July 22-24, 2005: A Trip to Visit Ron and Prudence
July 4, 2005: 4th of July Party at Ron and Jay's
Return to Index for 2005


 
July 13-20, 2005
A Trip to Fort Lauderdale

 


 

July 14, 2005: A Bike Ride Along the Beach

 

Well, it is July now, and the condo renovation has been going on for about three months. Things would be further along were it not for the snafu that we had with the permit process a month or so ago. But things are moving along nicely now, and this week, we should be getting a lot of the tile installed.


While my condo renovation was going on, Ron Drew and his roommate, Leroy Trehern, were kind enough to let me use their spare bedroom. You may already have seen some pictures taken at Ron's house on NW 48th Street in Fort Lauderdale. In the aerial view at left, his house is the second from the left at the end of a cul-de-sac. There are some commercial buildings west of him and there is an office warehouse building just north of him, so his house is very private. They have a three-bedroom ranch with a nice pool and lush back yard. Their house is about five or six miles from my condo. All in all, I've stayed with them two or three times already, and will probably have to do so a couple more times as well.



It's Thursday, and I've already been down to the condo where there is not much more to do than watch the guys lay tile, so I am going to take a bike ride over to the ocean. The route I usually take from my own condo you have seen before (and will again), but you may not have seen the route I take from Ron's house to the beach, so I'll show you a few maps and aerial views to illustrate.

There are lots of ways I could go, but I like to take advantage of bike lanes or less-traveled streets wherever possible. Commercial Avenue would be a straight shot over to the beach, and getting up to Commercial Blvd. from Ron's house is easy, and just a few blocks on neighborhood streets. But Commercial does not have a bike lane, is undergoing road work and is very, very busy. So I'm in the habit of going up to Atlantic Boulevard (about two miles north) instead. To get there, I head up Powerline Road. Even though Powerline does not have a continuous bike lane, it is either three lanes wide, or has short stretches of bike lane or has good sidewalks. In addition, it is much less busy than Commercial.



After going north on Powerline for a couple of miles, I come to one of the entrances for Pompano Park. Pompano Park was a popular horse racing track in the 1970s, and after that was converted to dog racing. Now, it is mostly used for special events and the occasional race (there are still stables and kennels there). Poker tournaments seem to be very popular. I can avoid a couple of major intersections by cutting through their huge parking lots.

Cutting through the parking lots lets me out the north entrance onto Pompano Park Road, which is actually SW 3rd Street in Pompano, the next city north from Fort Lauderdale. This is a wide, mostly divided street. Although it doesn't have a bike lane, it is sparsely traveled and it does have a bridge over I-95. Heading east I am paralleling Atlantic Blvd. a couple of blocks north, but Atlantic is also a busy street and the bike lane doesn't start until you get to the east side of I-95.



After I cross I-95, the next major street is Dixie Highway. This is the same street that goes all the way down to the south side of Fort Lauderdale, ending at the New River, and goes all the way north through Palm Beach. It is not a major throughfare like US-1; it winds around too much and for much of its distance goes through industrial or residential areas, so it would take much longer to use than US-1. So I have no problem using it for a few blocks and then a couple of more neighborhood streets until I come to Atlantic Blvd. and the beginning of the bike lane all the way to the beach.

Although Atlantic is one of the major east-west streets here in Pompano and is for that reason heavily traveled, the bike lane makes it an easy, reasonably safe ride.



As you can see, the rest of the way to the beach is a straight shot along Atlantic Blvd. The only bad intersection is the major one at US-1, but usually I can see ahead and time my speed so I can sail right through without stopping. A quick crossing of the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway the Intracoastal Waterway and I end up at the ocean in the middle of Pompano Beach.

Here, I can turn north towards Hillsboro Inlet or south towards Fort Lauderdale and follow the familiar route that I've taken biking along the ocean so many times before. Today, I don't have a great deal of time, so I'm going to turn south first and head down to Las Olas, then turn around and come back north, and then take some side streets alongside Commercial Avenue back out to Ron's house.

Today, I just want some exercise, and won't be taking a lot of pictures. There are a lot of interesting things along the oceanfront, both south to Las Olas and way north of here to Palm Beach, but I won't describe them on this page. If you have access to the photo album for 2006, you can access the page for my trip to Florida June 1-9. On that page you will find a complete description of my 100-mile bike ride, which covers the entire distance from my condo to the north side of Palm Beach, Florida. Today, I am covering the distance between Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale to Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach.


