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Old 1 Sep 20, 12:47 AM  
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walt4it
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:) Going Out in a Blaze of Glory - Summer of Sorcery 2019 -DAY 24- The Curse of Clearwater!

Welcome back once more. I 'm glad you made it - I hoped you would

Day 23 is just here if you missed it

The whole index to all of this trip is here if you want to read about all of our shenanigans is here

Today was ... well I'll not give away what happened, hope you enjoy reading all about it!

Welcome to Day 24

Friday 16th August


Let me just give you a bit of a refresher about Clearwater – we have history!

Our first visit here in 2013 was a sunny one, in a cheap and rather noisy motel that we vowed never to return! ( those days can be read here!)

We did so again in 2017, after exploring other places on the West Coast instead of Clearwater, I would say that we enjoyed them much more than the busy place that Clearwater is -but, we chose to return for sunsets and an ideal place to explore the wider Tampa area– We booked into the Sandpearl and … it rained! That day is here


In 2018 we decided against booking a hotel and drove across for the day top see The Alarm in concert – beautiful day and one a the greatest gigs I have ever had the privilege of attending – we were indulged by the band of my childhood – the whole story can be read here.


It also meant for this photo



To add Clearwater insult to injury – that night involved a free bar and I was driving back to Orlando after a fine sunny Clearwater day!

It was a great gig though!



So, we woke this morning to the familiar sound on the window – you just knew what was happening the other side of those blackout curtains. With trepidation we pulled back the curtains and stepped outside.


I have to admit, it was still warm rain and the view was amazing, but our curse of Clearwater had returned once again!

Beach and rain just do not go together no matter in you are looking at the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea! Well especially the North Sea if this weekend has been anything to go by!

Time for a check of the weather on the TV and all the weather apps on our phones – it was not looking good!

We got dressed and headed down to the hotel lobby – first stop, was to ask the hotel to get the car, others had the same idea and as we knew there would be a wait. Second, we grabbed a coffee in the Starbucks counter that was in the hotel, only small and without the cake offerings that would have been very welcome!


Our first two aims on leaving the hotel were to find a Wawa for yet more cash more cash (yes, you see what all that shopping did yesterday! ) and to find a 7-11 for details about a baseball option I had read about online.

The road out of Clearwater led us to believe we had missed the worst of the weather, thankfully , unless you were the owner of this boat, it was a bit of a tree snapping and boat damaging session, not the local hurricane we thought we had missed!



Whilst the cash was readily found, it proved more difficult finding a 7-1. That would be the most incredible thing to think of really, as they are seemingly on every street corner when you don’t need one.

We also popped into a Walmart to check out the baseball / Tampa Bay Rays merch, with no success.

We had decided we were heading to Ellenton Mall, a 40 minute drive away and buoyed by our shopping success in Tampa yesterday, we had some hope of finding the bargains that had been missing from Orlando Outlet Malls. It also allowed to see some other more interesting bad driving moments in the rain. Also the most amazing bridge you would ever wish to cross - The Sunshine skyway





This was the aftermath of a holdup on the road but the whole journey served to remind us that Floridians don’t drive well in the rain. Always thought it was just an I4 thing, but it isn’t – they still think you can exceed the speed limit and be on your phone whilst aquaplaning on the highway!



Arriving safely in Ellenton, With the rain now persisting it down, we parked the car and made a dash for it.



Then found a problem we have encountered before!

Handy tip - Florida shopping in the rain brings the need for something you would never think possible! A warm layer!
We ended up in Aeropostale for a $7 cardigan to ensure that Alison stayed warm inside the shops- needed to take it off when outside so she would feel the benefit when she went inside!


Exactly the opposite of what you would expect but air con in shops does have a downside on a rainy day.
It was so quiet here today – being outdoor I’m sure it put many off from seeking out the bargains!

A stop in Lids, which in Orlando has noting to shout about was inspired!

