Sunday, March 11, 2018

March 11, 2018. 40 Miles.

Rain was predicted for today, so we were thrilled to see the sunshine this morning! We started out on our usual biking route, out to the Pinellas Trail and north to Tarpon Springs.  We stopped at Spring Bayou and saw the manatees were in.

We biked north out of Tarpon Springs on the Pinellas Trail, taking it to the Keystone Rd. Trail. Instead of turning on the East Lake Trail we decided to explore the new section of Keystone Trail and see where it went. We saw this buffalo on our way...

The Trail turned into Booker Creek Reserve, where we saw a lot of cows and a few other species, including tortoises. This one was crossing the bike path in front of us.

The Trail came to an abrupt end, but some local folks told us that it is eventually going to connect to Starkey Park and the Suncoast Trail.

We saw one sandhill crane on our way out of Brooker Creek Reserve.

We took the new section of Trail back to East Lake Trail, stopping for a comfort break, and then stopping to take a photo of a bottlebrush tree--if these grew in Michigan you can believe I would have one! 

While taking the above photo a cyclist caught up to us and stayed with us when the trail ended. At a (long) red light we began a conversation. He is Dan from Ottawa, Ontario, and is staying at Dunedin. Dianne offered to lead him back to where he came from on the safest roads available, so we rode him to Countryside Mall.

We went our separate ways after that. But he is interested in some of the bike trips we've done, like the Natchez Trace Parkway... we hope to hear from him again!

 I finished my bottle of Middle Sister wine tonight... I guess it's time to go home!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

March 10, 2018. 37 Miles and Countless Manatees.

We had plans to meet my cousin Eileen in Dunedin for lunch today. We left on our bikes about 10:30, rode down almost to Clearwater, turned around and arrived just in time. We had a great time (as always) with Eileen and her husband David.

After lunch we were headed toward home, but decided to get a few more miles. We rode the Pinellas Trail into Tarpon Springs and then rode up to Spring Bayou to see if the manatees were in--they were! There were a group of them huddled near shore so we sat around and gawked at them with some other folks.

We were sitting on the concrete wall you can see in the lower right hand corner of the above photo.

Below is a mature manatee and her calf; they did not come as close to the wall as some of the others.

There were some children there with their parents and we all enjoyed pointing out the manatees as they came up for air.

After our rest at Spring Bayou we rode home on the trail,  glad we took the detour to see the manatees!

Friday, March 9, 2018

March 6-9, 2018. Florida Adventures.

It was cool again this morning, Tuesday March 6. We biked over to Tarpon Springs to look for manatees--and they were there. They come in to warm up when it's chilly out in the bay.

We'd decided ahead of time to make this a recovery ride, so we only rode 20 miles, and at a slower pace than usual. We're not exactly taking any days off, but we know when to back off!

I swam Wednesday morning while Dianne played tennis. Thursday it was cool again. We had our jackets on when we left Dianne's house, and did not remove them the whole time we were out!  We biked to Tarpon Springs against the wind, and walked through the Sponge Docks area. I was looking for postcards with manatees on them and finally found them at the 5th store we went into!

Then of course we had to go to Spring Bayou to see if the manatees were in. There were about 20 of them this morning! You have to look closely at the second photo, but there are 5 or 6 milling around together.

We walked our bikes through Craig Park under this magnificent tree! The wind was more friendly on our way back to Palm Harbor, but we still needed our windbreaker jackets.

This morning, Friday, I swam in an empty pool--it was 50 degrees out and even I was a little chilly starting out--it took 500 yards to warm up! After my workout I sat in the sun reading my book until Dianne was done playing tennis. Since this is Friday we will play Scrabble with her club at 1 PM and then go to the fish fry.

Monday, March 5, 2018

March 4-5, 2018. In Florida.

Yesterday, March 4, Dianne and I drove an hour and a half to get to the Withlacoochee Trail. We had plans to meet Tom there to ride; it's near where he is staying this week. We also invited Stan and Barbara, friends from here in Palm Harbor. We all met at Ridge Manor, about 6 miles from the southern terminus of the trail.

