Linville Golf Club

Late last week a mutual fund wholesaler called me and said he was putting together a golf event in Linville, NC at the Linville Golf Club. I had just read about this course in Golf Magazine.

Linville Golf Club is one of the old original Donald Ross courses and it's hard as hell to get a round in there unless you know a member. It is closed from November 1 to May 1 so the conditions of the course are sure to be pristine this time of year along the the classic Ross design.

So I said hell yes I'll play and cleared my schedule for Wednesday.

The tee time was 9AM in Linville. It's about a three hour drive from Charlotte. So three hours for a shower and coffee. Pad in 30 minute for bad traffic or directions and this means getting up at 4AM.

True to my nature I got up early and was out of the house by 5AM.

My first stop was Morganton at a McDonalds for an Egg McMuffin and a Diet Coke. I don't mean to be ugly but this gene pool could use some stirring up. These folks had been breeding together way too long. There person that waited on me was of an indeterminate gender until he spoke.

Absent from the restaurant were any people of color both behind the counter or in the dining room. Not a single Hispanic was in sight. I felt like I had landed in the late 50's. This place felt creepy.

Well on to Linville.

I traveled up windy elevated roads for many miles. No other person or building was in site for about 15 miles. Then the directions had me take a right in the middle of no where and indicated the club was nearby.

Soon I saw the signs of angry young yuppie women in white BMWs with baseball caps and their pony tail hanging from the back. This pissed off look and dress was familiar look of a wealthy woman that I see daily in Charlotte. I never know why they are so mad. I knew the club was near.

I arrived to an old small stone clubhouse that was outdated but well maintained and elegant. Some of the old money folks there were almost comical Thurston Howell III types. Mainly they were here from Florida and the Piedmont area of NC to escape the heat of summer.

This place was nice, uncrowded and not at all snobby.

The course was the best I have ever played. It was in perfect condition and was a Donald Ross classic. Even som of the greens were crowned like so many at Pinhurst #2.

It's a shame I left what little game I have back in Charlotte. My friend Bruce told me to bring a lot of balls and a calculator. He was right. I didn't keep my score but I would guess north of 110. It was fun.

Sign from Home

I mailed a 2005 US Open Pinehurst #2 sign to my favorite beach bar in St Croix. My old friend Bruce Crockett gave it to me after the open last summer.

The beach bar is located across from Cane Bay Beach next to Cane Bay Dive Shop. It used to be called Cane Bay Beach Bar and was renamed with new owners the Full Moon Beach Bar.

The old cane bay bar had lots of signs and license plates from all over the US mainland. I think the old owner took all the signs when he sold the place. They were missed on my trip in February. I noticed a few signs starting to fill the rafters when I visited in May.

So I thought the thin metal US Open sign would make a nice addition to the rafters. Somehow I like knowing my sign is down there and I will enjoy looking at it again in Feb 2007.

Full Moon Beach Bar is one of my favorite places. It looks out over the Caribbean and it is completely open air. The food is good and the owners are friendly.

I'm glad my sign will decorate the rafters.


The day of observance for some holidays can get rather complicated. We just finish Memorial day and that falls into the Monday Only category. You can count on that holiday and others like it such as Labor Day to be a Monday only event and you plan acordingly. It makes for a nice short work week following the holiday.

Monday now is actually Tuesday, which is hump day eve, etc. Before you know it you are planning Friday golf and it's the weekend again.

Then you have holidays like Independence Day which falls on the 4th of July that can be celebrated on the weekend, but you get a makeup day the following Monday because you got cheated a day off. This is the ideal setup to have three day off.

But then it can get messy when the holiday falls mid weeks. What days should you take off to make this last? How many years do I have to wait for the holiday to be either on Friday, Saturday Sunday or Monday to get the sacred three day weekend? The probabilities are in your favor.

Then there's Thanksgiving that is going to be the same no matter what. I like that. You can hang your hat on that as soon as you figure out which Thursday in November, then you are done.

Christmas on the other hand sticks to an actual date. I do believe you get a bonus Monday off in some work environments if Christmas falls on the weekend. But what the hell are you going to do with another day off on virtually the shortest and coldest day of the year? "Oh great! I have a day off and it's dark and bitter cold!" What a rip off.

