We left Key West on February 28th to join much of Pat’s family in Oldsmar, FL. We have a niece, Robin, who lives in Oldsmar with her two children. This year Pat’s brother and sister, Geri and Mary Lee, and their spouses rented a house in Oldsmar for a month, so we decided to find a place nearby to camp and join them for two weeks. The rented house seemed to have a revolving door as Geri and Mary Lee’s children came to visit and escape the severe winter weather in Michigan and Wisconsin.
We stayed at the Bay Bayou RV Park, which was convenient to both Robin’s apartment and the rented house. We could even ride our bikes to the rented house which made it even more convenient!
One of the first things we did was go to the horse races at Tampa Bay Downs. This was a first for us! The rest of the group told us how to get a Groupon pass for the event and we were literally “off to the races!” What a great time! We bet on every race and had a mix of winners and losers. The race program gave us all sorts of statistics and advice on how to figure out your bet and encouraged us to make it fun and enjoy the day. All in all, it was a rather inexpensive way to have a fun afternoon. After the race we all went to the Salt Rock Tavern where we got half price drinks with our losing tickets – another plus.
When our sister-in-law Maureen came to visit we discovered another unique outing – Dolphin watching! We boarded our boat, the Dolphin Racer, in Saint Petersburg. This is a powerful boat that creates a huge wave that the dolphins love to play in. As we traveled around Tampa Bay we all watched for pods of dolphins. When a pod was spotted our captain would pilot the boat near the pod and speed up to create our wave. If the dolphins were in a playful mood they would swim into our wake and surf on the wave – what a thrill!
Later in the week we took to the water again. We spent a few hours enjoying Clearwater Beach. While Pat and I are always used to warm weather in the winter, our relatives from Michigan and Wisconsin were just loving the warm sun. After the beach we boarded the Calypso Queen for a buffet dinner and sunset cruise. it was a pleasant surprise to find we had reserved seats instead of having to scramble for good seats. Being seated next to the bar was certainly convenient. After dinner we headed out into the Gulf of Mexico for the sunset. We were disappointed to see a large number of low-lying clouds, but were pleased when the clouds helped to create a pretty unique sunset.
For our last night in town, we joined everyone for dinner at one of Jeremiah’s favorite restaurants. I’ve never had sushi before so the Sushi Alive Asian Bistro and Raw Bar was a new experience.
It was a special treat to see so many of our family outside of Michigan. As full time RVers we have become used to a slower pace and keeping up with our family of “tourists” kept us very busy. On March 16th we headed north and our next stop at the Navy’s Kings Bay Submarine Base near St. Mary’s, GA.