St. Pete biking tour… and beautiful Weedon Island

4/4/22

Another full day!

I had a slow and lazy morning (which I love!) and then spent about an hour working on my taxes. Made some decent progress there, so that felt good.

Then I headed out for a tempeh BLT at the neighborhood vegetarian coffee house. While there, I met up with a local Warmshowers fellow named Phillip. He is no longer hosting travelers, since he has moved into a place that won’t accommodate that, but he agreed to meet up with me to give me a bicycle tour of the town.

It was cool! We pedaled through many scenic neighborhood streets, with beautiful old houses and trees, and sometimes those iconic brick pavers in the roadway. We headed south along the water until we reached the pier. Several people had told me not to miss the pier, but I hadn’t made it there yet. It was really cool to see; just in the past few years, the whole area was redesigned from a car-centric two-lane road into a car-free bicycle and pedestrian plaza, with little parks, playgrounds for kids, a nighttime light show area, and a three-story building at the end with a tiki-themed bar on top.

After the pier, we headed south around the University of Southern Florida campus and an industrial-port-looking area. Then we continued north, into the downtown area, and finally completed a loop back to the coffee shop, where we parted ways.

Afterward, I went back to my host Kathleen’s house. She had just arrived home after work, and we decided to go enjoy the hiking trails at the Weedon Island Preserve.

I had heard good things about that place, and they definitely were true! The wooded pathways (unpaved, and open to pedestrians but not bicyclists) were wonderful. We passed many mangrove trees in the water, saw lots of Spanish moss, and walked down a very long, arboreal boardwalk until we reached the end at a breathtaking pool surrounded by forest. We even saw mullet fish jumping out of the water, which amazed and delighted me.

Unfortunately, at that spot the humidity and near-sunset hour converged to bring about swarms of tiny itchy and biting insects, so we soon turned around to go back. But it was a perfect way to spend the evening.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to my next Warmshowers host, a bit northeast of here but still solidly in St. Pete. If I have time, I may also cycle over to the Florida Botanical Gardens.

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