Welcome to the UltraEscape

No home, no car, no worries. On the road since 1996, a TechNomad couple share their travel secrets and adventures.

Seagate Cottage

Seagate Cottage,
Neptune Beach, Florida.

What a great find. The three bedroom, one bath, cape-cod style upper floor vacation rental is just a block from the beach.

The front stairway leads up to a sun porch that is ideal for coffee in the morning and wine by candle light in the evening.

It's air conditioned with a ceiling fan and plenty of screened windows to let in the sea breeze. There is plenty of light and space for the pursuit of drawing and painting. It reminds me of my great aunt's stately old house that overlooked Lake Michigan.

Or, can't you just see a group of lady's from a bygone era in their long dresses exchanging the latest gossip, while drinking afternoon tea from flowery cups, awaiting the return of their husbands who are at sea?

The combination living and dining room is comfortable, well decorated and features an electric fireplace and wood floor. I love all the little decorative touches. On the mantel there is a crab holding a sign with the reminder, "Don't be crabby, you're at the beach". The bookcase has video's and Cd's for various ages and books by some of my favorite authors.

The colors are off in this photo. The walls are white, cream and sand. The steamer trunk in the center of the room is used as a coffee table and has the initials, M.J.F. stamped on the ends. I wonder who that was and where they traveled?

The master bedroom has plenty of windows and a comfortable sofa to facilitate needle punch and reading. Can't you just imagine being served breakfast in bed?

I just finished reading Amy Tan's, "The Bonesetter's Daughter" while lounging on this sofa. And I have a needle punch project in progress.

The smallest bedroom has a built-in desk with room for the laptop computer and printer. It has a trundle bed. It's the perfect spot for work. The side window's look out onto the sun porch.

The front window overlooks Seagate Ave. on the Neptune Beach side of the road and 20th Ave N. on the Jacksonville Beach side of the road.

The line separating the two cities runs down the center of the street.

The second guest room has a double bed and window's facing the front and side of the house.

The bath is small but functional. I love the old fashioned style basin and large shower head.

The kitchen is small, compact and quaint with high ceilings. The door off the kitchen leads to the back staircase.

Located below the stairway is a patio area with a gas grill and laundry room. There is a three car garage for use by the residents.

Bikes are provided for riding on the hard sand beach and exploring the many shops, restaurants and businesses located nearby. On the whole it is a perfect place to work, read, paint, craft and dream. And did I mention it is only a short walk to the beach?

The Angel and the Dolphin

It was Sunday. Two days before we had realized the condo we had found the previous weekend would not be available. First, we had been told it would be ready on the previous Wednesday, then it would not be ready until that Saturday. Late Friday evening we learned it would not be ready for at least an additional week and that the price had doubled! We had just wasted a week.

We spent Saturday on the Internet re-looking at our options in the Jacksonville Beach, Florida area. We found a house that sounded great. It was the right price, but it was six blocks from the beach in a high traffic area. It did have a piano, a plus. And, it would be available the next weekend. But, we couldn't actually look at it. It was currently occupied, a minus. It was a possibility.

Dan continued to search on-line and make phone calls; I stood out on the balcony overlooking the pool and the beach. As my gaze wandered over the pool I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was an angel. It floated and drifted on the surface of the pool. The angel's perfectly formed shadow, outlined 4 ft. below the surface, caught my attention first.

Let me explain. Earlier that morning I watch as the pool guy sprayed the tiles with something that created the bubbles that formed this wonderful shape. Could this be a sign of pending good luck in our search?

That evening I once again stood on the balcony of the Comfort Inn watching the sun set over the Atlantic. I thought about our day. We had looked at another condo. It was on the third floor, no elevator. It was a shot-gun type arrangement with a balcony overlooking the beach. It was to small.

We were currently waiting to look at another prospective place that had great potential. Suddenly from the corner of my eye I spotted a dolphin riding the crest of a foaming wave. Was this another sign that we would end our search today?

Yes. Absolutely. The place was nearly perfect. A three bedroom, cape cod style apartment on the upper floor of an older home just one block from the beach. We moved in two days later and have already extend an extra month. I love it.

So, could the sightings of the angel and the dolphin that kept my spirits high all that day have really help us find Seagate Cottage?

Sailing on Sand

Wow, it's the unexpected adventures that make our travel lifestyle so worthwhile.

The sun was finally shining, the wind still cool and the beach beckoned. Walking on Jacksonville Beach or any beach is a great way to both relax and get exercise.

Today, the seagulls cooperated by not flying away when approached for a photo. Two wind sailing vehicles zoomed across the beach near the pier. I stood still as one vehicle tacked with the wind before me, then zoomed away. I turned so the sun was to my back and raised my new Casio Exilim 7.2 mega pixel camera to see if I could catch the colorful action on video.


To my surprise, one of the vehicles approched and stopped. The elderly captian, in a navy blue USS Sarasota cap, invited me to take a ride. Since I had just been reading about steping out of my comfort zone, I decided to go for it. Soon, I was sailing across the hardpacked sand.

It was great fun to rush toward the waves, then swerve suddenly either to the right or to the left and loop around only to do it again. With one leg braced on the side of the frame, the other perched on a rope tied between the frame and center support and only one handhold, a bunge cord straped to the center support, each turn felt as if you were going to spill out onto the sand.

To soon, the unexpected trip was over and I continued on my walk excitedly planning what to say about my unexpected adventure.

How often do you step out of your comfort zone? Have you tried wind sailing? I recommend it.