Custer State Park Working Adventure: Being Tourists with Friends and Family

We love when family and friends come to visit us on our adventures. It not only helps with our homesickness but also gives us a great excuse to become tourists, or travel guides, as the case may be.

Lee and Lynda came through the Black Hills on the way home from their trip out west. We made a whirlwind day of adventure looking for buffalo and wildlife, and checking into Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore. There was lunch at the Purple Pie somewhere in between too.


Crazy Horse with Lee and Lynda

State Flags at Mt. Rushmore

Lee and Lynda at Mt. Rushmore

Lee, Lynda, Jennifer and Russ. Mt. Rushmore

Our drive took us through Wind Cave National Park, where we saw buffalo and prairie dogs.

Buffalo in Wind Cave National Park


Buffalo in Wind Cave National Park


Prairie Dog. Wind Cave National Park


Prairie dogs. Wind Cave National Park

Our animal sightings in Custer State Park included pronghorn deer, donkeys and water buffalo (haha, just kidding…it was really buffalo in water)!

I haven’t heard his name yet, but the small herd of burros has an addition. Custer State Park


Triplet pronghorns. Custer State Park


Water Buffalo. Custer State Park

The following week, our son Josiah took a few days in between tour dates to come and visit us. This mamma can never spend enough times with her babies and we had a great time doing a little sight-seeing and some hiking.

Hey…I didn’t get a copy of the pic you took…

It’s what he does.


These two! What are they into now?


Over there. Where?


The only time we gets pics together (with both our heads in the shot) is when Josiah is in town.


Exploring Wind Cave National Park


The truck straddling French Creek in Wind Cave National Park.

We had bison at the Bugglin’ Buffalo.

Did the touristy stuff at Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore. (I have no pictorial proof of Crazy Horse for some reason!)

Hi George. Mt. Rushmore


These two! If you’ve ever wondered why I have gray hair…its definitely one of these two.


My boys.


Mt. Rushmore National Monument

I made him go hiking. Told him he had to get off the electronics and get fresh air. Just kidding…but grateful to have kids who love the same things we do.

We hiked to Little Devil’s Tower in Custer State Park. The views are spectacular and the hike isn’t half bad either.








He actually doesn’t care for being this high up. Thanks for hanging out with us!




What’s for lunch mom? Still PB&J son.

Best cell service in town. Hi Sami…we missed having you!

Only one of the three of us wanted to swim after our hike. Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park is beautiful, but it’s too cold for this Floridian.

Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park.

The cool breeze coming off the lake is nice too! Sylvan Lake

And just like that the friends and family left us to our adventure. Everyone is welcome to join us, we miss you all! Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.

Georgia 2017_04_01 to 2017_05_31: The Fun People

Fun wouldn’t be the same without all the great friends we have made along the way. Our time in North Georgia was filled with friends and family…what a blessing!

Rick and Jennifer came up to their cabin in Blairsville, the second week in April, and we had a great time with them.

They came over to Cleveland to check out our camp site, and then we took a ride, to Helen, along with some of our Paradise neighbors, Bruce and Teri, and Brian and Lynn. We had a great lunch at the Old Bavarian Inn. I look forward to their Reuben sandwiches any time I can get one.

Reuben Sandwich, Old Bavarian Inn, Helen, Georgia

However, this was not the highlight of our afternoon. It seem that a certain someone forgot the key FOB for his motorcycle. It is possible to start your bike if the key FOB is nearby (say hanging on the hook in the camper) and then one is able to drive far away from their key FOB. It only becomes apparent that one has made such a mistake, when, upon shutting down the bike, they cannot start it up again.

There is another way to start the bike, if a security code has been set up. Everyone was hungry, so over lunch, a security code was searched for in the owners manual, phone calls were made, and Iphones diligently searched. To no Avail.

NASA we have a problem.

I’m not going to name any names, but dessert on this ride was humble pie.

Humble Pie for dessert.

The guys went to retrieve the key FOB, while the ladies did some shopping in Helen.

Feeling a little Jerky?

Fortunately, Helen isn’t that far from Paradise Valley R.V. Resort, so once the key FOB was retreived, we still had time for a great afternoon of riding.

Sunday afternoon ride through the mountains of North Georgia.

Hanging with Rick and Jennifer means relaxing on the porch, enjoying the beautiful mountain view.

Best seats in North Georgia. Rick and Jennifer’s porch

Great riding.

Out riding with Rick and Jennifer.

A picnic lunch at Brasstown Bald.

Hey…we have cell phone service! Can we make it all the way to the top? In these motorcycle boots???

Getting silly after all those curvy roads.

Out for more riding with Rick and Jennifer. Hay, what’s the hold-up?

Rick and Jennifer’s cabin is not only comfy, but it has a beautiful view!

Finally got to see their dogwood tree bloom.

Relaxing sunsets.

Sunset at the cabin.

We also finally finished up the curtains for the man-cave, had many wonderful meals, and Spades! Alas, our week went too quickly…time to retire you two…hurry it up already!

Right after our week with Rick and Jennifer, we headed over to Charlotte, to spend Easter weekend with my brother, his wife and family. We had a great weekend, which included fabulous food, great games, and some hiking to work off the calories. I’m going to group their return visit to us, over Memorial day Weekend, right here. It is so wonderful to get to have more time for family! Time with Bert, and Soher is always full of love and fun.

