(If you missed the Road Trip, Part I, you can read that here)
After three days in the car and over 1230 miles of traveling, we were happy to get to our hotel.
We stayed in a Homewood Suites about 10 miles from the North Shore Aquatic Center where the swim meet was.
Originally I was looking for a house to rent from VRBO or Airbnb to stay in while were were at the meet.
Because finding a hotel room to squeeze 6 people into can be tough. And because I needed a kitchen. We were going to be in St. Petersburg for the meet for at least five days, and I couldn’t afford to eat out for that many meals.
While looking for a house to rent, I stumbled across the Homewood Suites room we stayed in on VRBO.
It was a suite that slept six, had a separate bedroom, a full kitchen, a pool, free breakfast, and it was less than 20 minutes from the pool.
It was just what I needed, and it was fairly inexpensive.
I only took one picture at the hotel.
Every day of the meet the kids had to be at the pool at 6:50 a.m. for trials, and they were usually finished swimming around 1:00.
That gave us 2-3 hours back at the hotel before we had to come back to the pool for finals that night.
Finals is the top ten kids in each event from the morning session. Number 3 swam at finals in about 7 or 8 of his 10 events. Number 4 swam at finals in 4 of her 9 events.
So we had four very busy days, and on two of the days I was able to sit by the pool for a little bit in between sessions.
On Tuesday we had sort of a free day before the meet started, so we took a little trip to Indian Rocks Beach, which was about 25 minutes from our hotel.
Number 3 stayed back at the hotel to just chill out. The rest of us went to the beach.
It was beautiful white sand.
The waves were decent for boogie boarding.
We had a nice time there and pretty much had the beach to ourselves.
On Wednesday through Saturday we were at the pool for the meet.
The North Shore Aquatic Complex is really cool. So is St. Petersburg.
I had never been there before, and it’s BEAUTIFUL.
We spent a little time in town on our second night there.
The pool is right on Tampa Bay.
There is a small beach there, a playground, and a really nice walking/running/biking path that runs along the coast of the bay.
The little beach was perfect for Number 5, 6, and 7.
While Number 3 and 4 were swimming in the meet, they mostly hung out at the beach or played on the playground.
They made lots of friends and they loved being there.
It was so nice.
But one of the things I liked the best about it is how people really seemed to take care of themselves.
There were a bunch of beach volleyball courts there.
During the day the beach was pretty empty, and then around 4 or 5:00 after kids got out of school and people got out of work, the place would fill up.
Kids would come to hang on the beach, and adults came to play volleyball.
The path was full of people walking and running and biking and rollerblading.
Everyone was active and I just loved it so much.
Plus is was just so pretty.
It didn’t hurt that our weather was pretty much perfect.
So I spent the swim meet sessions going back and forth between keeping an eye on the kids on the beach or the playground to watching Number 3 and 4 swim in the meet.
Between the two of them, Number 3 and 4 brought home 11 or 12 medals.
They did pretty well.
Not as well as they wanted to do, but to have an opportunity like this in such a beautiful location is pretty incredible.
Lots of life lessons were learned for Number 3 and 4 over the course of those four days.
They also got to do some night swimming which was really cool.
It’s not often you get an opportunity to swim outdoor in a meet under the lights.
It was an awesome meet.
And I miss St. Petersburg.
When the meet was over, we had one day left in the hotel to decompress.
We went to Clearwater Beach on Sunday.
Unfortunately, so did the rest of the universe.
It was really pretty, but it was also super crowded and not exactly what we had envisioned when we pictured a relaxing day at the beach after four long days of swimming.
I didn’t really think about the fact that is was the first weekend of spring break for like a bazillion people.
So we squished into a tiny little spot, for a couple hours, and then we went back to the hotel and I started packing up for the next part of our trip.
Which I’ll tell you all about tomorrow. 🙂