Thursday, May 25, 2017
|This was one of the ships we had to watch out for pulling out on the Elizabith River|
Lots of boats headed out early, we left at 6:30 am but we might as well have stayed in bed longer. The fast boats soon passed us, And we passed the slower boats, including this tug and barge. But be the time we got to the locks 30 miles later we were all together waiting for the lockmaster to let us through on the hour in groups of 15-20. We went in behind the tug and tied up with it.
Twenty miles further and we were in Norfolk, VA, Mile 0 on the ICW. The first leg of our loop was over. We docked in Portsmouth, across the Elizabeth River and went to dinner with our friends on Magic, Terry and Dorothy to a great German restaurant.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Beaufort was our last stop of any interest. It is 200 miles of huge sounds, rivers and canals with nothing but water, trees and some wild life until we get to Norfolk, Mile 0 on the ICW. We stopped in Oriental. Good comfort food, a coffee shop open early for a latte and a tiny swimming pool to lounge by to finish my Charleston murder mystery, Low Country Boil. We did have a nice visit with some other Loopers from Maine. A lobster fisherman and his wife who live in Florida now and take the boat back to Maine for the summer.
Next stop was Belhaven: beautiful restored mansion and marina with golf carts for getting into town and a wonderful dinner at a farm to table restaurant. This dragon is the town's mascot.
Seven hours today and we are in Alligator NC. A gas station, dock and reportedly great fried chicken. But if you look at a map you will see that we are really out in the middle of nowhere. But maybe people think that as they drive across I70 in the desert.
One thing I have been amazed at in all these small towns is that they have the most incredible hardware stores where you can find anything marine you need from the smallest nut or screw to carpet for the cockpit. But not Alligator.
The final stop in Beaufort was their Maritime Museum Lots of museums are sort of interesting but rarely do I find a museum that goes into depth in just a few things that I don’t really know much about and I come away having really learned something, not just been amused for an hour or so. I don’t know whether that speaks to museums in general, or my attention span, but the Beaufort museum was really enlightening.
We made it to Swansboro because the Waterway Guide said there was a very nice 25 mile Bicentennial Bicycle trail. They were celebrating, you guessed it, Pirate Days! John found the bike route and we set out. It was 25 miles alright, but some pretty busy roads and little shoulder. But we survived and I stopped at a farmers market for tomatoes, potatoes and strawberries. The strawberries are in season here and they are wonderful. I got out my Hibachi and grilled some steaks and we feasted on steak, salad, baked potatoes and strawberry sundaes. All of these little seaside towns have ice cream shops.
Friday, May 12, 2017
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Without a marina to dock in (reservations are pretty tight on weekends) we found a place to anchor on Saturday night and headed into Georgetown early Sunday morning. Beautiful little harbor and marina. Sort of a mini Charleston with all of the same history, and houses but with golf since we were now on the very south end of Myrtle Beach. Not much open on Sunday, but we found a sports bar on the river with three bars and 10 TVs. Just bike riding around the neighborhoods looking at the beautiful homes on the live oak canopied street was enjoyable. John took off on a more ambitious ride, about 20 miles back down the ICW.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
May 3, 2017
After two nights in Hilton Head we headed north and felt like we were really starting out loop, slowing down and little and discovering interesting off of the beaten path spots.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Monday, May 1, 2017
A note about the rivers and creeks that make up the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) which we are following up the east coast. Most of them are hundreds of yards wide, 6 feet deep and nothing up grass and a few scrub trees for as far as the eye can see. As we moved through Georgia they were interspersed with sounds off of the Atlantic that poke like fingers into the Low Country.
On Wednesday, April 26 we landed in New Smyrna Beach and had our first real "Looper" party. We ran into two couples who were just finishing their loops. Both had purchased boats in the Vero Beach area a couple of years ago and taken them to New York and Rhode Island where they started the loop last spring. So technically they had "crossed their wake" though they weren't planning on celebrating till they got back to their homes.
We chatted on the dock for an hour and then headed to a great brewery for beer and more conversation. That led to pizza and needless to say I didn't get the laundry done that night. Next morning I wandered around another old Florida town trying to revive its downtown area along a river, and doing it quite nicely..Found a great re creation of the old Woolworth's stores with a soda fountain that really looked like a going concern.
24th: Continuing north, running longer days since we are a month behind. Got into Cocoa Village Marina early afternoon on the 24th. Dinner w/ Caroline (Tootsie) and Charles Davidson at Chez Marquesa, nice restaurant in the restored "village". The Davidsons own a ranch north of Yellowjacket Pass NE of Meeker. Joan Savage met Carroll Carol, Tootsie's mother in the Women's Forum and I have done some legal and consulting work for them. Charles and I mostly listened, Tootsie and Sally drank the wine and had a great time.
25th: Turned 66 today! Guess I should be glad health is still decent and we are on our great adventure, but its still 66!!
Spent an extra day in Cocoa so we could go to dinner w/ Craig Macnab and his wife Diedre in Winter Park (north of Orlando).
Took a nice bike ride in AM north on Riverside Rd. Great residential street along about 15 miles of the Indian River. No bike paths or shoulders, but minimal traffic.
The Macnabs have a house in Steamboat Springs and recently purchased Oscar Wyatt's ranch on the White River (formerly Raley ranch and others). They now own the ranches on either side of our White River Ranch. Very nice dinner at Chez Vincent in Harbor Square in Winter Park. Much different than I expected. My only experience /w Orlando had been the airport, amusement parks and glitzy shopping malls along the freeways. Winter Park is a modest, "old Florida" town, now swallowed up by the Orlando megalopolis. Old downtown area redeveloped with several restaurants and shops. Traffic in central Florida as bad as everywhere else and lots of construction going on.