Old Florida

Saturday I was supposed to be selling jewelry at Renniger's, but the guy who assigned vendor locations was on vacation and nobody else can do it. With an unexpected day off, we joined Pete and Donna on a small road trip. Donna planned our route to southern Tampa, where we found beautiful North Beach. The sand was white and the water was warm - wish we'd brought our swimsuits!
Some of the trees at the shoreline have interesting root systems. These are Mangroves, thriving in salt water. They have stilt roots which branch out and pencil roots which grow straight up. Cute. 
Next we visited Fort Desoto, just up the road from the beach. Back in 1849 Robert E. Lee was one of the guys who recommended building a fort on this location. When Union troops were located here during the Civil War, he probably regretted that. But it wasn't a real fort then, just a military station. The actual fort is from the Spanish-American war, which explains why it's not an attractive historical-looking fort; instead it looks like an abandoned block building. And there is nothing inside, just big empty rooms. 
But outside are a few really big guns. The four remaining 12" mortar batteries are the last ones in the US.  Nowadays, of course, they aren't dangerous, unless you get your head stuck in one. 
The one pointed upwards is how they were actually used. They were placed close to the wall, but maneuverable enough to be pointed up to clear the wall and hit what was outside the fort. 
We walked up the stairway to the top of the fort, which is covered by a wide grassy area. There is a coin-operated viewer located near to the fort's exhaust vents.
 The reason for the viewer: North Beach!
By now we were all hungry, so we went further north to John's Pass, looking for seafood. John's Pass is another Old Florida location, full of tourists shops and sights, including the Pirate Cruise. I'm glad that some of the older places like this haven't been replaced by malls and high-rises. 
We found seafood at the Friendly Fisherman. It was a bit pricey, but Randy's seafood platter and my shrimp and fish dinner were worth it.

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