Friday, April 18, 2014

Wow! What a Collection! (Part I)

When we went down to visit Dawn Marie and take a winter break in southeast Florida, I thought that I’d found and researched just about every attraction that we might be interested in… Wrong!  Dawn had another venue in mind for us…a major attraction that my research hadn’t picked up on…

This is the entrance to the Miami Auto Museum and Events Center at the Dezer Collection… (I’ll shorten the name to the Dezer Collection in this posting) This museum consists of 2 large adjoining buildings that are packed with inexpensive and expensive automobiles, big and small, domestic and foreign, movie and TV autos, motorcycles, bicycles, military vehicles, a couple of airplanes and many miscellaneous period displays…

I’ll start our tour with the curious and odd…at least by US standards…

This big showroom is packed with micro cars… Neither Laurie nor I had any idea that so many of these vehicles existed or that these little cars and trucks dated back as far as they do… This collection is full of early precursors to the Smart Car of today.

Real estate developer and collector Michael Dezer fulfilled a longtime dream when he opened his huge automobile and memorabilia collection to the public.  The museum encompasses over 250,000-square-feet.  The museum features more than 1,000 of the most unique and eclectic vehicles than in any other private collection in the world.  The Museum’s nine exhibitions are positioned within lifelike dioramas that depict the historical period or commonality and origin of the automobiles on display.

Remember, I did say micro cars!  Laurie is standing next to a 1958 Solyto.  A French company, New Map, based in Lyon was the builder of this little truck.  It’s a 3-wheeled utility truck that you start with a kick lever.  No driver’s license was required to drive this vehicle.  Its single cylinder engine developed 4.5 horsepower and its top speed, without cargo, was about 31 mph.  About 4,000 of these vehicles were built between 1952 and 1974.

Note: If I ever managed to squeeze my own bulky overweight 6’ frame into one of these mini cars, they have to bring the ‘jaws of life’ to pry me out!

The Autobianchi Bianchina is a minicar produced by the Italian automaker Autobianchi.  It was based on the Fiat 500.  This is a 1960 model.  Initially, the car was equipped with the smallest Fiat air-cooled engine that produced 15 horsepower.  Later, the engine power was increased…all the way to 17 horsepower!

I think that this is one of the ‘cuter’ micro cars… The name is cute too!  This is a 1962  Goggomobil TS250 coupe.  It is one of a series of micro cars produced in the Bavarian town of Dingolfing after World War II by Glas.  The engine was an air-cooled, two-stroke, two-cylinder unit that produced 13.6 horsepower.  This little car could reach speeds of up to 47 mph. 

If you ever visited Europe from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, you probably saw a few Goggomobils.  The company built over 284,000 units between 1955 and 1969! 

This little beauty is a 1949 Renault 4CV.  This economy car was produced by the French manufacturer Renault from August 1947 until July 1961.  It’s the first French car that sold over a million units…although obviously this convertible version was just a small part of the total run. 

When this car was originally introduced, the first 4CV's were nicknamed "La motte de beurre" (the lump of butter).  This was due to the combination of its shape and the fact that early deliveries all used surplus paint used for the German Army vehicles of Rommel's Afrika Korps, which was a sand-yellow color.

This is a 1951 Fiat Topolino… The Fiat 500, commonly known as "Topolino", is an Italian automobile model that was manufactured by Fiat from 1936 to 1955.  The name "Topolino" translates literally as "little mouse" in Italian, but is also the Italian name for Mickey Mouse.

The Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its initial production.  With 13 horsepower available, its top speed was about 53 mph.  Note that this micro car could achieve about 39.2 miles per US gallon!  Nearly 520,000 Topolinos were sold.

How about a micro sports car?  This is a 1956 Berkeley.  Berkeley Cars Ltd of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire England produced economical sporting micro cars with motorcycle-derived engines between 1956 and 1960.  This car was launched at the 1956 London Motor Show. 

It was usually configured as a 2-seater with a simple bench seat but there is a hatch that could be removed from behind the front seat which revealed a compartment normally containing the spare wheel and some luggage space.  It could double as a basic seat for a small child.  Equipment was basic…even the fuel gauge was an optional extra.  This micro sports car is 10 feet 3 inches long and it only weighs 605 lbs.!  Only 163 of this model were built between October 1956 and January 1957 when another version was introduced…

OK… Now we’ll begin exploring a few of the stranger looking micro cars that we saw in the Dezer Collection.  This is a 1959 Messerschmitt KR200… Yes, this bug like micro car was built by the same company that made top notch fighter planes for the German Luftwaffe during WWII!  Don’t you love the mom and child manikins in the car?!

