The Aluminum Asylum

The Aluminum Asylum
Our home on wheels

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

McDill AFB Day Three
Tampa January 25, 2006

Last night we went to bed with two large windows and both ceiling vents open. Big mistake. At about 3 am I got up to go to the bathroom and when I sat on the seat it was like sitting in a bowl of ice. I closed the vent and went back to bed. I couldn’t go to sleep, so I got up and went to the bathroom again. This time before getting back onto this poor excuse for a sofa bed, I added the extra quilt to the bed. I think I drifted off to dreamland but again woke up about 5:30 am. I went to the bathroom again and it was like a refrigerator. Paul had also woken up to go to the bathroom and I asked him to close the windows. It was a long cold night! Since we didn’t have the generator on, it would have been a drain on the batteries so we didn’t turn on the furnace. Although it is an LP gas furnace, the fans are battery hogs if the rig is not on generator or shore power. Luckily, it warmed up quickly once the sun came up. After a nice breakfast, Paul and I got dressed and went to Apollo beach with Hank and Elizabeth Kerr. But first, we had lunch at Wrights Sandwich and catering shop. We all had Cuban sandwiches. Paul and I also had fresh fruit (I could eat fresh fruit until I drop over in agony) and some Tampa style potato salad. Paul had been eyeing a rather huge piece of yellow cake with chocolate frosting so I told him to get it and we would all share it. The sandwiches were fabulous, the fruit really tasty, and the potato salad so-so. We all had some cake which was, by our standards, oneof the best we have ever had. It was a huge slice, very moist and had the most wonderful old fashioned chocolate butter frosting, the kind I remember as a kid. It beats the heck out of the icky Crisco icing made in bakeries and stores today. The slice itself was huge and cost about $2.95. A whole cake, about a 12” size and about 6 inches high was $30.00 At first I thought that was outrageous, but after eating it, I would say it would be a bargain. That is compared of course to the $20 birthday cakes we buy back home. We just may have to take a trip back there tomorrow…!

It took about 30 minutes to get to Apollo Beach. It is a winter retreat and resting place for manatees to gather in the winter months. The inlet is fed by TECO which is the Tampa Electric Company. The coal burning facility creates electricity just as it does at our own City Water Light and Power in Springpatch. The water that is dumped back into the cove or bay area is much warmer and, during the winter months, the manatees come here to stay warm and comfortable. Along with the manatees, sharks and other sea fish return year after year. Of course, along with the fish come the various birds such as Blue Herons, Egrets and other Florida native birds. It is a very interesting place. It is funded by TECO and retired TECO workers act as docents and guides. The museum is small but we viewed a very interesting film about the manatees and how the power company works with various Florida conservation and animal protective groups to help save these unusual creatures. They are quite interesting to look at but are extremely laid back. There is not much activity going on in the bay, except the birds constantly on the lookout for a tasty morsel of some little fish that has wandered off or fell behind its school. The manatees just float along and occasionally a snout surfaces above the water and the owner takes in a deep breath. A manatee can stay underwater for up to 20 minutes without a breath. After taking a number of pictures of these giant creatures doing absolutely nothing, we decided to walk out on the pier directly across the power plant. I swear I saw a huge shark…of course, no one else saw it and I wasn’t fast enough to get my camera out for a quick shot. And then everyone laughs when I decline ever so politely to wade into the water at the beach. Ugh...this babe only plays in cement ponds, ya'll.

Once home to the base, we bade Hank and Elizabeth goodbye. Grandpa had stayed at the rig as he was not feeling well enough to walk about. He had a back problem and just wanted to read the paper and smoke a cigar outside on such a beautiful day. I had mentioned to Paul that Target had advertised air mattresses at a reasonable price. My back was killing me from sleeping or shall I say try to sleep on the paper thin foam mattress on the fold out sofa, couch piece of garbage in the rig. Grandpa insisted that he would sleep there, but there is no way we would let him do that. Heck if Paul and I have problems, just think what his 89 year old body would feel like the next day. The other air mattress as I explained earlier, wasn’t working out very well…I needed a ladder to get up into the darn thing if it was placed on the sleeper sofa and it just didn’t fit well when on the floor. So off we trek to Target to buy another air matress and then to Publix to get the yogurt I didn’t get yesterday( but I swear that I put it in the cart…two blueberry and one raspberry…we didn’t get charged but I KNOW that I put them on the moving belt thingy. I think Paul put the separation bar at the wrong place and the woman behind us bought fat free, sugar free low carb yogurt without choosing it. LOL!) Of course, when I went to make my breakfast this morning, I couldn’t find the yogurt, go figure!

We also stopped at Sam’s Club and bought some…um, gin and Malibu rum. Once we got home about 5:20, we packed up Grandpa, made ourselves a nice cocktail and went down to the beach to watch the sunset. After a wonderfully sunny day near 70 degrees, as the sun began to set, that nice cool breeze turned into a chill ya to the bone kinda breeze. Grandpa and I were freezing but were determined to see the sunset. We had a great laugh when I said this was a perfect day and he said he was freezing his ass off! It truly was a beautiful sunset over St. Petersburg. I will post them to a yahoo photo album under McDill AFB so check there after you finish this. Before we had gone to the beach with our cocktails, we popped a tray of lasagna into the oven, so we had dinner almost ready when we got back.

We will be going to Lazy Daze RV Super center tomorrow to see all the new and “exciting” (!) new RV’s. This weekend is Gasparilla in Tampa…it is kinda like Mardi Gras in New Orleans and according to the gal I talked to at the sandwich shop, it is a celebration of a supposed "invasion" or raid by pirates into Tampa. It is mostly a myth, but it is supposed to be a fun event. A large pirate ship is escorted into Tampa Bay by thousands of small sail boats and fishing boats. I am wondering if we will be able to see this from the base. We shall see.



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