Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Okeechobee Waterway

Bob and Ken's Excellent Adventure

Ken purchased a sailboat on the East coast of Florida. It was in dry dock in a Marina in Stuart, Florida. It's a 32 foot Catalina with radar and a lot of other sophisticated electronics.

Ken  invited me to help him move it about 250 miles to his slip in Bradenton on the West Coast. The trip will prove to last five days.

The Okeechobee Waterway is a combination of rivers, canals, locks, bays and Lake Okeechobee that cuts 150 miles across Florida running generally east to west. The lake is about 35 miles wide. It is  the second largest lake located entirely within the US.

The mosquitoes begin to swarm at twilight each night. We're on the edge of the Everglades as we motor four days along the waterway. One night we park in the intersection of a bunch of busy channels. The police come and politely suggest that we relocate.

We pass though five locks and get raised and lowered as much as 14 feet. My job is mostly to steer once in a while, move the fenders from port to starboard, wash dishes and help with the mooring lines.

Our first scare comes the 2nd day in the middle of lake Okeechobee. We've been motoring on the diesel for about 12 hours and the fuel gauge hasn't moved off full. We begin to suspect the the gauge is broken and wonder if we might be running dry.

We find a marina and refuel. It turns out that the diesel only burns half a gallon per hour at a cruising speed of six nautical miles per hour.  The gauge hasn't moved much because the boat hasn't burned a lot of fuel.

There are many nice homes along the canal in the middle of nowhere.

We swim in the canal and later in the Gulf of Mexico. Ken is scrubbing stains off the boat during his swim time..

The second day we discover that the boat was purchased with a full holding tank and a completely clogged sewage system. Fortunately,  Ken is very handy  at problem solving and he gets all the lines unclogged. We get pumped out at the City docks in Fort Myers.

We pump out again and refuel in Sarasota at Marina Jacks after spending the night in Venice and sailing with the jib and main sail along the West coast.

We arrive in Bradenton at low tide and run aground in the shallow canal leading to Ken's boat slip. We spend four hours waiting for the tide to come back enough to raise us off the bottom.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Fantasy Zone

Key West

The Fantasy Fest in Key West is held every year near Halloween. Some of the costumes (or lack thereof) are somewhat ribald. I've edited out the raunchiest of these, but there are some shots here that might not be suitable for viewing by those persons under 21 years of age.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Leaf Peeping

Vermont in the Fall

It's been a very warm summer and fall. The leaves on the trees seem a little confused but it's always spectacular in New England around Columbus Day.

Somehow this picture of Cayuga lake in the town of Geneva ended up in the Vermont folder.

We spent two nights in this Bed and Breakfast in Wilmington, Vermont. There seem to be Wilmingtons in every state we drive though...what's up with that?

The first town we hit in Vermont is Bennington. Mrs. Phred came here years ago for Bennett's wedding. Ethan Allen had a home next to this graveyard.

The creek running though Wilmington. Lot's of ski lifts and hiking trails nearby.

Robert Frost is buried in Bennington.

Another graveyard shot.

The Wilmington Inn and Tavern....they had a bar but the bartender wasn't around much. We found a little pub that had cod...also a high tech jukebox...I played "do you feel like I  do?' by Frampton and "Give me all your loving" by ZZ Top.

"Well, woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand.
Whose wine? What wine? Where the hell did I dine?
Must have been a dream I don't believe where I've been.
Come on, let's do it again."
-Peter Frampton, 1973

Goodbye Vermont...Hello George Washington Bridge.

We'll be at the Key West Fantasy Fest this weekend...more about that later.

Monday, 13 October 2014

North to Vermont

We decide to take a road trip without the RV. My calculations are that for a short trip, the motel rooms and restaurants will be cheaper than gas for the behemoth.

Bruce and Felica take us to dinner in a German restaurant in Atlanta. I have something called sweinbraten...very good...

Aloysius is a fairly large dog. he likes to climb up in your lap and lick your face.

We talk Bruce and Felica into seeing the Carter library and Carter Center in Atlanta.

Jimmy has been active in fighting poverty, disease and brokering peace agreements during his retirement. I drove 100 miles to vote for him in 1974.

After Atlanta we spend some time on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive.

The leaves have started to turn at the higher elevations.

The green house at 333 Center Street  in Ithaca is where I was living during WWII while my father and all my uncles were out of town.

This bar has been here since 1946. I always have wanted to go in. Mrs. Phred has a glass of wine and I have a rum and coke. Albert Einstein might have had a drink here. He used to come down from Cornell and get my father to cook eggs and ham early in the morning at the diner which is now gone.

My father bought this gray house at 105 Utica Street about 1948. We lived here for five years before moving to Florida. We packed all our stuff in a small trailer behind a 1949 Chevy and went to Tampa.

We hiked from Lower Enfield  to Upper Enfield one day. It's about a five mile round trip.

There are many deep, narrow gorges arounf Ithaca. They've been carved in the last 10,000 years though soft shale formations after the glaciers receded.

We do some wine tasting at a few of the many wineries around the Finger Lakes.

Watkins Glen at the base of Senaca Lake is one of the most spectacular gorges in the area.

We start at the top and walk down and back up.

I count the steps on the way back up. There are over 700. The next day we both feel muscle pain in our legs.

After Ithaca we head up to Vermont....more about that later.