Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Where's Jack, the Donut Man?

We went to the Big Pine Key Flea Market last weekend, and as usual we went to the Donut Man first for some delicious, made to order donuts. But, when we looked inside the old travel trailer that has been the donut stand for the last 40 years, we didn't see that familiar, smiling face looking back at us. Instead, we saw a different face, and asked where Jack was. Jack was the Donut Man, and he was gone. It turns out that Jack passed away in August, and the Donut empire that he created is in jeopardy. Jack was in his eighties, and was always there when we went to get his hot donuts. He would smile his toothy grin, and pretend to hear what it was that we were saying. He would make our donuts for us as we waited, and finish them with a healthy sprinkling of sugar, and present a small paper bag to our waiting hands, and watering mouths. He would smile a huge toothy grin, and say "Have a Nice Day!", and we would pay him. He would always be there, and would always be smiling away. Except now he isn't. He has made his last donut, and is now at rest. I bet he is still smiling that wonderful grin he had. And the donuts? Well, someone else is filling in at the donut stand now, until the end of the season we are told. The donuts were not hot, not made fresh this time. That was the best part, that and seeing Jacks smiling face. God bless your soul Jack, rest in peace. We will miss you.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Road Trip via The Land Yacht

We decided to go on a road trip, to see Joyce's family in Pennsylvania, and prove to them that we still actually do exist. The first order of things to do, in preparation for a 1400 mile each way trip, was to find the perfect vehicle. We considered a van, an economy car, and several larger cars. We considered buying an older car, something cool, like an old caddy or something like that. We wanted to surprise Joyce's brother John, with something really special. He is having a tough time right now, and spent his entire career around cars and garage equipment. We wanted to drive him around in something really fun, something different, something cool. Then one day, it happened that we were in Coconut Grove where the marina is, and we were looking at all the really high end vehicles driving by. Miami is a big city, but not like some, where there is no place for automobiles. Miami is a place where the car is a status symbol, and there are a lot of cool, expensive cars here. Think you are cool cause you drive a Beemer, Lexus or Mercedes?


This is entry level stuff here in the Grove, and it is a very common sight to see Porsche, Maserati, Lamborghini, Lotus, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Bentley cars every day. Any one of these would be fine, but we need some room for both Joyce and I, and Guincha the wonder dog, and lots of supplies and suitcases and stuff. So, we were thinking something big, like a vintage era caddy would work. Then one day, I found an ad for a Rolls Royce Silver Spur. It sounded perfect: big as hell, cool as shit, and totally off the chart, top of the line, and the King of Hell-Yes-It's-Comfortable because it is a Rolls after all. We went and looked at the huge car up in Jupiter Florida, the second owner showed it to us. He bought it from the original owner, a German chap that he also bought his yacht from. (Notice how I threw in the word Chap, it came with the car). It seems that this German fellow spent half his time in the US, and the other half in Der Motherland. He religiously transported the car back and forth each year, and kept it in a climate controlled garage wherever it was. When the guy in Jupiter bought the yacht, he told the German fellow that if he ever decided to sell his Rolls, he would buy it. The yacht and the car are both in perfect condition, a testament to the dedication and love shown to each by their previous owners. These cars were built by hand, in Crewe England, by the best craftsmen in the world. The engine compartment looks like new, a menagerie of shiny black and stainless. The interior is a sea of hand-matched Connelly leather and wool. The wood is real burled walnut, each piece cut and fitted by hand. The cars VIN number written by hand on the back of each piece, before being sent off for hand finishing with urethane. Chrome is everywhere, the hood ornament known simply as The Spirit of Ecstasy perched atop the massive hood riding out in front of you as you glide along, announcing to everyone how special this vehicle is. The carpets are real wool, and sit below lambs wool mats that seem to swallow your feet in a caress of soft opulence.

. We gave him his asking price, didn't even haggle about it. We took the car to the dealer, a risky and expensive proposition. We wanted the car checked out, because our plan was to hit the road for a three thousand mile trip, in a car that we didn't know. The dealer checked it out, and only suggested a new set of tires, which we had already ordered from The only tires that fit the car are the original Avon tires, and we got a set ordered the night we bought the car. The tires that were on it were perfect, still had the casting nubs on the sidewalls, but the casting codes on them showed that they were manufactured the 27th week of 2002!!! Time for a new set I would say. So, off to the tire store to get them mounted, and a front end alignment for good measure. We tried to get the oil changed too, but nobody would touch it, shop after shop said they couldn't do it. Buch of chickenshits I say, it's just oil after all.

