some great modifications planned for our big baby.  The single largest job will be to extend the pilothouse so we can have an entertaining area.  That way our friends can visit with me while I’m steering.  Of course when we expand the pilothouse the roof will be so large we won’t be able to dismantle it like we use to.  So instead of taking the pilothouse down we’re going to make it hydraulic.  That way all I’ll have to do is press a button to lower it when we have to go under a bridge.  It should be pretty slick.  We’re going to install a large solar array on top of the new pilothouse, and triple the size of the battery bank.  Hopefully we will not have to run the generator so much.  With our much larger battery bank we are installing two more inverters that will also act as battery chargers.   The original inverter was 1,250 watts, or enough to run a hair dryer.  We now have three inverters with a total output of 9,000 watts.  We are also going to install 50 tons of ballast so that the wind and current won’t move Rabelo around so much when we are entering a lock.

“Cutting steel ballast to fit in the bilge.”

“Installing steel ballast.”

“Lisa sitting in the mockup of the new pilothouse. Wilco is standing at the new steering station.”

“A view from our kitchen window.”

Lisa and I are excited about all the work that will be done this winter.  Hopefully Wilco can complete it on time.

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.