Friday, July 31, 2015

Old Habits Die Hard. Captiva Trip # ??....I've Lost Count

I'm pretty blessed.  

This is regular theme of my blog.  Call it God's Grace, call it luck, call it hard it whatever, but I fully admit it.  One of the reasons I'm so blessed is because I have 2 great parents.  Bob & Anne raised my siblings and I w discipline and love.  We didn't have a ton of disposable income but we all had nice things and great education.  Our family vacations were just that:  family & vacations.  We primarily spent summers at Holden Beach NC and Rocky Mtn Natl Park in Estes Park CO.  Body surfing, crabbing, hanging with cousins or hiking, fly fishing and rock climbing were our family's adventures.

Holden Beach, NC

Estes Park and RMNP

When I entered my grumpy Cro-Magnon teenage years unfortunately I didn't realize how awesome these adventures were or how blessed I was and after my Jr year in high school my family trips stopped.....I worked or found excuses or was such an ass I probably wasn't even invited!  

As a change I was invited to South Seas Island Resort in Captiva by my high school buddy and his parents and in June 1989 I laid eyes on Captiva for the first time.  Been loving it ever since!

So back to my parents:  for the last 5 yrs they have taken our kiddos back to Estes Park to continue our family's tradition.  And just as quick as they offer, Stacey and I book a trip to a saltwater sandy destination. This year, it was again Captiva.  

People often ask:
Why go to the beach in summer you ask?  
It's warm I Dallas right?  
Why not stay home?  

Warm isn't an accurate description for Texas heat July thru September.  Think "active molten volcano".  I've literally burned my hand simply brushing by a car hood before. And I'm already tired of it....with 50-60 days of heat left at the time of this post!

Looking out at 100F Dallas. Every. Long. Hot. Summer. Day.

Typical forecast 

Day 1: Friday, July, 31, 2015

The grandparents and kids left Thursday, July 30 and we blasted off Friday at 8am for Ft. Myers and Captiva

Ol' Man River from 37,000 ft.

Stacey's second favorite activity next to sitting on the beach

Our little family spread across the USA

Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound 

Ft. Myers Beach

We stopped for "essential supplies".

Then headed over the causeway to Sanibel Fish House

We started with calamari and some decent margaritas.  Stacey had the shrimp basket and I had a grouper ruben.  We were headed to Captiva by 1:30 with sunny skies despite a soggy forecast.

I miss the old drive out to Captiva.  Prior to Hurricane Charley's direct hit in 2006, Sanibel and Captiva had a long drive of mangrove tree tunnels.  It's made a remarkable comeback but if you'd visited prior, you can still see the hurricane's effect nearly 10 yrs later. This trip we were staying at South Seas Island old Florida style marina resort that occupies about 1/2 of Captiva island.  While not a mega-resort, it does have plenty of lodging options and a family friendly feel.  Since 2006 it's changed hands 2-3 times and still needs a little TLC but otherwise I'd rate it a solid 7 out of 10 on value/ cost.   

Original Island Store on Andy Rosse Ln, Captiva 

Our room was ready early and Jerry's Foods in Sanibel had pre-stocked groceries so we unpacked and headed to the beach.  It was partly cloudy and Florida had been swamped in rain for 10 days with 3 low pressure centers offshore but we found some sun and I found a beautiful bartender (wink, wink) in the chair right next to me.  Out came the Yeti ramblers and we did nothing more than lounge, drink, talk and Stacey did a little Rodan+Fields business on her iPad.


Our Beach Villa Room---simple & modern


Read the wristband--"Just Escape"

Hottie bartender 


I ran to buy bait at the marina for fishing and Stacey showered before we headed to Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grill.  After a slight drink recipe adjustment suggestion to the bartender to adjust their potion, we had 2 perfect Painkillers AKA Doc's Cure. We were channelling Jost van Dyke's Soggy Dollar. After all, we have advanced degrees in painkiller mixology.

And you have to love a bar with a Razorback themed drink...WPS! 

Stacey had a margarita flatbread and I had boiled peel n eat shrimp that were great ....and 2 more painkillers each before we crashed!  A great day 1!

Day 2: Saturday, August 1, 2015

Awoke to heavy showers so fishing plans meant "go back to bed".  After coffee and a little blog updating, we headed back to the beach but 30 min we were back in the room waiting out a thunderstorm.  Welcome to tropical season in Florida.  

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, listening to music, reading, harassing seagulls and keeping Tito's vodka of Austin TX in business. 

