3.  Welcome Emma Yvonne!, fun with Claire & a camper-trip with Jill…2.2018

Day 15  
Jill & I woke up in a busy campground but ready to move on to the Gulf Coast.  Jill’s new little travel trailer is adorable & super functional…it’s perfect for her.  She’s been on a big learning curve the past two weeks, with Greg by her side, but so ready to learn this new style of travel.  She got out her tools & started the process of packing up, hooking up & getting ready to hit the road.  We stopped down the road at a grocery store to get some food & had our first meal in the trailer in the parking lot.

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We had reservations at Fort De Soto campground; a state park out in the gulf just south of Tampa.  We made good time to the campground & Jill successfully backed in the first time!  We were both so excited…the pressure was off!

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It was only a matter of minutes, however, before Jill realized the electric hook up was on the other side of the site & unreachable from where she was currently parked.  So, we hauled the heavy picnic table to the other side & prepared to back it in again.  This time was way more stressful due to some crazy obstacles in the way…built in trash cans & multiple trees in front of the car on the other side of this narrow road & a super low hanging branch over the spot where Jill needed to park the trailer.  The worst part about this was that everytime she tried to back in, she would block the road & a line of cars & campers would form…super stressful.  She finally made it in, avoiding all these crazy obstacles & getting close enough to the plug in pole.  Then she had a war with disengaging the ball hitch, but finally achieved victory.  The trailer was supposed to be able to be moved by two people using the hand holds on the front & back of the trailer.  Although, they probably didn’t mean while it’s sitting in sand.  We got it to budge…but not enough & then we had an “oops!” moment & had to troubleshoot the pickle we’d gotten ourselves into.  But we did it!  Things got to be funny by that time & once all was done, Jill said it was time for a cider (me  time for a beer).  It would become the tradition after everytime she backed into a campsite.

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By the time darkness fell, shed grilled dinner & ended the evening sitting outside visitingone of our favorite & never-gets-old things to do.

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Day 16
We’re staying at this park for a couple of days, so today we’d explore this state park & take in some beach time. But first we spent some time in the trailer over coffee, just chatting & catching up.  Mid morning, we took a long walk on the beach & saw 3 manatees & some dolphins playing.

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We drove back to the campground for a lazy lunch at the trailer.  We’d planned on going kayaking, but the wind had picked up & neither of us felt like fighting the wind, so we walked on another beach in the park.  There was no unobstructed western view from the park, but we still managed to take in the sunset on our second trip to the beach.

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Then we went back to the trailer for a yummy dinner, a beer/cider, & more wonderful conversation!

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Day 17
Up early this morning & heading south.  We ate breakfast out in Bradenton Beach at the Sage Cafe & had a 10 am appointment on Anna Maria Island for a new adventure!  Jill had been on a Segway last fall in Dallas, so when I was researching things to do, she said “you’ve got to try the Segway!”…& so we did!  We were a group of two, led by a local rather show-offy guide.  But they were fun! The bike path we drove on was next to the beach with beautiful views of the water…it was fun with a big side of eye candy!

We started with a little instruction….

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We took a walk on the beach after our Segway tour, then drove to the other end of the island to go in & out of the little shops.  They were unique & not like most of the tourist places you find.  The day was super warm & so very sunny….It was so great to be here & not in the freezing cold winter of Kansas!  One of the shops we went in to was a gear store that also sold choose your own sixpack of local beers…so I bought a couple of ciders, a couple of beers for Danny & two IPA’s for me.  The lady selling the beer was another beer geek & was enjoying discussing beer with another beer snob!  I’ve only been in one other gear store—in North Carolina—that sold beer.  Wish this trend catch on at more stores like this!

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We ate lunch at a local water side bar called Tide Tables…it was perfect!  A great view, yummy food & local beer!

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We went for a walk on the bridge we’d been told about & it was a beautiful view of the Gulf waters.  We did have a brief ‘run for your life moment’ when the draw bridge bells dinged loudly & gate started to come down on top of us…but as usual, we ended up laughing about it!

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We went to Coquina Beach to sit & read & watch another great Florida sunset!

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We spent the cool evening in camp, just enjoying the night sky (almost full moon!) & more chatting!

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