Dec 23rd – Saturday
During the day we had several work tasks; we had the reworked 4-blade props reinstalled by Diver Tom DeLoach, we performed the 2nd engine oil change so far on the loop, and we did a shake down ride of the new props.
Success – the reworked props worked great – all the vibration & humm noises were now cleared up , the boat felt awesome for our upcoming trip down to the Keys.
During the afternoon, while changing the engine oil, I received a very surprising call from one of my old directors at Fiat/Chrysler. The call was from a guy named Bill Rotramel. I answered the phone and said “Bill Rotramel, what a surprise”. Bill responded by saying “So you think my daughter is hot”. He soon explained that we had met his daughter and son-in-law on the beach the day before. Like many times before, me & Jonell struck up a conversation with a young couple next to us on the beach. We discussed the great loop. They explained that their dad was a big boater in Michigan with a boat & house on Lake Erie, and recently a new house & boat in Punta Gorda. We later discussed the recent birth of their new 3 month old son. I complimented the young woman on how hot she looked after pumping out a baby only 3 months ago. The next day they told Bill about the couple they had met on the beach doing The Loop. Bill asked them “did the guy have a brush cut” The result – a phone call from one of my favorite FCA bosses, Bill Rotramel !
At night, we went to dinner with new Looper pal and great guy Joe Upchurch. Joe is 80 years old and is doing The Loop single-handed in a 36 Ranger Tug. Joe has an in interesting background, as we have found with several Loopers. He started his own Insurance company at age 21, he built a helicopter with a kit, he became a helicopter pilot, he aided the South Carolina News and police with his piloting abilities, & he worked in a coroners office. His wife of about 40 years passed several years ago after a long battle with dementia, with Joe being the nurse-maid. He is now doing The Loop alone, but did do 1 month with his 21 year old grandson. He is really a great guy.
Dec 24th – Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve day, we used our local taxi buddies (Madd Cab) to go into Fort Myers city. We had several tasks to get done. Madd Cab driver Bob took us to ; the ACE Hardware to return an unused tap set, to O’Reilleys to drop off the used engine oil, and to the Publix grocery store. We know all 4 drivers at Madd Cab, and we got Bob a case of his favorite Busch Beer for Christmas.
Prior to doing chores, we had another strange Fiat/Chrysler encounter. I was doing some work near the back of the boat when I heard “Hey Murph, Hey Murph”.
I went out near the ICW water to find another Fiat/Chrysler director, and boater pal Joe Guertin. Joe & wife Lisa keep their main boat “Balena” at Jefferson Beach Marina, right next door to our Miller Marina. Joe & Lisa were in Fort Myers Beach, renting vacation houses with other friends/boaters from Jefferson Beach. It was another one of these strange/fun encounters we have had on The Loop. Joe & Lisa sent a great photo of our boat as seen from the ICW.
In the afternoon, we met and had drinks with Fort Myers natives & potential future Loopers, Mark & Sue. After striking up a nice friendship, we ended up having Christmas Eve dinner with Mark & Sue at The Yucatan restaurant. Interestingly , almost ALL of the restaurants in Fort Myers Beach were open for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, and all the restaurants were very busy !
After dinner, Jonell & I returned to Gettin’ Looped and watched the mandatory Christmas Vacation movie, AGAIN.
Dec 25th – Christmas Day
Nellie & I spent Christmas Day all alone on the beach (the kids went home Dec 22nd and the next visitors did not arrive until Dec 27th).
I love this video (2nd showing) = https://youtu.be/reLbyeZB_4w
Dec 26 – Tuesday
On Tuesday we prepped for more visitors by washing the boat & cleaning the Isinglass and the helm.
Dec 27 – Wed
Wednesday was a big day for us, we were expecting several post-Christmas visitors to arrive.
The First visitors were Doug Edgar & 1st Mate Sharolyn, who arrived about 9am for a day-visit.
Doug is the father of my great friend at Chrysler, Ashley Edgar. You may recall from posts in August, that when we went to Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, Doug & Sharolyn gave us the 5 hour Beaver Island Tour, in Doug’s police car. We went to breakfast at Jacks restaurant at the Pink Shell & then laid out on the beach and caught up from our last visit at Beaver Island.
The next visitor was my sister Brenda, from Madison Heights Michigan, who arrived about noon. After having a late night in Michigan on Tuesday, Brenda was very tired and had to get up about 4am for her flight to Fort Myers Beach. So after her arrival, she took a short nap in the guest quarters of Gettin’ Looped.
Later that evening, we had a drink on the boat & then met my pal Dave Vrabel & 1st mate Carol Perotta for dinner.
Dave & Carol arrived during mid afternoon like Brenda, but they spent the afternoon gettin’ acclimated to their new rental home, a few miles south of us on Estero Island.
Jonell, Brenda, and I met Dave/Carol for dinner at the normal welcome restaurant – Nervous Nellies.
After dinner, we came back to the Gettin’ Looped for some friendship reunions.
Dec 28 – Thu
On Thursday- me, Jonell, and Brenda went to breakfast at Reeses Restaurant. They have excellent breakfast sandwiches. After breakfast, we joined the Vrabels at the house they were renting for the week in Fort Myers Beach. We sat around in the hot tub & pool, and played card games most of the afternoon. Later that night, we went to dinner at a place on the south end of Estero Island called , The Sandbar & Grille.
In the late afternoon, we had yet another Fiat/Chrysler interaction. Work buddy & boater pal Dave Snyder was in Fort Myers Beach for a few days of vacation. Both Vrabel & I have met Dave Snyder in Lake St Clair at Muscamoot Bay several times. We attempted to hook up with Dave, but due to conflicting schedules were unsuccessful.
Later Thursday night, about midnight, Dave’s son Eric & wife Laura arrived at Dave’s rental house. Some of you may recall that our son Daniel was Eric’s best man & Eric will soon be Dan’s best man next September. We did not see Eric & Laura until Friday.
Dec 29 – Fri
On Friday, the Vrabels came to the Pink Shell Resort & Marina. We spent the day on the beach. The girls went for a walk down the beach to Times Square, did some shopping, and had some refreshments (don’t they look happy with refreshments in them).
We spent the full day on the beach, and in the late afternoon & evening we watched the sunset & went to dinner at Jack’s restaurant at the Pink Shell. The food was awesome.
Dec 30 – Sat
Saturday was a somewhat sad but exciting day. We finally moved after 1 month at Fort Myers Beach. We traveled about 50 miles from Fort Myers Beach to Marco Island. During the ride we saw a few dolphins and a LOT of off-shore boats apparently racing from Fort Myers to Naples.
We arrived at The Marco Island Marina Association about 2pm. We got tied up and registered at the office, then walked to lunch at a place called The Marco Island SpeakEasy. It was another beautiful outdoor setting, with a great solo musician performer.
Dec 31 – New Years Eve
I spent most of the day working on travel plans to Key West, getting the heads pumped out, & working on the full-time job called the Gettin’ Looped travel blog.
Nellie & Brenda took an Uber to one of the local shopping malls.
We all then spent a bit of time at the marina pool, then took an Uber ride to dinner at the World Famous Snooks Inn Restaurant (at least they say they are world famous on the T-shirts).
The place was another pretty cool waterfront establishment with music (notice a little hurricane Irma damage repair, this was true all over the island).
Tonight will be an early night, no 12 midnight kisses tonight.
We have a very early departure tomorrow, due to the 108 miles to Key West.
So anyway, to all of our friends, family, coworkers, and blog followers – HAPPY NEW YEAR !
Photo below compliments of my sister Brenda.