February 27, 2009

Home Again!

We are home now! We arrived Thursday night; it was a long, slow, and cold drive. Today, Friday, is beautiful and a warm mid 50 degree day. And it is very nice to be home!!! Can't wait to see everybody!

Posted by Heather at 09:26 PM | Comments (2)

February 25, 2009

Limping across Virginia

We can only travel if it's above 50 degrees. Otherwise our carburetor freezes up and we go slower and slower until we just have to pull over and turn off the engine and let it warm up. Makes for a fun trip!

Today we were passed by a school bus. I'm sure it was the first time EVER this bus had passed any other vehicle. The driver was funny, and made revving noises like he wanted to race. Ha ha, smile and a wave. Then as he pulled ahead, the grinning faces of children from every window looked down at us in our little bus pointing and laughing. Well, blllppp! Have fun in School kids!

Posted by Heather at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2009

Daytona WinterJam

As we left the bookstore to go get some dinner, we noticed a parking lot full of VW's!! Of course it had to be the Hooters parking lot... Alison can tell you the irony there. So we pulled a U-turn and in we went; they moved an orange cone and gave us front row parking for our hot VW bus. It turns out that this weekend is WinterJam in Dayton; a 4 day VW event. http://www.daytonawinterjam.com/

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George loves Hoot... no, George loves VW's!!!

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Notice that I am as tall as the bus; this one has been lowered and it is so cool! "All my friends know the low rider... the low rider is a little higher. Low rider drives a little slower"... only about 45mph. But it's still the coolest! doo doo do do do do doooo doo doo do do dooooo

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How many rugby players can you fit into a 23 window bus?

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Notice the chair covers in this bus...

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It's backwards Burt and Ernie! And a little puppy keeping them company.

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Even the engines are pretty.

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VW Camper

Posted by Heather at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

Daytona Beach

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We're in Daytona Beach! and you know what they let you do here?

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Drive on the beach! Yahoo!

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We got there early... it was a bit windy. (How's this for looking like a gypsie, Nick?! heh heh)

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Lots of other people showed up too.

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Happy Bus; this is where she belongs.

Posted by Heather at 08:06 PM | Comments (1)

Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring is designated an Official State Natural Feature. It is the largest spring on the St. John's River. Each day, about 100 million gallons flow from the spring to the river between the banks of Blue Spring Run. In winter, manatees move out of the cold St. John's into the warm 72 degree water of the run. The clarity of the water allows people to view, without disturbing, this unique gathering of endangered species. (See the Blue Spring manatees in Save the Manatees Club's Adopt-A-Manatee program: http://www.savethemanatee.org/adopt_blue_spring.htm)

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Between the submerged tree trunks is the large hole that is the source of the springs. See the drawing below for the below ground view:

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This video shows water coming from the hole; you can see a slight movement on the surface of the water.

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Blue Springs Run

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Manatees gathering in the sun

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The Thursby House, for more information on the Thursby's check out the first blog post on Blue Spring that is posted under Florida 1 or Florida 2; I can't remember which year we were here.


Posted by Heather at 07:55 PM | Comments (1)

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiwa Springs pumps out 42 million gallons of water a day into the Wekiva River. It's 72 degrees and offers very comfortable swimming. "Wekiwa" is a Creek Indian word (the Creeks were later called the Seminoles) meaning "bubbling water"; the springs are called Wekiwa Springs, but the river is called Wikiva River- Wikiva means "flowing water."

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Mmm! Steak dinner!

Posted by Heather at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2009

Traveling North

We left Juno Beach on Friday and started our slow journey northward. Here are photos from our travels over the past few days.

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Fancy Louis Vuitton car

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This is Amelia the snake. She recently hatched 17 baby snakes! I also got to hold one of her babies and it was smaller than a shoelace. We met her at Savannas State Park in the Education Center. I also saw a Glass Lizard, which is a lizard without legs. It looks just like a snake, but it has ears, a lizard shaped head, and different type of scales, and also it blinks its eyes which a snake doesn't do. Learn something new every day!

