Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Wonderland!

I'm just joking, this is a cold, cold place today!  I left Key West on Dec. 24th and have made it back to Wellston!  I had a great vacation in Key West and wonder why I am returning to the land of ice and snow.

I was lucky this year when I arrived home.  The snow was only a few feet deep.  I waded through with my shoes covered with snow and got out the snow blower.  It started the first pull!  It was a little hard to get the first pass cleaned but then I took my time and got this part of the driveway open.

 I guess I will have to find some outdoor winter activites to do.  I have my season ski pass at Caberfae so that is something I can do.  I have my cross-country skis and snowshoes ready.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

I went down in the basement to check my ice fishing gear.  I noticed several fisherman out on the ice as I made my way up north.

This is my one-man ice shanty.  The top flips over me and I am warm and snug on the ice.

Here is my power ice auger! No more struggling to get a hole drilled in the ice.

This is my Vexilar that will show me the fish!  I just have to learn how to use it.

I will start my adventures soon and post a fishing report.  For now, I wish everyone a
Happy Holidays and a great New Year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Sights & Sites in Key West

Joey and I started out from our place on Catherine and Duval and went south to Whitehead Street.  On the Alantic end of Whitehead Street is the Red, Blue and Yellow Southernmost Point monument that states you are 90 miles from Cuba. 

We headed West on Whitehead towards the Gulf side of Key West.  It is only about 1 1/2 miles down the street.  When we got to the end and were at the entrance to Mallory Square, I spotted the Key West Memorial Sculpture Garden.  At the entrance was a large 18' long by 25' high sculpture entitled "The Wreckers" by Artist James Mastin.  The sculpture takes you back to the days when brave men would yell "Wreck Ashore" and risked their lives saving vessels and passengers in distress.

Beside the large sculpture were 36 bronze busts depicting the men and women who made Key West such a vibrant and important outpost of American culture and forlklore.  The bricks on the walkway were sold to finance the project.

Joey is standing by one of the bronze busts.

This is one of the plaques detailing the lives of one of the busts.

After we toured the garden display we went to Sunset Celebration on Mallory Square to see our favorite Performer.

Here Oscar is performing with the Cat Man. The cats do amazing tricks such as catching treats tossed to them, walking a tightrope, jumping through a small metal ring and jumping through a fire ring.  The Cat Man is crazy nuts, a fox.  He puts on a great show for a $1!! He works 2 hours a day and lives in Paradise!

Later we hit Happy Hour at Alonzo's Oyster Bar and Marina.  All the appetizers are half off the listed price.  We order Buffalo Shrimp for $12.50 ($6.25), a bowl of White Clam Chili or Conch Chowder for $4.50 ($2.25), and  crispy french fries for $2.00 ($1.00).  Margaritas are 1/2 off also!

Then we rode down Thomas Street to see the Little White House that Harry Truman used as his home away from Washington.  Several presidents have also use this house and it was the site for a Internation Peace Conference.

Click on the picture to enlarge it.  William Talf, Truman, JFK, Carter and Clinton used this little white house.

The next day we went back to Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park beach and paid our $2.50@ entrance fee.

You can see we brought our snorkel gear. It is a nice place to relax, read, swim, snorkel, fish, watch the boats and people watch.  Joey is always watching for the European sun bathers.  They change right on the beach.

Here you can see the rock piles we snorkel around and the sailboats.

We met a lady from Ocean Grove, NJ who had this portable hammock that Molly liked.

It folded up into that 5" x 9" bag for traveling.  It is from Eagles Nest Outfitters and I found a few on E-bay for about $50.  This would be much easier than carrying two reclining chairs on the bike!

You don't hear the large cruise ships heading out of port and it always startles me to look up and see one!

Here Molly and I are enjoying Molly's last day at the beach.  Notice the new sand they dumped today!  Gotta have it looking nice for the Holiday Traffic!

It is so nice to swim in the ocean.  It is so buoyant!  The water is warm but the rocks at the end of the beach and in the first 4 feet of water are a little rough.  You carefully step into the water.

When we got back we covered the seats because it is suppose to rain on Friday.  Molly said Vice-President Williams from Slippery Rock University and family were coming in for a vacation in Key West starting Saturday.  I saw them last year, maybe I'll see them this year.

It rained hard on Friday.  It was thunderstorms!  Lots of water in the streets.  I only went out for a walk and one ride and stayed in after the kids left for home on Friday.

