Do-Over

Hello! Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day…we did! First of all, we encountered the Zamboni Man, doing his daily clean of our hotel. Who would have thought???

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Yesterday, I bitched about our trip to Tarpon Springs, and how we did not enjoy the trip, or what we found when we got there. Well guess what…we did a “do-over” today, and had a great time. First of all, I realized that I was a little hungover yesterday morning (thanks Lindsey), and hated the road we used to get there. We can blame that on our wonderful GPS, which took us the “fastest” way. We loved the trip home, along the water, through Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, and Sand Key. So, what did we do this morning?? We headed back that way, driving along the barrier beaches, and almost never losing sight of the water! When we left Indian Rocks Beach, it was overcast, and temps were in the high 60s, but soon the sun and blue skies appeared, and the temp went up to around 80! Perfect weather to drive with the windows down, and the sunroof open!

F05EE9D8-23D2-45F6-952D-9E721F73FA18For some reason (probably because I was in a better mood), Tarpon Springs seemed a lot nicer today. We parked in a lot for $5, went across the street to Yianni’s, and had a perfect Greek lunch. Oh, did I mention we started lunch with 2 for 1 Bloody Marys? Then we shared a hummus appetizer, and we both had a great Gyro Platter. How the hell do your pronounce that word??? I want to say “year ro”, but after years of calling it a “Gi-Ro” platter, it’s really hard to change. So what usually happens, is that you do half the old way, (Gi-Ro) and half the correct way (“Year-Ro”), and sound like an ass. However you pronounce it, it was very good!

Then Susie did a little shopping, but the highlight of the trip for me, was this great hat that Susie bought me at one of the stores she went into (I stood outside watching the people!) in Tarpon Springs. I will continue to wear it proudly…well maybe not in Disney World….during the remainder of our Florida Trip!

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Then we headed back to our hotel in Indian Rocks Beach, and recuperated for a bit in our room, after which we decided to go down to Jimmy Guana’s, and there was our favorite bartender, Lindsey, at the inside bar. We sat with her for a couple of hours, till she went off duty, and she transferred us to Brian. The restaurant had a big Valentine’s Day Buffet Dinner tonight, but we were happy eating at the bar and having a fish sandwich and a burger. Great discussions first with Lindsey, and then with Brian. Then we entered into discussion with Patrick, a patron at the bar, who lives in New York City, and is a former FBI agent! We finally called it quits, and headed to our room.

We are looking at a relaxing day tomorrow. Breakfast at the hotel, a couple of hours sitting by the pool reading or sleeping, and then a night with our favorite bartender Lindsey! Life is really good, and we are contemplating coming back to this area next winter, and renting a place for 2-3 weeks, because we love this part of Florida, specifically Indian Rocks Beach! No big philosophical thoughts beyond the fact that it’s summer (which we love), and we are in a place we are really enjoying, and we are together!!! A perfect Valentine’s Day for us!

Hope you had a good Valentine’s Day, and are as lucky as we are!!

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Well, we did it!

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I commented yesterday how much we loved this Holiday Inn in Indian Rocks Beach, and what a good time we had last night at the on-site restaurant, Jimmy Guanas. We loved what we’d seen of the town of Indian Rocks Beach, the style of the hotel, and did I mention the bar at Jimmy Guanas? This morning, on the way to breakfast, we stopped in at the office, and we were able to extend our stay two nights. So rather than staying in a Comfort Suites in the middle of nowhere in Fort Myers, we are staying here till the morning of Friday February 16th. The primary reason that we were staying at Fort Myers, is because Susie wants to see Sanibel Island, but we figure we may do a day trip from here one day, and would much rather come back to this place. Mission accomplished.