An Orlando City Kaka tee shirt for Josh - 10 dollars
2x Orlando City training tops at the bargain price of 11 dollars each- incredible price as I had bought this exact one a few years ago in MCO, that got shredded by the washing machine and was so well worn , I had remained scarred by its removal from the wardrobe.


Not today and possibly the greatest purchase of the holiday and again a bit of karma as I was so gutted to have had my original one wrecked


Calvin Klein was next with an extra 20% off with emailed voucher as it was the anniversary of joining their loyalty scheme! Items bought were already 60% off. I’ll not show you what was bought there

Lunch in food court- nice, nothing special, but as the day panned out was important in seeing us through the day





Next stop was the Vans shop for a tee shirt for Josh’s friend. Hilfiger and the sports stores there were poor (just for future reference!)

Then, as we got in the car and exited we spotted an Edwin Watts golf shop, there used to be a number of these around Orlando but they had closed down over the years, we just went in for a look and apart from the expensive clothing, clubs and everything else, we found two golf tops for Joe, $5 instead of $55 was too good to leave, as we handed over the exact money including tax, you got the feeling that the guy behind the counter was finding this a difficult sale, he stopped short of putting his head in his hands and was possibly tapping the till to check if it was working properly!







We headed North again and were in two minds as to just going back to Clearwater, until a little road sign indicated that a 7-11 was at the next exit.

What is this fixation with finding a 7-11? – I hear you ask.
No, it was not the hot dogs that seem to remain on the counter for hours and hours, nor indeed a slurpee that appears to have colours that would send the kids loopy for hours or even the Sunday Orlando Sentinel with all those adverts and shopping coupons.


Seven Eleven stores in Tampa area had a promotion for Friday night baseball tickets at the unbeatable price of 7 dollars and 11 cents.



When looking on the Rays website this morning the cheapest seats we could find were $22 each.

We needed to get a voucher in a 7-11 and then get tickets at the box office or online using the code.

I entered the 7-11 and just asked about the deal – voucher quickly provided and with a deadline to beat!

We were 5 minutes away from Tropicana Field, so arrived there around 4pm, an hour before the deadline for the box office sale of these tickets.


A grand total of 28 Dollars and 44 cents 44 was paid – yes $28.44. For all Four of us!

We then decided to stay in the vicinity of the stadium in order to avoid any traffic problems trying to get to the game.

We decided upon Tyrone Square Mall which was just a few miles away.

We were still looking for some nice Tampa Bay Rays shirts that were not the $100+ seen in Lids and other places.
With Walmart already investigated, we turned our attention to JC Penney, again without any success though.

Alison then found two pairs of trousers for work at a great price and Joe a pair of Vans shorts, I found a Nike top and with a fab voucher that I had been sent by email a further 40% came off prices that were already 70% off.
The receipt speaks for itself!



$130 saved and just 31 spent on just four things! That is my kind of shopping!

I have to admit , we love JC Penney for this, it is such a great store and if you look for the Red Zone there is so much on offer at 70% off.

Not sure how sustainable this is and with the news earlier this year that they had filed for Chapter 11 protection from bankruptcy I wonder if we will ever see these deep price cuts ever again.

We love this store and usually find a bargain – the more out of the way the store the better the bargain!

We then headed to the Baseball, from past experience here it pays to get in early as you get the chance to soak up the pre game atmosphere and to just have a mooch around the whole stadium, Ray pool and all. Tigers fans were here too!



The game itself was a pitching masterclass, which never makes for exciting viewing, we just sat and absorbed it all – Charlie Morton was my Tampa favourite pitcher and he did not disappoint. It was mesmerising.





Kevin Kiermaier was similarly a favourite but the bats were quiet tonight. Tampa lost 0-2 and with the game close to the end we did something I never do – we left early!



We knew it was going to end as a defeat and we sought to avoid the car park exit.


We were also getting to be rather hungry too – that food court at Ellenton was a long time since and even with some Dippin Dots ice cream in a Baseball hat for the boys, we all needed some thing to eat.