I did take a couple of pictures when I got back to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (the point where Commercial Avenue hits the beach). One is just a view of the beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and the other is actually a movie of the Commercial Avenue pier that you can watch with the player at left.

I did take some pictures at the condo today to record the progress of the restoration. If you would like to see today's pictures, just click on the link below. At the end of those pictures there will be a link that will bring you right back here to this album page.

Go to the Fort Lauderdale Condo Renovation Page


 

July 15, 2005: A Bike Ride Along the Beach

 

This afternoon, I decided to take another bike ride since the weather was so nice. I took the same route to the beach that I normally do, went south to Las Olas and then back north and back to Ron's house.

There weren't too many people out this afternoon; it had been a little rainy earlier in the day and in any case it was late in the afternoon. I did try my hand at taking two movies while I was on my bike and heading north, and you can watch those movies using the two movie players below. I also took one picture when I stopped for a while at Sebastian Street Beach.


I did take some pictures at the condo today to record the progress of the restoration. If you would like to see today's pictures, just click on the link below. At the end of those pictures there will be a link that will bring you right back here to this album page.

Go to the Fort Lauderdale Condo Renovation Page


 

July 16, 2005: An Intracoastal/New River Boat Ride

 

Today will be a welcome change from riding my bike. Ty and Scott have invited me to join them on a boat ride with their friends Dick and Preston. Dick lives right on Las Olas down by the Las Olas bridge over the Intracoastal, and he has a 40-foot boat that he keeps behind his house on one of the canals in this area of the finger islands.

After taking some pictures at the condo, I went back out to Ron's house to change, stopped at the grocery store to get some supplies as my contribution to the trip, and then drove back down to Dick's house on Las Olas.


 

Preparing for Our Cruise

 


Ty and Scott were already there, although we had to wait just a bit for Dick's good friend Preston to join us. While we were getting stuff ready, Scott and I went out to the boat to stow some of the stuff we'd brought. As you can see from the aerial view at left, Dick docks his boat pointing inland towards the end of the canal, and this picture of Scott in the main cabin looks in that same direction. The guest cabin is forward in the boat, and you can see the entrance to it just beyond Scott. To Scott's left is the galley, and it was a pretty large one for this size boat. The boat is quite nice inside, with a spacious seating area and very nice furnishings. In the main cabin looking astern, you can see the stairs down to the main stateroom, the entertainment center and the gangway up to the deck. The pilot house is actually above my head, and there is another set of outside stairs leading up to it. As I said, the boat was a very nice one and perhaps one day I will get something like it if I start spending enough time in Florida to justify it.

You might think that the aerial view can't possibly be so accurate that I could point out the exact boat we were on, but in fact it is. Perhaps the residents here don't change boats very often but, nevertheless, you can see, in this picture of the canal looking towards the Intracoastal, the stern of the exact same boat that you can see in the aerial view. You can even see the very top of the boat in front of it- the view is that accurate. If you have any doubts, all you have to do is compare the docks and how they are arranged or orient yourself.


 

 

An Overview of the Boat Trip

 


I thought it might be helpful if I showed you the entire route that we took this afternoon. This will give you a framework for the sections of the trip that I'll describe and show you pictures of a bit later. When I do that, I will also provide you will small sections of this aerial view, enlarged to show detail.

Generally, then, Dick turned the boat around and headed east down his canal to the Intracoastal Waterway. Then he turned south and followed the waterway first south, past Bahia Mar, then west around some of the exclusive residential islands, and then south again. Eventually, we passed underneath the Seventeenth Street Bridge and into the Everglades Basin. This is the deep-water port access for Fort Lauderdale, and it is the basin where which the cruise ships dock. They have deep-water access to the ocean through the Everglades Inlet.

We did a large circle in the Basin, and then headed back north and underneath the Seventeenth Street Bridge again. We continued north to the mouth of the New River, and then headed west, upriver. The water access is quite wide for a ways, and then the river narrows considerably as it begins to wind its way into and through downtown Fort Lauderdale. It passes my own condo, of course, and goes over US-1 and underneath Andrews Avenue and 3rd Avenue. Then it reaches River Bend where the Performing Arts Center is and turns southwest. It passes through an area known as Sailboat Bend, then continues southwest and then south, passing under Davie Boulevard.