The Messerschmitt KR200, or Kabinenroller (Cabin Scooter), was a three-wheeled bubble car designed produced in the factory of the German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt from 1955 to 1964.  Messerschmitt was temporarily not allowed to manufacture aircraft so it turned its resources to producing other commodities.  The KR200 was considered an instant success with almost 12,000 built during its first year.  It had a 9.9 horsepower engine but it could reach a top speed of 56 mph.  In 1956, once Messerschmitt could build airplanes again, the company sold the factory and its micro car operations to the car’s original designer.

This is a Nobel 200.  From what I understand, the Nobel was built under license in the United Kingdom and Chile.  Fuldamobil is the name of a series of small cars produced by Elektromaschinenbau Fulda GmbH of Fulda, Germany, and Nordwestdeutscher Fahrzeugbau (NWF) of Wilhelmshaven between 1950 and 1969.  The design concept was for a very simple three-wheeled car with room for two people inside, with 2 wheels in the front for stability, and with a small engine at the rear. 

The Fuldamobil was licensed for manufacture to various countries where it was known by varying names.  In addition to the Nobel, it was known as the Bambi in Argentina, the Bambino in the Netherlands, Fram King Fulda in Sweden, Attica and also Alta in Greece, and Hans Vahaar in India.  It was also manufactured in South Africa under the original German name.  A pickup version called "Sporty" based on the coupé was also available in Argentina.

This is not just another ‘pretty' face!  It’s a 1971 Veloto Model BL, a French micro car.  Initially a manufacturer of batteries, the manufacturer, Societe BEL-Motors,  built their first vehicle in 1968, a small 3-wheeler intended for children’s road safety training.  At the time this 2-seater was introduced, it was the only one in France that could be driven without a license.  It was primarily targeted for retirees who’d given up driving. 

The colors offered were sky blue, orange, mustard yellow, white and prairie green, all with that tent-like black top.  Its single cylinder engine can propel this micro car at speeds almost up to 25 mph!

I couldn’t locate much information on this 1968 BMA Amica 250 Piaggo.  The good news is that this 'classy looking' orange 3-wheel box is available for purchase!  It’s one of the cars that the Dezer Collection has up for sale.  This beauty only has 43,428 miles on it and you can pick it up for only $17,995!

The BMA was an Italian automobile manufactured by a company named Alfonsine from 1971 until 1994.  The Amica was the company’s first production model.  It was basically a motorized tricycle/motorbike with a square body made of plastic with hinged doors.

This strange looking little car is a 1968 Tippen Delta Invacar.  Just like the preceding micro car, this auto is also for sale.  It has been completely restored and only 2000 miles have been put on it since restoration was completed in 2002.  This is a National 1st Place Show Winner!! (Antique Automobile Club of America) It was completely disassembled to its bare shell and restored from the frame up.  

The Invacar was designed and built to enhance the mobility of the handicapped.  With its sliding doors, it was easy to get in and out of.  It’s operated by a hand lever…and it’s braked and steered the same way.  There even is a place for wheel chair storage.  You can pick this collector’s car up for only $29,995!

This is a 1958 ISO Isetta.  This 3-wheel micro auto has an interesting history.  “The Isetta was incubated in the post-war economy of Europe. After the World War II, many people did not have the money to afford large automobiles and instead moved about on scooters and motorcycles. An Italian company that made refrigerators in Milan, Italy, entered the market at this time with a line of scooters, motorcycles, and three wheeled trucks. After some success the company decided to move into the automobile business.”

The first Isetta was introduced at the 1953 Turin Motor Show.  “Looking like the result of a high speed collision between a refrigerator, a scooter, and an ovulating chicken…” …”The car had a single door at the front, rear wheels that were only 19 inches apart, and gas mileage of over 50 miles per gallon.”  The two-cylinder engine allowed a top speed of 45 mph and could propel the Isetta to 30 mph in a ‘blistering’ 36 seconds!
In the post-war economy BMW was on the lookout for an inexpensive economy car, and the Isetta fit the bill.  The company was licensed to build the car in the fall of 1954.  BMW made the Isetta its own.  BMW totally redesigned and re-engineered the car…making it their own.  The first BMW Isetta appeared in April 1955.  Over 100,000 of these little cars sold in Germany.  Legend has it that BMW would not be here today if not for the success of the little Isetta.

This is an early 3-wheel sports car… It’s a 1928 Framo Shomer Sport.  Note the driver in the car… Did I mention that many of the Dezer Collection autos and related vignettes are staged using manikins dressed to fit the part?  We thought that it was a bit weird and a little unnerving… They were everywhere!

