Friday, January 30, 2009

THE PIER




1/30/09---Still cool and breezy, but not bad enough to keep us in the room. We spent much of the day at “The Pier” in downtown St. Petersburg. It is a rather nice place with trolley service from the parking lot to the 5 story building on the end of the pier. The pier sticks out into the Tampa Bay and has been in service since 1889. There have been a few up grades since the original! There are several shops and restaurants in the facility. We had a great meal at the “Columbia Restaurant” on the 4th floor and enjoyed a terrific view of the bay. The ship on site (The Bounty) was built in 1962 by MGM for the movie “Mutiny On The Bounty”. Pelicans are very popular and seem to pose for their picture to be taken. Pelican Station sure is the right name for the trolly stop. To finish our downtown visit, we took a trolley around the area. The driver provided a lot of history about the various buildings and parks.
1/29/09---The local conditions deteriorated and the beach is nearly vacant. Maryann braved the wind and cool air to make her morning walk. She is very dedicated to a rigid, self driven, health program. The rest of us are not as eager and were lazy around the room as we waited for her to report how good she feels! The rain came down at various angles in the swirling wind. Most of the time was spent playing cribbage.

SUPER BOWL

1/28/09---Broadened our travels in the area. A large bridge over an expanse of water between St. Petersburg and Bradenton caught our attention. It is called the Sunshine Skyway.




















Since this is the week of the Super Bowl XLIII we drove around the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. That is as close as we will get since we did not come to see the game. Especially when tickets for the various levels run $500, $800 and $1000 per person. Local news indicates there are some still available. Very likely a sign of the times.




















In our travels Maryann spotted a neat church and Carol captured a photo of a very large cactus.
Found one large billboard near the stadium that shows the local team.















Located the Derby Lanes Dog Track and spent the evening placing small bets on the grey hounds. There is obviously something we don’t know about selecting the winning dogs as not one paying ticket was had in our group! Maybe that is why it is considered gambling.

SIRATA






1/26/09---From our second floor room there is a good view of the beach. Even though the daytime temperature only reaches the mid 70’s there are several people walking on the beach. The clean, white sand feels soft on the feet. We drove around to get acquainted with the area and pick up some groceries to stock the refrigerator in our suite. Sunset was quite spectacular.






1/27/09---Spent the day on the beach as the sun shined brightly and the gulf was calm. The water appeared blue and sometimes took on a green hue. There was someone attempting to fly a kite, but the air was so still he was not having much success. The best flight was a guy in his one man, powered, parasail. He was enjoying the view from his low level flight vantage point. Someone did a lot of work arranging the sand to protray their imagination. Sea gulls blended in the white sand. A boat looks stationary in the big water. Carol picked up a few sea shells. From here it is rather hard to believe that many businesses are closed in Oklahoma City because of the heavy snow fall in the central U.S.


FLORIDA

1/8-21/09---Not much to report during this time period. The 4mcgees have been staying close to their homes in Youngsville, LA. Behaving a lot like bears in hibernation, waiting for spring!

1/22-23/09---The 4mcgees are starting another driving adventure. Keith and Maryann traveled to the boat in Demopolis, Al. Everything was found to be okay and they spent some pleasant time together. The wooden alligator on display in the marina at Demopolis seems to be saying someting about the cold weather.









1/24/09---Keith and Maryann drove from Demopolis to Marianna, Florida. This town is about 57 miles west of Tallahassee. Carol and I (Allen) drove from Youngsville and met them for an overnight stay. Our plan is to spend a week near the beach on the Gulf side of central Florida. Keith said the reason we are going is because he heard on the news that Florida is the best place to be during the next cold snap.


1/25/00---We left my vehicle at the motel and the 4mcgees continued on the journey in Keith’s van. Since we had plenty of time the decision was made to not take the Interstate. We drove south to make our way along the coast. This gave us the opportunity to cross the Intracoastal Waterway a couple of times and learn where it entered the Gulf of Mexico at Apalachicola. The Gibson house caught our attention even though it has nothing to do with the boat manufacturer. There were lots of boats in the marina where the intracoastal enters the gulf.
Because of the slower travel rate it was an all day trip (10 ½ hrs) to reach our destination at the Sirata Motel in St. Pete.










Wednesday, January 7, 2009

NEW YEAR

12/31/2008-1/7/2009---All at once 2008 come to an end! Who knows what makes time fly bye. Perhaps it is the fast paced life everyone seems to lead. At any rate it is certainly hoped that each and every one of you had a joyous Christmas and started the new year with great enthusiasm.

It was wonderful to have friends and family around for the holidays.
Jeff McGee is the Grandson of Allen. You can see the pride in (Crystal) his mother, as we waited for his departure at the Lafayette airport on January 3rd. Jeff has been in the Marines for a little over 3 years. He is returning to California for additional training before he deploys to Iraq, the last week of this month. He is looking forward to achieving the rank of Sargent next month.

Another important date was January 4th. That is when Keith turned 63. He does not necessarily admit that many years, but according to the calender that is correct! His birthday was celebrated by eating pie instead of cake. It seems there were plenty of good things to eat from the holidays.
video

Friday, January 2, 2009

BOAT TRIP

December 25 - December 30, 2008

Keith and Maryann have been blessed by having their daughter and her family here in Louisiana for the Holidays. They all spent Christmas Day with us (Allen and Carol), our children and grandchildren. It was fun having so much family here! A great time was had by all. Two days later they decided to drive up to Dream Manor to check on her and to take a boat ride, weather permitting. When they arrived in Demopolis on Saturday evening, the weather was quite chilly. The next day was cold and rainy on and off. During one of the dry times, the “boys” enjoyed playing with Keith’s PT-109 radio controlled boat. FINALLY on Monday, the sun came out! Carpe Diem applied, so Dream Manor explored the Lower Black Warrior River for 2 hours, flipped a U, and returned to the Demopolis Yacht Basin. The river was deep with lots of “switchbacks”, making barge navigation a challenge. Except for being chilly, the trip was PERFECT. What a joy to experience new adventures with 8 year old Max! He thought it was really cool when the railroad bridge went up and then came down again to let a train cross the river. The next morning, they sadly bid adieu to Dream Manor once more and drove Stephanie, Max and Todd to the airport in New Orleans. Stephanie and family returned to the cold of NE Wyoming with warm memories to match those of Grandma & Grandpa’s here in Louisiana.

LOUISIANA CHRISTMAS






12/12/08-12/25/08---Busy time in Louisiana. Finished putting up lights, shopping and making preparations for the big day. Carol had an elective surgery on December 16th to fix a problem around her right eye. Muscle had not attached from when she had brain surgery two years ago. Her vision is much better now. She healed quickly and was ready for her birthday on December 25th. Yes that is Christmas day. A good time was had by all as the family gathered for Christmas dinner.