Key West

February 1st, 2019

 

 

Love Love Love!    It’s beautiful and very alive.  We stayed at Boyd’s RV on Stone Key which is just over a tiny bridge from Key West and had a tiny spot with a sliver of a view to the bay.  The park was beautiful and had an amazing gift shop.  We hit all the tourist spots and some hidden gems off the beaten path in a rented golf cart.

Chickens rule the islands except at The Hemingway House

It says to preserve the furniture keep off! Cats don’t listen

There were 3 on the bed!

So many cats, many with 6 toes on their paws.  They had a special housing area just for the cats

Cat Condos

Hemmingway was a very interesting man.  He was a great aurthor but not so good at marriage.  He had 4.

The landscape is beautiful here and Sunsets are perfect.  So many spots to get an amazing view of the sunset

Southern most point in the US

There was a line a block long to get a photo!  We did a drive by, the people in the photo will never know they are in my blog!

Great food, excellent Bloody Marys

We opted for a spot that wasn’t famous for lunch on Duval Street and it may have been our best meal on the island!  And they had a Bloody Mary bar where you could custom build yours however you like as long as your CC balance was in good shape.  I just had the bartender build mine a little spicy and it was perfect.

The gulf from somewhere near the southern point

The fort

The wall of the fort

Paul went into the fort to see the canons, Duke and I walked the perimeter.

Around town, Cupid’s hanging on the porch

 

Interesting trees

Loved this Lighthouse right in town

The local cemetery had lots of Roberts!  Maybe Paul’s family is from Cuba and not Ireland😊

Fresh made ice cream from cream only. They used dry ice to freeze it and when it got too hard they used a torch to warm the side of the bowl. The creamiest I’ve ever had.

 

Had to go!

And finally! Great margaritas and ok food. Looked like all the others but I prefer the one in Capitola on the beach.  I just think a Margarita with a sunset over the ocean is just about perfection.

 

 

Tampa

January 24th, 2019

picked up Paul’s sisters from their cruise ship and spotted this little piece of art.  It was in a small park near the railways and the ports.

 

From there we we found a little park and had lunch before dropping Nancy for her flight.  Cindy has a later flight so we checked out downtown St. Petersburg.  Lots of galleries and expensive yauhts.

A cool old hotel right near the harbor.

St. Pete’s Beach

January 22nd, 2019

Our first Air B&B so that I can get out of the Minivan!  It’s not fancy and at first look it felt a bit creepy but it is a block from the beach and walking distance to Waffle House so it will work for this week while Paul works and Duke and I enjoy the sunshine and some space.

Fun in the sun

A little different than the west coast

The shells are abundant! How do you pick just 1

More feet, loving the sand and surf

Dining out is not usually our first choice but when they offer spectacular 360 views, and you can see forever from your seat how can you resist?

Spinners, dining in the round

First we had a cocktail on the beach after a beautiful 1 mile walk along the shore.  Ok, not Paul’s favorite thing but he is really trying to keep me happy in the Minivan so I get time in the sand.  Then we went upstairs to a fantastic view and then a beautiful dinner.  Yes the cost was our weekly food budget but we can eat peanut butter for a few days!

The view from Spinners

the sunset as not the best because the sky was so clear with not a cloud anywhere!  But just wIt a day and here you go!

Tuesday evening after another perfect day at the beach

so far Florida has delivered a pretty good visit!  The weather has been great and Paul is getting to do so work so everyone is happy.  

Sunshine, Sand and Waves, Perfection

January 18th, 2019

New Smyrna Beach is your typical east coast beach;  people sunbathing, splashing in the Atlantic Ocean and CARS!    There are people sunbathing and playing frisbee while cars pass right by.  Very interesting.

When it looks like a catch everyone stops

Taking a walk along the beach I found the most interesting jellyfish.

 

Cindy and I played a round of golf at Hidden Lakes Golf Course near New Smyrna Beach.  And I got my first Birdie!  Yeah me

Par 4, 265 yds! BIRDIE!

