Friday, October 30, 2009

Look What's On Sale At Wal-Mart - Just In Time For Halloween

I had no idea Wal-Mart was in the casket business. I wonder what shipping would be on one of these and if you have to ship overnight? Personally I think a simple homemade pine casket would be perfectly acceptable for my sorry carcass.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Breakfast With The Kids

Brendan, Mackenzie and I having breakfast at Waffle House. Brendan really likes this place from his stay in Clarksville, Tennessee. They only have a minimum number of choices but all have lots of food. With the All-Star platter it took 3 plates for all my food. And good, too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Brendan and Three Birds Tavern

Brendan is 1 for 1 with job interviews. He answered an ad for cook at Three Birds Tavern, a rather upscale pub that specializes in an English feel amd menu. Having lived in Britain for a while he was aware of Bangers & Mash*, and Stella Artois**. Besides some convoy work and guard duty, Brendan also cooked while in the Army. He must have gotten his skills from his old man, who just happened to have done some cuisine work while a Counselor and Supervisor at the Mary Davis Home. The only difference...I'll bet Brendan knows what he is doing.

Side patio and deck of the Three Birds Tavern.

Brendan calculating the number of days till his return to England.

* Bangers and mash is a meal of sausage and mashed potatoes
** Stella Artois is a popular British ale

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Saturday Walk On The Beach

It was a nice Saturday walk on the beach. Seems you see something different all the time (manatee, jellyfish, dolphins, kamikaze birds and pelicans, and all manor of people).
Today we came across some ocean clams. The weather has changed around here. Gone is the searing all day heat, replaced by lower to mid 80's, and cool evenings.

The surf was really pounding today. The water was cooler than a couple weeks ago.

Looking south from Sunset Beach.

Solitary sunbathers.

A fisherman hoping to catch something.

A molting gecko. Looks bigger than the one that snuck into the apartment and went into my bedroom.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Biking With My BFE Buddies To Wauchula

Through the years when working for the 9th Circuit, we had many seminars, workshops and training sessions with people who taught stress management techniques. It went something like this: close your eyes and picture yourself on a quiet beach somewhere sipping a pina colada with no worries or responsibilities. And you get the picture.

Today, Sunday, I decided to close my eyes, hop on the cycle and travel to Wauchula to Charlotte's Web biker bar with my friends from BFE. From left to right, we have Neighbor Tim and Carrie on his blue Harley. Dapper leather ivy league Harley cap, long sleeve t-shirt adorns Tim while Carrie has tight jeans, a low cut button down shirt exposing a cavernous cleavage...hey, it's my stress reduction so I can clothe people the way I want! Next is Ole astride his sharp red Kawi wearing his cool dew rag with the tail that flips up then down. He's got on his leather vest with the sewed-on patriotic symbols and cool saying. Great vest. I need one. Next we have Christopher on his ghostly Harley. Black pipes, black air breather sticking out rakishly from the right. Christopher is wearing his camo pants and long-sleeve T-shirt in anticipation of November fast approaching. He asks about my vagina. I say I'm fine. Rod arrives late as usual with Diane as passenger. Diane has decided to wear 2 rags in case she loses one on the Skyway Bridge, its a long way down to get it. Rod says he'll do his best to keep up. Rick and Jen arrive on their banana yellow Boulevard but they can only go across the bridge then have to turn around because of the kids. Ryan and Molly couldn't make it. It wasn't the right weekend. I wanted Stewart to join us but he's too busy drizzling over fantasy football.

Everyone is ready, Tim and I have our cigars, Ole has his cigs, and, oops. Cee Gee is coming along but can't ride with Christopher because he got a one-seater. She also says I am spelling her name wrong and tell her to relax, its my story. Now she'll have to choose between either Ole or me. She looks me over, then Ole, then diplomatically says she'll ride with Ole on the way there, and ride back with me. Evidently she prefers to save the best till last.