Framo was a minivan, motor tricycle and car manufacturer in Saxony, Germany.  It was established by Danish engineer Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen, the founder of DKW, in 1923.   Rasmussen had earlier founded DKW, and the Framo factory was created to produce components for DKW motorcycles. Rasmussen played an important role in the establishment of the Auto Union group, and DKW is represented by one ring of the four rings of the Audi brand today.

I couldn’t learn too much about this little sports car…but I did find a story by an early owner that showed just how basic and stripped down these cars were!   Check it out  FYI…The Dezer Collection will sell you this early sports car for only $50,000.  Check out the photos at

Finally…American Micro Autos!!  Actually, my mother owned one of these for a while in the early to mid-50s.  Industrialist Powel Crosley, Jr. owned the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation and the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, but he also had ambitious plans to build a subcompact car.   His first car was shown in May of 1939 at the Indianapolis Speedway.  It was a 2-door convertible that weighed less than 1,000 lbs. and sold for $250.00.  It was not a sales success! 
However, during World War II, the Crosley became attractive because of gasoline rationing and the fact that it could get 50 miles per gallon.  After the war, Crosley introduced several "firsts" in the American automobile industry: the first use of the term 'Sport Utility' in 1948, and; the first US “Sports Car”, the Crosley Hotshot.  Check out the Hotshot the right above and at  Crosley’s best year was in 1948 with 24,871 cars sold.  The company ceased production in 1952. 

This is one of several models from Lawil/Lambretta.  This is a 1989 Lambretta William C4 Break.  I ‘love’ the color, don’t you?  Note the prisoner manikin the yellow Lambretta facing this pink creation.  Just a little strange…

What!?  It’s actually another American built micro auto!  This is a 1981 HMV Freeway.  It was built in Burnsville Minnesota from 1979 to 1982.  These small commuter cars had a single seat and were powered by a 12 or 16 horsepower gasoline engine or a 4 horsepower electric motor.

The 12 horsepower version was guaranteed to get 100 miles per gallon when driven at a steady 40 mph!  The motor was mounted behind the driver and was coupled to a snowmobile-style belt drive transmission. Final drive to the rear wheel was by chain.  The Freeway did not have a reverse gear…  The Free-Way had a single headlight and per federal standards it was intended to be licensed as a motorcycle, but in some states they were titled as cars.  Only about 700 Free-Ways were sold before the company closed in June 1982.

Well, I don’t know about you but I counted 10 of those freaky manikins in the photos for this posting!  My next posting about the Dezer Collection with feature an entirely different genre of automobiles…or motorcycles…or bicycles…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at these micro autos!  They were fun to look at but they seemed a bit strange to us…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

“Cheen-Huaye” – Mayan for “Only Here”

When I planned our 2014 winter trip to southeast Florida, I researched places to go, sights to see and things to do.  Of course, I also did a lot of research using Trip Advisor for restaurants we might want to try during our visit.

This is Cheen-Huaye…which translates from Mayan to mean “only here”.  In Trip Advisor, this restaurant had received 83 excellent or very good reviews vs. only 1 poor or terrible.  The odds were with us!

The first thing we learned was that this restaurant was a long drive up Biscayne Boulevard from the ‘design district’…and downtown Miami where Dawn Marie lives!

This is the interior of the restaurant… There was some seating on the other side of the wall near the bar but we were seated in the larger of the 2 rooms.  The restaurant was clean and orderly and they were fairly busy.

Cheen-Huaye is the creation of executive chef Marco Velaszquez and his wife, Magna Vieira.  Marco is a native of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.  After working as a chef in several South Florida restaruants, he decided to cook what he loves.  The restaurant serves authentic Yucatecan dishes made from fresh ingredients.

Our waitress, Lizeth, started us out with the ubiquitous basket of warm tortilla chips and salsa.  The chips were good and the salsa was a step above the usual!

All 3 of us love Queso Fundido so we ordered it as an appetizer.  We had our choice of chorizo, rajas de poblano or mushroom with the mix of Oaxaca-Gouda cheeses, pico de gallo and flour tortillas. ($9.00) We went with the chorizo… We’ve had queso fundido many times.  Sometimes it comes with tortilla chips, sometimes with soft tortillas and sometimes with both.  We are used to a liquid to semi-liquid mixture laden with chorizo… We were surprised that in this case, it was a baked semi-solid.  This queso fundido was quite flavorful and the cheese mixture was very interesting but we decided that we prefer our ‘normal’ version.

Dawn Marie ordered the Carnitas. ($14.00) This pork dish is marinated overnight in a house recipe marinade made with spices and oranges.  It's cooked slowly to pick up the flavors and Dawn opted for it to be accompanied with onions, rice, refried beans and a green chile sauce.  She told us that it was good but that she could find better Mexican offerings much closer to where she lives….

