(Avon Park, FL) Hi 74 Lo 63 -- On Saturday we drove to Tampa to visit with our friends Gail and Ed who are staying at the MacDill AFB famcamp. (Click the pictures to enlarge them.)
We got there early enough to spend some time visiting in their big beautiful Blue Bird Wanderlodge. After grabbing some lunch at the Base Exchange Food Court we headed across Tampa Bay to St. Petersburg to take in some greyhound racing. We've never been to dog races before so we were looking forward to it. The trip along Bay Shore Drive on base offered a nice view of the Tampa skyline.
After crossing the four-and-a-half mile long Gandy Bridge we arrived at Derby Lane, "Tampa Bay's premier greyhound facility."
Before each race the handlers parade the eight dogs in front of the grandstand for review. I check out which ones have their heads up and look like they're ready to race, and which ones are sniffing around and seem preoccupied.
After leading them into the starting chutes, the gates open and "they're off!" The dogs chase a mechanical rabbit around the 3/8-mile track, and they're very fast! They complete a lap in 30-33 seconds, which Jim calculated to be between 40-45 mph. It's hard to catch them on camera.
We stayed for seven races. I had four winners and Jim had one. Each bet was $2, and we ended up with $15.80 more than we came with. I guess we’ll buy a large pizza with our windfall. :)
One of our winning tickets.
The annual Gasparilla Festival was going on in Tampa this weekend. It's a huge pirate-themed festival with parades, mock pirate invasions, and lots of drinking. We avoided all that mayhem, but when we crossed a bridge over the Hillsborough River we could see lots of boats anchored in the river watching all the festivities.
After returning to Ed and Gail's we said our goodbyes and headed back home. An ideal weather day with good friends and good fun. Perfect!
Our good friends from our North Carolina days, Selene and Hank, arrived at our park to spend a few days. They've been full timing for 2 1/2 years, and we always love it when our paths cross. We'll be seeing more of them the next few days.
We also met some new friends. Jessica is one of the regulars in the RV-Dreams chatroom, but we've never met until she and her husband Harry arrived today. They’ve been full timing for a couple years and are spending time in Florida this winter. They’ll be here for a couple of months. I forgot to get a picture of them today, but I'll be sure to get one and post it later.
I'm scheduled for cataract surgery one one eye this coming Tuesday, and the other eye a week later. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. We'll give a report on that in a few days. See you then. ('See' you then... see what I did there?)