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George

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Heather

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We took a short two mile walk and sat on this bench for awhile. It was so quiet- you could only hear the occasional breeze, a frog now and then, and once the sandhill cranes started whooping. But otherwise it was silent- no traffic or planes or anything. Just a breeze that smelled like a warm summer evening.

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We spent Valentine's Day at the Ft. Pierce Inlet.

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It was a great day for the beach.

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This is Dynamite Point. "During World War II, it was the birthplace and training ground for US Navy Frogmen, forerunners of today's Navy Seals. Here, many of the 140,000 personnel stationed in the area practiced for the D-Day invasion of Europe. Dyanamite Point earned its name from the activities of the Navy Underwater Demolition Team". (From the Ft. Pierce State Park Pamphlet)

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A Happy Valentine's Day Wave!

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Relaxing at the bus before our 3 mile walk.

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On our walk we saw the Boy Scouts Bat Villa Project.

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Bat Villas

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George exploring the mangrove.

Today is Sunday, and it rained a bit. We're in Melbourn at Barnes and Noble drinking tea and reading books. We'll see what adventure awaits us tomorrow!

Posted by Heather at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2009

A day on the beach: J.D. McArthur State Park

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We spent a great day on the beach at J.D. McArthur State Park.

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This is the beach with lots of shells, though there were fewer this year and I only filled one pocket full, instead of all my pockets like previous years.

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The boys were fishing...

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What form!

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Talk about form! Ok, Captain Morgan!

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This park has a long boardwalk to the beach; you can walk or take the tram if you have a lot of stuff to carry.

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Here comes the tram!

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Filled to capacity...

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and then some! You're dragging something George!

Posted by Heather at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2009

Beach on Hobe Sound

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We went to a little beach on Hobe Sound; here is the view over to Jupiter Island.

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Heather on a bench.

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George on a bench.

Today we are going to JD Macarthur State Park. If you listen to NPR he is regularly mentioned as one of their donors or sponsors or what not. This is one of our favorite beaches for shells hunting and playing. So I will have new pictures up soon!

Posted by Heather at 09:15 AM | Comments (1)

February 08, 2009

Photos from the week

Sometime last week (I'm having trouble keeping track of the days) we arrived at George's parents house in Juno Beach. We've had a great week of relaxing, shopping, hot tubbing, walking and eating!

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The Bus parked at Jonathan Dickenson Park. The white building in the background was the barracks for the men stationed here when it was a top secret base for radar training. More information on Camp Murphy is below.

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Heather up on the platform

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A dead tree; the park conducts controlled burns regularly, some have gotten out of control in the past few years leading to more damage than planned for.

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Camp Murphy: from the top of the platform you can see remnants of some of the old buildings, and they have aerial photos in the education center that were once classified showing the layout of the camp.

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Here is one of the iguanas in the park. He was on the move from one pond to the other. One lady tried to hand feed him a grape (dum dum) and he whipped her with his tail. Unfortunate for her, but we all wanted to see it. She deserved it.

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Tina, your parents have volunteered to bring this back up to be Noah's pet... interested??? Just kidding... sorry Noah.

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He's had enough of us.

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Sunset at the park; that means it's hot tub time!! Cheers!

Posted by Heather at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2009

Short Manatee Video

Posted by Heather at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

This is a GREAT book!!

We spend a lot of time in bookstores down here at night and when it's cold or raining. It's great because we can sample books or read magazines and we don't have to buy them. This is the book I picked up tonight, and it is hilarious!!! I highly recommend it, especially for Mom.

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Here are a few samples:
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Posted by Heather at 07:13 PM | Comments (2)

February 02, 2009

Monday in Stuart, FL

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Today we had a cookout in Staurt by the water. George cooked a delicious strip steak and potatoes and onions with garlic on the grill.

