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Friday, February 2:
Today was a really warm day. We were wishing we had air conditioning a few times today. Actually it wasnít the heat it was the humidity that was so high, even sitting could make you break out in a sweat.
Mac decided to install our fourth solar panel today. Heíd ordered us one and was going to install it while we were in Tampa but of course the renovations took up too much time. So today he climbed up on the RV and got it installed. Poor guy was just dripping in sweat. It took a few hours to get everything done that he needed to do to get it done but itís installed now and working away. After he was done he was pretty wiped out. He took a shower and sat on the recliner and took a nap.
Itís so warm and muggy today that neither of us wants to cook. Iíve been looking forward to some grouper too so we decided to head on out and get some dinner. We went to the Sunset Lounge where weíd gotten such great grouper 2 seasons ago. Unfortunately they still donít have the kitchen opened yet. Theyíre not sure when and if it will open again. I hope they do get a kitchen in there again. It was so nice sitting by the water and eating dinner there. Now to me itís just a bar with a view.
We drove off base to see if we could find some dinner. Captain Bobís is now closed and is being renovated and will open soon as an Italian restaurant. What a bummer! I liked the place, it had character. We then decided to try the Key West Diner and wouldnít you know itís closed too, property for sale! What is this, every place weíve eaten at is closed.
Weíd pretty much decided to just forget it and go back to the RV when we saw the Blue Lagoon Motel. Itís right outside the gate of Sigsbee and weíve seen the restaurant "Seaweed's" before while driving by so we decided to give it a try. We both had the grouper sandwich which comes with fries for $9.99. It was pretty good. I was happy to get a nice piece of grouper that was cooked properly! Had I mentioned before in January we took Macís mom out to eat for her birthday to Red Lobster. She loves fried flounder. I ordered fried grouper and thankfully Mac did too. My grouper wasnít the white meat of grouper that I love so we traded. I wonít be ordering grouper from Red Lobster again. It was the tiniest piece I think Iíve ever had.
Saturday, February 3:
The RV park is having a yard sale today at Trumbo so we went there this morning. There werenít many people out selling anything today but at least the guy that we bought our vinyl window etching was there. I wanted a couple of good sized ones to put on the mirrors of the closet doors. We bought 2 of those and some corner pieces for them. We also bought a palm tree one for our door. Now we have 3 for the door. Iíve currently got the manatee one on the door and when we leave FL Iíll put the palm trees on. Iíd really love to find a western one that I like. Why do all western themed ones have either a wolf or cactus on them? Why canít they make one with a cool bird on it like a California Quail or something equally as unique and interesting. After we got home I tried one of the bigger ones on the door and it fits. We make go back over to the sellerís RV and trade up to a couple of large ones for the door. It depends on how lazy we are while here.
After we got back home we goofed off for a while and decided to go snorkeling before the weather gets bad. Rain and clouds are expected for the next several days. Our friends, Neal and Jo and their son Chance, have said we could borrow their dive flag anytime we want and that if they are available theyíd come snorkeling with us. So Mac ran over there and they wanted to go out on the water too. Theyíd been to Key Largo yesterday and bought 2 kayaks. So they were excited to try them out today.
We all finally got everything ready and got into the water. It felt a tad chilly but we quickly acclimated to the water. Nothing takes your mind off of chilly water quicker than seeing the fish in their habitat. Mac and I had a great time snorkeling! We saw a horseshoe crab and followed it around watching it. Mac got to try out a kayak too. While he was paddling around I was snorkeling and saw a ray. I kind of thought it was a sting ray but after researching it online I found out it was an eagle ray. Hereís a link to Wikipedia regarding the spotted eagle ray: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_ray Here is a site with a couple of nice pictures of a spotted eagle ray: http://www.elasmodiver.com/spotted_eagle_ray.htm It must have been a juvenile one, it wasnít very large. It was fast too! By the time Iíd come up, yelled out that I saw a ray and went back under the water it was gone from sight! I didnít get to see it again.
We snorkeled around and Neal pulled a spider crab and a lobster out of the water to show us up close what they look like. I tried to hold the crab too but I held it in the wrong place and got pinched for my efforts. The lobsters around here are spiny lobsters. They donít have the claws like ďrealĒ lobsters but they are eatable. Hereís some info from Wikipedia regarding the spiny lobster: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiny_lobster Weíve seen some really good sized ones when weíve snorkeled but weíve never tried to catch one before. It was cool to have someone with us who knew about all these things and could tell us what different things were.
