Sunday, January 18, 2015

Relaxing in Pompano Florida, birds, water, golf

Monday was a little drizzly and grey so MJ and I took it easy and popped up to the Boca Raton mall.  Lots of high end stores like Nordstrom and Saks. Definitely were not going to find a cheap duvet cover.  The night before we had met a lovely mom and her 2 daughters from Chicago.  One of the daughters worked for Nordstrom and she told us we should go and use one of their personal shoppers to help me find the "mom of the bride" dress.  Well, why not!  We found the lovely Amanda who didn't look much older than Rachel and was so excited to find me the perfect dress.  The 1st 2 she picked I said no, she said yes.  What the heck, on they went.  Would have been perfect if I was the "pudgy mom of a mermaid".  Amanda also wanted to see them all.  Eventually you just say have a seat and start taking your clothes off and on.  Tried on about 20 dresses and found one I just loved.  Not sure if it is for Rachel's wedding, but luckily we have 3 weddings this year.  It was a nice relaxing day.

The next day was a beach day, 15 minutes and we were there.  The water was very rough but nice and warm.  The storms had brought in lots of seaweed and when you were west of it, it definitely smelt like dead fish.  There is quite the incline down to the water, the waves must just pound this coast.    


 Being on the east coast the sun worshippers turn their chairs to catch the afternoon sun as it travels over to the gulf coast.

We ate most meals in.  Jim is great at chopping chicken, he is just great at chopping.  Curried Chicken, spaghetti and meat sauce, steak salad, pizza, burgers.  It is amazing how great food tastes when you are sitting out on the balcony.  

The next day, the guys went off to the golf course and MJ and I went for a walk around the area.  A lovely residential area.  Florida should change it's name from the sunshine state to the bird state.  

 These are 2 really old snowbirds.  :)
This is an Egyptian Goose.  It's colours are amazing (thinking I might do a bathroom in this colour combination).  It's mate passed away and it was wandering around looking for her.  
 Next we came upon a flock of Amazon Parrots.  Lunch time, they were dive bombing these feeders.

A lovely couple of days just enjoying the weather.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pompano Beach here we come !!!!

The plan was to leave Friday at 7 am.  We start watching the weather from the week before.  Plan a route, check the weather, change the route, check the weather, plan the route, check the weather,change the route. It went like this for 4 days.  That's it.  On Sunday I pick a route.  CAA has a great website where you can do a trip tick for the whole way down.  Book 2 hotels.  Now just to park.  

Check the weather, change the route, change the date.  Panic phone call to MJ can you leave by 3 on Thursday.  She isn't breathing.  MJ, MJ.  I know what's going through her mind, little Stella.  Make dog food, drop off at Goss's early as Andy is out of town.  But MJ being MJ, no problem.  

 Check the weather, check the weather, there is no way around it, we are going to hit snow by Windsor.  OK worst scenario we stay in Windsor.  Car is packed and we are on the road at 2:51 from Aurora.  I should have enough gas to get us to Waterloo, perfect bathroom break.  We get to snowball, gas is .87.  First stop 2:55 and gas is filled up ($28 for 2/3rds of a tank).  A couple of bathroom breaks, and we pull into Windsor at 6:55 and the snow is starting.  We pop into Swiss Chalet to make a decision by the time we finish dinner (20 minutes) later the ground is covered.  

Decision time - shysters if we don't get out of here we might be trapped until Saturday, back in the car and off we go.  No stopping at duty free, off we go.  A lovely man at Swiss Chalet told us to try and get to Toledo as the hotels are nicer there.  That's where we are heading.  

Blowing snow, dark, not happy, lots of people going 50km with their flashers going.  Perfect I pull in behind them and we just toot down the road.  Lots of trucks and cars in ditches, MJ and I just continue tooting along.  Somehow we miss Toledo and end up in a beautiful little Holiday Inn Express ($86 American) in Perrysburg, between Toledo and Dayton at 9:45.  Over 2 hours but we are safe.  Malaky the front desk clerk was charming and directed us to a grocery store where we could pick up water and oh yeah a screw top bottle of wine.  By this time the wind was howling, roads were totally covered and the windchill like the Arctic.  (about 7 hours on the road with lots of stops)

Pour a glass of wine into a disposable cup hunker under the blankets and off to dreamland.   Can't beat the Holiday Inn Express breakfast - a little scrammies, some fruit and we are off.  

It is 10:42 and hopefully the roads are all cleared.  First stop gas.  Poor MJ was in charge of cleaning the windows, the water was freezing on the windows as she was trying to clean them.  Filled up the car for $21 American, thought we were going to freeze to death before we finished.  Roads are cleared but lots of blowing.  I have never seen so many trucks in the ditches.  The roads change quickly from snow covered to black ice. 


