Monday, March 29, 2010

Tampa Revisited

Joe and I just got back from another great weekend in Tampa. Just like last year, we went to a couple Yankees spring training games and did some sight seeing on Saturday. The games were fun. We got to see all the starters play since it's so close to the start of the season:

And I got to get a GIGANTIC turkey leg:

Don't worry; Joe helped me eat it. And we went running at this gorgeous park on Saturday and Sunday to help offset the massive calorie consumption:

Sorry for the scary no-makeup, post-run pic, but I had to show you guys this beautiful park! It was exactly 1 mile from our hotel and was a perfect spot to run together. That's right, I said run TOGETHER! I can keep up with Joe now! Yes, he still has tendonitis. But that's irrelevant. ;)
Saturday we went to a place called Canoe Escape to rent a canoe for the day in hopes of seeing a gator. Well, JOE had hopes of seeing a gator. I'm not chicken or anything, I just like all my limbs right where they are and I try to partake in activities that insure they are safe from harm. Well, about 30 seconds into our trip, we spotted this bad boy:

Let me be clear; there was no tour guide. Only this guy:

There were no fences, no safety glass. We were on a real river armed with a camera and a paddle. That's it. Luckily we know enough about gators to know that if you leave them alone, they leave you alone. Most instances of people getting harmed by alligators are when people are acting stupid and provoking them. So we made sure not to do that! When we took a break for lunch (sandwiches from Fresh Market! Oh, how I miss Fresh Market.), we made a little friend.

He came right up to me and made that little "can I please have some of your noms?" gesture, and I was ready to give him my whole lunch. So cute! Every time I gave him a crust of bread, he would take it and run up a tree and eat it, then come back down to ask for more. Adorable!
The Hillsborough River was beautiful:

I don't remember ever seeing such a perfect Bob Ross-esque mirror image on the water!
I even started getting used to this sight, eventually:

The only part I didn't like was when we would startle a gator & he would go under the water. Where did he go? What's he doing now? If I put my paddle in the water to get the F&*% out of here, will I hit him in the head?

Oh, and I wasn't the biggest fan of the Vulture Sanctuary either (or whatever the hell they called it):

There were HUNDREDS of them! The canoe place told us to make sure we "look alive" during this part of the river so the vultures don't mistake us for road kill. So, I recited the 'Dancing Queen' number from Mamma Mia. Why memorize the number if you're never going to use it, right?
After all that paddling, we were ravenous! What a workout! We decided to go back to Skipper's for dinner. Last year we went there to try their gator nuggets, but this year it seemed wrong somehow, after making "friends" with them on the river. They had stone crab claws on the specials menu & we HAD to get them (along with some wahoo nuggets and mahi sliders)!

And the cool part is that no crabbies had to die for our dinner! What they do is catch the crabs, lob off a claw, then release them back into the water. The claw grows back, and they repeat the process with the new claw. Cool stuff!
Sunday's game only lasted 4 innings before it started pouring, so they canceled the rest of the game & we had no choice but to go to Hancock Fabrics. I found some really cute fabric, but we only had one very stuffed duffel bag for our clothes, so I didn't get it. Maybe when I go see my parents next month!
Then we went to J Alexander's for dinner and O.M.G. One of the best meals ever! I just felt like veggies for some reason, so I got the grilled artichoke appetizer:

And the vegetable platter for my dinner:

I'm not going vegetarian or anything (Hello? Giant turkey leg!); I was just craving veggies like mad (maybe from all the exercise?), so I didn't fight my cravings. Everything was so good, but those artichokes stole the show. They had a real smoky flavor from the wood grill and the seasonings were perfect. I could have eaten a whole huge plate of just those.
It was such a great weekend, but I'm back to reality today! Waaaaaaaaahhhhh!


Knittymuggins said...

What a great trip! Though I could do without the scary gators myself ;) Thanks for sharing - the photos were great and the food looked amazing. Glad you had so much fun!


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