Monday, March 31, 2014

Magic in Key West


(That’s the name of one of our favorite songs by Howard Livingston)   Magic in Key West

Florida Keys (high 80, low 70)

Burrr.  It got chilly last night.  When I got up, the thermometer showed 67.  Keys 67 is much colder than regular 67.  :)    I know, I know….no sympathies.


We decided since boating was out yesterday due to strong winds, it might be a good day to spend in Key West.

One of these days, we plan to do the walking tour through the housing areas in KW.  There are some beautiful old homes.   You can see a lot of these homes while driving around, but in KW it’s best for both the driver and the passenger to keep your eyes on the road.  It’s crazy in Key West.   The roads are narrow, there are a lot of bicycles, motorcycles, golf carts, tour trolleys, trains, and pedestrians, and the occasional skateboarder.


Key West

When we first got into Key West, we were stopped at a light and I happened to see this.


There was a mangrove behind her and she was standing down below the bridge. The lizard had on a collar and I think a leash.   My first thought was that she was going to release her pet lizard (which is a no-no), but as I watched her lovingly pet it, I think she was just taking it for a walk.  I hope.

As we were driving downtown along Duval Street, we nearly hit 3 or 4 people on bikes or walking.  They think nothing of walking right out in front of you.  We almost got a skateboarder too. 

This is a picture taken from Mallory Square.  It was a perfect day for a sailboat.


Duval Street is an interesting place.  Some facts I copied from the internet.

The beautiful Bahamian and Spanish influenced Victorian Mansions of Duval Street have been well preserved through local preservation efforts starting in the 1960’s.

On the Atlantic Ocean end of Duval Street there is a mix of early Key West Victorian mansions and bungalows’ dotting the neighborhood. Art galleries, boutiques, inns and Bodega’s line the wide sidewalks.

Near the southern terminus of Duval Street is the buoy marker for the southernmost spot in the United States not far from the Southernmost House, a striking Victorian architecture mansion built in 1896. A favorite of both Harry Truman and author Ernest Hemingway, the building was restored to its formal beauty and opulence with a $3 million renovation in 1996.

Duval Street well represents the cultural influence of Key West’s proximity and cultural ties to Cuba. Many Cubans immigrated to the area beginning in the late 1860’s. At one time, the many cigar stores on Duval gave the city the moniker “Cigar City USA.” There are many pleasant outdoor cafes to enjoy another Cubano influenced product, “Cuban Coffee,” which is espresso made from roasted Cuban Coffee beans with a heavy dose of sugar.

At the north end, tourists from the cruise ships that dock at the Westin harbor complex, Mole pier or Mallory Square are often seen traversing Duval Street's many shops [1] in the afternoon looking for souvenir trinkets and T-shirts. The streets are congested with Pedi cabs, trollies, bikes, mopeds, cars, and the Conch Train all adding to the touristy feel of this heavily visited end of Duval.

Near the northern end of the street is Mallory Square. Historic Mallory Square is the center of Key West’s waterfront. The City of Key West and Duval Street share their beginning along this deep harbor waterfront.

On certain nights, the gulf shores of Duval Street often vibrate with a carnival like atmosphere that lasts until dawn and beyond. In fact, the ritual has a name known to tourists and residents as the “Duval Pub Crawl.” Duval is the location of many famous restaurants and bars, including Sloppy Joe's, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, which is the original, Fogarty's Restaurant, Bar and Bakery, "The Flying Monkeys Bar", The Bull and Whistle, Rick's Cafe and Irish Kevin's bar. Tour outlets book the “Duval Pub Crawl” activity and provide knowledgeable guidance for the tourist wishing to visit and imbibe at the famous drinking establishments, for a fee.


We parked at our favorite parking lot, near Mallory Square.  It’s a little pricey at $4 per hour, but it’s easy in and easy out….as long as there is a space available.  Key West is the only place in the Keys that I’ve seen, where you have to pay to park.

We decided to go to some of the little touristy shops along Duval Street.  We wanted to get a few things for yard decorations on our new rv lot.  

