New Friends in Dunnellon, Florida

May 28, 2013

On our first night in Crystal River, we met locals Kyle and James at Burkes of Ireland, a neighborhood pub.  The next night, we met Kyle’s wife Heidi.  Kyle, a wise-cracking beer lover, and Heidi are regulars at Burke’s (not sure about James whose wife was out of town), and they made us feel right at home.  We made Burkes our Crystal River base of operations when not snorkeling or diving.

The storefront of a pub painted green with a door, 2 windows, and a sign, 'Burkes of Irleland'

Burkes Again

Kyle invited us, complete strangers (attractive and charming though we are), to spend the evening at his place the following night.  He lives in nearby Dunnellon, just down the road from the soon-to-be-closed nuclear power plant.

A road flanked by green trees with a nuclear power plant cooling towers in the distance

Just like Springfield

Kyle has a totally cool ‘man cave’ in his covered carport.  It comes complete with a red Mustang, pontoon boat, pool table, bar, and live music.  Kyle and his friends are talented musicians, and most Saturday nights there is a jam session in progress.  Kyle plays guitar, bass, and drums.  That’s him on the drums…

Kyle in a yellow T-shirt sitting at the drums

Kyle on the drums

And yes, that’s me sitting in on the bass.

Patrick playing the bass guitar seated

Me on the bass

We had a great evening, drinking a lot of unusual beers and eating bar-b-que, and spent the night in the Dream Machine on Kyle and Heidi’s large property.  Here we are posing behind the bar the next day.

Kyle, Heidi, and James standing behind the bar with lot of signs and photos on the wall behind

Kyle (left), Heidi, and James (right)

Patrick and Diane hugging behind the bar

Diane groping me

The next day Kyle and James invited me to join them fishing.

Patrick and James standing on a pier.  James in orange shirt showing Patrick how to bait a hook with live shrimp

James showing me how to bait a hook with shrimp

Patrick in a grey t-shirt and beige brimmed hat baiting a hook with live shrimp

Me giving it a go

There was a lot of casting…

Patrick casting off of a pier with Kyle in the background

Patrick casting…

And a lot of waiting…

Patrick sitting on a rock and holding a fishing rod

Patrick waiting…

But not a lot of catching.

Kyle standing in the shallow water in beige shorts and an orang et-shirt

Kyle waiting too…

Although the fish eluded us, I had a great time.  It’s terrific to meet interesting people on the road, especially when they are as generous and welcoming as Kyle, Heidi, and James.

Feeling the need to correct a seafood deficiency, we stopped at the Blue Gator (recommended by our new friends) on the way out of town.

Wooden sign with a small carved gator and the words "Welcome to the Blue Gator, Come On Over"

Diane seating at the counter looking at the menu with iced tea in a plastic cup

Diane drinking half-and-half tea

We shared the crab cakes…

Basket of fried crab cakes, french fries, and hushpuppies

Crab cakes, hush puppies, and fries

And the amazing peel-and-eat shrimp…

A basket of tail-on shrimp with melted butter and coleslaw

Awesome Shrimp

Thanks to Kyle, Heidi, and James, we enjoyed a terrific weekend in Dunnellon, Florida.