Soon though the weather front that was headed this way arrived, the water started getting very choppy and the sky cloudy. We decided to get out of the water. When I got up to the shore I found 3 Portuguese Man of Wars washed up on shore right where weíd been snorkeling. Boy we were incredibly lucky that we didnít run into any of those in the water! Hereís some info and pictures from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_man_of_war
After we got back home we both went over and took a shower. It seems to take quite a lot of water, shampoo and conditioner to get all the salt water out of my hair. The mask strap cover works well but my hair still gets tangled up in the place where the snorkel is attached to the strap. Iíll have to do some research to see if thereís anything that I can buy or do to keep it from doing that.
So now the cold front is coming through and weíll have winds, clouds and rain for the next several days. February is the dry season in Key West but this year I think theyíll get more rain than usual.
Sunday, February 4:
Talked to my daughter Tina up in Illinois this morning; had to rub it in that the weather is so nice and warm compared to where she is. Theyíve had some really cold weather up in the Midwest area, wind chills in the negatives. Brrrr, Iím glad weíre here.
We went to the book store again today. I brought a bag of books to trade today. Theyíve started a new trading policy, any book over $5.00 is $1.00 credit. Itís still a good deal compared to other book exchanges but itís not as good as it used to be. Thankfully I have a lot of credit there to use. I found several books and Mac found a few that he wanted to. So, Iím all set for this evenings Super Bowl Game, I plan on reading.
We went to Publix supermarket afterwards. Boy was it crowded in there! I guess everyone is getting their snacks for tonightís game. We got what we wanted and got out of there. Whew, what a crowd!
Tonight Mac watched the game and I read a good book. Usually I might watch the game just for the commercials but I got absorbed in my book and didnít even come up for air.
Monday February 5 Ė Thursday February 8:
The start of another work week but with plenty of time off to enjoy the weather and the views. The week started with lots of clouds, wind and some rain but it has cleared up and been beautiful the past few days.
I mentioned that on Saturday at the Trumbo yard sale we bought some more vinyl etching decals for our RV. Hereís a link to the vinyl etchings: http://www.vinyletchings.com/decals.htm Weíve never bought any online, but if you canít find what you want at a flea market, RV show, etc. then online may be the way to go. Our closet doors in the bedroom are covered with large mirrors. Itís supposed to make the room look larger. I just find it unattractive to see myself in bed. So we bought two of the egret decals to cover up most of the mirrors, turning an ugly mirror into a design feature. We also bought 4 corners to add to the feature. I must say it did really turn out beautifully. Iím not totally happy with the two top corners we picked, we have the pelican corners. I think Iím going to pick up the cattails top corners and see if it looks better. But overall, we are quite pleased with the look. It really has added to the whole general look and feel of the bedroom. We want a tropical look but not the loud glaring colors that most tropical dťcor comes with. We want muted, calming colors and calming dťcor. So weíre getting there. Iíve never really been much on design, just function. If it works why mess with it has always been my attitude. But I am starting to really understand the concept that decorating can add to the comfort and feel of the whole room.
Photo of our new mirror etchings includes Chris in one of her several "office locations". She told me to be sure and point out that the mess you see reflected in the photo of the mirrors is on my side of the bed, not hers. Click photo for larger view.
Weíre looking at pictures now to replace some that we have up on the wall. One picture we have in the bedroom came with the RV. We finally figured out how to get it off the wall. It was really attached well. We thought it was glued to the wall, thatís how well it was attached. It turns out it was riveted to the wall on top and glued on the bottom. They really didnít want that picture to fall. But we got it off the wall with no damage to the wall or frame. Weíre thinking of reusing the frame, just putting a new picture inside and hang it back up with the same rivets and new glue. I personally am not crazy about the frame, itís silver. I just donít think silver goes with anything in the RV. We have gold hardware throughout, why did they use a silver frame? Weíll see what weíll use once we find a picture that we like.
Tuesday afternoon after we finished working we went downtown to Duval Street. We strolled around looking at the various shops. Mac stopped in at the Hard Rock Cafť and got himself a t-shirt. Heís complaining about the quality of the t-shirts, that they arenít as good as they used to be, theyíre very thin now. The shirts used to be nice and thick. Heís got some that are over 10 years old and still have a lot of wear left in them. The new ones probably wonít last 3 years. I donít think heíll be collecting these t-shirts much longer since the quality has gone so far downhill.
After looking around on Duval Street we stopped at Bealls Outlet on the way home. We picked up four plastic glasses that weíd seen in there before. the glasses are clear with pink flamingos on them. The exact same glass on Duval was $5 each, at Bealls it was $2.99, so we saved $8 on four glasses. We also went next door to the Ben Franklin store and looked at pictures. Some of the exact pictures on Duval were more than double the price. We still havenít made up our minds though on a picture. Itís a hard decision when you only want one and there are so many great pictures to choose from.
