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Old 09-09-2012, 10:43 AM   #1
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Fred and Wilma - 'The Keys' to 'The World' - Day 6

Friday 17th August 2012 – Plans are made to be changed

Every one of our holidays has a day that doesn’t go the way we (or rather, I) planned. Today was one of those days. Our original plan had been to visit Myakka River State Park and Anna Maria Island but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men….On the negative side, that means there aren't a lot of photos from today. On the positive side, however, I might be able to fit this onto one post

Despite the late-ish night, I was up at 6 and took the opportunity to catch up on my trip report notes and check my Emails. Gary and Daniel were both up by 8 and, after a breakfast very similar to the day before, we were showered, dressed and ready to leave by 9.15. Myakka River State Park is one of Florida’s oldest state parks. It is located just east of Sarasota, about a 30-minute drive from Bradenton. I had seen it mentioned on a trip report on the Dibb and the canopy walkway looked great so I really wanted to visit while we were in the area.

We arrived just after 10am and paid the $6 entrance fee. We had only driven a few yards though the park before Gary spotted an alligator gliding serenely through the water on the left-hand side. We stopped the car and got out to have a better look. It was very surreal indeed. Whilst it’s one thing to see an alligator in a zoo or animal park or even from the relative safety of an airboat, it is another thing completely to see one ‘in the wild’. I didn’t get any photos, unfortunately, but did get some great video footage. On the other side of the road was a small lay-by, in which a car was parked and two visitors were unloading a kayak. I felt like shouting ‘Don’t you know there’s an alligator in there?’

We continued driving through the park until we came to the parking area for the canopy walkway and nature trail. We coated ourselves from head to foot in mosquito repellent as Gary and I already had been bitten several times. As we walked along the trail, we saw lots of wildlife – birds, squirrels, lizards and loads of mosquitoes. Because it was all under cover of the trees, the trail was dark and soggy and the further we went along, the damper and more muddy it was getting. At one point, I had to try and tiptoe my way through a particularly muddy patch and ended up leaving my Croc behind, stuck in the mud.

Finally, we reached a sign pointing to the Canopy Walkway. We turned to the right and saw water. Lots of it! There was no way we would be able to get through to the walkway, the trail was completely flooded.

Canopy walk this way



Water, water everywhere



And not a drop to drink



We went back to see if the nature trail was any better but that way was flooded too. There was nothing for it but to head back to the car. I was absolutely gutted as I’d really been looking forward to it. As we approached the car, another family came walking along the trail towards us. When they saw the state of us (we were absolutely filthy from the knees down), they did an about-turn and went straight back to their car.

Back at the car, we decided we would drive through the park and have a look at the other visitor areas. As we were driving slowly through the park, we saw a deer just standing at the side of the road. We stopped the car to get a better look and it walked right up to us. It looked very much like a Key Deer, however I have since discovered it was a White-tailed Deer, of which Key Deer are a sub-species, so that explains the similarity.

It looks like a Key Deer but it’s not



I thought deer were meant to be timid creatures



All of a sudden, the deer looked up into the sky and ran into the woods. A couple of seconds later, there was a massive clap of thunder that frightened the life out of all of us. And then the rain came. And it rained. And it rained.

We continued to drive slowly through the park, right to the top of the Upper Myakka Lake. It was still pouring so we pulled over and waited it out. After a few minutes, the rain eased a little so we drove back down. I told Gary they had cabins here, where the Dibber whose report I had read had stayed. We decided to go and have a look and they were absolutely dire. There is no way in the world I could have stayed in one of them. They made the Fort Wilderness cabins look like the Grand Floridian. Since everywhere now would be very wet and muddy and it was still raining a little bit, we decided to leave the park. I was incredibly disappointed as this was something I had been looking forward to but Gary quite rightly pointed out that it wasn’t far from Orlando and we could always come back on a future visit.

