February 22, 2012
Front page news today: Richard Gonzmart, the President of Columbia Restaurant-- one of our Florida favorites, where we ate dinner a couple nights ago—has been nominated for the James Beard Outstanding Restauranteur Award. We read this as validation of our excellent culinary taste, while we are waiting for our bargain breakfasts at a local dive full of Sun City codgers nursing their bottomless coffee cups and blue collar types grabbing a bite on their way to work.
No vacation is complete without the thrill of the hunt for geocaches, and we fill the time between breakfast and lunch with a bit of searching, which reminds us how frustrating the Florida style of cache hiding can be. We fail to locate about half of the caches we hunt, but we are rewarded with a few memorable finds—including a cache hidden in a decoy dove perched deep in a dense bush, a tiny one hanging from a Halloween finger nailed to a tree, and this cache bucket deep in the woods guarded by a skeleton.
We buy picnic ingredients at Publix and take them to nearby Little Manatee River State Park, where we share a riverside picnic pavilion with some kayakers. We could rent kayaks and paddle down the river this afternoon just like they are doing, but we are too lazy.
Instead, we pick up a couple more geocaches on the way back to our resort (taking our grand total to 952), then just curl up with our books on the very comfortable outdoor furniture in a conversation corner of the promenade overlooking the marina.