We were definitely driving very carefully.  Next stop is Mt Vernon Kentucky for gas ($21), we are hoping to get to Knoxville.  Now we are in the mountains, and it is getting dark.  Beautiful country.  woohoo we see our Holiday Inn Express ($96 US) we are in Knoxville.  NO we aren't, we are in Powell, Tennessee at 6:30, just 7 miles from Knoxville.  A beautiful little hotel with wonderful staff and a great restaurant that is walking distance from the hotel called Aubrey's.  MJ and I split a steak blue cheese salad and an amazing tomato basil pasta.  Wine was $5 a glass - a perfect end to the day.  oh and it is now +1. (7.5 hours on the road, we are now hitting every rest stop for a pee break, have to cut down the coffee and water)

Up and at em and on the road by 9:45.  We decide to take the mountain route.  Absolutely breathtaking, big high blue skies, lovely vistas, well worth the time especially as we stayed clear of Atlanta.  Next time we stop it is +11, another $21 for gas and a quick sub at Firehouse Subs.  Arrive in Jacksonville at 7:45 (a 10 hour day and we have discovered the rest stops we could be in and out in 7 minutes and they are every 60 miles or so:)   Still really blowy, up to the local sports bar for a delish vege pizza, into bed ready for our last leg of the journey.  

9:35 on the road, the Mariott ($122 cdn) also offered a free breaky.  OK, our laughter is getting strained but the sun is shining and we are checking our thermometer more than our gas gauge now.  14, 15, 16, WHEEEEE 21.  We figure 4 hours and we're in Pompano Beach (just north of Fort Lauderdale).  Did I mention that we discovered McD's McCafe medium latte with french vanilla flavouring.  Thank goodness the Florida rest stops are the best yet.  We hit almost everyone.  Somehow we also misread the map as kmhs instead of miles so our 4 hour trip took 6.  One big rain storm where we had to pull off, but finally we have arrived.  Spent 1/2 hour being lost in a 4 block area trying to find our hotel.  Getting a little crabby now.  Phone Jim, just turn here, just turn there.  grrrr I am going to Winn Dixie, come and get me, he was at the casino.  lol I was definitely ready to cry.  Pick up groceries, 2 more phone calls to Jim and he walks over and we are at the hotel.  You could throw a ball from the Winn Dixie to our balcony.  lol.  28 degrees raining but we met the guys at the golf club house for a little cosmo and deep breath.  

Things I learned on this trip, don't stress too much, there are rest stops everywhere and U-turns are amazingly easy to do.  Travelling with MJ is full of laughter and silliness, have a funny feeling the drive home with Jim will be totally different.  Thanks MJ for all your support and laughter.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Heron Bay Golf and a day on the beach - Fort Lauderdale

Is there any better feeling than waking up to blue sky, the sun shining and a sandy beach saying "come walk along me", "squish those toes in the sand - let me play before the snow comes".  No there isn't any better feeling and that is exactly what we did, we headed north and found a lovely little cafe basically right on the water.  A little bite to eat and then back down to the water.  Did I say that the Atlantic Ocean was warmer than Muskoka got all year long.  And considering the fact that there was a major hurricane going by Bermuda the water was so calm, barely a ripple.

The above are the views from our room.  Coffee in the morning, wine in the evening.  Life is good.

Next stop is the clublink course Heron Bay.  And finally an alligator or crocodile, haven't figured out the difference yet.  Doing my best not to get close enough to ask :).

It is amazing how close the birds would let you get to them.  This lovely egret finally had enough of me creeping closer and closer and with quite the squawk took off to the other side of the canal.

So graceful, now if only my golf swing was that fluid.  And yes I am on a golf course, thank goodness there wasn't anyone behind us and the 2 in front were really pokey, gave me lots of opportunity to take pictures.

These trees brought to mind the big plantation houses.  The root systems were amazing and so old.  

 The Heron Bay Clubhouse.

This was another gated community with some amazing houses.

A lovely glass of zinfandel as we watched the sunset and then we headed to the Las Olas area and Cafe Europa for a wonderful Italian dinner.  Homemade Gnocchi Sorrentino for me and Veal Parm and Eggplant for Jim - mouth watering.

A wonderful surprise as we are having our coffee in the morning, while we were sleeping these gigantic cruise ships arrived.

 Today is beach day, a little walk, a little swim.  The water was a little rougher today.  Still remembering my jellyfish stings from Capri I was being very careful and trying to be very brave.  First dip no problem.  Lie on the loungers with a "coco loco" and notice people are starting to point and sure enough there are a couple of jelly fish.  This little boy actually catches one in his net.  OK, I'm not happy.  But I am hot.  Find a group of people and figure if a jelly fish gets through all of them and stings me than c'est la vie.  The water was heaven.

One final dinner back to Las Olas and Grille 401 for a great steak dinner.  A lovely visit and I'm looking forward to going back in January for a longer time I hope.