Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:37 am

Everybody young and old were having fun on the train ride. Noreen even agreed to go for a ride with me on the train.
IMG_20200120_154029.jpg
There was also an old steam engine on display in the park. This engine was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1905 and was used at various locations on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. It has been at the park since 1995.
ACL steam engine #143
ACL steam engine #143
We still need to go to Ft Myers Beach before leaving town. I am amazed how fast our month in Ft Myers has went by but we need to move on next week to new adventures.

Curt

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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by steveh41 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:40 am

Great pics Curt!
The longest journey begins with a single step… then repeat as necessary!

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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by psychobilly » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:37 pm

What a great adventure!!! Thanks for sharing Kurt!

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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:04 pm

We are currently in Marathon, which is down in the Florida Keys. We arrived here on Thursday Jan. 30th after a rough ride across Florida Bay. The boat handles the rough water fine with the auto-pilot doing the steering but we get tired after hours of bouncing around. Before we left Ft Myers, we took the bus to Ft Myers Beach from the marina. This trip did require changing buses 4 times to get there so it took 3 hours but it only cost us $4.00 round trip each. Once we got to the beach, I was surprised how small the beach area was. People were out enjoying the sun and waves.
Ft Myers beach
Ft Myers beach
There are dozens of shops in the downtown of Ft Myers Beach.
downtown Ft Myers Beach
downtown Ft Myers Beach
We spent on last day at the Edison Ford marina eating at the Pinchers restaurant that overlooks the docks. Our boat was blocked from view from the outdoor dining area.
Edison Ford marina
Edison Ford marina
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:15 pm

We left Ft Myers and headed to Naples where we docked at the city marina for two nights.
Naples city marina
Naples city marina
The town of Naples is very nice but expensive. We walked to the city pier that was about 6 blocks from the marina. The side walk in the residential area going to the pier was lined with forage.
Naples
Naples
We hung around the pier until sunset and were rewarded with a nice sunset.
sunset from Naples pier
sunset from Naples pier
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:36 pm

The next day we headed about 8 blocks North of the city marina to an area called Tin City. This is made up of four separate buildings that have vendors that specialize in antiques and local made goods. The buildings along the waterfront were the hub of Naples clam shelling and oyster processing in the early 1900's.
covered parking at Tin City
covered parking at Tin City
inside Tin City stores
inside Tin City stores
IMG_20200127_123921.jpg
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P.S. If you click on any of the pictures, they will come up bigger.

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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:58 pm

After leaving a little money in the shops at Tin City, we headed to the railroad depot museum. I can't pass up anything railroad related. The museum inside had displays mostly about the early days of Naples. The museum had a 1922 model "T" hack that was used to transport passengers from the train depot to the Naples Hotel.
model T limo
model T limo
Outside the depot on display was a restored 1947 Budd observation train car.
passenger car
passenger car
The inside was restored to how it would of looked when built in 1947. Travel back then sure was alot different than traveling on Amtrak today.
inside passenger car seating
inside passenger car seating
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:15 pm

From the depot, we then headed to the new downtown area of Naples. This is a high end shopping district and I forgot to bring my unlimited credit card so all we could do was look.
downtown Naples
downtown Naples
We were able to afford a bottle of soda and ice cream at an old time type soda shop. We bumped into Betty Boob at the ice cream shop.
my new girl friend
my new girl friend
After spending two nights and one day in Naples, we moved on to our next stop at Everglades City. We stayed at a marina connected with a class "A" motor home park that was more expensive than the guide books stated. Across from our dock, air boat rides into the Everglades were available.
air boats
air boats
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:41 pm

It took us two days to travel from Everglades City to Marathon. We ran about a mile off shore but this was still inside Everglades National Park. We were reminded several times that we were in the park.
Everglades park boundary sign
Everglades park boundary sign
We anchored for the night at Little Shark River in the Everglades with two other boats traveling the Great Loop. We were at least 50 miles from civilization with no cell service at this anchorage. The three boats agreed to keep their VHF radios on all night in case any one had problems. About 10 pm, the wife on one of the boats came on the radio that she could hear what sounded like heavy breathing around their boat. After a few tense minutes, the sound went away. Everyone at this point were on edge but we all made it through the night. When we got to Marathon, I started asking other boaters if they had ever experienced sound like that and finally found an older boater that said he knew what is noise was. He said the noise that the lady heard were a large number of scrimp eating growth off the bottom of the boat. Mystery solved.
docked @ blackfin marina in Marathon
docked @ blackfin marina in Marathon
Blackfin resort and marina is a laid back type location with about 50 motel rooms.
beach area@ Blackfin
beach area@ Blackfin
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:05 pm