Upper Myakka Lake



Lower Myakka Lake



We had no choice but to head back to the apartment to get cleaned up since we were so dirty and, on the drive back, we decided that the weather was not nice enough for the beach. It was still very overcast and grey and showed no signs of clearing (little did we know at this point that Tropical Storm Isaac was approaching). Back at the villa, we cleaned up and washed our shoes, before heading out for lunch at Steak ‘n Shake. As usual, when faced with any kind of decision, it took Daniel a good hour to choose but, eventually, he opted for Bacon ‘n Cheese Steakburger and a Mint Cookies ‘n Cream milkshake.

I just don’t know what I want!



Wow, look at the size of that shake



They had some speciality banana shakes when we were there so I opted for Banana Choc and Gary chose Banana Peanut Butter.

Banana Choc



Elvis would love this!



I’ve got to admit, food-wise this place is wasted on me since I don’t like burgers. They have a small selection of alternatives, though, and I opted for the chicken melt. I wish I did like burgers as they always look so good.

Bacon ‘n Cheese Steakburger



Western BBQ ‘n Bacon Steakburger



Chicken Melt



The food was great, the portions not too big and pretty reasonable at $25 inc tip.

Just as we were about to leave, I saw a girl at the counter with the most boring tattoos I’ve ever seen

Maybe she was hoping they would make her legs look longer





Armed with my flexible friend and a shopping list, we drove to the Ellenton Premium Outlets where we shopped it up a storm. I was really pleased to find a Crocs outlet, which had a massive stock of Cleos (discontinued line). They were in huge metal baskets, though, so I sent Daniel in to find them in my size. It was very funny, he was almost diving into them and coming out with pair after pair. Eventually, we found two pairs in my size and, at 50% off the second pair, they were a complete bargain. Gary asked me if it meant that I would be confining my old Crocs Cleos to the bin but I told him they were so comfortable, I couldn’t bear to be parted from them.

Next stop was the Levis outlet where Gary bought a couple of pairs of jeans. Then it was trainers for the boys. New running shoes for Gary and a couple of pairs of trainers for Daniel, one pair in his current size and another in the next size up (and you can still guarantee that he will have grown out of BOTH pairs before we go back in 14 months).

After we’d exhausted all the shops, we left the outlets and headed for Walmart, on the hunt for a Sat Nav for Tony and Theresa. Daniel was (understandably) bored of shopping by now so I deposited him in the Subway concession at the front of the store and gave him some money for a drink. While Gary went in search of a SatNav, I went to look for some things that Sian had asked us to bring back (mainly Pop Tarts and Sour Skittles). After I found the stuff for Sian, I went looking for Gary. It was then that I realised just how HUGE this Walmart was. I walked round for several minutes, looking all over the place, when finally I spotted him. I ran over, threw my arms around him and cried “Thank God, I thought I’d lost you”. Well, I didn’t but I felt like it. After four hours of shopping, we were exhausted and ready to head for home. Rather than have to come back out later and, with another long drive ahead of us the next day, we decided to stop for dinner on the way back. As we had planned to be eating at Anna Maria Island this evening, I hadn’t really got any ideas of where to go so I let Gary choose. Obviously feeling nostalgic for our first visit to Orlando in 2004 (when we’d eaten there several times), Gary chose Denny’s.

It was still really early so the place was empty. Even so, they managed to sit us at a table where the air conditioning was dripping all over the booth. We had to move or risk getting soaked.

I have to say, I was disappointed with this meal so I won’t linger too long on descriptions and stuff. Part of the problem was that I still wasn’t too hungry and I didn’t really know what I wanted but nothing sounded appealing. I ended up ordering chicken strips. I tried to persuade Daniel to share with me but he insisted he wanted the chicken nuggets off the kids’ menu. When he ordered and was asked what side he wanted, he said he didn’t want one. The server tried to get him to change his mind but he was adamant. I wanted to tell her not to bother but she said that she would just bring him some fruit as his side anyway so I left it. Gary ordered a salad. Apple cranberry chicken salad, I think.

When Daniel’s meal arrived, his plate contained three chicken nuggets. Nothing else, just three nuggets.

Is that it?



