Sunday, August 7, 2011

St. Pete Beach 2011

St. Petersburg Beach
Okay, so I know I'm a couple of weeks late in getting this post up, but things have been a little hectic.  Last month the lady vyle and Myself took our oldest son, Alex, and his girlfriend, Callie Holland, to stay at the Tradewinds Sandpiper Resort on St. Pete Beach for a couple of days as an added bonus to their vacation and as gift to celebrate their graduation from Savannah High School in Savannah, Missouri.  For Callie it was her first trip to the beach, and she was very excited to see and swim in the ocean, collect shells, and even see and feed seagulls for the first time.  We only had a chance to stay there a couple of days, but I have to say it was one of the most relaxing mini-vacations I have been on in a long time, and The Sandpiper is definitely somewhere I want to stay again real soon.

We spent a big part of the second day on the beach in our own little cabana, a first for Me, where after frolicking in the water and collecting shells we retreated for most of the afternoon. While the kids enjoyed the water the lady vyle napped as I relaxed and read a few things on My Kindle.  We had a picnic lunch, one that was actually enjoyable, because it seems that the seagulls on St. Pete Beach are a bit more classy and less hungry than the ones at Siesta Key.  The local crier was nicknamed, Steve, by Alex, and he waited for us to return to our cabana that evening after we went out to dinner.  The gulls would form a small cloud around the kids, almost as if they were hovering in line and waiting patiently to be fed.  Alex dubbed them "movable shade", but I warned him that that shade did occasionally let out a little exhaust.

Steve the Seagull (Bottom Center).  I like him better than the pesky bastard that hounded us on Siesta Key in February.

We had dinner at one of the little restaurants at The Sandpiper the first evening, but the second night we headed out to a place down the road named, Crabby Bill's.  Just around the corner was a little surf shop that had a pirate skeleton standing in front of it that I knew I wanted my picture with after dinner.  Crabby Bill's was excellent, with a broad selection of surf & turf, as well as some of those more Floridian delicacies (gator tail).  While looking for a place to turn around to go to the surf shop we accidentally found a place called the Candy Kitchen in a little plaza and decided to investigate.

The exterior of the Candy Kitchen, a world of sweet delights.
 Like The Sandpiper and Crabby Bill's the Candy Kitchen is another point of interest I intend to revisit on our next trip to St. Pete Beach.  To say it has almost everything you can imagine is an understatement.  This place had the classics, stuff I had not seen in years as well as things I had only heard of before.  They had bubblegum and candy cigars and cigarettes, which I was shocked to find they were still made.  We picked up a couple of packs that had been My favorite as a kid, bubble gum sticks wrapped in paper colored to look like a cigarette and filled with a bit of powdered sugar so that you blow into them and it looks like smoke is coming out of them.  I picked up several different kinds of Now And Laters, a few Black Cows, Chiclets and even Tiny-Size Chiclets.  The lady vyle bought Razzles, saltwater taffy and the kids loaded up on a few things to get their own sugar high going.  My wife got a chocolate covered banana and we all got classic bottles sodas, a Coke for Alex, an Orange Crush for Callie, Birch Beer for the lady vyle, and A Moxie for Me.

Before leaving we got to add our signatures to the encouraged graffiti on the wall.  The Candy Factory provides assorted colored Sharpies for this, and ask that you please only sign in one place.  I put Mine in between a couple of shelves were there was space and signed it, "Michael C. Laney, Author Of Heather's Journey".  It didn't occur to Me to get a picture of it, but hopefully they haven't repainted for a new batch before our next visit.  So if you're going to St. Pete Beach sometime soon be sure to drop by the Candy Factory to see if you can find it and maybe get a picture of it of your own.

Coming out of the Candy Factory quite a few bucks lighter and with a bag of loot we all sat down to enjoy our drinks, as well as a little of our dessert.

Callie, Alex and the lady vyle ready for some evening refreshment.
The sexy lady vyle enjoys her chocolate dipped banana, with NUTS!

The lady vyle shows off the Banana Boat impression left on the bottom of her chocolate dipped banana by the Banana Boat bowl.

The Loot: Chiclets, Tiny-Size Chiclets, Razzles, Black Cows and bubble gum cigarettes (Kings and Round Up).  Won't be pissed?

My first Moxie.  If you've never had one it's like a cross between Root Beer and Dr. Pepper, and very tasty.  I can't wait to buy more.
After our dessert we got back into the car and headed over to the surf shop.  Unfortunately I did not get its name, but it was around the corner from Crabby Bill's.  I hadn't been in a surf shop of any kind, not even at the mall, since I moved to Missouri.  They had some skull bead bracelets I would love to have, and they are on My list if they still carry them whenever we have our next trip to St. Pete Beach.  They had everything a surf punk needs, including a pair of orange framed Oakley sunglasses.  Yeah, My brain said I wanted them, but at $110.00 My wallet was saying, "No, Sir."

Yo-Ho, and Yai-Yo Yai-YO! This salty pirate had waited outside the surf shop all day to get his picture with Michael C. Laney.  I'm not sure who's cup was running overith more.
Speaking of orange, I loved the bedroom in out little suite at The Sandpiper.  Not only was it big but it had orange walls!  I figured that it might make a good About The Author picture someday, so I had Alex take a couple of pictures of Me.  It didn't look very well as a FaceBook profile picture, but I know when cropped just right it has potential.

Make Mine orange.  I would love it if My real bedroom had orange walls.  It would give Me another excuse not to want to get out of bed every day.
 After getting back to our room I went out with Alex and Callie to take pictures of them feeding the seagulls as the lady vyle relaxed in our room.  Steve was waiting for them to get back, and a few cries attracted several of his friends.  I took pictures and strolled up and down the beach to take some scenic pictures as well as pictures of sand castles and shells.  Speaking of shells we each found several, the lady vyle and Myself adding to our collection for our shell lamp, and Alex and Callie starting theirs.  Alex discovered one of his shells was not quite unoccupied, so they took it to the beach so the hermit crab which had claimed it could return to nature.

Movable Shade?  Alex and Callie feed the seagulls.
The next morning we packed up the car and checked out, heading down the road to the IHOP that the lady vyle had spotted the night before as we looked for a place to turn around to get to the surf shop.  For the lady vyle you haven't really been on a trip or vacation unless you've eaten at least one meal at an IHOP.  Then we paid a visit to the Florida Holocaust Museum, after getting lost and having to backtrack from nearly to home.  My camera had died before we got there, which was unfortunate because there was some very interesting penis graffiti on an abandoned bar across the street from the museum.  Then we headed back home to unpack and rest before the lady vyle and I had to go back to work the next day.

I don't think any of us can wait until we get that next chance to go to The Sandpiper, and after hearing the details of our trip Quentin wants to go as well.  If I could afford it I would love just to go there and stay for a month.  It's so relaxing, and not only would it be a great place to write, but I'm sure it would be a great place to get ideas.  Which reminds Me that as we pulled away and turned to get onto the highway we saw an adult store called, Shhhhh...Don't Tell Momma, which is also on My list of points of interest to visit the next time I'm in St. Pete Beach.

Master Vyle

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