Checking Another Item Off My Bucket List–Let’s Go Kayaking!

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After my long 70 mile round trip bicycle ride from Tampa to Saint Petersburg Beach on Friday evening (see my last post about that personal challenge), I got up bright and early on Saturday morning and drove about 1 hour to the town of Dunedin.  There I met up with about 40 of my new found friends from one of my meetup groups for a wonderful day of Kayaking.  This was my very first time to do this and where better than at one of the most premier kayaking sites in Florida!

This place was absolutely beautiful. The water was a perfect temperature and after renting our kayaks and related equipment we all paddled out to Honeymoon Island.  Once arriving there we just hung out on the beach for a while, collected shells, swam a bit, explored some the wildlife and just socialized with one another.  The total kayaking excursion lasted about 3 hours. Then after returning our equipment, some of us from the group went out for a late lunch where we had the chance to socialize a bit more.

All and all a wonderful day and a great experience.  One more thing to check off my bucket list !

Have a wonderful week.

Luv, Gary

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70 RT = A Challenge or Total Insanity

On Friday afternoon at about 4:30 PM I decided that I would go to Saint Perterburg Beach and meet up with a group of folks for Happy Hour. I met with that group last week and they do this every Friday afternoon.

However, this time, instead of just getting in my Truck for the one hour drive in rush hour traffic, I just decided at the ladt moment to jump on my bike and pedal there instead. About a 3 hour bike ride and 35 miles one way. I know a bit crazy.

So, I got there around 7:30 PM and hung out with the gang until about 9:30 PM.

Then reality sunk in…..I have to bicycle back home another 35 miles and 3 hours. Of course when I left home, it was sunny, not thinking that the return trip would be in darkness witb no blinking reflectors to guide me and to warn traffic that I was peddling very close to them. The worst area was over the Gandy Bridge from St Pete bsck into Tampa. Very little space between me and the cars! No bike lane. The ride gave me a different perspective of the bay at night. As I looked over the bridge railing I saw alot of birds flying around and darting into the water to catch an evening snack. There were also alot of fishermen in boats below the bridge catching there evening fish. Interesting that there was one white bird to the right of me thst seemed to be guiding me by flying along side me accross the entire length of this large bridge. I thought, could it be Terry ensuring my safety? Who knows? Bottom line is I made it home at abot 12:30 AM without incident. A Challenge complete or pure insanity! You vote!

I think next week for Happy Hour, I’ll take my Truck. Ha Ha!

Luv, Gary

P.S. Sorry for the quality of my brief video. The traffic was insane and hard to stop in the middle of it all to film!

Bayshore Boulevard: Mainframe to the City of Tampa–My Bike Riding Course!

Hey All.

Thought you would enjoy this video.

As part of my regular exercise routine, each morning I go to the gym on MacDill AFB for about 2 hours to do some aerobics and weight-lifting.

Then at about 4:30 PM on approximately 5 days each week, I get on my bicycle that I have borrowed from the recreation facility on the base and pedal from my RV location thru the south guard gate all the way to the Civic Center at the end of Bayshore Boulevard. It is a wonderful bike ride from start to finish as you will see when you view this informative youtube video that I’ve included in my post.

The total round trip bike ride is about 25 miles and takes me approximately 2 hours to complete. I look forward to this bikeride each day. The road is beautiful and perfectly manicured, The Tampa Bay and the wildlife in and around the bay is so interesting and picturesque. The beautiful multi-million dollar mansions that align this Boulevard on the opposite side of the road are architectual masterpieces, each home so unique from one another with impressive landscapes and picture perfect views of the Tampa Bay and city center.

It doesn’t get better than this!!

Have a great rest of your week.

Luv Gary

“Mike Super” World Renown Magician and Illusionist

http://www.mikesuper.com/

Hey All,

Had a unique opportunity to witness an up and close Magician and Illusionist show on Saturday evening at the MacDill Air Force Base Theater. The show was totallY free in support of veterans and the performer was Mike Super the winner of a popular talent show in England and also the runner up contestant on the finals on America’s Got Talent. He’s also been a regular guest on “Ellen” and several other popular TV shows. He soon will be having his own weekly show on NBC as well.