I’ve been looking for some new sandals and  after doing a little price shopping, I got some nice Merrell sandals.  Of course they came with a nice Merrell price as well!

I don’t remember seeing this beautiful larimar Caribbean stone before, but yesterday, it was everywhere.   This stone is only found in the Caribbean and it reminded me of the color of the Caribbean waters.   Beautiful, isn’t it?


I didn’t buy any, but I probably will someday.  It was gorgeous.


Duval Street is only 14 blocks long, but there are 150 bars.   Many of them have open fronts so that you can see what’s going on inside. 

We passed by Coyote Ugly to see a young woman dancing on the bar.  It looked like a fun place, but it was a little noisy.

We stopped to listen to the  music coming from a cigar bar.  The owner/manager caught us and tried to get us to come in for a drink.  We explained we hated cigar smoke, but he finally convinced us to walk upstairs and check it out.  He explained that they had a big air filtration system inside and also seating outside on the balcony so the cigars shouldn’t be a problem.  The music was so compelling, that we walked upstairs to see for ourselves. There were comfy leather couches and a  few people sitting inside having a cocktail.  The air was fine.  We walked outside to the balcony, where you could look down and see al the action along Duval St.  We did get some aroma from a particularly stinky cigar, but it was still a nice place.  The  live music didn’t start until 7pm, but if it’s as good as what they were playing, we’ll probably go back….maybe with a gas mask.  :)

Many times when we’re on Duval, we hear live music from many of the bars.  Yesterday, only a few had live music.  We were wondering if it was because the cruise ship was leaving port?  

Mallory Square

As our 3 hours ticked away on our parking meter, we hung around Mallory Square for a few minutes watching the street performers getting ready for their nightly performances. 

We were reluctant to leave, but vowed to go back soon, and do the Duval Pub Crawl.  We think it will be better once we move down to Venture Out, because the drive will be much shorter, and we won’t have to worry about going through Big Pine Key and hitting one of the Key Deer.


Another common site here in the keys are homeless people.

Hey….if I’m homeless, I’m moving to the Keys!  I understand they get a bed and one free meal a day!   There are drunks everywhere, but they all seem to be happy drunks!  I guess it’s the Keys living!



The homeless aren’t allowed to have open containers, but everyone else can.   You can buy a beer or drink and take it with you as you walk down the street….as long as you’re wearing clean clothes?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

We Lost our Favorite Bridges


Florida Keys (high 81, low 68)


The March winds continue to blow.  It looked like it was finally going to lay down yesterday, but wouldn’t you know it, another cold front came through bringing heavy, but short lived rains.  Once the rains pass, the winds come back.  The good news is we know that typically April is a much better month.

Since we haven’t been boating, we’ve been doing happy hours.  On Friday night, we went over to a new restaurant/bar called Springers.  It’s down the road and near our new home in Venture Out.  They have good happy hour specials.  Al got wings and I got jalapeno poppers.  Yummy….and no, not very vegan, are they?   Two beers, two mixed drinks, wings and poppers are less than $20.  They were supposed to have had karaoke, but for some reason that didn’t happen.

After the happy hour specials at Springers, we headed down to Boonedocks for some live music.

Friday night Howard Livingston was playing.  He’s a local who writes and sings his own music.  He reminds me of Jimmy Buffett.     Some of the titles of his songs are:   Six Pack and a Tan, Magic in Key West,  Peeing on a Coconut Tree.   If you feel the need for the feel of some tropical sunshine, and good “Keyish” type music,  click on the link here and listen to some of his songs for free.  He has a band with him and they are very good.

Saturday night, we repeated our happy hour schedule, starting at Springer's, then going down to Boondocks for a 60’s tribute band called Orange Sunshine.   They were very good and we enjoyed trying to remember the names of the songs and the artist who sang them.    It seemed most of the people there were doing the same thing.   We enjoyed watching a guy who hasn’t yet left the 60’s.   He had very long hair and looked like a typical hippy.  He was really enjoying the band, and we enjoyed watching him enjoy it. We stayed until about 8pm then headed back up to Sunshine Key.  We got home just before the rain started.  We had a few strong gusts of wind and brief lightning, but it passed quickly.

