Gotta Smile!

Gotta Smile!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Friendly Places & Happy Times -- Stuart & San Diego

March 5 - April 18, 2016

Stuart, Florida was named the friendliest coastal city in the USA by Coastal Living magazine for 2016.  Oddly enough, our new home, Venice, Florida was the second friendliest in 2015.  We would have to agree with whoever is making those decisions.  We're thinking that once the SMILLIES permanently move to Venice it may jump up to first place in 2017!  

Arriving at Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart always guarantees a friendly welcome.  When we arrived, there were 11 Krogens on our dock and at least that many scattered on other docks throughout the marina.  We have met most of the owners and are good friends with quite a few.  Besides lots of chit chat on the docks, there are occasional dinners and every Tuesday morning most of us walk into town for breakfast.  I don't know about other boat brands, but Krogen owners are always available to help each other and welcome new arrivals when they dock at a marina.  If two pass in travel there will be friendly conversations over VHF radios about destinations and plans.  Even if you have never met, you will receive a warm Krogonite greeting.  This is a feature we discuss with potential buyers that look at Gotta Smile.  When someone buys a Krogen, they get a lot more than a great boat.  They get a support system, a circle of friendly owners and lots of fun events. 
Gotta Smile decked out with flags from all of the
islands we visited.

Once in Stuart, we immediately began to prepare the boat for Krogen's Open House.  Invitations had been sent to 100's of people that had shown interest in the brand.  The show was a big success with an excellent turn out.  We had about 30 people look at Gotta Smile.  There were lots of favorable comments, but no written offers....  








While we wait for a buyer to fall in love with Gotta Smile, we are keeping busy.  

The boat continues to look better and better.  We had some fiberglass repairs completed and the entire boat was professionally polished.  Soon it will look like it just came out of the mold!
Dinner on Sanibel at Doc Ford's.
Randy Wayne White is the author of Doc Ford books
that we all read.  


John and Gail had rented a house in Sanibel for the month of March.  Once the Krogen Open was over we packed a bag and drove across the state for an overnight.  






Once all 10 of us were together the first
stop was the beach.






Later that week we were on a plane to San Diego.  All of our family got together for Spring Break at Jennifer and Ian's new house.  A week of nonstop activities left us happy but exhausted.  Our grandkids are 10, 8, 8 and 7.  They love time together and we hope to keep that relationship strong.  A bond that may last long after we are gone.    
Easter morning -- the kids cracked Cascarones on
each other's heads.  Cascarones are real egg shells that
are filled with confetti.  I predict that there will be
confetti in the front yard until August!






JAC's 7th birthday was on Easter Sunday this year.

























Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute.





The sea horse display is a favorite
and this dragon sea horse was
spectacular!















Docile looking sea lions, but don't get too close!









The San Diego area has one of the
largest number of breweries in the
country.  Steve came with a list of ones
he wanted to sample.  Every day we had
a delicious lunch at a different brewery. 

Everyone was happy with good food
and unique brews. 






Lego Land is only 15 minutes from
Jennifer's house.  The amazing statues
are, of course, all made of legos. Besides
walking for miles we rode on most of the
rides.  We are all daredevils -- I'll do it if

you do it!    



















Hiking the steep and rough terrain of Torrey Pines State Park.
The kids ran up and down the trails like billy goats.  Let's just 
say -- I completed the hike.  It wasn't pretty, but I finished with
no calls for assistance.  









Enjoying time with my boy!














When we decided to go to San Diego's Safari Park, I thought we were going to ride around the park on
a tram.  Oh, NO, it was all walking!  Great day, but we could hardly make it back to the cars.
Circling to land in West Palm.  A long day when you
consider the distance from San Diego to West Palm

with a two hour layover in Philadelphia and crossing
through four time zones!













Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!



We have watched Barrett Jackson car auctions on TV for years.
In fact, when Brian was going through radiation we watched it 
nonstop for three days and evenings.  Going to Costco on
Saturday morning we heard an ad for the auction being held in 
West Palm.    No debate -- we knew we had to attend!
However, NO bidding paddle for Mr Smillie!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

It's Never Dull On Gotta Smile

January 10 - March 4, 2016

When I read my last post, I couldn't believe how much had happened in the last nine weeks.  It seems nothing ever goes according to plan!  Wait -- isn't that one of the first rules of boating? 

First of all -- Gotta Smile is not sold.  We have two interested parties and it is on the market.  Krogen is having a show in Stuart March 18 and 19.  We decided that if we REALLY want to get it sold we need to be in Stuart for the Spring market.  That meant we had to cancel our trip to Eleuthera.  The decision to cancel was very difficult  especially since friends and family had already purchased tickets to join us. I was also sad.  Sad to disappoint guests and sad because I really wanted to spend a couple of months there. It looks like one of those perfect underdeveloped islands with pristine beaches and water. Who said retirement is uncomplicated?  

The last three weeks in January were devoted to making decisions about the house.  Meetings with the pool designer and design center.  Researching appliances, paint colors, tile, carpet.....  Will and Sue, former Krogen owners, just completed building their home and were very helpful sharing what they learned during their process.  It was great to see them and know that we will be able to get together once we are settled.  

