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World War II Victory Ship

The SS "American Victory" is open for tours, and is moored behind the Aquarium at Tampa Bay

The Victory ship (officially VC2) was 455 feet long and 62 feet wide.

Her cross-compound steam turbine engine with double reduction gears developed 6,000 or 8,500 horsepower.

The first of 534 Victory ships, the SS United Victory, was launched on February 28 1944, and like the Liberty Ships, were built using production line techniques. The next 34 Victory ships were named for each of the Allied nations; the subsequent 218 were named after American cities, the next 150 were named after educational institutions, and rest received miscellaneous names.

Victory Ships were used to carry supplies and troops to aid in the war effort, and were instrumental in the final victory.

Lots of Big Projects Have Been Completed in the Tampa Area!

We saw evidence of many, many recent large projects having been completed in the Tampa area.

New parks and recreation facilities, road improvements, bridges upgraded and widened, municipal buildings enlarged or replaced...more books for the libraries.

Always remember that the following rules apply to each and every project, regardless of size:

Six Phases of a Project:

1. Enthusiasm

2. Disillusionment

3. Panic

4. Search for the guilty

5. Punishment of the innocent

6. Praise and honors for the non-participants!

Municipal Work Crews

While us guys was waiting in the van after messing with that crane truck, we read a piece of paper we found sitting in the bottom of the crane bucket.  It explained how the supervisor is supposed to round up the work crew for each particular project.  It had a lot of reel complicated rules, but somebuddy had checked off the parts that applied to this here lamp project, which started out to change a burned-out light bulb:

1. Determine how many work categories will be required for the completion of this project.

2. Contact managers of each category to furnish you with qualified professionals from his ranks.

3. Arrange for all qualified professionals to be transported to the jobsite at the correct time.

4. Complete the assigned project as needed.

This particular project required a supervisor, a crane operator, a driver for the truck, an electrician to change the light bulb, and a guy to hold the "Stop - Slow" sign to control traffic in that parking lot.

After the mishap where the light pole got knocked over, the entire picture changed, and then they also needed a mechanic to work with the bolts to change the damaged base.

Then another truck showed up and everybuddy that wasn't working on something while they waited for the other guy to do his job got a shovel so they had something to lean on while they watched.  They don't like to sit down, cuz then it looks like they're loafing!

That's why they call it a "Project."


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Sparky's Florida Trip Header, representative of things seen in Florida

Page 6
(By Sparky)


The next morning, April 28, 2003, we headed fer downtown Tampa, and found a parking lot near the World famous Tampa Aquarium.

The old folks and Sniffy first went for a ride on the Tampa Trolley, which runs from the waterfront up to Ybor City, which is an artsy area several miles away.  It is known as "The cigar capital of the world," cuz they have lots of cigar factories there, where people still roll cigars by hand.  We din't get no cigars there, though, cuz you can't eat them and the smoke stinks!

They ate lunch at a place called "Big Mouth," a burger joint there, then rode the trolley back to the aquarium.  You ken find out more about Ybor City by clicking below:

Ybor City Information 

They got back to downtown Tampa and went to the Aquarium.  Fer those of you who don't know what an Aquarium is, it's kinda like a zoo for fish.  You ken see them fish swimming around, like in a big fish bowl, and see them doing fish swimming, and being bored, and being all wet, and being afraid that a bigger fish will eat them up.  That's where the saying, "Poor fish" came from.

You ken find out more about the aquarium, the trolley cars and the Victory Ship by clicking on one of the links below:

Florida Aquarium in Tampa

Victory Ship Information 

Trolley Car Information 

Sparky's Downtown Tampa Picture Gallery

Big cruise ship parked behind the Aquarium
Cruise ship near the aquarium

World War II Victory Ship near the Aquarium
Victory Ship near the aquarium

View of the huge fish tank inside the Aquarium
Huge aquarium tank for fish

Cool trolley car that Sniffy got to ride in
Cool trolley car Sniffy rode in

Sniffy riding in the Trolley Car
Sniffy riding in the trolley car

Gloria sitting in the trolley car
Gloria sitting in the trolley car

Trollery car passenger stop where we waited for the next trolley car
Trolley stop where we waited

Trolley car stopper at the end of the line
End of the line trolley bumper

Dock where the big cruise ships park to load passengers
Tampa dock for cruise ships

Tampa Bay from tour boat
Tampa Bay from tour boat

Manatee mural on large tank
Manatee mural on large tank

Here's my favorite street name--"Sparkman"
"Sparkman" St., my favorite name

St. Petersburg, Florida

By Ty, (With Sparky's help).

We got to St. Petersburg later that afternoon, and parked at a parking lot on the St. Petersburg Pier, which is sort of like a small shopping mall built over the water of Tampa Bay.

The old folks took a little tram bus from the parking lot to the front entrance of the mall on the pier, and from what Ty and Sniffy said, it wasn't much of a heart-pounder of a ride.

On the top floor, we went out on the roof and we could see all around the area.  I looked over the side of the roof, and there were some cement parts of the building that stuck out from the edge of the roof, and there were a lot of pennies, nickels and dimes all over them!  As far as the eyes could see, there was lots of free cash on all of them cement things!  There was also some more cash that fell off and landed on parts of the roof below, so us guys are gonna figger out how to get some of that cash that people jest threw away.  Then the next time we go there, we ken grab it all up and we'll all be rich!