Saturday morning I did my loop around the island on my bike.  It was chilly and windy but I wore my shorts and t-shirt.  It warmed up and I rode across the island to the Key West Girl's Soccer game.

It was a close game.

The Conchs won 3-2!

I rode on the back streets on my way home and enjoyed looking at the houses.

Here is where I am going to curl up with my book for the afternoon.  At 7:00 pm I am going to the Key West Girl's Basketball game.  That's all for now!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


We decided to go out to a nice place to eat.  What better place than Benihana's!  It is on the NE corner of the island and up by the airport.  We called and got reservations for 7:30 pm.  It has been closed for a number of years and just re-opened last Spring.  We were seated at a table and told there would be other guests arriving.  You set at a table that has about 8 chairs around the huge stainless steel grill built into the table.

Another young couple from Connecticut joined our table.  Then the chef arrived.

He put on quite the performance in preparing and cooking our food.  I loved the throwing of the utensils   and catching them behind his back.  He even threw up  the tails of the shrimp and caught them in his hat!

Here he is piling the onion slices into a volcano.

With a squirt of some wine it became the volcano as it was being carmelizing.

This was my Beef Tenderloin meal.

Wait, who is that entering the place?

It is hard to see in this picture.  Just click to enlarge and see who came in.

I went over to say Hello to my old friend , his new wife, Brooke and his son.

I bet you thought I just was known as a  fisherman!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Out and About!

"Out and About" could have several meanings in Key West.  Take your pick!

We are having a quiet, relaxing weekend in Key West.  Joey looked and found the yard sale map in the paper and off we went.

The first one was one Duval Street. That will be easy!  We get our bikes out and bike up Catherine to Duval (which is one way down from Duval).  The local paper was mentioning that the people on bikes don't always top for stop signs or lights and here we are going the wrong way on a one way street.  Ah well, we always try to look for traffic first.  Then we turn left for 1/2 block to Number 1.

Molly (in Pink) checks out the books and Joey checks out some art work.  Molly and I stop for a Mango Smoothie before we hit number 2.

We got two for $9 and headed out.  Joey lead us to several more sales until we decided we had enough.  A quick trip back to our pad and we were off to the beach at Ft.Zachery Taylor.  We paid our $2.50@ to get in and settled in to watch the world go by!

This is one of the four rock piles that protect the beach.  (Remember you can click on the pictures to enlarge them!)  The rock piles are great to snorkle around.

This is the view towards the Gulf and the channel to the downtown port.  I like to fish at the very end of the  stone jetty.  Haven't caught any big fish but always get a few to exercise.

This view is to the left and looking towards the Naval Base housing at the south end of the beach.  It isn't very crowded today.  We watch the tourists and the boats and read.

One of the popular things people like to do is to take a Jet Ski tour around the island.  Here are about 8 Jet Skis about half way around the island.  The Alantic Ocean is pretty calm today but they have to watch those other boats in the channel.

It is great just to relax, read, and be one with the beach!

Where are those Pina Coladas?

I wish I had a picture of what our bikes look like on the way to the beach.  Joey has two beach towels draped around his neck and two beach chairs balancing in his bike's basket , Molly had the cooler and reading material, and I usually have my backpack on with a fishing rod sticking out of it.

Afer a few hours of reading, I'm bored and decide to head back early.  As I get to the house (5 minutes) I decide to take pictures of the vegetation around the house.

This is a palm fern (?) on the side of the house.  The homeless take the leaves and weave baskets to sell to tourists.

I am trying to think up a name for this plant but can't come up with anything.  Someone will tell me in the comments.

This could be a Banana Palm.  Yeah, that is what it is, a banana palm. I think.

These palm trees are along our hot tub.   There, I have covered all I know about the flora and fauna of Key West.  Yes, I am too lazy to look up the information....I've adopted the Key West relaxing life style and don't care if I don't know what the plants are.  They are nice and I do look at them every day.

After the afternoon activities, we are tired and decide to cook ground lamb burgers and sweet potato fries for supper. With a good meal under our belts, we head out to the Bottle Cap Lounge for the fund raiser during Happy Hour.  We walk the block and a half and get a drink and some tickets.  Joey and I each got $10 worth of tickets for the door prizes.  Joey shares some of his tickets with Molly. As they start calling out the numbers, Molly wins an original water color scene.  Wow, she is lucky.  In 15 minutes, Molly wins a "green" shopping canvas bag.  Another 10-15 minutes goes by and then Molly hears another of her ticket's numbers called out.  Gee, she didn't even buy any tickets but the ones she has from Joey are hot!  Rider would be so jealous.  Molly just won a $125 massage.  Molly puts her winnings into her bag and we head back to relax at home.  We do have finish reading the Citizen and the New York Times.

