sidewalk ends

Throwback Thursday: Where the Sidewalk Ends

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

Moving ourselves just up the coast from Miami, we found a nice little spot in Fort Lauderdale to drop our hook and made that our home for awhile.  I’m not sure if this was ever previously mentioned on the blog, but at this time we were in the middle of trying to purchase a trimaran in Guatemala to flip.  It had been at the marina we were staying at, although we’d never been able to go inside of it.  Long story short, between trying to contact the current owner and have it surveyed, things had been moving very slowly on this.  Although before we could get ourselves to the Bahamas we wanted the process completely wrapped up. Which meant that if the deal did go through, we needed to be near an airport that could quickly get us back there. Spoiler alert: the survey showed rotting and there would have been a lot more time and money spent into fixing this boat up than we were prepared to give.  (Huh….)

During our stay in Fort Lauderdale though, we were able to meet some new cruising friends that we’d been in long distance contact with for awhile, and I was even able to have a girls night out with the lovely Jessica G. of m/v Felicity and Melody of s/v Vacilando. We also happened to be in one space for so long again that Matt’s mom and stepdad jumped on the opportunity to come see us from Michigan since we were so close. Relatively speaking.  Here is the story of when we went to meet them at the airport.

You can find the original post here.

Monday March 17, 2014

sidewalk ends

Let me tell you a little story of a boy and a girl who went out for a walk one day and found out where the sidewalk ends. Could this ‘story’ be about Matt and Jessica you might ask? Ha, of course not. We would never be as stupid as to do these following things.

Once upon a time there were a boy and a girl who lived and traveled in their sailboat. After dropping their anchor in a pretty little lake in a place called Fort Lauderdale, the boy received a call from his mother telling him that she and her husband would like to come visit. The boy and girl were very excited about this. So excited, that they decided to meet their family right at the airport when they arrived.

Having walked back from a few marine stores they had just visited a few days prior, the boy realized that the airport was less than a mile from there and thought the walk would be very doable. Was there a bus? Of course there was. But who can’t do with a little extra exercise every now and then. The girl didn’t mind walking too much, but was excited at the prospect of arriving at the airport quite early and using their fast internet connection. There were a few photos and a video she wanted to post online.

Leaving two hours before their families flight was due in, they figured it wouldn’t take them more than an hour to get there, the extra time, the girl willed, could be spent on her computer. The first part of the walk went very well. Following the main streets they had used before they continued forward into new territory and hopefully where the airport was. A few blocks later the girl noticed their four lane road with a median in the center appeared to be turning into an expressway. Based on the signs, it looked as if they would have to walk a half mile of that expressway to get to the airport. The boy could not believe there would not be a back way into the airport where a pedestrian could walk in. Turning down a side street they wandered on through the mass of car rental facilities.

The day was hot and both the boy and girl were beginning to sweat from the heat of the midday sun. The girl was starting to get blisters on her feet as she was only expecting a two mile walk and wore her sandals. Normally a two mile walk in them is not an issue, but she had a feeling they must be clocking mile three by now. As each street turned into a dead end she pleaded with the boy that they could jump on one of the airport shuttle buses and have a comfortable and safe ride the rest of the way. It did not look like the back roads were getting them any closer. The boy scoffed at this offer stating that it wouldn’t be proper for them to accept these services if they were not giving the car rental center their business. Fed up now, she explained that these back roads were getting them nowhere and they would have to walk on the shoulder of the expressway to reach their intended destination.

Tracking back over the asphalt they had just covered, they were now faced with an area where the sidewalk ended. Keeping as far away from traffic as possible, they trudged through the dirt and grass off the side of the expressway until they reached a bridge. With an entrance ramp at the top. Luckily it was mid afternoon on a Monday and traffic was light. Before they knew it they had crossed over the bridge and were back in grass shoulders. Just ahead was the exit for the airport, and although it looked almost a mile long in itself, they were happy to see it.

Kicking up dust with each step, they had finally reached an area where they could see the parking lot to the airport. There was only one problem. They couldn’t find a way into it. Looking further up the road, the expressway exit did not lead them directly to a tree lined entrance with a sidewalk or even soft grass to trample on. What laid ahead was the road curving into another expressway loop with more bridges. There were lots of cars up in that area, and they were all going quite fast, also has radar detector for your automotive towing service.

