Saturday, November 28, 2009

Drag Net,, Pot Lickers and Bagel Chips 101

Back to the condo on the beach today for "lessons". Marilyn demonstrated bagel chip making and pot sticker (or pot licker as they call them) preparation in the 11th floor ocean view kitchen while down on the beach the rest of the gang worked up an appetite dragging and checking out the contents of the seine being worked in the surf. It was a little like "Iron Chef Meets The Outdoor Channel." Florida played Florida State on the TV.......and a good time was had by all. The sun set on the beach (and on Florida State) on this day. The sunset on the beach was beautiful. The football game? Maybe not so much! All too soon our time on Ft Myers beach draws to a close and tomorrow the engine will rumble and the wheels will roll down the road. Next stop....Naples, Florida.

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Resident "Left-Overs"

No matter how absolutely splendid Thanksgiving is... we always relish the left overs the next day.

Several years ago when we first came to Cape Coral we joined the "New Residents" club. Some 30 of us started out in the group, which like many groups do, dwindled over the years as folks moved away or just moved on.... But before that happened we formed a core group that was, and will always be good friends. We played together, worked together, fished together, helped each other move and tackle projects- just the kind of things friends do. So this Thanksgiving metaphor of "left-overs" all came together at one of the Ft Myers Beach Bars- Junkanoo- where we had met at times in the past. While the group is smaller now, we are no less enthusiastic for having a good time, and that's just what we did on this occasion. Cocktails and light fare at sunset made for a perfect time to reunite. An old toast, some talk of the past, some plans to get together again somewhere, sometime to come. New Residents. Old friends. The left overs are always something to look forward to......

Doggie Beach Holidays

Not to be outdone by the "people persons" in her life, Abby decided to travel to Doggie Beach, on the southern tip of Lovers Key State Park, Ft Myers Beach, Florida for her annual day after Thanksgiving celebration with a few of HER friends. Life is good on the beach. Ah, the smell of the warm salt water and all those other wet four-legged creatures running this way and that in the gentle surf. Another day of celebration! Hey, everybody, let's shake the water off!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks On The Beach

It was a great way and a great place to give thanks on the official day of Thanksgiving- on the beach at Ft Myers Beach with a few of our former neighbors and their family and friends. The day started off a bit on the overcast side, but that didn't deter anyone and in short order the clouds blew away and the sun came out strong.

Carl brought his mean green beach caddy machine, made from recycled materials to resemble a John Deere piece of equipment. It carried among everything else, a long seine which was placed into service right off the bat. The fish and crabs we hauled in drew a crowd in a big hurry and the beach party was off and running. The only thing missing- Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon and truthfully, we didn't miss them all that much.

The fish we caught were used for bait for the surf fishing poles. And for feeding the gulls and pelicans. And for putting in the sand buckets of kids who filled them with water so they could have a fish for a short time before returning them to the sea. And for an appetizer for Bruce Elliot, who never met a sushi he didn't love.

Now if you are thinking he just posed for the shot and didn't really consume the still quivering sardine, then you simply MUST watch the slide show today VERY carefully....

Meanwhile, Bruce, THE fishing fashion plate of the entire beach, rigged his pole with a bobber that perfectly matched his shirt. Coincidence? No way! He's the Man!

In Alaska by now they are fishing through the ice (inland) or in and among the ice (salt water), but it's still open water here in Florida. But there are those among us who can't decide whether this is summer weather or winter weather, hence the combo clothing used by our surf fisher-persons:

The master sand sculpture practitioner took time out from his team's creation to try some boogie boarding. "Dude, You missed the Boogie Board!"

Our "Netmaster", Bruce, took some time to give some cast netting lessons to a young boy and his dad who were clearly interested in all our fishing activities. The teacher and the student both did well and yes, fish were caught!

I'm usually behind the camera, but I stepped in front of it just this once to document that I was in fact there, having an absolutely great day....

L to R: Trace, Michelle, Bruce and Bruce Elliot- The Waddells, our former next door neighbors in Cape Coral and now, at least for this week, our neighbors on Fort Myers Beach.

