Friday, November 20, 2009

Land O' Lakes

We are at what used to be a Wal-Mart in unincorporated Hillsborough County, just north of Lutz (map). The store has moved about a mile away, to a much larger facility, recently enough that they are still dismantling this one.

The store here did not allow overnight parking, I presume because the lot is really too small for it in such a popular destination. (The new store around the corner, with its much larger lot, does allow it -- I called them to check.) The signs are still up, but with the store now closed, we were undisturbed. A couple of semis also spending the night in the lot was a reassuring sight. I am guessing the cameras are still hot (Wal-Mart still has lots of assets in place here), but the roving patrols have been discontinued, and I noticed a person sleeping under a blanket between the store entrance and a vending machine; he was also undisturbed. We're tucked in a discreet out-of-the-way corner, far from either the idling trucks or transients sleeping al fresco.

We chose this spot because it is literally across the street from where our friends are staying; their site is a two minute walk from here. We had a nice evening with them, spending hours catching up and having a nice meal at casual Italian restaurant Capri a couple miles away, one of Louise's many coupon coups at No liquor license, but they let us bring in a nice bottle of Merlot that I ran to get at the Publix next door.

They picked us up for breakfast this morning at a nice cafe just a couple blocks from here; we had a great visit and enjoyed catching up. Given the current status of this property, we could probably spend another night here if we needed to, but we'd rather not push our luck.

Instead, we will move to a Wal-Mart close to downtown Tampa, where we've stayed before. Again our purpose is to visit our club there, just two miles away. Last time we took a cab, but tonight we'll pull a scooter out. Oddly, when I checked my No Overnight Parking list, this store is on it, but I called them anyway to ask. As last time, they said it was no problem as long as we stayed in the further reaches of the lot. It's very rare that our list is wrong in this way, although more than once, we've hit a store not on the list where overnight parking is forbidden. Given the scarcity of parking throughout Florida, I also checked the Tampa city ordinances, which thankfully do not regulate parking on private property.

We'll be heading that way in just a few minutes. I confess that, once again, I have no real plan for where we will head in the morning.

Image by Wyrmworld, used under a Creative Commons license.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I missed your travel through Ocala - you could have stayed at a friends just north of town - his brother would have changed the oil (you can always get delo at the NAPA on HWY 27 - for future ref.) - I'm in Tampa and have a secure location if you need a place to stay - As far as your dive certification, Captain Slate has a place on Key Largo (Atlantis Dive Center) and we used to park on the vacant lot next to his shop - He's a fairly famous guy and I can't think of a prettier place to do your open water - Bill Glenn had a place he stayed in Key West for free (I believe) you may want to contact him for the info - Call my office if you need anything @ 800-476-6955 tomorrow and Tommi will give you my cell # - or Email me - Welcome back to Fla - Niles


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