Easter weekend with Bert and Soher, in Charlotte.

We focused on seeing a few water falls, while Bert and Soher came to visit us. Anna Ruby Falls, Vogel State Park, and Helton Creek Falls, as well as…lots of good food.

Anna Ruby Falls, with Bert and Soher.

Helen, Georgia, with Bert and Soher. Hofers Bakery and Cafe for dinner and some take home desserts.

I have to go back…they are closed! Helen, Georgia, with Bert and Soher.

Relaxing after dinner in Helen, Georgia. Bert and Russ. FUDGE!

Too many Jerky signs in this town! Helen, Georgia, with Bert and Soher.

At trip anywhere near Blairsville, has to include food at Jim’s Smokin Que.

Lunch at Jim’s Smokin Que, with Bert and Soher.

Then onto Vogel State Park and Helton Creek Falls.

Vogel State Park, with Bert and Soher.

Vogel State Park, with Bert and Soher.

Helton Creek Falls, with Bert and Soher.

View from Richard Russell Scenic Highway, with Bert and Soher.

We spent a great day with John and Janet. Of course it started out with a quick lunch at Jim’s, but we took the adventure to Paradise Hill Vineyard, for a bottle of wine and great music on their patio. Then back to our campsite for dinner, which unfortunately did not include a camp fire because of the rain!

John and Janet, at Paradise Hills Vineyard, Blairseville, Georgia.

It’s nice having some retired friends around! Gary and Debbie, whom we met in Marathon a few years ago, when they were sailing Aldeberon, have moved along to Hiawassee, Georgia. They build an adorable little retirement house and we enjoyed our visits. We really enjoyed the building project, because the “pay” was completed with fantastic gourmet meals prepared by Chef Debbie!

Russ and Gary built steps and a deck to connect the driveway to the beautiful front porch.

Completed front porch access deck.

We all know that all work and no play…is just not fun, so we made sure we had lots of time to go out and explore, a few fire-side nights by the creek and plenty of hiking outings were fun for all.

Hiking Brasstown Bald with Gary and Debbie.

Hiking Amicalola Falls, with Gary and Debbie.

Hiking Smithgall Woods State Park, with Gary and Debbie.

We made fast friends with Bruce and Teri. It seems we have lots in common, their winter home is close to our place in Umatilla. They love motorcycle riding. They just love life!

Shortly after they arrived from their winter home in the Villages, they began making preparations for the newest addition to their Paradise homestead. Their caboose arrived with much fanfare and activity. Finally by the end of the day, I spotted them relaxing in their chairs, admiring the caboose!

The Caboose arrives, Bruce and Teri’s new RV! (look how cute they are sitting their at the end of the day)

Out for a beautiful ride.

Riding the mountains in North Georgia, with Bruce and Terri.

These two love-birds do this at the end of every ride!

Love this…they do this at the end of all their rides. Sooo cute!

We are always excited when we get to spend time with our family. Especially our California gang, who don’t get back to this coast as often as I want them too. Fortunately for us, Ray’s younger sister graduated from UF (Go Gators, Yeah Maggie!) We became part of the two week loop they did from Orlando, to South Florida, to Gainseville, to Georgia and then South Carolina! Wow, I’m tired for them.

Nanny is ready for two little grands!

Ready for the Grands!

Good morning Nanny. Is PopPop awake yet?

Monta and Gabby visit Nanny and PopPop.

Out for our first Hike, at Dukes Creek Falls, located on Richard Russell Scenic Highway.

Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby at Dukes Creek Falls

Hiking Dukes Creek Falls with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby.

Hiking Dukes Creek Falls, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby

PopPop has hiking buddies. Hiking Dukes Creek Falls, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby

Hiking Dukes Creek Falls, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby

There is never a dull moment with this guy!

Nanny, I stacked the shoes by the door like you asked.

Extra shoes make Nanny’s heart happy.

Time for bed! Deep sigh, Nanny is tired!

Sleeping in Nanny and PopPops camper with Thomas is the best.

Day two, more hiking, at Smithgall Woods State Park, with fun in the creek!

Hiking Smithgall Woods State Park with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby.

Having fun in the creek, under the covered bridge at Smithgall Woods State Park, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby.

We made the best of a couple of rainy days. Babyland was a big hit, with an afternoon trip to Dahlonega. The Cleveland library had lots of games that were PhD approved by Dr. Daddy! I’m not sure I ever truly appreciated an inside playground this much! Thank you Chick-fil-A.

A rainy day was meant to be spent at Babyland and holding newborn Cabbage Patch Dolls.

Babyland, taking care of the Cabbage Patch Babies. I think she will fit, I can make her fit!

An afternoon trip to Dahlonega, with a stop at the Cottage Vineyard and Winery.

Lunch at Zaxby’s ana an afternoon in Dahlonega. PopPop, stick to the story line!

Rainy days and Libraries with PhD approved games, and Chick-fil-A! Thanks for the indoor playground!

Then just like that it was time for them to leave!

Time for Nanny to cry!

PopPop says don’t worry, I won’t let her cry for long!

No crying aloud!

