Mike's Travels

Mike's Travels

Thursday, September 2 2010

Episode 135A: The First Half

Show Notes:
Recorded Wednesday, September 1 2010 (9:30 PM - 11:30 PM) at Zodiac Racquet Club, Southgate MI
    “The boys discuss how they spent their Summer vacations, with stories about Caseville, Parrothead Night with the Detroit Tigers, finding Margaritaville Rum, and uncovering a Landshark bottling mystery.  Plus Scott reviews Tom Corcoran’s Key West book.  (Cameo by Jennifer.)

    00:36 - looks like Scott last joined us back in Episode 129!  Sheesh!
    01:26 - our tenth season, right?  But Season 9 feels like a writers’ strike season, since we did so few episodes.  Or maybe an AMC season.
    01:31 - watch the documentary and get the lowdown on that “shadows tall” line in the show notes for Episode 98
    03:32 - apparently Schmoe thinks Caseville is like Brigadoon
    03:47 - Cheeseburger in Caseville (and another link to our 2006 videos)
    03:56 - No.  In 2006 and 2007.
    06:15 - a callback to Mike and Schmoe’s Mexican vacation, which was discussed in Episode 69A
    09:12 - which would be August 14
    10:07 - the Freep‘s Cheeseburger in Caseville article, from August 5
    10:44 - the article as sent to Mickey by Mike, in PDF format
    11:29 - yes, all this time Scott has been absorbed in reading the Tom Corcoran book Mike brought for show-and-tell
    12:07 - Jimmy Buffett: The Key West Years (2006) by Tom Corcoran
    12:50 - Air Dance Iguana (2005) by Tom Corcoran
    15:39 - Life Lessons of a Legend by Brad Manard | Steve Goodman: Facing the Music by Clay Eals | Jimmy Buffett and Philosophy: The Porpoise Driven Life by Erin McKenna & Scott L Pratt
    25:41 - here’s Schmoe’s photo, sent way back on the morning of July 31.  We saved it for the podcast rather than posting it on Twitter; little did we know how long it would take till we got around to discussing it.

Schmoe’s Momentous Discovery
(the St Louis bottle is on the right)

    And here’s what Schmoe wrote to accompany the photo.  We assume he was drunk.

Where is YOUR Landshark From?

To my fellow Shark lovers,
When Mick enlightened me this week that I had Landshark at Nate’s party that was from St Louis, I realized I look numerously at the ‘Jacksonville’ on the label and never saw another city.  I checked it out and, YES, I had Sharks from both cities in the Cantina Icebox.  Not only that, but the St Louis bottle is a shorter longneck.  The St Louis brew was a full case I purchased.  The Jacksonville lager was personally delivered inside a 12 pack per usual.  (Still, Zodiac considers our beer an ‘import’, but I digress…)
I conducted a taste test last night.  They both rated the same: wet, cold, smooth, lime-friendly, relaxing, and an excellent finish with a high chill factor.
I provided a photo for reference.
End of report…for now…....

    29:01 - Caribbean Blue
    30:51 - here’s some of Mike’s video footage from Comerica Park (uploaded September 6 but then revised and re-uploaded on the 7th)

All the mentions of Brian are explained in Episode 128.
    31:35 - the Tigers lost to the Angels, 4-2 (from the Detroit Tigers.com scoreboard)
    31:44 - some clips of the dust-up from MLB.com
    32:42 - Park Colony Club
    35:52 - ...still waiting…
    36:24 - Air Margaritaville‘s song “Whatever It Was I Didn’t Do It” is off their Cayo Hueso CD.
    37:46 - the obligatory Commonwealth Displays link
    40:03 - this was just mentioned in the previous entry, but here’s a link to it anyway
    43:18 - will Scott find Margaritaville Rum at Meijer’s?  Stay tuned…

      >  Download Episode 135A

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Saturday, August 29 2009

Escape to ... Meijer’s?

    Mike passes along this sighting, taken at his neighborhood Meijer’s:

Oo, it’s restaurant quality!

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Monday, May 26 2008

Crunch Time!

    Breaking news, from Casa de Mike:
    “Meijer is selling the salsa now.  Chips too!”