"Saddle up!" yells Tim, and then says to me, "You leading?" and I reply "Of course, you guys aren't really here, its stress management, remember?" I say I've been across the bridge and I have studied the map and so I'll be happy to lead.

I take off, Tim behind me followed by Christopher, Rick and Jen, and Ole and Cee Gee our tail gunners.

We head down 66th to 1st Avenue, a great one-way street that takes us to 34th Street. We stop at Citgo and gas up. We start to take off, but my bike won't start, it acts flooded. Neighbor Tim walks over and tells me to raise my kickstand (kawasakis won't roll if the kickstand is down). Bike starts immediately. I am embarrassed in front of my bikers friends and that doesn't help with the stress. Onto 34th again, passing the Kawasaki dealership, Southern Pawn, Ceridian, Knights Inn, on the left and a huge building with no identifying signs. Hmmm, I'll have to check on that sometime. I keep my eye on the rear-view and see Tim on my right and Christopher on the left, still laughing at the kickstand thing. I re-check on Tim and he is laughing too. Carrie is too nice to openly laugh but she is holding it in.

We get on I-275 South and onto the interstate and on across the bridge. Sunny, coolish and a weekend so there are a lot of pleasure boats out. I point to a freighter churning up toward Tampa. We pass the apex of the Skyway where a guy jumped to his death last week while his former wife he murdered lay burning in the trunk. Now heading toward the other side my friends are still following me, exhibiting a trust and faith in my navigational skills. We slow and I turn right onto the rest area so we can reconnoiter and say good by to Rick and Jen. Rick says he's sorry and next time they'll ride farther but gotta go today. He will return home and wash and wax his bike, which he does whenever he pulls it out of the shed, much like the firetrucks he makes in Alexis. Its a wonder its still got paint on it. But even then he can't match the fussiness of Neighbor Tim. Tim attacks bugs like a frog on steroids. He polishes chrome, wipes the tank and bags, and when he is satisfied, he does it all over again, then says he didn't. Jen hops back on with Rick and I can tell she'd love to go on. But the kids have to be fed and Logan has to study. Naturally he's grounded again.

The banana takes off back across the bridge (oh I forgot to tell you guys it costs a buck to cross and this is the last time I'm paying for everyone). We catch the Naples South route on I-75 off 275 and on now down toward Bradenton. There we catch Route 64 and, Oh no.

Bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go (mostly stop) on this road to Wauchula. It must be a traffic accident. Or maybe church just got out. I look in my rear view and hope I don't see angry faces. Cee Gee catches my eye and gives me a thumbs up, but then she never gets mad at anyone.
The traffic gets going and we come across Lake Manatee State Park. We stop on the right. Christopher says let's go in, (he loves these things), Tim wants to get to Charlotte's and have a beer, Ole wants to ride, just ride. We decide to get to Charlotte's so off we go. Just as we are leaving, Rod and Diane are just getting off the bridge and heading to I-75. It's OK, they'll catch up. Rod kind of babies that thing. Its a 30 year old KZ 600. He loves it. He coddles it. He pooches it.

We catch Lake Manatee on Rte 64 and it looks like we have a few fishermen out today but not a lot. I'm getting worried about my gas. There is nothing on this road and it seems to go on forever. I motion to the gang to pull over at the only stop I have see along this road with antiquated pumps and an old general store like structure. Only two pumps with no signs signifying what kind of gas. We stop and pop our tanks but nothing happens. I go in and a Vietnamese looking guy says something I don't understand, but he is shaking his head in a yes fashion so I leave and we try again. Gas comes out and I am certainly relieved. I hate worrying about gas and it doesn't help with this stress reduction story. Of course Tim doesn't have to gas up because for some reason his bike has a tank on it that seems to hold 85 gallons.

Lots of bikes on the road today and only about half give the biker wave in return to ours. They must be from Illinois.