I donít know how I did it but somehow on Wednesday I hurt my back. I can barely get around it hurts so much. So Iíve been taking it easy for a few days. Mac says I should go to the doctor but I say why. The doctor is just going to say rest it and give me drugs for the pain. I can do without pain pills, thank you very much. I had enough drugs from my knee replacement and I really donít want anymore. Pain meds usually just mess with my head. Sure, the pain is gone but so is my brain. So Iím just taking ibuprofen and resting it. It should be good enough to go to the flea market on Saturday. I am so looking forward to going to the flea market, can you tell?
Speaking of flea markets, what makes a good flea market? Of course, thatís different for everyone. We used to go to lots of flea markets but weíve tapered off in the last few years. Iíve been to flea markets that some people love and rave about and I didnít enjoy; some I love but others donít. I personally love a flea market that has a lot of local color. I donít like the ones that have the same stuff that you find at a thousand other flea markets. I love to browse the unique stuff. Why go to a flea market if you can buy the exact same stuff at a store? I like the one here in the Keys because there are several booths that have stuff that I havenít found elsewhere. I liked the flea market in Albuquerque too for the same reasons. How long will it be before all the unique is gone and itís all the same stuff across the states?
In that respect flea markets and touring the country are about the same. Why visit some place if you can see the same at home? Well, thankfully each place is unique. Each area has itís own unique things to see and do. There are many things unique to each area that make it interesting to see and experience. You might have to drive through a lot of McDonaldís and strip malls to get there but where else can you experience a geyser but at Yellowstone, or the Petrified Forest, Sequoias, or Giant Redwoods? A beach isnít just a beach, each is unique. Beaches on the east coast are totally different than beaches on the west coast. Even beaches in one state such as Florida are totally different one coast from the other. So we love to travel and see all the uniqueness of our country.
Saturday, February 10:
We managed to get up early and get to the flea market a little after it opened at 7:30. We soon split up and were looking at the stuff that we each were interested in. Mac spent a lot of time at the RV booth there. He found several items to buy. I spent time looking at throws, art on ceramic tiles, vinyl etchings, etc. I finally decided not to get a throw for our loveseat. Weíll stick with beach towels until we find exactly what we want. I did find a fabric wall hanging that I fell in love with. It was only $25 including the wooden rod to hang it with. We really love it.
We couldnít find a tile that we liked so we decided to not get one. I guess I should stop here and explain about the tiles. Previously when we visited the flea market one of the booths had a large selection of ceramic tiles that would have a scene or something artistic painted on them. There were many that fit with a tropical scene. Iíd spoke with the booth owner and she said that they were from different artist in North Carolina. I really love the one with a cat snorkeling looking for dinner. There werenít that many to choose from and we couldnít find one that we really wanted so we decided to wait.
After a couple of hours we were done with all our looking at the flea market so we left. Right down the road is a Salvation Army Thrift Store that I love to visit, so we stopped in for a quick look. I walked around and soon spotted an art tile that I immediately fell in love with. The price on it was $6, but today is half-off day so itís only $3! I grabbed that up right away! After coming home I looked the artist up online and found this link to her work along with several other artist: www.intarttiles.com/michelerkennedy.htm We have one of the versions of First Day at the Beach, we love it. It fits so nicely in with our tropical theme.
Click on photos below to see larger in a new browser window. Second one shows more detail and true color. They're so shiny it's hard to photograph them.
When we got back to Key West we stopped at Boaterís World to look around. We bought a dive flag and we like it much better than the one we accidentally left in storage. Now if the weather would only cooperate so we can go snorkeling. We also looked at some wet suits while there. They donít have a very large selection but weíre just looking right now anyway. We are thinking of getting wet suits but if the sun doesnít shine enough we may wait till next year. This is supposed to be the dry season in Key West but itís rained or has been cloudy over half the time since weíve been here. Really not snorkeling weather at all, need sunshine so that we can see all the pretty fish under the water. There have been a few days of great sunshine but it was so cool and thatís one of the reasons weíre thinking of getting wet suits. The day we got to Key West the water temperature was 73, now is 69, brrr, chilly water.
Weíre invited over to Neal and Joís for dinner this afternoon and evening. Thereís a group of us invited. Their friend, Gabriella, loves to make soup and salad for a big group so she made some great lentil soup and one of the prettiest salads Iíve ever seen. Neal grilled kabobs, some with chicken, some with beef and some with shrimp. There was more food than Iíve mentioned and it was all great, we ate too much.
