Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Nation’s #1 Beach–Bust and more

Monday January 13 & Tuesday January 14, 2014
E G Simmons County Park  Site 64
Ruskin, Florida




MONDAY - A bright sunny day is time to go to the beach.  Right??



The predicted high was 80 degrees today in Sarasota.  We had visited but never spent time on what is advertised all over town as the Nation’s #1 Beach, Siesta Key.   So we put on our suits, grabbed our gear and headed out down Florida Route 72 which goes straight from Myakka, through Sarasota and down to the beach.

The road passes within a block of David’s favorite bakery – Jim’s Small Batch Bakery.  But luckily, Jim isn’t open on Mondays.   Since it was Monday, we figured we would be able to score a parking place and were surprised to find how full the enormous lot was at about noon when we arrived.








The beach is very broad and very flat and the sand actually almost looks like cement it is so fine.   There are lots of what look like truck tire tracks running parallel to the shore from the parking lot to the water.  These come from a trash machine that they run every morning to rake up the trash left on the beach.   Isn’t that just pathetic??    The tire tracks add to the general artificial feel of the beach I thought.  Closer to the water the tracks are not as noticeable because of all the footprints.   There are also no sand dunes which felt somehow ‘not right’.  I guess this beach has municipal protection and doesn’t need the natural protection of the dunes.



Walking a long way out


The beach is flat in the water as well as on land.  I was what seemed like miles from the shore before the water was above my waist and you all know how short I am.   I wondered if I would even be able to see David if he waded out to his waist which he didn’t.   The water was warm enough I thought but it turned out that the air never got above 68 while we were there. Not David’s kind of swim day.



The sand is very very fine.  Think popcorn salt fine.   Some say sugar but most of the sugar I’ve seen, even white, is more coarse than this stuff which ultimately made it nearly impossible to get it off of and out of things.   We had to use a stiff brush everything over and over even our towels.  The sand would not shake off. 




I’m the one in the middle, I wonder if I could just walk straight down to Key West.

miles out at Siesta Key






We felt kind of like we had front row seats on the boardwalk as we watched the people parade by.  These aren’t the sort of folks we usually see where we travel and camp since we tend to avoid cities.    And there were a lot of them pretty constantly.





Does he look lost?  Or out of place?DSCF3554



Notice the gloves and face mask.DSCF3555






No exposed ankles hereDSCF3579








We soon grew bored and took a walk down the beach hoping to avoid what appear to be flying ants that land on you and bite. I had on long sleeves and my towel over my legs but they were after my neck and my ears as I sat in my chair.  

The walk actually made things worse as apparently they are all over in the sand.  We found that if we walked in the water we could lessen the numbers somewhat.






But still, we, and nearly everyone else walking, were swatting them off of our skin and clothing.  Arms up over our heads and along our backs and necks.




Now you know that I am a SERIOUS beach lover. 
I have never actually met a beach I didn’t love until now. 
After 2 hours we’d both had enough and high tailed it back to the car trying to figure out how in the world this could possibly be America’s #1 Beach.
If it’s your favorite I hope you’ll comment and help me understand what I missed. 
It was a Beach Bust for us.



The best part of the day was returning home and finding an armadillo snuffling around the grasses across from our site.  Aren’t they just prehistoric looking???







One final note which capped off this day.   Apparently for some time now, one of our water hoses has had a bubble in it.  I just found this out today.  I don’t usually hook up the water, so I hadn’t ever seen it. 

David’s attitude, unlike mine, is, if it ain’t broke right now, don’t fix it, it might not ever break.  My attitude is ‘any problem is bound to get worse if left unattended, fix it now’.  So I use my attitude in my sphere of influence and he uses his in his.  

Well, he paid a big price for that view this evening.   This morning we had found that the water hose had split over night and water was spraying water all over.  No idea for how long.  He took the hose off, put on another.  He looked in the basement bin onto which the water had been spraying and only saw that the plastic bag which held his grease gun had some water on it.  No big deal.   We went to the beach. 


When we came back earlier than planned, he looked more carefully in the bin and found that the entire bottom was soaked all the way back through all 3 bins in the big slide and so was everything stored in them.  He was out well into the dark taking everything out of the bins, drying them off, using a heater and our bissel carpet shampooer to pull the water out and dry everything out.  He says this is a lesson learned.  But will this incident transfer into the big picture?  My money is not.  But we’ll see.   It is one way to get the bins cleaned and reorganized.   I wouldn’t recommend it though.