It’s cloudy out now, but we’re seeing some bits of blue sky, so hopefully the sun will be back out.   We don’t expect the wind to die down, so we’re thinking it might be a nice day to go to Key West.   There’s always “Magic in Key West.”

I’ve mentioned before the fishing bridges on both sides of Sunshine Key.   They are very popular for fishing, walking, or just looking down into the water.  We often see sharks, turtles, fish and spotted eagle rays.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered they had closed down both fishing bridges for safety reasons.  The fishing bridges are the old Henry Flagler railroad that was mostly destroyed during hurricanes in the early 1900’s.  Some pieces have been kept and used for fishing/walking bridges.  I guess it won’t matter too much to us when we move down to Venture Out, but for now, we’re missing them already.

Here are a few past pictures taken from the bridges.

This is Al looking down at low tide.

Sunshine Key Bridge

Sunshine Key Bridge

This must have been taken at happy hour.  That is Sunshine Key in the background.

from sunshine key bridge

from sunshine key bridge



The snowbirds are packing up and getting ready to head out for the mass exodus on Tuesday.  It typically gets pretty crazy on April 1st.  It will get pretty quiet around here after that……until the “summer program” starts.   I’ve posted what goes on in the summer with the summer program, but until you’ve been here, you really can’t imagine.   Sunshine Key is a nice place in the winter, but it starts to look more like a slum in the summer.   I’ll post some pictures later.   We understand management is trying to make some changes, but it seems they are not interested in enforcing any of the rules they already have.  You can make all the rules you want, but if you don’t enforce them, it really doesn’t matter.   It won’t matter to us this year, since we now have our own lot in Venture Out Resort.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Windy = No Boating


Florida Keys  (high 83, low 70)

No boating for us the next few days.  Another cold front managed to make it all the way down here, bringing us some rain a few days ago and now some very windy conditions.  My Weatherbug App has been showing wind gusts up to 35mph.   Too windy for boating, that’s for sure.  This is typical weather for March, and typically the wind dies down in April. 

Our tenants on our new Rv lot in Venture Out were planning on leaving last Wednesday, but had a mechanical problem with their motor home.  They actually left, but noticed the engine was overheating, so they turned around and went back to the spot.  They are paid through the end of the month, so it’s no problem, but we were kind of anxious for them to leave, so we could get a good look at our site.  They found a mobile diesel mechanic and he told them the problem was due to a bad alternator.   Al and I can’t figure out how a faulty alternator would cause the engine to overheat.   Any ideas?    They have a new part coming Monday and are hoping to leave again on Tuesday.   I sure hope they get the repairs done because we are anxious to move to our new site. We’re paid up here through the 8th, so I hope they are able to move before then at least.


We haven’t done anything exciting lately, unless you call taking two cats to the vet exciting.  Both are okay and we got out for only $500…..a rare thing nowadays.   One had a bad tooth and infection and the other had a urinary track infection.  

We’re watching all the snowbirds packing up.  Golf carts are being taken to storage.  Boats are being pulled out of the water.  Some stay here in storage, some are being towed back “home.”    The awnings are being unattached and pulled in, rugs are coming up and it’s beginning to look like there will be a mass exodus on Tuesday.  Most of the people that are here 4-5 months, really get settled in.  Many of them have beautiful flowering potted plants the apparently travel back home with them.   I certainly wouldn’t want to be on any northbound road in Florida anytime next week.   I’ve heard it gets crazy especially  on I-95 all the way north.

We have watched a few Redbox movies.  We finally got to see Gravity.  We wanted to see it on the big screen, but never quite made it.  We’re not a big fan of movie theaters.  We liked it, but didn’t think it was as good as all the hype.  I’m sure it would have been better 3D.

We also saw (and loved) The Dallas Buyers Club. 

