Friday, June 20, 2014

Walking When The Bus Is FREE

N27°39.598’, W080°22.277’

Our overnight stay in Ft. Pierce ended with a beautiful sunrise that energized us into doing a few boat projects prior to our departure...  Once those were out of the way, we were merrily back out on the ICW headed for the famed Vero Beach!

Our journey was a short one and the winds were almost nonexistent, making thoughts of rolling out sails seem silly.  Before we knew it, our destination was in sight.

The only restricted bridge in our path was the one at Ft. Pierce, it it was an "on demand" bascule bridge.  The others were fixed bridges with 65' clearance.  Our boat needs 62 1/2 feet in order for us to pass safely beneath them.

A bridge is considered "restricted" when the Bridge Tender is only allowed to open the bridge at certain times of the day.  The bridges that operate "on demand" will open any time a boat requests to pass through.  Those are the ones we like!

We made the turn just after the bridge and slowly edged up to the fuel dock for some very inexpensive diesel fuel.  We topped off our water tank and pumped out our waste tanks, then motored out to settle in on mooring ball #27.

Vero Beach has affectionately been dubbed "Velcro Beach" by many Cruisers who come here and find it difficult to leave.  It doesn't seem to produce the ennui brought on by the Marathon Vortex, as it seems to be a pleasant sort of place where Cruisers are happy hanging out.

The city is very welcoming and even provides free busses to take us to all the places we need and want to go!  How awesome is that!!!?  The Wi-Fi is nice and fast and the usual shower/restroom, laundry and rec room facilities make our stay pleasant and productive.  It's all here at the marina.

We've heard stories of boats being rafted up (tied together on a single hook/mooring) so that the mooring field can accommodate more boats than they have mooring balls... but there is no need for that now.  It's low season and most of the boats that are on the move, have already gone.  Once again, we are bringing up the rear!

Upon arrival, we had no plan other than to settle in and decide what we would like to do while we're here.  We are basically waiting on a mail delivery from home, before we continue North towards St. Augustine.  While we sat in the cockpit contemplating life... we got an unexpected invitation to dinner from a guy from back home!

The dinghy dock
Our friend Kevin, who provided invaluable assistance to Bruce in bringing the boat across the Gulf of Mexico over two years ago, was in town preparing to do another sailboat delivery.  He was near enough to drive over and take us to dinner!  We spent a pleasant evening eating pizza at Nino's Restaurant and chatting about home.  Kevin seemed very interested in our cruising exploits thus far and we were happy to relate our adventures to him.  What a treat it was to have someone from home come and visit us out of the blue!  Oh, and if you need a good delivery captain or crew... I can hook you up!

The next morning we decided that a trip to the Market for a few things was our top priority.  As I mentioned before, one of the perks of Vero Beach is the free busses that will take you around town.  FREE!  But we decided that with all of the time we spend sitting on the boat, we needed the exercise, and the Market wasn't too far away...  So, we set out walking through the streets of Vero Beach.

This is a beautiful town with lush tropical greenery lining the simple streets and hiding the modest homes away in their cool darkness.  We had ominous clouds threatening rain for most of the day, keeping the tropical humidity at it's highest, but we were very comfortable.

Squirrels were stealing the mangos!
We just could not get over the flora where everything seemed to be just bursting with life.

This mango tree was heavy with fruit and Bruce wanted to go knock on the door and ask if we could have some...  There were three squirrels ravaging the tree.

There were huge fern covered trees shading the homes and street

A Redheadded Woodpecker!  I've only seen them in cartoons!

The beach called to us and we headed in the general direction of the coast until we found Ocean Drive.  There were condos and homes in our way but we found an empty lot and trespassed (just a little) across to the beach.

We hurried out to the water's edge and walked North with the rest of the beachgoers, hoping to find a way off the beach and back to the road when we needed it...
Our favorite kind of beach... EMPTY!
Never fear, Florida will provide!  We found a long boardwalk with stairs leading down to the beach.  We mounted the stairs and followed the boardwalk Northward towards Mango Avenue...  We hoped!

We came upon Jaycee Park and thought once again, how lucky Floridians are to have such beautiful city parks to visit.  This place has a vast green lawn with picnic tables, great restrooms and beach access with lifeguards on duty.  There are fresh water rinse facilities and it's all FREE!

We walked through the park and rejoined the highway which would take us to the Market.  By this time, the sun was peaking through a bit more, making it a little hot.  We were reconsidering our previous decision to waive our free bus ride... but we were almost there!

We found the Village Beach Market and thought it would be more fun than another run-of-the-mill trip to a Publix...  We knew it would be pricey, but we only needed milk and eggs... how bad could it be?

