Day 1. Friday, April 21 – Homossasa to Port Richey, Florida

Friday 21 April 2017

Though we have dubbed this ride the Coastal Social, our first day had neither ingredient; no coast or quaint cafes…..but we were on the road again!

Our ride began shortly after 7:00 on a perfectly cool morning.  Though our Floridian host, Bobby, was not at all happy with the 62° temps, we were delighted to be at least starting in the cool air.  We wound our way out of the quiet tree lined streets of this Homossasa neighborhood and then headed south.  Our carefully laid out route of mostly a bike trail was quickly adjusted to the straight-shot highway we were on.  The new shoulder was freshly painted as a bike lane and just too inviting to leave, plus, it would save us some miles (Morgan, take note)!  But there was absolutely nothing of any interest on this road;not even the challenge of getting lost.

As the morning rolled along the temperatures slowly crept up, as did the winds, but at least it was flat.

The road became busier as we traveled closer to towns and only once did we catch a glimpse of some waterside dinning and potential fun spot to be, but we were long past it before the idea of a refreshment occurred to us.  With the winds becoming a factor and the temps in the 90’s, we decided to not overdo it the first day and stopped at 47 miles.  We both felt good getting that “first ride” in after last year’s trip.

But the créme de la creme of every trip is dinner and tonight did not disappoint, both dishes were served with a side of pasta.  Needless to say, we waddled back to the hotel.

Day 2. Saturday, April 22 – Port Richey to Tampa, Florida

Saturday 22 April 2017

What a brilliantly gorgeous morning, cool temperatures (68°) with lightly painted wisps of clouds filling the sky. We had just a short ride down our busy highway from yesterday, before we turned onto the road that would take us closer to the coast.  Instantly the cars became few and the scenery improved dramatically, past marinas, parks and through the darling townof Tarpon Springs. After about an hour, we picked up the well used and quiet,scenicand colorful Pinellas Trail, that effortlessly dropped us into downtown Clearwater.  But we could not come this far without seeing Clearwater beach, so back out on the road.  The causeway had a wide shoulder (and very high bridge) that led us to the barrier island and tourist filled beach, complete with all the trappings.  But the “sugar sand” is something you only find on Clearwater Beach, truly gorgeous.   During our short ice cream and drink stop on the beach, the clouds had built and offered welcome cloud cover for our bike back over the bridge and the six mile slow trip through and out of Clearwater.  To cross Old Tampa Bay, we once again had our own pathway.  But we had missed grabbing lunch first, so the ten miles across was especially long and slow.

The first food stop on the other side, Whiskey Joe’s was colorful and delicious.Once refreshed, we made our way through downtown Tampa, past the Shriner International Headquarters and to our motel, directly across from The University of Tampa.

After a large and late lunch, we opted for a salad for dinner; reality is, we saw this on the menu and opted to save room.  Thankfully, they were out of the desert, so we opted for an after dinner drink.

Seriously……..you did not really think that we drank a pitcher of Ketel One, did you!  Although, after 53 miles, we deserved it……but we didn’t!