Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Satellite Beach In Melbourne Florida

What's Florida without the beaches! Even before we went out to lunch, the first place my friend wanted me to see was the ocean. Off we went to Satellite Beach, a small ocean front community with, you guessed it, a wonderful open beach.

The most amazing feature of the great expanse of sand was that it was practically deserted! We spent a couple hours watching the waves roll into shore, walking down the water line in our bare feet, and just enjoying the mild temperatures.

An older gentleman was standing on the walkway
and my friend struck up a conversation with him about his camo styled suspenders. The plain blue suspenders I was wearing when I arrived just didn't measure up to her style requirements. Note the more acceptable Hawaiian shirt I was wearing instead.

Naturally her attempt to have me pose by the water was a complete ploy. While I mindlessly smiled for the camera, the incoming waves just got closer and closer.

In a matter of minutes, while she snapped away, it finally happened. Just as she had planned, the water
finally came in far enough to soak me half way to my knees.

No matter, I survived. We enjoyed our walk, and our time together telling old stories about family and friends from 40 years ago.

I collected a few sea shells, got a bit of a sunburn, and spent the day pretending to be a local instead of a snowbird.

The difference between the two is easy to spot. Snowbirds wear shorts and light weight shirts. The
locals actually wear their Carhartt's on days when it's in the mid 60's.

We dusted off the sand, put on our shoes, and headed back to the  house to change wet pants.Then it was off to  lunch at Grills Riverside.

Lunch At Grills Riverside Tiki Bar On Florida"s Space Coast

The Florida lifestyle for many seems to omit most home cooking from their daily activities. It's easy to see why with the huge proliferation of quality eateries ranging from hot dogs to fresh seafood or the best in quality steaks.

We started our week with lunch at Grills Riverside Tiki Bar. Arriving early for our noon meal, we avoided the usual crowd.  Securing a quiet table in the back corner, it was a great way to look out over the water and get a first taste of Florida cuisine.

We ordered the grilled Mahi-mahi fish sandwich.
combined with a tall glass of iced tea, it was both tasty and filling.

Mahi-mahi picks up the flavor of grilling very well and the freshness left no fish taste to take away from the perfect seasoning.

It was the perfect setting for two life long friends to reacquaint after many decades living there lives apart.

For this northerner, the weather was perfect.  For locals, they complained of the cold.  I know I was
very  comfortable and really enjoyed the meal, the company, and the setting.

After we ate, a stroll out on the pier gave us a great view of our surroundings and a chance to see some of the local birds and other sites.

The water along the Space Coast of Florida is a beautiful blue/green teal.  Very pristine, there is no pollution or debris.  Just clear water you can see through to the sandy floor.

For my first day in Florida this was the perfect start
to a wonderful week of enjoying everything the Space Coast has to offer.

Nothing can compare to enjoying the company of a special friend, an excellent meal, all while being in paradise.

I could really get used to this life!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Friends…New And Old!

Some would think a winter trip to Florida requires no more reason than to escape the grip of winter. True,
nothing beats a couple weeks south, when all is frozen and desolate back home.  Granted the timing seemed ideal to enjoy relief from the -20 below that was plaguing Northern Minnesota a few weeks back, but there was another reason to make the journey.

This trip was also intended for reuniting, and meeting, some long time friends,.  Some of which go back 40 years, one in particular that goes back 49 years. All the way to our early teenage years, when I became the somewhat adopted son that blended in so well with her family.

I’ve spent the past week enjoying the gracious hospitality of a special lady that I was very close to way back in the 60’s.   As teenagers we spent hours rowing around the lake at her family cabin, just talking.  Her quick wit, and sarcastic manner had us throwing jabs at each other whenever we were together.

In time she married, I married, we went our separate ways. A few years later her brother died, and I lost all contact with the family.  A few years ago she contacted me to see if I was interested in doing lunch.  We did, exchanging business cards, and off we went.  Back to our lives in opposite ends of the country. I emailed her a month later, but no response.

Recently I found her on Facebook.  It took modern technology for us to finally rekindle our friendship, and catch up on the past 4 plus decades.

These are special bonds between people. The ability to drop out of their lives for years at a time, yet when you come together you become closer than you ever were. Today we are from two different planets, our lives so dramatically different. No matter, we are still the best and closest of friends who can sit for hours and share memories and experiences.  Where life has taken us, what our hopes and dreams for the future are.

During the week I was able to spend time with her sister as well.  Stories of her brother, and our escapades as we grew from boys to men flowed late into the night.

This evening I will be meeting another friend, one whom I’ve yet to see in person.  Six years we’ve been writers for the same blog, The Fun Times Guide.  Me about RV’s and him about Coins and Weather.

Tomorrow a stop in Northern Florida to reunite with the brother of my old Coast Guard roommate.  We all used to ride dirt bikes in the mountains of Virginia back in the 70’s.

Then the Stealth Van gets pointed north again, it’s time to return home to more months of winter.  At least I took a break from the cold this winter.  Enjoying the warmth of the sun in Florida, and the warmth of some very dear friends.

Yes, this has been a grand trip.  It’s all about friends, both old and new!