Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Keeping Busy While Dockside

On Saturday evening, February 7th, we joined Todd's sister and brother-in-law, Jennifer & Mark, for the downtown Orlando free outdoor concert featuring the band America. It was a pleasantly cool evening and we had a great time, both at the concert and afterward at a nearby bar called Latitudes where our friend Lisa's troll turned out to be quite the chick magnet! Sorry girls, the Captain is already taken!

It was a reminiscent night listening to America play all their hits!

The Captain with Troll comfortably nesting on Ms. Peru's chest.

Troll enjoying another bar patron - what a chick-magnet!

Sunday was spent on "Life's2Short" getting ready for our guests, Bob & Linda Eckels, from Springfield, MO. Bob & Linda arrived Monday afternoon and we all went to Limoncello's (formerly Oscar's) on the waterfront in downtown Sanford for a late lunch. That evening we wandered over to Gator's Riverside Grill at Sanford Boat Works for drinks, gator bites and onion rings. Nothing like a nutritious dinner!

On Tuesday the Eckels treated us to Disney's Epcot Center. We spent the day checking out the various attractions and touring the many shops and restaurants in the World Showcase. The day ended with a great fireworks show on the lake in the middle of the World Showcase area. What a fun time!

Arriving at Epcot for a wonderful day of fun. Thanks Bob & Linda!

Now, which way do we go?

One of the more interesting venues at Epcot was their display of Aquaponics. Here, pumpkins are suspended and growing in a "dirtless" environment.

This is the Aquaponics display featuring different types of lettuce. Very interesting!

The gang getting ready to head in to Mission Space. The trip to Mars was pretty intense and three of us got a little "spacesick."

Noooooooooo, not another photo!

One of the featured restaurant's in Epcot's World Showcase.

Admiral Minnie & Captain Mickey after a very long day.

Nighttime at Epcot - a beautiful view.

A postcard from the future, one of the "free" souvenirs from our day at Epcot.

The Eckels headed to Savannah on Wednesday to spend a few days with mutual friends Howard & Sue Berriman who we also visited when we were in Savannah this past summer and fall. Wednesday evening we went over to Jennifer & Mark's for Todd's niece's 18th birthday dinner. Happy 18th, Shannon!

The new 18-year-old with her younger sis, Sara. Anyone recognize the birthday hat?

Shannon with her Mamaw.

Shannon had requested crab legs for her birthday dinner, and what a dinner it was!

Enjoy it while you can, Shannon. You only turn 18 once.

Thursday was spent cleaning, washing and waxing various part of the boat. That evening we walked over to Luv'n Life, a beautiful 47-foot Atlantic, to meet Frank & Lorrain who live aboard their boat at Sanford Boat Works. Frank plans to retire in the next year and they are both ready to begin cruising full-time, especially Lorrain! We enjoyed chatting with them and hope to cross paths again somewhere along the waterways.

We made a run to Wal-Mart Friday to begin stocking up for the Bahamas. That evening Bob & Linda returned from Savannah and we had a nice dinner on "Life's2Short." Saturday morning (Happy Valentine's Day!) Todd picked up his niece Sara and friend Kristen and we shuttled them to Astor, FL to spend the night with Todd's parents who are currently staying at an RV park there. Our next stop was for a late, tasty lunch at 3 Bananas on the water in Crescent City.

The gang enjoying being tourists on land.

Honey, they shrunk the company...!

...and the hosts!

After lunch we went to the Maritime Museum in Welaka to admire the display of beautifully handcrafted wooden boats and other objects of wood art. We had stopped by the museum this past November on our way up the St John's River but, unfortunately, it was closed that day. We were sorry to learn of the recent passing of Dick Speas, the builder of these fine works of art; however, we were fortunate enough to have Rand Speas, Dick's son, give us a personal tour of the museum. Rand is continuing in his father's footsteps and we can't wait to see more works of art next time we visit! If interested, you can visit their website (coming soon) at

Rand talking about steam whistles and telling stories about growing up in his family.

Incredible works of art. Notice the prop made out of wood!

True words to cruise by...

A classic Dunphy on display.

A very large "vase" that Dick built - beautiful!

The "Linda B," a steam engine made of butternut and trimmed with walnut.

Outboard motors from times gone by.

We then made our way to New Smyrna where we enjoyed drinks and appetizers at Breakers on the beach overlooking the Atlantic ocean. On the way to New Smyrna we came across a large gathering of people in a muddy field on the east side of the highway and stopped to see what all the excitement was about. I'm not sure what they call what they were doing, but it was kind of like four-wheeling in a huge mud pit! No one seemed to mind getting themselves, their vehicles or the spectators totally covered in mud. It was so bad that mud was running out of the doors of some of the vehicles! Not my idea of fun, but to each his (or her) own!