Then, the New River reaches an area where some of the major boat refitting docks are. This area is the reason why there are so many large boats that go up and down the river past my condo at all times of the year. At the boatyards, the New River turns west and eventually goes under Interstate 95. It winds its way a bit further, eventually reaching the last basin- Marina Bay. This is a new area that has been built up only in the last ten or fifteen years. Here, we did another turnaround and then headed back the way we had come, all the way down the New River back to the Intracoastal Waterway.

When we reached it, we continued east and then north, back under the Las Olas Bridge and, just north of the bridge, turned into Dick's canal to bring the boat back to dock behind his house. The whole trip took about four hours and was extremely enjoyable. Let's take a look at the trip in more detail, and look at the pictures and movies I took along the way.


 

Everglades Basin and Harbor

 


Once we were out in the Intracoastal Waterway, Dick decided to head south towards Everglades Inlet. The Intracoastal Waterway is quite wide here; there are boats anchored just south of the Las Olas Bridge in a little bay off to our right as we head under the bridge and continue south.

After a short ways, we pass the Bahia Mar Boat Basin. There are a lot of very large boats here- the ones with helicopters on top- and the dock for the Jungle Queen Riverboat is also here.

Passing the Marina, we have huge homes on both sides of the Intracoastal- built on artificial islands and peninsulas.

We have to turn west for a ways and then we can head south again towards the 17th Street Bridge. I made a movie as we did so, and you can watch it with the left-hand player, below. Using the right-hand player, you can watch us pass under the 17th Street Bridge to arrive in the Everglades Basin.


The Basin is a large open water area that is dredged and connected to the ocean via the Everglades Inlet. It is here that all the large ships that dock at Fort Lauderdale can be found. There are a few commercial ships that dock here, but the most common ship that you'll see here is a cruise ship, and there are quite a few of them that use Fort Lauderdale either as their home port or that stop on their various itineraries.


Below are some pictures that we took while we were in the ship basin (#1 on the aerial view above) (you can see Scott and the one cruise ship that hasn't yet left) and after we turned to head back north and under the 17th Street Bridge again. To view a full-size image, just click on its thumbnail:


After we got back under the 17th Street Bridge heading north, we headed further up the waterway to the mouth of the New River. On the way, we could get some good views of the many impressive waterfront homes that line the artificial islands and peninsulas all along the Intracoastal. To view a full-size image, just click on its thumbnail:



 

The New River to Riverview Gardens

 


The New River isn't named because it is actually "new"; it was named because it hadn't been thought to be more than an estuary when it was discovered and explored. It really isn't much of a river even so; it goes inland only a few miles before it gets lost in the Everglades. But this is not before it ties into some of the many canals and artificial waterways that are all over South Florida. Through town, though, it looks and acts like a river, save for the fact that there is very little current to contend with.

It is for that reason that many of the major boat companies have some of their construction and refitting dock areas up the river on the west side of the city. The river is kept dredged as needed to allow the river to be navigable for even very large boats. Of course, there are a plethora of smaller pleasure craft like the one we were on going up and down the waterway all the time.

As we turned into the river from the Intracoastal Waterway, you can get a nice view of the mouth of the New River with downtown Fort Lauderdale ahead of us and the finger islands and peninsulas on either side of us. This is one of the premier places for people to live in Fort Lauderdale, and the homes are extremely nice. This home, for example, occupies a prime site at the very end of one of the artificial finger islands that can be accessed off of Las Olas Boulevard. Years ago, I happened to be jogging down one of these islands and came across a vacant lot at the end of one of them- much like the lot this house is on. Out of curiosity, I called to find out the price; the empty lot was for sale for $1.8 million- so you can imagine what the lot AND house would cost!