Today, we wanted again to venture to the past a bit. I know, didn’t yesterday teach us anything? I guess not, because after breakfast, we ventured up the road to a place we visited 20+ years ago with the kids, Tarpon Springs. We let the GPS guide us there, and that was our first mistake. She took us on 19, which was 8 lanes of traffic, with scenery straight out of the American Business Playbook! CVS, Walgreens, Publix, McDonalds, Buffalo Wild Wings, and many more that I’ve already forgotten! In a word, the drive was boring, and half way there, I was already falling asleep!

Was Tarpon Springs like we remembered? Absolutely not! We seemed to have in our mind a sleepy fishing village set against the Gulf of Mexico, but what we got was a very crowded 6 or 7 block stretch with stores on one side, and docks on the other. It reminded me of Cozemel, Mexico, with people hawking you to shop, eat, or go on a boat ride. We were very sorry we ate breakfast at the hotel this morning, because had we not, we would have loved to stop for lunch in one of the many Greek Restaurants we passed. We decided to pass on it today, and thought that perhaps we might head back there on another day this week for a nice lunch.

FAF2D7B3-B65E-4533-A836-977C9D8885A7Our trip back, however really hit it out of the park! We discovered Alternate 19 South, which was a lovely ride back to Indian Rocks Beach, staying on the water for the majority of the ride. We went through Clearwater and Clearwater Beach, and Sand Key, back to Indian Rocks. It may have taken a bit longer, but we loved the sights. Oh, did I mention that the temperature was in the upper 70s, and we had the windows and the sunroof of the Sonata open? It was wonderful for February 13th!

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For all our OC Family!

Since we were enjoying the ride so much, we thought we’d continue down the beach road to Treasure Island, a place where we stayed with the kids on that same trip. Back in the day, we stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment, right on the beach, at the Buccaneer Motel. It was a small place, surrounded by other small places, and we were surprised to find that many of those small places are still in Treasure Island, but not the Buccaneer. Susie found it’s former address on a web site, and there is now a big condo building at that address. Oh well, we did enjoy the ride!

We came back to the room, had a Rum and Coke, and got ourselves ready for a 6:30 dinner reservation I made at an Italian Restaurant just down the road, You see, the day before Ash Wednesday in my Dad’s family was always celebrated as Carnaval, or, Fat Tuesday! The last day before Lent started, was always an occasion to eat a big Italian meal, of all your favorite things you’d miss during Lent. Years ago, we started carrying on the tradition that I remembered as a kid, and we’d have family and friends over, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday for a full Italian celebration. Well, it happens that for the last several years, we’ve been on the road traveling, so be it in Las Vegas, or Disney World, or Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, we try and celebrate this day by eating out Italian, and remembering the years we put on the party!

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We never remember to take before pictures of food!

So now we are back from having a wonderful meal at Villa Gallace, right here in Indian Rocks Beach. First, great mussels, then Susie had Rigatoni Bolognese, and I had Lasagna. A restaurant that has it’s roots in an immigrant from Italy who settled in NYC, before moving to the Sunshine State! Excellent food, great service, and a perfect Carnaval celebration! Oh, and guess where we ended the night? At the Tiki Bar at Jimmy Guana’s! A perfect end to a nice day!

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So, that’s it for today! It was a good day, that Susie and I enjoyed, and as we’ve often said, it’s our vacation, and we do what we enjoy. Good, bad, or indifferent. We may not do what other people would do here, but it’s what WE like to do. No, we are not into sports or hiking, and spending hours on our feet sightseeing is no longer our desire. We question ourselves sometimes, but then remember IT’S OUR VACATION! We pace ourselves, and do what we want. How boring the world would be if we were all the same with the same tastes and desires. That’s why cars come in different colors!

The weatherman says that there’s a 60% chance of snow in Ocean City on Saturday, with a high of 37 degrees! The rest of the week in Indian Rocks Beach is forecasted to be warm, with highs in the 80s! That’s what we came south for!!

See you tomorrow!

PS…did you see what somebody in the graphics department at the ABC TV station in Chicago did? OMG!

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Kinda makes me want Chinese food!