So, I took a day trip to Tampa, AGAIN, to go to my closest Ikea. It's about a three hour drive from my home in SW Florida. After Ikea I decided to wend my way to Clearwater Beach. Why? Nostalgic purposes, as I lived in the Tampa area from the ages of four to fourteen and with Grandparents in Clearwater, there was a well worn path between East of Tampa and Clearwater.
This was a spur of the moment sort of thing, so I had no map and no GPS, just my own pigeon- like homing instincts. And sure enough, I left the Ikea parking lot, on Adamo Ave. (Hwy. 60), past Ybor City, followed it thru downtown Tampa (Kennedy Blvd.) and past the airport and onto the Courtney Campbell Causeway right thru downtown Clearwater and onto Clearwater Beach, with nary a waiver or wrong turn. In fact, this is the amazing thing to me, as I passed streets and sights going thru Tampa they were all so FAMILIAR, and I had not been on this path for dare I say 30 or 40 years??? The Tampa docks, where the banana boats used to (still do?) dock, the angular "modern" 1960's buildings, past Dale Mabry, Florida Ave. and Henderson Ave. where I actually recognized the turnoff to get to my father's old office. It didn't hurt that there was a Krispie Kreme located on the corner which looked more than vaguely familiar. Now, past Lois Ave, also an old and familiar street, and West Shore Blvd.
Upon arrival in Clearwater beach, I found a familiar Greek motel had been torn down to "put up a parking lot" as the song goes. Also found some exceedingly tall condominiums that blocked out the setting sun for the older, established places.
But, I saw that Frenchy's cafe (now at least three on the beach) were still in full swing and people clamoring to get in no doubt to order the Grouper Reubens. The Gulf water was exceedingly clear and lovely; "Clearwater" still living up to it's name. The beaches were packed with people and their colorful umbrellas and flotation devices. Lots of happy people enjoying their Sunday afternoon at the beach. Then, it was on to Indian Rocks, Redington Beach, Treasure Island and St. Pete beach and back onto I-275, across that giant yellow bridge and back to I-75 South.
It was a great trip down memory lane and rather reassuring to know that one can find one's way when one must.