A trip to Arizona + a visit from Dane & Steph in Ft Lauderdale


We left Heartbeat tied up in Fort Lauderdale before Christmas and headed for Arizona. As it turns out it was a good time to leave as it was a wet and windy week in SE Florida. The Ft Lauderdale airport even closed for a day due to flooding. 

While in Arizona we split our time between Kent's parents house and my sister/her boyfriend's house. It is convenient for us that they live only 10 or so miles away from each other.  My mom flew in for the weekend from California so we were able to see a lot of our family and all in one place. We passed the time relaxing/catching up and visiting a few local sites we had not been before. 

Around 1,000 tumbleweeds and 65 lbs of glitter is how they do Christmas in Arizona. 

We went to The Mystery Castle with Kent's parents. It is an impressive structure made entirely from found/inexpensive materials. It has an interesting history that you can read more about here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_Castle

Kent’s parents were nice enough to arrange for the wild Salt River horses to be out when we we went looking for them. We even got too close to 2 horses and had to quickly dodge out of way as the horses were running around chasing each other. 

The Salt River area was beautiful on this day, when we left the horses we did a quick stop down the road for a even prettier view of the river.  

Could have brought a chair and sat here all day just looking around. 

While we were with Laura, Doren and my mom we stopped at the Mesa Community Rose Garden where apparently there are around 300 different varieties of roses planted. We also did a quick visit of historic Phoenix. 

Visiting the Rose Garden with my mom and sister. 

Although we were near the end of the season there were plenty of roses in full bloom. 

Historic Phoenix. Rossen House, 1895. 

To ensure we were in the holiday spirit Laura, Doren, Kent and I walked Comstock Drive one evening. It was far better to park and walk the lights than to endure the long wait in a car to drive through the festivities. 

Christmas on Comstock – approx 13 houses, 110,000 lights all synced to music (thank you internet for letting me borrow this picture as my night pictures do not turn out well on my phone). 

Although we were in Arizona for a week felt like a short visit. It was nice break from the boat and weather was far nicer in Arizona.

Thanks Laura and Doren for hosting both us and my mom at the same time. It was nice to all be together under one roof. 

Thank you to Kent’s parents for hosting us at their new house and for a traditional Sisk Christmas dinner (tacos and burritos!). Apologies for the last minute airport drop off picture, I failed to get what would have been a much nicer picture in front of their Christmas tree. 

We landed back in Fort Lauderdale early on Christmas morning because we took a red eye flight. Red eye flights always sound like an OK idea when you book them but rarely are they a good idea when you are on a plan at a time when you should be sleeping. We got Penny from her dog sitter, tried to get in a short nap and then dingied down to Forever Friday (Mike & Mary) who were staying 3 miles away at a different marina. They hosted a fantastic Christmas meal – smoked turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes and a very nice dessert. I am going to blame sleep deprivation for failing to get a picture of all of us at our celebratory dinner. 

The day after Christmas our friends Dane & Stephanie arrived and stayed with us on the boat for 5 or so days. We did not take Heartbeat out of Ft Lauderdale so unfortunately they did not get to experience the cruising part but it was great to have them stay on the boat, hang out and catch up together. The weather was not the best as most days it was off and on rain showers but we managed to visit a few areas and eat/drink our way through the popular area of Las Olas. 

Ft Lauderdale Beach. This beach was the busiest beach we have been to the last year and a half. There were a ton of people on holiday vacation trying to soak up the sun between rain showers. 

New construction is all over downtown Ft Lauderdale. We walked most places from the boat and detours like this were common (and as you an see they were not very helpful). 

Barely visible but Heartbeat is in a slip next to the 7th street bridge. It was not the quietest spot (due to the road traffic noise) but we did have front row seats to see a few mega yachts transiting under the bridge. 

Video – One of the smaller, yes smaller yachts going by. The largest one we saw was 160 ft long owned by the owner of the Houston Rockets…

One afternoon we took the train to Miami. Turned out there was a special for new riders so all 4 of us rode there and back for free. 

The Brightline train is easy and new – as Dane commented “It still has the new train smell, which is way better than a normal train smell”. 

Bienvenidos a Miami.

 Little Havana neighborhood.

Waiting for what would be an amazing Cuban lunch. 

Mojio. Seemed like the right thing to order while in Little Havana. 

CubaOcho is a Fine Art Gallery with the largest Cuban Art Collection from 1800 to 1956. It also has the largest collection of Rum with around 482 bottles of different brands. It was a cool place to check out the art and would have been an amazing place to see a live performance. 

We did not have a lot of time before we had to board the train back to Ft Lauderdale but managed a quick stop at Wynwood Walls. In short this is an old warehouse neighborhood where the windowless buildings became canvases for artists from all over the world. Since its inception, the Wynwood Walls program has seen over 50 artists representing 16 countries and have covered over 80,000 square feet of walls.  In our haste we ended up missing the murals in the main park and instead walked the perimeter streets known as The Outside Walls. It is definitely an interesting area and draws a lot of attention. If we did it again we would have certainly made sure to see the main park murals but a few pics below give you an idea of the area. 

It was wonderful to see Dane & Stephanie, glad they could make it out to see us and stay on Heartbeat.

Sorry you did not leave Florida with a tan Dane & Steph. Kind of felt like we were all at back in Oregon together dodging rain showers. 

Our next task will be focused on getting ready for the Bahamas. We can control how quickly we get ready but what we can not control is a good travel weather window. Fingers crossed we do not need to wait to long to cross over to the Bahamas.