March 31, 2013: Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum
January 22 - February 4, 2013: Our Winter Trip to Florida
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Page Index
February 28 - March 17
Fort Lauderdale

    Getting to Fort Lauderdale
    The Las Olas Art Fair
    Zack Goes for a Walk
    Zack in the Condo
    The St. Patrick's Day Parade
    Boat Traffic on the New River

 

February 28 - March 17, 2013
Our Spring Trip to Florida


 

We were just in Florida at the end of January, but the main reason for going then was that we wanted to meet up with Guy in Myrtle Beach and give him some moral support in dealing with his dad. Had we not done that, we would probably have waited until now to come to Florida, because during this period we'll have not only the Art Fair but also the St. Patrick's Day parade.

 

Getting to Fort Lauderdale

This will be the third time that Zack has accompanied us to Florida. He has started making noise about wanting to cash in his frequent driver miles for cash or merchandise. We took our usual route, this time staying overnight at a pet-friendly Super 8 Motel in Madison, Florida, about 900 miles from Dallas.

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale on the afternoon of March 1, had our inaugural frozen drink at the dock, and our traditional turkey burger at The Floridian.

You can return to today's index or continue with the next section below.


 

At the Las Olas Art Fair

One of the reasons for coming to Florida at certain times of the year is so we can go to the Las Olas Art Fair, an event that is held three times a year- once in early January, once now in March, and once in October.

When the Art Fair is held, the city turns the portion of Las Olas from the Cheesecake Factory (right beside the point where Federal Highway goes under the New River) to 11th Street (to allow access to our area between the river and Las Olas) and turns it into a pedestrian mall. The vendor booths are set up in two rows facing north and south, and the vendors use the median in Las Olas as their "back room.".


Fred at the Art Fair

Although we have been to the Art Fair perhaps twenty times since we've been coming to Florida, we never tire of walking the length of the Fair to browse through the booths that are set up. Artists and craftspeople come from all over the country to exhibit here, and their wares cover the gamut from painting (in all media) through sculpture to jewelry and other crafts. There are always new and interesting vendors each time (although we do see some of the same vendors quite frequently).

At the intersections along Las Olas, there are usually temporary outdoor restaurants, a new car or two, musicians or large sculpture pieces. Down by the Cheesecake Factory, one always finds larger outdoor sculptures of one kind or another.

We also fairly frequently find something that interests us, or that would make a good gift for someone we know. Over the years I think we have probably made as many purchases as we have made visits to the fair. This year, we found a new vendor who did wall sculptures out of matte black stamped metal. They are designed so that when they are mounted, they are a couple of inches away from the wall surface, and the shadows add an interesting effect.

We bought one as a gift for Prudence (and you'll see it a bit later on when we make our next trip to San Antonio) and I found one that I am going to mount at my back stairway up to the family room; it says "Theatre." When I get it mounted I'll take a picture and include it in this album.

We used to take quite a few pictures at the Art Fair, but they have started to get very repetitive (and vendors aren't particularly happy if you try to photograph their creations). So today, although we both carried our cameras, we came away with only a couple of pictures. One is the picture of Fred near the Cheesecake Factory (shown at left), and the other is a picture I took of him down near the middle of the Fair near Mango's Restaurant; you can see that picture here.

You can return to today's index or continue with the next section below.


 

Zack Goes for a Walk

Last time we were here, we bought a collar for Zack so we could take him out for walks- like the lady upstairs does with her tabby cat (and which is where we got the idea). We have gotten Zack used to the collar, and he has been out down here before and also back in Dallas. (You can see his Dallas excursions on the Pets page for this year.)

 

Zack's Walk on March 5

Today we are taking Zack for his first walk outside on this trip- or at least the first long one where one of us had a camera along to take pictures. Fred is going to walk Zack and I am going to be the cameraman.


We began this trip by heading right downstairs to let Zack walk along the west side of the building; he seems to like to stop and explore the narrow hedges that sit between the parking lot and the building. Walking a cat is not at all like walking a dog; you just have to let him explore where he wants.

As usual, we took Zack into the courtyard and after spending a while there, Fred took him to the dock to see if he would sit in his lap for a bit- which he did. Along the way, I snapped a number of casual shots, and you can use the clickable thumbnails below to have a look at them:

When we'd sat at the dock for a while, Zack seemed anxious to get back, so we went up the north stairway from which point Zack knew his way back to the right door.

 

Zack's Walk on March 6

Today, I've taken the reins, so to speak, and Zack and I are out for a walk. Fred is walking with us taking pictures. We began by heading downstairs and walking Zack along the 4th Street side of Riverview Gardens. The sides of the condo along the parking areas do have some greenery that Zack likes to smell, but he really prefers going into the courtyard.

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Zack and Me in the Courtyard

At the north end of the courtyard there is an opening out to the river, and I usually walk Zack around there to get him used to the sounds and activity on the river. There is a set of outside stairs there, and Fred got up on the landing to take the movie of Zack and I that you can use the player at left to watch.

Fred also took some still pictures while we were walking, and there are clickable thumbnails for some of them below:


 

Zack's Walk on March 10


On another day, I took Zack for a walk, and there are a few clickable thumbnails below for the pictures Fred took:


You can return to today's index or continue with the next section below.


 

Zack in the Condo

It's fun to take Zack for his walks, but one of the main reasons we bring him is that it it fun to have him in the condo with us- particularly when he is racing around like a mad kitty when he's playing.