We loved our Georgia Mountain spring visit. Of course we have moved along and there are more adventures to come.

Thanks for following along with us.

What We do, When We’re Doing Nothing: November 2016 to March 2017

Collier-Seminole State Park

I’m not sure how to attest for this missing period of time on our blog…so I’m just going to fill it in as best I can.  We finished our Short, Short Trailer trip and returned home in mid November. We had nothing to do, except unpack and relax around the house. If you know us…you’re already laughing uncontrollably.

We returned on November 13th and headed back out the door on November 18th, to meet up with our Florida kids and grand-kids, at Collier-Seminole State Park in Naples Florida. This was a very nice, small park. Great for the kids to ride around on their bikes. We had campfires every night and ate our way through a few bags of marshmallows in the evenings and pancakes in the morning.

Marco Island sunset with the family

Russ and RJ

Family photo time, Collier-Seminole State Park


It’s hard to get a good picture off this gang!

No wonder these people are a bunch of cut-ups! Apples and trees, they don’t fall very far.

Marco Island Sunset

We had a great few hours hanging out with Tommy and Alecia, as they headed South through Jensen Beach on Saol Nua. It’s amazing how many great friends we have made along this adventure!

Tommy and Alecia and the family, making their way back to Boot Key Harbor

We had a big crowd for Thanksgiving! Josiah and Sami came from Dallas to be with us, it was a great day to be thankful for family and friends.

Thanksgiving 2016

Josiah, Sami, Jennifer and Russ

Every year close to Thanksgiving, its gonna be Josiah’s birthday. This year we celebrated a day early, while the whole gang was here. Julie made a delicious cake, and Josiah’s still able to blow out all the candles, whoohoo!

Josiah’s 27th birthday…no helping with the candles, kids!

We always make time to go for a ride!

There’s always time for a ride with Rick and Jennifer

We have been blessed with so many friends since we began this adventure. Jack and Cheryl, from Zig Zag, came to visit! Yes…I promise Cheryl was there, too…she always manages to elude my camera!!! Eureka and Nyah had a good ole reunion, Pepe was being a cat.

Jack, Cheryl and Eureka came for a visit

While Josiah was in the area, we were able to spend a few more days with him up at our place in the Ocala Forest. Here’s a change up…dinner by Josiah, photography by Mom!

Dinner by Josiah

On December 5th we headed out to Indiantown to the DuPuis Wildlife Management Area. This is a free campground, although you need to go on-line and register in advance. There are no hook-ups for water or electric (we brought a generator.) They do have a dump station on site. And speaking of sites, there were no designated spots, just pull into an area and put out the table cloth. But, that also means, that after you are all set up, someone can set up too close, which is what happened to us. It was nice this time of year, no bugs, and we didn’t need any a/c.

DuPuis Wildlife Management Area, Indiantown, FL

My brother, his wife and my sister came to town, and we celebrated an early birthday dinner for my Mom. Mmmm, Captain Jack’s buried treasure. I miss Ale House! Can Mom have another birthday soon?

Early Birthday dinner for Jennifer’s Mom.

Austin and Kiera invited us to their school parties.

Parties at School

We are relaxing, right? We really need to make sure our new camper is working, so, on December 18th, we headed out to the St. Lucie Locks campground, and though it was close to home, we had a great time. We had a few visitors, a couple of hikes, a couple of bicycle rides, and a great time just watching the boats go through the locks. Russ had the whole place lit up with a ton of Christmas lights, too. This was a great campground, difficult to get a reservation, because there are only ten or so sites. We will come again.

St. Lucie Locks, Stuart, FL

St. Lucie Locks

St. Lucie Locks

Before we knew it, it was time for Christmas festivities to begin. Kiera and Chloe, twirled their way through the Stuart Christmas Parade.

Our little Twirlers marched in the Stuart Christmas Parade

Christmas in our world is always spread out over a week or two. First up, another visit from Josiah! I think he just came to see Nyah and Pepe, lol!

Josiah and Nyah. Nyah loved her lion mane, and proudly pranced around.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day with the family.

Christmas Eve, Christmas day, family fun

When Missy comes to visit, that means presents from Miss Nancy for everyone!

Opening our Christmas presents

Russ’ high school buddy, Dan and Pam, came to hang out after Christmas with us.


Dan and Pam, lights at the Mansion on Hutchinson

And just in case you think we couldn’t possibly squeeze any more into the schedule, all my cousins came to Jacksonville, and I had not seen them in many years. So I ran up to visit my Aunt and Uncle, and all the cousins! I was home by New Years Eve!

Hanging out with my cousins!

And that was a wrap on 2016! Do you think we squeezed enough in? It was a great year, and we would do it all again. This adventure is absolutely awesome!

Welcome 2017. What can we find to do this year? Let’s start with a camping trip to Gainseville and Chiefland, Florida. We spent January 4-8 at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, just South of Gainesville. It was a great campground, filled with beautiful oak hammocks, and a short walk to Lake Walburg. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with us. A cold-front moved in, we had rain and a too cold for South-Florida people kinda days. But, we didn’t have a wet tent to deal with!!!

Paynes Prairie Preserve, Gainseville, FL

We moved on January 8th to Manatee Springs State Park. The weather cleared up and we had a fabulous time hiking, kayaking, and eating some really great BBQ at Anderson’s Outfitters located right in the park on the spring.