Laurie ordered the Enchilada Verdes. ($14.00) She had 3 soft corn tortillas stuffed with chicken and topped with tomatillo sauce, melted cheese and cream.  Laurie really liked her enchiladas!

She had been tempted to order ceviche, specifically the Pescado and Camaron…fresh fish and shrimp marinated in lime juice, mixed with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, avocado and mango. ($12.00) We haven’t had ceviche since we left Chicago.  We used to order it regularly…

I almost ordered the Al Carbon tacos…filled with my choice of steak or chicken. ($13.00) Instead I went for the Carne Asada A La Yucateca. ($16.95) This is a marinated skirt steak in achiote and grilled.  It was served with Mexican rice, refried beans and sweet plantains.  It was quite nice if a little bland for my taste. (FYI…I do realize that most Mexican dishes are not spicy hot)

My other dining option would have been the Carne Al Tamarindo…marinated grilled skirt steak topped with homemade roasted tomato and tamarind sauce and accompanied by a (small?) Tulum salad. ($21.00) The Tulum salad includes a little marinated chicken, fresh corn, black beans, cheese, tortilla strips, tomato and mixed greens…tossed in Cheen-Huaye’s homemade cilantro-lime peanut vinaigrette. Both the steak and the salad sound interesting!

I must say that our service was very ‘spotty’.  At times we thought that our waitress had left for the night… We had to wait for her to show up or return with something we’d requested too many times.  On a positive note, when I requested some ‘heat’ to spice up my food, she eventually brought this bowl and pestle to the table...nice presentation.  It contained some spicy if not particularly ‘hot’ peppers partially ground up in the bottom of the bowl.

I haven’t completed a review of Cheen-Huaye for Trip Advisor… When I do, the best I’ll be able to rate this restaurant is “Good”…service issues with an interesting menu.  If they were in our neighborhood in East Tennessee, I’d go back and try other menu items and give their servers another chance…

Cheen-Huaye is located at 15400 Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami Florida.  Phone: 305-956-2822.  You can check out their website and menu at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Biscayne Bay – Boats, Yachts and Ships

I really like boats in every format… Even though I know better, there is something about the fabled romance of the seas that grabs me.  The problem is that I enjoy being on boats that are cruising along the coast or a long a river, doing a little sightseeing, but I have no interest in the open sea or, for that matter, a cruise on a giant passenger ship.  Whatever my bias or fixation, I just like looking at boats and imaging where they’ve been or might go…

While we were in Miami and during our guided tour of Biscayne Bay, I encountered a plethora of boats, yachts and ships…enough to let my imagination go wild!

This sailing ship is another tourist cruising opportunity.  The Heritage of Miami II was built in Norfolk Virginia and she spent her first season sailing on day trips from Hampton Virginia under the name of Virginia Rover.
The Heritage of Miami II is 85 feet long and she has a beam of 16 feet.  The owners claim that this is the only commercial sailboat in Miami.  They promote her use for weddings, birthdays or a corporate event with up to 41 guests.  To learn more, just go to

This is the National Response Corporation’s ship the NRC Liberty.  She is a Pollution Control Vessel.  This 121 foot ship was built in 1981 and she weighs 200 tons.  

A bit of research revealed many trawler-type ships like the Liberty…
National Response Corporation holds the highest oil spill contractor classification offered by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).  National Response Corporation maintains stockpiles of oil spill equipment around the US and internationally for immediate response.  The company has over 15,000 vessels, 2,000 barges and approximately 1,400 assorted facilities, refineries and pipelines as its clients.   

I’m too lazy to want to work on a sail boat or ship… But I do like the way they look!  The Tamaris is an 82-foot Philip Rhodes Sailboat.  She was built by the Burger Boat Company.  With the advent of electric arc welding, Burger developed techniques for the construction of all welded steel hulls for pleasure craft.  In 1938, Burger built the Tamaris, the country’s first all-welded steel auxiliary ketch. 

If you’d like to go sailing, the Tamaris is available!  Her daily rate, (from 10 AM to 4 PM is only $3,500 with crew and refreshments… Interested?  Just click on this link:

Now this is a Yacht!!  Actually it’s a 228 foot long megayacht… In reality it’s not a yacht in the normal sense of the word.

The SeaFair is the world’s first megayacht venue showcasing unique works of art, jewelry, and collectables in ports along the US eastern seaboard.  The yacht features 4 decks, 28 custom designed galleries, gourmet dining, a champagne and caviar lounge as well as an open-air sky deck.  The idea is that as the first mobile marine venue, SeaFair offers exposure to smaller, affluent, less competitive markets and provides a classy venue to host potential clients in each port.  All events will take place in port only. 

