Woo boy. After leaving Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland, FL, I had the notion that we would follow along the coastline of Western Florida and cross over at Clearwater to go down the string of beaches. What a mistake. Since we are newbies to the area, we took route 60 over, which I guess is something a non-newbie would never do. It took approximately two hours to cross over the bridge to the beaches!!!!! As soon as we reached the other side, we agreed that Clearwater is NOT for us. So busy, so crowded, so yuck!
By the time we reached the Clearwater beach area, it was well past lunchtime. We start getting noticeably crankier at lunchtime. So far on the journey, we haven’t ever really stopped anywhere for lunch. We just stop driving, set up camp, and then eat something, but today we had decided NOT to camp since a storm was moving into the area, so Saturday and Sunday were going to be hotel days.
Finally, after much traffic battling, we reached St. Pete Beach and stopped for lunch. The place was in between lunch and dinner, but the bar had appetizers. So we munched on a couple of items and debated what to do. We wanted the trip to be as unplanned as possible, but that led to situations like these, where we had to now book an exorbitantly priced room. The downside of spontaneity. We didn’t stay at the hotel where we ate since it would’ve been $400 for the night. We ended up choosing the place next door, which was $200.
What. A. Dump. We get to the room and check for bed bugs first thing, and I never check for bed bugs. I don’t think the bathroom door had been cleaned since 1997. The main items in the bathroom were clean, but the walls, door, and crevices CLEARLY were not. Whatever, right? It’s only for one night. I need to get some laundry done, so I head up to the laundry while my husband deals with the coolers. While putting the load in, I become acquainted with “child-proof” zippers on the pod package. I feel if they need to put child-proof zippers on the bags, they should also put “40-proof” instructions on the package in type size large enough for me to figure out how to open it without holding it away from me and squinting.
I put a load of laundry in and head back to the room. After about twenty minutes, I go back upstairs to check on it. It’s nearly complete, so I sit on the chair outside the laundry room. While I’m waiting, I hear screaming and swearing going on nearby. I ignore it, and go get my stuff. What in the actual WHAT? I put this washer on COLD, but my clothes are blazing hot!! Luckily, I had put a color catcher sheet in there, which was now completely black. My clothes appear to have survived the scalding hot water, so I put my stuff in the dryer, and head downstairs with my delicates. After a few minutes, I go back upstairs, and see officers there taking a report. No surprise, given what I heard previously. I take a couple things out of the dryer, and sit on my chair by the elevator to wait on the rest. After a few minutes, I see several more officers arriving. Hmmm. The hotel manager is in front of me on her phone, asking for the master key “as of five minutes ago.” At this point, I get up and go into the laundry room because I think there might be a medical emergency and I want to get out of the way. If only.
While I’m in the laundry room, the maintenance guy that brought up the master key joins me. Now I see the elevator open and an officer coming out with a riot shield and a mirror on a stick. So I’ve reached one of those “no turning back” moments. I know that if I leave my laundry now, I may never see it again. No one is taking my brand new Happy Camper shirt from me. NO ONE. So I dig in my heels and take a few more items out of the dryer.
A few minutes later and I hear the inevitable. “GET ON THE GROUND!! GET YOUR F%#^ING FACE ON THE GROUND!! HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!! PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM RIGHT THE F^&K NOW!!” This situation is literally right around the corner from the laundry room. The hotel manager has run into the laundry room with the maintenance guy and me making a freaked out face. I’m not too freaked out since I am texting the play by play to my dog sitter.
Now we have to pause the story so I can say Damn. These dryers are STILL going on a buck-fifty! If I was at the laundromat, it would’ve cost me $12 to dry my clothes this long.
To continue, after the big confrontation, they weren’t letting anyone off the elevators onto the fourth floor, “it’s too dangerous.” Although I am approximately five feet from the dangerous situation, I still haven’t been asked to leave. Do I look like I’m undercover, I wonder? 🙂 So the decision to not abandon my laundry was the right call, unless I wanted to come back to postage stamp sized garments, since we’ve established these devil machines will run all night on $1.50.
After that mess, we head out to dinner. The first part of dinner, we got to eavesdrop while some twenty-something’s that really have the world figured out discussed living in the moment, Buddha, yoga practice, and leaving the realm. This might be an over generalization, but most people I’ve met who live in the moment are selfish d-bags.
When we returned to our hotel, we found a pool party with 80s hair metal going on, so we took a quick trip to the gulf sands for a pic, and went to bed (with earplugs).
Will I ever return to St Pete’s? Maybe. Some day in the far, far off future. If I can ever forget the overpriced nightmare of today. Off to Key Largo for day five tomorrow!