October 23, 2005: Chris Young's Birthday
October 4-7, 2005: A Visit to Guy in Green Bay
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October 13-19, 2005
A Trip to Florida



Condo Renovation (October 13, 2005)


One of the reasons for my trip down here this week is to work with Ty to finish off the construction phase of the condo renovation. Ty had advised me that the last appliances had been installed and that all that remained was to do some painting touch-up, clean the tile (and the condo) and then start making decisions as to what furniture I needed. So that was the main reason for my week here in Florida.

When I first arrived, Ty came over and together we took some pictures to record how things stood. If you would like 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 right back here to this album page.

Go to the Fort Lauderdale Condo Renovation Page


John Evans Vists Fort Lauderdale


Before I came down here this time, I found out that John Evans would be doing some work for MADD down in Miami spanning the time I was here in Florida. Since he had never seen the condo, I asked him to come up on Friday evening for a visit, and stay into Saturday (he had already made plans to see his Dad on Sunday, as I recall). Since I didn't yet have a replacement for the sofa bed in the living room, I planned on staying with Ron and Leroy and letting John have the condo bedroom to himself. Everything wasn't quite ready, but the fortuitous circumstance of his being here had to be taken advantage of.

He did come up on Friday night after his work was done for the week in Miami. We had some drinks by the dock and went out for dinner. I got him esconced in the condo and I spent Friday night with Ron Drew. But I was back down to my own condo early on Saturday morning so John and I could take advantage of most of Saturday. I know John has been to Fort Lauderdale before, but not in a while, so I thought that a stroll along the Riverwalk would be one way for him to see how the town has changed.

We walked all the way down to the Performing Arts Center, and I'll use the aerial view of the New River from my condo to the Arts Center to help orient you to the pictures we took. What I'll do is put numbered yellow stars on the various buildings or locations that I refer to in the narrative, and you can figure out where along the yellow path we must have been to take the pictures you'll see. Of course, to get to the Riverwalk, we had to leave the condo and go a block north to Las Olas, and then take Las Olas west past the old Hyde Park Market to North New River Drive, which is where the Riverwalk actually begins.

I had not been down to the Riverwalk since I arrived. I had heard that the entire South Florida coast had been experiencing abnormally high tides, but I didn't realize the extent of it until we got to the New River behind Hyde Park Market (1). Usually, even at high tide, the New River only comes within a foot or so of the top of the riverwall behind the market. Here you can see that the water has come completely over the top of much of the wall, and my guesstimate was that the river was eighteen inches higher than normal. That's a lot by Fort Lauderdale standards.

There is a lot of construction going on along the New River; the Las Olas Grand, the Water Garden and River House are all new 30-40 storey highrises on the north side of the river, where most of the development is. I've put a number marker on the aerial view where these new buildings are (2), but they are so new that they don't appear on the aerial view as finished buildings but as construction in various stages of progress. Walking a bit further along the Riverwalk we could get a good view of the largest development on the south side of the river- Nu River Landing (3). This is a huge place; there are close to 350 units in the building. It is just now being finished, and, because of that, it doesn't appear on the aerial view at all, so the marker was just placed where it has been constructed.

We continued on along the Riverwalk, past River Center (where the movie theatre is that Fred and I go to often) and across the railroad tracks to the Old River House (4) museum and garden. This is a parklike setting, just across the New River from Shirttail Charlie's (5).

The Riverwalk ends near the Broward Performing Arts Center (6), which is right at the bend in the New River where it heads south to eventually go under I-95 and inland. There has even been construction up here, with the twin-towered Symphony Condominiums (7) under construction this year (also so new they don't appear on the aerial view). There are some new docks that have been built for the residents, but you can't see the docks today- they are under water!

I wanted to show you what the esplanade in front of the Performing Arts Center looks like normally, so I've put an aerial view of it over at the right. I've added a small yellot dot to show you about where we were standing when we took the next few pictures. First, let me show you a picture of the esplanade itself as it looks this morning. Match the picture you just saw with the aerial view. Not only is the lower walkway level entirely under water, but the water has even entered the semi-circular indented area. The railing that looks like something you'd see on the side of a swimming pool is just that- a ladder so that you can step down into a boat that might be tied up against the esplanade. It's easy to see that the water is about two feet higher than normal here.

In front of the Performing Arts Center there is a very pleasant garden; it is tiered in levels as you ascend from the level of the river up to the level of the Arts Center itself- about twenty feet, I'd guess. Fred usually likes to wander around the garden when we walk up here to see what new plants they have. There are also some sculptures and things like that, and today there seems to be a new one- a stylized buffalo I think.

From the edge of this garden near the new Symphony Condominiums, you can look directly down the New River, and this picture should give us an idea of what the view must be like from the condominiums themselves.

John was interested in the plants as well, so we spent some time here in the gardens, and then headed back to the condo along the Riverwalk. As we passed back in front of the Old River House museum, John got a chance to see the Jungle Queen going by. It is certainly a fixture on the New River.

John and I had some lunch a little later on, and then he headed back down to Miami to visit with his family. It was an enjoyable evening and morning here, and I am glad that John got a chance to see Fort Lauderdale.



Condo Renovation (October 19, 2005)


Well, I've gotten quite a lot accomplished this week on the condo. I've gotten a lot of furniture delivered and set up, I've put a lot of things away, I've moved those items I kept to where I wanted them, I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff it turned out I didn't need and, most importantly, I had the condo professionally cleaned. After all, accomplishing some of these things was the reason for my trip down here this week.

Now that a lot of things are in place, I have taken quite a number of pictures and movies. If you would like 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 right back here to this album page.

Go to the Fort Lauderdale Condo Renovation Page

I have not planned another trip down here until December, since Fred and I will be going to Hawaii next month with Ron and Jay. So I was fortunate, more fortunate than Fort Lauderdale residents like Ron and Leroy, that I was going to miss entirely the events of next week and the month after that. Of course, I'm talking about hurricane Wilma, the storm that devastated South Florida on October 24-25.

It would have been ironic if just a week after the condo was basically finished a storm had ripped through and destroyed it, but Riverview Gardens came through quite well, with only minor cosmetic damage to the building exterior. I talked with Jack a couple of times while he still had cell phone service, but he was out-of-touch for a few days until service was restored. My condo was unharmed, although I lost one window screen. As for Ron and Leroy, they were OK, but had to live through the power outage and fuel shortages that lasted for almost two weeks after the storm. They were fortunate in that they had a large generator, and so had power for the essentials during that time.

Sometimes I think it would have been exciting to be there during the storm (I have never been in residence during a hurricane), but once the power (and air conditioning) went out it would have been much less interesting. Riverview Gardens was without power for about five days, and Jack had to eat at one of the two local restaurants that had their own generators or whose power was brought back specifically so that people would have a place to get a hot meal. So, all in all, I am glad I missed it.


October 23, 2005: Chris Young's Birthday
October 4-7, 2005: A Visit to Guy in Green Bay
Return to Index for 2005