mk, if you could post some pictures, even cell phone pictures, that would help. Don't be embarassed about forgetting things. I think most of the sailors I know always forget something--often something useful or important--on the first couple of sails of the year. And I think the rest simply lie about not having forgotten anything.
There's also nothing wrong with using crib sheets, after all, the world's best trained most experienced pilots don't make a move without "checklists".
Starting your engine...let's see, lets' play 20 questions and if you can't get it going and can't find local help, I'll try to steal a day and come up for a lunchtime shakedown sail with you.
Trying to think very generally about engines....OK, there's a fuel tank shut-off valve coming off the gas tank, often under the cockpit. And sometimes another shut-off in the tank vent line. And sometimes mudwasps or other critters plug the tank vent screen. You need all three of those to be in order, and of course you need fuel in the tank. Gas or diesel as appropriate.
If the fuel was sitting all winter (6 months) without stabilant in it, it may have gone stale and it may or may not start well, if at all. Options there are to drain the tank if you can, otherwise fill it up with good new fuel and hope that's enough to blend it back up to useable.
Your fuel filters and fuel system made new attention (water drains, filter replacements)...if the gods love you, they may be good enough as it is for now.
Rashly ignoring the condition all that stuff may be in, then you need at least one good battery, properly charged and connected with clean connections. If you don't have that--get the battery charged. Ask if you need specifics on that.
Then...it comes close to the point where you remove all dock power, leave just the dock lines tied up and fenders down. Turn on the engine blower if you have one and let it run 5 minutes. Now turn on the master battery switch to "BOTH" if you have two good batteries. If your engine has a "choke" on it, pull out the choke about 1/2 way. Check that the gear select is in neutral (usualy the middle position) and the throttle is at "slow" or "off". Advance the throttle about 1/4-way and press the START button or turn the key to START and hold it for about 5 seconds. If the engine doesn't start, wait another 10 seconds (to cool the starter) and try again for 10 seconds. If it hasn't started, repeat a third time, and if it seems reluctant to start but close--give it some more throttle and fiddle a little with the choke.
If it does catch on, expect a bit of smoke and stumbling from the old fuel. Let it run a bit, maybe 3-5 minutes, and see if you can push in the choke or reduce the throttle to get a smoother idle going.
If you get it to a smooth idle, look at your instruments. Look at the water in your exhaust. See that nothing looks like it is overheating or behaving oddly. then go below (if it is an inboard engine) and take a look with a good flashlight. Are there any obvious leaks? Fluid sprays? Belts moving smoothly?
If it looks good, let it warm up, maybe 15 minutes total. Then try putting it under load (in gear, forward and reverse) while still tied to the dock, to see if it holds under load.
Don't be afraid to make notes or take cell phone pix if there's something you don't understand.
And oh, before you start any of this? Check the OIL LEVEL in the engine, and in the transmission as well. The valve you forgot to open may be the RAW COOLING WATER INLET and yes, that's an important one. If there is a strainer basket in that cooling line, make sure it looks like water can pass through it. Boulliabase likes to grow in water inlets and strainers.
Some folks make a point to take the engine key and tie it to a big red ribbon, and STORE IT ON THE WATER INTAKE VeNT HANDLE. Souds dumb but it also ensures that when you take the key--that important vent is right at hand.
This is why pilots (even those top guns) pull a dozen ribbons marked "REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT" from those expensive airplanes.
We all make mistakes, the trick is to pay attention and try to make them only once.
With a little help, we'll all get you there.
In terms of trips, some VERY rough numbers:
Titusville to the Okeechobe Canal entrance, 92 nm
Across to the west coast, 112 nm more
up off tampa, 73 more
up into tampa' ne corner, 21 nm more.
About a 300nm trip in all.
Pessimistically, if you have a solid engine and have to motor at 5 knots all the way, that's 60 hours underway, I'd suggest a 4-day trip if everything goes well, 5 days more likely if you at least pull in once or twice to get some sleep and duck the weather. It could easily turn into a week, you'd need to do some detailed planning to work that down.
I might know someone who has some very undeveloped dockage just north on the outside of the entrance to Tampa Bay. He has eventual plans to rent it out. I could ask him, and if that location and situation (NO amenities, etc.) could work for you, I could put him in direct touch. They'll actually be in Tampa the 7th-15th this coming month, I think.
But first, there is the question of what your boat needs to get going.
Here's a thought: Surely there's a West Marine in town? Or other chandlery? A lot of folks work there partly because they love boating. Take a shot in the dark. Tell one of the managers "Look...I've got this boat problem, I need some help, I probably need to spend some money setting it up, I've got no budget...Are any of the folks here willing to make a mercy mission and help a rusty sailor go over a boat for the first time, maybe just in exchange for the day on the water, a bag lunch, and a big thank you?"
YOU MAY BE SURPRISED!