Even just attending an exhibit on this yacht is a bit above my status but if you’re interested in staging an event or seeking an event to attend on the SeaFair, just go to

Mark Cuban owns this ‘little’ 288 foot long megayacht named ‘Fountainhead’.  It’s the sister ship to Larry Ellison’s megayacht, the ‘Mushashi’.  With this acquisition, Cuban entered the list of the Top 100 Largest Yachts list in 2012.  Among other things, Cuban is the owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures.  Of course, Ellison was the co-founder of Oracle.  The Fountainhead is ‘flagged’ or ‘registered’ in the Cayman Islands.  This yacht was built 2011 by Feadship in the Netherlands.

FYI…This is a ‘borrowed’ photo of the largest megayacht in the world.  The ‘Azzam’ is owned by Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the royal family from Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates.  Built by Germany’s Lürssen Yachts, the Azzam also has impressive speed due to her innovative water-jet propulsion system (two fixed jets, two directional), which catapults this 590-foot yacht at a staggering speed of 31.5+ knots. (That’s 36.2 mph!)

While I couldn’t find any information on the tugboat Miami as shown above, I just like the look of these hard working boats!

Here’s another tugboat with one of the several big bridges across Biscayne Bay in the background.  This is the Port of Brangus, a towboat from New York City.  It was built in Port Allen Louisiana in 1965.

This 3-masted 138 foot Bermuda schooner has quite a story to tell!  She was built in Emden, Germany in 1922 as a steel-hulled ship for trawl-fishing in the Baltic Sea. Estelle's hometown is Turku Finland. She is now owned by a "Ship to Gaza" company called ‘Northern Breeze AB’ from Finland.  She is the largest sail ship registered in Finland.
Estelle was previously maintained by volunteers who sailed to Africa to export assistance supplies and bring back fair trade goods.  She made her first trip to Angola in 2002.  Following that trip Estelle has mainly sailed in the Baltic Sea, participating in the Tall Ships Race of 2003 and collaborating with Greenpeace on research and campaign work.

Although the SV Estelle was sold to Swedish interests 2012, she is still registered in Finland.  The new ownership used her in an attempt to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.   Estelle departed for the Gaza Strip to try to break Israel's maritime blockade in the summer of 2012.  "We are sailing with peaceful intentions," a crew member said.  The crew consisted of 11 Swedes, 2 Finns, 5 Greeks, 4 Norwegians, 3 Israelis, 3 Spanish citizens, 1 Canadian and 1 Italian.   The Israeli military seized the vessel without incident and took it to the port of Ashdod. Those on board are to be turned over to the police.  What this ship was doing in Miami can only be imagined…

These photos show part of the Port of Miami’s container handling facilities…with the Miami skyline in the background.  ‘PortMiami’ is connected to Downtown Miami by Port Boulevard, a bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. (A tunnel is currently being built to alleviate traffic issue on the bridge) The port is located on Dodge Island, which is the combination of three historic islands.

As of 2011, the Port of Miami accounted for 176,000 jobs and with an annual economic impact in the Miami area exceeding $18 billion.  It is the 11th largest cargo container port in the United States.  In 2010, a record 4.33 million passengers traveled through the Port of Miami with one in seven of all the world’s cruise passengers beginning their voyage from this port.

As I mentioned, I like ships and I like to take photos of them… Just my luck!  On the day we took our tour of Biscayne Bay these were the only cargo ships at the PortMiami…and none of the giant cruise ships were to be seen.
The ship on the left is the Caribbean Jade.  She’s a 330 foot long container ship that was built by the Jinling Shipyard (China) in 1997.  The Jade is registered in Antiqua and she belongs to a German shipping firm.  She has also sailed under the names ‘Sea Jade’ and ‘Mexico Express’.
The ship on the right is the Franklin Strait, previously called the Herm J.  She is registered in Antiqua/Barbuda.  When I wrote this in March she was in Barbados in the Caribbean.  There is a website that tracks over 50,000 ships, tugs, yachts, etc. around the world.  You can find a ship or check out a port to see what ships are in the harbor.  Check it out at

The Franklin Strait is also German owned although her home port is St. John’s Antiqua in the Caribbean.  She is also a 330 foot long container ship.  She was built in 2000 by the Yichang Shipyard in the People’s Republic of China. 

This is a view of the Coast Guard Station on Biscayne Bay.  This is a very big, very busy and very important Coast Guard Station. 

From what I could determine the US Coast Guard operates roughly 186 cutters, (vessels more than 65 feet long), and about 1,400 boats, defined as any vessel less than 65 feet long.  In addition, there are a significant number of large river vessels in operation that based on length, qualify as ‘cutters’. 

