We continued the tradition of traveling north to visit family for Christmas, but the first hop was pretty short, since Dave's family was gathering at his sister's home in Bradenton. We enjoyed getting to sample some of the yummy treats at the yogurt shop Wendy manages, Menchie's. And spending a Sunday afternoon playing pinball and other games at Janelle's employer, Clickbooth, was a lot of fun for the kids of all ages. But we had more stops to make, so on the 23rd, we boarded an Amtrak bus in downtown Bradenton for Amtrak's Silver Star service out of Tampa to Raleigh NC. We would be spending Christmas Eve in NC.
It was a light month for boat maintenance. Other than cleaning and waxing, we weren't doing too many boat projects. However, there is one system that we made sure we fixed with dispatch. Our short (3-mile) trip from Port LaBelle Marina to LaBelle town docks should have been an uneventful motoring trip. However, when the engine stalled not once but 3 times, we were increasingly nervous about approaching the opening bridge just before our destination. Dave guessed that the problem was due to a kink in the fuel line for one of the tanks. This was confirmed when he simply switched to run off the other tank and no more stalling. By mid-afternoon after our arrival, we had new fuel hose in place and experienced no more problems with stalling. Good call!
While visiting with Tom and Dau, we took a tour of the Wicked Dolphin distillery, where they make rum from Florida cane sugar. We were guided by the head distiller through the impressive automated control process and the more traditional copper still and barrels of aging rum. And then of course came the sampling. There is an apple-flavored rum coming out in January that we were all very interested in.