Fifteen years ago, I camped around the United States with a one man tent in my little Nissan Sentra. Starting in Pennsylvania, I made a mad dash down the East Coast to Florida (I was well acquainted with much of that area) where I spent time with friends and spent some time on the beach before heading north to Alabama. First though, I spent some time at the beach in St. Petersburg where I had a somewhat frightening experience. I was enjoying the warm Gulf waters, when suddenly I realized that everyone save one other person had left the water. Looking around, I quickly determined the reason for the absence of swimmers. I saw a school of rays headed straight for me. Calculating quickly the distance I needed to go to escape the school, I realized I would never make it. The other swimmer and I both froze where we were, and a few seconds later were surrounded by the school of rays as they simply parted and swam around us. One of them even brushed my thigh as it passed by. Needless to say, I heaved a sigh of relief as they departed. Despite this heart thumping experience, I had a great time in Florida before starting my trek north and then west towards California.