Today was the big day! We've been planning for 2 weeks to ride with Stan, Barbara and Ed; with Stan in charge of the route. Stan and Barbara showed up right on time--9 AM. Barbara called Ed and got voice mail. We waited around for a half hour and he did not call back, so we left.
The route was perfect! We rode low traffic roads that I did not even know existed here. We rode a loop through a development called "Top of the World"; there was no traffic there either. There were many large residential buildings, each one with its own "nationality": Chinese, Russian, Austrian, Australian, Ecuadoran, etc. Each building had architectural elements of its nationality. It was all very cool. We stopped for a photo at the main entrance to the development on our way out.
After Top of the World we made our way over to the Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail. There was one section at the end that was under construction so we had to go back on the road for a short distance. Then we got on the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail that led to the Causeway Bridge.
This is an incredible mile-long bridge, built for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The Causeway runs along the beach from Clearwater to Tampa, with the bridge right alongside the auto and truck bridge, and just as high above Tampa Bay (to allow boat traffic to pass beneath it).
We stopped for a photo at the top of the bridge, and then headed to Ben Davis Beach for a break.
After the break we decided we needed lunch, and right now. Stan suggested a 7-11 store on the route but we nixed that right away... there was a restaurant very close to where we were, and the rest of us decided Whiskey Joe's would be our lunch stop.
We got a table on the beach where there was a limited menu, since the main restaurant was really busy and none of us had thought to bring a bike lock. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and the view of the beach--especially Kathie and me, who will be back in the frozen north in a couple of days.
We got back on the bike path for a couple of miles, then we had to go on the street. I was afraid we'd be on the streets for a long time, but Stan really did his homework--we went down a deadend road that led right to the Town and Country Greenway, another bike trail.
We left that bike trail and went on another very low traffic road; it led to a trail in Oldsmar. Oldsmar is very close to Palm Harbor and I asked Dianne why we never used this trail, and she said she had no idea it was there!
We got back to Dianne's house about 3:30 PM, with 45 miles behind us. We all went inside and talked about new adventures, some planned for this year and some on hold for some other time. It was a wonderful sunny day, and a great ride with friends I am always happy to see.