We finally arrive at Charlotte's. 78 miles from home. An hour and a half journey. We order a beer, walk out back to the beer garden and everyone says, "Hey, Mike! Glad to see ya." A cute heavy-breasted girl comes over and drapes herself all over me. It's my story and I can do anything I want. Tim says something funny and we all laugh. Carrie says to me, "Don't pay any attention to Tim." He must have said something about my kickstand, or my part about everyone saying "hi" or maybe that cute thang that has her tongue in my ear. He's just jealous.

The beer is good, and I pose for a picture to prove to all you guys you actually did come along with me.

We have another, and then decide when they are gone to head back home. Just as we are taking off up come Rod and Diane.

I tell everyone thanks for the ride, and I'll see you soon.

Christopher - good luck with that shooting thing. Be careful and bag something so we can have that great jerky stuff you make. Don't let that job get in your head and enjoy your days off. Relax when you can, get your sleep and we'll have a beer and a ride again soon. And eat more. I love your stories. Stock up for when I return. A young guy who likes old people, thats pretty neat. Stay well friend. Glad to count you as a friend. And, whippersnapper, Where The Red Fern Grows next weekend. I've been missing Missy lately (there are a lot of dog here) and feel a need to see it.

Cee Gee, guess you had your fun with Ole, but you owe me. Keep on working and taking care of Christopher. My goal is to be as nice as you. Mind you its just a goal. No way I can ever achieve it.

Carrie - keep the family together and kids in line. Do some more painting, you are good. Maybe we could do a CC workshop sometime. Thanks for coming along on my fantasy. And for wearing that low-cut thingy. Just kidding. A brainy professional who puts up with all of us. Tim, you better keep this one! Fun and funny, and she can keep up with Timmy.

Jen - Hope everything is going OK at Blick. I miss our conversations. We had some fun, and you are as likeable as they come. Take care of the kids and next time get a sitter.

Rick - Cool bike, I'm jealous as Hell. Your good mornings on Facebook help me start the day. Glad you are part of the group now. Nice guy, Lord, you two are just toooo nice. Found me that detailing job at Alexis yet?

Rod - It means a lot you came along on some real rides with us and thanks for tagging along on this one. Bring your metal detector down here, its all virgin territory. Oh, and if Diane wants to scare someone this Halloween, tell her no! When I return we'll just sit down in our lawn chairs and talk a little local history.

Diane - My heart still hasn't stopped fluttering from Halloween last year. Hang on to your rag, buy an ostomy bag and come riding with us anytime. Its fun knowing you both. Hell you can bring the fantastic flying ferrets whenever you want. Just keep that crazy lady home.

Ole - My god, Ole. My brother from Texas. The truest biker of us all. No one likes riding more than you. A man who would help anyone do anything. Guys like you are rare and it is a privilege having you as a friend. Stay tough and don't let anyone or anything get you down. You can do your own stress reduction anytime...just close your eyes.

Tim - Wit coupled with wisdom. Thoughtfulness coupled with confidence. Kindness coupled with Marine tough. A great guy. A true friend. Thanks for everything. Keep the fridge stocked, the Wal-Mart trail mix handy, and we'll sit and chat again soon. Always glad to see you in my right-side rear-view mirror.

Stress Reduction complete. You guys available to go ridin' again next week?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tombstone - Part IV Halloween Or Valentine's Day - You Decide

FROM BBC - 2004

'Lewd Rubbing' Shuts Paris Statue

Officials were concerned about damage to the effigy's groin area
Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris has fenced off a famous tomb to prevent lewd acts being performed on a statue.
The effigy of 19th Century journalist known as Victor Noir has long been popular with women visitors.

This is partly due to his reputation as a romantic figure, and partly because of the effigy's design.

Officials concerned about damage to the icon's groin area have erected a fence around the grave, and a sign prohibiting indecent rubbing.

Noir - whose real name was Yvan Salman - was killed by Pierre Bonaparte, a great-nephew of the Emperor Napoleon, after bearing him a challenge to a duel.