We have been doing some reading.   I found a book that kind of tied in with the headlines about the missing plane from Malaysia.   The book I read is called Mayday.  It was written by Nelson DeMille and Thomas Block.  It was originally published in 1979, but updated and re-released in 1998.    It’s the story of flight 52 that was accidently struck by a Navy fighter pilot on a test mission.   The plane was missing for quite awhile and the similarities of the missing Malaysian plane, makes for an interesting read.    I enjoyed the book, but of course it’s one of those “mindless” books that Sherry hates, but I like mindless books. :)

Al read Extreme Measures, by Vince Flynn.  He said it was a good book, so I’m going to read it next.  Probably another one that Sherry wouldn’t like.   :)

We haven’t been boating much, but we sure have been eating out a lot.  We went up to Big Pine to Coco’s Restaurant. She makes the best Cuban Sandwiches, but we got there too early the other day and had to eat breakfast.   Definitely not vegan, but we the breakfast was only $4.00.

The Square Grouper is our new favorite place, especially on Fridays when they have the Philly Cheese-steak sandwich. Definitely not vegan either, but it sure it good.

We’re still watching the weather, hoping the forecast might change as it often does down here.  We’ll go have lunch and then see what the weather looks like.  If the wind dies down, we’ll take the boat out.    If it doesn’t, I think we’ll be taking a trip to Key West.  Always have to have a “plan B.”


No interesting pictures lately, so here are some from the archives.

Sunshine Key bridge


sunset at sunshine key marina


Sunset at Sunshine Key Rv Resort

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Catching Lobster


Florida Keys (high 81, low 71)


We planned on getting the boat in the water early yesterday.  When we got up, I checked my Weatherbug app and it was calling for a 40% chance of rain with some thunderstorms.  I’m not a fan of being in a boat during a squall, so I was a bit hesitant.   Years ago, when we were 25 miles offshore while diving off of Tarpon Springs, Florida, Al made a decision (twice) that the storms we could see in the distance were not bad or were not heading our way.  On two separate occasions, I let Al make the decision on whether or not we should head back to shore.   On both of those occasions, Al was proven wrong.  It got so bad out  that our compass was spinning, our antenna buzzing, we were in a blinding thunderstorm, and not really sure which direction “in” was.     So……after those two occasions, Al told me that I would make all future weather related decisions.   :)  

We decided to run into town for some groceries and wait to see what the weather was going to do. and   The seas were flat calm, but it was pretty cloudy. 

We ended up at a garage sale in the heart of Key Deer territory.

Key Deer are only found here in the Keys, and only on Big Pine Key.  They are smaller than regular deer, so they are pretty cute.

This group here had a baby who was no more than 2 feet tall.  It’s hard to see their size from the picture.   They are all pretty tame, because they are fed, despite all the signs telling people not to feed them. 



Al scored at the garage sale with a new/used fishing pole and reel. He needed one for bigger fish.   Optimistic guy, isn’t he?

We puttered around town for a while, came home, fixed lunch, puttered around some more trying to decide if we should take the boat out or not.  By this time, it started clearing up and the only rain I saw on the radar was a long way from here.

We finally got the boat in the water about 3pm.  I had been worried about the manatee in the marina that we saw the day before.  I was happy not to see her back there.

The seas were flat calm without even a ripple.  It was almost like glass and the water was crystal clear.


We went over to the Atlantic side of the 7 Mile Bridge and anchored in 5 feet of water near Money Key.

We could see the bottom and it was covered with sponge, conch, and Bahama Starfish.


That’s Money Key in the background. 


Al was hoping to get a Florida lobster, since lobster season is ending the end of March.

Florida lobster are unlike Maine lobster.  You only eat the tail section and they have no front claws.  They have long antenna and when they back into crevasses, you can usually only see their antenna.   When you see one, you have to “tickle” them out of their hole by sticking a pole behind them and touching (tickling)  their tail.  When you do that, they walk right out, you use your snare tool to catch them and you have your lobster.  It sounds easy, but it isn’t because they are very, very fast.

Al managed to find a few lobsters, but the first/bigger one got away from him. He found another one and successfully got it back to the boat. 






