A Travellerspoint blog

April 2018

Traveling Coastal Highway 98

Thinking about the how the Gulf Coast was what the doctor ordered


View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

Highway 98

The trip from Matlacha to Apalachicola yesterday was stunning. If you ever get the chance to travel Hwy 98, DO IT. You pick it up north of a Tampa and from there it goes out to the coast to hit every little town from Homosassa all the way to Apalachicola. Our first stop was Crystal River and then on to places with names like Gulf Hammock, Otter Creek, Old Town (literally), Panacea (again, literally), Ochlockonee Bay, and Carrabelle. The views in the Big Bend area are just amazing.
4dc10630-4a68-11e8-b046-01062c3f5749.JPG4e459f80-4a68-11e8-b046-01062c3f5749.JPG4e46ff10-4a68-11e8-a8d1-71ec767e0ac9.JPG4dc6ab80-4a68-11e8-9f88-3fba8baf365d.JPG4d9959f0-4a68-11e8-a8d1-71ec767e0ac9.JPG4e0d0350-4a68-11e8-9f88-3fba8baf365d.JPG

We stopped for dinner at a crazy local place that had a sign out front for fresh crawfish. So glad we stopped! They were soooo good.
7ee19f90-4a68-11e8-b046-01062c3f5749.JPG7eb4ea40-4a68-11e8-a8d1-71ec767e0ac9.JPG

And so now here we are at our new home for four days, Apalachicola.
e2eae820-4a68-11e8-b046-01062c3f5749.JPG

Gulf Coast Peace and Quiet

On the drive up and for the last few days we’ve been pondering our choice of the Gulf Coast for this month. Going into this whole retirement adventure, I thought we needed time to decompress and just relax. We thought hard about Miami Beach because we love it there so much and have had such good times there. But I thought we needed somewhere more off the beaten path, more local, more chill. I wanted us to do different things and find new grooves. And the little towns we’ve been in have fit that bill so far. We’ve had time to take up fishing, a hobby we hope to continue out west, to take walks, to just sit and enjoy nature, to not hear traffic and sirens and helicopters but instead to hear birds and boats and crickets and frogs. We’ve seen wild hogs, manatees, and dolphins. We’ve unplugged and let go.

Since we’re in Apalachicola only four nights, it seems like the real beginning of the trip. I’m so excited for us and arrradventures to come. And best of all, I feel like we’re ready for them.

Don't forget to follow us on Instagram @arrradventures!

Posted by mrb430 15:21 Archived in USA Tagged florida Comments (0)

Goodbye Matt LaShay


View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

Our last days in Matt Lashay (Matlacha for those trying to Google it), were full of more sunsets, another Mojito Monday, hanging out, jet skiing, and fishing. We did do some exploring, too.

Sanibel & Captiva

Took a drive to Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Beautiful drive but not really our kind of places. $6 toll to get there. No public beach access without paying $2 an hour at one of two state parks. Lots of really big houses and really rich people.
27c4dda0-4a5c-11e8-a04c-1f93c5955be3.JPG26e468b0-4a5c-11e8-858e-211629946f9f.jpg2763d1e0-4a5c-11e8-9b55-03c64a7d2134.jpg27b37880-4a5c-11e8-9165-fb4a2a0ce52d.jpg
The kind of place you just don't feel welcome as a visitor. They did have a cool lighthouse.
c2c23660-4a5a-11e8-858e-211629946f9f.JPG
So we stopped for lunch and headed out. I will say we had AMAZING fat bellied fried oysters and a delicious watermelon drink at The Island Cow! It was a nice place to relax. Although I really couldn't get a smile out of Scott.
1ba91580-4a5d-11e8-9b55-03c64a7d2134.JPG
We had read about the Causeway Islands as good dog-friendly beaches so we stopped on the way back. Not as nice a beach but you pull right up to the water and hang our with all the locals out for a Sunday Funday.
283cf3d0-4a5c-11e8-a04c-1f93c5955be3.JPG28536200-4a5c-11e8-9165-fb4a2a0ce52d.JPG
We popped a few beers from the cooler and sat back and relaxed.

Fort Myers Beach

We also took a beach day at Fort Myers Beach. That was our kinda place. Great beach, warm water, chairs and umbrelllas,
live music, and great food at beach front bars including a huge dish of Ceviche that was AMAZING!
412f35a0-4a67-11e8-9f88-3fba8baf365d.JPG98f63f20-4a64-11e8-b046-01062c3f5749.JPG98ee9e00-4a64-11e8-9f88-3fba8baf365d.JPG0bea0ac0-4a65-11e8-8359-f7e246a79c30.JPG

We did more fishing. Scott had a battle with a consummate “bait stealer”. That fish must have stolen over a dozen shrimp before sunset let him live another day.
f17f3c40-4a65-11e8-9f88-3fba8baf365d.JPG
And we saw more beautiful birds. These two were my favorites. A mature Little Blue Heron and his pal an immature one. I love the speckling on the little guy.
48d4def0-4a66-11e8-b046-01062c3f5749.jpg48bc4de0-4a66-11e8-9f88-3fba8baf365d.jpg
And there were oh so many lizards so cute!
Lizard.JPG

After one more stop at Woody’s, it was time to say goodbye and hit the road.
859abb70-4a66-11e8-b046-01062c3f5749.JPG859dc8b0-4a66-11e8-a8d1-71ec767e0ac9.JPG

Off to Apalachicola and oysters! But first, check out our next entry. And don't forget to follow us on Instagram @arrradventures for more daily photos.

