Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Click on any image for full screen

Kimber took the wheel and held helm for 84 miles

Stephanie watches our wake

Captain Kimber did so good she got to wear the official Messing About Captain's Hat

Daddy and daughter

Daddy and other daughter, Stephanie

Returning home at sundown, Kimber hit wide open throddle

She enjoyed the wind in her hair

The next day; Bill and Kimber hit the beach

Casting off

Kimber LOVES Florida

Bill hooks up

First catch of the day

The lady fish is known as the "poor man's Tarpon" because of the fast fight they put up, similar to the Silver Kings but on a much smaller scale

After photos, Bill revives the little lady to live for another catch, another day


Fish running left, fish running right, peeling off line in a hell of a fight

Now if I can only get this hook out, I'll let you go too

Be careful, Dad....

Son of a _______ ! I'm hooked! (click picture to enlarge)

Off we go to the Peace River Memorial Hospital
Home in Port Charlotte
High of 81, Low of 69, gorgeous day on the beach
When does a perfect day at the beach end in a trip to the Emergency Room?
When the fish you caught goes into a full panic as you try to remove a treble hook and you end up with the barb buried in your thumb.
So this Doctor walks into the treatment room and says, "Dude, that's a great lure...I have that one." So do I, I said...in my thumb!
He was very nice and quite skilled, having to do this procedure on a weekly basis here. Before I left the hospital I had 6 holes in me. A tetanus shot, 3 injections of lydocaine, the hook going in and the hook coming out. The real good news was he gave me some antibiotics which will fight off infection and finally get rid of my sinus infection!
As you can see from the pictures, Monday we had a wonderful day on the boat. The water was dead calm all day. I taught my daughter, Kimber, to drive and she never let up. She piloted the boat on an 84 miles journey up and down the Gulf Intercoastal. We stopped for lunch on Pine Island. The restuarant wasn't great but the company sure was. On the way home I dropped a couple of trolling lines off the back of the boat, had one big strike, which ended up a strike out.
You know what they say about me...when it comes to fishing, I'm all thumbs!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
Low of 70, high of 83
light morning shower

The past week has been whirlwind for me. Having spent only 38 hours at home after my trip to New England, I departed Sunday the 15th for Norfolk. Monday's work was very productive in Virginia Beach. Monday night I arrived at the Hampton Inn in Newport News, VA to one of the nicest hotel suites I've been lucky enough to occupy. The 2 room suite featured a gas fireplace in the living room that was so cozy, I debated sleeping on the couch.

Tuesday morning I awoke with a slight sore throat and ear pressure. It progressively got worse throughout the day. I figured it wasn't the flu since I'd been vaccinated and lacked the fever usually brought on by influenza. By the end of the workday I knew I had a full blown sinus infection. Tuesday night was miserable. I debated heading home but there was a critical tree care safety class I had to teach on Friday. I called my health provider to see if I could head to an Urgent Care in Virginia but learned that my HMO offers no out of network benefits except for life threatening emergencies. Great.

I opted to report to my own version of Sick Bay; cancelling my field work for the next two days in lieu of hotel bed rest Wednesday and Thursday in order to give myself the best chance of recovering enough to teach Friday. I made it through, taught my class, and returned home to Tampa Bay on Friday night.

It's Sunday morning and we're waiting to drive back to the Tampa Airport to pick up my daughters, Stephanie and Kimber, who are flying in from AZ for Thanksgiving. I'm still feeling all sinus-ey but each day is better and last night had my best night of sleep in 6 days.

Remember that 120 mile boat trip we were supposed to take Nolan and Nancy on? The boating forecast tomorrow calls for bay and inland waters to be smooth. That's the best we can ask for. We're planning on taking the girls cruising on the Intercoastal Waterway, through the Pine Island Sound, to St. James City for lunch at the Waterfront Restaurant. We'll be out long enough for a sunset and yes, Nolan, I am charging up the spotlight. We will launch at 10:30 AM and return home between 6:30 and 7:00 PM.

Friday, November 13, 2009


My road trip encompassed Boston, NYC and Philadelphia.
It almost lasted longer than planned but I escaped the streets and skies of Philadelphia.

Home in Port Charlotte

I’ve completed my first trip to the Northeast Territory and it wasn’t bad. The weather in Boston was surprisingly mild, in the mid 50’s all day. From there it just got colder all week. NJ/NY featured 46 degrees at 5AM wakeup and it just got colder all day. I must say I enjoyed seeing the Manhattan skyline for the first time since I was 18 years old. Lady Liberty was inspiring. Driving around New Jersey was a pain in the ass.

My coworkers and I decided to head for lunch at 12:15; to a Subway sandwich shop nearby. Imagine my surprise when, not only was there no bathroom to wash up, there were no tables and chairs in the restaurant. I’m not saying none were available. I’m saying the restaurant had NO SEATING! What’s with that? We went next door to a Chinese place to find the same arrangements. We punched Subway into the GPS and found there was another one 2.6 miles away. The streets are stacked on top of each other so you can’t exactly make u-turns. We spent over an hour travelling that 2.6 miles, with the aid of a GPS. Unreal.

The drive from NJ to PA was uneventful, albeit, 2 hours. The hotel in PA was in a town called Phoenixville, a largely Irish settlement with a great pub called Molly Maguire’s. I enjoyed a couple of Guinness brews and a seafood medley linguine.

Friday morning I worked in the Philadelphia area and it was windy, rainy and cold, with temps in upper 30s. The rain cancelled most of the work crews so after doing an office audit and seeing the one crew on the road I headed to the airport to catch an earlier flight home. It’s a good thing I did or I may have not made it home. The weather was turning worse as the day wore on.

