Friday, May 13, 2011

Lats & Atts Cruisers Party at the TMCA Spring Fling & Freeport Rendezvous

It's finally here!  Months ago, there was a tiny little blurb in my Seafaring Magazine (Latts & Atts) about an upcoming event the Bob and Jody would be attending... the First Annual TMCA Spring Fling and Freeport Rendezvous.  The Magazine would host an Official Cruiser's Party on Saturday night during this event.  I was probably the first person in Texas with an hotel booked!

I surfed around and found this place on the Internet.  Ocean Village Hotel, not in Freeport (a good thing) but very near on Surfside Beach on the Gulf of Mexico.  I put in for Friday and Monday off from work and we were all set.  

We drove up the back roads on Friday morning and checked in just after 2 pm.  We were pleasantly surprised by our surroundings as we crossed the big bridge over the ICW onto the island.  We found ourselves in a prime spot with vacation rentals everywhere.  There was a holiday festive feel creeping into our blood as we put down our bags and took a look around at the view off our private back porch.

I had my pick of the rooms when I booked and chose one with a grand view of the Gulf.  We're very happy with our find and will definitely come back here again.  I was so happy to have three mornings stretching out ahead of me with coffee and my love watching the sunrise over the Gulf. 

We freshened up and then found our way to the Freeport Municipal Marina.  We got rockstar parking and waltzed right into the venue where we bought our two day wrist bands for the event, then found a booth selling rum punches called appropriately "Spring Flings".  We walked around the marina checking out all the boats and the facility.  We had counted no less than a dozen sailboats making their way towards the Freeport jetties while we sat on our porch earlier.  Here we found one of them coming under an old lift bridge.  It's all about perspective.  That bridge looked much smaller without a sailboat crossing underneath.

We finished our drinks and it was now time to enter the vendor's building where I would seek out and hopefully find... Bob Bitchin' and his lovely wife Jody.  I have enjoyed being a paid subscriber to their Seafaring Magazine immensely for years and was thrilled to finally be meeting them in person.  We nonchalantly took our time making our way to the Lats & Atts booth, meeting up with our friend Trent, of Banks Sails fame... I looked over and saw them... Bob and Jody... both relatively unattended by hordes of adoring fans.  I asked Bob if he would mind having his picture taken with me and he came right around to the front and made me a proud woman!  I will prize this picture always!  Thanks Bob!

Not to be left out of the light of my adoration... none other than Jody herself checked me out when I brought my purchases to the register.  She's such a pretty woman.  The magazine does not do her justice.  We had quite the chat with Bob and Jody and soaked up some info about the best places to cruise and charter.  Bob and Jody are both so very sweet and Bruce and I did our bests to buy lots of stuff to make them want to come back to Texas again and again...

We left the L&A booth and finished checking out the other vendor's booths then went back to our hotel to change for dinner.  We ate at the Red Snapper Inn, where we were treated to a world class dinner, then back to the hotel for a relaxing evening and a peaceful night's sleep in the very comfortable beds in our hotel. 

We woke up early as usual.  I was so worried that I would oversleep and miss the sunrise.  Not to worry.  Bruce even had time to go out to the convenience store up the road to get us some coffee to mix with our Bailey's before the show started.

There it was... the first of three such sunrises we were to enjoy this weekend.
The morning was very cool.  We sat on the porch until well after sunrise, then we decided we needed to take a Bloody Mary for a walk on the beach.

Our room had only a little little sink area with a nice sized fridgie to store our juice and our leftovers.  I made us some drinks and out we went... 

Now this has nothing to do with the Vodka... I was feeling pretty light and free knowing that my coworkers were slaving away in their work-a-day worlds while I was out enjoying the freedom of a four day weekend that wasn't yet half over.

We walked out our doorstep onto the beach and had the place pretty much to ourselves. 

It was mid morning and there was no sign of the families that would line this coast by the end of the day. 

We took a leisurely stroll up towards the next access road where we hoped to find some kolaches we could take back to the beach for our breakfast.  

We scored half a dozen and sat on a beach side palapa where we gazed out to the waves endlessly rolling in.  We were still and found the little sand crabs creeping about on the sand.  Funny how we hadn't noticed them before. 
We enjoyed our kolaches in peace but it wasn't long before a slow parade of cars and trucks began to arrive, bringing the crowds of beach goers to our private beach. 

