Friday: Surprisingly not sore from Day One’s adventure, I left the cat with extra food and extra water and set off to work at 8 a.m., my car packed with tent, camp chair, pillow, comforter, and grubby clothes, plus a backpack with my fancy wedges, nice jeans, black tank, spiffy jacket and extra jewelry and makeup. Oh yes.
At lunch time, I set out on foot—to the bank, for a money order for rent (seriously, anybody seen my check book?) and $60 cash; to Mal’s Cut-Rate Liquors for a bottle of Beam; to Whole Foods, for paté and crostini; to Bookstore 1, for a birthday card; and to Artisan Cheese for freshly made pimento cheese…which, alas, was so fresh it hadn’t been made yet. Sigh. Back to the office.
In a stunning show of professionalism, I flat-out announced to the bosses that I was leaving early because I was meeting friends in St. Pete. So at 3:45, I hit the Short Stop for an 18-pack of Bud Light, Artisan for the pimento cheese (finally), and set off, destination: Fort Desoto.
As if all the running around hadn’t made me harried enough, I took the wrong exit (it’s the first left exit off of 275; not the first overall), then, while trying to get back on the interstate, watched in vain as the proper exit passed by, a wall between us; turned around, got headed in the right direction, but forgot exactly how far off the interstate Fort Desoto is, through two toll booths and a long stretch of busy road. Found the park, found the camp area, drove in looking for site 201; found sites 199, 200, 202 and 203 and finally almost had a meltdown as Mrs. Deelio called: “Was that you?” “WHERE THE HELL IS SITE 201?!?!?!?” “It’s…right here.”
At this point, greeted by the Deelios and their friends—ack, new people—I was actually shaking. Beam first, then tent, then…aaaaah. Finally: relaxed.
And what a view: A wicked-nice campsite right on the water, grilled oysters and pasta for dinner, cheeky raccoons and campfire stories. I was out cold on the mat the second my head hit the pillow.