My original flight was set to depart Philly for Tampa at 550PM. I found a nonstop departing at 135PM and grabbed a standby pass. By the time I cleared security the 135PM had been delayed to 305PM. After reaching the gate it had been pushed back to 520PM and my original flight had been cancelled. While standing at the gate I overheard an announcement that a flight was boarding to Fort Myers. I quickly asked if I could get on that flight and grabbed the last available seat! I was freee from Philadelphia. My truck will remain in Tampa but hell, I’m flying back out on Sunday anyway.

I called my bride and she was happy to pick me up in Fort Myers, an hour from home. We had dinner together and are enjoying a nice evening at home, listening to Sirius radio.

Up next: Sunday afternoon flight to Norfolk for a 5 day trip across Virginia.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Hampton Inn Boston, MA
48 at wakeup, heading to 52

Vacation gives way to work as I awake in Boston for the first time ever. I flew up yesterday on Jet Blue, also a first time for me. It was the best flight I've ever enjoyed. I had the exit row to myself and sprawled out like a big old dog across all 3 seats. With Sirius radio in my headset I relaxed for the entire 3 hour flight. What a change!

Vacation was terrific. Our friends from AZ were very impressed with SOFL. The Keys were as great as ever, with the weather seeming to stay at 81 day and night. We toured the Mel Fisher treasure museum, something I treasured myself. We saw gold and silver, valued at over 10 million dollars, recovered from the Spanish Galleon ship Atocha, which sank in the 1500s off the Florida Keys. I will post pictures as time allows. A cloud cover ruined sunset at Mallory Square but we enjoyed a great one over Charlotte Harbor on Saturday night.

Sunday we launched the boat in 25mph winds. It wasn't the best day to be out there but we enjoyed ourselves, nonetheless. I entertained and calmed our guests aboard by singing songs as the 4 foot waves rocked and rolled the boat and the occasional 6 footer came over the top and soaked us to the bone for about 2 hours. With the high winds and warm temperatures, we dried quick after our arrival at Burnt Store Marina for brunch. Following brunch the decision was made that the girls would stay behind as Nolan and I brought the boat the 15 miles back toward home. We couldn't return to port until the tide came back up so we docked at Fishermen's Village, had a beer and caught a ride home to get my truck. We picked up the girls at 5 o'clock and they dropped us off back at the boat just after sundown. Nolan and I crossed the harbor in pitch black, with strong gusty winds twice blowing us out of the channel. (The genius captain didn't bring his handheld spotlight). We nearly ran aground but escaped with a quick reaction of raising the outdrive and letting the wind blow the boat off the sandbar. We got home safe and put the boat to rest on her cradle.

Monday was spent replacing our hot water heater, which had been original with the house 27 years ago. I decided to spend a couple of extra dollars to install a hot water circulation pump to provide instant hot water throughout the house. What a great thing that is. Before, I had to run my shower for 5 minutes to get hot water. Now it's more like 5 seconds.

Monday night we had steak and lobster with our guests, at home. It was a great end to a great visit with dear friends.
Tuesday I drove our friends to the airport in Tampa for their flight back to Phoenix and I flew to Boston. Tonight I fly to Newark, NJ for work Thursday. Friday it's Philly then home for a day.

Hurricane Ida came and went with little notice to us. It's now a rain system that might meet me later this week as she works her way up the Atlantic coastline.

Someday I would like to make my own ocean voyage from Key West to New England.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
80* at 10PM
It ain't over 'til it's over. Just when you thought there would be no hurricane season to think of, this evening we have the 9th named storm of the 2009 hurricane season. Tropical Storm Ida has formed just off the Costa Rican coastline, in the western Caribbean Sea. Her winds, as of this writing, are at 65MPH with central pressure of 995mb. The lower the pressure, the more dangerous the storm.
This storm is too far away from Florida to be of much concern today but I will continue to track it, as there's a lot of open water in front of it once it crosses the Honduran peninsula. The official end of hurricane season is November 30th.
Today we picked up Nolan and Nancy from the airport in Tampa and brought them to Port Charlotte. We had dinner on the harbor at Benedetto's in Punta Gorda. They were both impressed with our community but especially the water. Tomorrow we leave from paradise...the Florida Keys.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 86, low of 68

I'm working locally Monday and Tuesday with a short week. Our vacation starts on Wednesday when our good friends, Nolan and Nancy, visit Florida for their first time. We met them as neighbors on dock 1 at Pleasant Harbor Marina, on Lake Pleasant, AZ.

We will pick them up in Tampa on Wednesday afternoon and make the 90 minute drive to PC.
We're planning dinner on the Harbor at Benedettos in Punta Gorda for Wednesday night.
Thursday we will depart for Key Largo. Our favorite bar musician, Jimmy Ray, is playing Thursday night at Snooks Bayside. Friday we will head for Key West and do the whole tourist thing on Duvall Street. Friday night will feature sunset from Mallory Square, near mile marker zero on US 1. Saturday will be a long 6 hour drive back to Port Charlotte. Sunday I have planned a 120 mile boat trip along the Intercoastal Waterway. Monday will be a rest/recovery day at home and I think we'll need it.

Tuesday, when I take them back to the Tampa airport for their flight home to Phoenix, I will be headed for Boston and back to work. I will then have 2 really hard travel weeks, back to back, before taking Thanksgiving week to spend at home with my wife and two visiting daughters from Phoenix.

The weather here is supposed to gradually cool down all this week, from the high 80's to the lower 80's in the daytime.

After nearly 2 years, I'm at 22% capacity on my blog site. Eventually I can create some space by taking down my Superbowl pictures, which I'm sure are eating up a bit of space. I need to start printing these words so that they can definately outlive me.