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Indiana, United States
Debt free empty nesters...ready to stretch our wings. Life is good and we plan on making it even better. This blog is mostly about our trips to Vieques Puerto Rico, with a few odds and ends thrown in about our life after the mortgage.

Monday, December 30, 2013

More Ferry problems for Vieques....

This is copied from Trip Advisor and was posted by a friend of mine:

Things are going from bad to worse. 600 passengers many of them tourists with reservations were turned away at the dock this morning with vague explanations. The private ferry company s ( that covers many of the runs for the government) contract expires in a few days. The Ports authority division that operates the ferry, ATM, has already gone thru their 2014 budget and then some 14 million in the hole with no idea where it went! PR it self is in a budgetary crisis and will be hard pressed to do anything.

They will be unable to pay for another contract for the private ferry and will be forced to operate a schedule with only one or two boats that actually run.

DO NOT RUIN YOUR vacation to save a few a bucks, FLY


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Free TV....

It's been years since we've paid for TV. I remember when we built our house, some 20 years ago and because there was no cable TV service available we were left with only one option, a satellite dish. The price, back then, for a new direct TV dish was $900. I just about puked at the thought. I ended up digging enough ginseng that fall to pay the $900 for the dish and so begun our 15 year marriage to direct TV and their subsequent siphoning off of some  $12,000. It's amazing to think that we spent that much money with them.  My how things have changed.

The last couple of years we've been using Netflix, but that too is about to end. There's just not enough programing available and even though it's a fraction ($8 a month), of what we used to pay DirectTV, we can put the funds to a better use somewhere else.

That brings me to our newest find for TV viewing, along with some other favorites.

Tube Plus has hundreds of TV programming and movies, all for free. There's a few pop-ups to navigate through. Most launch in the background so it's easy to close the windows.  This has by far the most TV and movies we've found yet for free and is currently our main site.

If your into documentaries, like us, then the best site we've found is Top Documentary Films . Hundreds of documentaries in just about every genre thinkable.  Great nuggets to found on this site.

Crackle is site that has a decent selection of movies and television programming. The only hang-up is they make you sit through some commercials. Not nearly what you'll have on broadcast, but enough to be annoying.  We use it every once in a while.

Just a few places to get free TV.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Colores Del Mar....

 Just a mere 4 weeks ago we were staring out at the Atlantic, sipping our morning coffee and watching the horses, all from the kitchen deck of Colores Del Mar. I remember watching the white horse in the above video. It was a quiet morning and his whinnying, in the morning sun,  seemed a declaration of just how beautiful it all was.

  The falling snow out my window this morning only intensifies our pining for the warm winter trades of Vieques. Mr. Crab has crossed our minds a few times, especially when enduring single digit temperatures  of the last few  weeks. Lorrie would ask me "So, just what do you imagine Mr. Crab is doing right about now?"  I would just smile and reply "Enjoying the warmth."

 Did you know, that for centuries the trade winds have been used by captains of sailing ships to cross the world's oceans, and enabled European empire expansion into the Americas and trade routes to become established across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, however, this is not where the term "trade" originates. The term is derived from a Middle English word meaning "steady" or "consistent".

Ah, but I digress. This post is an attempt to convey our impressions from our recent stay at Colores Del Mar. So to that end,  first, and what is sometimes most important, cost. We paid $1200 a week for our stay, $2400 for our two weeks. There was a $500 deposit that was handed back to me when we met the owners on our departure. Our cost included the use of a two wheel drive SUV, which performed perfectly.  I washed the car and make sure it had a full tank of gas, just like the way it was when we arrived.  That is a very, very good price,  for a whole house and vehicle.

The house sits on a large property, maybe an acre, I'm not quite sure. It's landscaped, but the landscaping is relatively young and new. The property has slope to it and consequently we didn't spend much time walking the grounds, although there was a banana tree with a ripe bunch of bananas that we took advantage of many mornings. I had no idea how easily bananas fall off the plant when they're ripe, also just how darn good they are when that fresh. We did enjoy watching the humming birds that frequented the flowers and the egrets that would land to feed on the grassy slope. The property is all fenced with a gated entrance. We noticed more mosquito's than in other locations, no big deal, but worth noting.