We decided to take a drive around the island and check out the marinas for future reference.  We found the Bridge Harbor Yacht Club, where we found little sign of life.  We didn't feel very warm and fuzzy there so we went back across the bridge to see if this other place would be any better.  We found the Surfside Marina to be a bit more friendly and I was fascinated by the boat storage building.  It was HUGE!  A guy told us that we could dock there for up to a week no problem.  We'll keep this in mind...

We moved on to find the Jetties where we found very nice facilities.  We parked ourselves on a huge piece of driftwood and watched some local fishermen for a while. 

One guy caught a little fish and then we noticed the dolphin cruising around just inside the channel.  There goes the fishing...  I had a bit of fun as we moved on to our next destination.  It was a really great piece of driftwood. 

We parked at the Jetty park and walked out onto the jetties.  It was longer out than it looked.  These are such nicely maintained jetties, much easier to walk on than ours back home.  There were scads of fishermen out there enjoying this beautiful cool day. 

The winds were down and the sun was out.  It was perfect. We could see the curve of our beach back to our hotel was lined with people.  The beach had been covered in a layer of seaweed when we arrived, but there was much less coming ashore now.

We got a call from Chuck to get directions to our hotel.  He was close so we headed back there to get changed for the evening's festivities.  We hung out with him for a while then drove back to the Marina where, again... we got rockstar parking.  I guess arriving early has it's privileges...  We went straight back to the Lats & Atts booth to buy some more stuff, including Bruce's wingspan worth of raffle tickets.  I was feeling lucky!  The prize is a dream charter vacation for 8 people in Tahiti!  I want it!
We walked the docks again with Chuck while we waited for the band to begin playing.  It's really a very nice facility. 

Chuck was the best man at our wedding and we see him a couple of times a year.  He's such a sweety and has never met a stranger. 

The band scheduled to play the Lats & Atts party is a personal friend of Chuck's.  Dennis Davis has a couple of CDs out with his own original music.  We met him coming in and chatted for a bit.  He lives near here and has a day job, but really loves to play his Trop Rock music and writes many of the songs he performs.
People began to arrive and things started to heat up. There were the typical cruiser type shenanigans going on...

We had two couples from BYC here with us.  We met up with Chris & Cathy and Jennifer & Malcolm.  There were lots of give-aways tossed out from many of the vendors.  It was a festive place for sure.

The band got going and I got out and danced around with the other nutty people.  It was such fun!  Bruce danced with me some, but then it was us girls shaking our booties.  There was a round of raffle give-aways and we didn't win.  That's OK... I'm waiting for the BIG PRIZE!

Chuck talked me into selling Dennis' CDs to the crowds in exchange for a couple of free ones.  What else did I have to do?  I took it!  I was able to sell quite a few before the next round of raffles. I held my breath while they drew for the grand prize...  the last three numbers of the winning ticket were 098.  I had the ticket ending in 100!  I was two tickets late for the dream vacation!  AND... the winner was already gone so the drew another one.  Not even close!  Bummer.

We took Chuck back to our hotel for the night where he slept on our love seat.  We spent the next morning with him and he left for Kemah shortly after breakfast.  Bruce and I took a nap then went back out for another stroll on the beach.

It was another beautiful sunny day in PParadise.  The beach was once again crowded with families.  Everyone was very well behaved... nothing like the craziness that goes on down our way.
We had the whole afternoon ahead of us with forced relaxation on our agenda. 

The rest of our stay passed in a blur... Another delicious dinner at the Red Snapper Inn...

Another cool morning on the back porch with coffee and my husband...

Another perfect sunrise on our private Gulf...

Another beach walk with Bruce... this time no crowds.  It was Monday
morning.  Coworkers were hard at it back home. 

What was I doing?... I was trying to get the perfect "feet" picture with this leftover sandcastle...  For some reason, this was the winner.

Next on my agenda was to get a shot of the surfing fishes.  They were a hoot.  I think they were actually playing in the surf.  There were schools of them waiting to catch a wave!

All too soon, it was time to check out of our home away from home and head back to reality.  We took the back roads home again and I felt it all come crashing back...  Work tomorrow... it's all over... like it was a dream.

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