Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ringling Museum, Exploring Tampa Bay and Up the West Coast of Florida

Today, our last day in Sarasota, we had many false starts, as we did heading this way on Thursday.  We met up with Stella and family, then we headed to the one art/museum/cultural bit of tourism we've done on this trip -- the Ringling grounds.  We left Tima with Stella.  After Ringling, we got Tima and planned on Meeting Ken's friend, Shannon, back at the Pastry Art coffeehouse.  However, her new infant was figiting too much, so she had to leave before we were able to get there.  We said our goodbyes to Stella, and headed to the coffeehouse.  Then we had to go back to Stella's, because we forgot Tima's leash.  After finally saying our goodbyes for real, we headed to the barrier keys to explore and enjoy the beach.

  A nice afternoon thunderstorm rolled in and I talked to a family of Scots on the beach because they saw me trying to teach Tima how to swim.  Actually, Tima knows how to swim as all dogs naturally do, it is just getting her to take to the water and enjoy it without thinking she is somehow being punished.  We then started slowly meandering north.  As we did so, the nice afternoon thundershower turned into an evening of drenching rain for our drive through Tampa.

 Suyen enjoyed the beach so much she decided that we should beach hop our way north instead of doing something touristy like Orlando.

 However, our plans sort of hit a rough spot as there aren't many good beaches north of Tampa and south of the panhandle.  We took 19 north to hug the coast as best we can, and had somebody in a white Dodge extra cab truck want to drag race us.  I guess he saw that we had the cummins diesel and he wanted to try it out with his souped up hemi.  We didn't oblige.  We've ended up in the Port Hotel and Marina in Crystal River, where there are Manatees.  This hotels claim to fame is that Elvis stayed here in 1960, and, of course, the manatees.  Day Map 6-21-10

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