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We saw a manatee hanging out right in front of where we parked.

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Then we took a short hike in Savannas State Park.

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We saw some armadillos in the park, and they were so cute! This is not a photo of said armadillo... heh heh.

Posted by Heather at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

Super Bowl XLIII at Duffy's Sports Bar

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Cheers! It's SuperBowl time! I counted at least 30 TV's from where I was seated, but there were many more than that! This was the place to be to watch the game, though we declined to participate in the wing eating contest at halftime.

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Here is George, seated directly beneath the Super Sized Screen.

Posted by Heather at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

Siesta Key Beach

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On Saturday we met up with Scott and Erica and Scott's parents Bill and Nancy for a great walk on Siesta Key Beach. It was a bit cooler, with a slight wind, but a beautiful sunny day to enjoy such a pristine beach.

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Heather, Scott, Erica and George on Siesta Key Beach

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Scott and Erica

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George, Heather, Bill, Nancy and Scott

Posted by Heather at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2009

The Past Week

Time flies when you're having fun, and this past week went by at Super Speed! Here is a summary in photos:

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Driving across Alligator Alley at sunset last Sunday.

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We arrived at the campsite on Monday;

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Fully loaded with a packed cooler and a Mini Keg of Heineken.

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We visited with George's parents and Aunt Gail and Uncle Jim.

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We had some fun with the wildlife... though you could hardly call them "wild". They really liked Cheetoes too...

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Aunt Gail, George and Heather

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Cooking potatoes and steaks on the grill, mmmm!

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Spanish moss in the morning

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We went to Nokomis Beach and did some fishing and sunning. The sunning was more successful than the fishing. The water temp was a chilly 58 degrees!

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Scott and his girlfriend Erica flew in for a week and picked us up in their convertible; what fun!

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Heather and Erica in the back seat

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We went to Venice Beach,

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where George and Scott took a long walk to catch up and reminisce.

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Erica and Heather standing in the waves

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Shadowy Friends, from left to right: Scott, George, Heather and Erica

Today is Saturday and we are meeting Scott and Erica at Siesta Key Beach, which is the one with powdery white sand that never gets hot in the sun. It always makes the "Best Beaches" show on the Travel Channel. Today we have a chilly high of 62 degrees, with the wind it feels more like the low 50's. Hopefully it will warm up, but at least it is sunny, and oh yeah, it's not snowing like it is for the rest of you.

Posted by Heather at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2009

Farewell Key West! You win Mom!

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We spent our last day in Key West visiting with Mike and Becky and Mike's sister at the luxurious Casa Marina Hotel. We enjoyed tropical cocktails on the house, which was a nice treat, while playing backgammon by the pool.

And now we're off! On the road! Heading north! So you win the bet Mom, we're on our way. But keep in mind this old bus travels very slowly and has the tendency to break down right near sunny, sandy beaches, so it may take us another month to arrive home in CT! But we'll keep you posted on our adventures! Next stop is Oscar Sherer State Park in Sarasota!

Posted by Heather at 01:47 PM | Comments (1)

January 22, 2009

George's Sunset Wednesday Night

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A dophin!

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I've got a front row seat! Too cold outside for me!

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Posted by Heather at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

Return to The No Name Pub

Two years ago when Julie and Alison came to visit, we went to the No Name Pub on No Name Key for lunch. This is one of those places with the tradition of customers stapling a dollar bill on the wall or ceiling. They estimate there is 65,000 to 75,000 bills covering the interior. Fire hazard maybe? So of course we wanted to leave one, and Julie pulled out her set of colored pencils that she carries with her, and we got started decorating.

We went back a few days ago with Jeff and I wanted to find our dollar. I was shocked to see that there were layers upon layers of new bills posted, and ones from just a few months ago were 2 or 3 layers down. George also had a different idea of where he thought we put it up, so I thought I'd never find it. I thought I remembered exactly where it was, somewhere in this area:
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But after three sessions of looking for a few minutes I couldn't see it.