When weíd left our RV to drive over to their RV it was very warm. Weíd dressed in shorts and sandals. Their RV is right on the water. There was a good breeze coming off of the water and we quickly were regretting wearing shorts. Neal had to get out a jacket for me, thatís how cold I got sitting there in the breeze. Itís amazing how much difference only a few blocks will make in the weather.
Sunday, February 11:
Today it has rained off and on all day. Itís a day for sitting around and reading a good book. But Iím not in the mood to read today so I put the time to good use and got some work hours put in. Then I practiced with my video poker software getting ready for when we hit the casinos. Iíve actually been playing quite a bit of video poker lately. When we got our mail the other day we had Jean Scottís newest book, Frugal Video Poker, that Mac had ordered. So reading her book has got me in the mood to practice, practice, and practice some more. http://www.amazon.com/Frugal-Video-Poker-Jean-Scott/dp/0929712439
Wednesday, February 14:
Yesterday after we
finished working Mac and I decided to run over to Divers Direct and pick
up a couple of wet suits. Weíve been thinking about getting some and
researched it online. The weather is supposed to be nice and sunny for
snorkeling the next few days. We tried on our wetsuits and Mac said that
nothing says DIET louder than a wetsuit.
Thursday, February 15:
The weather isnít going to be very sunny and warm the next few days. But we got a short period of sunshine today so we took a long lunch break and went snorkeling. Whew, did the water feel cold when we stepped into it! There was a good breeze coming in and the water was kind of choppy but we were determined to go snorkeling today. We soon warmed up in our wetsuits too. It is amazing to me how well they work, theyíre only 2 mm and they do a great job of keeping us warm. Sometimes Iíll adjust the leg which allows the cold water to rush in; that tells me real quick how well the suits work.
We didnít stay out a long time today; the sun soon disappeared, but we enjoyed every minute of it. We saw lots of beautiful fish. We even saw a large barracuda. He was just beyond us out in the deeper water and was watching us. It was so cool. We stayed there several minutes watching him and he never moved from his spot watching us. Weíve found several small conch shells and Mac dives down and retrieves them for me. We try to check them out real good and make sure a hermit crab hasnít set up housekeeping in them. If anything is in the shell we put it back. I brought one home thinking it was empty but the next day I found a hermit crab sticking out from it. Itís so sad to me to accidentally kill any creature.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Iíve been a really bad girl. I havenít been keeping up with writing the blog. Now that Iím trying to play catch up some of the days are a blur. I guess thatís what happens when all the days seem the same except for their name.
Someone had told us that yard sales in Key West are pretty good. So last Saturday morning we headed out looking for the yard sales. It was chilly, especially to the locals so we only found about 3 or 4 yard sales. Mac bought a fishing rod and reel and was very pleased with his purchase. Weíll have to shop for more yard sales when the weather isnít quite so chilly and maybe there will be more of them.
Other than the yard sales on Saturday we didnít do much on the weekend, too chilly and windy. Monday Mac decided we were going out to dinner, weíd seen a restaurant on Duval Street that he wanted to check out; so we headed out to Duval Street. We stopped at several shops and browsed while walking. We stopped at one shop and the owner was talking with Mac and recommending several restaurants and which ones to stay away from.
After browsing some shops, and resisting buying any of the overpriced tourist stuff, we stopped at Magnoliaís Cafť. They have a table set up outside that has several items from their menu on it. This is the place that Mac wanted to try. We were seated and werenít very impressed with the place. The local had told Mac that this place had been under new management about 8 times in the past few years; on the menu it says cash only. But we pressed ahead and ordered some food. I had ordered BBQ ribs which is supposed to be all you can eat. The waiter came and told me they were out of ribs, and Mac was very happy because now we had a good excuse to leave. We just werenít comfortable staying there to eat. Itís not that it looks like a dive or a hole in a wall; several great restaurants are just holes in the wall. We just didnít feel comfortable eating there.
I mentioned earlier this month in the blog that Captain Bobís restaurant was closed. It was totally renovated and a new restaurant opened there on Friday or Saturday. Weíd heard that it was good so we decided to check it out. The restaurant is The Twisted Noodle, an Italian restaurant, and owned by the same family who owned Captain Bob's. We had dinner there and it was very good. The portions were large enough that we were quite full. We sat next to a couple who were locals, born and raised in Key West. So we had a good conversation with them about what Key West was like before it became such a tourist destination.
