Gotta Smile!

Gotta Smile!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Stuart to Long Boat Key

November 1 - 22, 2015

We arrived at Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart, Florida on October 31st and found many of our friends already there.  As soon as we were tied up, the fun began with long time friends and new ones.  Eight days of good times sharing past adventures and plans for the next year.    

Ruth and Steve introduced us to Crawdaddys and
Alita & the Boyz. We had such a fun evening we got
together again on Saturday for the Ft. Pierce 

famers' market. 
Former owners of a Krogen Whaleback, 
they now live on land.

Ingred and her husband, Ron, were our
first friends in Stuart ma
ny years ago.

Bob and Linda own a Krogen 48.  They shared a
dock with us in Bayport, MN for 12 years. In March
we will meet up with them in Eleuthera.
Deb and Larry are the current owners of our former
Krogen 39, Finally.  

Hottie Scotty, the Krogen Guru, keeps the
Krogen fleet moving.  On our trip to Grenada,
Brian called Scotty several times for advice on
how to complete a repair. 

We made a quick three day trip to St Louis.  Our
daughter, Jennifer, is moving to San Diego.  We
had loaned her some of our furniture.  Better to
store it in St Louis than retrieve it from California.
John and Gail did us a huge favor!  They flew from
Minnesota to Solomons and then drove our car to
Florida for us.    
40+ Krogen owners gathered for the first breakfast
of the season in Stuart.  What a great bunch!!!
A trip to the Manatee Education Center in Fort Pierce
gave us some interesting facts about these mammals.
Closely related to elephants they average 1000
pounds and 10 feet in length.
Brian and John left Stuart on Gotta Smile cutting
across the state for Long Boat Key. 
Gail and I brought the car across, spending time in
Sanibel and Siesta Key.  We met up with our guys
 every night but one when we stayed in a hotel on
When we opened our hotel room door, in the
morning, we found someone's 
underwear on our
doormat!  Humm, what did that mean? 

Professional sand sculptors competed
on Siesta Key.  We were there before
they opened the gates so we could only
see them from the back.  Still amazing!

Sanibel had 1000's of sand dollars on the beach.

        Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!

Once all four of us made it to Long Boat Key, we had
time for touring, shopping, beach walking and some
good food!
These peacocks run wild in a local neighborhood.
We found about a dozen as we slowly drove
the area.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Krogen Rendezvous, A Wedding and Travels Back to Florida

October 1 - 31, 2015

The Krogen Rendezvous is a yearly event that we were looking forward to attending.  We left Annapolis on August 30th and arrived in Solomons, just in time to see hurricane Joaquin turn it's full force at our exact location.  That was Thursday.  Friday we left the boat to attend a wedding in Charlottesville, Virginia.  We doubled up on lines and fenders, strapped the dingy to the upper deck, stowed outdoor furniture and cushions and drove away in hopes that Joaquin would turn.  24 hours later our prayers were answered.  Joaquin turned out into the Atlantic and continued away from shore losing strength hour by hour.  This is our fourth close encounter with a hurricane.  And, all of them have been hundreds of miles north of the insurance companies mandated hurricane zone.  They want boats out of Florida and most of the Caribbean from June 1st to November 1st.  I think they better start watching the weather channel!        

Pre-party!  Before heading to the wedding, we had a party on Gotta
Smile for the rendezvous' early arrivals.  Now we know --
23 people can fit in the salon!    
Our good friends, Didi and Peter,
really know how to throw a wedding!
Besides fun parties for three days we
got to see Charlottesville, Virginia.  

The Farmington Country Club that was designed by
Thomas Jefferson.  Those round windows were
intended for Monticello.  We enjoyed two parties
there....lucky us!

Small world experience.....
Our friends, Jan and Steve, from California, visited us
 for three days last month.  When we came to breakfast
in Charlottesville their daughter and her family were
there.  They live in Oregon!

40+ Krogens gathered at Calvert Marina in Solomons. They ranged
from 39 feet to 58.  It's amazing to see the boats laced in place
bow to bow.  
 Five days of classes, meetings, meals and parties
 from 8:30 AM until 10 PM left us exhausted.  Meeting so many

new friends and seeing long time friends was the best part.  
Sunday morning the rendezvous ended and we
were on our way to this beautiful quiet anchorage.
What a treat to have the whole bay to ourselves! 
Look at that dirty bottom!
Not for long....