On Friday, we started walking around the area and soon ran into another looper waiting at the bus stop that we had not seen since November up at Orange Beach Alabama. They were headed to the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key on the bus, so we tagged along. This bus goes all the way to Key West for only $1.00 fare each. At the refuge visitor center, there was a mounted Key Deer. These deer are the smallest sub-species of the Virginia white-tailed deer. There are about 800 of these deer living in the Keys so they are on endangered list.
Key Deer
Key Deer
This morning while sitting at the helm with the door open at the marina, I had an unexpected visitor show outside the boat in the water. A manatee slowly swam under the dock and disappeared under the boat.
manatee
manatee
Sunday, we will take the bus early into Key West and catch the ferry boat to the Dry Tortugas. On one of the islands, which are located 70 miles West of Key West, a large civil war era fort is located. Stay tuned for an update a few days after we get back.

Curt and Noreen living the dream

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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:34 pm

We have been walking around the local area near our marina, Blackfin Marina and resort and visiting with other looper boats in near by marinas. This morning when we left the boat, our manatee was back swimming around our boat. But this morning, there were actually two manatees.
manatee
manatee
manatee
manatee
manatee
manatee
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:54 pm

We walked over to visit a couple of nearby marinas. On the way to the first marina, we passed stacks of crab cages that are sunk to the bottom to catch crabs. The cages are wood but they have concrete in the bottom so they will sink. There is a line tied to each cage with a float so the fisherman can find the cage. These floats must be avoided when boating or the line may get caught on the boat prop.
crab cages
crab cages
We then walked over to the Marathon city marina. The city marina has very few slips but lots of mooring balls that boat tie up to in the harbor. Then the boaters have to use their small dingy to get to shore where they tie up to a dingy dock.
dingy dock
dingy dock
I am glad we were able to get a slip in Marathon as it is a popular stop for boats to spend the winter.
Around the pool at our marina
Around the pool at our marina
Curt

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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by DrBryanJ » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:21 pm

Very cool Curt. Love the manatees. Keep the updates coming.
Bryan

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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by mrintense » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:58 am

This stuff is so cool. River boat trips, has to be the ideal way to boat!
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curtgard
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Re: Travels and Adventures of "Curt's Dream" a True Grit design-The Great Loop

Post by curtgard » Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:59 pm

I am getting a little behind in updating posts but when you are in the Keys everything is more laid back and slower so that is my excuse. On Sunday, we boarded the city bus at 5:45 AM for the trip to Key West. Our marina is 50 miles from Key West. We had to be there by 7:30 AM to catch the high speed ferry boat that takes passengers to Fort Jefferson on Garden Key. This fort is located in the Dry Tortugas, which are a group of seven small islands that are 70 miles West of Key West. The fort was began in 1846 to defend the Gulf from potential enemies and to safeguard U.S. trade routes between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River. It was never finished, even though construction, mostly by slaves and the prisoners housed there during the civil war, continued for thirty years. The three-tiered structure was designed to support 450 cannons and 1500 men, with a protective moat and drawbridge. The fort has three foot thick walls that are constructed of approx. 16 million bricks. This fort is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. Bricks were shipped by sailing boats from Georgia until the civil war, then during the civil war the bricks were brought by boats from the New England states.

The weather forecast on Sunday were not the best, with winds from the Northwest at 20-30 mph but this was the only day with space available for the next month, so we boarded the ferry and off we went.
optimistic weather briefing
optimistic weather briefing
A few miles West of Key West, we passed several scrimp boats.
scrimp boat
scrimp boat
As we proceeded West at thirty miles a hour, the seas got rougher and the 110 foot ferry started slamming off the top of the waves, which had grown to 7-8 footers. At this point the barf bags were given to everyone. By the time we arrived at Fort Jefferson, at least 90 per cent of the passengers had gotten sea sick. The boat had 175 passengers so the crew earned their money on that trip.
inside ferry boat after arriving at Fort Jefferson
inside ferry boat after arriving at Fort Jefferson
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