Sniffy & Ty Sitting in the shade behind the St. Petersburg Pier sign
Sign at the entrance to Pier

View from the roof of the stores at the pier, looking towart St. Petersburg
View from the roof of the Pier

Ty looking at all the cash on the cement things below the roof
Ty checking out all the cash

Showing all the cash on the cement things below the roof
Lots of cash on all the things

NOTE:  I will have to ask all of the readers of this website to keep quiet about this goldmine I told you about.  If you decide to go there to the Pier, and you decide to scoop up all that cash, jest remember that you owe me a commission or finder's fee, based on how much you got, but it looked like about four bucks would take care of it.  Also remember not to tell too many other people, or there will be a mad rush to get all that cash!

To find out more about the St. Petersburg Pier, click on the link below:

St. Petersburg Pier 

After everybuddy had all the fun they could stand in that pier place, they took another tour bus that took them around St. Petersburg for a dollar each (only fer the old folks, Ty and Sniffy didn't have to pay).  That was a heart-pounder of about 1.5 for excitement. 

Gandy Bridge--Freedom Bike Trail

The old folks found out that there was this here Gandy Bridge Freedom Trail, that is used fer bicyclists, runners, walkers, roller-bladers, and moseyers, but no dogs!  We all went there in the morning of April 30, 2003 and the old folks went fer a ride, and Ty rode in Jim's bike bag and Lil Benny rode in Gloria's bike bag.  When they got to the other end of the 2.5 mile long trail and turned around, Ty spotted the sign in the pitcher, and posed in front of it so he could show Sparky about it.

The ride was cool, except that near the east end there is a great big hill where the bridge goes uphill so that boats can go underneath it.  Everybuddy got to the other end okay, but they were tired out from that big hill by the time they got back to the van.

After getting back to the van on the west end again, and when Sparky heard about that sign, he decided to go along with Jim, who had decided to make another round trip so he could get in his 10 miles.  Gloria made almost another round trip, except for turning around halfway up that hill.

When Sparky saw that sign, he was immediately disgusted, cuz that's a clear case of discrimination that a feller ken take his cat fer a walk across that bridge, but dogs aren't allowed.  What about alligators and skunks and elephants?

Gloria leaving the west parking lot
Leaving the west parking lot

Gloria arriving at the east end of the Freedom Trail
Gloria arrives at the East end.

View of hill from east parking lot
View from east parking lot

Sparky disgusted about discrimination toward dogs!
Sparky disgusted about sign

Ty posing in front of sign that made Sparky mad
Ty posing in front of sign

Fishing pier built onto side of Freedom Bridge
Fishing Pier on side of bridge

Unattended crane truck that we messed with
Unattended city truck, west lot

Supervisor came and put the light back up after replacing broken base
City truck fixed light

Anyway, we all had a great time during that bike ride.  While the old folks was away during the first round trip, Sparky and Sniffy got to go and check out an abandoned city truck that had one of those long arms that you ken make go up and down and round and round with some handles on the side of the truck.  The men that drove it there took off fer lunch and jest left it running, so  everybuddy in that parking lot would get to hear that noisy Diesel engine and enjoy the stinky smoke that squirted out of the exhaust pipe.  Sparky decided to see what each of the handles did.

The handle on the left made it go up and down, while the next one made it go clockwise or counterclockwise.  The third handle made the whole thing move forward or backward.  A couple more handles made some jack things lift each side of the truck up or down, so you could make it jump up and down like them lowrider cars that them fellers rig up and have contests with.

Anyhow, we got to messing with them handles, and the second handle got stuck, and the whole crane thing got to turning round and round, kinda like a fan, and it was reely going fast, and Sniffy pushed on the first handle, and the bucket thing on top moved down about 8 or 7 feet, and that's when it hit that lamp post and knocked it down.  Then it started going up and down and round and round, and we jumped off of there and got out of there reel fast!

Pretty soon, the men came back from lunch and saw what had happened, and they started looking all around, so all us guys jest pertended to be stuffed animals, so we wouldn't get into trubble.  If it had been our fault, I would have felt guilty, but they should have fixed them handles to they wouldn't get stuck, cuz somebuddy could have got hurt by that crazy thing flying around and around like it did.

Anyway, they jest found another unbroken light base mounting thing that they had in the back of one of them trucks, and pulled the post back up in the air with a special cable that came out of the bottom of the bucket, and then put it onto the new base and bolted it back together, and it was as good as new, and they successfully wasted a lot of the day completing that project, so everybuddy was happy after all.  And they still had tomorrow to change the burned-out light bulb that was the reason they went there in the first place!

To find out more about that bridge, click on the link below:

Friendship Trail Information 

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Did You Know?

According to Ripley's Believe It or Not!, Tampa is home to the "world's smallest park."

Tampa's Sant' Yago Night Parade was voted the largest and most beautiful night parade in the South and one of the Top 10 parades in the Southeast by Suncoast Magazine.

Golf Digest named Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater the #3 best urban city for golf in 2002. Golf Digest ranked the cities by number of courses per capita and per avid player, a value component and climate modifier.

Plant City, the "Winter Strawberry Capital of the World," holds the Guinness record for the world's largest strawberry shortcake. The 104-by-8-foot, 6,000-pound cake contained over 100,000 strawberries, 450 pounds of sugar and 600 pounds of whipped topping.

Tampa is known as the "Big Guava." Guavas are yellow, pear-shaped tropical fruits found in Tampa. Ybor City guava delicacies include guava jelly, guava paste, guava turnovers and pickled guavas, which are usually displayed in the area's guava cooking contests.

Tampa's Ybor City was once known as the "Cigar Capital of the World" with nearly 12,000 tabaqueros (cigar-makers) employed in 200 factories. Ybor City produced an estimated 700 million cigars a year at the industry's peak.

Tampa Bay is a popular birding site. The breeding population of the region totals 35,000-45,000 nesting pairs annually at more than 20 sites.

Source: Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors' Bureau


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