Feeling the need to see new surroundings again. Thinking about getting Gus and the dobie dogs to come housesit. Our usual lodging is available…thinking about booking a few days…
Vacation always brought me to who I thought was my best me. Fun. No rules. Staying up late. Dressing outside the dress code. Smelling like suntan lotion. Doing art from things I found on the beach. Being near water. Having crazy hair. Spending a little more than normal. Never passing on dessert. And the occasional glass of breakfast wine.
So ultimately, this is who I am…
And this is what I eat…
But this isn’t vacation anymore. This is my new life…our new life. There really aren’t any of the conventional rules anymore. Oh, there are still rules…but not the ones that govern dress code and what’s for breakfast. Vacation was always those precious few weeks when you got to blow it all off and just be your best you. But “retirement” (or, good lord, mimi just quit her really great day job!) changes all the rules.
So after our second multi-week driving “vacation” in 2 months, I can honestly say. WOOP-DEE-FREAKING-DOO, I’m loving this.
My…our…plan now is to enjoy every possible moment, wherever we are. And to find purpose in being good citizens of the world, whether it’s in a faraway place…or our own backyard.
Today was our last day on the road for a (short) while. Tomorrow brings HOME SWEET HOME, Maxine the cat, and a long To Do list.
Thanks for reading…you never know where we’ll be coming to you from next!
…in just 6 long hours!
We left Key Colony Beach about 7. The saddest thing in the shot below is the word “NORTH.” It means headed home. NOT that home is bad…is just isn’t fun and sun and kayaks and sand and lazing and reading and, mostly eating irresponsibly.
But hey all good things have their time. So we headed to St. Augustine.
We drove to California for Thanksgiving, out across OK, TX, NM, AZ and CA….wonderful scenery that kept changing as we drove. It kept the miles interesting. I, uhhhh, can’t really say the same thing for Florida. There were the little rows of local and tourist businesses next to US1, and then there were close-in palm trees and construction on the interstates. It wasn’t pretty. Keep driving!
No photo or smell-i-vision of this, but be glad about that! North of West Palm somewhere near the Okeechobee, we smelled something really bad. No, really, really bad! I thought it was swamp gas! (Is there really such a thing?) We rolled the windows up and all of a sudden, we saw an amazing, black vortex of small dots spiraling upward on the west side of the highway. It was creepy looking. And as we got closer we realized it was well over a thousand buzzards (vultures? turkey buzzards?) spiraling over a landfill. Oh my gosh. It was amazing to see but gross to smell. It looked like a whole peppermill had been flung into the sky….how did they all keep from flapping into each other?!
Made St. Augustine about 3 and they had upgraded us to the AARP Gold Member “old farts” suite. WOW. Very nice. There ARE advantages to having travelled a lot and being, ummm, over 50?? But, this is one of the oddest showers I’ve ever seen in over 35 years of travel.. It’s SO…PINK…sort of like stepping into a big, wet, pink….conch shell!
We unloaded the bags and popped the bikes off the back of the car and headed down St. George blvd toward the old city. Great ride and wonderful things to see. I mean it’s been an established, lived-in city since 1565. Very fun to do on a bike…and I rode in traffic and even down a steep bridge with cars…and never freaked out (not out loud anyway!)
We biked around for a couple hours and decided we needed to stay another night to see it all. So if I can get Gus and his dobermans to hang at the house with Maxine another day, we’ll be home a day late.
It’s amazing how far you can go…when you’re “retired” and no one cares when you come home!
Better pix tomorrow!
…famous words I’ve heard Steve utter on island vacations since 1989. That was our first vaca together, with “the girls” (who I would learn years later HATED being lumped into one name), to Ixtapa/Zihuatenaeo. Walking down a side street after dinner, in the dark, we came upon a palm tree, coconut palm to be exact, where there was a pile of fallen coconuts. Steve picked one up and said, “All I need is a parking lot and we can have fresh coconut.” The girls, said, “REALLY dad?!” So he started end-zone-crashing this fully clothed coconut on the street and in the parking lot. It took him all the way down the street, but by the time we got back to the resort…voila’…we had fresh coconut. I’ve had dozens of those fresh coconuts across the years and oceans, and yesterday morning was no different.
This, my friends, is where coconut comes from…(I’m leaving out the shots of the coconut bouncing off a Camry in the parking lot of the resort next to us…no need to have visual evidence.)…
Pavement gets the thick outer green skin off…brute strength pulls the coconut husk off…
Hard little monkey-man shell holds the good stuff…
It was sooooo good.