Posted by mrb430 14:42 Archived in USA Tagged birds florida matlacha Comments (0)

Life is Full of New Discoveries in Matlacha

sunny 83 °F
View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

Apologies in advance for the length of this. Haven't written in awhile and now I have inspiration.

Transitioning into full-time travel has led to daily realizations about what we like, what we don't, how we work best together, what habits and patterns transfer from our previous life and which don't. Living here in a quiet corner of Florida is a great place to figure some of these things out.

Meeting Matt LaShay

First, for any of you that have been pronouncing this town Matt-latch-a (emphasis on latch - as most English speakers would) let me set you straight. Its Matt-La-Shay (emphasis on La like La Vida Loca). We think it sounds like a baseball or more likely a Canadian Hockey player that way but so be it. That's how the locals like it. And for the record, like any mostly rural/locals area (yes the snow birds invade here like an invasive species but they are mostly gone now) there are the Hatfields and the McCoys. Those on Matt LaShay, sorry I just can't think of it any other way now, and those on Pine Island, their larger neighbor, don't like each other much. Never mind we can't tell the difference, apparently they can. That being said they are all totally helpful and friendly and fill out the local watering holes with great company. Sometimes this feels more like Central America or the Caribbean. It's just not all pretty, spanky new, squeakily clean, cookie cutter like some of Florida. It feels real. And we can just be real here, too.

Keep it Between the Navigational Bouys

When going somewhere for the first time, it's always easier and more fun getting home (or going there the next time). This goes for the Winn DIxie, the Bait shop, and definitely any destination by Jet Ski. And yes, I am the navigator by land and by sea. Captain Scott is in charge of getting us there safely and I'm in charge of getting us there at all! This is VERY good practice for the travels ahead. I choose the destinations and the route and Scott executes. It's working well so far and I am hopeful practice will lead us to be more adventurous the first time out. Many places we travel on this trip we will only go to once so the first time needs to be enjoyable and not stressful. As we learn to read the "navigational bouys" better, it will get easier. It's definitely learning a new skill or more like perfecting an old one.

Here are a few destinations by sea:
Picnic Island 2

Picnic Island 2

Picnic Island

Picnic Island


Cold Beer! Captain Con's

Cold Beer! Captain Con's

Captain Cons Bookelia

Captain Cons Bookelia


Fishing Pier Bookelia

Fishing Pier Bookelia


And by land:
Woody's

Woody's

Woody's Channel

Woody's Channel


Low Key Tiki

Low Key Tiki

It's good to cook at home. Not only does it save money but it makes me happy. I like to cook. I like to go to the market. It makes where we are feel like home. It is healthier and we do eat less but those are really side benefits to me. And the fresh food here is outstanding! Fresh fish, shrimp, mangos...
Yum! Fresh Shrimp

Yum! Fresh Shrimp

Yum!

Yum!

Fresh Clams!

Fresh Clams!

Mangove Islands look the same everywhere.

On our jet ski, on our kayaks, on our paddle boards, when we're out in the mangrove islands, we could be in Bocas del Toro Panama or Matt LaShay Florida. Always awesome beauty and home to birds GALORE. I do love them.
Paddle Boarding and Kayaking Matlacha

Paddle Boarding and Kayaking Matlacha

Kayaking with Marcy and Cadeau

Kayaking with Marcy and Cadeau

Barnacles are sharp EVERYWHERE.

This is just TRUE. Keep it in mind. You would think we would know this after years bandaging people's feet at the Cove but no. As I write this Scott has bandaids on fingers and I have bandaids on feet. Lesson (re)learned.

One should ask if it's safe to swim BEFORE swimming.

So off our dock I've been swimming, like at the Cove (or anywhere else I end up near water for that matter). At night, after dark, Scott has been hearing these "really big fish" jumping in the water. Well today when the handyman stopped by the house we have for a minor repair, we found out what those big fish are. SHARKS! He recommended not swimming in these waters. Ummm yeah! Would have been good to know. Think I'll stick to watching sunsets!
Sunset from Our Back Porch

Sunset from Our Back Porch

And another sunset

And another sunset

Florida is still fun even in the rain. It started POURING last night at Micela's while we were all out listening to the band and having dinner but oh well...the sun does come back out.
Isn't she the cutest?!

Isn't she the cutest?!

