SATURDAY 10th January: Well a bit of a strange start for a holiday but helped our hosts move some furniture and pack a van to help two of their kids move to a new apartment for University then in the afternoon a really long walk in a nearby nature reserve.
SUNDAY 11th January : At Christmas Kerry presented us with a really unusual present – A morning at a gun firing range? It turns out that Kerry’s company has an office in Orlando and one of his collegues shoots at a local range and Kerry thought it would be a very unusual gift for us. Well we met Evan at the range and after signing-in and donning safety glasses and ear defenders, he showed us the correct way to handle and load a small 22 pistol and then fire at targets, then through the same procedure with Evan’s own larger 9mm pistol, a bigger bang with quite a bit more kick, then Evan went out and exchanged the first pistol for a very large 355 asult rifle (I think!) just like you see the police at the airport carrying. A really Big Bang but it had electronic sights so seemed a bit of a cheat and although it had almost zero kick Judy found it too heavy to use so after we had used the ammunition went out with Evan and swapped it for another 22 pistol which had less kick than the first but the sights were not as good. So then it was Steve’s turn to choose and he chose a conventional Winchester rifle. Even though Steve had probably not fired a gun of any kind for probably 50 years it turned out that somehow he was quite accurate so we finished off the box of ammunition with a shoot out between Evan and Steve at the maximum length of the range on the smallest part of the target. Obviously Evan had more nearest the centre but Steve was really chuffed to have all shots within two inches of the centre. Two actually nearly through the centre. So… a very strange day, not one we would have chosen but we did really enjoy it. Not so we will now go out and join a gun club but something else ticked off the bucket list perhaps.
MONDAY 12th January. Time to move on and start exploring so we headed off towards the western coast and Tarpon Springs. A small town famed for it’s sponge industry and a substantial Greek influence. We arrived at the harbour just before three in the afternoon in torrential rain. They tell us that it only rains for fifteen minutes in Florida but it persisted constantly all afternoon. So with the help of Mc D’s for the Internet and Booking.com we found and booked a hotel room for the night.
TUESDAY 13th January. The Sun was now shining so back to Tarpon Springs harbour for a very pleasant exploration starting with the Sponge Factory where we watched a film then wandered along the road constantly avoiding the offers of a boat ride and watching a “Real Live Hard Hat Diver” descend to the depths. But did have a really good Greek doña kebab lunch which they call a GIro. But probably the best we have tasted. We then moved on towards Venice. FL where again with the help of Mc D’s and Booking .com we found another reasonable Motel for the night.
WEDNESDAY 14th January. We decided to take the back roads South perhaps wandering by the side of the sea, but Florida’s back roads are monstrous dual carriageways quite a long way from the seas side try as we might we didn’t find the silver sand beaches we had read about but very soon found ourselves crossing an enouremous bridge to Fort Myers where we pulled into a park for a picnic lunch. After a quick scout round the town and a visit to the Visitor Centre we decided to stop at the Library to again use Booking.com to find a room. Only one seemed to have good reviews so we booked in. The room was fine but we were a bit unsure about the immediate area.
But off to the town for the free “Trolley” bus ride around which was quite entertaining and then a very nice meal at the “Ford Garage” a very nice burger meal with a bun branded with the Ford Logo. perhaps it was originally the garage that Henry Ford owned. We will find out when we visit the “Edison Ford” museum tomorrow.