Friday, April 19, 2024

Returning home from Florida

Because we were so tired, we slept until after 6 am. Mark prepared a pancake and bacon breakfast. Mary and Cindy walked the dogs and Mark and I set off in a kayak. We weren’t even out of the canal when the two fishing rods we were taking fell into the water. Although the water was only five feet deep, we were unable to retrieve them with a treble hook like we did on Tuesday.

We went back to the dock and gathered gear then went to a couple of points on nearby islands to fish. We had no live bait, so I threw a white artificial minnow and Mark used a white shrimp imitation. Mark caught and released a small redfish but had no other bites. In one small cove we saw redfish feeding and cast into the school many times without getting a strike. Across the bay we saw several porpoises in a feeding frenzy. Because we hoped to leave for Tampa by 12:30 we paddled back to the dock where we washed saltwater from our gear and stowed everything. Mary and Cindy had done laundry after walking the dogs and Mary had us mostly packed. We had a snack of chips and salsa then threw our backpacks in Cindy’s Highlander and headed for Tampa.

Cindy was planning on us having our afternoon meal at Columbia Restaurant in Tampa but they didn’t have a table available until after 3 pm so she suggested U Le Le Restaurant and made a reservation for 2:15. We parked in the lot for the restaurant and walked in a little after 2 pm.

Mary's chicken and risotto

Mark had the restaurant’s signature hamburger that he reported was excellent. Cindy had a soft-shelled crab sandwich that she said was good but not exceptional. Mary had fire grilled chicken with saffron risotto, and I had a shrimp po boy and a honey porter. The meal was very good and the d├ęcor of the restaurant in and old water treatment plant was interesting.

The drive from the restaurant to Clearwater Airport (PIE) was only 30 minutes despite heavy traffic. Mark dropped us off at the airport and we said our quick goodbyes. We always enjoy spending time with them and look forward to seeing them when they visit us in late May.

Shrimp po boy

Because we have TSA Precheck, we got to security quickly. A man in front of us couldn’t understand why he couldn’t bring a soft drink through security then a forgot that I had a water bottle stuck in my backpack and had to dump it.

As we boarded the aircraft, I couldn’t help but notice a large section of foil tape on the wing above. I joked to the passengers behind us that Allegiant was using duct tape to attach the engine.

The flight to Cincinnati was about 30 minutes late but we sat in the small terminal at PIE until it was time to board our flight. The flight was fairly full but was smooth travelling. We arrived at CVG a little after 8:30 and made our way to the shuttle area by 9 pm. It took some time to reach the desk to arrange for pickup, but the van arrived within 30 minutes or so, returning us to the Hyatt in Florence. We were back at the house before 11 pm and were happy to be home after the great visit to Florida.

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