According to the story, he was due to get married the day after he was killed.

The statue shows Noir in a frock coat and trousers lying flat on his back, with a distinct enlargement in the groin.

The effigy has been held as an aid to love or fertility.

It is said that a woman who kisses the lips of the prostrate statue and slips a flower into the upturned top hat will find a husband by the end of the year.

The new sign warns: "Any damage caused by graffiti or indecent rubbing will be prosecuted."


A life-size bronze statue was sculpted by Jules Dalou to mark his grave, portrayed in a realistic style as though he had just fallen on the street, dropping his hat which is depicted beside him. The sculpture has a very noticeable protuberance in Noir's trousers. This has made it one of the most popular memorials for women to visit in the famous cemetery. Myth says that placing a flower in the upturned top hat after kissing the statue on the lips and rubbing its genital area will enhance fertility, bring a blissful sex life, or, in some versions, a husband within the year. As a result of the legend, those particular components of the oxidized bronze statue are rather well-worn.
In 2004 a fence was erected around the statue of Noir, to deter superstitious people from touching the statue. Due to the fake protests of the "female population of Paris" settled by a French TV anchor[2] however, it was torn down again.[3] So the deterioration of the statue continues.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our Long Disgraceful Season Is Over

I have been a Mets fan since I was a kid. There are a couple of factors that I have expressed that made me a fan of this schizophrenic organization. One was an anti-Cub bias, another was a
fan of a player who became a Met. I'm not even sure at this point. We have been ass-ugly through the years (as opposed to Cubs who have simply been mediocre). We have at certain points been amazingly good, too. I have enjoyed 4 World Series ('69, '73, '86, and '00), but for the most part we have endured last place or close to last place finishes. The past 3 years have just about broke my spirit. Ahead by 7 games in September and losing out in '07 (worst choke in baseball history).


"No team holding a seven game lead with only 17 games to play ever failed to win their division. The Mets chose to change that by firmly grasping their collective throats and squeezing. They would go on a tear and proceed to lose 12 of those last 17 games."


"NEW YORK -- As Carlos Beltran prepared to exit the clubhouse at Shea Stadium late yesterday afternoon, he spotted Pedro Martinez. The two embraced and Beltran sunk his head into Martinez's shoulder, tears welling in his eyes.
The end of the Mets' season was full of emotional vignettes as players struggled to explain the biggest question surrounding this team: How could this have happened a second year in a row? Once again, just as they did a year ago, the Mets missed out on a playoff berth on the final day of their regular season."


"Projected by at least one national publication to win the World Series, the Mets instead finished in fourth place in the National League East, with their worst record since 2003. Injuries decimated the club, with Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes not playing after May, and Carlos Beltran, John Maine and Oliver Perez missing significant chunks of the season.
The Mets had the league's highest payroll at roughly $140 million, and they clear $30 million off the books this off season. Still, with diminished enthusiasm inevitably leading to lower ticket sales this winter, the payroll is projected to decrease, leaving front-office officials with a challenge in retooling the roster."


1. New stadium Citi Field has been a bonanza for pitchers, but a dark hole for hitters. Bring in the fences or move home plate so hitting becomes more of a factor. This will help the offense and encourage batters to sign with us.

2. Redo organization. There is a systemic stink with the Mets. Clean house and get back to basics. Instructors, trainers and scouts must be top-notch. Rob others teams' personnel with great contracts and throw out what isn't working.

3. Find good 1st baseman, left fielder, and catcher, and a pitching staff to complement ace Johan.
We need a very good #2, a good #3, a fair #4 and maybe a promising rookie #5.

4. Go with hungry youth. No more over-the-hill overpaid mega stores. Look at the Rays, Marlins, Twins, Dodgers, and Rockies for templates for signing key free agents and trading for younger players.

