Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Super (Moon) Week with Friends - New Carpet

We continue to explore the area around Jensen Beach, Hutchinson Island and Stuart as a possible place to plant some roots some time in the future. The area meets many of the requirements we have in mind. It is close to the ocean and a lot of other waterways, there are plenty of recreational opportunities, many locally owned eateries, less traffic than other places in Florida and more reasonable home prices. We are not planning on buying at this time as we are still in the information gathering phase.
We found another great restaurant, Castaways. They offer over 60 beers and many fine wines. The food menu is fantastic with a great selection of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and entrees all prepared to order.
We have been there twice and I opted for the wings and a great wheat IPA on our second visit. Another thing we like about the area is the friendliness of the people. Without fail, someone seated next to us strikes up a conversation. This is the best way to learn about the neighborhood and get the inside scoop.
When we leave here we are only moving 25 miles to be near Jupiter to spend the holidays with our friend Mary Lou. When we are there we always go to the Jupiter Jazz Societies' Sunday jam sessions at the Double Roads Tavern. We realized that the two Sundays we are going to be there are the holiday eves so there are no jam sessions, bummer.
We decided since it was not really that far away we would drive to Jupiter from Jensen Beach for the jam. As usual we were not disappointed. There were several great performers including many we remembered from our last visit two years ago.
Mary Lou, Nanc and I had a great evening of food, drink, conversation and music.
There is always an interesting variety of very talented people at the jams. They even got a little bit away from jazz with some great pop tunes. Sure happy we realized we needed to go to the jams from Jensen Beach or we would have missed one of our favorite things about this area of Florida.
WOW what a super moon. The clouds parted just enough so we could see the super moon over Florida. It's amazing how big it looked.
We got an email from Jean Paul and Celine, our amis from Quebec who we met at Betty's RV Park. They were a couple hours north of us in Orange City and wanted to check out the Ocean Breeze RV Park. We have seen them on the road many times including a visit to their home in Saint Omer on the Gaspe Peninsula. 
We had a great visit and lunch at Conchy Joe's, another interesting local eatery. We got caught up with all their travels and are looking forward to being with them at Betty's in February and March.
We (Nanc) has been on a mission to get new carpet in Opus for a couple years. We got estimates from Newmar and Duncan in Indiana and they were both around $6,000, way more than we paid to have our three-bedroom house done. We thought we could get it from a local WashPA shop, only to discover they no longer did RVs. Nanc found Syl Wagenti in Port Saint Lucie on Home Advisor. He does carpet in RVs and his price was a third of the other estimates we received.
Syl showed up with his helper on Wednesday and immediately went to work moving furniture, not an easy job in an RV and removing the old carpet. 
All the furniture stacked in the slide and the carpet out in the front of Opus.
People often said our carpet did not look too bad but when you see it rolled together you can see it was not only worn, but very faded.
You can see why some places want so much money to install carpet in an RV. It is a very small area that requires many cuts.
In the bedroom they just removed the carpet from around the bed, a major cost savings.
By the end of day one the new padding was down and the carpet was rough cut. It took Syl a long time to cut it so it fit properly along the front of the slide.
The job is finished and looking good.
He did a great job putting it in and as they say, happy wife, happy life.
But, look who was not happy when I was told I was to messy to eat supper where I might drop something on the new carpet and I had to eat sitting on the tiled floor:-)
It was not all fun and games here while new carpet was being installed and we could not be in our house for two days. Nanc and I took advantage of having to be outside and shined up Opus. 

We only have one more week here before moving 25 miles further south. Hopefully, it will warm up by then as a cold (cool) front just moved through and lowered the high temperature into the sixties with a couple days of lows in the forties.  BBBRRRR!!!! 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Thanksgiving, Birthdays and Jensen Beach

We had a busy second week on the East Coast celebrating Thanksgiving and both our birthdays. We have also checked out several local restaurants, possible places to settle and the nearby beach. We really like the area and think it has a lot of the things we are looking for in a place to settle.
We are only 30 miles north of Jupiter where our friend Mary Lou lives. She had no real plans for Thanksgiving, so she invited us for a traditional holiday feast of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and more. Nanc made butternut squash soup and a salad to round out the feast.  We had a great day getting caught up and hearing about her trip to several Western national parks. Our next move is to Jonathon Dickinson State Park where we will spend the holidays with Mary.
One of our requirements for the place we will settle is good, locally owned restaurants. The first one we found was the House of Brews where they have 69 brews on tap and hundreds of different bottled beers for sale to go.  They also have a nice wine selection which is rare in brew pubs, which made Nanc happy.
One thing we like about Florida over the Southwest is that the evenings stay warm after the sun goes down. This makes sitting outside very comfortable. The Banyan Bar is the outdoor part of Crawdaddy's and on this evening we were treated to some live blues.
Another great place is the Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House. It is right on the water and has great happy hour food specials. In the lobby they had something I have not sat in for years, a barber's chair. 
Another requirement met. Hutchinson Island and the beach is only 10 minutes away. Unlike the beaches near Naples, they offer free parking and access to a nice wide ocean beach.
Our birthdays, mine on the 26th and Nanc's on the 28th, turned into several days of celebration. I sure was happy that all my favorite sports teams were winners over the weekend. It started on Friday when Pitt upset Miami, then Pitt won a couple basketball games. The Pens snapped out of the funk and on Saturday the Prexies won the WPIAL football championship. Finally, on my birthday the Steelers won a close game over the Packers. Nanc cooked one of my favorite dishes, perogies with hot peppers, for dinner.  A true western Pennsylvania tradition. I had a great time and I'm sure happy not to be 70 anymore.
For Nanc's birthday she chose to check out a few local shops that are within walking distance of the RV park. While she shopped I went to another great local watering hole, Lures. The outdoor bar is on the sidewalk, very neat. It seems to us that people in this area are very friendly and welcoming. At every place we have been someone has struck up a conversation with us. Another reason we like the area. After she was done shopping the birthday girl joined me at Lures for happy hour.
She chose Crawdaddy's for her birthday dinner. How neat is this we can get actual Louisiana food right here in Jensen Beach. While it may not be as good as Abbeville, they have crawfish etouffee. jambalaya, shrimp creole and raw Louisiana oysters.
As you can tell we like the area and have checked out a couple condo developments. We have looked at them on the Internet and driven by but have not been inside any of them. This is supposed to be a time just to find an area we like, so we do not plan to buy this year.

I have used google Picasa to do pictures for the blog for years. It is easy to use to edit pictures and post them on the blog. Picasa always automatically downloaded all my pictures from the computer. This week that did not happen when I downloaded pictures from my phone and camera. Any help would be appreciated.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

From Naples to Jensen Beach and a Surprise Visit With Friends

We were back in Naples for a week after we returned from Punta Cana and did not do much as we were both still recovering from our colds. We did do a bit of exploring, looking at possible places to settle down. We did not find anything that really appealed to us so we will be checking out the East coast in the next few weeks.
One of the swans at Lake San Marino. The park was almost back to normal after Irma. They removed the couple of totaled trailers, repaired the fence and remove the downed branches and stumps.
We did stop at Big Cypress National Preserve on our trip to Miami. We were shocked at how much water is still on the ground from Irma. Many of the back roads and the Shark Valley area in the Everglades are still closed because they are under water. Here is an anhinga drying its wings.
We have driven across this road several times in Opus but this was the first time we have stopped at the visitors center to collect a park service stamp and add Big Cypress to our visited list. We did see one gator. 
Oh no, we got up the day after we returned from Punta Cana and found the carpet in the bedroom was wet. I found the leak under the sink, but I don't do plumbing, so we called Daniel at Land and Sea Cooling and he came out the first thing Monday morning and replaced the broken T. We can't say enough about Daniel. If you are in the Naples area and need a mobile RV service, he is very good.
We arrived in Jensen Beach on Saturday afternoon and got a message that John and Sharon were in the area so we got together for an extended happy hour.
As we always say, making and seeing friends on the road is the best thing about our full timing lifestyle. We got caught up with all our travels and are looking forward to seeing them at Betty's in the spring.
On Sunday we went to the Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival. It was a small event with the usual music, food and vendors.
We did find a Christmas gift and found a couple local restaurants that are within walking distance of the park. We are here for a month and plan to check out the area as a possible place to settle some day. Looking at prices, this area is less expensive than the West coast.

We are only a few miles north of Jupiter so we are going to have Thanksgiving with our friend Mary Lou. Hope you all have a great turkey day and are with friends and/or family.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Secrets Royal Beach - Punta Cana

We love going to Secrets Resorts as part of our Unlimited Vacation Club. It is great to be able to kick back and be waited on by the staff. Check out our previous post about the service we received on our anniversary. Going to the pool and soaking up the sun is our number one priority and our toughest decision is, where will we dine tonight? This year we decided to return to Secrets Royal Beach in Punta Cana where we joined the club five years ago. 
This was our view for our two week stay. We could see the ocean and the pool through the beautiful palms. The resort came through the recent storm in good shape.
This guy was cutting damaged palm fronds out of the tops of the trees. He used two ropes to climb and a machete to chop away the fronds. Very interesting.
At the top of our list of reasons for loving Secrets is the staff. They do the best to make our stay great. The rum tasting even got me dancing.
Nanc enjoying the rum.
Every evening the entertainment team has a show on the plaza.
Every day they have activities on the beach and at the pool. Darts on the beach in the morning.
Pool exercise in the afternoon.
A new, unique experience for us was a foam party in the pool. Who knew a bunch of crazy adults could have such a fun time.
My beautiful wife.
If you are a beach person, Punta Cana is great with a wide sandy beach.
Depending how the wind was blowing the water sometimes had a lot of seaweed. The day I went in the water was clear and beautiful.
We were there for Halloween and I went as a waiter with my Secrets hat and shirt. I did not win the prize but the staff loved it.
The Tribute Show was fantastic with music honoring a variety of artists from Whitney, to Michael Jackson to Frank Sinatra and more.
We spend every day at the pool soaking up the sun and meeting people. We met Artie, who was born in Muse and now lives in Eldersville (the town next to where we grew up) and knows several of our friends and family. Small world!
No night swimming, but the pools and the lights are beautiful.
The fire show was our one of our favorites. 
This guy must love the heat.
At the end of the show all these women poured the hot wax from their candles on him. Nanc was first and was a bit reluctant but it did not burn him.
The entertainment dancers' "day job," showing off their beautiful Dominican outfits. Cupid was doing a great job shooting the love arrows at unsuspecting couples. 
One thing that never disappoints at Secrets is the staff. Everyone is wonderful from the moment you check in until you have to say good bye. They go above and beyond to make sure all your wants and needs are taken care of. Here is the Preferred Club pool staff whom we interacted with the most.
Here we are with our butler, Martin, who we can't say enough about. He is from Haiti and speaks, French, Spanish and English. He was there for our every need and was personally responsible for our wonderful anniversary celebration.  

We had a great time, but both of us ended our stay getting bad colds, so we were very miserable the last few days. We were also disappointed that Rick and Denise, who were supposed to fly down for a few days, had to cancel.

We are now back in Naples until Saturday and then will be heading to the East coast until the beginning of the year. We will be in Jenson Beach for a month and then two weeks near Jupiter for the holidays before heading to the Keys in January.