Russ trying out his Christmas gift from Josiah and Sami. Hiking trails abound. Manatee Springs State Park.

Kayaking at Manatee Springs State Park

Lunch at Anderson’s Outfitters, Manatee Springs State Park

Campground hosts, Manatee Springs State Park

Around Chiefland, Manatee Springs State Park

Love camping in the winter and a great campfire, Manatee Springs State Park

We had a great dinner with Ashton and Nina, on s/v Soul Mate, while they were held up waiting for a weather window to head out for the Bahamas. Have I mentioned how much fun we have been having with all these boating people we have made friends with. Wish we could have gone to the Bahamas with you!

Ashton and Nina, just one pic with the peacock!

And our sad day, the one we were dreading, where Nyah walked over the rainbow bridge to the special place that our fur-babies go. She was the best pup ever and our hearts are broken! Miss you girl, you are the best!

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

We tried to stay home…but… So we spent a few days at our place in the Ocala National forest. More hiking and fires and a few more tears!

Hiking a section of the Florida Trail in the Ocala National Forest

Fire! Ocala National Forest

Birding, Ocala National Forest

Our place in the Forest, is just a nice ride to St. Augustine…and no trip to St. Augustine would be complete without O’Steen’s and visiting friends who happen to be in town.


We found Mike and Lori working. What’s wrong with these people! It was great to make them stop and have a drink and catch up since we last saw them back at Boot Key Harbor.

Mike an Lori, from Cheshire

And just when we think we can take a break…the bottom needs a little attention. We headed out to the inlet with Ike and John, to give the boats a little TLC.

Hey look! We still have a boat.

Now that the sailboat bottom is all cleaned up, we decided to…wait for it…take a camping trip to the Keys! Fun, fun, fun hanging out and catching up with everyone, and the weather was perfect!

Was this site, one, two or three? Camping in the Keys, Long Key State Park

We had to move two times during our stay to make it work, but it was worth it!

Kayaking in Boot Key Harbor with Cyndi and Molly, from Island Finz

Scrapple for breakfast at the Wooden Spoon. Oh, yea…he don’t like scrapple, he got pancakes!

Crane Point and Russ’ birthday with Steve and Cyndi…and Molly too.

Burdidne’s for dinner and Music of Cory and Ty. Roland and Lita, Tommy and Alecia and gang, and Steve and Cyndi.

Pepe misses being on the boat!

We slowed down for March. We have another adventure for April and May, so we need to pack and get it all together. But not until we celebrated my Dad’s birthday with a weekend trip to the Ocala National Forest, with my sister and her girl, Roxie!

Birthday Weekend for my Dad

Around the house while we were packing, our bird of paradise bloomed and Missy came to visit for a few days.

Bird of paradise, Missy and Pepe Le Pew

We did a looong day up to Daytona Bike Week…I think there’s a reason they call it a bike week and not a bike day! It’s a lot to squeeze into one day, but we did it! It was much easier with the Krispy Creme donuts on the ride home, Thanks Jennifer for the great snack idea!!!

2017 Daytona Bike Week, with Rick and Jennifer

A Couple of family birthday dinners, and we are ready to gas up the truck and head out of here.

Early birthday dinners with the family

Hey, thanks for hanging in there for my catch-up blog. You know we love you and are glad you can follow along with our crazy adventures! Stay tuned…more to come!

Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: Family, San Jose, and San Francisco, CA 2016_10_10

We made it to the West Coast, to enjoy a week of family, and exploring the area like a real tourist. Even though the drought wrought area was blessed with rain, almost our whole stay, we still had a great visit! We spent the week with our daughter, Jennette and her husband, Ray, and our grands, Monta and Gabby. Our son, Josiah and his girlfriend, Sami, flew in to meet us also, so it was a great week for family.

Nanny was excited to see the wind turbines, because that meant we were getting close!!!

Are we there yet?

We set up camp at Sanborn County Park, just up from Saratoga, CA. Although we had an awful time with our reservation due to lack of any cell communications and the fact that we arrived on the Columbus day and that is a holiday for County employees. We managed to get a site for the first night, and a move to the site we would have for the rest of the rainy week! The park had an area for tent camping, RV electric hook-up sites, a dump station and a huge park for picnics and hiking.

Sanborn County Park

Sanborn County Park, we had a cook out, of course!

A fun day at Happy Hollow Zoo. I think PopPop may have had more fun than the grands!

Happy Hollow Zoo

Happy Hollow Zoo

PopPop helped someone master the stepping stones over the water.

Happy Hollow Zoo

Happy Hollow Zoo

Happy Hollow Zoo

PopPop can even make fun at Costco!

Shopping with PopPop

Do these ducks look a little spoiled? I guess the drought is real, when the ducks have to find swimming pools.

California Ducks

We celebrated Ray’s birthday with cupcakes and assorted shenanigans.

Happy Birthday Ray!

The shenanigans included lots of excitement in the bear castle.

PopPop and Uncle Josiah might be a bit large for this bear hut

Hanging out fun. PopPop where did you find that famous orange hat?

Strong Mama. And, yes, this hat does have a story! What goes around comes around, hahaha

Noooo, Uncle Josiah!