Halloween on the other hand is very flexible. There is an actual day on the calendar but it's just as likely to be celebrated at a different time locally. This holiday is a waste as an adult. Some places of business encourage goofy dress on Halloween but that is the extent of it.

Easter is a real wild card. You aren't sure when it will be except it will be in either March or April. The holiday weather can be either cold or warm.

Then there are personal Reggie holidays to keep up with and plan around like The Masters (first weekend in April) and the Kentucky Derby. Opening weekend of NFL and the Super Bowl fall into this category. You know approximately when it will be but aren't sure until you see it in print.
I'm going to make 5 gallons of beer soon. For some reason I bid on a beer making kit on Ebay and won. I haven't told Gigi yet.

I think it will be fun to make and taste home made beer, but how and where in the hell will I store 5 gallons of beer?

From the picture it seems that you make it in a plastic pale. It comes with 54 bottle caps if I wanted to bottle it and if I happened to have 54 beer bottles around.

Maybe it will turn out real good and I can play around with it. I'll tell Gigi when the package arrives.
We continue to have a turf war with my redneck mullet wearing neighbor. We call him Clifford the Big Redneck. It so easy since his name is Cliff and he is a quintessential redneck.

We have a common cul de sac that borders up to each other. I have kept the area cleared and mowed for as long as I have lived here. I planted some ornamental plants and generally left it as a nice separate shady place for all to enjoy.

A few years ago my mouth breathing redneck neighbor Cliff, bought a motorcycle or 4 wheeler for most every member of his family. He then commenced to assume we would all enjoy hearing and seeing his ignorant mullet wearing mouth breathing relatives ride and make a general nuisance all over the neighborhood.

Contrary to his beliefs the border of my property encompassed most of the area I maintained. Cliff assumed it was his property.

Soon his relatives and other mouth breathing some mullet wearing and other non-mullet wearing loud and rude rednecks starting riding on my property in particular the cul de sac. They ruined the turf and generally ignored my pleas to stop riding on my property.

Apparently in the redneck world you can declare borders without proof and then act accordingly on those declarations. Rednecks then expect to park any of their motor vehicles on any turf they declare their own.

Cliff insisted that half the cul de sac was his. Only a small part was his.

I decided to fence in the area to keep the rednecks off and called for a survey. Just as I knew, the stakes took in about 3/4 of the area Cliff claimed was his.

I put the fence up and Cliff was livid. He still believed I have encroached on his property.

So he began parking his boat, motorhome, dump trailer, pickup truck and whatever he could find on his little portion of land. I in turn had just enlarged my pasture for my horses with the newly fenced area.

That little piece of the cul de sac is his property and he can do what he pleases. So go ahead and park your stuff and don't bother to cut the grass. I believe in personal property rights.

But over our vacation in St Croix the border war situation took a turn for the worse.

Cliff took our dog Haley into his house and held her against her will. Our house sitter was frantic calling for Haley. Finally Cliff released Haley and laughed it off when our house sitter blessed him out.

Then Cliff started parking his motorhome on the street on our right of way in front of our house.

So everyday we call the NC Highway patrol and they tell Cliff to move his vehicle. And every day parks the Motorhome back on the right of way.

This morning the Highway patrol told him he would be subject to arrest if he continued to park on the right of way.

Cliff moved his Motorhome then sped out of the neighborhood.

The saga continues..........
It's hell getting old.

Yesterday I planned to clear the undergrowth that had accumulated along the electric fence. Mostly it was grass and weeds but in some places the undergrowth consisted of small saplings of Redbuds and thick briars.

So to handle the problem with the least effort I rented a industrial weed eater and an industrial hedge trimmer. I remembered years ago I did this by hand and almost perished of poison ivey. I got these nasty blisters everywhere that lasted for weeks.

At 7:30 AM I fired up the equipment and got to work. By 8:15 AM I was completely dehydrated and exhausted from holding the heavy/shakey equipment. I mean dog ass tired. I was barely 1/3 of the way into it and had not even gotten to the bad places with heavy undergrowth.

I went back up to the house to rest and drink water. I noticed blood on my left arm and two bleeding blisters on my left hand. This was after only 45 minutes with heavy work gloves.

I decided to break down the work into manageable 30 minute shifts with 30 minute rest breaks. I thought mentally and physically I could pull off two or three of these before I died from exhaustion.

That strategyy worked for the planned two cycles before I gave up for the day. I'll deal with the rest tomorrow.

