More vacation stories to tell..

This vacation has taken almost three weeks to gel into a couple of blog posts. Why?  The trip to Fort Lauderdale, the Keys and Weston back in January had a pretty good running commentary. This vacation was done without a computer. I used my Droid phone to check email and really just stayed off the grid.  This was about connecting with my DW, she has had a tough few months.  As you remember her stepfather passed away a week before Christmas. Two days before Christmas her mom went into the hospital and she passed on January 3.  A rough month following a bumpy fall.

The Tampa trip was scheduled in October as a way to celebrate our 29 th. wedding anniversary . Who knew at the time that the need for a few days to connect would be so pressing as they were (and are) this winter.  The previous blog entry Small Steps covered several topics including the first day in Florida where we spent the afternoon on Clearwater Beach walking in the Gulf of Mexico (the water was cold) and experiencing the sunset.

Today we will go kayaking on the Hillsborough River. We used the same company this year as last year. Why re-invent the wheel if it works?  Canoe Escape rents kayaks and canoes for river trips.  Friday started out foggy on Tampa Bay. Our hotel was right by the bay and the fog shrouded the highway until we got about 3 or 4 miles east closer to the center of Tampa.  The drive to the canoe place took about 20 minutes or so.  When we got to the park, the sky was still overcast, but the temperatures were in the mid 70’s. And yes, a touch of humidity was in the air (more than a touch).  We were the only customers in the park during our rental and orientation.  Last year we kayaked on a sunny Saturday and the park was jam-packed.

The river was quiet. Just my DW and I in our kayaks drifting downstream. If you wanted to paddle, you paddled. If you wanted to drift, your drifted. There is enough current to keep you moving without the danger or excitement of rapids and white water. We did hear a few odd things as we kayaked down the river. Looking to either side we saw alligators, lots of bids and quite a few turtles. No people or building were visible from the water. We heard a dog barking off to one side. And later we hear the backup siren that some trucks make when backing up.  The noises were out-of-place in the dense forest.  We traveled 9 miles on the river. I took quite few pictures and some video as well.

We stopped on the way home at a farm stand where they make fresh milk shakes with local strawberries.  The shake was outstanding.  After we got back to Tampa we went to a fish market looking for dinner. We found stone crab claws, locally made smoked fish salad and Hog Fish. We ate the stone crabs Friday night and the Hog Fish Saturday night.  There is nothing like fresh seafood for dinner!

 

 

Here is a link to all the pictures from the river.

Enjoy!

 

Namaste

 

Vacation Day 12..

Yesterday was Day 12.  I am almost caught up.

Day 12 was January 24, 2013.  I had been thinking about kayaking all week. It’s been breezy here in South Florida all week. I think when the weather is cold up north, the wind blows down here.  My two choices for kayaking were Key Largo (85 miles away) or Matlacha (120 miles away). Yes, I could have found kayaking in Fort Lauderdale or Miami and not driven the distances. In the end, I decided to drive to Matlacha to kayak. The company there Gulf Coast Kayaks does kayak fishing along with regular kayak rentals and eco tours.

I discovered that I needed to arrange a day in advance for a guide to go fishing. Since I did not know that, they gave me the kayak, a fishing pole, some hooks and some advice. I purchased live shrimp from the bait shop across the street. The owner loaned me a live bucket to keep the shrimp in. He just wanted it back when I was done, no charge. I ate a quick-lunch and headed out on the water.

The first spot I was told to fish in was near some crab pots about 150 yards off the shore. I anchored up and fished for about an hour or so. I caught a catfish and small skate (looks like a sting ray).  I moved the kayak a few times at the first stop, but I did not catch any “eating fish”. I moved about a quarter-mile away to some boat docks and tried tossing my shrimp under the pilings, no bites.

So I paddled across the bay to the mangroves and anchored up in the mouth of the mangrove cove. The bay and the sun were in front of me and the tide and wind were pushing the water in to the mangrove lagoon behind me. I figured there might be fish waiting for the tide to send them a meal, so I fished there.

I caught two Sheepshead. They could be eating fish if you wanted to eat them. They have small mouths and are very good at stealing your bait. I had fun. It was quiet, there was not much boat traffic and even though I was not catching many fish, they were biting at least.

I was unprepared for pictures since I left the timeshare without zip lock bags and the kayak company did not have a dry bag.  The kayak guy had a container with a screw on lid that I put my phone and car keys in. Water proof, not water tight. There were no problems with either my phone or the keys, they did stay dry. I shot a HD video with my camera phone. It is hosted on You Tube.  Click here to see the video.

After getting out of the kayak at sunset, I shot these picture of Matlacha. It’s a funky town. Enjoy!

Namaste

 

If I had a hammer..

There are several things I might use it on. These may be just small nails that stick out, a good whack might push them back in place.  In no particular order:

  • Why does an MRI machine have to make so much noise? This is 2012 (almost 2013), people please, somebody invent the quiet MRI machine
  • When my test was over today, 30 minutes of mind numbing noise, it would have been nice if they let me sit up on the table for 30 seconds to get re-oriented.  I was in another time/place when the test was over. Hopping up and leaving immediately was a challenge. I can’t imagine how it is for the elderly. That is not yet me.
  • College can’t come soon enough for DS3. As my brother the weather man said “That boy needs a break from driving”.  Tonight he is taking his girlfriend to the 10:30 movie. Gets him home after 1 am or so. He better make it home with no phone calls.. Nothing good happens after midnight.
  • The wasp nest from the other night appears dead. I guess the wasp and bee killer I sprayed it with did the job. I was out picking tomatoes in the garden today and there was no activity around the nest.
  • Saturday we head to Annapolis to see the Chesapeake Bay Hawks play the Denver Outlaws in professional lacrosse. We hope to go kayaking Saturday afternoon for a few hours. We are staying a bed and breakfast in Annapolis for the night. Their website can be found here.
  • My brother only had one goal last night. This correction is brought to you be the AARP, for older Americans (LOL)
  • Two of my worlds collided today. One of the guys I play lacrosse with in Lake Placid emailed me today to ask if I was “Limeguy”. I said yes, and where did you find me. He said a “friend” had been searching for pictures of Lake Placid and had found my blog. Small world.

My DW worked a half day. She walked me through the check in process at her hospital before her shift started. We went to break after my test. I was her driver today. Drop off and pick up service.  I worked from home. I spoke with a few of my favorite customers today. They all had odd problems that we got resolved. DS1 worked a full day. He needs to use an outdoor shower before coming in the house. Note to self: build an outdoor shower with said hammer.  DS2 worked a full day at the deli. Tonight we discussed some possible parameters for studying abroad. He has much reasearch to do. DS3 worked half a day as well. He had a doctor’s visit to wrap the care for the infected leg. His leg is much, much better and the allergic reactions on the rest of his body have stopped and subsided.

Tonight’s pictures are again from my Lake Placid trip last weekend. Enjoy!

Namaste

Summit Lacrosse Tournament Day 3, last for me..

It’s 12:01 on Sunday, August 5, 2012. This is the blog for August 4 th. I got home from Lake Placid about 30 minutes ago. The first order of business was to give my DW a kiss, then take a shower. I walked off the field this evening, put on a dry shirt and drove home.  The ride was uneventful, which is a good thing. It is quite humid here in NJ, much more so than up in the mountains.

Today our team redeemed itself. The players did what they were supposed to do and we won both games.  We finished the tournament with a record of 2 wins and 2 losses. During our mid day break I rented a kayak and paddled around Mirror Lake. The pictures below are from my kayaking trip.  Enjoy!

Namaste