Drink Recipe named for our friends Jim & Angela:  "Saunders".  
Ice, 1.5-2.0oz Tito's Vodka, White Monster Energy Drink, splash of POM juice & a fresh lime. I dare you to hate it.

We rode our chaise lounges until 6pm and had picked one of our favorite restaurants for dinner: Key Lime Bistro......for one sole reason.....THE KEY LIME PIE.  We showered and walked on the beach past the Mucky Duck while people gathered to watch the sun set.  We walked down Andy Rosse Ln past previous colossal houses we've rented and there was live music at Key Lime Bistro.  We started with crab cakes and bruschetta.  Stacey had blackened snapper and I had lobster stuffed grouper.

Then it was game time.  Us vs The Pie. Game on!

When we've stayed in the village on Andy Rosse Ln before we've ordered WHOLE key lime pies before....2-3 per week sometimes.  Nobody ever said it truly wasn't the best!

They cost $37 each.


In usual fashion, us-1, pie-0.  Undefeated and still champion.

All the face stuffing had us beat (how, I have no idea)..... So we crashed early.

Day 3: Sunday, August 2, 2015

Apparently God doesn't want me to fish on this trip. 

Radar at 5:15am

We enjoyed breakfast, packed a cooler and headed to Jensen's Marina about 9:45am.  Jensen's is run by 3 brothers Dave, Jimmy and John who each talk exactly like Jeff Spicolli.  It has a sand floor, has a laid back local feel and I could hang out here all day and watch docile manatees or boats come and go.

We bought bait, rented an 18' center console and we're headed in search of a cheeseburger.  

Pine Island Sound is a shallow body of water between Sanibel-Captiva and the mainland.  A series of Islands/Keys/Cays stretch north from Captiva: North Captiva, Cayo Costa, Useppa and Cabbage Key to name a few.  Cabbage Key and Useppa are ultra OLD SCHOOL Florida and date back to the 1900's and are accessible only by boat.  Cabbage Key has a public restaurant known for their thousands of dollars bills on the walls and their legendary cheeseburgers.

Stacey was captain on the way to Cabbage (reluctantly).  We made it in one piece and were sitting with a margarita and a Cabbage Creeper and cheeseburgers by noon.

Oh captain my captain 


Can I borrow a dollar?

Cheeseburger in paradise 

Leaving Cabbage Key

We were in search of sharks next and headed back to Redfish Pass near Captiva as the tide ripped in.  Stacey saw the sun poke out and I baited rods while she fished and tanned.

We caught 3 baby (20-30") sand sharks and called it successfully outing about 2:15.

Back at Jensen's we settled our boat tab and after a quick change we were on the free South Seas trolley headed to their big resort pool to people watch and get vitamin D.

The pool was packed but a quick threat from a passing storm scared off about 1/3 of the sunbathers and we were left with a great view of the water, 2 comfortable chairs and more perfect painkillers! 

The Crooked Snook Tiki hut bar

I wonder if Mercury owners ever get tired of this!? 😀

Too many painkillers is dangerous so we headed home, made reservations and were at Sunset Grill by 7:30.  It was empty, the service was great, the food even better and we crashed again full of great food and plenty of relaxation.

Day 4: Monday, August 3, 2015

This is getting old.....local TV called for storms.....hmmmm, ya think?

But I'm not worried.  I'm earning serious husband points today: COUPLES MASSAGE. It only took 22-23 yrs for me to figure this out.

We nailed it!  It POURED during our massage.  Great deep tissue massage at Kay Kasperson Spa....and when we walked out the skies weren't all that bad.  After lunch we jumped on the trolley to the main pool and found plenty of chairs so we repeated the day before.....watching the tide come in and out, counting boats and keeping the Crooked a Snook tiki bar in business.

Trolley Anctics

Our lone palm shade

First class barfly service! 😜

We'd had enough sun and drinks that we blew off fancy dinner reservations and did apps and drinks back at Doc Ford's.  Guess what....more painkillers!  And calamari...and bruchetta...


Deep. Fried. Carbs. Cheese. Alcohol.  No wonder I felt awful all night!

Day 5: Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

Packing Day:  I hate it.

But FOR ONCE the skies were clear and I wasn't budging from this beach chair until 3:30pm. Flight at 6:30pm.

Stacey agreed too.

Now all there is to do is get home and try to be patient waiting four our two munchkins to return with Estes Park pictures and stories!

Kate's Estes Park Pics