We'd planned to ride 40 miles, but ended up at almost 50 miles! This is a true Rails to Trails trail: the terrain around us was hilly, but the trail was relatively flat, as it had to be for the trains that used to run here. We stopped at a little diner for lunch, then continued on to Inverness, where I took the photo of the caboose. Tom tried out a recumbent bike with a headrest--perfect!

We turned around at Inverness and rode south, back to Floral City where we stopped for strawberry shortcake.

We finished our ride back where we started. We were all ready to be done by then!

March 5: this morning it was a bit chilly--the air temperature was 53 degrees when I jumped into the pool. The photo below shows what the pool looked like when I was done--there were no other swimmers!

I was also the only one in the spa. After my 15 minutes of hot tub time I read my book until Dianne was done playing tennis. We decided to have sort of a rest day today--after our morning routines we played Scrabble most of the rest of the day. It feels like vacation!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March 1. 2018. At Palm Harbor, FL

Tuesday February 27 Dianne, Kathie and I rode to Tampa for lunch at Whiskey Joe's (41 miles round trip). We keep making "traditions" while we're here--we have to go to the same places; soon we're going to run out of days to do it all!

The reason we go to Whiskey Joe's is that it gives us a chance to ride the Courtney Campbell Causeway, a 10-mile long bridge across Tampa Bay.

As we were waiting for the light to cross the street to get on the causeway Kathie noticed a woman with a Monroe Michigan bike shirt. I started a conversation with Denise and her husband Dennis...

Denise and Dennis are from Riverview, MI, very close to where I live. They live in South Carolina now, but spend their winters in Florida. It was fun talking to them--it's such a small world! I rode ahead with them, taking a photo of Kathie and Dianne coming up to the top of the bridge.

We arrived at Whiskey Joe's and had a great lunch out on the beach. I had to walk inside the restaurant to get iced tea--it is a limited menu on the beach. My tradition here is to eat fish tacos!

Dianne was fighting a cold the whole day Tuesday, so she took the day off Wednesday February 28 to recover. Kathie and I rode to Clearwater to have lunch at Nauti-Nancy's, another tradition. We both had the shrimp and grits, as usual.

After our 28 mile ride Kathie packed her bike to go home and Dianne and I played Scrabble. Of course I come here to ride my bike, play Scrabble and eat! Now Dianne has taken Kathie to the airport to go back to Rhode Island. I get to stay another week and a half.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

February 25, 2018. 23 Miles.

We decided to do an easy recovery ride this morning. Yesterday was my first time on the bike since October and Dianne's first time since September. Kathie had one day on us!

We rode over to the Pinellas Trail and passed through Tarpon Springs without stopping. We then got on the Keystone trail, stopping for a break at a convenience store.

We rode through Chestnut Park, which is always pleasant. We did not see any alligators, as usual. We went home and showered and had lunch, and then we got in the car to got to St. Petersburg. Admission to the Flamingo Festival at Sunken Gardens was $1 off if you wore pink, so Dianne gave each of us a pink shirt to wear!

We spent hours walking around the beautiful sunken gardens. Today's celebration was to commemorate the anniversary of 18 new flamingos coming to this location.

February 24, 2018. 38 Miles.

Yesterday I swam while Dianne played tennis, and then Kathie rode her bike while Dianne and I went to Scrabble club. We went to the fish fry in the evening--pretty funny after spending over $200 on groceries Thursday!

This morning Fred and Tom drove over from Crystal River to bike with us. They were here on time; actually they were half an hour early--we call that Fred time.

We rode over to the Pinellas Trail and into Tarpon Springs. Then we headed to Howard Park Beach. We took a break there and asked a woman to take our photo.

After Howard Park we rode back into Tarpon Springs and stopped at Spring Bayou to see if there were any manatees. There were none to be seen, because the weather has been so warm. It was in the 80s every day since I arrived, and for a week before that. They come into the bayou when they want to warm up.

We then rode to Dunedin, and had grouper sandwiches at the Sand Bar. After lunch we rode the Dunedin Causeway as far as the entrance to Honeymoon Island State Park. There was a line of cars 2 miles long waiting to get in the park, so we chose not to enter. It's a nice park, but better to go on a weekday when the traffic is not so crazy. We flew right past the backed up cars because we were on the bike path, but the path ends when you enter the park.