The first time I traversed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, it was the old bridge. There were originally two spans, one northbound and the other south. A horrific accident involving a ship caused one of the spans to collapse in 1980. 35 deaths including people riding a Greyhound bus. Click here to read about it.
The day we crossed it was in 1986 and I didn’t connect it to the accident until we were on it. At that time, they were using the remaining span for both north and southbound traffic. It was slow and we could see the remains of the collapsed span next to us and I, who have traversed the Mackinac Bridge for most of my life, was TERRIFIED! A few years later, we crossed the NEW Sunshine Skyway *suspension* bridge (the old ones were cantilever bridges) and it was a whole new world. Causeways from the old bridge(s) are now used as fishing piers. So here we are, swinging down into Manatee County across the Sunshine Skyway!
Later on, after we got to our Hard Stop, I read on the internet that my *usual* large suspension bridge was coated with ice today. 🐽
We stopped at our Beautiful Suzie’s house for a hug on the way through Bradenton to our Hard Stop and she had packed a big bag of beach stuff for us. Sun screen and towels and a kite and all kinds of stuff. We were so appreciative. I could not find any sun screen at The Landfill and figured I’d just buy some. I suspect anything I had at home was 20 years old and disappeared during a flinging session.
Without disclosing our exact location, we are on Longboat Key, which is a long, skinny island on the Florida gulf coast. You’ve heard of the Florida Keys, think Hemingway? We are not down there. Key is just another name for island around these parts and we are west of the Bradenton-Sarasota area. We are on Gulf of Mexico Drive, which is the main north-south drag (and often the only drag through the skinnier parts of the island) up and down Long Boat Key. If you get to a drawbridge when a big sailboat wants to go through, you have to wait.
The Beautiful Becky discovered the place we’re staying at and I fell in love with it from the pictures. White and teal/turquoise? My Landfill Chitchen colors. It’s a old-school Florida place but clean and up-to-date and there is a connection of some sort to some Houghton Lake neighbors. Our room is second from the left end on the ground floor.
After our Hard Stop, I hiked down the beach a way. I hiked to the Second Group of Gulls. The first group is in the photoooo below. I like the way this photo turned out but don’t think that I set this thing up in any kind of careful way. Photographing wildlife with an iPhone is dicey and I don’t have the patience to sit around getting pummeled by waves or eaten up by moe-skee-toes (or ticks, yick) to get a good photo. I held down the button on my phone so it took a “burst” of something like 90 photos as I slowly approached these gulls. They were pretty much oblivious to me until I was literally feet away from them and then they slowly flew off. I deleted 95% of the photos in the burst.
We have a small but fully equipped kitchen in this place so we hit the Publix 2.5 miles down the road for coffee and some brek stuff, then we had dinner (and a Salty Dog) at the Old Salty Dog. We used to drink salty dogs at the moominbeach and maybe we’ll have to resurrect that tradition although I don’t think we will totally abandon ‘hattans. I have been to the Old Salty Dog before, many years ago. I don’t think it has changed a lot although I am sure they did not have edamame salad before. I chose that to go with my shrimp basket today and it was really good.
I remember when we were here all of those years ago, there were drive-thrus where you could get a salty dog to go in a big cup with lots of ice and a straw and everything. Yes, I mean you could buy a to-go alcohol drink IN YOUR CAR. I bet that’s not legal any more.