I was able to identify 4 Coast Guard Cutters moored at the Miami Coast Guard Station in the photo above… The USCGC Margaret Norvel, the USCGC Paul Clark and the USCGC Richard Etheridge are all new Sentinel Class Cutters. This new class of cutters is 154 feet long, 26.6 feet wide and has a top speed of 28 knots/32 mph.  They are equipped with 1 × Mk 38 Mod 2 25 mm automatic gun and 4 crew-served Browning M2 machine guns.  The ship’s complement consists of 2 officers and 20 crew members.
Margaret Norvell was a lighthouse keeper, employed by the United States Lighthouse Service, a precursor agency to the United States Coast Guard.  Norvell became a lighthouse keeper in 1891, and remained in that service for 41 years. Norvell's husband drowned in the course of his duties. Norvell was credited with saving many lives, including by venturing out into storms in a rowboat to rescue stranded mariners.

Paul Clark served as a Fireman in the United States Coast Guard.  During WWII Clark was assigned to a landing boat during an assault on a beach in North Africa.  When the craft's two other crew members were wounded by a Luftwaffe fighter, Clark took command of the craft and rescued his wounded crew members.

Richard Etheridge, an African American, served in the Union Army during the Civil War.  He achieved the rank of Sergeant and after the war he served for a time as a ‘Buffalo Soldier’ in Texas.  When he left the army, he joined the newly formed Life-Saving Service, another precursor agency to the United States Coast Guard.  Not only did he become the first black man to manage a life-saving station, he was responsible for the rescue of many mariners… His life is quite a story!  (

For a clear close up photo of a Sentinel Class Coast Guard Cutter, click on this link:

The 4th cutter I could identify was the USCGC Siticnak, a 110-foot Island-class Patrol Boats.  These cutters are a Coast Guard modification of a highly successful British-designed patrol boat.  All Island-class cutters are named after U.S. islands.  You can see a photo at:

This is the ‘Lejos’… Lejos translates to “Far Away”.  It was previously named ‘Cinque’.  This ‘modest’ 131 foot yacht is also registered in the Cayman Islands. I couldn’t find any other information on this ship…

This is the ‘Lady Sura’.  She is a 164 foot megayacht that was built in 2012 by Trinity Yachts LLC in Gulfport Mississippi.   Her port of Registry is also the Cayman Islands.  Her engines produce 2,250 horsepower.  She is available for charter with a maximum of 12 guests.  There is also a crew of 12…
Features of the Lady Sura include a full beam two-level master suite on the main deck with forward panoramic viewing windows, four guest staterooms located below and one VIP guest stateroom on the first deck.  The interior, designed by is rich in anigre, (an African hardwood), mahogany and varied burl finishes. The sky lounge is panoramic and the flybridge features a hot tub. A large tender garage aft provides ample storage for the tender, jet skis and water toys.  Lady Sura has a top speed of over 19 knots with a range of over 4,000 nautical miles. 

This is the superyacht Mylin IV.  It was built for the late Ted Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines.  The Mylin IV is still owned by Ted’s son Micky Arison, who is the Chairman and CEO at Carnival Corporation. The yacht was named after Ted’s wife Lin.   

Mylin IV is a 200 foot yacht, custom built in 1992 by Feadship in Kaag, Netherlands.  This superyacht has a cruising speed of 17 knots, a maximum speed of 20 knots and a range of 4000 nautical miles.  She offers accommodation for up to 8 guests in 4 suites.  The Mylin IV also has a 16 person crew.  

In addition to being Chairman and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, Micky Arison is also the majority owner of the NBA's Miami Heat.  Arison, who was born in 1949, is one of the world's richest businessmen, with an estimated wealth totaling roughly $5,700,000,000.   He also owns the 185 foot megayacht Sirona III.

The ‘Carpe Diem’ is the last of the superyachts I photographed.  She is 191 feet long!  The Carpe Diem was built in 2011 by Trinity Yachts LLC in Mississippi.  She cruises at 14 knots, has a crew of 12 and she sleeps 12 guests.  She has a range of 4,361 nautical miles.
The Carpe Diem is currently owned by James Packer.  He is the son of the late Australian media mogul, Kerry Packer and the grandson of Sir Frank Packer. He inherited control of the family company, Consolidated Press Holdings Limited, which controls investments in Crown Limited, Ratpac Entertainment, Zhoapin Pty Ltd and other companies.  His wealth is estimated to total $7,100,000,000 (US).