And then on my way out, I wanted to take one last look... and there it was peeking out at me!!
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Hooray! Like finding treasure!

Posted by Heather at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2009

Jeff's Photos Round Two

We had a great time with our friend Jeff, and packed as much as we could into his short stay. We wish he could have stayed longer; it's always so much fun to share this place and all its adventures with our friends from home. We usually stay in Key West for most of January, so start planning for next year if you'd like to experience Life in Paradise with Heather and George. I can guarantee you ultimate satisfaction, but not a tan.

Here are some of Jeff's photos that he took with his Nikon D80; what a great camera.

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Where will this flipping man land? You will have to wait for the video to upload to find out...

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We went to Boca Chica, which is just a short drive from Key West, and where the Navy has their Top Gun training. We were in the right spot to watch about 6 pairs of fighter jets take off. A video may be up soon.

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Some beachcombing discoveries included:

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a lobster,

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a sea slug,

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a tower of rocks,

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a castle, (more photos on this later)

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and a large hole. George was distracted by some old glass he found, and my attempts to bury him were thwarted by Jeff's camera. Can't have any witnesses...

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We drove up to Bahia Honda where you can walk up on the old train (and later highway) bridge. It was very windy up there...

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I'm a plane!

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My attempts to take off were almost successful.

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Can you imagine two lanes of traffic on this narrow road?

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Bottom view of the old bridge.

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We also toured Ft. Zach; Watch out for that ghost!

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And got some close ups of our iguana friends. They haven't moved in a few days; too chilly for them.

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Posted by Heather at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

Response to Mom's Blog: www.kathymccurdy.com

Dear Mom,

Hmmm... I can't say that that white and grey landscape looks very inviting... Maybe if you set up your light up palm tree and scatter some flamingos around the yard, it would be more enticing. What would really convince me is if you put your bathing suit on and paddle the kayak around the pond. Oh, wait, I forgot- it's frozen. So, instead, have Dad pull you around in it like a sled and then I'll know you guys are having fun, and I'll come home.

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So, thanks Mom, for the welcoming invitation to come home to chilly CT. But the only way I'd like to experience the cold is by eating this delicious ice cream; I'll have to hurry because it melts fast down here in this tropical climate!

Posted by Heather at 04:52 PM | Comments (2)

Congratulations FJ and Diyari!!!!

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Congratulations to my cousin FJ and his new fiancee Diyari!!! I can't wait to celebrate with everyone soon!

Posted by Heather at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2009

Jeff's Visit

Our good buddy Jeff came down for a visit! He has a few days off before having to be in Sebring for work, and what better place to be than Key West! Today we are headed to Bahia Honda for some exploring, and we'll have those photos up later. Here are the photos from our night out last night on a little tour of downtown.

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Photographer Jeff

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Jeff's Sunset

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Mallory Square

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Local Color

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George and Heather

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Ducal Street

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Sloppy Joes

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More local color; we told them they'd be on the front page of the local paper.

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Wrecker's Memorial

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George and Heather

Posted by Heather at 10:30 AM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset

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Sunday Sunset

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Heather at Sunset

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George's Sunrise, Monday

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Heather at Sunrise

Posted by Heather at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2009

Saturday Photos

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How many iguanas can you find?

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Salboats practicing for the races this week. I inverted the colors and think it looks pretty neat this way.

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This is how it looks without the colors inverted.

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Great sunset last night.

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Can you see all the iguanas now?

Posted by Heather at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2009

Another day...

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Mother Hen with her babies

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Trying to fit in with the locals.

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Just after sunset on the pier.

Posted by Heather at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2009

I gave blood today!

I gave blood today in a neat Blood Donation Bus that travels around the lower keys! It was very easy to do and I got a free Coke and some cookies, and a sticker. I would have walked right by without thinking about it, but the lady was outside and she asked if I would, and that was all it took: someone to ask. So, now it's my turn to ask: Will you please give blood?