This write up is pretty good, and gives a good idea of the whole Rolls Royce experience.

We loaded up the old girl, and headed north to north-eastern Pennsylvania. The trip was perfect, and we didn't have any trouble at all with the car, which was a relief. We only drove the car a few miles before the trip, which was probably not too smart, but it worked out in the end.

We enjoyed spending time with the family, and seeing the area. We finally got the oil changed on the car, by John's friend Jay, who has a garage with a lift in his backyard. Show off. Anyhow, thanks for the help Jay, now a certified Rolls Royce mechanic. If you are ever in Wilkes Barre with your Rolls, go see him, he will fix you right up.

We saw some old friends and had a great dinner too. Bonnie and Joyce have been friends since school, and were roommates in Florida back in the eighties. I don't think they have changed a bit since then, they are still looking great, that is why her husband Jeff is smiling so big.

We had a chance to visit with Joyce's aunt, Helen, who still lives in sight of Joyces mother's house. We had a great meal together, and left her some home-made ice cream we made from pineapple that we grew in the yard in Florida. She still looks pretty cool at 88, leaning on the hood, don't you think?

The time went by pretty fast, as time seems to do, and before we knew it, we had to go. So we gave some hugs, some kisses, and got going, southbound back to Florida. Guincha loved the backyard, and was last to get in the car. We had to promise her that we would see some cows along the way, she loves those, otherwise she would still be sniffing around the backyard. We waved and said so-long, pointing the long nose of the car South, toward the open road and the promise of some warmer weather. It was sure great to see everyone, especially John, and we are praying for a speedy recovery for him. Thanks for having us!

Back to the boat!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dinner Key Marina Renovation

Here in Miami, things at Dinner Key Marina are really improving. The marina itself is the largest wet slip marina in Florida, with 582 slips on site, none of which are empty at this time. It is really busy here already, as boats keep coming in for the winter sailing season. There are also 225 mooring balls in the Dinner Key Mooring facility, and those are filling up fast too. This totals up to about five thousand or so boats that call Dinner Key home during the winter months, and there is always something going on. There has been construction going on since we originally got here last December, and it is pretty much, though not completely, finished. The marina has a new office, a jumbo sized, 3 story building with nice showers, new washers and dryers ( the old dryers did not work, these do!) and several outside seating areas with great views of the marina and the bay.

The old facility was built a long time ago, and was small and cramped, but it worked. As the marina grew, and added the mooring facility, the facilities needed to be enlarged, and so the new building was built directly behind the old one. All that is left to do now, is to demolish the old building. A bit of history, no doubt, but it has got to go.

We have moved Saltrun to our old slip, side tied along the seawall, but we are moving again, to a different slip because they are eliminating our current slip to construct a floating dingy dock for the morning field folks. This will really help them, as they have to dingy a long way away from the facilities, and dock at the city ramps, then walk to the office. The new dock will put them in the middle of things, and be a lot easier for them. But, we have to move the boat again, and this is a problem because we have to reconnect our internet every time we move. Comcast is our provider, and they are REALLY service oriented. That is why we have not had any service for three weeks, because they REALLY care a lot about the customer. Nice to know. Appreciate that, Comcast.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Joaquin and the Island

There once was a little boy named Joaquin, he was bit mischievous, but for the most part well behaved. But, then he grew up and became a great big old, mean hurricane. And he decided to clobber Long Island Bahamas. For 30 hours, he threw buckets of torrential rain and fierce 150 mile an hour winds at poor old Long Island. Then he headed to Rum Cay, and wiped it out too. Slow and deliberate was this attack, and then he was pulled away, grabbed by the hand of God himself, and he was sent out to sea to die for his transgressions. I wish this were a story, a child's book perhaps with colored illustrations and thick pages. Sadly, it is all too real for the people that live on these Bahama islands. We don't even hear a single mention of this storm on our news now, it is after all, yesterday's news. But, it is a very real thing to those that still do not have power, or water, or food.

We finally made contact with our friends Steve and Kathy over the weekend. They, like everyone on the island, took a huge hit from the storm. They lost a lot of the roofing on the house, some railing blew away, as did some of the porch and a corner of the roof over it was taken. They survived though, the people of these islands are survivors. Somehow, amazingly, nobody lost their life to the storm, but the cost in a physical sense is high. The water was 10 feet deep in places along the main highway, entire buildings and businesses destroyed. Our friends, that took us fishing on the boat Conch Quest, the Malis's, lost their boat in the storm. It washed up on rocks I was told, and was destroyed. A sad ending for sure, what a nice boat to lose. The house that we had a picnic for everyone, at Lochaber, is ruined. The stories of the devastation from the storm are still unfolding, and for the people that lived through it, it will be the story that lives forever. Like when Kennedy was shot, the World Trade Centers collapse, and now this.