Once past these islands and peninsulas, the New River starts to look more like a river. There is a sharp "S" curve to navigate and then you are heading up the river towards downtown. After about a mile we came to my own condo complex- Riverview Gardens, seen here from the east side as we are coming up river. Coming up beside the complex, you can get a really nice view of the dock area at our condominium. This is where Fred and I can sit and watch the boats go by and/or have one of my signature frozen drinks. Our condo occupies a prime piece of property, right at a curve in the river, and so boats slow down here affording us plenty of opportunity for picture-taking. My own unit is on the other side of the building, so my views are of downtown and the section of the river around the curve out of this particular picture to the left. I'll point it out as we head back down river later this afternoon.

For now, have a look at the movie of us passing Riverview Gardens on our way up river and into downtown Fort Lauderdale. Use the movie player at left to do so.


 

Boating Through Downtown Fort Lauderdale

 


After we passed Riverview Gardens and made another gentle turn, we could get an excellent view of downtown Fort Lauderdale, with the Riverside Hotel on our right. Just beyond it is Stranahan House and Federal Highway goes under the river through the McKinney Tunnel right at this point. A bit further on and one of the newest condominium towers here in downtown Fort Lauderdale- the Las Olas Grand- marks the beginning of a series of brand new high-rise condos that have been built here in downtown just in the last three years. As you will notice on the aerial view, none of these buildings are even there, they are so new. So I will just mark where they are now.


In the last picture you saw, you can see the second major building that has gone up- the Water Garden. It is a few floors shorter and has a really wonderful fountain in front, right on the Riverwalk. In the movie that you can watch with the player at right, we are passing the Water Garden and admiring its entry and fountain. These new buildings have taken advantage of the fact that they are located along the Riverwalk, and have added fountains and landscaping to enhance their appearance.

As you are passing the Las Olas Grand and the Water Garden, there is another new high-rise on the south side of the river (one of the few that has been built on that side of the channel) called NuRiver Landing. Although it is not the tallest of the new condominiums, it may well be the one with the most units as there are, I think, twelve or fourteen of them on each floor. On the upper floors are larger penthouses and the swimming pool. It looks like a very nice building, and they, too, have built a series of fountains on the river side of the building where the main entry is, and these fountains are certainly the most extensive of any of the new high-rises. The only drawback to this particular building is that it is on the south side of the river, but that should not be a problem for long, as most new development from this point forward is going to have to take place there, as the last of the building sites on the downtown side of the river is currently being developed.


As I said, the buildings on the downtown side of the New River have the advantage of being on the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk here is quite unlike the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Here, it is an esplanade that has been constructed on the north bank of the New River from a point just north of the Riverside Hotel (near the Las Olas Grand) all the way along the river and up to a point just beyond the Broward Performing Arts Center- a little more than a mile. It passes a series of new condos, goes under the 3rd Avenue Bridge, passes Huizinga Park, goes under the Andrews Avenue bridge, goes through the Riverwalk entertainment complex and then passes through an area known as "Old Fort Lauderdale," where many of the oldest structures in town have been restored and are now shops, restaurants and a museum. Finally, the Riverwalk wraps around River Bend in front of the Science Museum and IMAX Theatre and the Performing Arts Center, where there are fountains and gardens.

Unlike San Antonio, the Riverwalk is not sunken below street level and, also unlike San Antonio, it is built along an actual waterway, and not an artificial canal. Because of that, as you walk along, there are always boats docked along the river, as well as river traffic going up and down for the pedestrian to look at. Most of the dinner cruise boats have their docks along the Riverwalk (all except the Jungle Queen, as it is way too big), and people are always lining up for the lunch, afternoon and dinner cruises down the river to the Intracoastal Waterway. But the vast majority of the boats are private craft- some of them quite large- and of all different types.

Of course, Fred and I (and everyone else who's visited down here) have walked along the Riverwalk many times; it is one of the most interesting things to do downtown. And for years, we've seen the same boats docked in the same places (there is a lot of competition for the few available spaces, and once someone gets one, they don't usually give it up). So if you look at the earlier aerial view of this portion of the trip, it would not be unusual if you could pick out some of the same boats that you see in these pictures and movies in that aerial view. I can see a few of them myself.

The first of the downtown bridges that we pass under is the 3rd Avenue Bridge. 3rd Avenue is one of the major north-south streets through downtown; it parallels Federal Highway about four blocks west. The NuRiver Landing is just on the south side of this bridge, and the Las Olas Grand and the Water Garden are just before this bridge on the north side. I've marked this street on the aerial view above. These bridges downtown are drawbridges that have to be raised to allow many larger boats, and all sailboats, to pass under. They open on demand except at rush hour, when their opening and closing would tie up traffic too badly, so boat owners have to be aware that they won't be able to proceed up and down river at those times.


