Ever since I came to Florida for my first Disney internship back in 2011, I always wanted to complete a coast to coast day. Watch the sunrise on the east coast, drive across the state and end up watch the sunrise on the west coast, ALL in the same day! Well, I was an adult dammit, so that's exactly what we did. Mind you, this adventure took place this year, 2018. LeeAnna and I completed our first coast to coast trip in 2017. Not to discredit our fun times in 2017, but 2018 makes for a better story.
First off, we were MUCH smarter in 2018. Instead of waiting until November when the days are still super, long and still rather hot, we opted for early April and we were already better off when we woke around 5ish (which is still rather early, but better than the 4:30 in 2017). The sunrise was at 7, but we didn't want to chance missing it. After a quick stop at the gas station for some Red Bull and snacks, we were off!
From where we are in Orlando, it's about a hour and a half to Cocoa Beach, where we would be watching the sunrise from. Don't let the picture on the left fool you, it wasn't that busy once we got outside the Orlando area. And once we arrived to the beach, we were the only ones in the parking area and didn't even pay for the parking meter!
For those of you won don't know, Cocoa Beach is the four most visited beach in Florida. That came from Thrillist.com back in 2015, but I'm sure it's still relevant. Probably. ANYWAY, Cocoa Beach is quite popular, but because it's on the east coast, it's sand is rough, and a bit more natural (wild grass, lots of seashells, more New Yorkers, that sort of thing). It's not where we typically spend our beach days, but it's the closest beach to where we are and the sunrises are just perfect.
The sunrise was set for 7 AM, and although there were a fair amount of clouds, we were quite happy with the results!
Personally, I'm a sunrise person. Anytime I'm watching the sunrise, I'm captivated by the beauty, especially if it's over the water. It never ceases to amaze me that this happens EVERY DAY, and it's not just some special event that I'm getting a special seat to watch. Nope. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Go watch a sunrise sometime, even it's by yourself. You get to thinking a lot about life and things, and it puts everything into perspective.
But after we took some more pictures, and took it all in, we were rudely interrupted by our tummies. It was breakfast time, and we already had the perfect place in mind.
Though you can't see the sign, the diner is literally called the Sunrise Diner. I'm telling you, this place (probably) hasn't changed since the 80s. Formica countertops, red plastic drinking glasses, placemats with local businesses, waitress that's incredibly friendly with the locals but surly with everyone else--this place is the greatest. And the food is fantastic as well. I found this last year, and we decided that this is going to be a staple for every coast to coast trip. And after our bellies were full of delicious eggs coffee, we were headed back to glorious central Florida!
After a quick pitstop at LeeAnna's house to let Bongo out, we were back on the road headed for sunny St. Petersburg! We had only been to St. Pete once before, and let me tell you, after visiting the city a couple times now, it's pretty cool. I had no idea there was a "scene" down there, nor about the historical influence as well. All of it was pretty neat. And though St. Pete is known for it's fantastic beaches and "scene," it is also home to our most favorite game: Urban Adventure Quest!
Now, for those of you asking yourselves what Urban Adventure Quest is, why didn't you just Google it? You're either on a computer or a phone. But if you didn't I'll happily explain it for you: it's a shortened version of the Amazing Race, but for whatever selected city you're in. You get clues you follow on your phone, and your venture across the city, solving puzzles, cracking number problems and learning more about the city. And aside from being incredibly fun and challenging, they're addicting. LeeAnna and I have completed two (St. Pete and Savannah) and plan to complete Boston Common and Key West by the end of this year! (Blog posts pending until adventures be had).
SO! We arrive at St. Pete and begin our questing! I don't barely remember any of the clues, but there were some tricky ones, including counting how many buttons were on a statue's coat, AND matching tree branches to form a picture (really). The bottom picture on the right features said tree. It's huge!
I forgot to mention that there are points involved! Every right answer earns you points, while wrong answers take away points. There is also a timer going as well. So if you want to take your sweet time, you're more than welcome to, but the quicker the better. Also, this sounds like an ad for UAQ. But it's not. Unless they want to sponsor this blog, in which case I will gladly talk them up. But anyway, we went all around the city, and ended up placing SECOND overall! And upon checking while writing this, our team STILL holds the second highest score of all-time in St. Pete! A definite resume builder if I ever saw one.
We were running around close to three hours, and we were quite famished. And it was a pretty hot day so we were in desperate need of shade and food. We found this fun Mexican restaurant downtown, and it really hit the spot. Red Mesa was the name, and much like everything else I bring up, I highly recommended.
With our quest completed and our tummies full, we were ready to see the sun set on fantastic day. We motored to the St. Pete public beach, and I don't know what I was thinking it was going to be like, but it was quite crowded. I sometimes forget that even though it's usually a Wednesday or Thursday when we adventure, a lot of people are on vacation. Or have their own days off in the middle of the week. Personally, St. Pete is a little loud for me. If I had to choose to go one beach for the rest of my life, I would probably go with Siesta Key, but that's not shocking anyone. It's a great beach. The sand is like flour! The water is refreshing! The free beer, though warm, is still really good! BUT since we went to Siesta Key last year, we wanted to mix it up a bit.
We usually arrive at the beach early in the morning, so it was a whole different feel arriving so late in the day. However, we had/have the best beach set-up. Hands down. First, this wonderful beach wagon to carry all the things. THEN, this 10x10 tent that gives us enough space to spread out and keep us shaded. Not that it was going to give us shade from the sun when it's staring at you straight in the face, but it's super helpful in the middle of the day. But once we set up our camp, we settled in for a perfect sunset...
...and the sun did not disappoint! We took in the last of the suns rays and packed up the car to head home. I'm pretty sure we stopped somewhere to eat, but I don't remember where. REGARDLESS, it was a most wonderful day from sunup to sundown! Another coast to coast in the books!
Remember, adventure is always out there!