We originally met Bru and Sandy on a street corner
in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  As we chatted we
discovered that we both were traveling on Krogens.
That was 5 years ago.  They are thinking about a trip
to the Caribbean.  Of course, we gave them lots of
Ready to continue our travels with new
bottom paint and prop speed on the
propeller and bow thruster.  We stayed on
board while the work was done. They
plugged us into electricity.  We had water
 and the toilets, but NO heat.  As the night
time temperatures dropped into the 40's we
knew it was definitely time to head south.
Just a couple of weeks ago we saw
Didi and Peter at their daughter's
wedding.  We were lucky enough to
get them to ourselves for a few days
on Gotta Smile.  We originally met
them in Demopolis, Alabama as we
sat out a flood.  They were on their
beautiful Salene and we were on our
39' Krogen.  
The guys loved Norfolk with all of the military and
commercial ships.  Me?  Not so much.....
This rib is decked out with 50 caliber machine guns
 on the bow and stern.  Is that something I could pick
up at West Marine?  
We went outside for two days to make better time.
Nothing but water, water and more water and some
beautiful blue sky.
This is Fall on the intercostal.  Hurricane Joaquin dumped 25 inches
of rain in this area.  Two weeks later the water level is still five
feet above normal.  
The last time we came through here there was a ferry
that transported cars across the waterway.  Now,
there is a boat that turns and stretches from shore
to shore to become a floating bridge. 
South Carolina's sea grass looks like a field of wheat.
We were busy enjoying the pirate in front of this house
and they were loving the name of our boat.  A mutual
We treated ourselves to half a day in Charleston.  It
was wonderful to get off the boat for a few hours, visit
some of our favorite locations and walk until we
dropped.  Our first stop was our favorite restaurant,
Amen.  Those are some very happy faces!
Great history and architecture everywhere.
This stunning home is on the market for
$8.3 million!  Get in line.
Pirates to the left ------
Porpoise to our right -----
South of New Smyrna we saw 60+ porpoise plus
several manatees.  It must be mating season as
they were crazy: leaping high out of the water,
rolling with one another and swimming with us.     
I know this is a beautiful sunrise, but I do NOT like early mornings.
Traveling from Annapolis to Stuart was 1211 miles that required 16
long days each beginning at 6:30.  Luckily I'm a really good sport!  
We arrived in Stuart on Halloween
and it was wonderful.  We were so
glad to finally be at our destination
and to see so many of our friends.
Sunset Bay is our favorite marina.
Lots of Krogens and friendly faces. 
In case you can't see what is going on here --
There is a tug boat, a huge crane on a barge and a
boat that is sitting on the bottom of the waterway
with water most of the way to the roof.  Some one
is having a very bad day.
Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Final Month in Annapolis

September 1 - 30, 2015

Our last month in Annapolis was cut short.  We didn't return from St Louis until the 9th.  Jennifer and her family are moving to San Diego from St Louis.  We stayed an extra week to help them stage their house for the market.  I guess we did a good job because it went on the market on Friday and had an accepted offer on Sunday.  We helped, but the house was a beauty and decorated really well....with or without us it was going to sell quickly!  
We had no trouble keeping busy as we revisited favorite Annapolis locations and explored a few new ones.  We've given the Annapolis tour so many times I think we could work as guides (as long as no one checks our facts).  We had one final chance to show off our knowledge when friends, Jan and Steve, flew in for a three day visit.          

The William Paca home and gardens.  Paca signed
the Declaration of Independence and was the
governor of Maryland from 1782 - 1785.  In 1788
he proposed the addition of the Bill of Rights.

Paca's formal gardens and
Summer House.

St John's College is in the heart of Annapolis.  It was
founded as King William's School in 1696.  Francis
Scott Key attended. 

We couldn't leave without one more visit to noon
Kim and Zim were our dock neighbors for a week
while they were in town for his Academy reunion.
They are just beginning their sailing adventure to
the islands.

Jan and Steve prefer a faster way to get around the
country.  Good friends from the Porsche Club that
we have vacationed with for over 25 years.    

Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Summer In Annapolis

August 1 - September 5, 2015

Our decision to spend the summer in Annapolis has been a good one.  Besides loving Annapolis itself, it's proximity to other interesting cities has kept us and guests entertained.  On the first of August we moved from a mooring ball to Horn Point Marina in Eastport.  It is a quiet location within walking distance of downtown Annapolis.  Once we got settled and discovered how convenient it was, we decided to stay through the end of September.  I'm sure the next month will go by as quickly as this one.  

Our last night on a mooring ball we enjoyed this fabulous view
 of Ego Alley and the city docks 
from our cockpit.
We love our slip location at the end of the dock.

Day visits to favorite cities:

George Washington's tomb at Mt Vernon.

View of the Potomac River from Mt Vernon's porch.

This is NOT our car! We found it in the parking
 lot at Mt Vernon. Someone is even crazier with
smiley faces than us!
Washington was a gentleman farmer
that enjoyed formal gardens, too.



Worrell's Tavern where President
George Washington stayed in 1791. 

Washington College uses his
signature on signs throughout
the campus.

  Looking up an alley to the state house
in downtown Annapolis.

Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes.
The town of Lewes was the settled by the
Dutch in 1631.  It is very cute and we will

return for a longer visit next time. 

The Rehoboth boardwalk.  
After 42 years my freshmen roommate from Michigan State and I reconnected thanks to Facebook.  Brian and I were dating back then so he was in a lot of the stories.  We had two great days catching up.  Janet's husband was a good sport as he listened to our version of life in the 60's.   

Ron and Brian taking a break on the
state house steps.

We gave them the full walking tour of Annapolis
that included noon formation at the Academy.  

My cousin once removed (we finally figured that out) squeezed us into their annual family vacation on the Chesapeake.  Renee and Doug live in Minnesota only a few miles from our son.  Unfortunately, our Minnesota visits are short and we don't get to see them too often.  This was such a treat.      
Blake, Doug, me, Brian, Renee and Grant.
They are raising two wonderful boys.

Len a high school classmate of Brian's, stopped by for a visit.

Steve and Erin arrived with Niko and Addison for a six day visit that we crammed full of tours to Baltimore, Washington DC and, of course, all of the sights in Annapolis. 

The Coast Guard's newest ship, James,
 is undergoing sea trials.
They were giving guided tours the day
we were there.

A view of Baltimore from the ship's pilot house.
A quick photo on board before we ran through the
pouring rain to a restaurant.

Steve and the kids toured the Torsk
submarine before going to the
National Aquarium.

Dingy ride into town from the marina.
One of my favorite statues at the 
Academy.  A memorial to those who
lost their lives in submarines. 

If you like to bowl, don't EVER let yourself
get talked into duck pin bowling!  It is at
a bowling alley, but you roll small balls
without finger holes and try to hit small

It was Steve's idea. The only person that broke a 100.
We should have all used the gutter guards!

Brian and I searched all over Annapolis
for a beach, before they arrived.  This is
the only one we found.  OK, two years in
the Caribbean has spoiled us.  This was
not what I was hoping for.....

It won't be on any of the lists for the
most beautiful beaches, but we had a
good time in spite of it.

First trip on the subway.  And we actually got where
we were hoping to go!
First stop: the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

I think we went in almost every one
of the Smithsonian buildings for at
least a short visit.  

We even went to the Botanical Gardens,
one of my top choices.

We love these hop on-hop off double decker buses
when we are touring big cities with kids.  It's great
to have an occasional ride after all of the walking.

The Capitol Building dome is getting a facelift!

Of course, the Washington Monument
is seen from almost everywhere.

It's not easy to get near the front of the White House, but we persevered!  
Jefferson Memorial

A favorite of most visitors, the Lincoln Memorial.

We were on the bus's upper deck twice
when Obama's helicopter flew past us.

The last week of August was another trip to the midwest.  Brian had a 3M reunion in Minnesota and I had a hair appointment in Missouri.  That gave each of us quick visits with our kids.  

Jennifer was out of town for several days on a business trip. Ian and I took JAC
and Christopher to the Onondaga Caves.  All of the formations are stalagmites
and stalactites -- even the green sections in the water.
Hiking with Niko and Addison.

Every day JAC, Christopher and I would walk to
school.  After I dropped them off I'd continue for
another 40 minutes.  Good way to start the morning! 

First day of school in Minnesota.

 Gotta Smile - we're lovin the ride!

A reunion of the 3M Aerospace Adhesives group.
I just want it noted -- I DID NOT take this photo!  Sorry Mike...