There's the sun again

There's the sun again

Finding Housing is - well - HILARIOUS

We've spent some time here booking places for our travels to and in South Dakota as well as for next winter in Mexico. Today we rented a "Tiny House" in Custer SD for $110 a night and a four bedroom house with ocean views outside La Paz Mexico for $47 a night! Finding ANY PLACE to stay that was in budget in Hill City, SD was not possible - who would have thought?! Branson Missouri is also proving problematic. I guess Silver Dollar City and the Titanic Museum are bigger draws than I thought. I've considered renting a teepee, a cabin with an outhouse, and a place literally called Mom and Pop's Motel. You'll have to wait and see where we actually end up.

But for now, we're just...
Hanging in Matt LaShay

Hanging in Matt LaShay

Posted by mrb430 06:53 Archived in USA Tagged florida matlacha Comments (0)

Mojito Monday in Matlacha


View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

Mojito Monday in Matlacha

Mojito Monday in Matlacha

Yesterday we left Redington Shores and settled into our new place in Matlacha, Florida. The drive down was fairly unexciting except for crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay. Lovely suspension bridge with great views.
Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay

Sunshine Skyway

Sunshine Skyway

The house here is so cute. Right on the water with an unobstructed view West. We have great sunsets right from the back porch! And this one comes with an Osprey nest with two "babies" in the nest. Babies in quotes because they're already pretty big.
Home!

Home!


Sunset from the Porch

Sunset from the Porch


Osprey Nest

Osprey Nest

And we even have two trees to stretch the hammock between.
Life is Good!

Life is Good!

As usual on coming to a new place to stay, our routine is to unpack, hit the grocery store, and take a walk to find the nearest chill, locals bar/restaurant. Luckily we found one just down the road.
Bert's

Bert's


Another bar - and a good bar dog

Another bar - and a good bar dog


Sun and a Corona - what more could I want?

Sun and a Corona - what more could I want?


Ummm...yeah!

Ummm...yeah!

I've been thinking about this nomadic life we've chosen. One thing that's certain, we are going to sleep in A LOT of different beds. To chronicle this, I've decided to take a picture of every one for an album I'll share someday. I'm also reflecting on not "having a home". On Sunday, the day we had massive thunderstorms complete with tornado warnings, it was nice until about 1:00 and we were out walking and noticing everyone packing up to get home before the storm when Scott said "That's right people, pack it up and get home". It struck me, we aren't ever going to do that/have to do that again. Home is wherever we are. I'll admit it took me aback for a minute as I thought about that. But saying "going home" sounds like going back, staying put, working, falling into familiar, mindless routines and I'm not for it. There are too many place to see - I want to move forward and make home wherever we are.

So hello Matlacha - home for the next ten days!
Matlacha Back Porch

Matlacha Back Porch

Posted by mrb430 05:25 Archived in USA Tagged florida matlacha Comments (0)

Time Flies When You're in the Sun (and Drinking Rum)


View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

Hard to believe it's our last weekend in Redington Shores. Time has flow by here. We're having a great time relaxing, enjoying the beaches, and seeing the sites.

We discovered that this area has two great dog beaches. One on the IC off Pleasure Island...
Beach Bum!

Beach Bum!

Cadeau doing what she does best

Cadeau doing what she does best

Sunset Beach Dogs

Sunset Beach Dogs

...and another one at Fort De Soto Park. Had to be a hundred dogs running up and down the beach playing. And there was a constant cacophony of dog owners calling their dogs names, usually to very little response! It was a really beautiful beach and quite entertaining.
Fort DeSoto Beach

Fort DeSoto Beach

Cadeau sacked out -she loves beach days

Cadeau sacked out -she loves beach days

Fort DeSoto

Fort DeSoto

Fort De Soto Dogs

Fort De Soto Dogs

We finally got the Go Pro attached to the jet ski for some cool footage of the Intercoastal. Now I just have to figure out how to post video! In the meantime, here's a picture.
John's Pass Jet Skiing

John's Pass Jet Skiing


We road down to John's Pass and took a break at Gator's for some Coconut Shrimp and rum drinks. In general, we weren't impressed with the oysters but the shrimp are AMAZING!
Gators

Gators

Life is better in the sun!

Life is better in the sun!

We've been enjoying our morning walks - got back up to our four mile mark yesterday. And we're even throwing in some dock yoga.
Morning Walk on the Indian Rocks Bridge

Morning Walk on the Indian Rocks Bridge

Morning Walk IC from Bridge

Morning Walk IC from Bridge

Morning Walk Beach Birds

Morning Walk Beach Birds

Morning Visit by Our Resident Heron

Morning Visit by Our Resident Heron

Morning Yoga

Morning Yoga

Can't beat the view!

Can't beat the view!

How's our form?

How's our form?

It's good we're exercising because the food and drinks are great!
We grilled some Black Grouper and had local oysters.
Dinner at home

Dinner at home

Good but not Chincoteague!

Good but not Chincoteague!

And I tried Hog Fish, which was really good. Speaking of fishing, we're going to buy poles today and see if we can't catch something!

Posted by mrb430 06:40 Archived in USA Tagged florida redingtonshores Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 9) Page [1] 2 » Next