We played all day, had an amazing group effort Thanksgiving extravaganza (with the Waddells as the group hosts and main kitchen staff) then hit the beach again for sunset and photo ops. Today's slide show will expand on these still pictures and give you a full look at our Thanksgiving Day at the beach. A wonderful day. A busy day. But not too busy for giving thanks......THANKS ON THE BEACH.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Rainy Day Instead

It didn't bother us to have a rainy day at all. We SHOULD have been at the eye doctor and had those final checkups, eye drops, etc. where bright lights are best to avoid anyhow. Only much to our surprise, when we arrived at the office, a very surprised receptionist apologized profusely as she informed us that the doctor was out for an appointment of his own, and although they THOUGHT they had already informed fact they had not. So back to the beach and stroll in the drizzle. Unlike the other day, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. That's nice too.. So just a few pics to document the day "that wasn't." A friend answered my Facebook posting to say "So...the eye doctor couldn't see you today?" yea, well!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Things You See At Ft Myers Beach

There's a lot to see at the beach. Some of it is expected, but some of it is not. Same is true of people in bathing suits- some expected and some most assuredly not. But all of it's good. Well, sort of.......
you see not every body belongs in every suit. But if your attitude fits the situation, well then, that's pretty much what the beach is all about. I think. I mean even the birds are into Sweet and Low these days. Seems a bit extreme, yes?

So consider the beach:
A penny (from deep in the sand) for your thoughts....
some red coconuts as promised on the sign
a lifeguard heron
a laid back watch dog, kites carrying cargo
past a bird on a wire-
the hot tin roof
with big ideas and little fish
tight jeans and tinier swim suits
that call for cameras, tattoos, window shopping.
Funky beach chairs large and small
palms, hibiscus, frangipani flowers
with a Geico gecko hanging out of a plastic pipe...
smiley faces and sunbrellas,
tikis with beer bottles and sun painted silhouettes
over dancing waves rolling in.

It's all at the beach,
and it's all in the slide show if you watch close enough.....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Life's A Beach or...... Bird "Flew"

No swine flu here. But lots of birds "flew" as we arrived in Ft Myers Beach, Florida, and took our first stroll down the beach. It's way early in the season, so for now it is not crowded. The weather is delightful. Bare footin' is the order of the day...and on the white sugar fine sands of Ft Myers Beach it is a very easy and pleasant beach to walk on. No oooooos and ouches here. We set up camp at the Red Coconut right on the beach. The sea breeze was delightful. November has always been our favorite month in this state, and so far we see no reason to re-evaluate that opinion.

After sunset we strolled across the street to an old hangout of ours from the days when we had a house nearby in Cape Coral, Junkanoo- a beach bar downstairs with a rather elegant outside beach dining restaurant, Anthony's, upstairs overlooking the white beach sands and the gentle, for now, surf. We had a long casual dinner and just enjoyed unwinding seaside. It's a Sunday. That means it's a Marilyn-does-dessert day and we wrapped up the day with a hot coffee and a tiramisu. Just perfect. Full, full. Tomorrow is a day to relax and enjoy, then full steam into the dentist chair and the eye exams the next couple days. Is that any way to get ready for Thanksgiving?

Here's a little slide show to share the day with all of you....

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Thru F

So if A is for Alaska and F is for Florida- Game, Set, Match,.... to Gundyville. Another round trip in the books!

93 degrees in the sun. 75 in the shade. Spanish Moss hanging from the Live Oaks. Bug guts on my windshield. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Florida!

Last several times we returned here from adventures out and about it felt OK but not like a homecoming. A vacation in Vacationland. This feels different in some way yet undefined. We are excited (not necessarily to deal with docs and dentists and the like) to be back and see good friends much missed, but hanging in there with us all the way and all the time. The sun drenched landscape is welcoming. Feels good. Water is clear. Sky is blue. Storm is gone. Air is warm. Body is relaxed. Music good on the surround sound- Reggae! Prepare for Florida, the (left) West Coast, the Keys, the Friends, the Surf, the Fish, the Gators.

I once found gold in the parking slips in Orlando Thousand Trails Park models gravel while giving Cosmic Bob a panning lesson- not expected, against all odds. Real gold is the friends who stayed put when we went off seeking gold and adventure as best we could find it. What joy comes to heart being back to share some time with them all ...again. The miles roll on, the states come and fade in the rear view mirror, but the faces of friends stay in the mind's eye...and are always up ahead somewhere.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Florida Bound

Moving south, in and out of bad weather, then in and out of good weather. Nothing to speak too much of either way. Ida be gone!

Keeping the promise, here's some follow up on Vein Mountain stay, like the leaves and "balls" clinging to the Sycamore Trees while most of the rest of the leaves were dropped by wind and rain... the moon helped to set the mood down by the old settling pond.