And she didn’t bring the fruit she’d promised. And I probably should have said something but I didn’t. And, for that, I was still kicking myself when we left.

Gary’s salad was nice, he said.

It looks nice…for a salad



My chicken fingers were dry, as if they’d been cooked and left standing under a heat lamp for a while. They were not nice at all. The fries, however, were crispy and hot.

Chicken fingers



All in all, it was not a great meal. I was beyond angry that I had paid $7ish for Daniel to have three chicken nuggets. But that was my own fault, not Denny’s. I was disappointed, however, that they couldn’t have either stuck a couple of extra chicken nuggets on his plate or brought him the fruit anyway. The check came to $29.97 and we left $5 tip. Even though it wasn’t a lot of money, it wasn’t worth it, to my mind. I would much rather have paid twice as much for better food in a nicer setting. I don’t think we’ll be back to Denny’s for dinner (although we do like their breakfast).

Back at the apartment, it was time to pack again. Although it must seem like we are doing a lot of packing and unpacking, and moving a lot, it actually didn’t seem like it at the time. It didn’t take us long to pack everything up and, after packing Daniel off to bed for an early night, Gary and I watched TV for a bit before retiring early ourselves.

Last edited by wilma-bride; 09-09-2012 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:06 PM   #2
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Another timely update, thank you so much for sorting us out with the satnav.
I wonder if that womans legs were so bored they fell a sleep.
Shame about the meal at Dennys, have you never seen the Family Guy episode about every town having a good Dennys and a bad Dennys.
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Old 09-09-2012, 01:15 PM   #3
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3 chicken nuggets that is beyond ridiculous.

I love bargain croc shops!
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Old 09-09-2012, 01:28 PM   #4
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Oh, dear - this sounds like a day to forget one way and another (although that bacon and cheese steakburger looks pretty good!). I hope things pick up from hereon in.

I'm not a fan of tattoos, but I don't understand why these variants are boring. They look quite intricate and different to me. Obviously I'm not an aficionado!
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKDEB View Post
I'm not a fan of tattoos, but I don't understand why these variants are boring. They look quite intricate and different to me. Obviously I'm not an aficionado!
Deb, I know you've read my previous trip reports - it's a giraffe thing. In case you've forgotten, here's a clue
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:37 PM   #6
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Ahhhhh! Lightbulb moment! I'll admit that I was baffled!
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:44 PM   #7
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Fabulously interesting tattoos! I'm impressed you managed to get photos of a strangers legs without getting a punch on the nose!

Nice to see you doing a bit of shopping (and big thanks for getting the satnav, and even more importantly, the Paydays -which have already been opened).
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:10 AM   #8
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We visited the Myakka park in 2005, and thought it wonderful. Certainly somewhere we'll revisit in time.

Shame about the various hiccups today - as you say, it can't run true every second of a complex trip, can it?

Looking forward to seeing you back on track on Day 7.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:14 AM   #9
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Sorry your day did not go as planned. But you were able to shop! And shopping always helps me to feel better. I've tried several Denny's and I just can't make myself enjoy it. I don't find it to be terrible but I also don't find it to be good!

Now I've got to go back to read the giraffe link.
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:48 PM   #10
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Just found your report and getting caught up! Love reading about your trip!

Those burgers from Steak 'N Shake look so heavenly right now (I forgot to bring lunch to work with me and I'm starving) but that Denny's meal looks yucky Not a big fan of Denny's. I had a horrible experience at one a few years ago on a drive down to Disney and I have yet to have a meal there that has changed my attitude toward it at all.

Now I need to read this giraffe story...
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:52 AM   #11
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Great report...shame about the meal at Dennys
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:39 AM   #12
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at the giraffe tattoos and your chicken fingers look the most unappetising thing I've seen for a long time.
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Old 04-25-2013, 03:33 PM   #13
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Such a shame that today didn't go as it should have and that the food choices weren't terrific either. Still, onwards and upwards. Looking forward to tomorrow's read.

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Old 09-22-2013, 05:06 PM   #14
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That is the smallest meal I have ever seen in fl
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