The good news is that you can charter or just purchase the Carpe Diem.  Charters range from $395,000  to $ 584,940  per week.  The asking price for the Carpe Diem is $62,000,000!  This yacht is decorated throughout with Art Deco antiques and vintage fashion photography.  It is quite stunning.  You can check out the Carpe Diem’s décor at

Laurie took this photo of the MS Bimini Superfast.  This is a fast ferry operated by Resorts World from Miami to their Bimini bay Resort and Casino.  It was built in 2001 as Superfast VI Keil, Germany for use along the west coast of Greece.  She was sold to her current owners in 2013.
In June 2013, the MS Bimini Superfast made her first daytime crossing from Miami to Bimini. Once in Bimini, passengers disembark to visit Resorts World Bimini Bay Resort and Casino.  The starting fare is $64.50 per person.  The ship sails daily Friday through Sunday during the Spring Season.  A passport is required.  To learn more, go to

The MS Bimini Superfast is a 32,728 ton ship.  She is 669 feet long and she has 10 decks.  Her cruising speed is about 33 mph.  She can carry 1,608 passengers.

And so ends my review of boats, yachts and ships encountered during our tour of Biscayne Bay… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at one of my favorite subjects!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, April 11, 2014

Knoxville’s Winter Market

Nourish Knoxville, a local non-profit organization, is the organizing force and sponsor of the first series of Winter Markets that have been held in Knoxville.  This is the same group behind the Farmer’s Market operation at Knoxville’s Market Square from spring through fall season…

So Laurie and I decided to check it out on the second Saturday in March…
Knoxville’s Winter Markets were scheduled for the second Saturday of each month, January through April.  The Market is held between 10 am and 2 pm at the old Southern Railway Station on West Depot in Knoxville. 

The vendors for the Winter Market are limited to farm and food products only. The organizer reached out to them first, only to realize they were so enthusiastic they filled all her available spaces!  So what farm products will be available…after all its winter!  Well the fact is that plenty of farm products are available at this time of the year.

Here is a list of the participating vendors for the Winter Market.  Note: Some of them may not be in attendance on a particular date.
Benefit Your Life -  gluten free baked goods; Natural Products Market; Bread of Life; The Breadheads; Buffalo Brad's Steak Jerky – beef, turkey and buffalo jerky; Colvin Family Farm; Dale's Fried Pies; Garden to Gourmet Goodness – jams, jellies, salsas; Granola Naturals; Honeyberry Farm- honey and jelly; Honey Dew Naturals – honey, beeswax products, body care; JEM Farm – pork, chicken, goat and eggs; Jennings Hollow Farm – chicken, eggs, pork and lamb; Kelly's Pasta – pasta and spice blends; Mossy Creek Mushrooms – mushrooms and mushroom grow kits; Musick Mountain Farm - produce; Old City Java – brewed coffee and baked goods; PopCulture - popsicles; Reynolds Farm – jams, pickles, salsas; Rushy Springs Farm – dried and fresh peppers, hot sauce; Shelton Farm – cornmeal, grits, wheat flour; Sherie's Garden Style Salsa – salsa, chow chow; Stone Mountain Alpacas – alpaca wool, knitted items; VG's Bakery.

That list kept us busy, that’s for sure!

The best part…for me at least…was staged outside of the Southern Depot alongside the historic train cars.  Its Knoxville’s line up of food trucks, serving up lunch and snacks made from locally sourced ingredients! 

Yes…the food truck phenomenon has truly taken root here in East Tennessee!  The Tootsie Truck offered such items as Cheese Grits ($4.50); a Breakfast Sandwich ($6.50); Local Cheeseburger ($10.00); Coq Au Vin ($9.00), and: a Horseradish Potato Cake ($3.00).  The Tootsie Truck is on the web, with a sample menu and their calendar.  Just go to  They are also on Facebook at

This is the Savory and Sweet food truck.  Menu items included Shepherd’s Pie ($9.00); Corn Cakes with black and pinto beans plus salsa and chipotle cream ($7.00); Naan with Garlic Hummus plus carrots and celery ($6.00), and Deviled Eggs (2 for $3.00).  The website for the Sweet and Savory food truck is found at  They are also on Facebook at

Laurie bought these deviled eggs from the Savory and Sweet food truck… She really liked these deviled eggs…although she makes great ones herself!

I checked the Sweet and Savory website and found that another specialty that they make is deep fried deviled eggs!  The boiled egg whites are washed in more egg white and then dipped in corn meal before putting them in the deep fryer and filling them with the egg yolk mixture.  Then they dress them up with a little chow chow…

Bull’s BBQ food truck featured such items as a Pulled Pork Parfait ($8.00); ¼ lb. Pulled Pork Sandwich ($6.00), and Smoked Chicken Wings ($1.25 each).  Bull’s BBQ can be found on Facebook at

They also have a Twitter site at  When looking at the Twitter site, I saw another of their creations… The Pulled Pork Stuffed Pretzel Pockets looked pretty interesting!