TUESDAY – moving day



Rain had been predicted for all night Monday and all day Tuesday.  Luckily the weather forecasters are wrong more than 50% of the time we have found.   We were able to get all packed up except for the tire covers and the electric and water when it began to drizzle and then got more serious.  We didn’t get too wet so off we went for a 50 mile drive up to E.G. Simmons County Park in Ruskin, Florida on Tampa Bay.  My kind of driving day.



We chose this park because we’d been there before and liked it.  It was close enough to visit the Tampa RV Super Show this week and close to the Moffitt Cancer Center for David’s bone marrow biopsy and bone scan on Friday.

We didn’t bother hooking up the car and it was an easy drive up only spitting rain.   When we pulled up to the gate to go into the park, who should be pulling out but Howard and Linda Payne of RV Dreams.  Back in 2010 they pushed me off the fence about this full timing business with their facts and figures about all aspects of the life.   They continue to do very informative educational rallies and now have 8 years of full timing experience to draw from. 

We knew they were leaving the park today since I follow their blog and we were happy to be able to at least see them on the way out.  We’ll be attending their RV Safety session at the RV Show tomorrow where we will be sure to thank them for leaving us their site, one of our very favorites.  Smile

Sure wish I had ridden my bike over to sunset point to see what was clearly a spectacular sunset.  This was the view out our front window.




  1. That wasn't a very good beach. And bugs, too! Yuk! I wouldn't have lasted as long as you did. Reminds me of the Long Island beaches in the summer.

  2. We we really love Siesta Key, however, we have never had trouble with the flying ants. Your campground looks like a nice place. Enjoy the RV show.

  3. It certainly won't get my vote for a perfect beach much THE perfect beach for all the same reasons you stated. I could always be game for a bit of people watching without bugs. That spewing water and bakery closed......hope tomorrow is a better day!

  4. Beautiful sunset!!! That beach was really crowded.. not my kind of beach either :( water was a pretty color tho... David looks a bit frazzeled while cleaning out the water

  5. At least you got in some good people watching at the beach. That's always entertaining.

  6. I agree with your assessment of the beach, first of all the fine gritty sand in everything would drive me bonkers. And just too many people on the scene. I love the armadillo - he almost looks like a lawn ornament!

  7. Well, I think I have been to Siesta Key before and also did not particularly care for it. I am not crazy about the packed sand nor the crowded beach. This time of year, as I am sure you know, is "snowbird time" and all of central and south Florida tend to be packed with our friends from the north. Just tends to be a very crowded time of year in that part of the state along Florida's coast line. I appreciate David's attitude as well as yours but I particularly like the "if it ain't broke....." philosophy while forging ahead to get done what needs to be done. Ya'll make a good team. Love the sunset....how beautiful does it get!

  8. Thanks for the beach review … and my mindset is like yours… it's just going to get WORSE … needs to be dealt with before disaster… I don't feel quite so alone now … lol ~ drives me insane.

    oh, my …. beautiful sunset … I want one

  9. Spectacular sunset. Sorry you didn't care for Siesta Key. Had we seen it like you did, we probably wouldn't have. Perhaps the fact that we were in a bungalow at the far, far end of the beach made a difference.

  10. Well, that beach is another example of why you folks should visit B.C. Wa. and Oregon beaches..It may not always be sunny and 80*..but no bugs for sure! When the storms hit our coast they are still swell! Does David approve of your posting his learning curve photo? I don't think so....:)..

    1. Boy would we love to visit those places. We had hoped to go west for two years to include them but now it's pretty unlikely. Actually David called me outside to take the shot, posed for it and when I asked if he wanted the fiasco included in the blog, he said yes. I hadn't intended to include it.

  11. If I put on a white shirt, locked myself in the RV, didn't eat, didn't drink, and didn't set foot outside all day, it would still not look as white as David's shirt does while cleaning the mess up in the RV!! ;-)

    That beach looks more like Venice Beach than Florida. Not a nice beach destination, but I don't know if I have seen better "people watching," (or in this case,"people photography subjects") anywhere. There's a whole website out there just waiting for Mister "I-may-only-be-wearing-my-underpants,-but-I-sure-know-how to-accessorize!"

