Sunday, March 13, 2016

Day Two of Drive Home

Al was up early at 5:00 am which was really 4:00 because of the change for DLS time.   We had left a wake up call for 5:00 but they forgot about DLS change so we got our call at 6:00.  Luckily Al was awake so we were awake at the time that we wanted to be.  But I did not get out of bed until 6:00 anyway.  We ate breakfast in the lobby.  We had scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, muffins, juice and coffee. The area was packed but we arrived just in time to  get a table.

We were on our way about 8:00 am to I-26 and then onto I-77N  for the remainder of the drive.  Again we had a lot of traffic and the slow downs were more frequent and longer than yesterday.  The area surrounding Charlotte was the worst congestion of the entire trip.  Also we had rain most of the drive with heavy fog in some spots.  No sun today!  We arrived home at 7:00 pm making it another 11 hour journey that should have been about 9 hours and 15 minutes. We were glad to be home safe and sound.  
We stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken for some dinner---not as good as Calabash Chicken at FATZ. But it was better than cooking!

Note: This could have been us on I-77 N but we made it home safely.
In the news- "Today (3-13-16) , there was a pileup on I-40 in North Carolina.  Blinding sun, rain and rubbernecking were blamed for a chain of accidents involving almost 100 vehicles along a stretch of interstate in North Carolina on Sunday evening, injuring at least 20 people and delaying travel late into the night. "

The end of another great stay on Captiva Island.   Next year we are planning to stay at the Cottage instead of the guest house.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Day One of Drive Home

Today began early at 5:00 am.   After coffee to wake us up, we dressed and I packed food for the trip.  We packed the last of items in the car as the sun rose. We had more coffee with sweet rolls and left about 7:30 am.  Our first leg of the trip took us to Orangeburg, SC going via I-75 to US-301 to I-10 to I-95 to I-26 to US-601 to exit 145A.   The interstate was crowded with Northbound traffic and we experienced a lot of slow downs due to congestion and construction.  The 9.5 hour trip took more than 11 hours.  The day was sunny and bad weather.  We arrived at our destination Baymont Inn (formerly a Hampton Inn) in Orangeburg about 7:20.  We were on the second floor in Room 215 (remember for next year).


We ate dinner at FATZ, a restaurant in walking distance from the motel, the same place that we ate last year.  We chose to sit at the bar to avoid a long wait for a table.   The bartender made us some very good Manhattans.  Al ordered 1/2 rack Baby Back Ribs with bourbon street sauce, house salad and Sweet Potato Fries.  I had Calabash Combo-Calabash Chicken and Calabash Popcorn Shrimp with Sweet Vidalia Onion Coleslaw.  The food was very good especially the Calabash Chicken and the servings were very generous.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Day 42 on Captiva

Today is our last day on the island.  I took a last morning walk on the beach and found a couple of crows making themselves at home at this beach setup of the "yellow brigade".  Also waiting for me was the pair of Bald Eagles in the Australian Pines.

A last look at the beach early in the morning before the birds and people arrive...

We then loaded some of our belongings in the car before the temperature got hot.
After a lunch of sandwiches we spent our final afternoon on the island at the beach.
It was a warm sunny beautiful day just made for relaxing with the shore birds.
One of the Eagles came back to the tree to say good-bye!
For our last meal on the island we went to Lazy Flamingo about 5:30 which was very busy except at the bar where we sat.  Of course, we ordered Oysters on the Half Shell.  Al had Fried Oyster Basket with fries served with cocktail sauce and lemon and I had Caesar Salad with Mesquite-Grilled Grouper, served with Flamingo Garlic Bread.  Excellent dinner!  We shared each other's food so we had the best of everything. The place was very busy by the time we left with people arriving after viewing the sunset.
The car was now all loaded except for toiletry bags and our cooler with tomorrow's lunch and food for the trip.  So now for a good night's sleep before our 2 day journey home.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Day 41 on Captiva

This morning we went to Ding Darling about 9:00am to check out the birds but was disappointed by the lack of birds to see.   It was very windy but sunny so we decided the birds were tucked away to get away from the winds.  We only saw about 4 or 5 White Pelicans instead of the usual crowd.  I did spot a Tri-Colored Heron feeding just as we leaving the drive.

For an early lunch,  I made tuna fish salad served with croissant roll and tomato on the porch.  We did some packing for our trip home before heading to the beach about 2:00.  It was a nice afternoon as the wind had died down.   The clouds moved in right before sunset blocking the view.

Dinner-Al grilled Harris Steaks, not Harry's (inside joke), and we served with Baked Potatoes and Chopped Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Enjoyed with Blue Moon beer.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Day 40 on Captiva

After coffee, I took a walk on the beach about 9:00am and waiting for me was the Eagle in the Australian Pine near the path to the beach.   A lot was going on this morning.....many people were out fishing, shelling, and walking, even flying kites.   A lot of birds were already flocking to the shoreline including this group of Willets.
On closer look I spotted a pair of Marbled Godwits I in the group.

