top of page

The Last Leg

March 11, 2023

Sheila and Bob at 3 Daughters, our favorite brew pub in St Petersburg.

Stop #4 cont. - Brett and Teresa were wonderful hosts. We enjoyed movie night with their friends, yelling back at the movie screen and spraying water during the rain appropriate moments in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The screen ready for Rocky Horror in friend's garage.

Those reading this who have not seen the film, really should try to have the experience, especially with people who are into the accoutrements.

Some of their friends REALLY got into it.

Brett has a complete wood working workshop that was not impacted by the hurricane. He had started to make a segmented wood bowl on his lathe before we arrived, and Bob expressed interest in seeing how to do it.

Brett and Bob at the lathe with the bowl almost done.

Brett graciously suggested that he show Bob how to make the bowl, which Bob did. It came out beautifully!!

Teresa makes greeting cards – complete with stamping, embossing and other special finishings. She helped me make a sympathy card – which I must say came out beautifully as well.

Bob's finished bowl

Hand made card - Thanks Teresa

After five days of swimming, pickleball, delicious dinners, pegs and jokers (card game) and new craft skills we moved on to our next stop – Long Boat Key.

Stop #5 – Katy and Mike Murphy were dock neighbors in Cleveland when they were just learning to sail with the hope of cruising. They are now cruising their Beneteau 46 which they dock at Long Boat Key Resort Marina.

Katy and Mike Murphy

Long Boat Key is a barrier Island across from Sarasota which gives them access to sail on the Sarasota Bay. We arrived late in the day and enjoyed catching up, touring the facility, and having a picnic dinner at the beach after watching a beautiful sunset. There was some red tide in the air – but not enough to make it uncomfortable. The next morning, we walked a couple miles to the Turtle Coffee Shop for a delicious breakfast. On the way back, we stopped at an art show to enjoy some beautiful pieces. Around noon we set out for Clearwater Beach.

Stop #6 – The traffic getting on and off the barrier islands during season is enough to keep me from calling them home. We spent quite a bit of time in the car just sitting as we crept on and off Long Boat! We drove through Anna Maria Island – a cute beach town, over the Sunshine Skyway bridge and then out to Clearwater Beach. Clearwater Beach was also crowded with spring breakers but we finally found Hazel and Rebecca as they came off the beach to welcome us.

David Ashpis, Rebekah Dorman and Hazel Brown on the Clearwater Beach

Hazel and Neil Brown were our next hosts. They rented a spacious two- bedroom two bath condo with a spectacular view of the gulf. We spent a very peaceful weekend enjoying the beach, which was just steps away from the condo. Rebecca Dorman and David Aships were also renting in Clearwater Beach and joined us for dinners. The sand on the beach is white and doesn’t get hot even with 80 degrees of blazing sun. Monday morning we left for St Pete.

View from Clearwater Beach condo - windy and beautiful.

Stop #7 – We headed off for St. Pete where we reserved an Airbnb with Randi and Eric Packer (our Lyndhurst, Ohio neighbors) for a week. They were driving down from Cleveland to meet us. But first, we took time to stop on the way at Don’s Marine Salvage. This is a place that Brett had told us about as a worthwhile stop for boating needs. He was right.

Bob in the prop room.

The place is amazing with 7 acres of used boating equipment. Some of it is garbage, but in between the garbage are lots of treasurers. We bought 100 feet of line that normally would cost just under $200 for $35. We also got a piece of teak to make a shelf and a piece of King Starboard to support our captain’s seat. If you are patient, there are real treasurers here and for someone who loves house sales and consignment shops (me) it was fun. We left Don’s and since we were too early to check in at the Airbnb we headed for our favorite brewery, 3 Daughters, in St Pete. Our long-time sailing friends Bill and Michael met us there and after a beer and some cribbage, Randi and Eric arrived. Shortly thereafter we left to check in.

What a wonderful surprise.

St Pete Airbnb spacious living space on 14th Ave between 25th and 26th streets.

Airbnb was spacious and fully equipped, complete with tiki hut, hammock, grill and pizza oven in the backyard. The pictures online had not done it justice as it was much nicer in person. Bob and I got the master bedroom, dressing area and bath, but the second bedroom was also spacious.

The group at Doc Ford on the St Pete pier. Bill, Michael, Sheila Bob, Randi and Eric.,

Baking pizza in the tiki hut.

Unfortunately, when we left Clearwater Beach, we left some pieces of stainless steel that we had picked up in Sarasota for our solar panel repair in the Clearwater Beach parking garage. Bob had taken them out of the car when we were rearranging it to fit all our things in. So, the next morning, we drove back to Clearwater Beach to pickup the stainless and enjoy the beach. It was only a 40 minute drive from St Pete, and the beach is extraordinary so no one (Randi, Eric, Bill and Michael) complained. Hazel and Neil were packing to head back to Cleveland, but they joined us on the beach for part of the day.

Playing cribbage on the beach with Bill.

One of the fifty peacocks roaming through Jungle Prada.

During the next week, we visited Pass-a-grille beach in St. Pete, played pickleball with Bill and Michael, rode our bikes along the wonderful Pinellas Bike Trail, heard the history of the area at the Jungle Prada Indian Mound, enjoyed the Gulfport farmers’ market and caught up with friends Robin and Christopher from our Bahamas sailing days and Jamie and Russ, past dock neighbors from Burnt Store Marina.

Robin with Michael and Bill at the bar in Gulfport, listening to the String Rays.

The String Rays

The wind was very strong on Friday, so we went to Fort Desoto to watch the kite boarders and also got to see boats staging for the Everglades Challenge.

The Challenge is a 300-mile race from St Pete to Key Largo for kayaks and small sailboats – no motors. To be considered as having completed the challenge, it has to be completed in eight days – no small feat and potentially dangerous, depending on the weather. We attended out second annual trivia night with Bill and Michael at the Grand Central Brewery and I am pleased to say that we placed 8th out of 15 teams, thanks in part to Michael’s wonderful memory.

We enjoyed ourselves so much that we extended our stay to nine days. Thank you to Randi and Eric for being such good vacation pals.

Randi and Eric in their happy place.

We enjoyed time together, Eric celebrated his 70th birthday and we also each had time to do our own thing.

Stop #8 - Wednesday morning we straightened up the Airbnb and did a few errands in Sarasota before checking in on Her Diamond. We had hoped the boat repairs would be done on Friday, but the wind had been relentless the past few days which delayed the painting so we were not surprised to hear that the boat would not be ready until the end of the following week. After conversing with Joel for a while we headed back to Burnt Store Marina to stay with David & Rhonda – our last stop.

Thank you to everyone who hosted us this past month – we could not have done this without you!



bottom of page