Sunday, August 7, 2016

On the Hoof

There's a big swirly rainstorm in the Gulf of Mexico, just to the north of us, so we're having a drizzly morning at the beach. It's not slowing us down too much -- I went out with Sue on her sea turtle nest patrol this morning. You may remember that she's a volunteer with the organization that monitors turtle nests on the island. We didn't find any new ones today but we had a good walk on the rainy beach, past several established nests, four or five wary herons and squads of frantic sandpipers and willets.

Walking is pretty much what we do around here. Yesterday Sue led me on what I jokingly called the "Bataan Death March," a 7.5-mile trek across a rumbly drawbridge and up the length of the island. I made the mistake of carrying a coffee cup and wearing sandals, and by the end I had a blister and I wanted more than anything to put down that damn cup. But, yes, the scenery was terrific. I can't really complain.

Then we had lunch in Bradenton Beach, had some beers at the beachfront Moose Lodge and browsed some thrift shops. I picked up a couple of souvenir glasses (25 cents each!) from the old Kapok Tree Inn, in Clearwater, which has been closed for years. I took my girlfriend there back in the mid-'80s -- I think we may have still been in high school at the time -- and we thought we were really swank. I think I even bought her a corsage. Anyway, I couldn't pass those up! I'm sure Dave will be thrilled, NOT.

We walked around more yesterday evening, and by the end of the day -- according to Sue's iPhone -- we'd walked more than 10 miles. I'm still tired!

Now John and Sue's dog Finnegan -- a long, skinny lab/greyhound mix -- is practically lying in my lap, demanding to be petted. He's such a funny dog. He looks alarmingly thin, but it's just his build. He's got the metabolism of a teenaged boy -- they feed him and feed him and he never puts on weight.

I'll be driving back to Tampa later today, and taking wing back to England tomorrow. I'm ready to get home and see Olga again!

Dave sent me this picture of her, with a bottle of Pimm's. I think he's trying to make me miss home! (Doesn't Olga look guilty? She doesn't understand why she's being asked to sit next to that bottle.)

(Top photo: On the beach outside the Moose Lodge, yesterday afternoon.)


  1. You'll probably sleep the whole way home. I think that Olga and Dave will be mighty glad to have you back.
    I remember the Kapok Inn. I never went there. It was like a dream of a fantasy of a restaurant.

  2. My grandmother had that restaurant on her bucket list though I am not certain she ever went. I'm glad you had a good time despite the rain...I've always thought Olga deserved her own photo book. Safe travels!

  3. Oh, the Kapok Tree! We went there several times and got the glasses! I think Dave will be thrilled! :) Too bad the place is now closed down. It was pretty swank!

    I saw a book review and thought of you. The book is called "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, by Craig Pittman." Maybe some reading material for the flight home?

  4. Olga's personality really shows through in the picture.

  5. This island sounds like such a pretty place. Glad you got out for a long walk in spite of the blister. Safe travels tomorrow.

  6. I wish my two girl cats (and I) had the metabolism of a teenage boy!

    That's the first time I've seen Olga without her big grin, I think. I barely recognized her :)

    Have a good flight back to the UK.

  7. Olga has such a sad look. I'm sure it breaks your little heart!

  8. I chuckled at your Bataan Death March remark. J and I live in a suburb of Boston called Waban (rhymes with "robin"), and a couple years ago we trudged through a snowstorm to go to a basketball game. It's a seven mile walk there and back, and usually that's no big deal...but the un-shoveled snow was knee-deep, and whenever we tried to get a break by walking in the (plowed) street, a car would come and we'd have to clamber back into the snow drifts to avoid getting hit or pelted with slush.

    We dubbed that the "Wabaan Death March," and we've never tried it again. Now if it's snowing, we just drive, figuring we'd be safer in a car crash than getting run over by a car or snowplow.

  9. So you've been on Longboat Key? Only.. you mentioned an island. Have a safe flight back to London. Copenhagen will still be waiting for you.

  10. every time you mention the Gulf I have to reset. When I think of Florida I think of the Atlantic side but of course the Gulf side also has beaches. I'm sure you, Dave, and Olga will be glad when you are back home.