July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow

June 20, 2013
New Adventures

May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug

May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference

May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy

April 15, 2013
In The Middle

March 29, 2013
On The Hook

March 18, 2013
Tinker Time

February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix

February 15, 2013
Time Travel

February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation

January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending

January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports

December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current

December 1, 2012
New Neighbors

November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?

November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?

October 15, 2012

October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable

September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem

September 1, 2012

August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options

August 1, 2012
Go West!

July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination

July 1, 2012

June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly

June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour

May 15, 2012
Making New Friends

May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New

April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast

April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler

March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature

March 1, 2012
Last Dance

February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique

February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound

January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World

January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation

December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell

December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds

November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love

November 1, 2011
On the Water Again

October 14, 2011
First Impressions

October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun

September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road

September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!

August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row

August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat

July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home

July 1, 2011
One Step Closer

June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future

June 1, 2011
Made in the USA

May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice

May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around

April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude

March 15, 2011
Helping Hands

March 1, 2011

February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options

February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!

January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing

December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing

December 15, 2010
The New Plan!

December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg

November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water

November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile

October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough

October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?

September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool

September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland

August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"

July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time

July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous

June 1, 2010
On the Hard

May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West

May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board

April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance

April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures

March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise

March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound

February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters

February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise

January 15, 2010
New Frontiers

January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences

December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port

December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady

November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

November 13, 2009
A Cult Following

October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time

October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye

September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature

August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote

August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North

June 1, 2009
Northern Migration

May 15, 2009

May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye

April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!

April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy

March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound

March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?

February 15, 2009
Slow Motion

February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View

January 15, 2009
High Anxiety

January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands

December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure

December 1, 2008
All Together Now

November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike

October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River

October 16, 2008
Big City Lights

October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins

September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop

September 1, 2008
The Space Ship

August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle

August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!

July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around

July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop


By Kismet, Saturday, September 1, 2012

By Jim Favors

By the time we had loaded our Kismet onto its trailer, we'd been cruising Florida waters for 2.5 months, most recently the Keys. As we left the 33rd Street boat ramp, in Marathon, and pointed our truck north, the realization hit us that we had a 1,740-mile road trip ahead of us before we would arrive home and could splash our Kismet into the fresh, clear blue, waters of the Great Lakes. Before that could happen, I had to make good on a couple of promises I made to Lisa as a compromise for my desire to go to Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island, Florida, for a week-long stay during the MTOA 2012 Southern Rendezvous. We both love a good boat club rendezvous, but for us to attend this event it meant having to extend our trip more than a week past what Lisa had originally planned. The promises I made to Lisa (two stops she mentioned earlier in our trip) and the boat club stop on Amelia Island turned out to be a winning combination for both of us and it all worked into the schedule well because we had a little over a week to kill before the rendezvous started. In reality all three stops were in a northerly direction and pretty much on the route home, give or take, so this made it easier to honor my promises, as we slowly began our trek back to Michigan.

On the hard in Homestead, free to roam and explore the area with our truck.

When I make a promise I try my best to make it happen, and I’ll never forget the time I wasn’t able to keep a promise. Lisa and I were driving on California's Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway – the rural part. Lisa suggested we stop at one of the roadside stands and pick up some fresh artichokes and I agreed that gigantic, fresh picked, artichokes would be great. Unfortunately, I was also on a mission to get to our final destination, our son’s home in Los Angeles. I kept putting Lisa off until I finally said, “OK we'll stop at the next stand,” promise made! Guess what, from that point on there weren’t any more stands as we'd already past them all. How was I to know? The year was 1999 and I still remember this missed opportunity. So while we were trailering Kismet down to the Keys from the west coast of Florida, at the beginning of our winter cruise, we were quickly passing through Homestead to get to the Keys, Lisa mentioned that it would be nice to check out the little town sometime. I promised her we'd stop on our return trip north.

This is the picturesque Cooley’s Landing Marina facility.

From the cockpit of Kismet, as we were bow into the dock, we had a box seat to all the New River yachting activity.

Well, the time had arrived to keep promise number one as we neared Homestead, our first night out of the Keys. We found an RV Park to call home for two nights while we explored the little town. The idea was to use the RV Park as a base while we attempted to hit the nearby farm stands, roadside markets and nurseries. To tell the truth it had been a while since we'd done any boater homing and I was looking forward to a little land based activity while also keeping that first promise to Lisa.

As is typical when we pull into an RV Park, towing our 27-foot, shiny red, boat behind us, we get a lot of attention. It's not every day residents of an RV park see a boat being used like a conventional RV, so a small crowd began to accumulate around us to offer assistance as we tried multiple times to fit truck and trailer into a small camp site. Shortly after settling into our assigned spot a resident from a nearby fifth wheel style RV wandered over with a look of surprise on his face. In the normal course of conversation we found out that Clyde, as a young man, had sailed all over the world. He told us he'd spent the better part of 20 years sailing half of each year, then storing his boat for the remaining half while he returned home to earn additional cash for his next six months of sailing adventures. As much as we've had the good fortune to be able to have cruised U.S., Canadian and Bahamian waters, we were both amazed at how much Clyde must have seen, learned and quite frankly how he successfully executed and achieved his sailing dream.