5. Gut farm and re-stock.

6. Get rid of Omar Minaya (GM) and Jerry Manuel (Mgr). They have had their chance and failed.

7. Scrap Mr. Met. This is a major league baseball team. Scrap the mascot. Put a great product on the field and forget the fuzzy-wuzzy crap. You don't see any hairy bear with funny eyes and a long tongue roaming the tops of dugouts and stands trying to get fans excited in Wrigley Field. You don't see it at Yankee Stadium. You don't see it at Fenway or Busch Stadium. What's that? You do? Oh, sorry, yeah I guess you do at Fenway and Busch Stadium. Well, anyway, Mr. Met comes across as a hydrocephalic escapee from the Willard Asylum for the Insane.

8. Trade Reyes. Headcase and injury prone.

9. Re-name Citi Field. Citi is one of the banking bad guys that were instrumental in the housing collapse and economic turmoil that began in October 2008. To hell with their money to buy naming rights that correlates to TARP money bailouts which is actually OUR money. Ideas: Robinson Field (after Jackie, the first black major league baseball player, who happened to have played for the Brooklyn Dodgers) or Flushing Field, which would serve as both a noun and an adjective for our team.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Interesting Tombstones, Part II

East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia: Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102 , The Good Die Young.

Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery: Here lies Johnny Yeast, Pardon me For not rising.

Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia: She always said her feet were killing her but nobody believed her.

Grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania: Who was fatally burned March 21, 1870 by the explosion of a lamp filled with "R.E. Danforth's Non-Explosive Burning Fluid."

In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery: Here lies an Atheist , All dressed up And no place to go

Larne, Ireland - On a hanged sheep stealer: Here lies the body of Thomas Kemp. Who lived by wool and died by hemp.

On a coroner who hung himself: He lived And died By suicide

On a waiter: Here lies the body of Detlof Swenson. Waiter. God finally caught his eye. April 10, 1902

On a watchmaker: Here lies in horizontal position the outside case of Dear George Routleight, watchmaker, whose abilities in that line were an honor to his profession -- integrity was the mainspring, and prudence the regulator of all the actions of his life. Humane, generous, and liberal, his hand never stopped until he had relieved distress. So nicely regulated were all his movements that he never went wrong, except when set agoing by people who did not know his key; even then he was easily set right again. He had the art of disposing his time so well that the hours glided away in one continued round of pleasure and delight, till an unlucky moment put a period to his existence. He departed this life November 14, 1802, aged fifty-seven. Wound up in hopes of being taken in hand by his Maker and being thoroughly cleansed, repaired, and set agoing in the world to come. St Petrock's Church, Lyford, Devon, England

New Hampshire cemetery: Tears cannot restore her -- therefore I weep

On an adulterous husband: Gone, but not forgiven Atlanta, Georgia

Stowe, Vermont: I was somebody. Who, is no business of yours.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Paranormal Activity

I won't do a review of this haunted house flick, you can go to Rotten Tomatoes and get 5 or 6 pages of reviews from national critics. Five of us went Saturday and all of us were scared, creeped out and had to consume beer afterward to settle our nerves.

Made for $11,000 - $15,000 it has already made 33 million in limited release. It would also be advised to sleep with one eye open.....or maybe with both of them closed real tight.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Endless Inanity...Florida Style

1. Cool quote: "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love all year round, madam; that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals." Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchasls

2. Getting cooler around here. Highs are still anywhere between 89-91 degrees everyday but evenings and early mornings are very pleasant.

3. Fantasy Football Update: One team is doing great at 2nd place and the other is climbing out of the cellar and is now in 8th place.

4. Been having a "Sons of Anarchy" marathon around here. Doesn't do much for the image of bikers or motorcycle clubs, but good fun fiction anyway.

5. Saw a trailer for "Paranormal Activity" and it received a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score. Ebert gave it 3 1/2 stars. Made for only $11,000 it could make millions for the producer/director and the only 3 people in it. Oh, and it was the producer's house they filmed it in, too. Looks scary. They'll probably keep it in select theaters till Halloween.

