We've had a wonderful time at home back in Minnesota. It's been great spending time with the boys. We figured out that the four of us hadn't been together for four months. It was also awesome seeing family and friends that we've missed the past few months. The only thing we didn't get that we were hoping for was SNOW (actually we wanted a good old fashioned blizzard) but Mother Nature didn't cooperate.
Our time at home went so quickly. We head back to Fort Myers already tomorrow. We are looking forward to the warm weather again and seeing friends and family as they visit us in the sunshine state.
We hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas
and wish you a Happy New Year!
Oh, the weather outside is frightful.....nope. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....not quite. Walking in a winter wonderland....no, that's not the case either, at least not here in Florida. That would really push them over the edge! For the two of us it's been a totally different holiday season without the snow and cold of Minnesota. We miss it. We actually remind each other daily that it's December and Christmas is around the corner. Don't get me wrong, it's a little chilly (49 degrees) in the morning and in the evening but nothing like what we are use to.
The folks down here think we are a couple of hearty Minnesotans and I guess we are. A guy on our dock yesterday said he was in the office early Monday morning when the marina manager pointed to the pool surveillance camera and said, "who in the world is in the pool, it's 49 degrees outside!" The guy said he replied, "oh, that's just Tom and Sue from Minnesota, it's a heatwave for them!" (It was actually me and a gal from Michigan doing water aerobics and in my defense, the water was 85 degrees and steam was coming off the top) I told the guy about the Polar Plunge back in Minnesota---he really thought I was nuts then!
To get into the spirit of the season, we headed to the Edison Ford Winter Estate Holiday Light Tour. It was spectacular and we, no I sang Christmas carols all the way back to the marina. Below are some shots of our tour~
We've gotten off the dock everyday and checked out the Fort Myers - Cape Coral area. Thursdays in the park near the marina, they have a Farmers Market with fresh produce. They've had holiday tree lightings, art walks and they even do a Drumming Night in the park. I convinced Tom that we should go to the Fleamasters Fleamarket. We went about twenty years ago with his mom on a trip to Santibel. If you can't find it at Fleamasters, you can't find it anywhere! We lasted about twenty minutes there. Twenty minutes longer than we should have!
We had a taste of home last Friday. Our friend from Hooterville, Tory Keefe called and said he was at his home in Cape Coral and invited us to spend some time with him, John Keefe, Tim Elton, Jim & Steve Sinn and some other Stewartville folks. We had a grand time catching up with all of them. Thank you Tory for your generous hospitality!
We've enjoyed sunsets, holiday docktails and meeting new folks on the docks here in Fort Myers. We are always thankful but feel especially blessed this season to be experiencing the loop this year.
We are heading back to Hooterville this Friday to spend Christmas with family and friends. More later~
We arrived at Legacy Harbour Marina Sunday morning. Yay!!! I know I said no traveling on Sundays because you know who frets about not getting to wherever we are going in time for the Viking game, but I relented and lifted the travel ban and it was a quick trip, most of it done on plane until we got to the the Caloosahatchee River. It had been a busy travel week being underway six days out of eight and we were ready to be in one place for a while.
We had heard good things about Legacy Marina and were able to get it booked last Fall for our first long term break. We plan to be here until the end of January with a trip back to Minnesota for Christmas, before we start moving down the coast to the Keys.
The folks at Legacy have been incredibly welcoming and we enjoyed docktails on C dock our second night and met quite a few of Tom and Jennifer Peterson's dock mates. Legacy is their home marina. Thank you Peterson's for rallying the troops to greet us!
Off our bow is Joe's Crab Shack and our stern over looks the Caloosahatchee River and Cape Coral. We are looking forward to the sunsets!
Love the name of this boat. What do you think Shelly Preszler?!
Thought you'd all get a kick out of the sign! We did :)
We are a short walk to downtown Fort Myers. Lots of restaurants and shops.
And Bennett's Doughnut shop is literally a stones throw from the docks. Yup, Sam, it's that close. I'm working on trying every flavor before we have to leave here! I'm sure I'll be successful!
Thank you Abby for answering my SOS! We ran out of our supply of Jimmy's a few weeks ago. We got our care package today and enjoyed a salad for lunch! Tasted like home!
And last, but certainly not least, we sniffed out a micro brewery near the marina. It even has popcorn!!! Yeah, baby! I think were gonna like it here in Fort Myers. More later~
Our 47 mile cruise to Boca Grande on Saturday was so cool! It was a busy waterway and we really enjoyed seeing all the activities happening on the water. We had ten bridges with two that needed to swing or raise. Blackburn Point Bridge, the swing bridge was super narrow and the bridge keeper was a hoot. She stopped traffic from either direction, literally walked out on to the bridge and swung it for us and then proceeded to visit with us as we floated by.
Blackburn Point Bridge
Albee Road Bridge
Communities along the way were getting ready for holiday boat parades. It reminded us of 4th of July in Hooterville with everyone staging their chairs along the parade route.
As we made our way further down the ICW, we met single rowing teams, a girls crew team and groups of jet skiers all enjoying the beautiful day.
You go girls!!!
Car Pontoon Ferry near Lemon Bay
This house sits right out on a point next to the ICW. You can see the markers to the left.
What a view, huh?
We pulled into the Boca Grande Marina early afternoon. It was super WINDY and rough and it continued throughout the rest of the day and night. I didn't realize that the docks there are fixed and the tide had a 3 ft. differential. The waves just kept rolling in off the bay and our swim platform slapped the water about every 15 seconds the entire time we were there. Even though we tied BELLA up for the tide, we set our phones to remind us to check our lines at both high and low tide.....Tom did the 2 am check :).
BELLA tied up at Boca
We loved the island of Boca Grande! We set our bikes up and headed out for the afternoon and checked out the island. The beach was beautiful. There were three weddings there on Saturday. One was on Banyan street, which of course is lined with big, old Banyan trees.
We checked out the beach and the island light house before heading back to the bouncing boat!
After our big day crossing the Gulf Thursday, we got back on the ICW Friday and headed to Sarasota. It was only 46 miles to Sarasota but it was going to be no wake most of the way as it would be winding through Clearwater, St. Pete and other communities and islands along the coast. We were on a mission to get there since Tom's sister Liz and her husband, Steve have recently moved there and we had plans to meet up. We were really looking forward to seeing family again.
Our ride was awesome. The homes and marina's along the way were beautiful. We arrived at Marina Jack in Sarasota about 3pm, re-fueled, pumped out, found our slip, rinsed the salt off Bella (again) and met up with the Holzers. They took us to there new home in Sarasota. Great new place. We had some laughs catching up at dinner. Great to see them!
Tom & Sue Slightam
Read along as we circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada on the Great Loop on our boat BELLA, a Cruiser 460 Express.
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