Fear and Loathing on the Florida Gulf Coast

Just got back from the marathon drive straight home from our gig in Florida, and what a long strange trip it's been!  We spent a little over a week doing the Anna Maria Island show at Holmes Beach, Florida and could not have asked for more perfect weather, and to be honest, it was really nice to get out of VA and get to some comfy temps!  The journey there with the trailer was pretty grueling and took us two days since it was my first trek with the trailer and I wanted to baby it the whole way.  Coming back was another story!  Balls out all the way in the intense rain and wind that led to a full on white knuckle trip the entire way and we never even stopped at a motel.  Thank God for coffee!

 This little calf swam right up to us at Crystal River.  The trick is to just float and not let your feet touch the water.  No movements and no sound!  they love quiet and they do a lot of resting on the bottom.

This little calf swam right up to us at Crystal River.  The trick is to just float and not let your feet touch the water.  No movements and no sound!  they love quiet and they do a lot of resting on the bottom.

Prior to the show we had a blast at the local museum in Bradenton and saw the DaVinci exhibit and "Snooty", the oldest living manatee in the world (65 yrs. old.)  We spent a long time playing with all the hands on machines and giving Snooty lots of smiles.

 

The show was a great success and we totally enjoyed meeting all the nice people on the island but getting on and off the island was incredibly time consuming. We all know what a pain it is at our oceanfront during tourist season but we all know the back roads to avoid the "strip or oceanfront".  Down there, the island is so narrow and tiny that there is only one access for the most part and its a two lane road, jammed with spring breakers, lost tourists, and crazy drivers like you have never seen in your life.  The first day of the show, it took us 3 hours to get to our hotel which was only 9.5 miles away!!!!!  It was pretty cool to be able to get so close to the shore birds on Longboat Key and I got some terrific shots that will lead to some fun paintings later.

Very happy to be back in Virginia which I am very proud of!

 Once we got out of the show, we toured the island north to south and had a ball watching nesting birds and later, going to Crystal River to swim with the manatees.

Once we got out of the show, we toured the island north to south and had a ball watching nesting birds and later, going to Crystal River to swim with the manatees.