Tampa and Bonita Springs

Due to the unusually cool weather this year, I haven’t had a chance to go away for a weekend until this past Saturday and Sunday, which I spent over at the west coast in Tampa playing disc golf, catching up with an old friend and seeing one of my favorite bands live. I had been planning this trip for a while, mainly to see Big Sandy & his Fly-Rite Boys. But I was also looking forward to seeing my friend John, who I last saw at his wedding about 4 years ago. The start of the trip, though, had an unexpected beginning.

After leaving at 4:30 in the morning to make the 4-hour trek across the state, at around 6am, I witnessed a really bad accident right in front of me when a pick-up made a u-turn right in front of a van and I, with the van broadsiding the truck. I immediately pulled over and ran over to the truck, not sure what I was going to find. Luckily, the driver was still alive but in alot of pain. As I went to check on the van’s driver, he was already on the phone calling an ambulance and the police. After waiting about an hour and a half for a state trooper to arrive, I was finally back on my way to the west coast. My first stop was in Valrico to hit a small brand new disc golf course. Unfortunately, I had no idea where the course was, but after a couple phone calls and getting really lost, I finally found the putter-only course. After a couple rounds there, I drove to the next town over in Brandon to hit the cool 9-hole course there, but there were too many players on the course. So I headed south about 15 minutes to Riverview to play another brand-new short pitch-and-putt course. A few more rounds there then back up north to Tampa and Lettuce Lake Park. One of my favorite places to go in the Tampa area, I had another great time there walking along the wooden boardwalk and taking in the beautiful scenery. I then met up with my friend John at the disc golf course at Riverfront Park, where we played a couple fun rounds. We then headed back to his place where I enjoyed a scrumptious dinner with his family. John and I then went to Skipper’s Smokehouse to enjoy the live music at the Rockabilly Ruckus, where rockabilly bands have been playing all day and night. Of course, the highlight for me was Big Sandy, but we thoroughly enjoyed the few other bands we also saw.

I normally like to camp out at this time of year, but my friend saved me from the mid-40’s weather by letting me stay at his place. After a great waffle breakfast with the family, I drove down to Pinellas Park to hit yet another new Florida course. A fun course indeed, but the wet grounds turned me off from playing a second round, and I continued my way south along the west coast. My next stop was in Bonita Springs, where I checked out the Everglades Wonder Gardens. This was my second time here, and the first time I really got to enjoy it as the last time was an experience I’d rather forget. This is a very unique ‘zoo’, as the majority of the animals are rescued or injured animals that would not be able to survive in the wild. Among my favorites were the mountain lions and Florida panthers, which are extremely rare nowadays. I then hit the fun course just around the corner before going to Bonita Beach for dinner and a rather lackluster sunset, thanks to the heavy clouds. This trip had quite a few ups and downs, but it was great seeing John and Big Sandy again.

Big Sandy & his Fly-Rite Boys performing “Jumpin’ From 6 To 6”:

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