I have never had lobster, but I may have to give it a try.  The meat is white and according to Al, very tasty.


I didn’t do any snorkeling yesterday because it was so late when we started, I didn’t think I would have an opportunity, so I didn’t wear my swimsuit. Instead, I sat in the boat sweating in the heat and with no breeze.  Today, I’m wearing a swimsuit and intend to get wet.  The water is only 78.7 degrees according to our fishfinder, so that’s a little chilly for me.

While we were sitting offshore, these three helicopters flew over.  I believe they were military and it was pretty cool seeing them all overhead.  It reminded me of the old TV show Mash.




Reluctantly, we left our nice little spot and went along the old section of the original 7 Mile Bridge.  This is actually the railway that Henry Flagler built.  It’s survived a few hurricanes since the early 1900’s, but is still standing.  Notice the shrubs growing on the concrete structure? 



Since the water was so calm and clear you could drive along at a good speed and still see the fish on the bottom.

Al decided that was the perfect time to look for  little rock piles and holes where fish congregate.  Most of the ocean floor is flat bottom with either sand or sea grass.  Fish don’t congregate in those areas and you need to find some sort of structure if you want to find fish.

As we are driving along, he would stop when he started seeing fish and soon we would find a little rock pile where there were a lot of tropical fish.   We saw a lot of angel fish, some hogfish, grouper, lobster and even a moral eel.   We marked them on the GPS and plan on going back and snorkeling/diving them today.  All the spots were in shallow water.  It is so cool to be in water clear enough to see the bottom.

One of these days we are going to venture further offshore and out to the coral reefs.  We are waiting for perfect conditions, but in the meantime, we will be pretty happy with some inshore rocks with tropical fish and lobster.

We finally decided we had better head in before the sun set.


The weather forecast for today is 0-3 mph winds and no rain, so it looks like another boating day.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Accident Prone Day


Florida Keys (high 81, low 73)


Our plan yesterday included going back to the Square Grouper restaurant for their weekly philly cheese-steak sandwich.  Last week we tried the restaurant out for the first time and that cheese-steak sandwich was so darn good that we couldn’t wait to go back.

Since our plans for the day had to  revolve around lunch, we had to plan accordingly to fit everything else in!   :)

First thing was an early morning walk along the bridges.

On the way down from the first bridge I spotted what I knew was my biggest treat of the day.

Not only one, but two Golden Retrievers!  My very favorite dog and I never let one get past me without some loving.

I wasn’t going to let this poor man get past me without me getting some pats and the infamous “golden lean.”   I ended up with dog hair and slobber all over my shorts but I didn’t care!


We walked over to the other fishing bridge and did our normal fishing line and trash pick up.   I swear, don’t these fishermen ever pick up their trash?   Fishing line is so hazardous to marine life and birds.

As we were heading back, I saw what I thought was a piece of wood covered in fishing line.  It was caught between the supports on the bridge.  I grabbed it and as soon as I grabbed the line,  it flung back towards the water underneath the bridge.  It turns out it was a piece of rebar that had a bunch of fishing line tangled on it.  One end was attached to the  other end was loose.  When it flung back, my finger got caught in the fishing line.  Fortunately for me, the line slid off of my finger with only a cut.  I could easily have lost my finger.  (It was my good one too)  :)

After our walk, we decided to go down to Venture Out for a while since it’s nearby where we were going for lunch.

The winds had died down finally and I was able to enjoy taking some pictures.

The resident pelicans posed nicely for me.


There seem to be a lot of snowbirds trying to get their suntan before they head north.  The Jimmy Buffet song about tourists covered in oil, came to mind here.

tourists covered in oil Venture Out

This is the Tiki hut on the spit across from the marina.  We think this will be a good spot to spend some time reading.

Venture Out

On the other side of the water across from the marina is this other little spit of land.  The birds like it and on occasion they will all get spooked and fly off at the same time.  One of these days I’m going to get a good picture of that.

Venture Out

We walked around to a public access area to get a closer look at the birds.


We stayed back so that we didn’t frighten them, but I was able to zoom in for a better shot.

