February has continued to be very busy for us here in Cortez, FL (near Bradenton). One afternoon we joined Dave and Sue (Beluga’s Excellent Adventure) and drove about an hour south to Venice. Friends Steve and MonaLiza (Lowes RV Adventures) were staying about an hour’s drive south of there so Sharky’s on the Pier sounded like a good place to meet for lunch.
Later we drove to a rustic bar/restaurant along the Myakka River called Snook Haven. We snagged a nice table right along the river and enjoyed a cold adult beverage. We didn’t get any pictures as Pam spent most of the time on the phone with Delta Airlines. If you read our last blog you may remember that Pam’s mother, Fran, was scheduled to fly down from her home in Clayton, NY. We tried to have her visit us last month in Ft Myers but her flight was cancelled three times due to poor weather. So guess what? Now her flight was cancelled again! Sorry Fran, we guess your visit to the warmer region of western Florida this winter was just not meant to be!
Each Monday, our friend David (Cody the dog’s dad) plans a bike trip somewhere in the area for anyone staying in Holiday Cove RV Resort. The trip is not a strenuous ride, as its main purpose is more social than physical. Last week the group loaded bikes on to vehicles and drove across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to the north side of Tampa Bay for a visit to Fort De Soto Park south of St. Pete’s Beach.
The park, operated by Pinellas County, is made up of five offshore keys, or islands. Today all are connected by either bridge or causeway to each other. The island group is accessible by toll road from the mainland.
The park contains the remains of an old army facility with an interesting history. In 1849, Robert E. Lee (the famous American Civil War commander) and three other US Army Engineers surveyed the area and recommended two of the keys become fortified. Both keys could only be reached by boat, since they were islands off the mainland. Union troops were stationed on the two keys during the Civil War (1861–1865) to aid in the Union blockade of Tampa Bay. The keys were again abandoned by the military until 1882 when military reservations were officially created on the two keys. However, it would be several years before actual permanent construction would commence as a result of defense considerations linked to the Spanish-American War. The post was active from 1898 to 1910, when most of the troops were moved to a fort in Alabama.
Today the park is known for nice biking and walking paths, great beaches, and a nice fishing pear.
After the group ride we loaded the bikes back in the jeep and headed a few miles northeast to the city of St. Petersburg. We visited the city the previous week for an evening dinner with John’s sister and brother-in-law and wanted to see the city’s waterfront in the daylight. We first road out on to “The Pier,” a city landmark with a five story building in the shape of an inverted pyramid at the end. The pier is closed to all vehicles and the city has applied to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to demolish it due to unsafe supports.
We continued our ride along the waterfront checking out some of the sights.
A beautiful day ended with a great meal at Bella Brava Italian Restaurant with John’s sister and brother-in-law, Patty and Bob. As you can tell, we continue to work hard at this thing called “retirement.”