Just beyond the 3rd Avenue Bridge is the tallest of the new downtown high-rise condominiums- River House (see picture at right). It is probably the most interesting of the high-rises, with its separate towers and unusual odd angles and curved walls. It's a beautiful building, but very expensive (as are all the new high-rises by my standards). One-bedroom units on low floors start at about $700,000, and costs rise with size and height until you reach the largest units on the highest floors. These go for about $4 million. My own condo cost 1/100th of that, and I am quite happy with it, thank you very much.

Just past the River House is the Andrews Avenue Bridge, and just beyond that is the Riverfront entertainment complex. I have pictures of both of them elsewhere in this album. Next, we passed Old Fort Lauderdale on the right and Shirttail Charlie's on the left and arrived at River Bend. Here, the river makes a turn to the south right in front of the Broward Performing Arts Center. You can see the gardens in front of it and the Riverwalk circling along the bend in the river in front of them. The Science Museum is off to the right, out of the picture, as are some fountains and a broad part of the Riverwalk.

Just next to the Performing Arts Center, around the bend in the river, is the newest of the downtown high-rise condominiums, the Symphony- aptly named for its location next to the Performing Arts Center. These are handsome buildings, and I like them both for their balconies and for the fact that they are rectangular, which makes decorating much easier than in places like River House, with its curved walls. This is also a large complex, with lots of amenities. Each of these buildings I have pointed out has its own website, and if you are interested in seeing what the units might look like, you can investigate any of them. The Riverwalk goes in front of the Performing Arts Center and then ends here at the Symphony. The Symphony is also a good place for people who have boats to live, as the complex has its own marina.

Just across the river (east of the Symphony, since the river has turned to head south) is one of the older condominiums in town- the aptly-named River Bend Condominium. It's an octagonal building, also with nice balconies and, from the upper floors, great views in all different directions. There are no high-rises right around it (except the Symphony) to block its views, and we are at the western edge of downtown, so the views should last quite a while.


 

Sailboat Bend

 


Once we passed River Bend and the Performing Arts Center, we very quickly passed under the Davie Boulevard Bridge, which is pretty much the boundary between downtown development and up-river private homes. From Davie Boulevard, the New River runs generally southwest through one of the nicest residential areas in west Broward County- an area known as Sailboat Bend. All along this stretch are very nice riverfront homes, many of which have sailboats moored at docks along the river. I guess that is why the area is named the way it is; here sailboats predominate over power craft, although you can still see a good many power boats as well.


We cruised slowly through Sailboat Bend, admiring the homes and boats and just enjoying the day. I made a movie here, and you can watch it with the player at right. Dick and Preston wanted to stop and see the house of a friend of theirs who'd fixed up a portion of it for rental; they were curious to see what he had done. So they slowed down near the home and we looked for a place to tie up for a few minutes. Then it was onward up-river, passing more homes and boats.


 

The Boatyards and I-95

 


The New River goes south for quite a ways after passing Sailboat Bend. All along the way are more nice homes and boats and it was a great day for cruising. About two miles south of Sailboat Bend the river turns straight west and approaches Interstate 95. Here, we enter an industrial area where many of the boat refitters are located. I think that Broward used to have a whole boat-building installation here, but now I think they just customize and repair boats. So, as we turn west, the river widens into a turning basin so that the large boats can turn into the various docks and repair facilities that are found here. You can see some of them on our left, and I marked their location on the aerial view (#1).

I marked one of the boat facilities on the aerial view (#2) because it was so unusual. It consisted of two high, domed "boatports" where you could pull the boat entirely out of the water and work on it without being exposed to the elements. I guess this extends the effectiveness of the repair schedule- particularly during the rainy seasons here. They were kind of neat.


I made a movie as we cruised through the boat basin, and you can watch it with the player at left.