My canine pals Haley and Cedie had benn "helping" me most of the morning. Cedie is very good about hanging around and staying close to home. She mostly suns on the deck this time of year. Toady was no different.

Haley however is more of a free spirit, willing to explore. She followed me all along the fence and occationally waded in the creek to cool off.

As previously discussed, I decided to call it a day in the yard and rest before I showered. Haley gladly stretched out under the picnic table to rest with Cedie.

After some time had pasted Gigi asked where Haley and Cedie were. Cedie was where I left her, but Haley had moved on.

Usually just a quick shout, HALEY!, and she would come running. This time however she was nowhere in sight.

To make a long story short, I found Haley about a mile away hiding in some think woods waiting for a familiar face to come by. Once she heard my diesel truck she came running down the remote gravel drivway to flag me down. Cedie was with me and she was beside herself.

The last post on this vacation was Wednesday the 17th even though we didn't leave until the 20th. I completely lost the ability to connect to the Internet both on Earthlink dial up and the local wifi.

Earthlink's node in St Thomas never answered the entire trip. The wifi at the bar was so weak and inconsistent that I stopped attempting to post the blog.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006 - We woke up about the same time usual and pulled back the curtains to reveal the beautiful Caribbean just outside our window. You never get tired of looking at a turquoise panorama.

This morning we had decided to eat breakfast at the hotel.

I'm not as big of a breakfast eater as I used to be but this morning I was craving an egg and toast.

We walked up to the restaurant among the sound of jack hammers and roofing tar heaters. I guess this is to be expected in the off season.

Three separate people asked us what we wanted for breakfast but no coffee or juice appeared. Finally a fourth person took charge and things started to happen. Coffee, juice, eggs, bacon, toast pancakes were the promises.

Eventually it all arrived and it was decent.

I decided to snorkel but didn't want to be along. If I observe long enough someone with equipment would show up and I could buddy with them. I guess this was instilled in me at Boy Scouts. Always have a buddy when swimming.

I saw a buxom young lady and she was with snorkel equipment. That was my queue.

Her name was Tammy. She welcomed the company and safety.

We headed out and kept each other in site as we snorkeled. As we headed to deeper water I noticed a huge fish just ahead and below. I thought it was a tuna. I pointed it out and Tammy and she signaled to me to surface. She informed me that that fish was a quite large barracuda and we best get our butts back to shore.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - This place has a very cool shower. It's a 5X6 tile room with a slat dark mahogany wooden ceiling. At one end is a shower curtain and the other end a wooden slat window. Just a few turns and you are wide open to the Caribbean. Its like showering outside. No glass and no screen.

At this resort the ability to communicate with the outside world is abhorrent. So far dial up isn't working. Mobile phones don't work. Most of the time no one answers the phone at the front desk so they can't send an incoming call you. And the wireless internet works only on a cloudless day and the signal is weak at best. I can make outgoing land line calls to the mainland at $3 a minute. Imagine calling you attorney back home and have the clock run at both ends!

We went on the beach this morning. The snorkeling wasn't good today. The surf was churned up a bit and visibility was poor.

Gigi and I tool a walk and lounged in the sun. Terry and Michael were due around noon. Unlike most folks here Terry is always prompt. Her timeliness I guess it's hung over from living on the mainland and catering to mainland tourists.

True to her nature I heard Terry and Michael unloading the car at noon.

I had decided some months ago to ask Terry to com over again so Gigi and I could both get a massage. Terry suggested the open air cabana on the beach. And again true to her nature she gave us both a long relaxing massage. It was double relaxing hearing the ocean waves and feeling the warm breezes as all my stresses go massaged away.

It was the most accommodating and relaxing massage ever. If you are pet deprived, ask Terry to bring her dog Goliath. He's a friendly little pocket dog that is eager to please.

Ambrosia Body Care, call Terry or Michael 340-773-6174 or 340-643-2444

By now it was 2:40 PM and lunch was long overdue. All five of us (Goliath too) headed down the road to Lobster Reef. I have driven past this place dozens of times. It is at the end of a long dirt driveway. This place was a real dive with a million dollar view. It looked like something I would build in the backyard with some boards and plywood.

There were a few friendly cats walking around the dining area. We were the only people there.

The service was very good and the food was good too. Gigi and I both had the lobster quesadilla.