I wish that storms didn't have peoples names. It is not fair to the people with the same name to forever be associated with such cruel devastation. These storms should simply be named #1 or #2, or #6. Sorry Joaquin, you are just too inhumane to have a name...

Some raw footage can be found online, but little is available because there is very limited communication and internet service on the island. This is a short video of the storm as it hit Long Island. "> If you can help with a donation of money or supplies, please consider doing so. There are plenty of donation sites available, a quick online search is all that is needed. Or, contact me and I will help you get your donation sent.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Saltrun is Now For Sale

The boat, our boat, Saltrun, our Manta 38 Catamaran, is now for sale.


We have decided to move up to a brand new catamaran, in the 42 to 44 foot range, and continue our journey. It is not as if there are issues with this boat, we just want that new boat smell I guess. This is actually a little out of character for us, we don't buy new cars simply because they are a horrible investment. We don't follow the latest trends in automobiles, waiting for the latest model to come out. For us, a good used car is just fine. So, when we decided to buy a brand smacking new boat, it was a bit of a shock to both of us that we actually wanted one in the first place. Why?
Well, for us, we decided to continue sailing until we got tired of it, and we are not anywhere near finished doing that. On the contrary, we love the sailing, the freedom and the leisure that we found on the boat. Sure, sometimes things are hard, harder than living in a house for sure, but things are better too. We have the ability to move with the wind and tide, and go where we want. We go places that most people cannot, living off the grid in a totally self supporting way. We see things and experience moments that are unforgettable, irreplaceable. We are, well, hooked on it I guess.
The move to a bigger new boat for us is a decision that is based, for a lot of reasons, in the timing of things. We are doing very well with our careers, and we are at an age where we can afford to buy an expensive new boat. Ten years from now, we may not be in the same situation, or want to do it then either. So, we have decided to let this Manta go, and focus on something new. We love this boat, we have been aboard for several years now, and are completely at home and comfortable here. The huge Galley and Refrigeration and Freezer storage makes it possible to stock up on plenty of supplies. We have an owners side to the boat, as all Mantas are configured, and the separate shower and large head are a dream. Take it from us, if you have to sacrifice to live on your boat, it better not feel like camping, or you will not tolerate it for long. It must feel safe and secure, and have the comforts of home, or your trips will be short and less than fulfilling. The boat has never dragged the anchor, and the all new chain and windlass work perfect, keeping us secure at night. The boat is cool, with 2 AC units, and the whole boat looks like new. We will sure miss her, and we would like to think she will miss the love and attention we gave her too. We know in our hearts that someone will love her too, and probably will enjoy her as much as we have. Are you that person?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Life's A Wheel

Steven King was right, Ka's A Wheel, a circle without end, and I say Thanky Si. Round and round it goes, and always it starts again. Sometimes it starts again with the same players in your life, and sometimes it starts again with something totally new. That is the way it is, and there is nothing that you can do, but go with it and trust that it will be alright. Sometimes things happen and the wheel spins on it's own, and sometimes we make it go around ourselves. This time, it is us that are making the big wheel spin, and in the end we know it will be alright. Round we go again, it is really how we live our lives anyhow, temp jobs here and there, and then we move on. We have made a lot of great friends along the way, many of which we know that we will never see again. This is the way of the wheel.

All this talk is a tortuous way of saying that we have decided to sell our beloved boat, Saltrun. We have certainly loved her, and hope her new owners are crazy about her like we are. The truth is, we have her just about the way we want her, she is beautiful and renewed. She has been a faithful home for us as we have moved around Florida and the Bahamas. She has kept us safe in storms, and crazy winds. She has been our ever-faithful shelter, our cruise ship, our home. Our future is now part of the wheel, around it goes, and we are on it until it stops on the next adventure for us. Maybe we will buy another sailboat in Europe, and sail the Med. Maybe we will buy a new boat in the Carribean, and sail the South Pacific after we see the Carribean. Maybe we will travel by motorcycle all the way to the tip of Argentina. Who knows. The wheel keeps going around, and around, and along we all go with it, some know it, and some do not. We know it, and are ready for the next turn around the wheel. Where will we be this time next year? We do not know, that is the fun of it for us, the unknown is not something we fear, we look forward to the next page in the book!

Saltrun is listed for sale at, the boat is located in Miami Florida, easy enough to get to, just let us know if you want to see her.