A little further on, we passed a wooded area on our right (#3), and there were a whole bunch of kids playing with a rope swing and from all indications having a really great time. Pretty quickly, we could see the interstate highway ahead of us past the boatyards, and soon we were heading under it. Here are a couple of pictures taken as we passed under the bridge. Just click on their thumbnails to view the full-size images:



 

Marina Bay

 


Marina Bay is a relatively new area of Fort Lauderdale, and occupies an artificial harbor up the New River on the west side of Interstate 95. This is about as far as the New River is navigable; about a mile further on it turns into a series of small canals, one of which runs entirely around the Fort Lauderdale airport and comes out in Everglades Inlet.

My movie of Marina Bay, that you can watch with the player below, will give you an idea of what it is like.



There is a relatively large marina, of course, and surrounding that on two sides are extensive docks, and just beyond them are condominiums that front on the bay (and some behind them that don't). This is really a pretty good area for boaters without the financial resources to have a home on the New River or one of its offshoot canals to live. It is much more affordable and, as a bonus, the boats are more protected from storms than they would be further down the river. I remember coming up here quite some time ago, and not much of what is here now was here then.

We tooled around in the bay for just a while, and then turned for our return trip down the New River. We had to wait a while, however, because the train bridge just beside the highway was down to allow a commuter train to cross (watch it with the movie player at left) heading south towards Hollywood and Miami.


As I mentioned in the movie, we've decided to allow the Jungle Queen to precede us downriver; we didn't want to be holding it up in case we wanted to go slow to look at something or even stop along the way. Once the train had passed, the train bridge began to open (watch this process using the movie player at right) and the Jungle Queen began to pass us to starboard, heading for the now opened bridge. Once there, it maneuvered its way under the bridge and then made the turn under I-95 to head downriver. You can watch a movie of it doing so using the player below. We followed at a discreet distance, leaving Marina Bay and heading back downriver towards downtown and the Intracoastal.



 

The Trip Back Down the New River

 

I've pretty much already shown you the route along the New River; we are simply retracing that route to get back down to the Intracoastal Waterway. On the way down the river, I was able to get some pictures and movies that I didn't have a chance to capture on the way upriver, and I also got some different views of buildings, bridges and the New River that you might want to see. To see any of the full-sized images, just click on the annotated thumbnails below:


This view looks ahead of us towards the Davie Boulevard bridge, just around the curve to the left. Just beyond that will be River Bend and the Performing Arts Center.



The Davie Boulevard bridge has opened to let the Jungle Queen (and our own boat) pass underneath. The Symphony condominiums ar at the left, and the River Bend condominiums are just past the bridge on the right side of the river. We are just coming out of the area known as Sailboat Bend.



We are approaching the Davie Boulevard bridge, following the Jungle Queen underneath.


We have passed under the bridge, and are now in front of the Symphony condominiums, preparing to make the turn at River Bend.


Shirttail Charlie's, just across from Old Fort Lauderdale, and quite near the Performing Arts Center, is a favorite place of Fred and I to have lunch. To get there, we have to bike across one of the bridges over the river, as it is on the side opposite the Riverwalk. It is particularly nice to sit at one of the tables out on the dock so that you can watch the boat traffic as you eat. We have lunch there at least once every time we visit Fort Lauderdale.



Just downriver from Shirttail Charlie's, we are preparing to go under the railroad bridge for the main north/south rail line through this area that crosses the river at this point. The commuter rail is back out by the highway; this line is used mostly for freight. There are not that many trains that pass by; I would guess that maybe ten trains a day come through here. Many of them come by late at night and, as a result, it is rare that we actually see the bridge down or a train going across. That is the River House condominium in the middle of the picture.



We are right under the railroad bridge, and this interesting view looks north along the rail line, with Old Fort Lauderdale on the left and the Riverfront Center complex on the right. The Riverwalk itself crosses the tracks just about fifty feet from the edge of the bridge; perhaps you can see the path in this picture, just beyond the gatehouse.



Riverfront Center and the Riverfront Entertainment Complex. There are very often shows, fairs and such going on here at Riverfront Center. While it has not been as successful as its developers might have hoped, I think that the influx of downtown residents in all the new buildings nearby will make it a success. During the week it may be quiet, but on the weekends there is always something going on.


Passing the Riverfront Entertainment Complex and following the Jungle Queen as we approach the Andrews Street Bridge.


The Andrews Street bridge is up, and the Jungle Queen has passed under it, as we both approach the River House condominium in the center of the picture.



