Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March 1, 2017. Palm Harbor, FL

This morning Dianne played tennis and I swam 2000 yards in her pool, the last time I'll be swimming outside for quite a while. We had planned to go to a baseball game today, but had to stop at the post office first. Then we went to lunch. We wore PALM shirts because the Detroit Tigers were playing the Toronto Blue Jays and these were the only shirts we had to identify us as Tigers fans.

Dianne bought my lunch (grouper sandwich at the Sandbar) to pay down her Scrabble debt. We play for a penny a point, the only time I ever gamble! It took a very long time to get our food, so by the time we were done eating the game had already started. We went to the old Blue Jays Stadium first, got directions to the right place, found no place to park and gave up on it.

We went home and walked over to see our friend Jean. She lives about a mile away in the same community as Dianne for six months out of the year; the rest of the time she lives in Ontario. We had a nice long visit. Usually we have her over here for dinner when I am in town, but we just ran out of time.

We walked back home and then I cleaned my bike and we put it away until next time I come. It has a home in Dianne's guest room closet, thus saving me a couple hundred dollars a year. It usually costs as much to send my bike as it does for me to fly here!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 28, 2017. Palm Harbor, FL

This morning we put the bikes in the car and drove to Safety Harbor. We parked at the marina and got on the bikes to ride to Tampa. First we were on the Ream Wilson Trail.

We rode through several parks on the trail. (We didn't see any flying discs). The trail ended at the Long Center in Clearwater, where there is an indoor 50 meter pool, in case I ever decide to swim indoors while here.

We had a good laugh when we saw the sign for a 10% grade! Not a chance! It's awfully flat here... there was a small grade for about 20 feet, nowhere near 10%!.

We turned around at the Long Center and retraced our path on the Ream Wilson Trail, then continued to the other end of the trail, and right on to Courtney Causeway Trail.

The Courtney Causeway goes across Tampa Bay and the trail runs right along side the road while on land, but separates from the road with its own bridge over the bay.

We rode to the outskirts of Tampa, where we stopped for lunch at Whiskey Joe's.

After lunch we rode back to Safety Harbor (total mileage: 31). I stopped along the causeway to walk in the water--I wanted to see how warm it was. It was very warm indeed.

When we got home we played Scrabble until dinner. I had a good Scrabble day--SEQUOIA and INJURES in the same game! It was a very good day overall. I am going to miss the joy of riding in the warm sunshine when I return home on Thursday.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

February 26, 2017. Palm Harbor, FL

We planned for a short "recovery" bike ride today. We headed to Pinellas Trail, then rode south on the trail to Dunedin Causeway. We rode the causeway, crossed the drawbridge and paid our $2 to get into Honeymoon Island State Park.

We rode the park loop, and stopped at the beach for a break. Then we stopped again at the visitors center.

We rode back across the causeway, stopping to see this very cool bike rack. Afterward I thought I should have put my bike on the rack for the photo.

We got on the Pinellas Trail and headed south to Clearwater for lunch. Our destination was Nauti Nancy's, but every table on the back patio was either filled or reserved, and there was a duo singing and playing guitar. I asked if we could sit on the front porch, and that worked well. There is only one table on the front porch, and we parked the bikes right on the porch. We could still hear the music, but it was not overwhelming. Perfect.

We rode against the wind as we headed toward home on the Pinellas Trail. Not a new experience... We were plenty tired when we got home. Our planned 20 mile ride ended up at 35 miles!

We met Barbara and Stan for dinner and had a really great time! We were seated at 6:30, and finally left when they started sweeping the floor around us at almost 9 PM! It's always fun to catch up with friends when I'm here. It was also nice to hear that they want to join our little group on further adventures.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

February 25, 2017. Palm Harbor, FL

We finally ordered Dianne's wall art this morning! It was quite an ordeal getting the photo--I had it at home, and Bill emailed it to me last week, but the resolution was not good enough to enlarge and print. So I called on Bill again, to look in my 2010 Wild Coast scrapbook to find the email address of the man who took the photo. I emailed him and it took a couple of days for him to find and send the photo. Here it is: this is going to hang above Dianne's sofa! Thank you Patrick Mahoney! And thank you Bill for being so patient!

After we ordered the wall art (30" x 40" canvas) we got on the bikes. We had plans to meet my cousin Eileen at noon so had plenty of time to meander. We first rode north to Tarpon Springs so Dianne (who lives here) could buy postcards. The first place we went to was not open, second place she did not like the choice of postcards. The third place she went in did not have postcards. She finally came out of the fourth place with cards in her back pocket and we got back on the bikes.

We rode the Pinellas Trail south back past Palm Harbor to Dunedin, where we met Eileen and her husband David at Serendipity CafĂ©. It was all organic, gluten free, healthy food! Dianne said "I'll have a diet coke" and the waitress said "no you won't!" The food was interesting and delicious and we had a great time catching up.

We headed north on the bike path again, passing this new rest area. It is certainly needed here!

We decided to go for ice cream, missed our turn and had to go back.

Finally we were at Strachan's, where they have the best home made ice cream ever. We had our treats, sat in the shade visiting with other customers, and then headed home.

All of a sudden I was exhausted! How is it that eating a healthy lunch energized me and eating ice cream made me feel like a slug? Total mileage for the day: 31.5.

Friday, February 24, 2017

February 24, 2017. Palm Harbor, FL

This morning I got up a little late so did not swim while Dianne played tennis. I was still reading the paper when she returned--she booked out of tennis a little early. We walked the 2 miles to the gym, worked out for an hour and a half, then walked back home.

After shower and lunch we got in the car and drove to the clubhouse for Scrabble club. Dianne and I never play each other at Scrabble club, since we play all the time. I won all my games, Dianne won most of hers, tied one. It was fun playing the other people!

When I was done playing 5 games I went to the pool and swam 2000 yards. But my fitness tracker read 2100 yards. maybe it's a 25 meter pool? But wouldn't that be 2200 yards? I guess it doesn't matter.

We came home, I showered yet again (allergic to chlorine) and we ate dinner. All of a sudden I was very, very tired. I think I am done for the day!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017. Palm Harbor, FL

It was raining this morning when we got up, so I checked the computer first thing. said the rain would be done before 8 AM, so we proceeded with our plans for the day. We loaded the bikes in the car and headed north. We met Tom and Fred (friends from home) at the Hwy 54 trailhead for the Suncoast Trail, as planned. It was a very nice trailhead, with drinking water, a portajohn, and a bike repair station.

We had advice from Bruce (at the bike shop) to go on a new section of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail, so we headed south on Suncoast Trail, riding it until it led into the new trail. It meandered through the woods, over a couple of bridges, and ended all too soon at Van Dyke Rd. By next year this trail should be completed and connected to the rest of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail. (There is a five mile gap between this new section and the original Upper Tampa Bay Trail).

We turned around and rode back to Suncoast Trail but we were not ready to quit! We continued north on Suncoast trail, against the wind. The entrance of Starkey Park was about 4.5 miles north of the trailhead where we parked our cars.

We found a man to take our photo at Starkey Park, where we took a break. Here we are: me, Fred, Tom and Dianne.

On the way back through Starkey Park we stopped at the solar system placards, placed a relative distance from each other according to their real placement in the sky. You can see that Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are relatively close together.

By the time we got out to the farther planets they were at least a mile apart.

We exited Starkey Park and got back on Suncoast Trail, which runs along the Suncoast Parkway toll road, separated by the tall fence on the left. We had the wind at our backs once we made the turn onto that trail so we really hauled back to the trailhead! Total mileage for  the day: 37, our longest biking day so far this trip.

We decided to eat at Chili's across the highway from the trailhead. Fred and Tom knew just where to go, but Dianne and I did not, so we were in the wrong lane and ended up dumped onto the toll road. We had to pay 50 cents to get on the wrong road, turned around at the next exit and had to pay another 50 cents to go back to where the guys were waiting, laughing at us, knowing exactly what we had done.

After lunch we hugged our friends from Michigan, told them farewell and headed our separate ways. As soon as we were in our vehicles heading home it started to rain. What a great day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February 22, 2017. Palm Harbor, FL

Since this is Wednesday Dianne plays tennis and I swim. But it was pouring rain this morning so we did neither. We spent some time figuring out the route for our bike ride tomorrow with Fred and Tom. Finally the rain let up about 9 AM, so we walked to the gym.

It's a two-mile walk, and there was mist in the air, but no rain. We worked out at the gym and then Dianne walked back the 2 miles and I ran 3 miles. I am so trying to get back into the habit of running! I thought I would run more frequently while here, but we've been so busy that this is only the third attempt. I guess I should call it jogging because my miles were each longer than 11 minutes.

After we got home it started pouring again, and rained the rest of the day. We congratulated ourselves on making a good choice to walk and run during the lull. 

We played Scrabble until dinnertime. I tried to get Dianne to look like she was enjoying herself for this photo, but she said it was no fun. (I had just gotten a bingo). I'm lucky that way!