Clear Water. Beach. Florida.

I’m a fan of the beach. Most any will do. Like this one in Toksook Bay, Alaska.

toksook bay

Granted it was a bit too cold to venture into the water and even a little on the cold side for just being outside. Thank goodness I had my spring gloves on.

There’s something about standing on the edge of the ocean that thrills me. And if the name of the beach has the words “clear water” built right in, even better.

Because I take the name literally. Clear water. As in it’s so clear that I can see to the bottom where I’m always scanning the area for sharp rocks. And masses of seaweed that can get tangled around my legs. Or for little fish that like to nibble on my toes. And, of course, for the big fish, aka sharks, that like to nibble on my arm or leg.

So, when hubby suggested a day trip during our first ever trip to Florida, I was game.

Road trips are fun. They’re for singing in the car. They’re also for napping in the car. I love a good road trip nap. I’ve been to a lot of places over the years; I’ve got pictures and blog posts to prove it. Probably I’ve been to even more places than what is on my list even. I was simply too busy napping to snap pictures or jot down a memory. In fact, I have a rather vague memory of hubby saying something about us driving through the D.C. area once. I’m pretty sure I snored in response.

Anyway, we drove from Orlando to Clearwater Beach. I stayed awake for most of it. Mostly because a wicked rain storm hit about halfway there and appeared to be following us. There’s nothing worse than gearing up to go to the beach only to learn you’re going to get rained on out there.

By the time we arrived, the rain had dwindled to a small shower. We pulled into a gas station for refueling. Snacks are so much cheaper down states than around where we live. Here, you pay a solid ten dollars for a bag of spicy Cheetos compared to the ninety-nine cents in the lower forty-eight.

Oh and we put gas in the van too for the long drive back. Which was also much cheaper there.

When we made it to the beach, everyone was glad to get out of the car and stretch. The sun was fighting the rain clouds for a position in the sky and a light breeze was blowing. It was perfect for walking along the shore line, pretending we didn’t have a care in the world.

clearwater

Who am I kidding? The only real care we had on our minds was where we were going to eat for dinner. With a group the size of ours, you have to plan a meal out as if you’re planning to take over the world. Every detail is important.

How long is the wait? Is the menu hand painted on a piece of gorgeous stationary or is it a laminated piece of copy paper? The former means the price is probably going to be high enough to warrant taking out a loan, whereas the latter might mean we’re forced to eat our meal out of plastic baskets and Styrofoam cups. And personally, I like my meals to be somewhere in the middle of all that.

Yes, I’m a fan of real dinnerware, silverware that isn’t a spork, and nice glasses. I prefer wine glasses even though I’m not drinking wine, but an actual glass will suffice.

After taking beach shore walks and letting the kids air up the rubber raft they bought to play in the water for a while, we called it an evening. We’d decided dinner would be the place with outdoor dining a few yards away. Not so much for the food, but for the view of the ocean.

Or in the case of our youngest son, the view of the sun. Which hung right in his face because he was the last one to take a seat. Poor. The kid was not a happy camper as he squinted his way through the meal. Nor were the rest of us whose backs were to the sun. It was a scorcher.

Which is pretty much our luck on vacations, if you haven’t noticed by now. It pours down rain during our drive to the beach, is cloudy with spotty rain the whole time we’re on the beach, and then the sun comes out when we’re trying to get through a meal before heading home. It wasn’t the worst luck we’d had on a trip, by any means, but it did make for some grumbling at the dinner table that night.

Thankfully, the water was clear when we were in it. No sharks or biting fish. No seaweed to grab my legs. And no sharks. It’s always a good thing when they’re aren’t any sharks. Or those ghost crabs that come out at dusk, scurrying all over the sand. Have you seen those? They creep me out. I’m always afraid I’m going to step on one. Ew.

clearwater

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