Monday, November 17, 2014

Moving On, but not Far

On Saturday, our last day at Little Manatee State Park, we drove back up to St. Petersburg to the Farmer's Market we saw the week before.

We took all of our knives along for sharpening and stocked up on wonderful produce.  

It's going to be a healthy week!

Last week, Jeannie told us about a sand sculpture contest at Siesta Beach in Sarasota, that coincided with the  drum circle that I wanted to see, so Sunday morning I was lucky enough to find a one night spot in a nearby Passport America park. 

I had read that parking was a problem at Siesta Beach and we found that was true. The traffic for several miles from the beach was bumper to bumper, moving at a snail's pace. When we got to the beach area we saw several large parking lots that were full. Oh My!

We drove on, through a commercial area with no beach parking and turned back to take another pass. We saw two parking lots that were charging $20 for parking, that were a mile or more away from where we wanted to go. There was no way I would pay $20 and walk that far! 

I was ready to just go on back to the RV and call it a day.

Sometimes plans do not work out.  But sometimes they do. As we crawled along  in the opposite direction, not expecting to find parking,  I spotted a lady standing next to the driver's door of her car smoking a cigarette. I told Craig to stop, and yelled out: "Are you leaving?" She smiled and nodded yes, and we scored an in-close, free, no time limit, street parking spot. 

The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, and the beach was incredible. I have never seen so much beautiful white sand.

The sand sculpture event was not as large as I expected, but the work was everything I hoped it would be. These are some of our favorites:

Siesta Selfie


The other side was her dragon!

Toes in the Gulf of Mexico
After looking at the sculptures for a while, we checked out the craft booths, and then took a walk along the edge of the surf. 

Hearing the drum circle would form about an hour before sunset, we wandered back to the Jeep and got our folding chairs. 

We found "the place" and watched as the drummers began arriving. This is not an organized event. No one is "in charge" and we were told the participants changed from week to week.
A large circle was drawn in the sand, and as the shadows grew longer, more drummers arrived and more people gathered around it.

Several young people did some extraordinary things with hoops, and then a pile of hoops was set out for anyone who wanted to play. Many of the children gave it a try. Some were quite good.

There were several dancers in costumes, as well as many who just joined in as they felt the beat.

Children of all sizes were welcome in the circle. This girl in bright pink was dancing, and the baby just crawled into the heart of the action.

It was fun to people- and kid-watch! Craig shot the following 2 minute video by holding the camera above his head, so the aiming isn't good, but it should give you the flavor of the event. Turn your sound up all the way. We don't understand the girl in the blue-green top with the magic yellow wand. It can't really be magic, right?

We had been sitting with our back to the water, when I noticed the light had changed dramatically. The long shadows were gone, replaced by a soft glow of twilight.

I turned and experienced one of the most remarkable sunsets I have ever seen. These pictures don't do it justice.

I felt I was not just seeing a sunset. I was inside a sunset. The air glowed from horizon to horizon. There were not many clouds to catch the rays of color, but color was everywhere.

We quietly walked back to the Jeep in this mystical air. 

It was a good day. One that was worthy of my blog title, Merikay's Dream.


  1. Glad you were able to find a close place to park. It would have been a shame to miss all of the things you saw, especially that sunset!

  2. A magical evening at the beach, cool!

  3. Incredible pictures. A great day at the beach.

  4. We've read about the drum circle and the sand sculptures so many times, we feel we've been there. It is definitely on our list for the future. Lovely!

  5. Great shots, Merikay...LOVED your photos of the sandcastles..we had to miss it so glad we got to see it through your eyes, but did the chalk festival instead..I've got to catch up on my blog we've been so busy!

  6. Very interesting video! I liked it. People often talk about Florida as being one of the most diverse and strange states in the USA. It seems like there's all types there in the East Coast's tropics. November at dusk and ladies wearing bikini tops? It's gotta be a bit warm, no? That person in the black shorts and top in the first minute of the vid, was that a man or a woman?

  7. Did you dance? I sure hope so! Next to the desert, we love the beach.

  8. Absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful day!


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