Those People

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FYI…we’ve become “those people” who lunch at Costco (come on..two huge hot dogs with sauerkraut and all the toppings, plus 2 sodas for $3.20 including tax…why not?) and who run off to Florida in the winter!

Susie retired in 2013, and in just a couple of weeks, it will be three years since I left WABC on January 29, 2016.  In February of 2016, we headed down to Florida for a few days at Disney World, and to catch a couple of the Mets Spring training games.  It was a real treat to experience a bit of a preview of the Summer of 2016, and I guess we got bitten by the bug!  In February of 2017, Susie and I participated in the  southern swing of the “Kenny and Chris Relocating to LA Tour”, and spent some time in Disney World with the boys, and then New Orleans with the boys and Krissi and Mike, before they headed off to California and we headed back to winter.  Last year we toured a large part of Florida, heading down in February and starting at Indian Rocks Beach on the Gulf Coast, traveling down the Gulf Coast, then across the state, down the Keys to Key West, up to Hollywood, then to my cousins in Barefoot Bay, and we ended up with 5 nights at the Boardwalk Hotel in Disney World!  All told, a little over 3 weeks away from the winter!

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23d34fcc-bfe6-455b-98e7-d47076bcdfa0So, this year, we are being pigs!  We leave this Saturday with our first stop being Raleigh, North Carolina, the home of our oldest and his wife, and our 2 grandchildren!  It will be Christmas #3 for Susie and I, this time complete with Christmas Eve traditions of Shrimp Sauce over Linguine, and Lobsters stuffed with Baked Clam Stuffing!  After a couple of days there, we start slowly making our way to the Sunshine State, with stops in Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, and Darien, Georgia and our favorite shrimp place, B&J’s Steak and Seafood!  

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Last year we fell in love with Indian Rocks Beach, Florida and we’ve decided to return to the scene of the crime.  We’ve rented a condo right on the Gulf Coast for 3 weeks, and we look forward to a lot of warmth, sun, surf, pool, and fun!  During the course of our time there, our cousins Jeanne and Walt will come to visit, as will Krissi and Mike for a long weekend!  We only hope our favorite Florida bartender Lindsey, who we met at our hotel bar last year, is back on her feet and we can spend some quality time with her!

After that, it’s off to the East Coast and a 3 day stay at the lovely Doubletree Resort we really didn’t take advantage of during our stay there last year in Hollywood, Florida.  More pool, sun, warmth, and Tiki Bar time we hope!  Then we are off for 5 nights with our cousins Jeanne and Walt at their place a little further up the coast in Barefoot Bay, Florida!

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Although a stay at Disney World has been a part of our last 3 escapes from winter, we decided to pass on it this year.  Even with my Disney  Retiree benefits and discounts, it’s still an expensive stay, and that 3 week condo rental is costing us enough.  Plus, we were so disillusioned by all the crowds there last year, and the attractions that broke down, that we think we’ll take a year off, and decide again next year.

So that’s it.  If you did the math, you’ll have come up with five plus weeks away this year.  We hope to be in warm weather for the better part of 5 weeks, only dipping out of shirts and flip flop weather on the way down and back up.  I told you we were being real pigs, but there is nothing like that Summer Preview you get from spending some time in warmer climates, when it’s snowing at home!

Ahhhh…RETIREMENT!!

Heading North Again

After a fabulous night at the Pier House, this morning it was time to end our brief visit to Key West. Did I mention yesterday that we had a martini at the beach bar, two bottles of Prosecco with dinner, then two martinis each at the Beach Bar, then Susie had a To-Go Key Lime Colada, and then we finished the night with a vodka at the hotel? Just checking.

The sun was shining, (we were a little cloudy), but it was very windy when we left Key West this morning. It was hard to drive with the windows open, because the cross winds kept trying to have us switch places in the car, so unfortunately, we drove in air conditioned comfort. Traffic was better today going north than it had been heading south on Saturday, and that was good. For the most part, the drive is filled with incredible colors and interesting sites, and is by no means boring.

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We enjoyed our Saturday lunch so much at the Islamorada Fish Company, that we once again decided to stop. As luck would have it, we were given the same table as we had Saturday! Same table, different wait-person, and different meal. Our waiter today was a bit of a pip. Now, we’ve been in many restaurants over the last couple of weeks, and have noticed how much the people working in them hustle. This guy could not multi-task at all, and hustle wasn’t in his vocabulary!

 

The rest of the trip north was uneventful, till we got to Miami Beach. Figured, how could we pass through the area without going through Miami Beach? Let’s just say, that it has changed an awful lot since I vacationed there with my folks, back in the 1960s and 70s! South Beach is alive today, and filled with sites and more modes of dress than you can imagine!

As we got a little farther north, things calmed down, and there were some familiar old names mixed in with the very new residents!

One reason for all the traffic, we discovered, was it was the last day of the Miami Yacht Show on Collins Avenue! Big boats and big bucks, we’re sure!

When I was a kid, we stayed at the Stratosphere Motel at 95th Street and Collins Avenue, in the Surfside section of Miami Beach. Let’s just say that the Stratosphere is gone, but there still is the Surfside Post Office there, but little else I remember! Susie and I were there once, the first year we were married, so we did share that together. Will have more discussions about that in a couple of days with my cousin Jeanne, who vacationed there with us, when we were all kids!

We drove north to Hollywood, and checked into the Double Tree Resort on Hollywood Beach. A really nice hotel, and after vegging for a bit, we headed down to the pool bar. What a beautiful pool, a great tiki bar, and on the intracoastal waterway!! Another perfect night with our bartender Kalford!! We had several wonderful drinks, enjoyed our conversations with Kalford, and met a couple of nice ladies, Tammy and Layna. Great conversation with people we’ve never met before. One of the things we love about vacationing!!

Back in our room, perhaps a vodka on the balcony watching the ocean, and then bed! Life is good!!!