Playing outside in between the rain, at Jennette’s courtyard.

Playing outside in between the rain, at Jennette’s courtyard.

Dinner inside! Yea, more rain!

This is how low tech Silicon Valley really is.

Low tech

Who’s bigger, the kid or the cat? Say hi to Tyson!

Let’s do a family photograph!

Family photo time…

Ok, that works…I guess?

As good as it gets around here!

We all headed out on Saturday, to the Campbell Oktoberfest celebration. I somehow managed not to get pictures of everyone.

Campbell Oktoberfest. Nanny checked for trains…no grands were injured during this photo-shoot!

We had a great visit with Josiah and Sami, but they had to head back home…wish you could stay longer!

Josiah and Sami

On our last full day, we tempted more rain and headed to San Francisco. Off and on, but we had a great tour guide…Thank you Ray!


Nyah made it to San Francisco

Nyah heading into the City

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

Fun at the Fort. San Francisco, CA

Bridge view from the fort. San Francisco, CA

Yea, that hill that thinks its a street, or is that, street. Lombard Street

San Francisco, CA

Dinner in China Town at Brandy Ho’s on Columbus Avenue.

Brandy Ho’s, San Francisco, CA

After dark. San Francisco, CA

Well we had one last morning at the park, and then it was time to say goodbye to our babies.

Saratoga, CA

Saratoga, CA

Saratoga, CA

Saratoga, CA

Last smile for Nanny…you know I cried all the way to our next stop!

Saratoga, CA

I never understood my grandmother’s tears when we left…until now!

Saratoga, CA

We had to be on our way. Thanks for stopping by, this trip isn’t over yet…and you won’t believe what’s going to happen. Come back again!

Over the mountain to our next adventure

Land, Air and Sea Adventures: Life in Boot Key Harbor


IMG_4041 (2)

We have been very busy the past few weeks, with land, air and sea adventures from our winter in Boot Key Harbor.

I spent the last week of January and the first week of February visiting grand-babies and their parents in California. The temperatures were a little chilly for this Florida girl, but visits trump cold weather when it comes to Nanny getting to visit grand-babies.


Getting picked up at the airport


Overlook of Santa Clara valley, from the winery


Beautiful day at Sleepy Hollow Zoo

Hiking on a beautiful Saturday morning

Hiking on a beautiful Saturday morning


Cooking pancakes, ice-cream date, bike riding, dinner time and Nanny snuggles

And this from the main reason for my trip to California…Gabby’s baby dedication.

Gabby's baby dedication

Gabby’s baby dedication

The Captain dropped me off at Miami International Airport on his way  to the house, where he gathered up all boat related items we weren’t in need of and returned to Boot Key Harbor. Between the morning net and the Saturday morning flea market, he was able to thin out the excess substantially. Another flea market is on the horizon and we are hoping to share what is left!

My flight home had a three hour lay-over in Atlanta, so I convinced this guy to come and visit me for a little while. It was really great to see Benito!



Of course cleaning out means that there is more room to buy things at the boat show (just kidding) but, we did go to the Miami Boat Show. We were able to get a hands on on look and good pricing on our next big priority for setting up No Ka Oi for the cruising we have planned. Our next priority was weather acquisition when we are away from our current means of acquiring reports. We decided SSB radio communications would meet our need the best, and we will be receiving our unit in a week or so (stay tuned for the installation details.) We also checked on other items we were interested in for the future, exchanged a grill light that wasn’t working and picked up a nice rain jacket for a great price. We also caught a weather seminar by Chris Parker, it is good to have a face to go with the voice. It was a long day, but we had Georgette and Gary to share the ride and day and a great meal at Mario’s in Homestead on our return home.

The weather has been just beautiful and we went kayaking around the harbor. Have I told you how much we love living in paradise?

Kayaking Boot Key Harbor

Kayaking Boot Key Harbor

Valentine’s Day was quite relaxing. We picked up breakfast at the Harbor Hillbillies and took it over to the marina tiki to hang out at the brunch pot-luck, without having to cook anything. I’m perfecting K.I.S.S.  The wind laid down and we found a sunny spot overlooking the ocean to hang out for the afternoon, followed by a scrumptious dinner of steak with mushrooms, baked sweet potatoes and cauliflower, with a pretty sunset and our favorite Valentine’s movie, Sleepless in Seattle, it was a fine day.

Valentine's Day 2016

Valentine’s Day 2016

In other news, the tree that was struck by lighting over the summer finally came down. Fortunately it was by a tree service and not a strong wind. We are thankful to have wonderful children to oversee the project and are especially thankful that it came down safely.

Tree finally down

Tree finally down

The Captain took advantage of a sunny afternoon, with a light breeze to put up our new sails. With the weather we have been having, we hadn’t had an opportunity to make sure everything fit properly. All seems well and we are looking forward to getting off the mooring ball for a nice sail real soon.

Our new sails up

Our new sails up

We are ramping up our provisioning as we look to head out to the Bahamas in the next couple of months. We are challenged with the space limitations we have and want to be wise in taking items that won’t be easily obtained, like spare parts or certain foods that we prefer. We are using our mobile storage shed (i.e. our van) to help us organize and accomplish this task and asking lots of questions to those who have gone out before us. Stay tuned for more provisioning lessons learned.