We got our moving orders on Monday. Weíre supposed to move to a full hook-up site on Tuesday. Sigsbee has a new rule that started this year. You can turn down rotating to full hook-ups once, but you still have to move to another site. That way everyone has a chance to get what they feel is a desirable site, such as the waterfront sites. We donít want hook-ups so on Tuesday Mac went over to RV Park office around 5:00 in the morning to be one of the first in the door when they open at 8:00. We want to get one of the waterfront sites and they go quick. When he got to the office someone else was already there but fortunately they didnít want waterfront, they wanted a shady site.
After Mac got back to the RV we got everything ready to move over to our new site. Weíll dump the tanks and fill with fresh water on our way over to the new site. It is waterfront, yea! I drove the car over to the site area and it seems the people on the site havenít moved out yet. When Mac drove the RV over and parked he looked at the rig and said itís not the same one that was there yesterday. He knocked on the door but no one was home; so he hopped in the car and went to the office to report that someone is on our site. Within 15-30 minutes here came the owners of the rig; they hooked up and pulled their rig out. Iím assuming they didnít know that you have to first go to the office and get the paperwork for the site before you park on the site. Every park has different rules.
So we finally got on our waterfront site and itís great to sit outside and watch the water. We leave the curtains open in the front of the RV and we can see the water from inside. Itís really nice to watch the boats, the birds, and the sunsets.
Since weíve been on our waterfront site weíve gone snorkeling once and that wasnít for very long either. The water is extremely cold, about 66 degrees. Mac has an ear infection and the cold water just seems to make his ear hurt worse. Weíre hoping that his ear infection clears up quickly and that the water warms up quick too. Mac told me that I can go snorkeling by myself and heíll watch me from the shore but itís not the same. I may yet go by myself though if the weather improves enough.
The weather has not been the typical Key West weather this year. The water is now colder than weíve been in here in the past. It seems windier and chillier than before too. Iím really hoping it warms up soon.
I installed another solar panel to max out our solar controller. You can read all about our solar setup at this link.
to Friday, February 23: After updating the blog this morning I need to add
what the rest of the day has been like. It was a little windy with slight
choppiness on the water this morning; forecasted to have more wind today. So I
wasnít expecting to be able to go snorkeling today.
Snorkeling photos below, Chris is cruising around alone. I'm resting. It's really beautiful here, I took the first photo on the left from our RV spot. I told someone last week, we can't afford to own ocean-front property, but we can rent it for a while! Click a photo to see larger view.
Monday, February 26:
We had another great day of snorkeling. Itís amazing that you can swim the same area day to day and each day you will see something different. Today we saw brain coral. Weíve seen pictures, seen it at the aquarium but this was our first time seeing it in the wild. It does look just like a brain lying on the bottom. We also saw some weird-looking kind of pulsing plant or creature on the bottom of the deep. I finally saw one today in the shallow water and watched it for several minutes. The bottom looked like a jellyfish but the top part looked like a plant. I found it last night in a book, itís called an upside down jellyfish. Hereís a website with a great picture of one: http://www.ocean-adventures.org/upside%20down%20jelly.html Iím looking forward to finding more creatures that weíve not seen before and maybe being able to put a name to some that weíve seen and admired but donít know the name of.
I had not had an email for quite some time and
I truly feared that my friend had finally passed away. But while we were
in Tampa I was out shopping at one of the Goodwill thrift stores when I
spotted Mo from aisles away. We hugged; laughed and cried it was so good
to see each other. So now Iím getting emails from my ďold dead buddyĒ; she
just cracks me up! She has such a will to live and enjoy life.
Wednesday, February 28:
It was another beautiful day in paradise. It
rained this morning about 3:00 a.m., straight down rain so we didnít have
to close all the windows. It helped cool it off around here.
That brings February to a close, and it's been a wonderful month. You may have noticed that Chris is doing almost all the blogging now. She's on a roll, so why get in her way :-)
Today I'll pick up the photos we took under water and see if any are worth posting. We're talking about getting an actual underwater camera next year, or at least something better than the throw away models. We tried a "bottom of the line" camera last year, can't recall the brand. Went through a few rolls of film and it didn't even take photos as good as a throw away snapshot camera.
I suppose I should start posting our monthly camping cost stats. This time of year we're paying for our sites, so averages are high. You'll recall that last year overall we reduced our campsite fee expenses by 15 cents a day (whoooooeee). Not sure how this year will come out, but we're starting out great compared to 2006 and we're always looking for a good value and plan to take advantage of free camping where possible. Check out or other web site www.CasinoCamper.com and you'll see one way we do this.
What did we do the last couple of Februaries? Take a look at:
Continue reading to March 2007