Overall this was a nice pleasant dining experience with friends.

Lobster Reef

By the time we got back it was 6 PM.

Gigi and I ate salads in the room, watched TV and went to bed.
Monday, May 15, 2006 - This is a nice place here at the Carambola but its tired and in need of some refurbishment. Mainly the fixtures are in need of replacement such as furniture, lamps, mirrors and plumbing fixtures. The rest is lovely classic Caribbean architecture.

Coconut trees abound. They are beautiful and run all the way to the beach.

I spent the morning on the beach and snorkeled twice. There is really nice reef just offshore. The reef goes for maybe 100 feet to “the Wall”. The Wall is a deep plunge into the abyss.

Gigi and I decided to go to the Full Moon Bar and Grille for lunch. We still call it Cane Bay Beach Bar.

We had to pass through a herd of goats to get there. They were cute and were just walking down the road to greener pastures.

We saw Assa the cattle dog. She was friendly as usual and it gave us a chance to rub a dog.

The service was good as usual and the food was good. The view is awesome. It takes a while to get your food but it is always hot and prepared well. We ate some awesome cheese burgers with fries and onion rings.

Full Moon Bar and Grille

We then headed into Christiansted. Gigi shopped and I called friends from the harbor web cam on the boardwalk.

Gigi and I met up a few hour later at the Fort Christian Brew Pub for a few drinks. We met some folks from NC and talked the afternoon away out in the Caribbean sunshine.

We were about to leave when we were notified that crab races were about to begin. A line soon formed for people to bet on the crabs. For $2 you pick and name a crab. They write the name on a piece of tape on the back of the crab.

I bet on “Galaxy” and placed bets for others since I was third in line.

A local black woman very colorfully dressed walked through the crowd and sold bags of peanuts. She would take her money after each bag sold and buy a bottle of Budweiser.

A small child stood in the middle of the floor. A rope was attached to his ankle. He was the pivot point for a large chalk circle. Three rings were made. One small circle in the middle was where the race would start. Then a larger circle was drawn for the finish line.

After a huge crowd assembled and all bets had been places the bugle blew (kazoo) announcing the begining of the first race.

Two large buckets of crabs were turned upside down, and then the buckets were removed. The race began!

Any person caught stomping or pointing got taped to their chair. Gigi was soon taped to her chair.

Each winner was put in the “rest bucket” for the final race. The five finalists then raced. Prizes were awarded for 1st through 5th place.

By now it was 7:30 so we headed home. What a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 We had a great night's sleep.

The bags did not come in. I called a nice lady computer at American Airlines and she told me this also. The lady computer was happy that she could help me and asked me to call again later.

This is a nice beach. I took and early morning walk.

I always wondered where all the birds and animals were in St Croix. Now I know. They stay in the rain forest. Everywhere there are loud happy birds and loud happy frogs. The frogs scream all night and the birds sing all day. You get used to it.

It's not as humid today.

A knock at the door and the bellman yelled' “your bag is here!” It was just like Christmas morning. We could brush our teeth and comb our hair. Oh joy!

Margaret and Ken enjoy Mother's Day at the Buccaneer
We took our friend Margaret and her Son Ken out for Mother's Day lunch at the Buccaneer. It was a nice long pleasant lunch catching up with her.

The restaurant was on the waterfront looking out over Christiansted harbor and the mountains beyond. The wait staff was excellent and the food was fast and fresh. The deserts were outstanding. Gigi had the rum cake and I had the chocolate-chocolate cake. We both had a fried fish sandwich and fries.


On the way back to the room I strolled down to the beach bar and got a rum punch. Heck, it's 2:30ish and I'm on vacation. Right Don?

Gigi stopped off by the gift shop and I'm deciding whether to snorkle or take a nap. I'm starting to unwind and enjoy the island.

I did both, a great snorkle and a killer nap.

Okay…I have found the deal. There is a wireless connection at the open bar here at Carambola. It s the only connection I have. Dial-up to St Thomas isn't working. And to top it off, there is a happy hour from 4PM to 6PM at this bar. $1.25 for a domestic beer. So I have strategically arranged my schedule to upload the blog and download email at…..guess what time? Happy hour!!!
Saturday, May 13, 2006- Ahhhh the appointed time is here. No more day dreaming. It's vacation time again.

