Category Archives: Non-cruising travel

What I did on my summer vacation

The summer has come and gone and I haven’t touched the blog. After our Bahamas trip it took us a while to get used to being in our marina again. We made boat repairs, went to some of our favorite restaurants and visited the sandbar. On Memorial Day weekend we held our first annual Bonefish Marina Paddle Board Race. We had one entry in the kayak division, one entry in the dinghy division and several entries in the paddle board division. That was lots of fun.

We started to get back to normal and then Fran’s brother, James came down to visit. We had a great time fishing, even if we didn’t catch anything. One day we went to Key West to visit Jim, his army buddy who he hadn’t seen in years. Jim has his own micro brewery in Key West called Bone Island Brewery. We sampled some of his beers, went to lunch and toured the Mel Fisher museum.

Bone Island Brewery
Bone Island Brewery

We had more visitors in June. Alicia, Jackson and Oliver came down for a week. We went fishing, to the sandbar, to the beach, to Aquarium Encounters and to some of our favorite restaurants.

Jackson, Alicia & Oliver
Jackson, Alicia & Oliver

On July 4th we had a great cook out with ribs, brisket and other things on the smoker. We cooked breakfast (red, white and blue pancakes and four pounds of bacon), lunch, snacks and dinner. We had tons of leftovers.

July 4th Cook Out
July 4th Cook Out

Following that I took the van and left Fran in Marathon. I drove to Chicago for the 107th Chicago to Mackinac Island race. Robert flew up there and we met up with the crew of Twisted. This was the second time I crewed for this race. We did better this year, We didn’t come in first, but we didn’t come in last. We had a great crew and I learned a lot. We started the race on Saturday and got to Mackinac Island on Monday. Tuesday was a day of celebration.

Before Race
Before Race
After Race
After Race

On Wednesday Robert and I rented a car and drove to Chicago. I spent the next week and a half with my family. We went to Lincoln Park Zoo, a movie, bowling and of course eating. Fran flew in on Thursday and we got ready for Simoen and Jerry’s wedding.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo

The wedding was fantastic. The bride and groom looked great. It was at a beautiful country club and we had a great time dancing with the family.

Jerry & Simoen
Jerry & Simoen

The day after the wedding we left Chicago and drove to Lexington Kentucky. We stopped at Town Branch distillery. We didn’t make it in time for a full tour, but we did get the tail end of the tour and the tasting. We are not big bourbon drinkers but we really loved the Bluegrass Sundown. This is the Kentucky version of Irish coffee. All you need to do is add hot water and float heavy cream on top. We bought a bottle, but it didn’t last very long. Fran was right. We should have bought more than one bottle.

Town Branch Distillery
Town Branch Distillery

The next day we went to the Four Roses distillery in Lawrenceburg KY. This time we took the full tour. After the tasting we bought two bottles, the Yellow and Small Batch.

After that we went to the Wild Turkey distillery. This was a larger tour that included the distillery, barrel storage and bottling. We bought a bottle of American Honey Spice and Rare Breed.

Wild Turkey Distillery
Wild Turkey Distillery

Next we went to Woodford Reserve. We were too late for the tour, but we did a porch chat. We learned that bourbon is really good after a bite of dark chocolate. We bought a bottle of Woodford Reserve and a box of bourbon chocolates.

Woodford Reserve Distillery
Woodford Reserve Distillery

Then we drove to Bardstown. We tried to get into a bed and breakfast. One was Bourbon Manor Inn and the other was Jailer’s Inn, an old jail house. Neither had vacancy so we stayed in a hotel and walked around the town. We had dinner at the Bourbon Manor. We definitely need to come back to the bourbon trail and see more of the sights.

The next day we drove to Nashville, TN. We went to the Johnny Cash Museum, the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and several honky tonks. We met up with Erika and Steve and went boot shopping and to dinner at the Urban Grub. We had a great time. The only problem is that we didn’t have enough time to see everything we wanted to see.

Johnny Cash Museum
Johnny Cash Museum

 

Ryman Auditorium
Ryman Auditorium

 

Nashville Honky Tonk
Nashville Honky Tonk

Next we dove to Athens, TN to visit Jerry and Debbie. They were very gracious hosts and we had a wonderful time. They also gave us wine and preserves.

After that we drove to Catawba, NC (outside of Charlotte) to visit Alicia, Jackson, Oliver and Jeff. We had a great time, as always.

Then we drove to Durham, NC and  ate dinner at our friends restaurant, Thai Cafe. The food was excellent I wish we knew about this place when we lived there.

Next we went to Ernul, NC to visit James and work on Olson Manor, our storage unit (refer to Tips or Becoming a Liveaboard for more explanation). We managed to pack a bunch of stuff in the van, including a band saw, teak, lexan and a bunch of tools. Keep in mind that we already have stuff from the sailboat race (mine and Robert’s), clothes for Chicago, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina, wine and preserves from Jerry and Debbie and beach stuff for the next week.