Well it's a good thing we weren't in need of much more, because other than a great deal on limes and Vidalia onions... The prices were exorbitant.  I mean, we've seen better prices in Grenada!  Where everything is shipped from other countries!!!  This place actually reminded us a lot of shopping in Grenada with a very eclectic mix of stuff.  We walked the aisles, picked up the necessities and got out for under $12.

Back out on the street, Bruce suggested we take the shortest route back home and postpone further exploration until tomorrow.  It was steamy hot!

Our evening was spent in the company of Skip and Lydia from Flying Pig, another Morgan sailboat moored here in Vero Beach.  I have been following Skip, who has a huge internet presence among Morgan owners, for years.  We invited them over to our boat and talked and laughed the evening away.  I think I've found another Kindred Spirit couple and although we're moving on soon and they are staying here for some repairs... I hope to see them again.

The next morning we actually saw a bit of sunshine!  It was still and humid and HOT!  This prompted us to shift our thinking back to that free bus and so we hopped aboard at the marina and made our request for a "special stop" at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

Now keep in mind that I know nothing about art, and Bruce has some interest in that it relates to history.  He actually knows more than I give him credit for and it's a new facet that I'm interested in exploring more... thus our visit here today.

After a brief scare that they weren't yet open... we entered the cavernous halls and paid our way in... half price for low season.

Photo Credit Visit the page to learn more about this.
There was a traveling exhibit of the works of an artist named Walter Wick.  This meant nothing to either of us and the fact that it seemed to be a bunch of toys, initially made it seem even more uninteresting...

Nothing could be further from the truth as we found his many varied and unique images to be fascinating if you slow down and look at them as they are intended.

This one for instance... He built this and then photographed it so that you can look at it and attempt to find a way for the ball to proceed down the track and eventually pop the balloon.  It became a competition between Bruce and I to try to figure out the puzzle, and there is even a video of the entire process to watch, in which we found that we were BOTH wrong!

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This one was one of my favorites.  It is a table full of stuff and the mirror image of the stuff... only there are differences in the mirror image.  The purpose is to find the differences and it's fun!

The photos isn't great as they don't allow photos taken here, so I had to find some on the internet for you... You can also click the picture origin to see more about the exhibit.

Photo Credit
His works are so widely varied, it is amazing to think of what must be in this man's mind.  Here is another example of his work.  He creates these elaborate scenes or sets, in minute detail...

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And then he photographs them or prints them out using laser printers.  It is truly amazing to see the sets and the finished print.

I could go on and on, but if you're interested, there are lots of resources out there for you to explore.

In my search for information, I came upon Walter Wick's Facebook page and found a series for The Making of a Treasure Ship.  The Jolly Roger is my favorite of the works as it relates to the Pirate in me...

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You really should go there and check out each of the phases as this piece of art is truly magnificent if you know what you're looking at...  I'm not giving it away...

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The other exhibits here in Vero Beach were nice...  There were many pieces that did nothing for me, but there were several that I did find fascinating and lovely.  There was a gallery of Works on Paper, some of which I found to be interesting.

I was even more interested in the Glass Exhibit, displaying many beautiful pieces.  I have a friend who works in glass and am always amazed at the beautiful pieces that can be created in this medium.

There are two pieces by Dale Chihuly, whom I had never heard of, but will be looking out for more as his work is intricate and beautiful.

We moved on and found these odd bits out in the hallway on their own...  The first is a horse made of branches.  Ok...

Then there is THIS!  It is made entirely of forks and chopsticks.  Who does this???  I totally want one!

And no glue was used...  How many chopsticks does it take to... well whatever!

There was one more room filled with interesting pieces...  Art can be so... what's the word?  What is its purpose?  Is it all about forcing yourself to slow down and consider what has no purpose?  

I know not the answer, but I like what I like...  As I stand before this particularly obscure painting that for some reason speaks to me...  

I realize that the guard sitting in the corner of this room has not moved.  He doesn't have that essence that one can just feel which signifies life... He is empty...   But IS HE?
I move closer.  I peer at him.  His skin is translucent.  His arms and hands remind me of my Grandmother's.  
He seems melancholy, as if he's not happy in his job.  It does not challenge him.  I think his boss does not like him.   I would touch him but feared he would feel like my Grandmother just after her death and so, I was afraid...  He is perfectly human down to the blemishes of age on his skin.  But he isn't there...

