Monday, March 19, 2012

Key West - Day 9, Mon, 3/19/2012

We left Bradenden, FL around 6:45 this morning. It took about an hour to get around Tampa area.  We stopped for first potty break and snack around 8:30. We swapped drivers and drove on toward Ocala. We stopped for gas around 9:30 in Gainesville. Gas price was $3.85 (Sammy helped with the gas).

We crossed into Georgia around 11:00. Goodbye Florida. We filled up with gas about 40 miles from Atlanta around 2:00. We drove through Atlanta without any traffic problem and stopped in Adairsville, 60 miles from Chattanooga, at 3:30 for dinner at Cracker Barrel.   We are always glad to see the Welcome to Tennessee sign. 

Back on road at 4:00, we headed toward north, hoping 5:00 traffic would not be too bad in Chattanooga.  Traffic was actually light and we breezed through Chattanooga.  We made our last rest area stop at the river and the pulled into home at 5:45 CT.  It was 13 hours driving to cover the 720 miles.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Key West - Day 8 - Sun, 3/18/2012

We slept in this morning and had breakfast at the hotel at 8:30 (with all of UMASS's Softball team).  Sammy actually had his photo taken with some of the team members - that Sammy - he likes the girls.   We left the hotel at 9:00 and headed north on US 41 (Tamiami Trail).  We stopped in Punta Gorda and dropped Gwen and Patsy off at the Fisherman's Village (Waterfront Mall) while David and  I visited Muscle Car City.  There were 220 GM muscle cars (Chevy, Olds, Pontiac) and other custom rods (you don't have to look at all the pics).  David was sad when he saw a 67 Chevelle like he used to own.  David and I also met Rick Treworgy, the owner.  Afterwards, we picked up Gwen and Patsy around noon - not much shopping done since the stores do not open until noon on Sundays.




We headed north again and stopped in Venice to have lunch at Sharky's on the pier.  The food was great and the area beautiful. The beach at Venice is known to have sand with a large number of shark teeth so you could see people out panning the sand for the teeth.

After lunch we headed to Siesta Key - so did most of Florida and the US.  The Public Beach lot was full, but we pulled in any way.  There were so many cars waiting on others to leave and give up their spot.  We gave up and left.  We shopped downtown Siesta for an hour and then headed back toward the beach.  We found a back way and paid someone $15 to let us park in his yard.  We walked the beach - picked up shells  and made a sand castle.  You cannot believe the sand at Siesta - it is so fine and is made of  90% quartz.  The sand does not get hot and is cool to walk on.  Pretty coo.l.

 We left Siesta and drove to Bradenton for the night - just south of Tampa.  We plan to leave early in the morning and make our way north towards Tennessee.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Key West - Day 7, Sat, 3/17/2012

We left hotel around 7:45 this morning and headed west on Highway 41 to Everglades' Shark Valley where we had a reservation for a 2 hour tram tour through Everglades.  The tram ride was informative and we enjoyed seeing all the birds, alligators and turtles in their natural habitat rather than in a zoo or alligator farm.  So here are lot of pics - you know birds are my favorite subject to photograph.  In the photos are wood storks, purple gallinule, ibis, white heron, brown pelican, ahingas, adult and baby alligators.  Patsy even held some periphyton.



 We left Shark Valley and drove Highway 41 over to Naples.  Naples is made up of some very rich people and the city shows it.  Our goal was to go down and walk the famous Naples pier but there was a St Patrick Day parade in progress.  We were held up in traffic for an hour before we found a way to I-75. 

We got to Ft Meyer and checked into the hotel.  Later we had dinner with Uncle Phillip and Aunt Teresa and then went over to their house in Cape Coral to catch up on old times.