Passing under the Andrews Street bridge, we are approaching River House. On weekdays, the bridges open on schedule, but on weekends they open on demand (or when they see a boat coming that needs for the bridge to be up).



The River House condominium.



River traffic between the Andrews Street bridge and the 3rd Avenue bridge as we pass the River House. The big boats docked at the left are dinner cruise and charter boats. The Water Garden (to the left) and the NuRiver Landing (to the right) are up ahead.


We are going under the 3rd Avenue bridge, which is down. Dick's boat is able to get under the bridge without its being raised (just barely). I assume that most owners of larger boats know which bridges they can pass under and which they cannot, and they always have to figure in the height of the river, which varies as much as two feet from tide to tide.


The Water Garden condominium (left), the Las Olas Grand condominium (right), and downtown Fort Lauderdale (looking north).



We've passed all the new condo buildings and are leaving the downtown canyon. Out boat has just passed over the McKinney Tunnel, and we are about to round the curve just upriver from Riverview Gardens.



Riverview Gardens- my house. We are approaching from the west, and you can see the stop for the Water Taxi. That stop serves the Las Olas shopping and restaurant area, and is one of the busiest stops on the Water Taxi route system. The Jungle Queen is just passing Riverview Gardens.



Another view of Riverview Gardens. My condo is on the second floor at the left side of the building. You can pick out the double door that is my front door and its side window. I have a double door because many years ago the breezeway that used to lead to the interior walkway was closed off, and the area given to my apartment. Other owners got their sections of the interior walkway, and most of them turned them into garden rooms or balconies. The same thing happened on the third floor, although the first floor still has the breezeway that leads to the swimming pool and garden in the atrium of the complex.



Passing Riverview Gardens Condominium on our way downriver.


Homes lining the New River just east (downriver) from Riverview Gardens. We are still following the Jungle Queen towards the Intracoastal.



 

Returning to Dick's House and Docking

 


When we came out of the New River, we just continued back east past the finger islands towards the main channel of the Intracoastal Waterway. Then we continued to retrace our route from much earlier in the day, heading north along the Intracoastal, back under the Las Olas Boulevard bridge and then turning into the canal behind Dick's house. There are many beautiful homes that line Dick's canal on either side; this one is on the same side he is about five doors down. In just a few minutes, we were back at the dock at Dick's house, preparing to dock and bring our boat trip to a close. I took a movie here, and you can watch it with the player at right.

I was very appreciative of Dick's allowing me to join them on the cruise and, now that I have finished this portion of the album, I can make a CD of the trip and see that Ty gets a copy of it to Dick.

I took some pictures at the condo today to record the progress of the restoration. If you would like to see today's pictures, just click on the link below. At the end of those pictures there will be a link that will bring you right back here to this album page.

Go to the Fort Lauderdale Condo Renovation Page


 

July 18, 2005: A Bike Ride to Deerfield Beach

 

After I checked on the tile work at the condo, I went back out to Ron and Leroy's house for the rest of the day. It was only early in the afternoon, so I decided to go bike riding- this time heading north from Pompano Beach. Following the route described on this same album page above, I biked from Ron's house over to the point in Pompano Beach where Atlantic Avenue deadends into Briny Avenue- the beachfront street in Pompano Beach. Then, I headed north. I did take a few pictures along the route today, and I'll comment on them below. If you'd like to know about the route I took, and you have access to the album pages for 2006, you can navigate to that year and the trip for June 1-9, where I have a detailed description of the route. Today's portion will be Atlantic Avenue in Pompano Beach to Deerfield beach and back.

On my bike ride today, I covered a lot of familiar ground, and I guess some of these pictures get repetitive. Here at Hillsboro Inlet, for example, not much changes from year to year. This view looks out to the Atlantic from the top of the bridge over the inlet; being a weekday, there wasn't any boat traffic to speak of. And the inlet itself doesn't change at all, of course. But on the Intracoastal side of the bridge, to the north, there is a new condominium building that has been built right at the south end of what is actually Hillsboro Beach- a different city than Pompano Beach on the south side of the bridge. Because of where it is, I expect that the units in the building are much more expensive than comparable ones in buildings just across the bridge to the south. Beginning here, as I bike north, the seaside homes are pretty palatial.