We hope you are enjoying a beautiful week wherever you are.




Happy New Year 2016 from Boot Key Harbor

Bringing in 2016 Key West style

Bringing in 2016 Key West style

We try hard not to miss our weekly post, but we were just having too much fun over Christmas and New Years to squeeze one in. Here is everything you need to know about all the fun we had in the past couple of weeks, here in Boot Key Harbor and a couple of trips home.

We had some very nice weather the week of Christmas and we broke out the kayaks and checked out the harbor.

Taking pictures from the kayak

Taking pictures from the kayak

We went home the weekend before Christmas because we just couldn’t bear to miss Rick and Jennifer’s ugly sweater party. We had so much fun eating, playing corn hole, stealing gifts, playing pictionary and hanging out with good friends.

Rick and Jennifer's Christmas party!

Rick and Jennifer’s Christmas party!

We got up early the next morning and brought Austin and Kiera, our not-so-little any more grand-children, back to Boot Key Harbor with us. We had a blast feeding tarpon at Robbie’s, a day trip to the Theater of the Sea, catching their first fish, Sombrero beach and watching pirate movies with them.

Feeding tarpon at Robbies

Feeding tarpon at Robbie’s

Waking up PopPop, driving the Whaler and seaweed fights on Sombrero beach

Waking up Pop Pop, driving the Whaler and seaweed fights on Sombrero beach

Austin's first fish

Austin’s first fish

Austin's first fish

Kiera’s first fish

We are pretty proud of ourselves, this is how grandparents go for the win on the ride home…

And the win goes to Nanny and PopPop for wearing them out!

And the win goes to Nanny and Pop Pop for wearing them out!

We had a great couple of days home with everyone for Christmas, although I didn’t get enough pictures, here are a few.

Christmas Eve lunch with Josiah and Sami. A happy Nyah with her Darth Vader toy.

Christmas Eve lunch with Josiah and Sami. A happy Nyah with her Darth Vader toy.

Christmas dinner with the family at our daughter's house. Grest Grandma Joyce and new bikes from Santa.

Christmas dinner with the family at our daughter’s house. Great Grandma Joyce and new bikes from Santa.

We couldn’t get out of town without a little hard labor, in the rain of course!

Quite a sizable pile, if you don't mond me saying!

Quite a sizable pile, if you don’t mind me saying!

There was a full moon on the harbor when we returned.

Full moon on Boot Key Harbor

Full moon on Boot Key Harbor

When you are living big on a sailboat, your Christmas presents are big too. We gave each other new sails for Christmas this year, thank you honey, they are beautiful!

New sails for Christmas

New sails for Christmas, top left is the new jib, others are the new main sail.

We brought the New Year in with Georgette and Gary in Key West. It was a fun night, except for the bus ride home! Some of us (me) don’t do getting home in the early mornings as well as we used to!!!

Bringing in the 2016 in Key West with Gary and Georgette.

Bringing in 2016 in Key West with Gary and Georgette.

This was our Sunday weather, everyday can’t be perfect in paradise!

Sunday weather

Sunday weather

The Captain has a new supervisor for daily chores, Pepe is on top of keeping the job going right.

Supervisor Pepe Le Pew

Supervisor Ships Cat Pepe Le Pew

After the rain on Sunday and Monday our cold front has arrived, low of 68, highs in the mid 70’s. It might be about time for you to come and visit us down here in paradise! We hope you come to see us soon.

Happy Anniversary, Captain





2015_10_23 IMG_8451 17th anniversarySeventeen years ago I married this guy.  Our recessional song was Steven Curtis Chapman’s, The Great Adventure, and let me tell you life has been nothing less for us.

Saddle up your horses

We’ve got a trail to blaze

Through the yonder of God’s Amazing grace

Let’s follow our leader into the Glorious unknown

This is the life like no other whoa whoa,

This is The Great Adventure

I would be lying to say that every day was perfect, but I still think I’m the luckiest girl in town.

Here are a few pics from our special day spent in Fernandina Beach.

Lunch at Timoti’s Seafood Shack!

2015_10_23 Timoti's

2015_10_23 Fabulous food at Timoti’s Seafood Shack


Captain having fun, makes picture taking to new levels.


2015_10_23 Anchors Aweigh

2015_10_23 Anchors Aweigh

Shopping with the Captain, only the shirt came home.

Shopping for another shirt to stain

2015_10_23 Shopping for another shirt to stain

A little afternoon break from bike riding, picture taking and shopping.

2015_10_23 Break at the Green Turtle Tavern, Fernandina Beach

2015_10_23 Break at the Green Turtle Tavern, Fernandina Beach

We confess our sins…coveting. Anyone want to go in with us? only 37 million. Go check her out at the Laudale boat show, she’s heading that way we hear. But, if you find your dream boat here, we want a 1% commission, that should help our cruising budget.

'69 Berger for Sale

151 ft ’09 Berger C18 for Sale

We really did enjoy lunch, but Pablo’s Mexican Grill was above the top for dinner.

2015_10_23 Pablo's Mexican Grill, Organic Margaritas and over the top food

2015_10_23 Pablo’s Mexican Grill, Organic Margaritas and over the top food

Fernandina Beach has some strange people, no wonder we felt so at home.