Getting down and dirty in rural Florida.

Redneck Heaven!

Mud pouring out of the cab, yuck!

After a late Sunday brunch, Bob & Linda spent some time helping polish the stainless steel on "Life's2Short" while Todd did some more waxing. It was a rather gloomy, cool day so we broke out the dominoes that afternoon and actually played two full games of Mexican Train, with a break in between for dinner.

Bob working on the bow. You missed a spot, Bob!

The Captain waxing the eyebrow - again!

Linda polishing the stainless steel. I don't recall signing up for a working vacation...?

Enjoying another fine meal, compliments of the Admiral!

Todd took Bob & Linda to the airport early Monday morning and we spent the rest of the day doing boat projects and catching up on paperwork. Todd also spent some time putting away our stock of beer for the Bahamas. We were fortunate enough to find a local liquor store that was willing to cut us a deal and deliver it to us at the marina, which was very handy!

Fuel for the Bahamas!

Yesterday we ran errands and got caught up on laundry. Todd then spent a few hours washing the remainder of the boat while I worked on the blog. So much to do, so little time!

Today is Wednesday, February 18th, and we are going to Astor to spend some time with Todd's parents before heading to the west coast of Florida for a few final days of fun with friends Cathy and Lisa & Steve. We plan to leave Sanford Boat Works and start heading down the St. John's River toward Jacksonville on Wednesday, February 25th. Time permitting, we will update the blog again before we leave here. If not, our next update will likely be posted from Jacksonville sometime the first week of March.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Another Long Overdue Update from Sanford, FL

We realize it's been a full month since our last update, but we have been experiencing technical difficulties with our old laptop so we finally broke down and purchased a new one a few days ago. One of our faithful readers, Tom Kataras from Homewood, IL, was worried about us and sent an e-mail in late January entitled: "Are you guys ok?" The following is what he wrote: I was concerned that you havent updated your blog since Jan 6. :-) As one who follows your adventures diligently and lives vicariously thru you, while I freeze my butt in Chicago's southern suburbs I need some updates. Come on. Todd arent you fishing ? Boat projects ? Admiral what are you up too. Give us something ! :-) It is cold up here. Anxiously waiting for your arrival in the Southern Lake Michigan area.  Our apologies for the delay, Tom. We'll try not to let it happen again!

As to what's been happening with us this past month, I ended up flying back to Missouri on January 9th to spend another week helping my mother recuperate from bilateral (dual) total knee replacement surgery. For anyone who is contemplating this type of surgery for one or both knees, brace yourself because it's no walk in the park! Even after almost eight weeks, she is still having a rough time of it. We can only hope that things will improve as time goes on.

While I was gone the Captain spent the week tackling various projects around the boat, or at least that's what he told me (just kidding, dear!). He changed the oil in the transmissions, refinished the flagpole, scrubbed the windshield cover and helped his sister with a few projects around her house, so he managed to keep himself occupied while I was playing nursemaid.

Todd picked me up at the St. Petersburg airport Friday evening, January 16th, and we drove to Cathy's house in south St. Pete. Boating friends Mike & Mary Hall aboard "WhatDazeIt?" had arrived at Cathy's dock late Friday afternoon and we spent the next several days enjoying Cathy's hospitality. We were also joined by friends Steve & Lisa Saturday afternoon and neighbors Steve & Leah Saturday evening as we played Apples to Apples and CatchPhrase. As you can tell by the photos below, we didn't have any fun at all!

Cathy, our "Hostess with the Mostess." What a beaut!


Watching sports and telling lies, what guys do best!

"Crumb-snatcher," M.E., cleaning up under Cathy's sofa cushions.

Don't ask....

Steve with part of his harem and "Jack," Cathy's new dog! Welcome to Shangri-la, Jack!

Todd with his "squaws."

Not again, Mary. Didn't you get enough last year? :-)

Nice nails, Cathy!

Playing Apples to Apples. Not sure what Lisa is doing, however.

Laughing at the CatchPhrase clues.

Puppy Paradise!

Enjoying bakery treats from Tarpon Springs. Thanks, "WhatDazeIt!"

Way too much fun for one guy to handle!


Oh, isn't that pretty?

More CatchPhrase clue-giving from Mike.

We left Cathy's on Tuesday and drove to Crystal River to visit Bob & Phillis, former full-time cruisers who we met a few years ago through a mutual friend. We had recently been told that Dunedin, just north of Clearwater, has a nice, reasonably priced marina ($1.00/foot) and a great little downtown area, so we stopped along the way to check it out and found it to be a neat, boater-friendly community.  We also stopped for a late lunch at Hella's in Tarpon Springs, which is always a treat, but it was a cold, windy day so we didn't linger long.