It's hard to get good pictures then, but when he is relatively still, it is much easier. We took quite a few, and there are clickable thumbnails below you can use to see the best of them:

You can return to today's index or continue with the next section below.


 

The St. Patrick's Day Parade (March 9)

Well, we'd thought that the St. Patrick's Day parade would be next weekend, just a day ahead of March 17th, but for some reason it is being held today, March 9th. Fred and I have gone over to see what we can see.


The route of the parade took it west on Las Olas from approximately the top of the Kinney Tunnel (near the Cheesecake Factory) to Andrews Avenue, which goes over the New River alongside Huizenga Park. There were staging areas on many of the side streets and east on Las Olas; we passed many of the waiting participants as we walked to the actual parade route. In some sort of set sequence, these staging areas emptied into the main parade route which was only about five blocks long.

When the parade units got to Andrews Avenue, I suppose they went north or south to get to a point where they could disband without tying up the parade itself. It was quite a big production in a very small area, and my compliments to the organizers for bringing it off so well. As you will see below, we walked from the condo up to Las Olas and then west along the closed-off street. Fred and I actually got separated when I rushed ahead to try to catch the Budweiser Clydesdales before they disappeared; they were one of the very first units in the parade.

I ended up taking a position on the north side of Las Olas at the intersection of Las Olas and one of the staging streets, in a position where I could look down Las Olas and the parade route without a lot of people in the way. Fred, it turned out, was on the south side of the street and had a couple of ranks of people he had to shoot over to get pictures. Sadly, his movies got obscured by the crowd most of the time, although mine turned out a good deal better.

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Walking West on Las Olas to the Parade Start Point

Las Olas was blocked off from Mango's Restaurant, just north of the condo, all the way west. So when we got up to Las Olas we were walking by staged units on our way to the parade's start point. We passed individual entries (with the riders dressed in green) as well as larger "floats." There were a couple of camels and their handlers, and, when we got close to the parade start point, we were able to catch the Budweiser Clydesdales before they started out.

You can see all of these things in the pictures we took on our way through the staging area; use the clickable thumbnails below to have a look at them:


It was at about this point, when we passed the Clydesdales, that Fred and I got separated. I took up my position on the north side of the street while he walked back and forth through the crowd on the south side.

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The Budweiser Clydesdales

I got to my position before the Clydesdales did, and you can use the player at left to watch my movie of them going by. Fred took a few pictures of them as they passed him by, and there are clickable thumbnails for these pictures below:

Shortly after the parade started, Fred got his only decent movie- of one of the bagpipe units going by; you can watch it with the player below:

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One of the most numerous units was the antique cars, each carrying some beauty queen or politician. From our different vantage points, both Fred and I got pictures of some of these. I've eliminated the duplications and put clickable thumbnails below so you can see some of these entries:


Even though it was a St. Patrick's Day parade, there were a few bagpipe units (although I would have thought that they would be more appropriate at some celebration association with Scotland). In addition to the short movie Fred made, I made a couple from my vantage point, and you can watch them with the players below:

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Separated though we were, Fred and I each took quite a few candid shots of the parade itself, although after a while, it got a little repetitive. There are clickable thumbnails below for some of the pictures Fred took:

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After a while, I left my vantage point on the north side of Las Olas and wandered across the street and a bit west to Huizenga Park, where there was an Irish Festival going on. As you can see on the aerial view above, the park is located adjacent to the relatively new River House Condominiums. I took a few more pictures of the parade on the way, as well as a picture of one of the spectators. At the festival, I ran across an impromptu musical group, and made a movie of them; you can watch it with the player at right.

And I have put clickable thumbnails below for some other pictures I took of the parade and the festival:


I looked around for Fred all the while, but in the crowd it would have been a miracle to have found him.

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After a while, I headed back to the condo, walking along the Riverwalk to get there. The parade was still going on, and I passed some of the units that were staged along the road by the river. When I got back to Las Olas, all the units that had been staged on Las Olas were already gone, and so it was easy going to walk along the street back to the condo.

On the way, I passed a group of police and other people on horseback, just standing in a line along the street. I presumed that they had already done their time in the parade. As I walked along the line of horses, I made a movie, and you can watch it with the player at left.

When I got back to the condo, I found that Fred had been back just a short while. The parade was neat; better then the one last year which we also happened to see.

You can return to today's index or continue with the next section below.


 

Boat Traffic on the New River

One of the best things about where my unit is located is that I can always watch the river out the living room window.



Whether we are sitting at the table on our laptops or sitting by the dock, there is almost always a boat or two every few minutes, and on weekends it can get downright crowded on the river.

I realize that boat pictures get a bit repetitive, but at left are clickable thumbnails for just a few of the pictures that we took on this trip of the boat traffic on the New River by the condo.

One Saturday morning, we saw two huge boats, both being towed, pass each other on the river right outside the window. This was unusual enough that I made a movie of the process. And just a bit later, I made another movie as the Carrie B headed out on one of its day cruises. You can watch these movies with the players below:

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Big Yachts Passing Each Other
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The Carrie B Heads Out for a Cruise

Well, it was another great trip to Florida, but after three weeks we were anxious to head home.

You can return to today's index or use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


March 31, 2013: Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum
January 22 - February 4, 2013: Our Winter Trip to Florida
Return to the Index for 2013