DECEMBER 15, 2013 (Sunday)
Busy day. We got up at 6:45 AM, and were out the door by 7:30 AM. We stopped at the local Starbucks and got some coffee and bagels to go, then we got gas ($3.39 a gallon). We hit the road en route to Tampa Bay, Florida to watch the Buccaneers play the 49ers! Excited. Michael had never been to a live football game before.
We took the same route down alligator alley, but kept going North. It’s about 250 miles, almost 4 hours. We drove past Sarasota, Naples, and a bunch of other towns I’ve heard about. They looked lovely and would love to explore them closer some time (hopefully soon). We also went over two bridges, one of which was quite impressive and looked like sails on a sailboat. We got to Tampa around noon. We found parking ($25.00 ouch) and walked about half a mile to the Raymond James Stadium. You’d think for that price there would be a shuttle or something. Very, very crowded with lots of people playing football and tailgating. The most surprising thing was how many 49er fans were everywhere. Was lots of fun.
Before we got to our seats, we stopped at one of the concessions to get lunch. A beer was $7.00 and hot dogs were almost $7.00. Our seats were almost as high up as you could get, but at least we got seats. Looked like most of the seats were filled. Lots of activity going on – fog, fireworks, fire, cannon fire, big screen teleprompters, noise – fun. We had 49er people in front of us, to each side of us, and in back of us. We felt safe and secure in our area.
The Buccaneer Stadium (Raymond James Stadium) is fun in that it has an area at the end zone that is set up to look like a fishing type village, along with its own ship. When the Buccaneers got a touchdown, the cannons on the ship would fire. Also, at random times they would shoot out t-shirts, beads, and other trinkets to the crowd around it.
It was a really good game and we all enjoyed it. After the game we walked down to the bottom, near the field, and waited to see Mercy Me. They had sung the National anthem and invited everyone to the after game performance. We waited for quite awhile and decided to leave as we had such a long way to go. By that time it was around 4:45 PM.
We stopped for dinner at Taco Bell (drive thru) and kept on driving until we got to our “home” at around 9:00 PM. That was our day. Hope yours was great!