Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

St. Pete; Sanaya; Fort DeSoto; New Friends with a Bambi; A Thief; A Coon Rapids Heat Wave? No Fishies…

St. Petersburg, Florida, is one of our favorite destinations. (It is far warmer and sunnier than St. Petersburg, Russia, or St. Peter, Minnesota). We were in St. Pete for another visit to one of our favorite venues, First Unity Church, where Suzanne had a session with Sanaya for a large group in the church sanctuary. It went very well, except for an unprecedented problem with the church’s audio system; it was probably Sanaya’s super-high energy that caused two different lavaliere microphones to malfunction and emit high-pitched squeals. Suzanne had to call a time out, but Unity’s helpful staff rigged an old-style microphone on a boom that wasn’t as sensitive, and she was able to continue. It was the longest Sanaya session she has done, almost an hour long. She was totally drained when the evening ended, but very happy.

Fortunately, we had decided to spend two nights at one of our favorite campgrounds, on St. Jean Key at Fort DeSoto County Park, out in the Gulf of Mexico near the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Tuesday was going to be “Recharge Suzanne’s Batteries Day”. After her daily meditation and brekkie, we donned our Navy jerseys and bike shorts and took off on a 13 mile ride around the park. Here is My Lovely Bride extolling the beauty of the fabulous and empty beach on Mullet Key, and just out of the camera frame, hovering sea birds. (Don’t look up, Ty!)

Here’s another interesting beach scene… chosen particularly for readers from Wisconsin and other Frozen Tundra States… this of a Cheesehead on Snowshoes at the Apostle Islands National seashore. Now, where would you rather be spending a winter’s day, in the photo above with My Lovely Bride on a Gulf of Mexico beach, or viewing the ice caves with the guy pulling the trailer with his kid trying to avoid frostbite????

On the positive side, tourism in Bayfield, Wisconsin, is at an all time (winter) high, with this line of turistas marching atop iced-over Lake Superior to see the sea/ice caves.If this were summer, these folks would be in water 20 feet deep! (Thanks, Terri, for the article from MSPNews with these photos.)

 Later on the ride, we stopped at historic Fort DeSoto. The keys were first surveyed in 1849 by Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee, but they were not occupied by troops until the Civil War, when Union forces arrived to bottle up Southern blockade runners in Tampa Bay. Construction of the big forts was delayed until the Spanish-American War era, when Fort DeSoto (finished in 1906), and its Batteries Laidley and Bigelow were constructed as coastal defense artillery sites to prevent enemy naval forces from entering Tampa Bay. I am standing beside a 12 inch M1890 rifled mortar, one of dozens of guns that once guarded the harbor. The interior of the barrel of this gun was the subject of yesterday’s Pop Quiz for Breakfast, which was won by My Good Friend Bob. ( I guess it helped to be a guy with that quiz; next time I’ll have to put something girly in the quiz to even the odds.)

While walking Rudy and Gretchen in our campground, we stopped and talked to a friendly couple from Jamestown, Rhode Island, one of our favorite anchorages when we were sailing. It turned out that we had a lot in common; Bruce and Dorsey are camping here in a cozy Airstream Bambi, but are avid kayakers, cyclists and sailors, with a beautiful Sabre 385 sailboat put up for the winter back in snowy/frozen Rhode Island. In fact, Dorsey had crossed the Atlantic on a steel Colvin Gazelle with her parents, and we had owned an almost identical Gazelle about 15 years ago. We had several mutual friends back in Newport, America’s sailing capital (although Annapolis might debate that honor). We were able to entice them over later for sundowners (that’s what sailors call cocktails, to confuse landlubbers) and swapped many more sea and land stories; we look forward to catching up with them again when we visit Newport in 2015.

Back at The Coach, there was lots of wildlife around. We found several unusual foot prints on the floor mat just outside our entry door… then we identified them as belonging to this well-known, infamous thief, caught here on camera on the road near our campground. One of our funniest, yet tragic, experiences with Procyon lotor was when Suzanne and I were paddling our sea kayaks on the Maine Island Trail, which offers a series of 200 islands and coastal sites where boaters in engineless craft can camp out overnight in pristine wilderness splendor. After a day of paddling, we arrived at our designated island campsite. We carried our kayaks up above high tide line, secured them to trees, set up our tent, had dinner and were asleep when I heard a rustling sound outside. I opened the tent flap to find a raccoon devouring the last crumb of our only package of Oreos! The little devil simply looked at me, smiled, burped and sauntered off into the darkness. I’ve never liked raccoons since. (For more info on the Maine Island Trail, see

While on the subject of ‘coons, I have news from Terri of the Frozen North. She forwarded this photo, allegedly from her cell phone, of the skies above her home in Coon Rapids, Minnesnowta, superimposed with the temperature, 39 degrees. Now I don’t want to imply that Terri might be fibbing a bit, but really, 39 degrees in Coon Rapids in February? Everyone knows that the mercury up there rarely rises above zero between September and June! Who is she trying to kid? Maybe it was really 39 BELOW! If this temperature can be verified, it could mean that global warming is indeed real, at least in central Minnesota… Hey, here’s an update; as I write these words, Coon Rapids is being hit with a severe winter storm, perhaps another 5 inches of snow and four days of highs in the teens. (Maybe that 39 was real, but it was probably the temporary result of the engine exhausts of a Boeing-757 warming up and de-icing at MSP.)

Finally, I had a spare 45 minutes the other day and decided to try to catch an unsuspecting sea trout at a supposedly “good spot” near Fort DeSoto. In spite of my heroic efforts, there were apparently no sea trout to be had (without the injudicious use of a hand grenade). My Lovely Bride decided to work on her latest book while I tossed my DOA shrimp (that’s really what the lure is called) up and down the shore. She was more productive (as usual) than Your Luckless Angler. Sigh…

Leave a Comment