February was out of control....in fact, chaotic!  We had guests staying onboard 25 of the 29 nights of the month plus January 30th and March 1st!!!  Then there were five boat showings scattered throughout the month.  It went much smoother than I could have imagined and we enjoyed all of it.  Good friends and family are always welcome.    

Sid and Marion flew in from London on January 30th.  We have visited them and they us several times.  Brian first met Sid in Dusseldorf when they were both covering the aerospace market for the adhesives division of 3M -- just a few years ago (37).    

 
The Ringling Home in Sarasota.









       
A quick lunch between the museum and home tour.
















Two rookie clowns trying to blend in with the pros.
















Sitting on the curb in St Armand's Circle after exploring the art show.
Looking for the perfect shell on Boca Grande Beach.













Dinner at one of our favorite Sarasota
 restaurants, Owen's Fish Camp.



A stop in Ybor City on the way to the 
Tampa Airport found lots of people 
preparing for the Gasparilla Pirate 
Parade:  pirates, wenches and royal 
soldiers.  Marion and I didn't expose 
 enough cleavage to qualify as 
wenches!  
     







































My brother, Mark, and his wife, Sue, were the next guests to arrive.  They are renting a house in The Villages for two months.  Before heading to their rental they visited friends around the state for a couple of weeks.  


Sue lost her glasses the first day they were
with us. She looked like a Vegas dealer
as we played pinochle.
Brian and Mark waiting for lunch.
































Joan and Larry were guests for the first trip on our 39 foot Krogen, Finally.  We had been planning on them joining us for months.  Then, when we cancelled the Eleuthera trip, they wound up being our last guests on Gotta Smile's last voyage.  It just seemed perfect to end with these good friends of almost 40 years.  We had three days in Longboat Key before we crossed the Okeechobee for three additional days in Stuart.  
Leaving Longboat Key for the last time----







Larry is ready to secure us as we enter one of
the five locks.  
           



Instead of using valves and chutes to
lower the water in the lock, the gates are
opened.  Hopefully, the lock master only
opens the gate a small amount so the
water goes down slowly.















The guys comparing information on their phones.

Dinner at Crawdaddy's.   
The four days that we didn't have guests in February gave us a chance to catch up with friends that live in the Sarasota area.  We're looking forward to seeing a lot more of them when we get settled and, of course, having lots of guests come and stay with us.  We will improve our scheduling system!

Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

St John, USVI -- This Time By Air

January 2 - 9, 2016

Our good friends, Didi and Peter, rented a house for two weeks on St John a US Virgin Island.  The first week their son and his family were there.  The second week we were invited to join them!!!  You may have read other posts about St John being one of my favorite islands.  Well, it still is!  Didi sent an email the end of January 2015 inviting us and it took about 3 seconds for me to respond "YES, we will be there!"




We flew to St Thomas from Miami, took a taxi to Red Hook and a ferry to St John where we were picked up by our hosts and whisked away to Lime In De Coconut Resort Villa. I loved the name because I torture Brian and my grandkids by singing Lime in de Coconut over and over again.  


The house was huge and beautiful on a hillside
overlooking Chocolate Hole.  My favorite part was
 
the infinity pool.  We all found a place we loved: 
three in the shade and one in the sun!













A slowly healing toe forced me to keep my
foot out of the pool and ocean.  Of course,
I found a way to enjoy the water!











The bay view.













A private beach.










Our visit overlapped with the family's visit by two
days.  We loved being with Geoff, Jaimee and
 especially Andrew!  















The "kids" spent their second week on
their catamaran.  That's it in the
background as the crew came to shore
for a little beach time.   













Taking a quick stroll on the beach.










Dinner at Caneel Bay Resort.






Wild donkeys roam the island, but they seem to
prefer the landscaping at the plush Caneel Bay
Resort.
 
















Driving the perimeter of St John is a challenge!
The narrow roads constantly twist and turn
while traversing up and down the steep hills.
60% of the island is a National Park.
 No freeways.  No airports.  No marinas.
Lots of gorgeous views, beautiful beaches and
clear blue water.  





We couldn't drive by one of our favorite restaurants.
A stop at Skinny Legs is mandatory in our minds.
A little shopping and a cool beverage. 































Lets have a picnic on the beach at Hanson Bay!  













Look at that BEAUTIFUL beach!  We anchored off
shore for several weeks. Pristine-----  
Our last night was highlighted by dinner on the deck
followed by a wild game of Farkel!
We are such party animals!
On the ferry back to St Thomas.  Hoping that I'll
be back again.  Some things are just too beautiful
to say good-bye to forever!


































































Standing on the back of our lot.
News flash ---
We are preparing to sell Gotta Smile and move back on land!  The decision was actually made several months ago, but we are quickly acting on it now.  We arrived back in Florida on the 26th of December from Minnesota.  On the 28th and 29th we looked at houses with an agent and on the 30th we wrote a contract to build a home in the Venice area.  At the same time we began putting out feelers to sell Gotta Smile.
Of course, we are sad to end this segment of our life, but very excited about what is ahead of us!  If Gotta Smile doesn't sell by the beginning of March, we'll have one last adventure as we travel to Eleuthera for three months.  

Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!