6. Been enjoying football Sundays at Hooters, which is just down the street. Beer is cold, good company and the waitstaff....well, it is Hooter's after all.

7. I am going to miss the fall season hum of the grain dryers at BFE. And Rod and Diane will have to go find someone else to scare this Halloween. While I'm doing the "missing this..." thing it will be 7 months since Missy died. Man I sure do miss her.

8. Did I see my twin and his wife spent last weekend in Branson? I didn't know that place catered to young people.

9. Looks like NHCC blog is up and running again. Good source of info for all things BFE. Carrie takes good pictures and Neighbor Tim helps out. Funny and smart people and they have great posts.

10. Heard a story about a beer company out East that sold its product at a discount. It didn't sell. So they decided to sell it at 3 x's the price and people couldn't get enough ot it. Just shows you we look down at cheap stuff and have a bit of snobbery in us.

11. Things I was sorry about when I was up North in September: not stopping in Burgess and Dick Blick . Both have been far far far too important to me.

12. Mackenzie and Drew have been looking at houses. Hope they find one so Bishop can get a back yard.

13. OK, I wouldn't wish catastrophe on anyone. However, I was looking for a good blow around here when a hurricane was close to St. Pete. We haven't had anything this season and it would have fun to go to the beach when it was over. You can get all kinds of neat stuff strewn about after a storm. Got lots of sand dollars early on with a storm, but nothing resembling a really big storm.

14. Mackenzie has to do a critique of a movie for her English class. She volunteered to do Lawrence of Arabia.

15. I tried MGD 64 last week and liked it. Tastes good, less filling. I recommend it.

16. Got tickets to see "Paranormal Activity" tomorrow night.

17. Job front: nothing yet, still filling out online apps, and put my resume on Craigslist. Not even any interviews. Discouraging. How silly I was to just think there'd be tons of opportunity. Being unemployed is no fun.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Giving Fleas A Bad Name

Last weekend I went to a flea market here that is very big and very global. Everything was for sale and at one time I thought the only things I didn't see were jock straps and bras. But before the journey ended, even those things could be had at one of the tables. New stuff, used stuff, cars, scooters, food, purses, and more purses. DVD's, African artwork, rugs, blankets, bangles, baubles, beads, candles, incense, you name it. If it could be moved, transported or hauled, it was for sale. I almost bought a billfold for $10.00 but resisted. What I couldn't resist was the Apple Cinnamon bread. And nationalities! Every language, every ethnicity, every age, every kind of person. Just people watching was worth the $1.00 to get in.

These are just two of the giant halls and walkways at the flea market. Hundreds of people, hundreds of vendors. Scores of various languages and ethnicities.

My one disappointment was in not making a movie of this booth. The wings on these guys moved back and forth and in the background there are lighted wheels with water moving around the statues. It looked like giant psychedelic butterflies in Oz.

These enterprising gentlemen were selling a smokeless cigarette. One in the foreground is even puffing on one. Below is the flier of these gems. Seems they are electrical and you can recharge them in your Ipod, computer, laptop or wall socket. They give you a nicotine rush without the smoke, so you can puff in motels and public places without fear of breaking any local ordinances. You can ever buy a liquid that you pour in somewhere to change the flavor. The tip even has a red LCD light. But be prepared to pay, it is expensive. They will be glad to accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Upstairs area and hallway. You can see Fred's bed from here.

Downstairs area where they spent most of their time. The door at the upper right goes outside. This area also contained bathroom and workshop. In 1926 the mailman found him on the upper landing at the door slumped dead. He had arranged with the postman to go to the house if the flag was up on mailbox. This was a signal that there was something wrong. They couldn't figure out how he died since there were no marks on his body. It turns out he put a gun down his thoat into his body so there wouldn't be a bloody mess. Apparently he had a hernia from lifting buckets of cement to the rook of his house (better than shingles) and the pain had finally gotten to him.

