Cruisin’ III

The title of this series is Cruisin’.  That would seem to indicate that at some point the story line would involve a boat?  Well, here it comes.  Crazy Dave and Mary kicked us out just in time to join the kids and Tom at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs.  The park is unique in that you take a mile-long causeway to reach the beaches out on a little spit of land.  It was a really lovely park, but our time there was cut short by the one incidence of rain we had while in Florida.  Thus, my sole photo there – you can see the storm coming:

We bolted for a Greek restaurant, Mama Maria’s, in Tarpon Springs – unfortunately, everybody else had the same idea and the place was overwhelmed.  I ordered a Greek salad (seemed like the place to do so), which arrived almost immediately.  I had long since finished said salad (a complete disregard for Emily Post’s rules of etiquette) before the hot food orders arrived for everyone else.  The server then went back to get my Greek salad, having forgotten it had already been delivered and devoured.  Then it was on to the hotel where we would all spend the night before sailing.

[Grandson Tom just waitin’ on a room.]

In keeping with our travel traditions, our room at the “suites” wasn’t ready when we arrived.  It was to be a double room to handle the 5 of us (Rita was arriving from Indiana the following morning).  When we finally obtained “clearance,” we schlepped all the bags up a long flight of stairs to what was obviously the wrong room!  Our travel bogeyman had struck again!  It behooves me to advise that the weather in SW Florida for the entire 17 days we were there (or in the vicinity) was the same everyday – sunny with highs in the mid to upper 80’s, lows in the mid to upper 60’s.  I don’t know why they need weathermen?  So, as the 5 of us stood out in the parking lot, guarding our luggage, in the heat of the late afternoon sun waiting for our room assignment, I was thinking bad thoughts.  Oh, and it’s always really humid there, too – so fungi were having a party in my unmentionables.  We finally got a room – and then it was time for dinner.  One of selling points for the place where we stayed was that it was right next door to the oh-so- fashionable “Caribbean Breeze” restaurant – where my fungi could continue their partying.  We piled into the car, basically made a U-turn into the restaurant where we discovered there was a mere hour and a half wait.  Boarding the ship couldn’t come soon enough for all of us.

[The following morning our little beauty was waiting for us at the Port of Tampa.]

[After presenting all our paperwork to numerous functionaries, we were granted the privilege of sitting together in a humongous waiting room for several more hours before boarding the ship.]

 [Tom & Danny handled the wait with great aplomb.  I noted that the young lady over Tom’s right shoulder looked an awful lot like his friend at camp last summer.]

[“Yup, that’s our boat!  And people are boarding.”]

[We didn’t board right away because we were waiting for Rita.  Her flight from Indianapolis had been delayed by thunderstorms (that good luck travel thing again).  When she finally arrived, she was whisked to the head of the line, and then ushered into the VIP section for a nosh and a beverage.  There seemed to be no explanation for her special treatment.  So we let her know what we thought about that!  😉 ]

[The view of Tampa upon boarding the Norwegian Star.]

[Our room – me and The Biddies.  By spatial necessities, a menage a’ trois.  I, as the lone male, had to make certain accommodations – such as realizing that for an entire week, every hook, knob, or protuberance in the room was going to be a resting place for every manner of female dainties.]

[We had a balcony.]

[A fellow Norwegian Cruise liner.]

[Once onboard, head topside – for the pool and the views as we prepare to leave port.]

[The Biddies found a spot in the shade – and close to the cold beverage facility!  🙂 ]

[Tanning chairs were tiered front and back – I preferred A/C.]

[We were the middle of three cruise ships leaving port.]

[The kids claimed the Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslett position at the very front.  It was the first cruise for Danny (straw hat) and Tom.]

[Tampa]

[Our trailing ship.]

[Front of the ship crew only deck.]

[Heading for the Sunshine Skyway – the connection between St. Pete and Bradenton-Sarasota, a/k/a the Bridge to Somewhere.]

[Finding my niche!]

[St. Pete]

[The Grand Atrium – our favorite hang out place.]

[The Versailles – one of several restaurants.]

[I’ll have one of each!]

[Togetherness]

[The supervisor heading for our first breakfast.]

[A cruise is NOT the thing to do if you’re on a diet!]

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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