Meeting Friends and Riding Bikes

Cortez, FL

February has continued to be very busy for us here in Cortez, FL (near Bradenton).  One afternoon we joined Dave and Sue (Beluga’s Excellent Adventure) and drove about an hour south to Venice.  Friends Steve and MonaLiza (Lowes RV Adventures) were staying about an hour’s drive south of there so  Sharky’s on the Pier sounded like a good place to meet for lunch.

John, Steve (behind John), MonaLiza, Sue (hiding) and Dave on the pier at Sharky’s in Venice

Enjoying lunch

Later we drove to a rustic bar/restaurant along the Myakka River called Snook Haven.  We snagged a nice table right along the river and enjoyed a cold adult beverage.  We didn’t get any pictures as Pam spent most of the time on the phone with Delta Airlines.  If you read our last blog you may remember that Pam’s mother, Fran, was scheduled to fly down from her home in Clayton, NY.  We tried to have her visit us last month in Ft Myers but her flight was cancelled three times due to poor weather.  So guess what?  Now her flight was cancelled again!  Sorry Fran, we guess your visit to the warmer region of western Florida this winter was just not meant to be!

Each Monday, our friend David (Cody the dog’s dad) plans a bike trip somewhere in the area for anyone staying in Holiday Cove RV Resort.  The trip is not a strenuous ride, as its main purpose is more social than physical.  Last week the group loaded bikes on to vehicles and drove across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to the north side of Tampa Bay for a visit to  Fort De Soto Park south of St. Pete’s Beach.

The Holiday Cove bike group in Fort De Soto Park

The park, operated by Pinellas County, is made up of five offshore keys, or islands. Today all are connected by either bridge or causeway to each other. The island group is accessible by toll road from the mainland.

The park contains the remains of an old army facility with an interesting history.  In 1849, Robert E. Lee (the famous American Civil War commander) and three other US Army Engineers surveyed the area and recommended two of the keys become fortified. Both keys could only be reached by boat, since they were islands off the mainland.  Union troops were stationed on the two keys during the Civil War (1861–1865) to aid in the Union blockade of Tampa Bay. The keys were again abandoned by the military until 1882 when military reservations were officially created on the two keys. However, it would be several years before actual permanent construction would commence as a result of defense considerations linked to the Spanish-American War.  The post was active from 1898 to 1910, when most of the troops were moved to a fort in Alabama.

Today the park is known for nice biking and walking paths, great beaches, and a nice fishing pear.

Ft. De Soto Park fishing pier

An osprey outside a nest

After the group ride we loaded the bikes back in the jeep and headed a few miles  northeast to the city of St. Petersburg.  We visited the city the previous week for an evening dinner with John’s sister and brother-in-law and wanted to see the city’s waterfront in the daylight.  We first road out on to “The Pier,” a city landmark with a five story building in the shape of an inverted pyramid at the end.  The pier is closed to all vehicles and the city has applied to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to demolish it due to unsafe supports.

“The Pier” in St. Petersburg

Guards keep an eye on things at the end of the pier

We continued our ride along the waterfront checking out some of the sights.

The Salvador Dali Museum

Bike/walking trail along Tampa Bay

White Pelicans in Tampa Bay

A beautiful day ended with a great meal at Bella Brava Italian Restaurant with John’s sister and brother-in-law, Patty and Bob.  As you can tell, we continue to work hard at this thing called “retirement.”

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25 Responses to Meeting Friends and Riding Bikes

  1. I think you guys have seen more of Floirda than I did and I lived there for 50 something years! Y’all are very good at the retirement thing.
    Too bad Pam’s mother can’t make it to the warmer weather. I’m trying to talk Steve into going to see snow in Zion one more time.

    • placestheygo says:

      We were in Zion for the month of March last year. It was the best time to visit. There was some snow in the higher elevation but our weather was perfect for hiking. Hope you get there:)

  2. Gay says:

    You are doing a great job at this retirement thing! What a very nice place to ride bikes. The pier is so cool…it’s a shame it might be demolished.
    I’m sorry Pam’s mom didn’t make it!

    • placestheygo says:

      We thought the same thing about the pier, Gay. I guess some would like to save it but the money it will take to repair it is hard to come by. Also, parking to get to it is lacking. But it sure has a beautiful view from all sides.

  3. Janis Harrison says:

    your eagle is an osprey

  4. Laurel says:

    That looks like a fun bike ride! I’d like to bike it before the pier is demolished. And the Salvador Dali museum looks very interesting, at least from the outside. :)

    • placestheygo says:

      I understand the museum is very interesting even if art isn’t your thing (mean us). We hope to get back to visit when we have a rainy day. So maybe there will be photos some day soon.

  5. pmbweaver says:

    Oh how I love seeing people walking around wearing shorts.
    Now that is my kind of bike club…strictly social!
    I am just amazed every time I see an osprey or eagle nest. They are gigantic!
    Perfect day with friends, family and the birds!

  6. Cool pier and I really like that Dali museum…great architecture.

    Lots of social eating going on in FL! Looks like fun!

  7. I think that you guys are redefining “retirement.”
    The biking trail out there is more scenic than what we have here.
    So Pam’s mom never made it, do you think a third time is the charm?

    • placestheygo says:

      There is lots of great bike riding here with most of it close to some water at least for a while.

      No fourth time. We (my mother and us) decided it wasn’t meant to be this year. This last time her flight was cancelled because the plane couldn’t get out of NYC…several thunderstorms and tornado warnings. We can’t win!!

  8. Janna says:

    So sorry “Mom” isn’t getting to enjoy some warmer weather–this had been the nastiest winter all over the country!! The folks here in AZ are saying it’s been the “best” winter they have ever had!

    • placestheygo says:

      We’ve been watching the weather in AZ and Borrego Springs, CA. Boy, it has been beautiful. Let’s hope it happens again next winter since we will be there!

      Yes, it is too bad we just can’t find a break in the weather for my mother.

  9. Pam says:

    We hardly ever go to the Tampa area, so it’s interesting to see what it looks like on a bike. I am crazy about art museums; Vic, not so much. I heard the Dali Museum is quite good.

    Can’t wait to join you on some of those bike rides.

  10. Erin says:

    I think you’ve got this retirement thing well under control … socializing, exploring, relaxing … all the elements are in this one post.

  11. Sherry says:

    Fort DeSoto is a great place for biking. 20 miles a day is WOW! I wish I could find 20 miles worth biking for even a day or two. I’d have to ride around and around the campground about 20 times. How disappointing for your mother. Of all the years for a vacation from winter, this is the one.

    • placestheygo says:

      That’s right, Sherry! This was one winter that my mother really needed to get out. We thought we had it well planned for this last visit. Who would ever have thought that thunderstorms and tornado warnings would cancel all the flights!

  12. LuAnn says:

    So sorry to hear that your mother wasn’t able to journey south this year. You two really seemed to try hard to make that happen.

    Thanks for the tour of Fort DeSoto. Ours was a short stopover so we really did not get the full experience.

    Keep those hiking legs active for when you head back out west. We are trying to do the same but I suspect that first mountain hike is going to be painful! :)

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, we certainly did try to get my mother down here. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.

      Oh, LuAnn, you are so right. That first mountain hike with some elevation change is going to be very painful for sure. But I am so ready…bring on the pain!!

  13. rommel says:

    Loved the perfectly angled capture of the inverted pyramid.

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