We fit right in

2015_10_23 We fit right in

Beautiful end to a wonderful anniversary.

2015_10_23 Fernadina Beach Marina

2015_10_23 Fernadina Beach Marina

I love you Russ, better get some BenGay for your butt, this adventure ain’t over yet.

What Happens at Biketoberfest…Might Not Stay…


Biketoberfest 2015

Biketoberfest 2015

Especially, if your wife/friend blogs. Well that ought to guarantee me at least three readers this week!

We have been fully enjoying the fall weather the past few weeks with, our usual beach walks, attending a local festival, heading out on the motorcycle, and heading down to Daytona for Biketoberfest to hang out with friends. We know our time in the St. Augustine is coming to a close and we will miss the area very much, but, we know that whatever lies ahead we will not want to miss it either.

October has come in with a bit of wind and very high tides. No Ka Oi was sitting so high, it was a challenge to get off. We are eternally grateful to Judy and Tom for the dock steps. The dock is wet from the water splashing through the cracks! The high tides also caused erosion on the beach.

High tides and wind rolled in with October

High tides and wind rolled in with October

The subtle change of season has us doing some different activities.We took a day trip on the motorcycle. Our plan was to have lunch at Three Bananas in Crescent City, but apparently, they are closed only on Tuesdays. So we sat on their furniture and picked their totem pole’s nose before heading on our way. We will have to come back another day.

Three Bananas

Three Bananas

In lieu of Three Bananas, we had hamburgers and a milk shake at Angel’s Diner, one of our long-time favorites in Palatka. As usual, goooood!

2015_10_06 Angel's Diner, Palatka

The weather was particularly fabulous for a walk through Ravine Gardens State Park, also in Palatka. You can do a drive through, but I recommend doing the hike, the bridges, springs and hills take you away from Florida for a little while.

2015_10_06 Ravine Gardens State Park, Palatka

Princess Place Preserve was the site for the 11th annual Creekside Festival. Located on Pellicer Creek, the beautiful oak shaded property has a lodge built in 1886, which is the oldest intact structure in Flagler County. The site is also home to Florida’s first in-ground artesian fed swimming pool. The breeze coming across the creek along with the great blue grass music, set the stage for a very relaxing afternoon.2015_10_11 Creekside Festival

We have been passing by this restaurant all summer and were missing out. Mantazas Inlet Restaurant had great live music and a view of the inlet. Our Mahi fish platters were excellent. And we had fun watching this  little guy break the rules, thankful for once, it wasn’t one of ours!2015_10_11 Mantanzes Inlet Restaurant

The Captain has been working through issues with the motor on our Boston Whaler. We decided that replacing it was the right thing to do at this time. He found a “newer” used motor in St. Petersburg, FL. So he was off on an “excursion” which included a trip back to Jensen to drop off the bike and trailer and pick up the Whaler trailer, then drive to St. Petersburg and then back to Marineland, all in one day. The old motor was off by Friday and the new one installed by Sunday, all with the help of Russ’ marina buddies. Some final tuning up and we should be good for diving and fishing for many years to come.2015_10_19 Motor Replacement

We managed to squeeze in the highlight of our week, Biketoberfest. We had a great day hanging out with Rick and Jennifer. We started at Rossmeyer’s Harley Davidson and ended the night on Main Street. I lost count of all the places we went, but I have not laughed so hard in a long time. Plenty of good food, loud noise, cool bikes and strange people made for an interesting day.

My new bike, I'm glad they don't anyone touch it! Waiting. Helping. Rick and Jennifer looking good!

My new bike, I’m glad they don’t anyone touch it! Waiting. Rick is so helpful. Rick and Jennifer looking good!

Nice hair dude! It's probably a little late for you to shop. Has anyone counted how much he has had?

Nice hair dude! It’s probably a little late for anymore shopping…anyone counted how much he has had?

My Mom and Dad came by and spent Sunday with us, on their way to visit my Brother’s family. We had a great day sitting by the water and visiting. And another great meal at Captain’s BBQ.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad, pulled pork and brisket

Every day is better than the day before, from sunrise to sunset we are enjoying this thing called retirement.

Sunrise to Sunset, every day is beautiful

Sunrise to Sunset, every day is beautiful

No Place Like Home: Text Messages from the Captain


miss you

I was blessed with a visit to California to hold grand-babies. Just so you know, I had all the fun for us this week, and I have the text messages from the Captain to prove it. Here’s a look at a few of the too many pictures that I took.

2015_09_22 Hanging with Monta

2015_09_22 Hanging with Monta

2015_09_22 Hanging with Gabby

2015_09_22 Hanging with Gabby

2015_09_24 Zoo Day, Merry-go-round, Animals come close

2015_09_24 Zoo Day, Merry-go-round, Animals come close

2015_09_28 Food Court fun, Monta gets "samples," Selfies w/ Gabby, Train ride, Sushi

2015_09_28 Food Court fun, Monta gets “samples,” Selfies w/ Gabby, Train ride, Sushi

2015_09_28 Mexican food night out

2015_09_28 Mexican food night out

My only trauma for the week away was getting a free pass to the zoo, because I now qualify for the senior discount.

2015_09_24 First Senior discount!

