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Ten days in Tampa Bay

Following our swim with the manatees we returned to the Sun Retreats RV Resort to checkout before 11 AM on Friday. We proceeded south onward towards the Tampa Bay/Saint Petersburg, Florida area. We are planning an extended stay at MacDill Air Force Base FamCamp. After getting to the main gate we again went through the check-in process of getting a visitors pass that we have done many times past. By 2 PM we had a site with full hook-ups in the FamCamp Annex for $22 a night. The Annex is next to the the golf course and only a short bike ride away from the main FamCamp complex by the beach and marina. We chose the annex because the sites are larger and spaced farther from each RV. There is no restroom/shower or laundry facility in the annex but we really don't need those services.

Friday evening we went off base to a Japanese restaurant for one of Morgan's favorite foods- Sushi! We had to wait about 30 minutes but it was worth the wait. We had another wonderful meal together. Saturday was Morgan's last day with us so we did a dry run to the Tampa Bay International Airport during the daytime to get an idea of the lay of the land. Her flight on Sunday was at 8:30 AM and I didn't want to try and find the terminal at 6 AM in the dark. The airport is only thirty minutes from the base so it was not going to be a problem getting her to the airport for her flight home. We got some diesel for the truck and did some shopping. We returned to the base and I took a nap while Karen and Morgan went to the base bowling alley to have some girl time together.

That evening we had another feast! I barbecued tri-tip, Karen made baked potatoes and broccoli. Morgan made some awesome brownies from scratch with the groceries we picked up earlier in the day. We finished the evening playing a card game called 4 up/4 down before getting to bed early.

Easter Sunday morning the alarm went off at 6 AM and we were out the door at 6:30 AM headed to the airport. I dropped Morgan and Karen off and headed to breakfast at the Waffle House restaurant. We both hope Morgan had a good time visiting us. Living in a confirmed space for a week with your grandparents can be a challenging experience. We saw some neat places, ate some incredible food and did some cool things together, so I think she has some good memories of our time together.

I picked Karen up after Morgan's flight took off and we drove south through St. Petersburg on Interstate 275 to attend the 10 AM Easter morning services at Bayside Community Church in Bradenton, Florida. This the church attended by our close friends Richard and Nancy Swain who own a home in Bradenton. Richard unfortunately was stuck in Michigan working but Nancy was home and attended their sunrise service. Because of our commitment of getting Morgan to the airport we chose to attend the 10 AM service before heading to their home for Easter Brunch. Nancy was Karen's Maid of Honor when we got married 27 years ago and they have been good friends for years so we had planned on visiting them while in the area at MacDill AFB. We got to see two of their adult children Amber and Michael, some significant others, grandchildren and other relatives. Karen and Nancy caught up while I visited and got to know Amber's husband Justin.

It has been a full weekend for the two of us with plans to continue sightseeing and relaxing in the beautiful Tampa Bay area. Karen is planning a two-day long girls only visit with Nancy down in Bradenton, so I think I'll catch a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game in St. Pete's and play a round of golf here on the base while she's gone. We are here until April 17 before continuing east to Patrick's Space Force Base to watch the scheduled launch of the a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket on April 18 with the ViaSat 3 Americas broadband communications satellite. Stay tuned for more reports!


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