Venture Out

I love these skimmers.

Venture Out birds  - skimmers and pelicans

After lunch, since the winds had died down and the seas were flat calm we decided to go out in the boat.

When we were launching the boat, a manatee swam right up to the ramp.  She appeared to be looking for something.  In the past, I’ve seen people give her fresh water from a hose at the marina.  You aren’t supposed to do that, but people do.  The result is a manatee that is too tame and looking for handouts.  I worried about her and made sure all the other boaters knew she was there.

There is a lot of construction here in the Keys right now as they re-do the sewer lines. There are a lot of workers both on land and in the water.  Some of the boats are kept here at Sunshine Key.  Sometimes these construction guys aren’t as concerned about the wildlife as they could be, or at least that is my perception.  When I saw the manatee swim up under one of their boats, I warned them.  Fortunately, they were concerned and kept an eye out for her.

Manatee at Sunshine Key marina

She has obviously had some encounters with boats and I worried about her the rest of the day.

Manatee at Sunshine Key marina

The water was so clear and calm yesterday.  We decided to head to the Atlantic side by the 7 Mile Bridge.

boating off 7 Mile Bridge

Al did some fishing while I read.

He caught two fish.  The first one he thought was a porgy. He threw it back.

Later on he caught a mahogany snapper.  It was a pretty fish with a lot of red coloring on it. It actually looked more red than the photo shows.

Mahogony Snapper

It also lived to see another day.

We stayed out until about 6ish. 

After we loaded the boat, we sat outside and had happy hour and I finally was able to finish my book. We decided to bring Baxter outside with us, so we put him in his little cage next to us.  He really enjoyed the cool sea air, but soon it got too chilly for me and it was time to go inside.

This is where close call number two occurred.

I got Baxter out of his cage to carry him in and was giving him kisses while I was walking towards the door.  I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking.  I tripped over a big pot we have on the mat and almost went face first into the ground.  Your normal instinct is to put your hands out to catch yourself, but I remember my instinct was to hang onto my cat!    And I did.   Fortunately, despite a few drinks and a very chubby furball in my arms, I was able to regain my balance without falling.  I could have killed myself and maybe even Baxter.   I think I’m going to be extra careful today after having two close calls yesterday.

The weather looks mighty nice today and the palm trees aren’t blowing, so it looks like another day out in the boat.

boating off 7 Mile Bridge

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Big Scare


Florida Keys (high 82, low 70)

We had another squall line bringing yet another cold front the other day. I sure don’t remember this many cold fronts making their way all the way down into the Keys. It’s a very unusual year.  Of course our cold fronts don’t amount to much temperature wise, but they do winds, which don’t make for good boating days.

At about the time the front was coming through it started feeling pretty hot and humid inside the motor home.  We turned the thermostat down, waited a few minutes and then realized the front AC wasn’t kicking on.  Uh oh.

We are in south Florida, it’s hot, there are few repair options here,  and we may have blown one of our two AC units.   We would not be able to be down here with only one AC unit.

Before we left Tampa, we had the rear AC unit replaced when the compressor went out.  We run the front unit more often, and they were both the same age, so we assumed we blew another compressor.  I decided to try just turning the fan on and see what happened.  The fan came on, and I think the compressor kicked on as well, but only for a few seconds, then I heard a groan type sound and it quit.  It wouldn’t restart.

Al checked the Progressive Surge Guard to see if we had some low voltage here at the park. That sounded like a logical solution, but unfortunately, there was no error code on it.   It will cut off the power to the coach if the voltage is dangerously high or low.  Once the voltage is corrected, it will  re-start the power, but you’ll see a PE (previous error) code telling you what the problem was.   No PE’s.   Uh oh.

By this time I’m getting worried and starting to go into panic mode.  We know of no local mobile RV repair person and there is no local shop that I would trust.  Things are running through my head as to our options and how fast we could pack up and leave and get back to Tampa.   Meanwhile, it’s getting really stuffy inside.

I’m not sure I would trust anyone down here to do a major repair like  replace the AC unit.