After coffee, toast and coconut we headed down the road to sight see since the sun would not cooperate. The old Flagler railroad bridge and birdlife were good shots at Bahia Honda state park.
Notice the gap? I think that’s why they call this the “railroad that died at sea.”
We sat in the clouds by the water for a while reading. This guy had been on the beach for a couple days, I could tell him from the others because of the yellow beak. He finally go so bold as to come within a few feet of my chair…
Birds are everywhere here, as you would expect. The guy below was on the dock when we went to dinner. And I shot the same direction after dinner an hour or so later…he disappeared somewhere between the stone crab and lobster and the key lime pie…
And that was the end of the last day in Key Colony Beach. We left early this morning (today was Monday, making last night Sunday) and headed for St. Augustine on the way home.
US1 here we come…
First, thank you baby Jesus (or Buddha, or whomever) for the wonderful sunrise above the ocean this lovely Saturday mornin outside my patio, the perfect harbinger to a beautiful day…
Second, thanks for all the creatures who cross my path…including the bug that bit my ankle really, really badly and all the birds near the ocean…
Thank you for the flexibility to say, hey, let’s drive to Key West and see friends…and 1 hour or 45 miles later being in their drive way.
Thank you for my new year’s revolution to be FEARLESS…and to driving around downtown Key West for 5 hours on a bike in crazy tourist traffic! I am TERRIFIED to ride my bike in traffic, but somehow made it the whole day cruising around downtown Key West and it was fine. (If your are my FB friend you might have seen the comment about the selfie in KW, for my blog……)
Thank you for the fact you can stop every 20 minutes in Key West and have a beer so you don’t realize you’re riding a bike in heavy traffic in a short dress, cowboy hat and flip flops!
Thank you to the guy who thought up lobster on Eggs Benedict. Crazy good. Even with the zydeco band playing and the roosters running under my table.
Thank you for Mr. Chapman. And his telling us the story of where he was born and where he grew up in KW, when we stopped to ask for directions. If you’ve ever been to KW you may have seen a black and white photo of him with his wonderful white mustache, holding a white chicken. He is a true Key Wester and he shook my hand as I got back on my bike to head down the street and told me to be careful of all the crazy tourist drivers.
Thank you for GPS that helped me find the teeny tiny Life Is Good store on Duvall Street so I could get the hat my granddaughter wanted for her 13th b’day (ok “wanted” is a stretch, she picked it over the text photo of a sea shell and a real live parrot I sent when asking about preferred gifts!)
Thank you for good friends who welcome you into their home, when they’ve only just moved in a few days ago. Cheers and a huge thanks to Stan and Sandy for showing us Key West “local style!” It was handle-bars-down my best day on this trip!
(Stan is on the right. Sandy was smart enough to jump out of the photo!)
And, finally thank you to Sparky who promises to bring me coffee in the morning before he drags me to Bahia Honda for kayaking…or just sitting on the beach.
Today is Friday and this was our first nice, sunny say since last Sunday. I’ve got a cold, or what would be a cold if I would let it, but I refuse to give in. Called the Dr today to get some meds called in to a Walgreen’s here and he said NO. WHAT?! I was pi&&ed off and then I realized it was probably the universe telling me I didn’t need them. So I had two glasses of wine for dinner and stole the wine glass…I’m feeling better already. (PS, these were the teeniest tiniest glasses I’ve ever seen, that’s why I stole one!)
So early this morning, it’s rainy, cold, gloomy, we read until Steve said he couldn’t take it another minute. I said chill. He left the room. I thought he just went for a walk. Turns out (2/12 hours later when I’m freaking out because I don’t know where he is) he has decided to ride his bike to the “7 Mile Bridge.” Ok, it’s at least 2 miles to get there, and then it’s…7 miles to the far side…and you got it…7 miles back. So he arrived home soaking wet and totally zooped up for having ridden 20 miles.
My stuff hurts just thinking about it…and that “road” is a hundred feet above the ocean Shudddddder!
Meanwhile, I was sitting on the balcony swilling coffee and just happened to catch a dolphin cruise by…
We ate a great breakfast of toasted croissants with Plugra butter and honey, strong coffee, fresh papaya, and Vermont cheesy scrambled eggs. He brought some cinnamon and I did the cold remedy of honey and cinnamon! Then…suddenly without warning…the wind picked up and the SUN CAME OUT!