The donation lady said that no matter how many people donate their blood, they are always in need of more. And it doesn't go bad, so it won't go to waste. It is a way to directly help someone in need. The man that was in charge of prepping people was in a motorcycle accident a few years ago and needed 4 pints of blood, and from then on he switched careers and began working for the blood donation bank. He is a perfect example of someone who survived because a stranger gave their blood. So before you need to receive it, please take the time to give it!

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My sticker on the blue arm band keeping pressure on the needle entry spot. The arm bands come in lots of colors and they can coordinate to your outfit!

Posted by Heather at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2009

From the past week or so...

Not much going on over the last few days. It's been very windy and cool, so we've been laying low. The sailors and racing boats are starting to flood the town, popped collar allert! Race Week starts on Monday. It is just starting to rain and is supposed to last all night, with a low of 60, brrrrrr! The locals are walking around in wool hats and scarves, and the cruise ship-ies are all rushing to the cheap clothing store for bargain sweatshirts. Here are some photos from the past week or so:

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Blue water on the beach

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This is Mike and Becky's 2 year old Emma. We think she looks like Drew Barrymore in ET:

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Here is my sea glass collection, except the pieces I am having made into jewelry.

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Nice Sunset

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Posted by Heather at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2009

Sunday Fishing with Mike

Mike invited us on a trip out to the reef for some fishing. The reef is about 7 miles off shore, and it only takes a short ride out to get there. Here is Mike getting the boat ready.
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Fisherman George is ready to go!

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We first stopped to fish for pinfish and ballyhoo to use as bait when we got out there. I saw a starfish and jumped in the water to get a closer look.

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Once at the reef we couldn't resist some snorkeling. The water was so warm and filled with colorful fish, coral shelves, sea urchins and fans waving at us when we swam by. I gulped down a large mouthful of salt water that quickly turned my belly upside down, resulting in my puking over the side of the boat. But it was worth it!

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Mike caught this bar jack right away, and when we got home he cooked it up and we ate it for dinner. That is the freshest fish I have ever eaten and the flavor was amazing! I think it was only 3 hours between swimming in the ocean and swimming in our bellies.

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Georgie caught a porgy.

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And I caught a grunt! They call it that because it grunts at you when it is out of water, like a little piggy!

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George has something that is putting up a fight...

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A nice lemon shark!

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Mike also has a fighter...

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A STRONG fighter. This battle went on for a few minutes and we were all wondering what it could be... and then we saw a big shadow getting closer to the surface.

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A 7 foot nurse shark! I couldn't believe that Mike had been able to reel this monster in so close to the boat! Here is a video:

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Cloudy sunset on the water.

Posted by Heather at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)

January 10, 2009

Saturday

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What a good looking bus!

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This is a kestrel that visits frequently. He hunts for lizards and grasshoppers and things that bounce around in the grass next to where we park.

Posted by Heather at 03:45 PM | Comments (1)

Something New Every Day...

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Here is George on his way to the beach.

HA Ha, just kidding!

Yes, that is an old man... with a very tan butt. Gotta love Key West.

Posted by Heather at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2009

Blue Water for Mom

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Posted by Heather at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)

Wednesday Sunset

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Best seat in the house

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Another day in paradise passes... Until tomorrow.

Posted by Heather at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2009

A Walk Around Town

I spent the morning walking around town. Here are some things I saw:

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The Key Lime Emergency Response Unit, outside of Kermit's where you can get the BEST Key Lime Pie on the island. His patio is also a letterboxing site, but it was too busy for me to investigate.

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I found this snakeskin in the cemetery, where I also found two new letterboxing stamps for my collection.

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My favorite little jewelry shops near the conch bar; this is where the lady is making my sea glass necklace.

