Condo Bliss

We arrived in Stuart, Florida on October 14. We had departed Lake Villa, Il on October 11 and drove 10 hours to Manchester Tennessee and stayed over night at the Red Roof Inn. The next morning we drove 9 hours to Mount Dora, Fl near Orlando and spent two nights with Dick and Candy Smith. The Smith’s condo is only 2.5 hours from Stuart so it is an ideal stop along the way.

We arrived at our condo around 3 pm and opened the hurricane shutters, turned on the water and plugged in the hot water heater. Our condo was untouched by hurricane Mathew that passed by the week before and slammed into St Augustine.

Our condo is located in the Pierpoint Yacht Club community.

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Our good luck continued because when we arrived at our condo there was water overflowing from the AC unit. I asked Beachcomber Dan who he used for AC repairs. I called the Cool and Reliable AC repair company on his recommendation. They sent Ricardo, their best man, right over. He diagnosed the problem as a clogged drain. He tried to clear the clog using a wet vac on the exterior drain pipe. No luck. He used forced air on the other end in conjunction with the wet vac. Finally the clog let go. Algae had formed in our AC drain pipe and completely blocked it. We have an emergency shut off switch to shut off the AC unit if the drain gets clogged. The insidious algae has covered the emergency switch so it was inoperable. We were very fortunate to have arrived when did. The clog must have been fairly recent. If we had not arrived at our condo until January the condo would have been damp for three months and mold might have grown inside. Ricardo educated me on the care and feeding of my AC unit. He suggested I pour bleach into the drain once per week while I am in the condo. When we are away we should put chlorine pellets in the drip pan. In addition I bought a wet vac and will clean out the AC drain again before we depart. That was $125 well spent on the service call.

A view on our dining room.  We plan to open up the passthrough window to provide a full view of the wide water from the kitchen.

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We stayed at the condo for three days before driving to Miami and sailing to Key West and the Dry Tortugas for 8 days aboard Pilar with Captain Gabe Vitti.   We returned to the condo on October 26. Dan, Iris and their friend Mary made dinner reservations at the Sailors Return. That restaurant is right next to the Sunset Marina where we had docked Changing Latitudes in March during our Loop trip. I could see the slip where we had docked. Stuart has dozens of restaurants and there are many more in nearby towns.

View of the sunset from the Sailor’s Return restaurant.

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We had seven days from the end of the Key West sailing adventure until our drive back to Chicago so we continued our decorating activities. The Habitat for Humanity Restore, Home Depot and Walmart have been the direct beneficiaries of our efforts. We bought the condo furnished so we had almost everything we needed to comfortably move in. Now it is time to upgrade and decorate.

This closet was full of old wire shelves.  It has been transformed thanks to Closetmaid.

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My typical day at the condo starts with a 4 mile brisk walk over the Sewell’s Point bridge and back. I prefer the bridge route because it adds higher elevation for better cardio. Most days end with a one hour swim in the pool. After the rather sedentary year on the Loop it is time to back into a regular exercise routine. I know I am finally ready to get serious because I bought a digital scale.

My route over the Sewall’s Pont bridge looking west.

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The view of the St. Lucie River looking north.  This river connects to the Lake Okeechobee waterway on the west and AICW on the south.

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An acquaintance commented that he would never buy a condo in Florida because he would be too bored. I guess he will be happier freezing his derrière off in Chicago this winter. So far my days in Florida have been a blast. Having friends with boats living nearby is a good start. I joined the US Sailing Center in Jensen Beach. That is a 10 minute drive from my condo. The fee is $250 for access to all their boats. They have Lasers, Flying Scotts, 420’s, Hobbie Cats, paddle boards, wind surfers, kite boards and others. Just show up and take the boats out. They also have a racing program on Sunday’s. Foredeck Dan and I will see how our skills match up with the locals.

Stuart is the Sailfish capital of the world. I will be looking for the best charter captains to hire when my friends and family visit. Speaking of fishing, the fishing pier is less than 100′ from my condo. It is complete with a fish cleaning station. There is a bait shop about 5 minutes away.  Sitting on our lanai I can see large fishing jumping around the pier.  I just need to find the time to go fishing.

The view of the pier as seen from our lanai.

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View view of the sunset from our pier.

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This is our lone palm tree outside our lanai.  It is a bit wind blown after the near miss by hurricane Mathew.

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We will spend the Thanksgiving holiday and Eleanor’s first birthday in Lake Villa, Il with our son JP and his wife Rachel and then travel to Pennsylvania to attend and officiate at my cousin Scott Simons’ and Seylena Sweeney’s wedding.  Then we will head north and spend time with my brother Bill and his wife Joann in New Hampshire.   Our next stop will be Framingham, Ma to spend Christmas with our daughter Alison and her husband Oscar and Celebrate Jackson’s first birthday and Alison’s birthday.  Depending on weather we will be heading south to Stuart, Florida around December 27.  We look forward to the visits from our family and friends to escape the frigid north and enjoy splendor of South Florida with us.

Bonus photos

JP, Rachel and Eleanor.  JP is a tower and Eleanor is Rapunsel.

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Alison and Jackson

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