These are some of the scenes that I saw this morning:

We had a light breakfast of cereal , toast, and fresh oranges when I returned.  Then we spent the afternoon on the beach.   While we there, a pair of eagles hung out in the Australian tree.

The flock of Willets on the beach had grown to about 150 birds in size from this morning.

We had 5:00 reservations at The Mad Hatter for of our all time favorite restaurants.   Al ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio to begin our special dinner.  We began by sharing an appetizer Blue Crab Cake - panko crusted jumbo lump crab cake crowned with tropical fruit salsa and yucca chip finished with mango cream beurre  blanc.   Then we shared a Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Frisee, and Walnut Vinaigrette.  Both the appetizer and salad were very delicious.  Al ordered Dayboat Scallops-pan seared and encrusted with Panko Crumbs and Black Truffle finished with a caramelized shallot beurre blanc served with Garlic Mashed Yukon Potatoes and Asparagus.  I ordered a new entree just added to the menu- pan seared  Striped Bass with Tomato Jam served with Spinach Risotto and Asparagus. Great entrees!  Since this was such a special meal we just had to have dessert to finish.  We indulged with Classic Crème Brule-vanilla bean enhanced  espresso  baked custard with a caramelized raw cane sugar crust served with creme anglaise, melba sauce fresh whipped cream & berries topped with a spun sugar design.
  The sun set as we finished our dinner but it was cloudy so not as beautiful as the one shown here:
                                                        Sunset at The Mad Hatter

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Day 39 on Captiva

 Today we had some Free Play time so I made a card for some challenges posted here.   Al enjoyed time on the porch reading and surfing the web.  For brunch we had eggs with lox and onions and fresh tomato slices and orange juice.  We spent the afternoon at the beach from about 1:00.   This was by far the best day....perfect weather and sun.  Even the birds were aware of the wonderful day and more than ever were sunning on shore.   Al counted at least 150  Willets gathered together and we saw the first Ibis on the beach since we have been here.  What a Wonderful afternoon at the beach!

 We enjoyed dinner at the Pollack Diner having Chicken Piccata with Mushrooms and Capers served on Pasta and with Arugula Salad and Hot Rolls.  Only 3 days left before we start home on Saturday,

Monday, March 7, 2016

Day 38 on Captiva

We left around 9:00am for Bailey Tract to take a walk on the trail.  We parked at the back area off Island Inn Road and entered by Smith Pond.  It was a quiet morning as birds go and we only saw a couple of Mottled Ducks, one Pied-bill Grebe, 2-3 Catbirds, 1 Mocking Bird,  2 Blue Herons, some Coots, and a few Warblers.


After our walk, we went to Over Easy for breakfast about 11:00.  We had a bit of a wait for a table but service was very prompt and we received our orders very fast!  Al had the Lox Platter and I had Eggs Benedict. 
After a quick stop at Bailey's for bread and pastries, etc we drove to the house and then headed to the beach for a beautiful afternoon of sun and surf.  Al caught the Thriller, a high speed tourist boat, which comes by every afternoon, on video with his phone.
The flock of willets returned today and I made a video so you can see the entire group.

We both finished the books that we were reading-Al finished Naked Greed by Stuart Woods and I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

For dinner I prepared Pork Chops au Poivre with a Whiskey Sauce ( no brandy so I substituted Jack Daniels ).  Served with Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans, and Arugula Salad and hot rolls.  Not a bad dinner for an amateur.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Day 37 on Captiva

Today I began with an early walk to the beach and on the street near where we are staying and made some photos of the quiet morning beach.
 Beach ready for People
Passing Boat
 View of a Beautiful Day
 Walk to the Beach
Spotted this Early Bird
I returned and made breakfast of poached eggs, toast, grapefruit with orange juice.   We then made a short visit to the bay to find only a few Brown Pelicans but no White Pelicans today.

Off to the beach for a couple hours sunning and reading.   Al also listened to the radio with his Bluetooth earpiece.  

Since it was such a beautiful day, I decided we should take in the sunset at Ding Darling with the White Pelicans and the Roseate Spoonbills.   I was a bit disappointed there were only 2 Spoonbills present as we usually see a large gathering of Spoonbills at sunset.   But we are always thrilled at the sight of these colorful birds and enjoy taking their photograph.


As we approached the end of the drive, we spotted a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron feeding and I got these photos:

 His red eye seems to glow.
We had a late dinner of a casserole of Ground Beef, Tomatoes, Garlic, Onions, and Noodles with green salad and hot roll.