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Turtle Kraals

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The famous Southernmost Point

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A storm came in yesterday around 5:30 and gave the island a bath. It only lasted about 20 minutes.

Posted by Heather at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2009

Tuesday 6th Sunset

Sunset is at 5:53...
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This log has ants and bugs on it, but I will sit still for George who is playing with the camera.

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Bye Sunset! See you tomorrow!

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Oyster Time! YUM!

Posted by Heather at 01:38 PM | Comments (2)

January 06, 2009

Tuesday, January 6

We walked into town to the Hog's Breath for the best fish sandwiches in town. Just look how happy and cute George looks mid-way through his sandwich!
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Stopped at a fountain in the Truman Annex, which was very nice...

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especially with the breeze helping to cool me off!

Posted by Heather at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

Monday Night

We went to the Raw Bar for oysters and peel and eat shrimp, YUM! Oysters are 50 cents each (not $3.00 each like in Old Saybrook) and the shrimp are not farm raised so they are more delicious too!
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This entire mountain of oysters only cost $20!! Ha ha, just kidding. We only ate a dozen.

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Expert Oyster Shucker; He must have shucked over 100 oysters just while we were there (40 minutes).

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During our evening stroll, we found this cross dressing rooster for Mom! Would you like this on your wall?

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Posed with a fisherman...

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And Geroge had his face painted...accidentally.

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An ice cream night cap is always a good way to end the night. I think I picked that up from Dad.

Now we are off for lunch at the Hog's Breath, for Fish Sandwiches!! It's all about food for us.

Posted by Heather at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)

January 05, 2009

Back from swimming

Nothing better than a sun shower after swimming in the lovely ocean. Hooray for hot weather!!
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Posted by Heather at 03:14 PM | Comments (1)

New Arrival

We get cruise ships that pass by daily. An important part of my day is waving to the passengers. I consider myself to be an Un-Official Greeter to Key West; I'm much better at it than those irritating guys that accost them about renting mini cars as soon as they get off the boat. This is my good deed of the day, and since there are probably a few hundred passengers, I'm just racking up the good karma!

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Posted by Heather at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

Monday the 5th

Today we got to the beach early and had it pretty much to ourselves.
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We took a walk to look for more sea glass and found about a dozen good specimens.

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Bunny ears on the beach

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Walking in the water is one of the best feelings; the perfect way to feel relaxed.

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After the walk I decided to do this again...

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And later we'll go see this again; this is the sunset from my first day here.

Posted by Heather at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2009

Sea Glass Hunting

George and I have been looking for sea glass, which always reminds me of Alison, who took me to an awesome beach in Rhode Island with the most blue sea glass I've ever seen in one spot. Yesterday George found a large black chunk that looked like a rock, but looking closely at the sides you could see that it was glass. We took it to a lady who makes jewelry, where I've purchased some nice pieces before, and she told us that it was a great piece and at least 100-150 years old. We left it with her to make it into a necklace. Here are some pieces that we found today.

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These chunks are similar to the one George found, but a little smaller. You can see how they might be mistaken for rocks, but expert George knows better.

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Big green piece.

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To check to make sure it's glass you just need to hold it up to the light. The piece above looks dark on the left and hard to see it's glass, but holding it in front of a flashlight (or you can use the sun) you can see the color shine through.

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Here is our stash for the day. Excited to see what we find tomorrow!

Posted by Heather at 03:20 PM | Comments (1)

George and a Palm Tree

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Hi from George!

Posted by Heather at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

New Use for Maker's Mark

There are a lot of no-see-ums down here this year, and instead of using horrible smelling and toxic bug spray, we discovered that Maker's Mark does the job, and it smells better too!

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Posted by Heather at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2009

I'm BACK!

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It is nice to be back in Key West! I am spending the morning reading the Ventriloquism book that I got from Dad for Christmas and watching the boats go by. Just the best way to spend a morning.

Posted by Heather at 11:06 AM | Comments (2)