Also noteworthy is his outside stable, and place where he kept his tools and such. He decided that in case of a a fire the Kewanee Fire department wouldn't get there quick enough so he designed a structure that had water on top, so it was a kind of homemade sprinkler system.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Outside view of the solarium.
Another view of Solarium
Another view.
He designed exterior doors so he could open them by stepping on rock panel on ground. Both doors would open and close by themselves. This is the intricate mechanical works for the main entrance.
Beautiful inlaid mahogany floors.
A bicycle he modified so he could take his wife to church in Neponset.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Feature - Best Movies


Skyway Horror

I was here last Sunday.

Passing driver takes photo of Skyway horror - St. Petersburg Times

Posted using ShareThis


A picture of fountain in solariam. On each corner of this mantel resides the four basic universal human emotions.
This is a chain made from a stick that Fred carved. Click on the picture to get a closer look. Who has that kind of patience these days? There are also shells and knick-knacks he collected throughout his life.
These are clear block Fred had placed into the floor in front of the fireplace. This ensured that he could tell if the fireplace needed wood if he was downstairs in his workshop. He also had a firm rule that no more than 3 logs ever at one time burning.

Glass panels inside his and her bedrooms denoting whose bedroom it belonged to.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trip To Parrish

It was a trip I had been avoiding for weeks. I don't know why. Maybe it was the distance, the fear of finding my way back. Whatever the reason I hopped on my bike this morning (Sunday 11th) and took I-275 out of town across the Skyway bridge and across the Bay to Parrish. I had a cigar and a couple bucks for a beer I had planned to have at the local Parrish bar. The bridge and ride was awesome as it was truly the first open road since I arrived in the Sweatbox. There were gobs of bikes, in fact as I eased onto the interstate a group of maybe 20 bikes had passed me by a quarter of a mile. It is a toll road and they had a Skypass so they zoomed on through the toll gate while I fumbled for my dollar. As I got going again I wasn't in a hurry so they were quite a bit ahead of me as I am trying to see the water, the bridge and still stay on concrete. Wonderful ride. I'm going about 75 mph and now I'm across and heading on I-275 when I see a "Y": South to Bradenton and North to Tampa. I know I am not to get anywhere near Tampa, but I also know Bradenton is too far to the South. I take the Tampa road and not more than a mile or two I see the Parrish turn-off. Two lane road, orange grove on the right, and not a car in sight. The roads are great, too. Not a pot hole in sight. Certainly not like the BFE-Alexis-Burgess road, or the BFE-150 road. Nice paved roads. Traffic was pretty light and the weather was perfect. About 88 degrees and 10:00 am.
5 miles down the road I drive into Parrish. No bar so no cigar. But I see about 20 motorcycles just pulling in to a "Florida Railroad Museum". Sorry, done all my railroads. Been waitin', seein', hearin' railroads for too long. Enjoy Florida bikers, it may be cool for you guys, but I'm going to pass today.
On the way back I stop at the rest area to take my pictures, but I have to tell you, I'm not real proud of my cheap little Canon. The bridge pictures are terrible, and I apologize. It is quite a sight and these pics don't so them justice.
On the way back I got lost because I took the wrong exit. I didn't see an exit for the road I needed, and I took an exit that took me a couple blocks from Tropicana Field. After a call to my human GPS I made it home in good shape. Nice way to start the day and glad I did it.
I would have liked to have my Mild Ones brothers (and sisters) with me but until we hook up again, this will have to do.

Is this an orange grove?

A picture of the Skyway from a rest area at its base.

Guys with those cool Jet Skis at the rest area and simply walked to the concession area. It was real shallow.

Another pic of the bridge. Sorry, but my camera really suck at these and I don't know why.

My Kawasaki that hasn't been used very often down here in the Sweatbox. Click on the picture to see the BFE signatures on the side cover.

View Larger Map

Map of my trip. Click on "View Larger Map" to see a better picture of my trip.