Hanne and I will be back in the Keys next winter 2013 – stay tuned

My Keys map painting

Hanne and I will be staying on Big Pine Key next Jan & Feb – I will have a special place to paint and Hanne will have a small office in paradise.

The road back and some highlights on our adventure

We passed some ghost towns along the way from Texas to Santa Fe on route 285.

We made it back to Santa Fe on Sunday. The weather was sunny, but windy. Actually we only had two days of cold rainy weather during the whole two months of our journey. We were blessed with good fortune and many caring people along the road. Thank you to y’all, we couldn’t have done it without you!

The sacred mountains around Santa Fe greeted us in the late afternoon sun. One of the many joys of traveling is coming home!

A little Southern moss wanted to come back with us, sticking to Paradox

The best road service for the jeep was provided at Rite A Way auto service in Junction, Texas. Tim gave the jeep an oil change including a thorough check up and then he elegantly backed the jeep with the boat out of there for us.

The best jeep ever: our Grand Cherokee Jeep, year 1999, that made 6380.7 trip miles without any trouble.

The best sailboat ever: our Catalina 22, s/v Paradox, year 1982

Best sail: our last day on the Spanish Channel, Big Pine Key

Best tool: Ross’ iPad with GPS and maps – we never got really lost!

Best driver: Ross

2. best driver: Hanne

Best navigator: Hanne

2. best navigator: Ross

The best boat service was provided at The Key Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, Florida. Thanks guys!

Best launching marina: Old Wooden Bridge, Big Pine Key, Florida. Our friends Mary and Ken came down for a week and stayed in one of their cottages right on the waterfront:

Best beach: Sombrero Beach, Marathon Key, Florida

Best community swimming pool: Key Largo, Florida

Best library: Key Largo, Florida

Best bed for the night: the carved wooden antique bed in Jug Creek Cottages, Bokeelia, Florida, reminding me of my grandma’s bed in the attic

Best motel breakfast: Sleep Inn, Dripping Springs, Texas. I have to add, that they charged us $140 for one night, due to a big music festival and an interactive conference in nearby Austin. Way out of our price range! But staying at the Sleep Inn allowed us to spend time with Ross’ life long friend Marvin Niebuhr:

Best guest laundry: Comfort Inn, Marrero near New Orleans, Louisiana. Nice, clean and cheap!

Best homemade meal: our shrimp and grouper dinners at our friends Gerald and Loretta Hausman’s house in Bokeelia, Florida

Best restaurant meal: seared tuna and steamed clams in garlic/wine sauce at the Cafe, Key West, Florida

Best key lime pie: Coco’s Kitchen, Big Pine Key, Florida. Creamy, flavorful and no funky whipped cream on top!

Best margarita (Hanne’s pick – Ross does not drink alcohol): pink guava margarita at the Wharf, Summerland Key

Best breakfast: Mrs. Mac’s, Key Largo, Florida

Best coffee (Hanne’s pick – Ross does not drink coffee): D.J.Diner’s cuban coffee in Key Largo. Plus my very own boat coffee!

Best oriental food: Num Thai restaurant., Key Largo, Florida

Best Cuban food : El Siboney, Key West, Florida - don’t miss the fried plantanos

Best seafood place: King Seafood Market and Restaurant, Marathon, Florida, Caribbean and Cuban cuisine – and the best mural too:

Best value meals for your money: Coco’s Kitchen, Big Pine Key, Florida – don’t miss her avocado salad! Coco’s daughter Rose was the most dynamic personality we met on our journey.

Best deli: the Health Food Store, Big Pine Key, Florida

Best farmer’s market: @ Help Yourself in Key West, Florida

Best ice cream: Michelle’s handmade ice cream store Meltdown in New Orleans, Louisiana – I had one with salted caramel, delicious!

Best crawfish etouffee: The Gumbo Shop, New Orleans, Louisiana

Unique places: No Name Pub, Big Pine Key, Florida

Worst place to buy seafood: Winn Dixie – no local fish there

Most over priced and over rated meals: The Square Grouper, Big Pine Key, Florida and Reds, Bokeelia, Florida

Most inspiring visit: seeing Hemingway’s house and museum in Key West, Florida – a great catalyst for more reading and talking about his books, life, boats, women and cats!