Thankfully we were not too far away and returning to the hotel at 10-10, shopping cleared from the boot (Trunk if you want the local parlance!)

By 10- 20 we were seated in the Clear Sky Café next door to the hotel – yes we have been here before too and enjoyed it. Tonight, I think they could have served us with anything. We were so hungry and in need of some quick food.



It was delicious and the server here was great in getting us turned around – I think she was wanting to get home! The wine was good too!






We were impressed at getting served so well and with such good food, it was so tasty and was needed so much too.

By 11.10 we were back into the hotel and as Alison and I sat ourselves on the balcony with a glass of wine just hoping for a change in the weather for tomorrow, so the boys put the TV on for the start of the West Coast of the USA baseball!

No spoilers as to what happens tomorrow

Thanks for reading about a very rainy day at the beach!

See you real soon for Day 25- just click here to read
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Going out in a Blaze of Glory- Our Summer of Sorcery 2019 - click here to read a trip report in progress

All of our previous Trip reports and escapades can be read here.

Edited at 11:45 PM.
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Old 1 Sep 20, 04:57 AM  
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Whilst the Clearwater weather luck isn’t there you still remain the best shoppers! Great bargains and what a lovely spontaneous day.
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Old 1 Sep 20, 07:50 AM  
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Shame about the weather but you made the best of it and more bargains

Joan
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Old 1 Sep 20, 10:49 AM  
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Glad the rain didnt spoil things too much, I rode over the Sunshine Bridge on rented Harley in March its such a great view but it was bloody windy! Still lovin the Mike Peters stories...
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Old 1 Sep 20, 04:14 PM  
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Great shopping bargains 👍🏻
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Old 1 Sep 20, 08:26 PM  
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Shame about the weather but you got some fantastic bargains
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Old 2 Sep 20, 06:33 PM  
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That's how it goes sometimes... a rainy day and so change the plans and head to the Mall. Great bargains found and you left some spare baggage space for the way home?!?

Having spent a lovely lunch on Coco Beach pier watching baseball and eating chicken wings and oysters, I have next to zero clue how the game works! We would love to head to a basketball or baseball game next time we are in Florida but there doesn't ever seem to be much going on when we are there.

Nice looking dinner too. It's nice to get somewhere that'll serve you quickly without too much waiting. My kids have spent many a Florida dinner time with their heads on the table, half asleep before the food turns up! These things we've learned to avoid these days but even so, your boys did well to eat so late.

Sounds like you made the most of it and had a good day. Looking forward to hearing what else you get up to.
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Old 3 Sep 20, 07:11 AM  
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It might have been a rainy day but you lot certainly made the best of it. 👍

Never been to a major league game but we did go to a minor league game once, when we were staying in Siesta Key. Bradenton Marauders. It was so much fun! Dirt cheap. Family friendly. Kids playing games for prizes at half time. Stewards dancing in the aisles. Our steward explained some of the rules when he realised we were newbies. Lol.
They were all very excited about one young man (pitcher) who was destined for the majors. I couldn’t believe the speed they threw & caught those balls. Oh, & I caught a ball that was thrown out to the crowd. I gave it to a little boy sat behind me & you’d have thought it was the latest Fortnite toy - he was so excited. 🙂

Hope your next day was sunnier?
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Old 3 Sep 20, 11:08 PM  
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Originally Posted by joanna23 View Post
Whilst the Clearwater weather luck isn’t there you still remain the best shoppers! Great bargains and what a lovely spontaneous day.


Been thinking of you so much amid all these cancelled summer hols. Been a bit weird without a bit of Florida to perk us all up!

Good to see you are still with us and hope this finds you all healthy and well after all these months in lockdown. x
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Going out in a Blaze of Glory- Our Summer of Sorcery 2019 - click here to read a trip report in progress

All of our previous Trip reports and escapades can be read here.
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Old 4 Sep 20, 05:34 PM  
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Glad you found a 7-11, great bargain tickets to top off your shopping finds!
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