Saturday, March 28, 2009
Hanging out on Siesta Key
Cool quartz sand, fine as flour, cushions my bare feet as I aimlessly drift from my lounge chair on the sun-bleached gulfside deck to the water's edge. The waves shyly tiptoe in as I stop to stare at the great blue shimmering body of water that nudged them toward me. The Gulf of Mexico was so calm at first glance I thought it was asleep.
My eyes follow the surface of the water as far to the left as it stretches. My view ends at Point of Rocks, the south end of Crescent Beach. If I were to walk in the opposite direction, beyond the four life guard lookouts on the public beach, my jaunt would be abruptly aborted by an impassable rocky section of shoreline. Distances deceive me when I walk or run on the beach. The strip of unusually white sand unique to Crescent Beach appears to be about a mile long but actually extends for a few miles.
We return every March to the Siesta Dunes condominium complex on Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key, Florida. My mother's cousin, Marilyn, and her husband, Dick, own a condo in the complex. They set aside ten days for our use in March every year. My husband, son and I consider this annual vacation as the highlight of our year.
From the fourth floor we have a wide view of the Gulf, the pool, the gulfside deck and the immaculately kept grounds. I spend most of my time right there at the complex. I walk, run, write, read and relax for the most part. Later in the evening, I watch American Idol when it's on.
The mainland city of Sarasota, Florida, is a short drive along Midnight Pass Road and across Stickney Point Road Bridge. All of the activities we enjoy are within a few miles of Siesta Dunes. Every day we look forward to dinner. During our pre-dinner game of Yahtzee, we make final decisions regarding where we'll eat. Following a glass of wine for me and a few bottles of beer for the guys while we roll the dice, we're off to Captain Curt's Bar and Grill just down the road or The Stonewood Grill over the bridge. Once or twice each trip, it's inevitable that we end up at Sharkey's in Venice and The Outback.
We've vacationed at Siesta Dunes for over twenty years. Lon and Jared have activities they look forward to and I'm content to do my own thing when they're away. They hire a guide to take them fishing on his boat in the back waters. They relax and watch one day and one night pre-season baseball game. The three of us rent kayaks and paddle the waters around Turtle Island. We rent bikes to explore residential areas and to ride on the beach. Special bikes with extra wide tires make the trip from one end of the beach to the other and back again much quicker than on foot.
From chairs at the table beside the sliding glass doors and from stools on the open porch, we observe the walkers and runners on the beach and the water craft in the area. Parasailers can be seen along with sail boats and motor boats. Occasionally, dolphins can be seen playing offshore and stingrays along the shoreline. Pelicans dive clumsily, crashing head first into the water for fish, cormerants swim underwater in search of food and jelly fish wash up on the sand.
Our non-stop flights between Milwaukee and Tampa got us from point A to point B without a hitch. A rental car provided our transportation from Tampa to the condo and everywhere we wanted to go. The weather was perfect with temperatures reaching highs of 80 degrees every day.
Since we returned to Wisconsin, the weather has been disappointing. This evening and during the night, several inches of snow are expected to fall. On our drive home from Janesville late this afternoon, we saw two cars that had slid off the interstate. April will arrive in four days and I'm hoping spring weather will come with it.