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Hillsborough River #59

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Off to Tampa We Went on Easter Weekend of 2023…

This was our second trip in a row without Charlie. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and I do believe that holds true in this scenario, our teenager now wants to camp again after a few without him attending; bonus! Anyhow, this trip was special for a couple reasons. First off, we have been river roaming for two+ years, though I have been at my Florida based moving company for a full 10. This trip was a gift for that time well served. No engraved watch for me, a river roamin’ excursion was all I asked for. So, off to Tampa we went.

That Friday morning was a cool, crisp one. We took our time heading due west on SR60. Any easy drive with a few opportunities at the tail end for meandering, which we took all the way to the Williams Park Boat Ramp. Without Charlie, this mom was responsible for backing up on the pontoon and taking him solo to the dock at our waterfront AirBNB. A touch nerve wrecking ya’ll!

Here I am, putzing along in the pontoon and what do I see to my left? A full CIRCUS TENT…how peculiar?

Upon arrival to the freshly upgraded dock at our weekend abode, my husband was already there and quick to assist. It was seamless. With a few steps upwards, we saw an entire property adorned by sectioned units for guests. Though there was not much time to linger, we had some Alafia River to explore for the balance of that arrival day. Boy did we! Suggestion, smoked wings from the bbq shack outside the Beer Shed is a must! Anyhow, we visited a few establishments and saw some incredible homes nestled in-between plenty of dog friendly beaches. Did I mention we also left Seger home this trip unlike the last adult trip? We felt super guilty-

Once back at the property, it is hard to deny it was overwhelmingly charming. That is, once we finally found our unit, long story. Good news, it was as cozy inside as it was out. Complete with grills, firepit, guest room and a communal ice machine, this place truly made our low-maintenance weekend memorable. Better still, the universe served us an extra treat…a carnival! Not just any carnival, rather a full-time training midway! Having been from Michigan, which is the state this circus troop derived from, I always felt I would have excelled in such a profession. Granted, I still talk for a living…yet, seeing the craft of the carnie up-close made me inspired. The lights, the smell of popcorn, the sound of shrills mixed with laugher; it was a terrific experience! The Ferris wheel operator even granted us extra time, the view of the entre downtown Tampa Bay area from the top was astonishing!

Bright and early the next morning, our dear friends the Kings arrived. Linda accompanied by her husband, Greg, came baring a birthday gift for my Michael. What was it? A river roamin’ couples float for our upcoming trip to the Ichetucknee River in late Spring. So thoughtful! Giving them enough time to hang their clothes and stash their toiletries, we applied sunscreen and set off for a new river. Greg, Linda’s first husband and now reunited, has spent the last 20+ years in the Tampa area. He knows the waterways there well, it was a gift he was there to help us as we crossed the big Hillsborough Bay. As we finally made our way past all the cargo ships, the downtown Tampa part of the Hillsborough River slowed our pace and unveiled much Easter cheer. As we passed an officer patrolled Easter egg drop from the modern museum along the water, Rick’s on the River appeared. The waitresses, beckoned by way of a large handle with a “service sign” mounted atop was a nice first stop. The service was on point and the appetizers tasty. Back down the Hillsborough we went, back towards our abode off the Alafia River. Our 59th river accomplished mere weeks before our dear friend Linda’s 59th birthday; so fitting!

Back on the Alafia River we visited each watering hole and enjoyed an appetizer or two at them all. Each venue offered up live music and water dockage, along with great backdrops for photos. Best part, with all our visits we came in well under budget! Never did make it back to the carnival for night two, but what fun we had! Downtown Tampa was sure a sight to see via the water; hope you can experience it too!


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