Last Bits 22

IMG_20150510_114023239_HDR1. I’m going to try and make the drink in the picture. It is known as the “painkiller” at a certain beach bar I was recently at. I know the ingredient list, just not what proportions. Should be fun.

2. Memorial day weekend is in the books.  Very good driving and customers all weekend right up until the end of this evening. If I can’t be in the Caribbean, well, at least I can be in rainy-ass Denver writing and driving people around. :-D

3. Writing is proceeding slowly, but at this point, I’m happy with the progress. I didn’t have writer’s block, but a week off of “everything” in the Virgin Islands slowed things a bit. I needed the break from my routine, and that included the daily keyboard pounding. Now I’m working through some scenes that require a bit of thought in order to “paint” them properly.  So yeah. #amwriting! :-D

4. Also in the authorly endeavors, I’m thinking about putting up the first ten chapters of the first book here on the blog, but I don’t want it to look like crap. Will futz around with that this week I’m thinking.

5. People who tailgate are douchenozzles of epic proportion. That is all.

6. Rain sucks. A little now and again is nice, but this isn’t supposed to be Seattle ffs. Weather forecasts in Denver are FINALLY starting to talk about more sun than clouds. It is really odd to have 50’s for the high temperature here this time of year, and I’m frankly sick of it. 70-80 is what should be happening. Come on global warming! -snicker.

How We Do That… Off-Grid, Part 1

Very good article on the ‘off-grid’ mentality and reasoning. While as an objectivist I disagree with some religious aspects as well as the concept of “selfishness”, I really appreciate the view point as well as the practicality of going off grid, especially in a time when one financial disaster, or one lunatic group with an EMP device could send us quickly into chaos.  Well done Michael Bunker​. :-)

How We Do That… Off-Grid, Part 1.

Last Bits 21

ex machina mad max: fury road

1. My pick for the best two movies this year. Ex Machina is hypnotic and thought provoking. Mad Max is an insane thrill ride with an outstanding story gluing the mayhem together. I saw Age of Ultron after watching Mad Max: Fury Road and it looked and felt flat, like an opened day old can of coke.

1b. Personally I’d put Mad Max: Fury Road in the top movies this decade. It flat out melted my face off. :-D

2. Getting back in the swing of things driving-wise. I have some awesome customers, and their loyalty and patronage makes me smile.

3. I’m finally getting over the post-vacation let down. I will go back there. One of the best times of my life.

4. Writing has suffered…admittedly…but I’m still plugging away. Getting back in the zone with that as well. I THOUGHT the vacation would allow some good writing time, but I discovered that I needed a REAL vacation from my routine. So I swam with turtles, drank copious amounts of rum, made some great new friends and did a large amount of nothing for a week. I needed that.

5. Later today is car maintenance day. Probably going to end up spending a good chunk of the day at the mechanic’s getting stuff replaced. Normal wear and tear stuff…brakes, cv joints and possibly a new timing belt/water pump…not cheap, but in my line of work, if you don’t take care of such things, you don’t have a line of work. heh.

6. Off to dream of Furiosa. :-)

Virgin Islands Blog Bits 8 -end of the journey

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My final sunrise in paradise

1. The 13th. Ahh the dreaded morning.  With a stunning sunrise (see the pics) and several hours before having to say good bye, I spent my time after packing up and getting the cabin stuff to the patio by just kicking it in the gazebo overlooking limestone beach and reading for awhile.
At the airport I said my goodbyes to Kevin and Sara, who seemed to have as mixed emotions about leaving as I did. They were heading home to Massachusetts.

2. The flights. A nice jet (757) with all the amenities to JFK in New York. The 2nd leg though…a 737-800 cattle-car filled with a bunch of morons. I’m not going to dignify this blog with some of the stupidity, smells and idiocy of that flight…suffice to say I and several of the flustered flight attendants were more than happy to hear the slap of the wheels on the tarmac when we arrived in Denver. That said, I really like flying Delta overall.

3. I couldn’t sleep for hours when I got home. I just wandered around the apartment feeling like I was missing something.

4. I woke up with that same “missing something” feeling today.  I realized that it was the sound and smell of the ocean and the wind blowing in from the east gently telling me the day was arriving.

5. I will go back. I miss it already. If I could figure out a way to make a living down there without cleaning toilets or selling cheap jewelry to the locals, I’d jet off and never come back. I left a piece of my soul down there, and I didn’t even realize it until wheels down in Denver last night.

Just a short clip taken at Limestone Beach. The wind made things not only tolerable temperature wise, it made it just about perfect.

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Last ride in the courtesy truck

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VI Campgrounds – Water Island, US Virgin Islands Nothing is perfect, but this was about the best place I could have picked for this trip.

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Last looks

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Last water taxi ride

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I already miss this.

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Seeing new friends off on their journey home.

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Second thoughts on leaving.

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St. Thomas

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Red Hook

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New York City. 70 degrees and a bit hazy.