Searching from left to right, they looked for any other way in. A fence had been running along the side of them for quite some time, and they hoped that further ahead, where a group of bushes were clustered, would be a break in the fence where they could walk into the parking lot. Hiking up the path a little further they saw the fence encircled the entire area. Talking about their options, the girl suggested a taxi to take them the rest of the way. Waiting for five minutes they did not see a single one pass by. They thought about backtracking and trying to catch a bus, but now they had eaten up all their extra time and they could not afford to be late. They were right there, the only thing keeping them out was a fence.

Hot, tired, sweaty, dirty, and after lots of contemplation, they decided to take the easiest option. Tucking behind a tall tree, the boy scaled the fence and beckoned for the girl to join him on the other side. Sticking her toes through the links, she managed to get to the top where sharp metal edges were meeting her. The plastic bottoms of her flip flops balanced  precariously on these pointy spikes while her arms held her steady on a tree branch. Taking a deep breath, she prepared herself for a terrible fall and jumped. Landing almost softly on the ground she took check of any damage to herself. There were a few scrapes on her hands and cuts on her ankles, but otherwise she was fine.

With the parking lot just in front of them, they had only one more obstacle to cross. Just ahead of them was a set of train tracks with low lying cars for items to be placed upon. Once again glancing left and right, the couple hopped over these cars. Free and clear on the other side, they ran into the parking lot to do their best job of blending in with all the other patrons that had arrived by car. They made it all the way inside and to the baggage claim to meet their family without a second glance from anyone.

Running to the restrooms, they took a few minutes to clean themselves up. Twigs were pulled from hair, dirt smudges wiped off of faces, and dust cleaned off of legs and feet. Getting back to the baggage claim just in time to meet up with the boy’s mother and stepfather, they asked how the boy and girl had gotten there that day. Smiling at each other the boy and girl replied, “You don’t even want to know”.

Let me repeat again, this story is not about us. I mean, who would be dumb enough to do that? Right?

Knock, Knock….Who’s There?

Monday February 25, 2013

If I haven’t mentioned it already, Matt and I can basically sleep through any work that’s being done on the boat. Back when they were sanding the keel at 7:30 am, we slept right through it. This morning, when jackstands were being moved around to get paint on all areas, we slept right through it. I know this may sound terrible to you other cruisers out there, since you know that living on a boat, you always need to keep one ear open at all times for anything that may be malfunctioning, or just doesn’t sound ‘right’, but I’ll clarify. When we’re at anchor, yes, every squeak, creak, or clunk will get attention immediately. But since we’ve been on the hard, we know the anchor isn’t dragging, all the lines are properly tied down, and there isn’t anything we’re bumping into. So we let ourselves fall into comas where, even if we’re aware there is something going on around us, we just go back to sleep. The clammering of the jackstands this morning though, did rise us out of bed a little early, and for the first time in weeks we were up before 8:30 without a purpose. While each sitting on our side of the cabin with laptops placed in front of us, we heard a banging on the side of the hull. It was halfway between a knock and what sounded like the work that had just been going on, and we looked at each other a little confused.

“Is someone here?”, I asked, “Or are they just doing more work to the hull?”. Since I’m always the one to greet visitors first thing in the morning, and they’re always asking for Matt anyway, I waved him to the companionway to find out what the noise was. He stuck his head out first, and then climbed fully into the cockpit. I could hear him talking to someone, so it was obvious that it was a person knocking at the hull, but I had no idea who. Although I couldn’t make out the conversation, it sounded more casual than business, and I called up to him to ask him who it was. Looked a little shocked, he looked down to me and replied, “It’s my mom and Jack”.“Your mom?”, I spat out, “…Who lives in Michigan? Who gave no indication there was a visit coming? Did I miss a text?”. Ok, so maybe those last parts were said in my mind instead of out loud, but I still needed to see proof of this myself. Yanking myself up the top step (still only one..I know), I climbed into the cockpit and then looked down to see Matt’s mom and step-dad standing at the bottom of the ladder. Surprised that Matt hadn’t already done so himself, I pushed toward the ladder so I could climb down and give them both a hug, although once he saw this was my intent, he began moving down as well and made it down before I did.

