After our first attempt at a day at the beach was foiled, we finally headed off to the west coast of Florida. As the driver, I made the plans, and decided that we would drive first to Ellenton Premium outlets, south of St Petersburg. Originally we were going to drive to Miami, but I decided that I was too tired to drive 4 hours each way.
When we got to Ellenton the weather was gorgeous – about 26 degrees. We were all dressed for summer, and spent a couple of hours shopping at the outlet mall. Outlet malls are always dangerous for me, and not surprisingly, I came away with shoes, clothes and some Bath and Bodyworks stuff. The other girls did well too.
We drove north towards the beaches, and decided that we would go to Clearwater Beach, without knowing anything about it. The drive was pretty, as there is water everywhere. We drove over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and up through the outskirts of St Pete. Clearwater beach is practically on an island and we had to drive over another bridge to get there, where we were stopped so that busloads of football players with police escorts could get to a party at the Hilton Hotel.
As my first experience of an American beach, I was a little taken aback at the fact that we had to pay $20 to park, although not totally surprised as my host mom had told me as such. By this point the temperature had dropped to about 22 degrees and it was a little windy, but that wasn’t going to stop up going to the beach. It did, however stop me from going in the water, although Chrissie wasn’t as chicken as I was, and actually went into the water!
We lay on the beach, and I put my feet in the water. I frolicked, we took some photos, and that’s about it. And then 2 hours later, we left.
We got in the car to drive home, and headed to the highway. At this point I was driving in the outside (left) lane, and some guy in a black car came up behind me going super fast. I was already going about 10 miles over the limit (being in the ‘fast’ lane) and was totally scared by him. Unfortunately the road was busy, and it took me a few minutes to be able to merge into the middle lane so he could zoom past.
About half an hour later traffic came to a standstill, and when we finally got to where the 4 lanes of traffic were being directed into one lane, we saw the reason why – a 4 car accident involving the aforementioned black car. I wonder who caused it? Of course, the first thing out of my mouth was “ha, he deserved that.” I felt sorry for everyone else involved however.