Sunday morning, Molly and Joey invite me to breakfast.  We head out on our bikes to the Blue Heaven.  This time we have a 30 minute wait so Joey heads back to get the Sunday New York Times to read.  The Blue Heaven is so busy.  It is rated one of the top place for breakfast.

Where else do you have live entertainment for breakfast.  This is a roof shelter in the corner which is over one of the tables beside us.

Joey is trying to get some hints on this week's picks for his fantasy football team.

The eating area is an outside patio under a huge banyon tree.  There are a few sails tied to the trees above your head in case it rains.  We order the Rooster's Special.  We get two eggs, bacon, and 2 blueberry or pecan pancakes.  We were stuffed and it was now almost noon.  We arrived at 10:00 am, got seated at 10:45, ordered our food and received it about 11:25 am.  Joey was told you can't get a Bloody Mary in KW until noon on Sundays.  He wasn't happy.  Thanks Joey for a great brunch!

Are there any topics I should address in the next blog?  I'm running out of ideas.  Come on, guys, give me some suggestions or hints!  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Ride Around Key West Island

We were having some down time and relaxing after a bike ride down Duval.  Troy asked for someone to play with.  Joey volunteered.

Troy has been practicing and reading a book on chess.  Joey hasn't played in years.  The battle started.  Cutthroat chess is vicious.   Soon the game was more than a game.  Joey is VERY competitive!  Game after game Joey fought back after making a wrong move.  He surged ahead only to fail to keep an eye on the Queen or Rook.  Joey played 7-8 games in two days.  Each took about an hour!  Troy ended up the champ but Joey was the ping pong champ.

When we moved our car from in front of our house we place the garbage can in place in order to save our spot.  Parking is very tight on the island.  Our neighbor is from NY and has a small baby.  As she was leaving in her car, we moved her garbage can to protect her spot.  The next day we received a thank you.

These beautiful roses were from a workshop she was teaching and she gave them to us! She is renting the next door house for 5 months.  It sounds tempting.  Maybe in a year or two we can stay longer.

The final morning for Troy and Rider's visit we rode the bikes down to Mel Fisher's Museum.

Mel Fisher's museum has rare gold and silver treasures from authentic shipwrecks.  It also tells how his wife broke the World's record for a woman underwater in scuba gear.  She lasted 55 hours or so.


Then the gang rode back to the Butterfly Museum and Troy had one butterfly land on his elbow.  Almost on cue!  Then Troy treated us to special crepes right before we had to take them to the airport to return to L.A.

 The next day we decided to take a bike ride around the 2 mile wide and 4 mile long island of Key West. We head north up along Alantic Blvd.  It is nice to ride along the Alantic Ocean and see the sights next to the water.  We stopped just before White Street Pier to see the African Cemetery.

Remember you can click on a picture to enlarge it!

There is a lot of history on the island.  We try to find something new each visit. We continue on our ride.  The water is very clean and clear today.  We will go to the beach when we finish our ride.

We ride past the entrance to the Key West airport.  It has a new departure deck since last year. The airport is right by the Alantic Ocean off Roosevelt Blvd on the NE side of Key West.

Here we stop for our water break.  We are looking across the water to to next island up from Key West.  It is called Stock Island.

There are a few house boats in the channel between the two islands.  I wonder how it would be to live on a houseboat?

As we come to the Gulf side of Key West we stop at Garrison Bight to take our second water break.  It is about 6 miles into our ride.  You can see some of the charter fishing boats ready for today's fishing trip.  Someone else's fishing trip,  as it is about $500 for a 1/2 day charter!  I'm going to start playing the lottery or find a rich older lady with a bad ticker and a houseboat.

We start back to the house and it is about an 1 1/2 hour trip so far.  As we pass down a lovely neighborhood, Molly spots a picture for my blog.  So I take one last shot.

Yes, we are parrot-heads in many ways!

It is going on our 3rd week of our winter vacation and Molly & Joey leave around the 20th of December. I'll hang around for a few days and then pack up the bikes for the trip home.  OK, time to stop whining and go to the beach.  The weather is here, wish you were..........