That was the nice thing to keep an eye on. Interesting, but not so nice- the bee hive that produced stings repeatedly throughout the stay. Stings. Itching. A little swelling- no biggie!

We added a "porta storage" unit to our camping repertoire. A tent. A garage. A shelter from the storm. Just some extra space that can be closed up and placed out of sight for those things that have no other place to go, especially on a cold night.

A unique log hauled from the creek made for a neat campfire....

We finally made a side trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's a lovely drive, even with most of the leaves down for the season. It won't surprise anyone to see the color of the distant hills, hence the name. The slide show ends with a map that is displayed in the crafts visitor center. High end, great quality crafts, very unique- no photos allowed, with the exception of the map itself.

Status Report

Just checking in with everyone. We arrived at Vein Mountain LDMA camp amidst some heavy rain a couple weeks ago. Sunshine and fair skies and temps took over in short order and the ground we were parked on firmed up nicely. Always a good thing- firm ground. But wouldn't ya know it, someone must have told the weather channel that we were headed back to Florida...which of course reactivated the hurricane season, even this late in November, and sent tropical Ida winds and rain storming up the coast in welcome home fashion! Humbug. We were scheduled to pull out of camp Thursday morning but heavy rains, a rapidly rising to flood stage Muddy Creek and soggy soil sent us out a day early in semi-panic mode, headed for the higher ground and paved parking of a nearby campground at a local RV dealership. After two weeks of dry camping, full hookup is nice, I admit it, even though the roughing it in comfort style of camping we often do is real nice too. We already had two floods to deal with this year- one in South Dakota en route to Alaska and the other- the antifreeze pouring out the basement compartments when the antifreeze line went bust on us. They say when it rains, it pours. I know that's a Morton Salt thingamajig, but this rain and potential flood out also saw us dealing with a leaking fuel line on the van for two days running, which meant driving back and forth to Hickory and the Chevy dealer there to get that fixed in the heavy rain and low visibility naturally. Our time at Vein Mountain was excellent. Too bad it ended with a flash of trouble, but that's the way it goes, isn't it. Without valleys, no mountains!

And speaking of mountains, we did manage to get in a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but I'll hold those shots until next time because Picasa is giving me fits at the moment and I need to get some sack time before driving through the rest of Ida tomorrow. You remember Ida? Knock, knock. Who's there? Ida. Ida who? Ida been here sooner but the car broke down...... I never really thought that would happen, but here it is.......

Rain drops on the lens, but you should still be able to see that the camp road is now part of the stream. Never a good thing when the coach is parked just off the road and under the trees.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spooking Time at Vein Mountain

Working our way to warmer “climes” for the winter months, we stopped along the eastern corridor route at one of our favorite haunts (that’s a Halloween thing, don’t ya see?)- at Vein Mountain LDMA gold camp just in time for the Halloween festivities and the local outing. We’ve made lots of good friends here and it’s always fun to see them, work with them, and of course dig in the dirt with them. On this occasion, we were extra blessed to be joined by quite a few of the crew team from the GPAA Motherlode Expedition and the Nome Alaska 6 week summer outing. It was a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more from those that have attended before, some many times before. And any time you can talk Alaska with “them that know her well”- that’s a good time for sure. We used the opportunity to compare and contrast our Chicken Alaska (Chicken Gold Camp) experience and while the two are very different in many ways, they also have a lot in common and both are experiences that, given the chance, you surely wouldn’t want to miss.

Because I have covered outings here at Vein Mountain before, I’m just focusing on the end of outing auction that is always held right before the gold draw. Every body loves an auction, and these auctions are not only good, they are darn funny to boot. And the North Carolina flair that is attached to this one is just precious. A southern drawl and a mountain humor makes for some amazing one liners!

People always ask if there is really gold in North Carolina. Yes there is. Quite a bit of it actually. But while you may, if both luck and hard work are on your side, find a nugget or two, most of the gold is extremely fine, like a dust. Still gold is gold and we have always maintained that the fun is in the finding, while the real gold is the friendships. This camp now has a wifi (small fee attached) set up for use by members. That is a big help for those among us who need the computer connection to the outside world for any of a dozen reasons. Some prospectors don’t want it and don’t need it. Good for them. Life more simple can be a good thing. I try to keep one foot in that camp and one in the fast lane of technology- not always easy, but always interesting.

Here’s a look at the auction: