It is a very cold winter in Annapolis, Maryland! Going to the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands for the past two years has been a very good idea. We would be there now but health comes first. Bill is doing great. He is having surgery to have what little is left of the tumor on his leg removed on Friday. We know that there is going to be at least three to four weeks of recovery to get through before he starts feeling better again. We decided to take a road trip south before we have to deal with that, and have an extra benefit of getting warm.
We left very early in the morning to miss the Washington, DC traffic. Our first stop was an AirBnB in Savannah, Georgia. We have been curious about AirBnB but never had the opportunity to try it before. It is basically a web site that allows people to rent rooms in their house to travelers. Their rates are lower than traditional places to stay so we decided to try it. The house was nice, there were four rooms for guests but we were the only ones there. We spent some time talking to the owner and learned about Savannah, places to go, and his very interesting life. We spent the next day sightseeing the city and eating Southern food.
Our plan was to spend the next night with my friend Sherry in Jacksonville, Florida. We stop at her house every year on our way down the ICW. We thought it might be nice to stop and not have to have them pick us up, drive us to the supermarket, and use their washer and dryer. Unfortunately her husband was sick so we decided to skip that. Now we had to find another place to stay. We went with another AirBnB in Sebastian, Florida. This place was even nicer and the host was a professional chef. She made a great breakfast!
That night we went to meet some new friends in Vero Beach. A mutual friend put us together with Suzanne since she has gone through the same medical issues that Bill is going through. We had previously communicated via phone and Facebook. It was nice to actually meet her, but especially nice to go out by dinghy to see her and Frank’s boat on the mooring in Vero Beach! We spent time there both times down the ICW.
The next day we headed to Ft Pierce. We've never stopped there in our boat but the Navy Seal Museum is there and Bill wanted to see it. We were glad we stopped. Next stop the Gulf Coast and Gulfport, Florida. It was pretty interesting driving through the middle of the state. Our plan was to stop there on our boat this winter and visit Pat who is the mother of one of the Midshipmen we sponsored from the Naval Academy. We fed, ferried, and gave emotional support to her daughter Barbara for four years. Pat and Barbara (from afar) put us up in a lovely bed and breakfast. Pat showed us her beautiful little town by land and by water. She has been missing the water and wanted to take the opportunity to get out on a boat again. Unfortunately it was rainy and a little cold the only day we had there but we went anyhow and had a great time.
After our time on the Gulf coast we crossed back to Ft Lauderdale. When we drove into Ft Lauderdale it was like coming home again. We have spent so much time there waiting for the right weather to cross to the Bahamas. We are very well acquainted with the area. We spent time with our good friend Pam Wall and left in the morning for Key West.
Key West is super expensive to stay in a hotel so we decided to camp for two nights. We haven’t camped in a very long time but we had a great time sleeping in our tent again. I could have done without the woman in the next campsite that talked loudly on her phone until after 2:00am. We enjoyed seeing Key West. We aren't entirely sure whether we would really like to sail there, but maybe.
Next stop Miami and spending the night with our niece Jane. We had to wait for her to come home from work so we killed the time by going to an alligator farm and taking an airboat tour of the Everglades. Pretty cool. We still had time to kill so we went to a winery and did a wine sampling. Not quite my comfort level, but it was interesting. We finished the day up with a great dinner with Jane and her boyfriend Brian.
Our last day in Florida was spent at the Miami International Boat Show. We were surprised at how small the Strictly Sail portion was but were glad we went. We got to talk to a couple of vendors we knew. We decided to take the free shuttle to the Miami Convention Center. We didn't realize it was a 45 minute trip. That part of the boat show was huge!! We didn't buy a thing at either part of the show except for lunch. That was a first for us!
At some point our friend Pam texted us with an offer we could not refuse. She had sold a self steering unit from her boat to someone in Annapolis and he was offering us $500 to drive it back for him. We were spending our last night in Florida at Pam’s anyhow so there was no reason for us to say no. We had plenty of room in the car for it. How often do you get paid for going on vacation?
The weather was pretty nice while we were in Florida. It was never very hot and when it was cool it didn't bother us much. Of course we were coming home to single digit temperatures in Maryland. Both our sons told us to stay in Florida!! We came home though! We even managed to stop and have lunch with my friend Sherry on the way. It is cold here – but we were rewarded with a nice snow storm to complete our winter. It makes us want to be cruising again next winter even more now.
Check out our pictures at Road Trip Pictures