The house is a one bedroom and  was designed to be a "couples retreat".  The bedroom is very large and has two wicker chairs, a desk and a flat screen TV. The bed is a king and had plenty of pillows. There are two overhead ceiling fans and a bedside fan. The bedroom is the only room in the house to have air conditioning. There's great air flow in the bedroom. Lots of wood in the bedroom. It has wood plank floors, something we don't see often in Vieques. It has a wood framed roof with the beams  and beaded roof sheathing exposed. Real craftsmanship. The only criticism of the bedroom would be that the TV is way too far from the bed, which is really the only place to view it. Not an issue for us because we usually don't watch television, but given the size of the TV it's way too far away for comfortable viewing.  There's a huge closet and two dressers in the bedroom.

The kitchen is the other main room downstairs. When you enter the house this is the room you come into. It's a large kitchen with everything one would ever need, more so than most houses we've been in.  The cabinetry is beautiful. Full size refrigerator, stove, microwave and a small dinning table with chairs. Great airflow in this room. Sliding doors lead out to a small deck that overlooks the property with a gorgeous vista of the Atlantic.  The other end of the kitchen has a doorway into the bath. It's a large bathroom with a double head shower. Blue and white tile countertop with a decorative porcelain sink.  Perfect functioning space with the added benefit of being tastefully put together.

Like I mentioned earlier the kitchen sliding doors lead out to a small wooden deck. The deck has a adjustable canvas canopy and two patio chairs. There's a gas grill out there also, with a full propane cylinder (something other rental houses sometimes either forget about or just leave up to the rental to take car of).  We never used the gas grill, but sat out on the deck many times, at least until the bugs began to bother us.

That's pretty much the downstairs. If you noticed there's just one thing missing. Some sort of inside living room/space. Unless you were cooking, eating, showering or sleeping there's no other space inside. There are the wicker chairs in the bedroom and the chairs at the little kitchen table, but no space to relax inside. If you used the house as a landing pad you might not ever notice this. We spent two weeks at Colores Del Mar and in that space of time you notice it. May be an issue for longer term renters.

Outside on one end of the deck is a staircase that leads to the rooftop deck and Jacuzzi room. The views from the rooftop deck are  blow your socks off/kick-ass. There are two patio chairs and two loungers, plus a table or two and a couple of potted plants. It's all tiled and has in wall lighting.  It's a great space. Separating the roof top deck from the Jacuzzi room is a double set of sliding doors. The Jacuzzi room is constructed much like the bedroom. Wood flooring and roof framing. There's a wet bar and half bathroom also. We sat in the Jacuzzi a few times. Couple times at night. You can see all the lights from the big island from sitting in the tub, plus you can watch any cruise ships. We are not fans of chlorinated water on our skin, so for us it really wasn't too big a deal. The only thing missing from upstairs is an inside space to lounge because once the bugs start outside your looking for relief.  Your only option is to sit in the tub. Probably not a big deal to many but if you spend two weeks your gonna notice it.

I cannot over emphasize just how much effort has been put into all the details of this rental.  Tiny little things that showed enormous thought, care and effort. From the extra beach towels to the wet bar in the upstairs Jacuzzi room, which by the way,  had it's own little frig  even an ice bucket.  There are two or three sets of snorkeling gear that looked brand new, umbrella, cabana. Very little if anything has been missed other than the aforementioned inside living space. 


I think I would be remiss if I didn't speak honestly about our entire experience at Colores Del Mar. Part of what has prompted me to do this is what I have learned about a couple who rented Colores Del Mar after our stay, that and the fact that I have been in contact with another couple who experienced exactly what we did.  First, everything I have wrote above about the house is true, it is exactly as advertised and is a very good deal price wise.

Here's the issue. The owner was drunk when he picked us up. I overlooked this due to extenuating circumstances that I knew they were dealing with.  I've since learned that this is not an isolated incident. The tour of the house lasted nearly 2 hours and bordered on OCD. I overlooked this for the same reasons, but have since learned that this also is not a one time event.  I think there's a certain amount of trust that needs to exist between renters and owners, you have to trust me with your property, I have to trust you to my privacy, as you also have keys to the house.  In a small way our privacy was violated, not a big deal as we dealt with it, but it happened. If your going to enter the bedroom and make changes you really should first clear it with the renters.  I am torn in writing this because I really like the owners, I just don't understand some of the things one of them did.  Maybe I should have been more open about how I felt, I dunno. In my heart I truly feel they are very good loving people, but I feel it's important enough to mention here, that way future renters will be forewarned. I feel bad because I wasn't as honest as I should have been in our review on HomeAway, I've since removed that review.  I mean no ill will towards anyone.

and there it is.