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Last leg of the journey. Saying goodbye to the East Coast.

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On the bus ride home and away from DIA

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Return to Casa du Casey

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This bungalow has a few more amenities

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The view is a bit different, but hey at least that is salt water. :-)

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After the jokes and griping over the campground “facilities”, my vacation buddies will completely relate to how awesome this picture actually is. One of the first things I did when I got home was go in here and just flush the toilet. Not use it…Just flush it. :-D

Virgin Islands Blog Bits 7

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Floating Hotel

May 12th  2015

1. The 12th was the day it started to sink in that this vacation adventure was coming to an end.
A deep melancholy really started to settle in my brain when I hitched a ride to the pier with Carrie and Matt who were on “last day” and heading back to fly home.

2. I, on the other hand, was not going home. I was headed for St. Thomas to get a few touristy items and see “Red Hook” where the cruise ships docked. They also dock on the Crown Bay side, but not at first as that side of Charlotte Amalie isn’t as nice or tourist friendly. During peak season 5-7 of them will be in at the same time, with up to 10-12. That is like nearly the entire native population of the island popping by for a day visit. Just ONE ship is a noticeable bulge in the traffic and people about (even out at Water Island). I cannot imagine 10 ships.

3. When the cruise ships are in, things get pretty busy on St. Thomas. 3-6 thousand gawking tourists all rushing about trying to cram in the sights in a short day before having to get right back on the water-hotels and boogie for the next stop is an interesting sight.

I will NEVER plan to step foot on one of those things (cruise ships). I felt like a native laughing up my sleeve as the “cruisers” scurried about. There is something about planting your flag somewhere and just “being” for a while. Time slows down, and the days are filled with a relaxing calm…you don’t HAVE to do things right now.  You don’t HAVE to hurry the hell up to BE SOMEWHERE!

4. On my checklist was a note to try eating Conch, which is a local seafood. Just picture a conch shell…what lives inside it is the food. heh. I accomplished the eating of ze conch.

I’m not a big fan of conch now. Perhaps it was cooked wrong (like calamari when overcooked), but it was like eating bits of rubber. The flavor wasn’t that great either…but at least now I know. :-)

5. Taxis in St. Thomas are interesting. I asked about it from some locals (I always check out things that pertain to my livelihood), and unfortunately by and large I am of the wrong skin color to get a job doing that down there. There ARE some taxi drivers who are of lighter skin persuasion, but you can tell from their patois that they are natives or at least have been local for a VERY long time. I bet if I were determined, I could do it, but ahh well. I could definitely see a need there for computer techs/wifi support and such, but that is a career I ran away from to focus on writing. (But in a pinch I could definitely support myself down there.)

6. On the last full evening, after an afternoon of REALLY polishing off my masterful sunburn by snorkeling all over the place, swimming with yet more turtles (they are in honeymoon bay as well) and tropical fish schools, I met up with Kevin and Sara (now friends and next door neighbors for the week at the campground, and we proceeded to munch out and then drink…and drink…and shoot the breeze with some other folks and locals. It was late with a gloriously star filled clear sky and I was hammered by the time we finally caved in and headed back up to our cabins.

The final night’s rest in the Caribbean was as pleasant as my first night, and I dreamed of swimming in clear blue-green water with thousands of school fish swirling about me. It was almost as good as the real thing. :-)

Matt and Carrie. Campground neighbors and awesome people.

Matt and Carrie. Campground neighbors and awesome people.

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When I go back…this will get rented…I guarantee it. :-D

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View toward St. Thomas from the top of Water Island

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Dingy dock at the Water Island pier

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Crown Bay from Water Island dock

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Yep.

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Judith, a teacher here on the island helped me out with the taxi situation. The local lingo definitely takes some getting used to, but what a nice lady. :-)

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Shops near Red Hook

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The Bazaar at Red Hook. Surprisingly (thanks Judith!) this is actually a reasonably priced tourist trap. Judith laughed when I told her that I wanted touristy STUFF for some friends)…and then she pointed here. She was right. :-D

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Look closely at the flag. Yarrrrrr!

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Red Hook bay

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Veteran’s Highway…and yep, that is one hell of a traffic jam. Now imagine more than three Cruise ships in port. yikes.

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Cruise people carrier

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Merica! :-D

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Last “real” meal I had was here in Frenchtown. Very good. It’d better be, it sits right next to a fish monger place on a fishing harbor.

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Fish Monger place and fishing dock

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Conch fritters. (think crabcakes except with Conch). Not impressed. The beer was damned tasty though. :-)

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Me, Kevin and Sara, plus locals. :-) We stayed here until it was late, drinking, laughing and not wanting to leave.