After giving them big hugs and still being in shock that they were actually standing in front of us, we asked them why they were standing in front of us. It turns out that his mom had a case of insomnia on Saturday night and had spent hours on the computer researching a trip the two of them plan on taking to Hawaii this year to celebrate their retirement. She then thought about our plans for the year, how they had originally intended on visiting us in the Bahamas, but now that we never know exactly where our when we’ll be because our schedule has been so thrown off, she figured that she may as well take the opportunity to see us where she knew we’d be. When she told Jack of the plan when he’d woken up, he didn’t even hesitate before telling her to book the tickets. So here, less than 72 hours after it was thought up, they were now standing in our boat yard in Florida. Some of their big hopes while visiting were warm weather, and seeing us get launched and send us on our way for a second time. Well the warm weather isn’t happening due to a cold front passing through, when we got up this morning it was in the 50’s and getting ready to rain. And unfortunately, they would not be able to see us off either. We’re still waiting for a new bushing for the rudder, and now our launch date that should have been tomorrow, will probably be pushed back until the end of the week. But they still had us, and that was good enough.

Although they had barely gotten any sleep since they got into Jacksonville near midnight, and then woke up extremely early this morning to dive down to St. Augustine, they still wanted to take us to breakfast to catch up. Finding that the one place I really wanted to go to inside of the Lightner Musem (the restaurant is in the hotel’s old pool!!) is closed on Mondays, we opted for Denny’s instead. And while talking over pancakes and coffee, I realized that this oddly did not feel odd. It wasn’t strange to have them sitting two feet across the table when they should instead be 1200 miles away. It felt normal. Like breakfast with them was a weekly tradition, and we did it all the time. We talked about how things were going with the boat, things we had been up to, and how things were back in Michigan, and with all our family. I had expected for sure that after breakfast they’d need to go back to their hotel and nap or rest for a bit, but instead they wanted a quick tour of the town. After seeing all of the images on the blog, they wanted to check it out for themselves.

Trying to direct a car the best we could through the streets, we failed miserably since we were used to walking or biking, and could for the most part ignore all the one way signs. But we did find an empty parking spot near the town square, so we quickly slid in and filled the meter with enough change to get us through an hour of wandering around. First selecting St. George St, as that’s where all the restaurants and shops are, we window shopped long enough to come up to the Harley shop which we had to stop in. Sitting in their garage back home is a Harley that Jack rides, and just like most people will collect Hard Rock Cafe shot glasses from each city they visit, Jack gets a new Harley shirt from each new shop he finds. Matt’s mom and I tried to help out the best we could, holding up pink flowery shirts, or sleeveless muscle shirts, but for some reason he kept turning each of those down. He eventually did settle on a nice one with a St. Augustine logo on the back, and we were once again out on the street. Although Matt and I mentioned that we had no plans for the day and we could go into however many shops they wanted, I think they just like strolling the street better. We found almost every backstreet that historic St. Augustine has to offer, even going back to the meter to extend our time a little.

We did spend a little time apart to rest and recoup, and then met up again for dinner. Feeling in the mood for Mexican, we took them back to Acapulco, where Matt and I had dinner for our anniversary in December. Once more we got ourselves completely lost on the backstreets while trying to navigate through them with a car. Parking in some random Public lot that we didn’t know if we’d get back to, we walked our way over to the restaurant. I spied a special of ceviche on the billboard outside as we passed through the entrance and made our way upstairs to the tables. Having some chips and salsa laid in front of us, I tried to resist them as I best I could as last time I filled up on too many of them and couldn’t even eat my entree.  With four people chowing down on them this time though, I was still quite hungry by the time my ceviche came, and although it was literally drowning in lime juice, was still a great meal. Another chance to catch up on the past six months and enjoy our little surprise.   I’m actually kind of glad we’re not going in the water tomorrow now, I’d hate to take away from this family time with boat stuff.