Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day Two of Drive Home

Today began Day 2 of our drive home.  We ate breakfast in the Inn's Lobby which was fairly good. Al had a waffle and I had scrambled eggs with cheese and diced ham and a biscuit. Also got a muffin and banana for the road.  The hostess told us about the Hampton Inn moving in 10 days to a new location.

Having left about 7:00, we were only about 30 minutes into the drive when traffic came to a standstill on the highway and we sat there not moving for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. What a bummer! Our route today took us  to I-26W to I-77N and all the way home. The trip should have taken us about 9 hours and 15 minutes. Instead of arriving home before 5 o'clock, we arrived about 6 o'clock.  It was a beautiful day with lots of blue skies and sunshine.  It was a joy to see that all the snow had melted when we arrived home.

We stopped at Misawa on Portage St. for some sushi for carry out.  We ordered Alaskan Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll and Spicy Crab Roll along with Sushi Appetizer with four seafoods. 

It was a good two day trip home, much better than doing in three days.  I would plan the same for next year without the traffic problems.

Other notes:
Books Read:
Hope to Die...James Patterson
Festive in Death....J.D. Robb
Unbroken....Laura Hillenbrand
Dead Silence....Randy Wayne White
Whiskey Beach... Nora Roberts

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Day One of Drive Home

Today begins our journey home.  Al was up around 5 and I was up later about 5:30.  We dressed and finished packing the last of our bags, computers, and food.  Al slipped and fell on the last step of his first trip down. He fell flat on his back at the bottom of the steps but was not seriously hurt but it scared us both.  After the Escalade was fully packed, we had another coffee, orange juice, pastry and bowl of strawberries.  We left just before sunrise about 7:30.  These pictures were made as we crossed the causeway about 8:00.

We took a route home  following I-75 N to Highway US-301 near Ocala to I-10E to I-95N to US 601 to Orangeburg, SC where we stayed at Hampton Inn  at 3583 St. Matthews Rd.  We should have made the trip in about 9.5 hours but we had 3 delays ( one was 1 hour of sitting not moving) that cost about 2 hours of our time.  I had packed a lunch of ham sandwiches and deviled eggs so we did not have to stop for lunch.  We made one stop for gas.  We arrived at the motel about 7:00 before sundown.  We got a first floor room but it was non-smoking to Al's dislike.  This motel is being replaced with a new facility so we'll have to check that out for next year or find another location to stay.

We had dinner at the same restaurant as last year, Fatz,  which was within walking distance...just across the parking lot.  We sat at the bar to prevent waiting for a table.  Al had the Black Jack Bacon Burger-basted with a secret Cajun blend and topped with apple wood-smoked bacon and shredded pepper jack cheese and a side of onion rings.  I had Pork Barbeque Sliders with French fries and a Waldorf salad ordered from their special Pick 2  menu.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Day 42 on Captiva

Early coffee and pastries today.  Yesterday I began packing and this morning, I continued packing for our return home.  We did load a few things in the car objective is to carry something down each time we go down the steps so that we do not have to load everything at one time. I hope to have everything loaded by this evening before dark except for Al's computer, toiletries, food items and food for the trip.

We had BLT's for lunch with deviled eggs and chips. This we had with two remaining Blue Moons and orange wedges.  We headed for the beach about was another beautiful day in the Hi 80's but with a nice breeze.  The last 2 days have been great for beach time.  No dolphins spotted today but a lot of boat traffic and people on the beach and in the water.  I am sharing a photo of the Thriller,
Sanibel and Captiva Island's exciting boat tour, which comes by daily around 3:00. 
  Today, a group of Terns joined the Willets and Gulls on the beach.
This gull said Good-bye to us before we left the beach.
We pretty much finished packing everything in the car before having dinner and did what we needed to do in the rental before leaving.  For our last night, we returned to the Lazy Flamingo for our last supper of Fresh Oysters on the half shell, an order of Peel n Eat Shrimp, and Fried Oysters with spicy French Fries.   We had to wait for seats at the bar when we arrived at 5:30 but the crowd cleared out and there was plenty of seats.

We finished dinner in time to go to the beach for the sunset as shown below:



This was a picture of the walk back to the house:
This was a great day for our final day of our stay in Captiva.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 41 on Captiva, continued

We spent the afternoon on the beach watching the dolphins and boats.  This was the most beautiful afternoon on the beach and there were many boats of all kinds sailing in the gulf.  I made several pictures of the boats passing by. 

Here are some other photos from the beach visit:

This is the view looking behind us on the beach.
Tonight was a special dinner at one of our very favorite restaurants The Mad Hatter, a wonderland of New American Cuisine. The food is divine, the view is spectacular and the experience is unforgettable. Chef Kurt and Michelle Jarvis are in charge of this cozy, romantic restaurant on the beach with its well-deserved reputation and unbeatable sunsets.  The ever-changing menu features flavors from around the world.  This was one of the first restaurants that we visited on our very first trip to Captiva Island so many years ago. It has changed ownership a couple of times but has now been restored to its original greatness.

We had 5:15 reservations, a bit early for us, but it turned out to be a good time.  We had a great table by the window and a great server.  We ordered glasses of wine and were served complimentary blue crab claw appetizers and olive tapenade.  We shared a Strawberry Salad-mixed organic baby greens, red onions, cherry tomatoes, and fresh strawberries lightly tossed in a shallot and  red wine vinaigrette, topped with Maytag Blue Cheese, drizzled with an aged balsamic reduction.

Al ordered Rack of Lamb which was pan seared, oven roasted Free Range Australian Rack of Lamb with walnut and cherry pesto crust, finished with a rosemary and port wine demi-glace served with potato gratin and asparagus.

I dined on Blue Crab Cake-panko crusted jumbo lump crab cake crowned with tropical fruit salsa and yucca chip finished with mango cream beurre blanc and served with asparagus, risotto, and fried plantains.
 We splurged on dessert served with French Pressed coffee.  The dessert we chose was Espresso Crème Brulee -  baked custard with a caramelized raw cane sugar crust served with crème anglaise, whipped cream and  mint.

This was a fantastic dinner...the best of the 6 weeks that we were in Captiva.  We really should start our trip with a meal here as well as end our trip here. 
Note: Photos of Mad Hatter and their menu items were taken from the internet.

Day 41 on Captiva

Thursday morning-another beautiful sunrise:

Today we took our coffee to the dock on the bay and watched another beautiful sunrise at 7:45. I spotted a yellow-crowned Night Heron  in the mangroves by the dock but missed getting a photo.
We enjoyed seeing several birds welcoming the sunrise and these are some of their photos:


These are photos made by Al of the sunrise:

We then drove to Ding Darling to check out the birds there.  Since it was not low tide, we did not know if we would spot many birds.  Instead of the White Pelicans sitting in groups, we find them swimming and feeding all spread out.

Other birds we saw on the drive:

Since this is post is loaded with so many photos, I will continue Day 41 in another post.
Note:I am actually writing this post on March 20 to complete my diary of  all the days of this trip.