Wanderung 28

A Warm Winter Break

December 2013 - January 2014


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Saturday December 28, 2013: Drive from Homosassa to Tampa

Rather reluctantly we packed up on Saturday morning, cleared the refrigerator, loaded and started the dishwasher, and locked up the house as we left. We drove the slow but scenic coastal route to Tarpon Springs. The Greek sponge-diving boat area of the town was so full of tourists that we did not try to stop there but continued South a bit to the next inlet and parked next to a museum, which was unfortunately (from my point of view) closed. Still, we got out to walk around the inlet and watch some waterfowl and manatees grazing underwater. Of course, the manatees were 99% underwater, so we only saw the occasional tail break the surface as they dove back to the bottom to feed. They certainly attracted the attention of some folks on paddle boards and kayaks, though, and I could clearly see why they swam off to avoid being pestered by the rubberneckers. Poor things!

Having lunch along the way, we continued on South along the coast to Clearwater, Florida, where we again stopped to walk about a bit. We started down the main street past an old Art Deco style of theater that I found quite pretty. The old town area led downhill a bit to the dock. A big, high, bridge loomed over the dock area and led out to a couple of barrier islands, much like those found on the Atlantic coast side of Florida.

We all drove on South to Bradenton where we sadly parted from Ondina and Ericka. Martin, Tanya, Monika, and I drove back across the Sunshine Bridge at the mouth of Tampa Bay to Tampa's airport, where we dropped them off for their flight back to Chicago. Having heard that Chicago was at that moment 15 degrees Fahrenheit, we were just as happy to drive to our Quality Inn in Tampa near the old Ybor City area, where it was a LOT warmer. I was happy to find that the $5 Sunpass for Florida toll roads which I had purchased at the state Welcome Center the week before actually worked!

I had mentally held my breath when we first went through the toll booths, because first off the toll booths had bars across the front, and secondly there were no "manual" or "cash" or "credit card" lanes that I could see. So if our new rinky-dink transponder didn't work, what exactly was I supposed to do? Fortunately for me, our tinfoil Sunpass was in fact accepted as a bona fide Florida Sunpass. Phew! Despite taking the shortcut of the bridge to the airport, I was tired of driving at the end of the day as I had been behind the wheel for about 4 or 5 hours in total; the distances we had driven were quite short, but we had also driven quite slowly. So instead of going out to eat after registering in the hotel, we just had some leftover nuts and crackers for our evening snack and curled up for the night.

Copyright 2014 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt


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Map of Homosassa, Florida Map of Western Caribbean Cruise Map of Panama Canal Cruise

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January 2014
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