We moved on to the last exhibit here, the statue garden.  There's just something about a neat and orderly garden that pleases the soul.  This garden was peaceful and quiet and so beautiful, with birds flitting about among the many pieces displayed here.  They were all very different, some simple, others more complex. 
I'm not going to lie here, I'll tell you right out.  I thought some of these pieces were just lumps.  If this is your medium, I apologize... but I just don't get it.  Some of the brightly colored shapes remind me of when my kids were in kindergarden and no matter what they turned out in art class, they got a gold star.  Maybe it's more difficult than it looks... I don't get it.  But THIS...       
This piece is truly awesome and I wish that I could convey the piece in motion to you as we walked around it on the sidewalk.  It moved.  It drew me in.  It is metal pieces.  Letters and symbols all welded together in the shape of a man.  His face is missing and yet somehow the piece conveyed an expression...  It was just magnificent and I could have stared it it for hours.  
I always enjoy these statues.  I want to go and sit with them...

Hunger was tugging us along at this point.  I would have loved to spend more time with Walter Wick, but we needed food.  

The town is full of tropical plants...
Once again, we decided to walk instead of taking the FREE Bus.  We set off down the main drag in search of the ocean.  We stopped in the shade and consulted the internet for possible stops.  I found one and we set off towards Ocean Drive.

Our walk brought us to the Ace Hardware store unexpectedly and serendipitously... We needed some stuff.  So we popped in and found what we needed.  

We also asked the man there for the name of his favorite restaurant for lunch on the water... He pointed us towards the Driftwood Inn.  

We followed the nice man's directions and found the quirky looking place.  We ducked around the side and headed for the beach, through the dive bar (just like the man said) and across the pool deck...

Once inside, we were surprised to find that the restaurant has another name.  Waldo's.  It is the place that I found for us on the iPad.  I had in fact, already checked out the menu.  

We were settled at a nice table between the beach and the pool beneath a beach umbrella and before long... had nice cold drinks in our hands...

Ahhhh... Here is where we took another time out to just appreciate how truly perfect our lives are now.  I think a lot about my old life and it seems like so long ago.  I remember the people the most and the good times.  I wish they could all take off and just go.  Like we are.  We are truly lucky people.

We relaxed and watched the other people as they enjoyed their vacations.  Only our secret is... that it isn't a vacation.... It's our life.  

We ordered shrimp three ways.  We shared one dinner and it was more than enough food.  Eating out is a treat for us and I love it when the food turns out to be exceptional.  The coconut shrimp, beer battered shrimp and best-of-the-best stuffed shrimp were to-die-for.  We were in heaven.  THIS food I can NOT produce myself...  

We highly recommend Waldo's and the resort looks like a quirky kind of place to spend some time too...

We finished our dinner and lingered a little longer before we left by the beach stairs and took a walk.  The beach here is again, in my opinion, better than Miami and Ft. Lauderdale in that it has a more gentle slope and isn't so commercialized.  It's a more family friendly place.  As always, the Atlantic murmurs a soul soothing sound as we walked along.  

No, we are still not bored of strolling along the shores.  Although we no longer pick up shells, we are still absorbing the many personalities of the beaches we've visited.  

I'm thinking that this will never get old...

By this time, we were beginning to rethink that bit about needing more exercise.  With full tummies we found that bus stop and boarded the FREE Bus back to the Marina.

The skies seemed about to burst and let loose the moisture they held all day long.  Just as we stepped off the bus, it began to pour.  We ran for cover and took refuge in the Cruiser's lounge where we watched truly meaningless TV for about 15 minutes...  Then we made a run for it back to the boat.  

We had been absent for hours and the kitties were home alone.  The rain continued on all afternoon and into the evening, causing us to cancel our plans to meet up with another cruising couple here in Vero Beach.  I was a little disappointed at not getting to meet them, but we're connected on Facebook and maybe we'll hook up with them some other time.  We got the package we were waiting for and so, with nothing more to keep us... we made plans to depart in the morning.  We will be back to Vero Beach.  Maybe we'll take that FREE Bus and see the rest of the town.  


  1. Great day! I always LOVE your photos!

    However, I'm sorry to tell you that the woodpecker you saw is actually a downy woodpecker or a red-bellied (they look very similar except for size). A red-headed is red all the way down to the neck, including the face, and the back is solid black. But they're all fun to see!

    1. Thanks for the correction Carolyn! I thought about becoming a birder, but with all the stuff there is to know about them... I don't think there's room enough left in my brain!

  2. What beautiful photos, I wish I was there. I love the idea of a free bus to get around, that is great!

    1. Thank you Sarah. The bus was a very nice perk. Vero is a lovely little town and we enjoyed it even if we were behind the crowd. Maybe even more because of it! Thanks for reading our blog!