As you bike north, the large homes along the ocean give way to more mundane, although still attractive, condominium buildings. Towards the north end of Hillsboro, there are places were you can walk out to the beach through some of these developments, and this view looks north along Hillsboro Beach. Although the wind noise makes part of my narrative hard to hear, you can view a movie taken from the same spot using the player at right.


Deerfield Beach itself has changed quite a bit in the last two years. Just before the "S" curve in the middle of the beach community, a new parking and commercial structure has been built on the west side of A1A. I thought the picture was interesting as it captured the clouds of mist being put out by the misting system of the restaurant that occupies the ground floor of the structure. This view looks south along A1A. Another major change is that the Howard Johnson's Hotel that has occupied a spot on the beach for many years has been renovated, and the HoJo Restaurant, where Fred and I have eaten before, has gone all upscale and is now the Luna Rosa Ristorante. Sounds better, I guess.


The city of Deerfield Beach has also completely rebuilt its beach area and put in a very nice beachside park and walk. The beach was always nice, but now it is a real "destination" and is almost always busy- even on weekdays. The Deerfield Beach Pier has also been updated and cleaned up, and Fred and I have been out on it quite a few times. It is well worth the $1 it costs to enter.

This is where my bike trip will end today, but before I head back, take a look at this movie of the "new" Deerfield Beach using the player at right.

I took some pictures at the condo today to record the progress of the restoration. If you would like to see today's pictures, just click on the link below. At the end of those pictures there will be a link that will bring you right back here to this album page.

Go to the Fort Lauderdale Condo Renovation Page


 

July 19, 2005: A Bike Ride to Boca Raton

 

There wasn't much going on at the condo today, so I took yet another bike ride. You might be curious, but the reason that I do so much bike riding is three-fold. First, I need the exercise, and bike riding is a great way to get it. My recumbent bike is in the condo, covered up with plastic in a room full of stuff, and so using it isn't practical. I don't run much anymore, so biking is my exercise of choice. Second, the scenery is always nice to see, and I don't get tired of seeing the same scenery over and over. At this point, I can visualize the entire bike route from my condo all the way to Highland Beach, mile by mile and turn by turn, in my head. But that doesn't make it less fun. Third, it always feels good when I finally get home, either to my condo or to Ron's house, and can relax in the pool or with a frozen drink. I always feel a sense of accomplishment.


Today, I am covering the same route as yesterday, so if you were interested in the details, you will have already linked to the album page that describes the route. The only difference today was that I added on the two-mile stretch from Deerfield Beach to the Boca Raton Inlet.

I followed the same route as yesterday from Ron's house to the beach, then north across Hillsboro Inlet, up through Hillsboro and Hillsboro Beach and then to the "S" curve in the middle of Deerfield Beach where the pier is. Then the route takes me a bit further north along A1A where I leave Broward County and enter Palm Beach County and Boca Raton simultaneously. Then it is a pleasant stretch along A1A and a very good bike lane to get to the bridge over Boca Raton Inlet. This particular view looks north up and over the bridge towards the beachside condos in Boca Raton. This is as far as I want to come today, although if you've linked to or already viewed the page describing the 100-mile bike ride I took in 2006 you may have already know about the route north from here.


One of the reasons I stopped here was that the bridge was about to go up and I didn't particularly want to wait for it to cycle. Looking back south along A1A, you can see the traffic stopped at the bridge, waiting for it to go up and then down. I did decide to go a bit further north, so as it turned out I waited for the bridge cycle and then went another few miles north- almost to Highland Beach. There, I turned around and headed back, stopping again on the Boca Raton bridge to shoot a movie of Boca Raton, which you can watch using the player at right.



 

July 20, 2005: Heading Home

 

Well, today's the day I am heading home to Dallas. I spent some time at the beach this morning, returned to Ron's house and got cleaned up, and now have stopped by the condo to record the status of the project to date. If you want to see the pictures I took today, just click on the link below. At the end of those pictures there will be a link that will bring you back to this album page.

Go to the Fort Lauderdale Condo Renovation Page

Then it was off to the airport to turn in the rental car and catch my flight home.


 


July 22-24, 2005: A Trip to Visit Ron and Prudence
July 4, 2005: 4th of July Party at Ron and Jay's
Return to Index for 2005