And now we are off to the Gulf Coast,  and more beach time

 

We made it

January 17th, 2019

3000 miles in 5 days!  We wont be repeating that again.  The weather is still a bit chilly but I’m wearing capris and a tee shirt so it’s looking up.  We arrived in New Smyrna Beach just in time for dinner with Paul’s sister Cindy.  I’m going to spend a couple days at her time share and Paul is off to work.  We will meet up Saturday in Tampa where Cindy and another of Paul’s sisters, Nancy will be sailing on a Carnival cruisefor 5 days.  Paul and I will be chillin on the beach in St. Petersburg where I have booked us a cottage for the week!  It’s a good time to ditch the van for a few days and spread out.

Today Cindy and I visited the cute little town of DeLand.   A very friendly town with many unique shops.  We found a brewery and sat a bit, enjoying some craft beers

Persimmon Hollow Craft Brewery

Drink Sensibly, But Get Weird  

That was their label,  it was fun to sip some local beers while chatting g with some locals and wAt hi g the crafter working with the hops.

Local artist painted these wings in an alley way. Everyone loved them and started taking photos and now the artist has 5 sets around Florida and has all kinds of merchandise to go along. I’m glad they still let us take photos without paying.

After a nice lunch in a local diner we headed to the Blue Springs Stars Park where we watched the Manatees enjoying the warm waters of the spring.

 

 

 

They are beautiful to watch and the water is so clear.  There was all kinds of other fish to and watching the interactions was amazing.

Tomorrow is the beach and golf!

 

 

I’ll say it again…. El Paso to Houston takes a REALLY long time!

January 15th, 2019

You can’t do it in one day,  and there isn’t much to see.  Sunday was a very long day;  we started near Buckeye Arizona at 7:45 am and finally stopped somewhere in west Texas about 11:30 pm.  The good news is we lost an hour entering central time so we were only in our seats about 14 hours.  We never even left the van through New Mexico.  I did manage a few photos.

And we get 5 cents per gallon discount with our Flying Jay card, plus our cc gives us money back

Welcome to Texas! I missed the others.

 

Walmart, Fort Stockton, Texas

Now that’s an RV.  A fire truck with an 18 wheeler cab with a car and towing a 25 ft trailer.  I guess you use what you have.

 

Buc ees has so many billboards and all are creative

We always stop into Buc ee’s when in Texas-  you can get gas, buy mom a gift and have lunch in under an hour !

We made it to my sister Karol home east of Houston in time for a wonderful dinner and some catching up.  Tuesday we are driving again.  We will be in New Smyrna Beach Wednesday for some well earned beach time as well as some golf !  I’m hoping I get to put the shorts and sandals on!

Winter of 2019

January 13th, 2019

Let’s go to Florida!  That’s the plan so we bring in the New Year with great friends and then New Years morning we head south, stopping to visit mom, dad and my brother then to Los Angeles to work.  Things are going great, we finish up work in El Cahon Friday afternoon and head into AZ.  The next morning…………… back to San Diego

Midway

We are headed back to Roseville.   We arrive in Roseville at 7 pm Thursday, Jan 10, had an MRI and went home!  It’s a long story, I’ll spare you the details.  The good news is the following day I got the all clear and by 3:30 we were on our way to San Jose to see the kids one more time before heading to Florida!  Yep, we are determined to get to the Florida Keys later this month.

One more hug!

We are going to do the express trip and try to make up some time.  Saturday we traveled 600 miles to get us into AZ.  Today will be another 700 miles to get us to Texas!  My ass is killing me.

Good morning from the rest stop outside of Phoenix

East of Tucson

So far so good!  Looking forward to some beach time !

Natchez Trace

October 24th, 2018

This was a let down and we didn’t have much time because we needed to get me to an airport in Dallas by the 25th.  Natchez Trace Parkway is all about the history and without much time we decided we should save this for another time.  We did spend the night in one of their great campgrounds and traveled about 75 miles but then we chose to exit.  Before we did we saw a mom and 2 fawns that were so small!  I think they were only a few days old.  Good thing they are way south.  When we found a way off the parkway we came across a very cool eatery!  Big Joes BBQ.  The lot was a mess and inside were several locals having lunch at a small round table.  The only other table in the place was covered with stuff; bills, newspapers, napkins!  Definitely not inviting but the guys eating said “just move that aside and have your lunch!”  Ok, that’s what we did.  There was an young guy behind the counter that took Pauls order and disappeared.  We realized he went out to get the ribs of the BBQ!