Sweetheart dentist: Dr. Cuhna in Key Largo, Florida who fixed Ross’ gold crown

Best music: street brass band in New Orleans, Lousiana

Best galleries: Rene’s Red Door Gallery in Key West, Florida, National Key Deer Refuge Visitor Center on Big Pine Key, Florida and Kouchy Gallery in Bokeelia, Florida – look out for Ross’ paintings in these three galleries!

Ross’ favorite painting on the journey: his Mango Dive

Places we would like to go back to: Key West, Florida, Matlacha, Florida, New Orleans, Louisiana

Breakfast with Marvin

Marvin did make it to our hotel in Dripping Springs this morning. It was still raining, but not pouring, and he was able to get out with his truck. The rain was good, he said, because Dripping Springs has been in a major draught. Here are two lifelong friends, still going strong.

Marvin Niebuhr, aka Dr. Conrad, is getting ready for his new show in Austin Texas opening on Tuesday

Here Ross is explaining how he does his watercolors

Yes, the boat is parked right out there, but in Dripping Springs TX the water was coming from above

I think about Marvin often because he helped us build the platform in the yurt. Every time I do a sound healing session in the yurt I feel his skills and love built into the wooden floor. Those of you who have done a session with me – or have worked with Ross – will know what I mean.

Here is your dedicated blogger writing from Fort Stockton Texas, looking forward to hit Santa Fe tomorrow, say hello again to the mountains, listen to the coyotes at night, play my quartz crystal bowls in the yurt – take my coat of and stay awhile.

Tough days on the road

We have had a couple of tough road days. Getting out of New Orleans with all the construction work going on in the wake of hurricane Katrina is in itself a challenge. On top of that a truck accident had happened on Interstate 10 which closed all the westbound lanes down. We sat stuck there in a h u g e line for over 3 hours and didn’t put in a lot of mileage that day. We had to stay overnight in Lake Charles, Louisiana as none of us are that fond of driving in the dark. Here we are with Paradox sitting stuck.

How did that Roman chariot end up on Interstate 10?

Entering the state of Texas – oil country

The first bad weather on this journey came today. Rain, fog, thunder, lightning. Here is Houston emerging in the mist

Just thought the top of this Houston building was cool – looking like a crown.

The ramps and freeways around Houston look  like something a spaceship could land on. In spite of the rainstorm we made it to Dripping Springs, Texas where we are staying in a way overpriced hotel because there is a music festival going on in nearby Austin. We are here to hook up with Ross’ longtime friend Marvin who is a sculptor living a little outside of Dripping Springs. The plan was to have dinner together. But Dripping Springs was actually dripping so much that the arroyos out by Marvin were overflowing so he couldn’t get out! We hope he can make it for breakfast tomorrow.

New Orleans – the city of music

  We drove across Lake Pontchartrain late in the afternoon. The old bridge in the distance was destroyed by hurricane Katrina.

Driving around New Orleans trailering Paradox behind the jeep was quite a challenge. I cannot recommend driving downtown big cities with a sailboat. But seeing New Orleans was one of my dreams on this journey, so no complaints! After some difficulties we did manage to cross the Mississippi River and find a nice motel about 10 miles out of town with parking space enough to unhook the boat and leave it there while we went exploring the French Quarter.

Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter of New Orleans was a must!

After the longest wait in history I finally got a cafe au lait and some beignets. That place is busy!

On every street corner there is music – and they start young. Hurricane Katrina created disasters in New Orleans, but the music never died.

I love the mixture of different cultures in New Orleans.

Crawfish etouffee at Gumbo Shop for lunch. Creole cuisine is just delicious!

Hurricane shutters in the French Quarter surrounding the humble entrance of Preservation Hall founded in 1961 to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz.

The old paddle wheel boat The Natchez is still operating on the mighty Mississippi River, right out of  Mark Twain. It is the only steamboat left in New Orleans.

I hope to return to the city of music and hanging gardens one day.

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