We were only 5 minutes late for our rendezvous, which is amazing considering the traffic we encountered! When we got there Otis was on the phone, so Tom and I rode to the Pier.
This was quite the modern showplace when it was built in 1973, but it's been closed for a couple of years and is scheduled to be demolished and replaced. When I ate here on a bike ride several years ago, the pelicans were very aggressive... It looks like they have not forgotten. They're still hanging around waiting for a handout.
We first rode north, through some exclusive neighborhoods along Coffee Pot Bayou. Most of the homes were subtle shades of stucco with wrought iron trim and tile roofs. These were very large estates, many with high fences and electronic gates. I did not feel comfortable taking photos in that neighborhood, but stopped to look back at St. Raphael's church and saw some dolphins chasing each other in the bay.
There were Florida Panthers marking the streets in the entire area. Very cool.
We rode through the northeast section of St. Pete, which is in the midst of massive renovation. Back downtown, we stopped at a park to take advantage of the facilities before crossing the barricades to ride through the area that is blocked off for the upcoming Grand Prix Races.
We rode through some less than stellar neighborhoods south of St. Petersburg, stopping at a park that overlooked the Sunshine Skyway bridge. As we were leaving the park a woman took our photo--here we are: Otis, Dianne, me, and Tom.
Dianne had told us about a cool place to eat lunch so we rode there next. Chattaway has been in the same location since 1921. We sat at a picnic table in the shade out back of the restaurant, and the food was great! The waitress took our photo under the sign that reads "Happy Trails to you, until we meet again". Amen to that. We rode back to the Pier and said farewell to Tom and Otis; I will see them in the months to come back in Michigan. This was my last Florida ride for 2015.
We'd made plans when I first got here 2 weeks ago to have dinner with Dianne's sister Jan tonight. So when we got back from the ride I disassembled and boxed up my bike and we got ready for our fancy dinner out! Jan picked us up and drove us (not very far) to Mystic Fish where we each had a different variety of fish. My Chilean Sea Bass was especially sweet since Dianne bought it to pay off her Scrabble debt!