Confirmed sighting of Margaritaville chips and salsa


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/26 at 05:23 PM
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Wednesday, May 23 2007

Mike’s Floridiary

Trip Report
I would like to say that it’s nice to be back, but I would be lying.  The truth is, I wish I didn’t have to leave.  My kids agree.  The wife?  Not so much.  But then, does this surprise anyone?  All around a great trip.  Without a doubt the fastest week in my life.  Here is a rundown, by topic:

The weather
Hot.  Humid.  Great.  Exactly what you would expect.  Only one day with any rain or significant clouds, but that was over in about an hour.  The hot, dry weather was great for us, but the locals really need some rain.  Florida, nearly the whole state, has been very dry and, like many other parts of the country right now, affected by numerous wildfires in nearly every region.  We had heard that the day before we arrived smoke from the fires was obstructing visibility and depositing ash everywhere.  This had mostly cleared out by the time we got there, but there still was some visible haze in the upper atmosphere.  It was gone the next day.

The town
Treasure Island Florida.  Just a bit north of St. Petersburg, right on the Gulf of Mexico.  The town itself is in a sort of transitional state.  Older resorts dating back to the late ‘40s and early ‘50s have been giving way to newer resort condo type developments.  There is a real mixture here.  There were a few sites that looked to be ready for new development—areas where those once quaint old places once stood.  One, right next door to our own, was closed and clearly awaiting the same fate.  Read more here: http://recentpast.org/groups/treasure/index.html

The hotel
It was in one of these older places that we stayed.  An old-style 2-story small resort right on the beach.  A nice pool with a recently updated deck area was at the center of the property.  The grounds were well kept and the rooms were clean and well equipped.  Ours was a 1 bedroom unit with a small kitchenette.  Very adequate for us.  This type of place caters mainly to locals who head to the shore on weekends.  This meant we had the place mostly to ourselves for the majority of the week.  Perfect.  There was a McD’s, Walgreen’s, gift shops and a number of bars and restaurants within walking distance.  John’s Pass, a tourist spot was a few minutes away by car or a long walk for the adventurous.

The beach
Top notch.  Wide, long and kept very clean.  The gulf water was warm.  One day it provided waves large enough to body surf and boogie board upon.  My kids were too young to remember surf like this from the time they visited Myrtle Beach a few years back.  They were amazed.  It was a highlight of the trip.

We went to more restaurants than we planned.  It was our original intention to barbecue right there at the resort a few nights to conserve funds.  When we made these plans we forgot about how hot it would be down there and how uncomfortable one might be preparing a meal on a charcoal grill.  The first night we went to an old family favorite: The Friendly Fisherman, right on the boardwalk at John’s Pass.  This place is a ‘can’t miss’ place if you like fresh seafood.  Much of what they serve would have been caught that day.  I had the local grouper dinner.  Fantastic.  Everyone else enjoyed their meals as well.  Another favorite was The Conch Republic in nearby North Redington Beach.  We went there for our Mother’s Day celebration as my mom was there as well as my wife and my sister.  All moms.  This is a Buffetty place for sure.  Buffett music was played constantly.  There were photos on the wall and actually laminated into some of the tables.  The wait staff claimed that Jimmy himself had been there more than once.  I liked it so much I bought a t-shirt.  The Floridian was a little Cuban sandwich joint right off the Treasure Island causeway.  I never had a Cuban sandwich before, but heard good things.  Rightfully so.  It was great.  We enjoyed ours right outside the place in a covered deck area.  2 for 1 beers that day too.  What’s not to like?  Also had dinner at Dan Marino’s in St. Petersburg.  Nice place in the newer Baywalk district.  The food was great there.  The whole crew seemed to agree.

The nightlife
Ordinarily, my vacations are spent with my own family or away from civilization.  This time, my brother Jim was with us.  Jim, being a musician himself, was interested in checking out local live entertainment at every chance.  He is also a night-owl who wakes up late and stays out later.  I made an attempt to keep up with him on a few occasions.  One of the first places we went to was called Ricky T’s right there on Gulf Blvd.  Jim had gone there for lunch earlier in the day that day we arrived and had heard there was a good live band scheduled for that evening.  I joined him to check them out.  The band was called Shark Attack.  I didn’t know what to expect.  They might have been a Buffett cover band or some other beach-music type band that is popular in the area.  But no.  These guys were mainly focused on blues and classic rock.  They were great.  3 excellent guitarists.  In one band.  Including the bassist and drummer, this was a 5 piece band in a tiny corner of the fairly small bar.  It was interesting to get my brother’s perspective on the band since he is in the same business.  Jim too, was very impressed.  Especially with their original stuff.  One tune in particular—the closer that night—was penned by guitarist/vocalist Kirk Adams ( http://www.kirkadamsmusic.com ).  The song is called (I think) “Mexican Wrestler”.  What a great tune.  It rocked and was funny too.  I’m working on getting a copy of the song.  Kirk told me that he might have a live recording of the song somewhere.