  12. I can't stand crowds anywhere and the beach is not an exception. I'm also spoiled completely from my extensive time at Flagler Beach in January where it's likely you'll be the ONLY human on the beach. Just seeing some of those people would've sent me running back to my car. Sure will have you in my thoughts on Friday (as I do every day).

  13. Fantastic sunset!! So unfortunate about the flies. I often wonder why that beach is #1...I suppose the sand. Never seen that type before. Popcorn salt is a good description. Oh Pops...all that water. He's probably of the mind 'you want it fixed, you fix it', but opps...it broke and soaked. :( Hope that doesn't happen again! And, I hope everything is dry once more!

  14. Wonderful Sunset!!! Love the Armadillo...haven't seen one yet this winter;o((

    Sorry about the water mess, but the word that come to mind is "Consequences;o((" When you know better, you do better!!! But seems like you got it all fixed up:o))

  15. I remember being at Siesta Key in 1964. I was 20 at the time & probably WOWED by what I saw. It's nearly 50 years later now & I'm sure I would not be impressed at all. I'm kinda like David, if it isn't broke yet let's pretend everything is fine until such time it isn't. Fixing stuff is not a strong point of mine................

  16. Siesta Key beach looks like a freak show :-) I've heard of it, that they have that drum circle at sunset. David looks unhappy about the water mess, but like you said, good way to clean out the basement!

  17. That face on David is PRICELESS and so where most of the photos that dude in the Speedo couldn't done without LOL... And good luck on Friday.

  18. The last picture you posted is awesome. I too love beaches and I enjoy people watching so the more walkers, the merrier. But I don't like 68 degrees, powder sand and biting bugs - that would drive me off too. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a genetic trait of the Boyd clan. Hang in there!

  19. What a hoot! One way to get a good laugh...stop by this beach and then run for the nearest deserted island! What people will do....too funny!

  20. Robinkwalton@gmail.comJanuary 16, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    NOT my idea of a beach that I would like to visit.What a strange group of people! Maybe that's why the lady was covered from head to toe to escape the fies. That was very strange..mask as well.
    The sunset was gorgeous!
    David your starting to look alot like Einstein!

  21. Missed you by a day! We went to the RV show today (Thursday)....we were going on Wednesday but something came up so we delayed it a day. Darn! Sure were a heck of a lot of people, and they said Wednesday was busier than today....Marcia can't handle crowds very well, and getting around inside the vendor area with a GoGo Scooter is not the easiest thing....so we pretty much say Linda and Howard, walked around outside once and off to Cracker Barrel for a late lunch. --Dave (GoingRvWay.com)

  22. Whoa! There certainly was no one on the beach making a fashion statement- at least not a favorable one!@#@! Love love love the armadillo! I'd love to see one. The sunset is beyond amazing! Good luck on David's appt. at Moffitt. Let me know how it goes. I'll be thinking about you. xxxooo

  23. Oh, Lord, one thing I cannot stand at a beach is biting bugs of any kind. I can be the only one of 500 people being bitten. They love me. I think I would cry if it ruined a beach day like that. Will be anxious to get an update on David's appointment. Hang in!

  24. Oh my gosh, I'm with you. Let's fix it before it gets worse at a very bad time. John????????, bury the head until it bites ya in the butt.

    That beach is not my kind of beach...give me solitude! AND BUGS to boot....yuck!

    Now, for a positive.....I love your sunset!

  25. Life is all about timing. We enjoyed a almost vacant beach with a few very hot young women and no bugs, when we were there. That sand does feel neat on the feet when walking.

  26. Thanks for the review of Siesta Key -- we will definitely NOT be going there. And as a native Floridian living for the past 20 years in Oregon, I can tell you that there's nothing like the warm water and soft white sandy beaches of Florida. I love the Oregon coast, but I've missed the Florida beaches ever since I left.

  27. Looks like some great people watching.

  28. I appreciate the support from those of the "If it ain't broke" persuasion, however as each day goes by, and fewer are left I find myself leaning in the "Better safe than sorry" direction for my end game. No time for unnecessary risk.


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