Sunday, February 19, 2012

Good Bye to our "forever friends" Larry & Juanita

Sunday, 2/19/12 - I can't believe I have fallen so far behind on the blog, I mean not that we have done anything that exciting but still.......

However, we spent all day Saturday with our good friends Juanita and Larry who we met in an RV park last November in Fort Lauderdale. Because of my hectic schedule for the rest of February and they leave for home, Georgia on March 1st.....this was our farewell day and we made it a good one.

We left our house about 9:30 am and headed for downtown St Petersburg. about 15 minutes from our place. They have a wonderful downtown area that Will and I had visited last week but they wanted to see it and we were happy to go again. We started off at the Pier, which has a $3 all day parking and a great aquarium building at the end of the pier that you can go up to the observation deck on the third floor. The bad news was we still had the "coastal fog" in the morning but the good news - it had finally stopped raining and Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day.

They have a great narrated, downtown loop trolley which for seniors only cost 25 cents....and what a deal it is. Some of the sights on the tour they talked about were the Historical Vinoy Hotel, with a Dale Chihuly chandelier hanging in the ballroom (more on that later), the Chihuly Museum, Salvador Dali Museum, beautiful old churches and a vibrant, lots of business and people downtown and much more.

Because this was Saturday there was a terrific Farmers Market going on downtown, so we decided to get off the trolley and wander around, listen to the music, have some lunch and check out the booths. The music was an Irish group....which Larry really enjoys, actually the first day we met them they took us to dinner at an Irish Pub. For lunch the three of them had bratwurst sausages and I had Cuban beans & rice. For dessert, I bought a bag of Kettle Korn....a perfect ending and we all indulged.

After we decided to walk up to the Vinoy Hotel to peek at the Chihuly chandelier in the Grand Ballroom, but sadly were told the ballroom was NOT available due to functions all day however we could come back at 11 pm and take a look at it. When was the last time Will and I were up at 11 pm NOT!!!!!! I actually tried to bribe a hotel worker to take my camera in there and take a picture but he said he could loose his of course I relented and we walked around this beautiful, old hotel just admiring the place.

Just across the street was the Chihuly Museum, which I had toured last Thursday when we were in St Petersburg. Will wasn't interested so he waited in the park across the street sitting on a park bench while I was thrilled with the unbelievable collection they have there. Juanita really wanted to see it so we sent her in, while the three of us waited in the park for her. She also loved it and it was a fabulous collection of Chihuly glass works. Every since seeing it for the first time at the Arizona Botanical Gardens I have just loved his work and have now seen it in Tacoma, WA and Nancy's apartment building in New York City had a Chihuly chandelier hanging in the lobby. A real treat and if you ever get the opportunity....take it.

After St Petersburg, Larry wanted to take a drive over the Sunshine Skyway bridge which is just south of St Pete's on I-275. This is a beautiful bridge, painted bright yellow that replaced the original bridge a few years back. So we drove over the toll bridge and when we reached the other side, turned around and came back.

We then decided to head over to Gulf Blvd and drive along the Gulf of Mexico while heading back to our house. We started out at St Pete's Beach and then headed into Treasure Island. These are all beach towns located on the Gulf of Mexico and are very touristy and crowded. We then decided to stop at John's Pass Village & Boardwalk - which we had already visited but were ready for a second time. Lots of restaurants, tourist shops, and an ice cream store every 20 feet or so. Honestly, we have never seen so many ice cream shops in one place before. We walked around and looked at the boats, the people and then Will announced, "he was buying dinner" and now we started looking at menus. We finally settled on Bubba Gumps. Now I have always been sort of a snob about this hokey it must be but honestly we had a great dinner and the service was excellent. The guys had fish & chips, which they said they fish was delicious & called Hoki. Juanita and I had Mahi Mahi fish sandwiches which were also delicious and then Larry treated us all to an Edy's ice cream dessert. It was quite a food day that's for sure.

By this time it was dark so we turned the girlfriend, GPS on and asked her to take us home, which she eventually did.....after we got lost a couple of times. We didn't get home until about 8 pm but had a wonderful day with our new "forever friends" - Juanita and Larry. We have so enjoyed our time with them and know our paths are destined to cross in the future. Enjoy your beautiful, new RV and we can't wait for you to "come West."

The blog will be taking a short vacation until after the first of March due to the fact that daughter Nancy will be working in the area and I am sure I will be spending some time with her. Also when I check back in March I will have turned 70 years old......can you believe it??? I can't, how did this happen....but this February Leap Year month will be my 70th birthday. Much love to all our family and friends and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, caw.


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