We arrived at Bob & Phillis' late that afternoon and were joined later in the evening by former boaters Bruce & Adele, now residents of Crystal River. The six of us stayed up until nearly 1:30 a.m. playing a fun, if lengthy, game of dominoes called Mexican Train. I don't recall who finally won, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't me!

We made it back to "Life's2Short" Wednesday evening, January 21st, and braced ourselves for an overnight low in the 20's! Fortunately, the weather improved over the next several days and we buckled down and started working on numerous boat projects, including Cetoling the teak on the bow, scrubbing rugs, wiping down the sundeck, etc.

Our home this winter at Sanford Boat Works.

Todd's sister, Jennifer, asked if we would be willing to watch her girls, Shannon and Sara, Monday and Tuesday while she and husband Mark spent a couple of days on their catamaran cruiser houseboat, "Vagabond IV," and we were happy to oblige.  We returned to "Life's2Short" on Wednesday, January 28th, and Todd's parents, Bill & Marilyn, from Boulder, CO, arrived late that afternoon. They had dropped their motorhome off in Wildwood, FL to have some repair work done and decided to drive on to Sanford and spend a couple of days aboard "Vagabond IV" before moving the motorhome to Astor, FL where they will spend the next couple of months.

Mark & Jennifer made it back to the marina in "Vagabond IV" shortly after Bill & Marilyn arrived, so we helped get them unloaded and get Bill & Marilyn settled in. That evening Bill & Marilyn treated us to a nice dinner at Two Blonds and a Shrimp in downtown Sanford.

After a rainy Thursday we all went to Mark & Jennifer's for a wonderful evening meal featuring beer can chicken. Even though we had heard how good beer can chicken is supposed to be, we had never tried it and were impressed at how moist, tender and delicious it was. Nice job, Mark & Jennifer!

The rain finally stopped late Friday morning and Todd and his dad drove to Wildwood to pick up the motorhome while Marilyn spent the day cleaning "Vagabond IV." The boys returned about 6:00 p.m. and we all had dinner together on "Life's2Short." Saturday evening Todd's parents treated all of us to great dinner at Victorio's, a local oyster house that is a favorite of Bill's.

Sunday, February 1st, was SuperBowl XLIII and we all went to Mark & Jennifer's again where we enjoyed a virtual feast of game-day food while we watched the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals (boo!). Monday turned rainy again and Todd's parents headed to Astor in the motorhome.

Tuesday was cool and breezy as we made our way to the Orlando area to purchase our new computer at Best Buy. By that evening we had installed the software needed for our various tools and accessories (broadband access, camera, printer, etc.) and were up and running again. Wednesday and Thursday were also chilly and breezy so we didn't stray far from the boat, although Todd did join Bill and Mark on "Vagabond IV" Wednesday afternoon while they worked on the hot water heater.  Thursday's high didn't even reach 50 degrees and our overnight lows have been below freezing the past couple of nights. This is NOT what Florida weather is supposed to be like!

Today is Friday, February 6th, and the weather is supposed to improve over the weekend and into next week, which is good since we have visitors from Springfield, MO coming in on Monday and they aren't going to be very happy if the weather in Missouri is better than the weather in Florida! At any rate, I want to close with an e-mail we received a couple of months ago from Steven Young, a financial planner we met with shortly before leaving Springfield in 2006.

Hi guy’s! I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your blog. I’ve been following along every couple of months to see how your doing, I must admit, I thought this trip might turn out to be just a minor cruse down a semi polluted river in the Carolina’s. I’ve seen the pictures, read the text, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. What an amazing journey! I am so impressed with the people and how they have become almost family to you in so short a time. Impromptu bar-B-Q’s on isolated beaches seam to be the rule rather than the exception. It’s a side of life that us land-locked sailors just don’t get to experience – What a breath of fresh air and great therapy for those times when the stress just seems to be too much. I just hit my link to the “life’s2short” blog and the reality of day to day is replaced with the wonder of what life should be, but seldom is. It is so refreshing to watch you spend your money in the pursuit of life rather than spend your life in the pursuit of money, but I shouldn’t be too surprised you both have always had a clear picture of your future and you always knew that life’s2short. Have a wonderful holiday season and be safe. Please keep up the blog – some of us depend on it!

Since we apparently have some avid blog fans, I promise to make every effort to be more timely in posting future updates, i.e, more often than once a month, although I cannot be held responsible for technical difficulties associated with defective computers!