It was gorgeous..all day long. The sun warmed the sky up, the temp reached 80+, and people came from everywhere to sit on the beach. It made up for all the other cold rainy days. (SORRY, I know you all still have snow and ice and rain on ice…but we drove 1900 miles….blah blah blah you don’t want to hear it.)
And I sat in the sun (thank you baby buddha) and read a 25 year old Nelson DeMille and took pix of the birds overhead.
Looks like he’s wearing a skeleton costume.
Love how white this next guy is against the blue sky.
As I sat there, I noticed the moon come out and suddenly the gulls and pelicans started flying frantically from one end of the beach to the other, right over my head, must have been 50 of them. I assume they were cruising the beach looking for din-din. But I got lucky and caught a couple of them flying right in front of the moon…
And then we went to happy hour for dinner. We needed a selfie to prove we are actually on this crazy road trip together. But of course, we didn’t get it perfect because we were laughing too hard. That sums it up, my life with this wonderful guy…we’re usually laughing too hard to get things perfect. Enjoy life earthlings!
We are giving this headline two stories this fine overcast Thursday morning as we come to you from a wonderful ocean front room at the Glunz Ocean Resort. Yes, the one Steve found totally by accident by dialing the wrong number.
Well this wrong number turned out to be a home run. We’re so close to the water even I could throw a rock and hit it (I am not known for great throwing skills!). Here’s a shot of the pool taunting us in the rain as we arrived yesterday afternoon.
I stared at it longingly as I did laundry!
We were very pleased at how great the space was, very modern, extremely clean and every convenience…down to a martini strainer…these people thought of everything. Apparently it was just completely gutted and remodeled and grand-re-opened this past Monday…but we wouldn’t learn that until this morning.
Dinner in included wine, both red and white, crackers, cheese, fresh papaya, sourdough bread and tuna. We read books and watched old Julia Child cooking shows. Some of us smoked stinky-gars on the porch, but we won’t name names. Then off to slumberland in a dreamy king size bed.
At 1:43 am (precisely) I was awakened by what could only have been the people above us either square dancing in wooden clogs or rearranging the furniture. Either way it was l o u d. Being awake allowed me to contemplate the route here, possible number of rooms, future weather, rhythm of a cigar smokers’ snores….and the list went on. At 2:15 I went to the sofa, pulled out the iPad. I also started to notice that unwelcome feeling you get when your nose is completely plugged and your throat is scratchy….NO WAY I thought.
By 5:50 am I had read the entire internet. Except for the stuff in Chinese because those characters are hard to decipher when you’re not feeling your best. It was time for some strong-ass coffee and hopefully a sunrise.
Mother Nature did not disappoint.
Is it just my sleep deprivation, or does that cloud look like a dolphin jumping over the sun!!?
Steve grabbed coffee and came to sit on the deck with me. A nice lady walked by and we all said good morning. Steve asked how long she was staying and she said, “Well, my family owns the place, so I’ll be here a while.” She’s the one who told us about the remodel. Said she was out for her morning walk to “see what she might find.”
And that brings us to the second story. A year or so ago, she was out picking up trash off the resort beach and found a bottle with some money and sand in it. She cracked it open and there was a note…from a woman…saying, “This is my husband. Charles Scott “Skinny” Smith. If you’ve found him, please call me and tell me where he is.” OMG we were stunned and laughing. The Glunz lady called the wife, “Hi, I’m calling from Marathon Florida and I have your husband.” Long story short, the wife asked that Skinny be put back in a bottle with the note, and tossed back in the drink. So, Ms. Glunz bottled Skinny up, inserted the note, sealed the bottle and tossed him off 7-Mile Bridge to be carried out on the Gulf tides! Someone from the Glunz family posted this on their Facebook page – apparently the Glunz family has one of the oldest beer distributorships in the U.S. and celebrated their 125th anniversary last year – they have a pretty good FB fan base. Within a short period of time the story got 8000 hits, then 800,000…and the story got picked up by the news. Ms. Glunz and the story of Skinny Smith made national news in the U.S….and England and Scotland, and Africa and Brazil and a handful of other countries. A news outlet in Brazil even called and invited to fly her and Skinny’s remains, along with his wife, to Brazil to all be reunited. Ms. Glunz said, “Why would I keep the ashes of some other woman’s husband?! I tossed him back in the ocean.”
Ok people, you can’t make that stuff up!
We rounded out the morning with a beach walk…
And got the chance to watch some fishermen just off the shore pulling in their lobster pots…
Wonder what he found in there…