My mind is running through all the possibilities, while Al went up to the office to see if they had any business cards for local RV repairs.

In the meantime, I started realizing how many power items we were running when the problem occurred.  Two AC units, one TV, the gas and electric water heater, refrigerator, dryer, and a few interior lights.

Uh oh.  Maybe I overloaded the 50 amp circuit?  I turned everything off except for the front AC unit……..and thank goodness, it came back on!  Yay!!!!

We don’t understand why the circuit breaker didn’t kick off, but it didn’t.   Maybe it just didn’t have enough power left to start the compressor?   It’s been running fine ever since. 

I never consider how many different electrical items I’m running and the only time that I can remember having a problem and kicking the circuit breaker was once when the last straw was the hair blower.

If anybody has any other ideas, please chime in.

We don’t want to ignore a warning sign and wait until the AC won’t run at all.  It’s better to repair things before they completely go out.  If it’s something that needs repairing, we’d like to have it done.  

We were wondering at first if it was the start capacitor on the AC unit.  We had that problem years ago with our old motor home.   Since it’s been running fine for two days, we’re hoping it was just an issue of running too many items at once.   Anybody know anything about start capacitors?  We don’t think we  stay down here with only one AC unit.


We haven’t done much exciting or blog worthy lately and haven’t even taken the boat out due to strong winds. We’re getting anxious to move over to our new site, but we have to wait a few more days for our tenants to leave.

Hopefully the winds will be down today and we’ll be able to take the boat out.  It’s been too long.

Yesterday morning, we got up early and headed over to Venture Out for a flea market.  We were hoping to get some bargains from some of the folks getting ready to head north.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see anything that even Good Will would have wanted!  What a bunch of junk. 

It did give us a chance to see our new home at sunrise though. 

The next picture is taken from the marina at Venture Out.  The saltwater swimming area is to the right, and the Tiki hut is in the center of the picture on the little spit of land. 

sunrise at Venture Out

The Tiki hut  out on the point is a perfect place to watch the sunrise. There are a couple of picnic tables there. We planned on sitting under the Tiki hut and doing a little reading, but the wind was so strong that it wasn’t pleasant at all.

sunrise at Venture Out


We are so anxious to move to our new site!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sunshine Key Beach


Florida Keys  (high 83, low 73)


We have a 30% chance of rain today and tomorrow and the winds will continue, so I don’t think boating will be in our future for another day or two.   I wish these March winds would quit.  I’m anxious for flat calm seas.  I predict they will quit on April 1st.  :)

We planned on taking the boat out yesterday and finding a place to hunker down in away from the winds.  After checking things out on the bridges, and the marina, we decided to go to “plan B.” 

Sunshine Key Resort has a nice beach area and there are some big trees for shade.  A perfect place to sit outside and do a little reading.

Sunshine Key beach

That’s the old Flagler Railway bridge in the background.  It’s no longer used except as a fishing bridge.  The main highway is right behind it.  Those beautiful arches on the bridge were built in the early 1900’s.  

Sunshine Key beach

We are sitting on the Gulf/bay side.  Through the arches is the Atlantic ocean.  The tide is low, so you see the rocky ocean floor in the foreground.   People were looking for shells.

Sunshine Key beach

As beautiful as this location looks in pictures, it has a major flaw, which is common here in the Keys.  The flaw is the road noise.  Most of the islands/keys are fairly small and the highway is almost always near, bringing lots of noise from the passing cars, trucks and RV’s.

Lots of RV’s still coming to the Keys.  When is it going to slow down?

Fortunately, at our new lot in Venture Out, we are a good ways from the Overseas Highway, so we will be able to sit out in the boat, or by the water and not hear traffic.  Yea!

Several folks came by to take their dogs out for a swim.

These Labs weren’t nearly as interesting in swimming as the standard poodle that came later. 

Sunshine Key beach

There is a rumor that there is an American Crocodile in this area.  We didn’t see one, but we know for sure there are some up in Islamorada, and I believe I heard of one in Marathon, which is just over the 7 mile bridge.  I guess it’s possible.   I’m not sure I’d want one at the beach with me, especially since there are a lot of dogs around.

