December 3-14, 2003 - Bradenton, FL

The motorhome needed to be ready to check at 8AM and the Cummins tech, David, found no leaks or problems after the brake repair the day before.  We were good to go to Bradenton, FL, where we had a one month coupon that had to end the morning of the 15th.  It was still a good deal so off Bill and Evita went, since Diane was in the Seattle area.  The drive was 231 miles and Bill had no navigator.  Just about the time Bill stopped for fuel Evita came out and started to complain loudly.  Bill figured out that she was distressed Diane wasn't with them, she figured she would not see Diane ever again.

Bill got to the campground and was able to get it parked and setup alone with a few journeys outside to make sure he wasn't going to hit something .  Here is the campsite at Encore Sarasota North:

The campground turned out to be right next to the freeway, so it was not a quiet place.   Bill toured the city and found where the stores were, got a haircut, and found places to eat.  Evita was still unhappy she was down to just one pet human.

On the 5th, Friday, Bill left for Tampa about 3PM to make sure he wasn't caught in traffic when Diane's flight arrived in the early evening.  Bill had lots of time to explore since the traffic was not bad, he managed to find a Bahama Breeze restaurant that he could take Diane to.  Diane's flight arrived on time and we went to dinner at Bahama Breeze.  Then we drove the hour drive back to Bradenton where Evita was ecstatic to see Diane, she stayed close to Diane the next few days.

Here is Evita enjoying everyone being together:

The weather was not that good while we were in Bradenton, some days were warm but we had more cooler and windy days than warm and calm ones.

One day we went to the local aquarium which had a manatee.  Here he is getting fed:

In the campground was this other Dolphin motorhome, the same year and floorplan as ours, but they had a nicer campsite:

We toured the area, here is the Gulf shore area:

A little blue heron:

Another day we went north to the power plant where wild manatees hung around the warm water:

They had mangroves, fish and birds in addition to manatees.  Here is a tri-colored heron and a couple black vultures:

We did see many manatees, but all we really saw was snouts for a couple seconds.  Here is about the best picture we got of the manatees:

The Bradenton/Sarasota area did not appeal to us much.  Maybe the weather affected our mood, maybe the short stay affected our mood, maybe the campground being noisy affected our mood, but we really didn't think we were coming back to the area to stay again.

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