Virgin Islands Blog Bits 6

Island girl. She had an almost hypnotic way with the wildlife around here. Because of her I got to pet an iguana. :-)

Island girl. She had an almost hypnotic way with the wildlife around here. Because of her I got to pet an iguana. :-)

May 11th, 2015

1. I’ve settled firmly into island time, and I now know in my gut why people come down here and stay.

2. This was going to be (today/tomorrow) excursion/exploration time, but I’ve changed it up. Right here on the little island I’m on…has EVERYTHING I would be hunting for on St. John’s. So My last two days here, the only thing I’m going to do is a bit of gift shopping tomorrow on St. Thomas, and the rest of this trip will be right here on the beach or in the water. Awesome beach, good food, good people and just relaxing was the goal, and I’ve found that exactly, right here. :-)

3. Side benefits, meeting some really excellent folks and making new friends. Here in the USVI in person, and after on the ol’ social media side, but what is life without sharing and making friends? Sarah, Kevin, Carrie, Matt, you have made my life richer. :-)

4. So I’ll just get out of the way, post up the day’s shots, and we’ll cya’ all tomorrow for the 1/2 day finale before heading home.

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Another day!

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Here there be wildlife. (That girl in the first shot was carrying these dudettes around as well.)

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About 10am the sail folks start piling in.

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That dinghy had a bent motor. Guy got it fixed. He’s the dad of the girls in the other pics (including iguana girl) and they have a big sailboat which they live on and travel around the islands. His Mother is holding the umbrella to keep the tools from turning into molten lead…she’s from Vail, and owns a strip mall and two dispensaries in Boulder…and she spends most of her time down here. :-)

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Busy agenda for this day, boy-howdy. :-D

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Your host salutes you with a most awesome Bloody Maria (tequila vs. vodka). :-D

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Sandy, the local sea-glass jewelry peddler. She was a New Yawka’ (accent still firmly in place), and has been down here for five years. She says the only thing she misses is her old BMW. :-)

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The Fishing dog. That dog loves the water more than people.

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Generations. The kids live on that yacht I mentioned. (Their Dad being the dinghy repair guy.)

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There goes the neighborhood for a bit. Tourist water taxi for the “Cruisers”. I’ve been down here a week and I’m already thinking of the Cruise ship folks like sub-humans. lol.

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And away go the Cruiser-people. Barely a day in, hurry hurry, and off they go. heh.

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This Mahi-mahi fish dinner was courtesy of my friends Sarah and Kevin. I supplied some side stuff and away we went. Nothing in the world like fresh fish caught a couple hours before.

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Good folks, good food, good beer, let’s EAT! :-) Sarah and Kevin after their fishing trip. 29 miles out to the trench, and back with some good stuff. Plus a “one that got away” story as well. :-D

Virgin Islands Blog Bits 5

May 10th 2015

1. So today’s agenda was to hit the beach. Which I did. And the two bars on the beach, and the water in front of the beach, and my chair in front of the water.

2. A lot of people I’ve noticed get to these places and then decide to hurry and SEE STUFF and run about. To me this pretty much defeats the purpose of a relaxing vacation. I don’t WANT to hurry, and if the place I’m at is beautiful and contains all the “scenic” of the area, then I’m ahead of the game.

3. In a nutshell, today was Beach, Sun, Sand, Sunburn, Suntan lotion, BOOZE, Fish tacos (at Heidi’s Grill and beach bar), booze, putzing about in the shallows, people watching, booze, more sunburn, more aloe vera and suntan lotion, Booze, home, bed.  And it was a perfect PERFECT day.

So here are the highlights:

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Getting to the beach is all downhill.

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Gorzirra! Guardians of the trail.

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Trail’s end…beach and booze ahead!

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Honeymoon Beach. Pretty much the most complete (bars, beach,swimming, food) hidden cove beach I’ve been to.

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Panorama test of my camera.

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The “Painkiller”. Rum, coconut milk, cream, pineapple juice, nutmeg. Pretty much “awesome” in a cup.

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Your Host, clowning. At this point I wasn’t that far in the bag, but by the end of the day….yeah. :-D

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Heidi’s Honeymoon Beach Bar and Grill. Home of the best fish tacos I’ve ever stuffed in my face…and that is saying something, as I’ve had more than “some” of that food. I ate here twice during the day, and I almost NEVER eat the same thing twice in a go. :-)

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Locals and Boaters kickin’ it.

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The aforementioned Fish Tacos from tropical heaven.

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Jetski invasion.

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Local Cat. Pretty beat up, but I wouldn’t sneeze at one. :-)

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From sand to rocky areas.

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Boats, a drink and a vape on a beach.

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A pleasant view all around. :-)

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Afternoons get busier here, but still plenty of room to relax.

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The entertainment in the afternoon/evening. Zydico band…with an accordian that didn’t suck. The lady played a flute, and she was excellent.

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Wild…er…tame…er…chickens were everywhere…with chicks as well. Moochers. :-D

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Late afternoon, many drinks later, the area actually got some rain…for about five minutes. Then the disaster passed on by for more sunshine.

Tomorrow I’ve decided will be more of the same, adding some snorkel gear to the agenda to putz about. Other folks have mentioned the snorkeling here at Honeymoon Beach is pretty excellent.  We shall see.  :-)