Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Final Weeks of 2007 and Ringing in the New Year!

We spent our final day (Tuesday, December 18th) in Crystal River doing odd jobs around the boat and then returned the rental car that we used to take John to Waycross, GA the previous day. Todd and Warren went over to Bob & Phillis' that afternoon to help Bob with some dock repairs and then Todd & I went back over that evening for a wonderful meal of Phillis' famous curry and a game of Mexican trash train.

After saying good-bye to Warren & Robin at the dock, we pulled out of the marina about 8:30 Wednesday morning. The trip to Anclote Key, our anchorage for the evening, was uneventful for the most part, but about half way there we managed to snag a crab pot so the Captain had to don his mask, snorkel and fins and dive under the boat in 66-degree water to cut the crab pot line off the shaft. Fortunately, he was able to remedy the problem quickly and didn't have to spend very much time in the chilly water! We had a photo of the Captain posing on the swim deck in his mask, snorkel and fins holding the crab floats and line that he cut off the shaft to post on the blog but somehow all of the pictures on the chip in his digital camera were erased so you'll just have to use your imagination!

We arrived at our friend Cathy's house in St. Petersburg about 1:00 Thursday afternoon and spent the rest of the day catching up and watching movies. Mike & Mary aboard "WhatDazeIt?" arrived about 2:00 the following afternoon and we spent another evening chatting and hanging out around the "campfire" we built in the fire pit in the center of Cathy's patio table. Cathy's friend Ed came over Saturday afternoon and we all played Ghettopoly (a "ghetto" version of Monopoly) that evening after dinner, although the majority of the game was between Cathy and Ed, with Cathy being crowned ghetto queen in the end!

Sunday was spent lounging around the pool and getting ready to leave for Todd's sister's (Jennifer's) house in Orlando the next day. Jennifer's daughter, Shannon, and Mark's son, Chris, drove over from Orlando to pick us up Monday afternoon. We arrived back in Orlando about 4:30, had a nice dinner and waited up for Mark's daughters, Rachel and Jessica, to arrive from Fort Myers. Christmas Day was relatively quiet once the gifts were all opened and some people napped while others watched movies or read. We had an early dinner that evening and Jessica and Chris headed back to Fort Myers to see their mother. The rest of us went to bed relatively early since we had all been up late the previous evening.

Jennifer & Mark and Shannon and Sarah all left for the airport about 3:30 a.m. on the 26th to catch an early flight to Denver, CO to visit Jennifer's (and Todd's) parents in Boulder while we house- and dog-sat for them. We took Mark's other daughter, Rachel, and her boyfriend, Mark, to the airport later that morning to catch a flight to Boston where Mark's sister lives and brought Jennifer's other vehicle back home. The rest of Wednesday was spent catching up on laundry while the Captain watched several hours of Texas Hold 'em.

Since we hadn't been to a movie theater in ages, we decided to go see a matinee Thursday afternoon. The movie tickets were $15 and the popcorn and sodas were another $16 so our little movie adventure turned into a $31 expense! Oh well, at least the movie was good ("The Great Debaters") and chances are we won't be going to see another movie any time soon - at least not at those prices!

We took a road trip to Crystal River on Friday to see Bob & Phillis and Mo & Joe. Mo & Joe got stuck up the Suwanee River and didn't make it to Crystal River until after we left so we wanted to try to see them while we were still relatively close. At any rate, we all went to lunch, along with Pat & Bill, another boating couple that Bob & Phillis and Mo have known for many years, and then visited on the patio a few hours before returning to Orlando. It looks like we may also see Mo & Joe in St. Petersburg within the next week as they are planning to spend a few days on a friend's boat in the St. Pete area.

On Saturday we went to Flea World in Sanford and spent a few hours browsing through the many booths that were selling everything from fresh produce to all the latest "As Seen On TV" gadgetry. It was quite an interesting place! We then went to Macaroni Grill to use a gift card we had been carrying around for several months and had a most excellent meal of mushroom ravioli (mine) and shrimp portofino (Todd's). We even had enough left over for dinner on Sunday evening!

Since we are thinking about wintering on the St. John's River next year, we took a road trip Sunday afternoon to a rather remote campground and marina on the St. John's where Todd's parents are planning to spend a few months in early 2008. Their boat is currently on the Cumberland River at Prizer Point and is being hauled to Florida later this month. The marina was pretty basic and didn't really offer any services for full-time cruisers, but I'm sure we will find something suitable between now and next winter. It isn't that we need much, but we do need access to laundry facilities and a grocery store and/or transportation of some sort and none of these appeared to be available at this location.

Jennifer, Mark and the girls were returning from Denver Monday afternoon so we dropped Jennifer's vehicle off at the airport and drove Shannon's vehicle back to St. Petersburg to attend Cathy's New Year's Eve party. It was a relatively small party with about ten "regulars" and a variety of other neighbors and friends drifting in and out all evening. We played poker for a while and then switched to Catch Phrase which was a lot of fun. As evidenced by the photos below, I think it's safe to say we all had a good time. Several of us even stayed up until 5:00 a.m. New Year's Day!

This is what happens when you look through the wrong side of the viewfinder while taking a picture!

Todd is playing poker with H.I.D., one of Mike & Mary's Jack Russell Terriers.

Cathy and Taz were smarter than most of us and went to bed before 5:00 a.m!

Cathy and Mary on the couch late morning New Year's Day fighting over a blanket.

The weather turned cold Tuesday with overnight temperatures below freezing in many areas, and today's high is supposed to be in the low- to mid-50's so we have been hibernating in the boat for the most part. Mike & Mary had planned to continue their journey south by today but are going to sit tight until the weather improves. As for us, we are planning to make a trip back to Missouri on the 11th and will be gone for a couple of weeks visiting family and friends. In the meantime, we will just be hanging in St. Pete doing more never-ending boat projects and hopefully enjoying some of that nice Florida weather (as soon as it returns!).

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