The old guy says “what are you eating?”  “Can I get the stuffed baked potatoe?”

Yep, everything?”

“OK, can I get the pulled pork on the side?”

“I guess!” “Butter”

“Sure”

I got the biggest baked potato with at least 3/4 c of butter lathered right up on top!

So we sit down and then the old guy comes out and takes a seat.  I’m tasting Pauls beans and they were good, very smokey.  So the old guy says “you want your own beans?”  I’m thinking sure, but I have this huge baked potato and a bunch of pulled pork but he gets up, takes my plate and loads me up some beans!

Then he wants to know what is wrong with the butter that I’ve moved to the side!  Nothing, just too much.  He says “thats not much butter!”  And then he sells Paul one of his T-shirts and invites us to his church for BBQ and to watch the big game!  Tennessee and Alabama!

That was an experience that you just can’t plan and his BBQ was delicious!

Then we come across this place

Sweet Potato Store

I didn’t even know the best sweet potatoes come from Mississippi.  This little shop had all kinds of goodies; cookies, breads, pies, whole sweet potatoes!  The bread was delicious.

Another trip wrapped up!

Maintenance Items and then off to more fun stuff!

October 21st, 2018

Once in awhile you have to take care of regular stuff when you spend a lot of time on the road.  This weekend we found somewhere to change the oil and get new tires for the van!  55k miles was all the tires were willing to give.  We arrived in Knoxville for the first appointment at Big O and I did laundry while the new tires were being added.  It worked out really well because it was raining really hard in the am but the weather said things would be clearing by noon.  So after we had new tires, clean clothes and a few more groceries we headed towards Nashville.

Dukes favorite part is when we find a nice spot of grass!

Our next destination is Natchez Parkway NP  that goes from south of Nashville all the way to Natchez Mississippi!  But before that we will do a little tasting on The Jack Trail.  We chose two distilleries and both were impressive.

 

                            George Dickel Distilleries

The only one I really liked was one that is not readily available!  That’s ok, I prefer Vodka.  The tour was very impressive and the hollow the distillery was beautiful.

George Dickel found a beautiful location to Distill his Whisky

On to the big guy!  Jack Daniels.  We didn’t have reservations so we could only get into the tour without samples!  I’m not a whisky lover so i’ll save my sippin for something else.  The whole town of Lynchburg is all about Jack Daniels.  I did find a small tasting room for wine – passed on it to because all they had was sweet wines.  And then I found a spot for whisky tasting for flavored whisky’s.  The bad news was before I paid I got the first sample of lemon and it tasted like cough syrup so the nice girls said “you probably won’t like any of them!”  Saved myself $10 and a bottle of something I really didn’t want!

black residue on all the buildings is from the burning wood that is part of the process in Tennessee Whisky!

Mr. Jack Daniels

 

 

Great Smokey Mountains

October 21st, 2018

We were here 4 years ago and hit the peak of fall!  The colors were spectacular and then it snowed and it was all gone.  We were hoping for a repeat but we only saw the beginning which was beautiful but nothing like before.  This park is very popular and crowded in the main areas.  We tried a different area, a little out of the park and it was busy too but not as much.  This is a park that would be best during the week.

We spent our first day exploring Deep Creek which is outside the main park of the park and quite beautiful.  We took a short hike and saw a couple more waterfalls.

A Small waterfall after a short hike.

Then we stopped in Bryson City but I didn’t want to shop too much because I was looking forward to Gatlinburg on the other side of the National Park.  I had decided that this time I was going to shop!  What a disappointment.  Gatlinburg is right next to Pigeon Forge and is one big amusement park.  All there is here are gift shops and chain stores!  Should have stayed in Bryson City!  Next trip

Gatlinburg at night! It was beautiful looking down from the park