These docked megayachts all had to cruise up the narrow New River, past Cooley’s Landing and it’s very entertaining!

After spending an afternoon exploring the agricultural section of route 5, north of Homestead, by truck and making a few purchases, we left Homestead heading north to Fort Lauderdale. Our plan was to put the boat in the water, stay at our favorite marina, and fulfill my second promise to Lisa. Fort Lauderdale, a favorite stop of Lisa’s, is considered the "Venice of America" because of its massive canal systems (some say over 300 miles worth), with 42,000 registered yachts and approximately 100 marine related businesses, has a lot more to offer than most Floridian cities for visiting boaters. Our launch destination was Cooley's Landing, a Municipal Marina on the banks of the New River with just a short walk to Las Olas and downtown Fort Lauderdale.

My very first visit to New River was in December of 1969. I was in my sophomore year of college and decided a trip to Florida over Christmas break would be a good idea and a welcome escape from the cold, northern Michigan winter. Pete, a high school friend, (together we built an 8-foot hydroplane in shop class), and I made this trip with each other. This was a road trip and we had no boat, only a great desire to be on the water while in Florida, so we booked a cruise on the fabled Jungle Queen. About the only thing I recall from the cruise was how the boat snaked its way up New River to the boat company’s private wild animal sanctuary where we saw many exotic birds and reptiles. Mission accomplished, we had gotten out on the water. Fast-forward 43 years and guess what we found? The new and improved Jungle Queen paddleboat still cruises past Cooley's Landing, and our back deck during our stay, several times a day… some things never change.

This is the only proof I have that Pete and I were in Florida in 1969, what good-looking guys we were!

Fort Lauderdale was called New River Settlement before the 20th Century. It was at the fork of the New River where the first fort stood. Over the years there have been three different forts all called Fort Lauderdale. The forts were built to defend the area during the Second Seminole War and were all named after Major William Lauderdale, the namesake of Fort Lauderdale. There isn’t much visible today that resembles those early days as the forts have long since vanished, replaced by modern marinas, water front homes, restaurants, storefronts and condos.

This is the old Jungle Queen, probably the one Pete and I were on in 1969 and it’s currently for sale.

Here you see the new and improved Jungle Queen cruising past our docked Kismet.

Cooley's Landing Marina is the perfect destination for a transient trailerable boater. I say this for many reasons but mostly because we liked that we could launch our boat, park the truck and trailer (within sight of our slip) and dock Kismet all at one facility. This is typically not the case at most facilities. In most launching situations we've encountered, we end up launching one place, parking somewhere else, then driving the boat to a marina or anchorage. In addition Cooley's is conveniently located for easy access to entertainment, dining, shopping areas and walking along the waterfront. Just steps off our dock we had access to the River Walk, we could make our way to Las Olas Avenue for some power shopping, dining, or get in our daily exercise by walking the banks of the New River.

A few days after our arrival Lisa and I decided to head out for an exploration tour of New River and its side canals by dinghy. Less than a half-mile from Cooley's there’s a fork in the river (where one of the old forts called Fort Lauderdale was located during the Seminole War). We first cruised the north fork; as far back as we could navigate – a few miles at least. We also went in and out of several side canals, all lined with homes that had boats docked in front of them – how sweet is that! Exiting the north arm we ventured into the south fork, taking in the multi-million-dollar homes along the way. It's the south fork that eventually leads back to huge marine yards that handle the mega yachts that regularily cruised past our little Kismet at Cooley's all day long. Passing the large marine yards we slipped under I-94 and ultimately made it as far back as the Jungle Queen’s private sanctuary, a place I had not seen or been to since 1969, it hadn’t changed much. We lingered near the dock listening to some exotic bird songs for a while before turning around and heading back to Cooley's Landing.

One of the many side canals we dinghied in and out of during our 4-hour New River tour.

On our return trip we came across an RV Park and Marina across the canal from the Jungle Queen sanctuary. Intrigued, we dinghied closer to take a look, you could call it research for future trips to the Fort Lauderdale area when we might like to boater home instead of cruise. Heck, maybe I could even get a job working on the Jungle Queen!

We planned a weeklong stay in Lisa’s favorite Florida (mainland) town, so we’d have plenty of time to explore the city and revisit a few familiar spots. One of our favorite restaurants is Tom Jenkins' Bar-B-Q. Whenever we're in Fort Lauderdale, we always plan a long walk to pick up some rib dinners and take them back to the boat. Founded in 1990, by two friends who have mastered a unique barbequing technique. Jenkins’ is located in a funky, small diner type building just a few blocks walk up from New River on South Federal Hwy. On our last night in Fort Lauderdale we made the trek up to the restaurant and were quickly drawn in by the aromas wafting up and out from the cooker’s smokestack. We’ve heard that if you don't see smoke coming out of a Bar-B-Q restaurant, don’t go there because it can’t be the real McCoy.

On a typical day we’d have 10 to 15 boats like this cruise by our boat on New River, some of the larger ones were being towed through.

After spending a week immersing ourselves in the quiet ambience of Fort Lauderdale and Las Olas, I was happy to have fulfilled my two promises to Lisa. In the end we both benefitted by the schedule we worked out. Satisfied and pleased to have had a successful winter boat trip, we loaded our Kismet up and, within a day, trailered her to our last winter destination, Amelia Island, a place we've heard so much about but have never been too by land or water.