I arrived in Tampa on Sunday, March 27th. Stayed at the Howard Johnson Plaza in downtown Tampa. Donna Cole and I came in a day early so that we could enjoy some calm before the storm. We were the NCECA Program Volunteer Coordinators for NCECA 2011 and had been working on matching volunteers with assignments since January. So on Monday we took time to enjoy Tampa before beginning our conference duties the next day. We had lunch at Channelside then were met by Barbara Pope (one of our volunteers who lives at St. Pete's Beach). Barbara drove us over to the beach and gave us the 10 cent tour of the beach town. At one point during the brief tour we exited the car and scurried to the water to dip our feet into the gulf! Afterward, Barbara dropped us off in the center of town. We happened upon a shell store and spent about an hour browsing around the store, both of us fascinated by the variety of shells. We left the store with our purchased shells and meandered along the avenue. Our next stop was a bead store. I was excited about finding beads for my new past time -- QUILTING!! So again we spent time browsing in yet another store. After purchasing some interesting beads we left the store only to find ourselves in the middle of a thunderstorm and downpour. We rushed to a coffee shop and took refuge there. We had a great visit with the other customers in the coffee shop. Ruthie, the owner of the coffee shop, recommended a driver who we contacted. Ron came to the coffee shop, picked us up, and drove us back to Tampa. The above picture is of Donna Cole and myself at St. Pete's Beach. More NCECA stories to come.