19 January 2012

Florida 2012 - Travel to St Pete Beach

We were just getting around to thinking about heading toward the airport for our 11:30am flight when Al checked email one more time. He saw a message from Delta about a change in our flight. He called and it appeared that our flight through Memphis had been canceled and we were rerouted through Detroit on a later flight. We were really disappointed because part of the trip we were really looking forward to was BBQ at Jim's Interstate BBQ in the Memphis airport. We'd specifically scheduled a flight through Memphis around lunch time just so we could eat there. Also, the later flight time would have us arriving at our hotel very late instead of in the afternoon.

In poking around with flights, we found another flight that left earlier and got us to Tampa only an hour later than originally planned, going through Atlanta. I suggested we go to the airport to deal with it.

At the Delta counter we discovered that our Memphis flight was back on…apparently there was a mechanical problem that caused them to cancel the flight but then they managed to resolve it and uncanceled the flight. Unfortunately, when Al talked to whomever on the phone, they had rebooked us on the Detroit flight. So the counter person rattled keys on her keyboard and called a supervisor over and somehow managed to get us back on the flight we were originally scheduled for.

Memphis BBQ and early arrival are back in the picture!

Our plane was a half-hour late leaving Des Moines but we made up time in the air with a tail wind and arrived in Memphis only a couple minutes late.

We got our BBQ (and it was every bit as good as we remembered!) then headed to the gate, where they were holding the door open for us. (oops…)

We had seats in the very last row but at least we had seats. Al pulled out his book and I pulled out my knitting project for the trip…a black mohair lace scarf that I was really looking forward to working on and hadn't started. Unfortunately, when I was pulling out the acrylic circular needle I dropped it between my seat and the wall and it somehow got stuck. I couldn't get the needle loose or figure out how it got to a place where it wouldn't come out. I tried to be careful and patient with it but disaster struck. One of the tips broke. I said some choice words, let me tell you. The needle was part of a set I ordered on-line where you screw the size of tips you need onto the cable. Meaning … I can't just walk into a store somewhere and buy a replacement tip.


Oh, well. Good thing I also packed a book.

We arrived at Tampa and took a shuttle to the rental car place off-site. We got a Nissan Versa (never heard of it) and headed down I-275. As we were crossing the bay bridge, traffic was backing up, then slowing to a crawl, then stopping/going. Several emergency vehicles zipped past on the shoulders so we figured there was an accident up ahead somewhere. As we got closer we saw that there was, indeed. All lanes of traffic were being funneled down to one.

It was a minor annoyance in the overall scheme of things. The sunset view from the bridge was fabulous, we were in Florida with the windows down and we were On Vacation!

Eventually we got past the accident and traffic rapidly got back up to speed. We made it to St Pete Beach and our hotel without further incident.

We checked into the Plaza Beach Resort, room 112. It was a really nice room with a kitchenette and living room area. All 39 rooms of the hotel had been renovated since we were there last year so everything was new.

It was dark but we walked out on the beach just to say "Hello" to the Gulf. Venus was incredibly bright and it looked like the tide was near full.

We went back to the car to look for air for a low tire and get some milk for breakfast tomorrow. We went to the Publix about a block up the street and got milk, yogurt and wine. Then to the Dollar Store next door to get a corkscrew. We stopped at a gas station for air but they were charging for it and the tire wasn't that low so we didn't air it up.

We went back to the room and watched Big Bang Theory on TV while sipping wine and being On Vacation.

Then we decided it was time for supper so we went on foot to find a place to eat. When we were looking for air, we saw a place called the Drunken Clam that looked local and unique in a hole-in-the-wall kind of way so we headed there. We walked in the door and it was basically a dive bar…very loud, VERY smoky and not at all what we had in mind. They did have food but even the outdoor 'porch' area was too loud and smoky for us so we walked on to Crabby Bills. We got an appetizer of jalapeƱo cheese fried-raviolis then split a baked seafood sampler of crab cake, fish filet, shrimp and scallops with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and cole slaw. Yum!

The only down side was that I burned the heck out of the tip of my tongue on napalm-like cheese in the ravioli. Ouch.

We walked back to the hotel and went to bed.