This is truly Margaritaville around these parts.  Nearly every gift store and restaurant had Buffett music playing.  One evening, we took a dolphin watch cruise (free beer on the 7pm sunset edition) from Hubbard’s.  Buffett tunes were the backdrop of the trip.  The cruise departed from a pier at John’s Pass and traveled along the intracoastal waterway there.  Dolphins are prevalent in the area, but we only saw one then.  We did see numerous million-dollar estates along the water, many with very expensive looking large boats moored behind.  Where do these people get their money?  One place was owned by the family that founded Brach’s candy company.  ...I guess that‘s what you have to do to get that kind of money.  Anyway, the cruise continued out into the gulf where we finally did see a number of dolphins up close.  We have some video clips to prove it.  The free beer continued to flow and the Buffett tunes continued to play throughout.  In all, it was a lovely cruise.

Golf.  Twice.  Once was a course called The Tides.  My brother-in-law and I played 18 holes there.  It was a nicely laid out course.  Considering the dry weather they had been having in the area, I was surprised it was in as good shape as it was.  The greens, however, were kind of rough.  White sand could be seen between the somewhat long blades of grass.  This made putting a challenge.  Fast at first, but then the ball seemed to hit the brakes.  Strange.  When your ball would land on the green, you would see a spray of sand - this is how sandy the surface was.  The other golf outing was on a little par 3 course at the Treasure Island Golf and Tennis Club.  Very small.  9 holes - you play twice around for your 18.  A number of the greens were being refinished so you had to play to temporary greens fashioned in the fairways in front of the real ones.  They should have mentioned this before we paid, I think.  Still it was nice there and my son Brian joined us this time.
Oddly enough we happened to see more dolphins in the waters surrounding the course than we did on the dolphin cruise we took earlier in the week.

Other highlights
There is a Sloppy Joe’s restaurant and bar inside the Bilmar Hotel on Gulf Blvd.  I walked in from the beach entrance one night, but they were closing.  It was only 11pm, but that was on a Tuesday I believe.  Not much going on mid-week.  My sister and her family went there for dinner.  Mixed reviews.
We attended a Tampa Bay Devil Rays game on the Friday evening of that week.  They played in intrastate rivalry against the Marlins.  TB lost.  We saw the Marlins hit a grand slam in the first inning.  We also saw a Carlos Pena home run hit off the lights in straight away center field.  Did I mention that this was an indoor stadium.  Tropicana Field.  Much more laid back atmosphere than the Detroit Tigers games we are used to.  Fun to watch a game in another venue.  We left the game early to join the rest of the clan to see a movie in the Baywalk district nearby.  Shrek the Third.  Not good.  Even my kids complained about this.  Andrew too.

I finally tried some Landshark Lager.  It is about what I expected.  It is not a hoppy, full-bodied beer.  It is a light lager.  I think, intended to be enjoyed ice cold on a hot day.  At least that’s the way I enjoyed it.  Most places automatically serve it with a lime wedge like Corona.  In fact, it appears to be the American equivalent.  This is a non-offensive, middle-of-the-road beer.  Enjoy it as such.

Had the opportunity to sample a new hard iced-tea product from Smirnoff at a Publix supermarket in Madiera Beach.  I was originally drawn near by the attractive blonde working the table, but was interested to try a new tea product.  I had low expectations based on experiences with other competitors to my favorite, Twisted Tea, but I was very impressed.  There are 2 varieties:  Green Tea or regular with lemon.  I liked both, but the green tea was most enjoyable.  I bought some.  It is light and very tea-like.  Smooth.  No carbonation.  I think we have a winner.  You must try this in a large glass over massive amounts of ice.  Just try not to pound this drink.  I dare you.  I got a free t-shirt from the hot blonde.  My brother got carded by her just to try the sample despite the fact that he might be at least 15 years older than her.  At least.  This made his day.

I’ve been composing the above bit by bit over the last few days.  I’m sure I’m missing some things, but I figure this is enough for now.  I can bore you with more later.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/23 at 12:05 PM
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