We checked in to the Radisson Hotel in the afternoon. Ahhh, what a difference that extra $40/night makes! A very beautiful hotel. For the most part, any old hotel will do for me. As long as there is a bed to sleep on I'm pretty happy. Of course these days it is rather useful to have the wireless internet access. And a pool is always a nice plus... Did I mention pool? Now here's a place that gives new meaning to the word. One look out the window of our room and you know we are in a pretty nice place. And that is the smaller of the two pools.
The crowds were a bit of a change of place after the last few hotels, where we were typically the only people in the pool. People of every shape and size. The bigger pool was really great. First of all it was unheated. (What's the point of having a heated pool in Florida? I like to get shocked when I jump in.) Secondly, since is was unheated, the pool was not overflowing with folks. It also had a lovely little waterfall and slide. Who needs Wet 'n Wild when you have a place like this?
Lots of swimming and relaxation for the rest of the day. Although we kind of swore off buffets after stuffing outselves on the trip down, it was hard to pass up all the lovely $3.99 all you can eat breakfast buffets all around Florida. In fact, the buffets are everywhere down here. After lots of swimming throughout the day we ended up going to a small pizza buffet for supper. Unfortunately, it seemed to be frequented by cliched "trailer trash". We had some scary looking father with a notched beard that looked like train tracks going down either side of his face who seemed to spend the whole supper lecturing his family. His creepy little boys with the crew cuts and U.S. Army t-shirts, and the teenage daughter with the Hooters t-shirt. Very frightening. "When I grow up I want to be a waitress at Hooters just like my grandma!"
Like on my last trip there is a strange mix of conflicting feelings about being down here. Part of me wants to just take it easy and relax around the pool like this for a month or two. Another part of me feels that I can't just be relaxing down here, that I have to be accomplishing grand things. Dad and I at least went out to the hotel's tennis courts and managed to sweat off at least one of those buffets by playing a number of games. Of course we were the only fools crazy enough to be playing out in the midday heat. Dad managed to lose one of the balls over a nearby fence and went off in search of a way to get to it. He eventually came back with half a dozen tennis balls and a baseball. The highlight of my swimming for the day was when I rescued a tiny lizard who was caught out in the middle of the pool. He seemed very content to hitch a ride in my hand while I ferried him over to one side of the pool. Of course if I could've understood his language I probably would've heard him say "You idiot, I was trying to get to the other side of the pool!"
After splurging for a few days at The Radisson we finally bid it a fond fairwell and decided to spend our final few days in Florida at a cheaper joint. The search lead us to the Golden Link Motel. Dad especially liked the heated pool. I especially disliked it. I enjoy a good dip in a hot tub, but I don't want to be swimming in one. The only way to really enjoy it was to sit by the air conditioner until I got chilled. Then I could jump in the pool to warm up.
The next day we dropped Mom off at one of the giant Wal-Marts and set off to Wet 'n Wild. Despite my experience from the last time we thought it might be fun. The sky was threatening rain and there was a 30% chance of thundershowers on the forecast, but it ended up being a pretty good day for it. We went on most of the rides, including a few I didn't do last time because they required at least two people. Dad even decided to brave "The Storm" - the ride that left me with bruised ribs last time. Overall we had a pretty good time, though we only spent about 2 1/2 hours there. One thing I noticed this time while we were there was that all the little pools that I had loved so much the first time I was there had been removed. Presumably insurance required them to have lifeguards for every single pool, making it too costly to keep them. Pretty sad. One thing I loved about the little waterslide at Radisson was that there was no lifeguard there and no one "directing traffic". Kids were going down head first or backwards or two at a time. Some even slid down standing up, doing a cartwheel when they reached the water. And they all had a great time and no one got hurt and no one sued anybody.
After two weeks on the road (and around 11 days in Florida) we figured that it was about time to start heading north. Dad just couldn't talk Mom into taking a short cruise to the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale and Key West seemed like too much of a drive...