I'm up early checking flights and doing some final packing. There is always the need to run the vacuum cleaner one last time when you have 3 dogs and a cat inside.

I'm in flight now from Miami to St Croix. It's an old 737 and only about 2/3 full so there is plenty of room. A poor mans first class.

We arrive in St Croix a few minutes early. The humidity is up. Everyone was wet with sweat lugging bags off the plane.

Our car rental person from Centerline met us as usual but the van to take us to the car was out on another call. Okay….it's island time, no worries. So Gigi heads to the luggage claim to pick up the bags and I wait on the van. The van eventually came and I pick up the jeep.

Meanwhile not a single bag has been unloaded from the American Flight. Gigi and another 125 people are standing around in the heat waiting for the luggage to come on the conveyer.

I switched places with Gigi so she could go to the jeep and sit in the air conditioning.

Finally a few bags come out, then a few more. Slooooooowly the luggage builds up volume. Finally I see the first bag, then the second, and wait for the third. It's starting to look bad. Me and a couple of Rasta guys are staring hopelessly at the conveyor.

Okay. 2 out of three ain't bad but I know that is not going to set well with Gigi. It didn't.

I filed the report and they assured us the bag would be on the next 8:50 PM flight from San Juan.

We arrived at the Carambola after doing a little grocery shopping. This is a nice place but in need of good management. The grounds could use some work. The staff is nice but not coordinated. The rooms are large, quintessential Caribbean with the wooden beam ceilings and open ceiling fans and tile floors. The appliances and fixtures need replacing. Two light bulbs are out and the buttons on the phone are unmarked.

The view is great. We are ocean front. It is very lush here. Lots of vegetation.

We are tired and want dinner. All we have eaten is salty airline stuff all day. I want a glass of chardonnay and a seafood salad. We went down to the open air bar/grill and wait. And wait. Other people are getting attention and we aren't. Eventually a really nice waiter came by and took our drink and food order. We wait, and wait. New people come in and get service, drinks and food. Nothing for us. I flag down our waiter and he realized he completely forgot us. He forgot both our drinks and order. It's not like we were in a dark corner either. We were seated in the middle of the open deck.

So we sit back and enjoy a most beautiful sunset. And a few drinks. This is not the place to catch a buzz. You get one drink on their terms. Sip it slowly.

I ordered the house salad with seared tuna with blue cheese and blue cheese crumbles. Gigi ordered the same but with shrimp. She got the crumbles and I didn't. I wasn't about to send this salad back though.

The salads were good. The service was horrible. They deserve the dreaded one shrimp.

Flamboyant Lounge

We attempted to sit up to wait for our bag but fatigue took over and we decided to turn in.
Thursday, May 11, 2006 - We talked to our friends in St Croix today. We are meeting Terry and Michael Tuesday to play and R and R. Then Bacchus on Wednesday night. We are taking Margaret and her son out Sunday for brunch. It's always nice to talk to friends on the island.

We are cleaning the house and getting the pets ready for the sitter.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - I shot a 99 round of golf yesterday for the first time on my home course. Oh! I about forgot to take the snorkle stuff out of the attic. I've got to remember the passports too.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - Today I packed my special NC salted peanuts in the shell. I can't go a week without them. Let's see, a few beer koozies, flip flops, 6 golf balls just in case, all of the important things.
Prelude - I booked this trip back in February 2006 when the memory of the last St Croix trip was fresh. I had two airline vouchers worth $450 each that expired May 18, 2006. I checked the off-season rates at the Carambola where we had visited in February. I was quite impressed with the resort. The rooms were $150 a night in May. That's a done deal. We booked the room, car and flight before the expiration of the vouchers.

This vacation is going to be cheaper than a trip to the Redneck Riviera, Myrtle Beach, SC. And it's going to be a heck of a lot warmer and tropical than Myrtle Beach.

So here we go again. After all, I turn fifty in 6 weeks so I don't even feel guilty about this indulgence.

I wasn't sure how excited I would be when the time came. After all warm weather should be the norm here in North Carolina in May. And warm was one of the original reasons I started going to St Croix every winter. That is before I fell in love with the place and its people.

Needless to say I am excited if I'm writing this far in advance!

Cold weather is not the norm in May in North Carolina. It has been unusually chilly the past week and should continue to be unseasonably cold. I look forward to the warm breezy 80s of St Croix.