Then it’s time for our annual family beach week in Ocean Isle, NC. Fran and I started this tradition four years ago. Since we don’t have a house, and our boat is not big enough for everybody we decided to rent a beach house for a week when all our children and grandchildren were available.  This year we had Shannon, Daniel, Gracie, Lawton, Alicia, Jeff, Jackson, Oliver, Ryan, Audrey, Erika, Steve, Adam, Ava, Greg, Emmy, Fran and Ron. We had a wonderful time playing at the beach, as usual.

Grandma and Oliver
Grandma and Oliver
Jackson and Oliver
Jackson and Oliver
Ava, Lawton and Jackson
Ava, Lawton and Jackson

After a fantastic week at the beach it was time to go home. But first we had to drive Adam and Ava to the Raleigh airport. Remember all the stuff we packed into the van? Now we had to find room for two more people and their luggage. We managed to get them to the airport Saturday afternoon and then made it back to Marathon, FL on Sunday. We stopped Lorelei, one of our favorite restaurants on the way back. It’s nice to back in the keys. Fran was gone five and a half weeks and Ron was gone eight weeks. Are we done traveling for a while? Definitely NOT!
It took us a while to unpack the van. We reassembled the band saw and put it in our marina workshop. George and Nancy are off for a while so we go diving and lobstering on Just One More. We only get four lobsters in two days, but they sure were tasty.

On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend we go to Key West with George, Nancy, David and Brenda. The first Sunday of every month is local appreciation day and many of the attractions are free. Our fist stop is Peppers of Key West. We buy some hot sauce and marinade. Then we go to the Spice and Tea Exchange and buy some seasoning. Then we visit the Custom House, Art and History museum. What an interesting place. We eat lunch at Caroline’s and then tour the Harry S. Truman Little White House.  Then we take the Trolley tour and finish off the day with mojitos in Mallory Square. What a fun day!

Dancing
Dancing

 

Jacksonville, FL

It seems like we just got back to Marathon, and now we need to leave again. Our van is still in Fernandina Beach and we have plans to be in Chicago and Mackinac Island in July. We also want to see Greg in Jacksonville and Alicia, Jeff, Jackson and Oliver in Charlotte.

We rent a car in Marathon and I pack it up while Fran gets her hair done. We get underway about noon time. Traffic is a heavy and there are scattered storms on the way up to Jacksonville. We get to the hotel in Jacksonville around 6:30pm.

Greg meets us at the hotel. He is on a four-month internship in Jacksonville and lives 10 minutes away.

We have to move all of our luggage and our dog, Sandy, to the hotel room. It is on the fourth floor and it takes us two trips, with a dolly.

Next we have to drop our rental car off at the airport. It is about 30 minutes away and we need to fill up the gas tank on the way.

Greg picks us up after we turn the car in. We go to the Salty Pelican, in Fernandina Beach for dinner. This a very cool restaurant, on the water-front in historic downtown Fernandina Beach.

After dinner Greg drops us off at the marina. Our van starts right up. We drive back to the hotel (about 45 minutes).

It has been a long day. But we got everything accomplished that we wanted. It was good to see Greg and we had a great meal. Tomorrow we will get up in time for the free breakfast, pack the van and drive to Alicia’s house. Then on to Chicago on the 17th. I am crewing on my friend, Dick’s boat for the Chicago to Mackinac Island race on the 19th. My friends Joel and Robert are crewing as well. The race should take about three days.

Fran will ride up to Mackinac Island with Angela and Brandy. Then on the 23rd there will be a big party for Dick’s 75th birthday. After the party we will rent a car and drive back to Chicago. There we will spend time visiting with my parents, sisters and their families.

 

Clemson

Erika, Myself and greg
Erika, Myself and Greg

I drove from Charlotte to Clemson for graduation weekend. I arrive at 4:30, just as Greg is finishing cleaning out his college apartment. Fran is in Charlotte, helping Alicia. I am staying on campus, in an actual student dorm room.

Greg, Emmy and I meet Erika, Steve, Karen and Dwight for dinner at Sullivan’s Grill, in Anderson.

The next day I pick up Greg and Emmy and we go to breakfast at the Harcombe dinning hall, on campus. Then we go back to Greg’s place and play Yahtzee.

At 2:00 we go to The Smokin’ Pig for lunch. Everybody from the night before is there, plus Mike, Emmy’s dad, and Jack, Greg’s friend from Myrtle Beach. The wait is long but the food and fellowship are worth it.

The graduation starts at 6;30. It is the last of three. It’s not as long as we thought it would be.

After the graduation we go to Greg’s for a pizza party with some of his friends.

I have a great time visiting with Greg, family and friends.

In Charlotte, NC

I’m in North Carolina, but Questeria is in North Florida. On Monday we got a call from Alicia, and Fran got a flight to Charlotte. On Tuesday I got a rental car. On Wednesday I drove to Marathon, FL. On Thursday I drove back to the boat in North FL, and today I drove to Alicia’s.

Everybody is fine and we will wait here until the baby is born.