Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2006: 5

  Finally, we left the frozen north on Sunday, March 5, after a night of Bunco at Carol and Jim Matthews' home. A gale had blown for a couple of days, so we were relieved to board the 7:30 AM ferry to cross a very choppy Bay. We stopped at the first scenic overlook on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel for lunch with a view. Our Sirius radio kept us company for the day's drive, allowed us to listen to Villanova's basketball team spoil Syracuse's senior day at the Carrier Dome, and even knew enough to play Air Supply as we called it a day at the Fayetteville, NC KOA campground. We loved the warmer temperature and the flowering trees and settled in for a long stint of TV viewing on E! and ABC for Oscar night. The campground had free wireless available. We had a bit of rain as we awoke and as we drove down I95. We ate breakfast at a Cracker Barrel. Bill noticed a baby changing table in the men's room and decided it was for grandfathers or great-grandfathers to use. Cathy chose Tarpon Springs as a destination for the day's drive. We were able to cruise at 75 mph for most of the drive, but had to chug along on local roads for the last 50 miles. We lunched on Subway sandwiches. We arrived at Bayshore Cove Resort and Mobile Home Park after 6:00 PM. The manager told us to hustle down to the sponge docks before sunset, so we walked to a great dinner at Hellas Restaurant. We had eaten there back in the 80s with Marianne and Bob Bialas on one of our visits. The temperature was 70 degrees as the sun went down. We had arrived! On Tuesday we decided to do some walking. It was a beautiful sunny day, but somewhat windy. We walked a 6 mile round trip to the Howard Park which has a nice beach. The causeway to the beach reminded us of a similar one in Campeche in Mexico. We enjoyed walking through some very lovely residential areas of Tarpon Springs. We continued our walk back to the sponge docks for lunch at Rusty Bellies Grill, right on the water. We enjoyed Greek salad and a good Grouper sandwich. After lunch we browsed in the sponge shops and then walked to the historic district. We stopped in at the Unitarian Church and took a tour of the Innes (Junior) paintings on display. It was great to walk in warm air. We ate a good dinner for a moderate cost at Santorini Restaurant at the sponge dock area. On Wednesday morning we took a walk to Sunset Beach Park on the Gulf. It was a warmer day with less wind. We stopped at the Hellas Bakery in the sponge dock area to get baklava and bread for dinner at Bob and Marianne's on Wednesday night. We left for the short ride of 22 miles to Belleair a bit before noon. We ate lunch at Bob and Marianne's and enjoyed their water view. Bill took a walk to Albertson's after lunch to get a cappuccino. Marianne was returning from San Diego in the early evening, so we made ourselves at home while we waited for Bob and her to arrive. We ate a good grilled salmon dinner and then watched some Big East basketball. On Thursday, Bill, Cathy, and Marianne drove down to Fort De Soto County Park at the south end of Pinellas County (Howard Park is at the north end of the county). There are some beautiful campsites for tents and RVs, most on the water. This is also the home of America's #1 beach for 2005, North Beach. We explored the old fort and walked on the beach. There was a very strong south wind blowing, so half of the walk was difficult. We licked our wounds and fingers over lunch at Sea Critters in St. Pete Beach. While there, we met some people from Williamsport, PA who reported to us that Syracuse had just upset Connecticut in the Big East basketball tournament. After we returned to Belleair, Bill washed our filthy RV. We had a great dinner of Shrimp Etoufee, thanks to an email of the recipe from Katie. After dinner we watched Villanova clobber Rutgers in the Big East tournament. We also watched the first installment of "Survivor" that we've seen since 2000. Friday was another beautiful day with the temperature reaching the mid-80s. Cathy and Marianne attended a breakfast with some of Marianne's friends. Afterward, Bill, Cathy, and Marianne drove to the boat ramp on the causeway to Indian Rocks Beach and then walked to the base of the Sand Key Bridge. We ate lunch in Backwaters Restaurant at the Shops of Sand Key. We had a refreshing lunch while we watch a sailboat regatta in the back bay. Then we walked back to the car. We all ate a wonderful meal at the Island Way Grille on the causeway to Clearwater Beach. The tuna was very special.

        Bill and Cathy