There was some fishing activity as well.


With the wind, it got a little chilly in the shade later in the day, so I moved to some sun.   I didn’t even know Al took this picture.

Sunshine Key beach

Sunshine Key beach

We enjoyed our day of reading but soon it was time to go home and get ready for happy hour.  We decided to go back to Boondocks and watch the Beatles again.  They had $2 mimosas and $.49 wings.  We had a couple drinks and munchies, then called it a night.

By the time we got home I was tired.   I have not yet adjusted to the time change.  For some reason, I’ve been waking up at 5am, which is 4am by my body clock.  I love being up early in the morning and watching the sun rise, so as soon as I wake up at 5, I’ve been getting up, instead of turning over and going back to sleep, like I should.  So of course, by early evening, I’m sleepy.   No, before you think it….I don’t think the Mimosa’s were the problem.  :)    I only had two and they were small!

There is some talk in Florida about keeping daylight savings time all year long.  I don’t think I would be opposed to that idea.   I sure don’t remember having as much trouble adjusting to the time changes as I have the last few times.  I think it’s partly because we’re both retired now and nothing is forcing us to change our actual schedule, so we just go along with what our body clock is telling us.  A good thing, maybe.

This morning, true to form, I’m up at 5am.   It’s now 7am and just getting light out.  I can see palm trees and the beginnings of what may be a beautiful sunrise.

We’re not sure what today will bring.  Maybe a repeat of yesterday and another day reading at the beach.  Or….we may go to Key West.   Time will tell.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This and That


Florida Keys,  (high 81, low 77)

We’ve been enjoying slightly cooler temperatures the past week, but unfortunately, we’ve also had some pretty brisk winds in the 20-25 mph range.  It’s keeps it cool, but doesn’t make it great for boating.

Depending on the direction of the winds, we may be able to take the boat out today and hide in a little cove near the mangroves.  The nice thing about being in the Keys, is that you can easily walk to the ocean or bay and check out the conditions.


We took another drive down to Venture Out yesterday.  I guess now that we own it and are allowed past security, we just want to go spend some time there, but our tenants don’t leave for a few more weeks.

We wandered around and spent some time under this nice tiki hut.  We decided that will probably be our favorite place to hang out, since it is so nicely shaded.  I imagine we’ll spend more time in this saltwater pool than in the freshwater pool.

Venture Out 

Of course these are  “shark infested waters.”     :)


The pool is nice.  It overlooks the ocean and is very pretty, but there is not enough shade.  They have some small little umbrellas but you’d find it difficult getting out of the sun near the pool.  I think it’s too breezy for larger umbrellas.

venture out pool


We stopped at the flea market on the way home.  Al picked up a fishing rod holder for the boat then we came home and started watching the Tv mini-series Klondike.  It was based on a true story and we really enjoyed the series.  It was about the Klondike gold rush.  Many died and very few found gold and survived to get it home.

A few days ago, we got the movie Dallas Buyers Club from Redbox.  It was a really good movie with an interesting storyline.  Another true story and another very sad one.   We highly recommend this movie.

We decided to go back to Boondocks Grill and Drafthouse again last night, and catch the Beatles Tribute.  The band is a Florida band called  The Nowhere Band.    They came out in black suits and Beatle haircuts. They were very good and we enjoyed them.  After their break, they came back in Nehru (remember them?) jackets.  Unfortunately, we were up in the bar and didn’t have a good view of the group.   I’m sure we’ll go back there often because they have some sort of entertainment every night.  In fact today, they have $2.00 mimosas.    Hummmmmm….boating/mimosas???  

When we drove up to Boondocks last night, we had to laugh, trying to remember when we last went out to listen to music at a bar on a Saturday night.  We couldn’t remember!   We stayed out very late though…..8:30  :)


Not much else happening around here, but here is my “the end”  shot for today.


Hey….everybody has to do laundry sometime, don’t they?


It sure made us laugh!