2015_09_24 First Senior discount!

But, when someone gets to have all the fun, someone else gets stuck on the boat taking care of the animals and all the boat stuff that has to be done every day. It was simply a terrible week for the Captain, and I have the text messages to prove it.

Tuesday, when he returned from taking me to the Orlando airport, he had to take Nyah for a walk on the beach. My first text was his bottle find…Chinese or Japanese? Very cool.

2015_09_22 What language is this?

2015_09_22 What language is this?

By Wednesday morning, the “where do I find it” texts started to arrive.






I found it heartbreaking that I wasn’t totally necessary. Can you believe he can plan a meal or two and cook? Wow! All by his-self, I am so proud.IMG_8160



Not only dinner, but breakfast!IMG_8163


He sews button too, double wow!IMG_8164

But all good things come to an end, maybe he burnt a finger or something, cause the horrible pics of my favorite restaurants started to come in. Without me! I can’t believe it!IMG_8165


Of course, there was motorcycle riding.IMG_8167

And sea glass finds.IMG_8168

And a new cell phone, because the old one failed, when somehow it got wet on the return boat ride from Captains BBQ.IMG_8169



More motorcycle riding with friends and eating out and neighbors who felt sorry for him and cook him dinner.


Again…more proof that he can cook…others ate and lived to tell. But still a few “where do I find it” questions. I have to keep my necessity somehow.IMG_8176


My visit went quickly and the Captain is still a romantic at heart, my proof, his final text messages before I returned. He is so sweet and special, I’m a lucky lady and blessed to have him. A wise young lady once said, “There’s no place like home.” I agree, even if it floats.IMG_8178


Home is Where?

Home is where Nyah keeps watch

Home is where Nyah keeps watch

I love those little plaques that say things like, home is where your heart is, or home is where someone runs to greet you (with picture of a running puppy.) The one that didn’t fit the past two weekends was, home is where your WiFi connects automatically. Ha, I shut it off and returned the router when we left, and you know you’re a visitor when the WiFi doesn’t work.

It is nice that we are beginning our trip close enough to be able to see everyone. This mamma is happy when she gets to see all her little (and not so little) chicks and I got to see all but one. I’m really not sure how I will deal with the emotions when we go further away, and I was equally unsure how emotional I might be going home, only for a visit.

The day before we left, Josiah and Sami came to visit us, he had a few days off from his tour schedule. We had another fine day at the sandbar and dinner at Captain’s BBQ. Disclaimer: sunscreen is made available to all visitors.

Josiah and Sami 2015_07_07

Josiah and Sami 2015_07_07

Wednesday, it was off to home for our first long weekend. The main event was a wedding, but Russ was able to have a rendezvous with the Harley, just to make sure she was running well. I’m not sure the total mileage, but my estimate comes in at close to 500 miles for the weekend, which included rides with Lew, Darryl and Gigi, and myself, as well as several additional loner trips to Jupiter and Ft. Pierce! I have no pictorial evidence of these adventures, but there was a late night cleaning and polishing session, which is always necessary after riding.

Fortunately for me and my butt, Jennette and baby Gabby came from California, to save me from too many Harley miles in such a short period of time, and so we could all attend the nuptials of Litasha and Evan. It was a hectic weekend, but we managed to have lunch and a beach visit with my mom. Here are our four generations of girls!

Four Generations, Joyce, Jennifer, Jennette and Gabby 2015_07_10

Four Generations, Joyce, Jennifer, Jennette and Gabby 2015_07_10

The wedding was fabulous. Here are pics of the bride and groom and my best friend, Peggy and our daughters, we have been friends since these two girls were bumps in our bellies. I wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t for this lady’s friendship and love all these years.

#peacewedding2015. Jennifer, Jennette, Litasha and Peggy 2015_07_11

#peacewedding2015, Jennifer, Jennette, Litasha and Peggy 2015_07_11


In other news, Pop Pop does hold babies.

2015_07_11 Russ and Gabby

2015_07_11 Russ and Gabby

Sunday, we were blessed by attending church at First Baptist Jensen Beach with all the “home” kids and Russ’s mom, then an afternoon get-together with family and friends.

Family 2015_07_12

Family 2015_07_12

Monday, sadly, Jennette and Gabby had to return to California. Russ decided to ease his sorrows with an afternoon of therapy at the Tattoo studio. This is another amazing piece of art by Peter at Indian River Ink in Jensen Beach. Russ says he’s done, but don’t hold your breath on that please.

2015_07_13 Tattoo before, during, and after

2015_07_13 Tattoo before, during, and after

Weekend two was filled with a little side adventure with Ashley and Damien and their families in the Ocala National Forest and at Juniper Springs.

2015_07_18 Juniper Springs, Ocala National Forest

2015_07_18 Juniper Springs, Ocala National Forest

205_07_19 Early risers get Nutella & PB Pancakes with Nanny. Canoeing with Pop Pop is exciting

2015_07_19 Early risers get Nutella & PB Pancakes with Nanny. It’s all Puppy Love with Nyah and Torch. Canoeing with Pop Pop is exciting.

We have had a wonderful two weeks filled with family and friends. Returning to the boat was a great reminder that home is where you make it, and we are glad to be making it on-board for now.