I didn’t get a photo of HOOF’s menu but as you can see, they feature local grass-fed beef.  I checked them out on their website, (, and learned that they have a constantly evolving menu which includes vegetarian offerings and salads.
Of course, I’m a carnivore and I’d snatch up one of their Classic HOOF Burgers.  The burgers are made from Century Farms’ Grass Fed Beef with Tomato Jam and Arugula.  Burgers come with an order of HOOF’s seasoned French Fries with Garlic Aioli. ($12.00) HOOF can also be found on Facebook at

Then there was the Farm to Griddle Crepes food truck… I found their menu on-line.  There is a breakfast crepe and there are vegetarian crepes.  Two offerings listed under Savory Crepes were as follows: Smoked Sunburst Trout – smoked trout, arugula, spinach, red onion, avocado, capers, Swiss cheese and Crème Fraiche ($10.00), and; Asian Pork Loin – house smoked pork loin, ginger slaw, sprouts, a blueberry-balsamic reduction and feta cheese ($9.00).

The Three Bears Coffee Company was quite busy… As I understand it, they sell some baked goods along with top notch coffee.  Three Bears Coffee Company is a coffee roasting operation that is devoted to offering coffees from the most conscientious growers in the world.  They wholesale to retailers and restaurants as well as selling whole beans and freshly brewed coffee directly to consumers at East Tennessee farmers markets.
You can check out The Three Bears Coffee Company on Facebook at

Now I was gobsmacked by this food vendor at the Winter Market!  Good Golly Tamale makes the very best tamales that I’ve ever eaten… It’s all about the masa!  Instead of being made with corn meal, these tamales are made with masa…dried corn treated with lime.  They are fluffy, fairly light and satisfying.  The tamale’s fillings are all sourced from farmer's markets and Three Rivers Market Food Co-op.  As much as possible, the ingredients are organic, local, and free-range. 

The tamales are sold from a heated compartment that is fitted on the back of the Tricycle in the photo.  They struggled to keep up with the demand and there was a sizeable line… First I ordered a Thai Chicken Tamale with roasted green chile, coconut and Thai basil.  Spectacular!  I went back for another one but they were out for the moment.  Another customer recommended that I try the Vegan Tamale…with black-eyed peas, collard greens and sweet potato in a blue corn tamale.  It was also excellent!  Laure tasted both of them and she liked the blue corn tamale the best… Sorry – No photos – I ate the Tamales without slowing down to think!

These terrific tamales are prepared in the Public House Restaurant's kitchen, and then they’re wrapped in foil for transport to the site.  They aren’t unwrapped until they are sold.  Good Golly Tamale can be found on Facebook at  To learn more about the Public House Restaurant and its own quirky and interesting menu, go to

There was plenty of action indoors as well… A plethora of farm and food vendors were set up inside the original dining room of the former Southern Train Depot.  They were selling an amazing selection of local farm products, including meat, winter produce, baked goods, coffee, specialty foods, and more!

It's hard to tell by our photos, but even outdoors the Winter Market wasn’t all about the food trucks… There was a big selection of plants for shoppers to peruse…plus a big booth for VG’s Bakery selling baked goods as fast as they could take the money!

As you can see, it was a sunny and comfortable late winter day for the farmer’s market… Everyone was in a great mood!  These flowers added a bit of cheer and color to the event…

Laurie bought these 3 plants…Polemonium Stairway to Heaven, aka Jacob’s Ladder. (With our unusually cold spring weather and repeated frosts and freezes, they’ve been repeatedly covered and uncovered to protect them)

We also purchased a variety of baked goods from VG’s Bakery’s booth…bread, scones and Danish sweet rolls… We failed to take a picture but they were excellent! FYI…VG’s Bakery’s store is located at 11552 Kingston Pike in Farragut Tennessee.  VG’s website can be found at

I almost forgot!  Laurie loves brown eggs and in this case the ones that she purchased from Spring Creek Farms at the Winter Market ranged from brown to pastels…

Good News!  If you live in the Knoxville area, there are 2 more Winter Markets scheduled!  The first one will be tomorrow, Saturday, 4/12/14.  Due to the popularity and success of this event, one additional Winter Market has been scheduled.  It will be on Saturday, 4/22/14.  Don’t miss it!

Following the final Winter Market at the old Southern Railway Depot, the weekly Farmer’s Market events will resume in Knoxville’s downtown Market Square.  To learn more and to check the list of participating vendors and products, just go to

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave