05-25-08 Sunday, St Pete

http://www.dickenshouse.com/ is the bed and breakfast where we stayed, a very comfortable and lovely home in downtown St Pete, circa 1912. Check out the breakfasts! After eating delicious fruit and pancakes and spending companionable time with fellow guests and our host, we set out to finish riding the the bottom half of the Pinellas Trail, 34 miles R/T from St Pete, north to Clearwater. Unfortunately for us, we got a later start than we should have, for a sunny day when the temp reached 93F. Throw in some high humidity, and we broiled.
Though we consumed plenty of water, we both overheated, as evidenced by my red face (Left). We saw loads of colorful flowers, inc. beautiful stands of bougainvillea, etc. The tiny painted leaf (middle) resembles poinsettias. How about this cactus (right)... in St Pete!

Another reason for overheating was pedaling up and over SEVEN of these steep overpasses, twice - both coming and going, some steeper than others! And this sign greeted us each time! 14 steep climbs, and 14 grand descents. The sign saying "proceed slowly," was redundant as we ground our way uphill, and totally ignored by us flying downhill! Next time (as the saying goes), we vowed to get an EARLY start! You can see the trail by typing Pinellas Trail in Google. It's a fine place to ride. We had fun anyway! We ate dinner @ El Maguey in Pinellas Park, where the "locals eat." Good food! Tomorrow: home to Tallahassee.


Sat, May 24th - Fort DeSoto Park

Packed up the bikes and spent the three-day Memorial Day weekend in St Petersburg FL. On Saturday we rode around Fort DeSoto Park on Mullet Key: Sunny and Hot. Not much shade on the trail, either. Behind me (middle) is one of many huge hibiscus shrubs on the island. Unsure of the name of the pink flowers on the left; that bush was also much taller than me.

Interesting photo of a strangler fig (left), and a zoom shot of a lizard on a fig branch. Later on in our ride we saw some gigantic strangler specimens.

Free lunch for some! We really enjoyed being on the pier, watching the dolphins taking their fill of bait fish right below us. Note Jimmy's elbow.

Nice windy day to be on a boat in the bay!

Cool yellow sox for one - bad hair day for another.

A fun (but sweaty) day for us! Followed by a delicious tapas dinner at Ceviche in St Petersburg... after nice, cool showers, of course.


Sat, 5/17/08 - Kayaking East River Pond

We've wanted to kayak the East River Pond in St Marks NWR ever since moving to Florida in 2002. Today was the day - warm and breezy and sunny: ideal for kayaking a lovely small pond. Much of the pond was shallow, but there were enough deep water areas to attract bass boats with avid fishermen. (Only electric trolling motors allowed.) We saw plenty of fish from inch-long minnows to foot-long spotted gars and bass. Too bad we didn't have fishing poles!

The pond perimeters were lined with water lilies, as well as one patch of a gorgeous yellow lotus flower.
Alligators infested the south end of the pond, and a fairly narrow canal we entered had a good-sized alligator every 20/25 yards. Uh-uh. We managed to turn around, and got outa there! We spent three hours gently paddling the pond, our first time out in a year. Nevermind gators, it was grand being in the water again....

Sat, 5-10-08 St Marks NWR Bike Ride

T'was a delightful day for a 22-mile bike ride to St Marks Lighthouse, though it was a bit too warm and humid.


You can see the lighthouse at land's end.


We didn't see the bald eagles that nest in the giant pine tree, above, center; they'd probably flown to NC to escape the summer heat. 

We were happy to see the Hurricane Ivan levee breach had finally been repaired and Stoney Bayou Pool now had water in it.  It's such an attraction for migrating birds.

As always, click on any image for a larger picture.

Flowers were in bloom! How often do you see a "wild" orange gladiola blossom? 


Both yucca (above) and prickly pear (below) were flowering!


Sorry to say, the 3' corn snake isn't going home ever again -- it was deader'n a door nail for some reason that we couldn't discern ...

... but the blue crab a young fisherman caught was thrown back into the water to continue growing! Life is Good!