Well, that title has nothing to do with our trip other than we were on our adventure when it happened, but how could that NOT be the title??? I guess I could have titled it “Clearwater, A Lovely HQ for Scientology,” but that’s no fun at all!
The day of the big game, we were joined by our Michigan friends at Downtown Pizza. They were less enthused than we were but were troopers about our rollercoaster of emotions and happy for us all the same. There were actually a few additional KC fans in the joint that night and one table of SF fans. However, they managed to slip out before we could console them.
We docked for a week in Clearwater Harbor Marina which was right downtown. It was very lovely, but seemed a bit deserted. As we rode the Jolly Trolly around town, we noticed what looked to be a convention of airline personnel walking together from one building to another. We quickly learned that they were Scientologists. I had forgotten that Clearwater is their HQ. We were told (and I did not fact check this) that they owned a lot of the buildings downtown in the area where we were docked, but that the buildings were empty. There is, what looks to be, a beautiful hotel that could easily rival the Ritz. It is staffed and kept up immaculately, but hardly anyone ever stays there. It’s for Scientologists only. This was all very interesting to me.
Our last evening in Clearwater was Super Bowl Sunday. Monday we enjoyed a beautiful day of boating in calm waters down the gulf to Bradenton. We pulled into Twin Dolphin Marina which is absolutely lovely. Day one was spent driving to Sunrise via rental truck to pick up a chair-see pictures below.
Day two in Bradenton we walked the Riverwalk which is about a mile in distance. There was a very nice orange/spicy odor all along the way. It reminded me of Christmas. I later found out it was the Tropicana factory burning their orange peels. You’d think they could find some other use for them.
Thursday the 6th we drove 3 hours east to Vero Beach so Tom could attend a Boat Systems class for two days. While I did some retail exploration, he soaked up lots of technical information that he put into action once we got back to the boat. You’ll be happy to know that the air conditioner strainer is now clean as a whistle.
February 9th we had cocktails with a couple who have completed the loop and are docked in Bradenton in their lovely 61 ft Ocean Alexander. They live aboard it permanently—no dirt home. They passed on lots of handy tips and gave us their boat card with instructions to call or email them at any time. One fact that has been constant along the way is that Looper people are so helpful, at least the ones we’ve met so far.
A note about boat cards—everyone has them. They’re little business cards with your name, your boat’s name, phone numbers, and email address. Most of them have a picture of the boat and ours has the blog address on it.
Today, February 10th, my fun cousins, Cheri and Bill Wasz, drove up from Englewood to check out the boat and spend the day with us. We took a long lunch while catching up. We are hoping to spend more time with them as we travel further south.
As we wait for our sofa to be delivered Thursday the 13th, we’ll be hanging out in Bradenton. The weather is spectacular. We plan to head to Venice after leaving here. Stay tuned.