Saturday, August 27, 2016

Visiting Kevin and Alexa in St. Pete

Just got back from a wonderful visit with Kevin and Alexa in St. Petersburg Florida.  I was down in Florida for the AREMA rail conference for Cardno in Orlando so with St. Pete so close it only made sense to go a day early and have a visit with Kev, Alexa and their adorable Ronan. 

 After a long flight I was able to grab a rental car and made it to St. Pete around 9pm.  We caught up for a bit about work and life and then Kevin and I headed out to some bars.  Colin and Scott had been there a few months before and had a hell of a night so I got a kick out of Alexa saying “ Kevin - BE CAREFUL” as we headed out the door.  We met up with a few of his friends at bar and then headed to MacDinton’s in St. Pete which seemed to be the place to go.  It was an Irish Pub but everyone, probably due to the heat, were wearing next to nothing and seemed more like a club to me.  Definitely a lot of eye candy on the scene and I could see where someone could get “in trouble” in a bar like that.  Kev and I shared pint after pint before heading back to the house for a good nights sleep.

We had a leisurely morning where I got to hang out with Ronan a bit before Kevin and I headed out for a tour around the up and coming town of St. Pete.  We stopped for an authentic Cuban sandwich which unfortunately for me came with Cilantro on it… yuck.  We drove by his school and then out to the Weedon Island Preserve Mangroves to walk around and watch people canoe through the waterways between the trees.  Very cool.  I thought it was crazy hot out but Kevin said it was a really cool day with a breeze.  There is no way I could ever live in a place so hot but I bet Alexa loved it.  I felt a little bad for Dromi though who must have a tough time in the heat with her black fur.  

I spent the afternoon at their place chatting with Alexa and cuddling Dromi while Ronan and Kevin took a nap.  When Kevin woke we headed out to Treasure Island to a very long white beach where we planned to relax and play with Ronan in the Sand.  Kevin kind of spooked me about sting rays when I went into the crazy warm waters of the gulf saying that if I got stung it would be the worst pain I would ever experience and to do the “sting ray shuffle” of my feet as I waded out.  I also found some sort of snail I had never seen before in a big shell.  They were all over the sand in the shallows and when you picked them up they weren’t shy about coming out of their shell and trying to stab you with a sharp piece of shell attached to their body.  Kevin got a kick out fly fascination.  

We weren’t in the water for more than 20 minutes before a massive squall rolled in from the gulf, a long extension of a Hurricane that was heading their way.  Within minutes the threatening cloud rolled in like a barrel in the sky and darkened everything with strong winds.  I had everything packed in the rental car and had followed them to the beach so I said my good byes and hit the road back to Orlando, battling strong wind and rain the entire way.  Honestly, with all the protection from weather we have in the Willamette Valley I thought it was fun to experience lively weather like this!

It was wonderful to see our old roommates again and I hope that Emily gets to return with me sometime to visit them, but next time we’ll make sure it is in the winter time when it won’t be so hot!

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