His show was fantastic. I don’t know how these guys do their illusions. One minute he’s holding a complerely flat piece of paper, and the next minute he cruches it up and starts to flatten it our again and right before our eyes out comes a large bowling ball. He took 3 metals finger rings that he borrowed from folks in the audience and while he placed the 3 rings in one of the girl’s hands that donated one of the rings, he instructed her to close her hand tightly and then he said something magic, and then he had the girl open her hand and all 3 ring were completely fused together. He even verified with the lenders that they were actually their rings. Naturally, he said the magic words again and the rings in her hand were all detached again when she opened her hand. I can go on and on! Unfortunately photo taking was not allowed during the performance.

I was so inspired by this show that immediately after it I had to try a trick of my own. I ‘ve actually done this remarkable trick in the past. I call it “my dissapearing act”. Decided to drive over to the Hard Rock Casino to perform this unbelievable feat. First, my wallet was filled with about $300 dollars in cash as I went in and got ready to perform my show, and then right before my very eyes in less than an hour, I made it all dissappear ! Of well, the story of my life….I am such a loser. I think I actually had more fun last night watching the first magic show, rather than trying to do one of these tricks on my own !

Have a great rest of your weekend!

GARY

Sailing on Tampa Bay ! Life Doesn’t Get Better Than This !”

Hey All,

You are in for a real treat today! Did my first sailing excursion on the Tampa Bay on Thursday evening. If you recall from my blog the other day at the pot luck I attended, I mentioned that I met a girl who told me about this hidden secret that many people don’t know about.

Every Thursday at the Davis Island Yacht Club you can show up at about 5:30 PM and participate in a sail boat race on the Tampa Bay. It is fully complimentary and you get introduced by the Yacht Club host to one of the sail boat crews and you them tag along as one of the guest crewmembers, even though you don’t end up having to do much, but you get to observe how things are done by the experienced crews and of couse if they need a hand, you are there to assist naturally. On my sail boat last night we had about 20 people of which about 12 were dedicated crewmembers and the rest of us were guests. What fun and totally free.

The great thing is that this yacht club is only about a 25 minute drive from my place at MacDill AFB and I am welcome to participate every Thursday if I want. What a great deal!

I went thru all the pictures I took and eliminated some of them, but I took so many good ones, so I will be posting many of them here in this blog today for your enjoyment.

Also, while sailing I captured a couple dolphins swimming around the bay. When we returned back to the dock, the crew even offered us a few tropical rum drinks and to hang around with them a bit. It doesn’t get better than this. Got back home around 10:30 PM. What a great night!!!

Have a great weekend!

Luv Gary

Lickin’s and A Beer and Terry !

Hey All,

You know the old phrase … What came first, the chicken or the egg ?

Well, my question to you now is what came first, the few microbrews I had or the lickin’s from this cute little doggie who also joined us in this bar. I think you know the answer from the video what came first…. Beer or the Lickins? Ha, Ha! Now….here’s the irony of the dog who seemed to bond with me. When I asked the owner (who was not actually part of our group but who was just sitting at the bar) what her dog’s name was…I became speechless when she said Terry! OMG!!

These things that have been happening lately are becomming so coincidental. Terry seems to be showing up in some form or another these days. So grateful for these spiritual moments!

Okay now on with what lead me to this drinking establishment.

So, early last evening I went to a place called “Hidden Springs Ale Works” in downtown Tampa and met up with a brand new meetup group just established called “Brew City Connections”. So all 20 or so of us that showed up were all newbee’s.

Most of these folks live the urban lifestyle in the heart of the city of Tampa. Most were transplants who have been living here for a while, but originally from all over the U.S.A. Two couples were from Michigan, one guy from Manhattan, NY, one from San Diego, one from Chicago, one from Maryland and yes…even another one besides me, from Massachusettes! There were others that stopped by as well, but didn’t catch where they originally came from. A few were in the medical field and most of the others were in marketing or real estate. Will be useful to me if I ever decide to settle down in this area and need to find the right area to buy in. Of course way too premature. However, was nice chatting with eveyone over a few microbrews and they seemed to have alot of knowledge about many places in and around the surrounding central area of Tampa, so I learned new cool things from them and from my excursions thus far, I shared the new stuff that I have learned about the area as well. Good friendly conversation.

This group will meet again within the next few weeks at another local brewery somewhere, place and date yet to be determined. Providing no scheduling conflict, I most likely will attend the next meetup with this group to continue the new friendships.

Have a great rest of your week.

Gary

Diversity in Life — Finding the Right Balance

Hey All,

In the spirit of my desire to meet different people from all walks of life and to try a wide variety of different activities and to participate in a well-rounded blend of different social events, on this past Saturday evening I went to a wonderful games night and pot luck dinner. It was sponsored by a gay friendly group of men and women from the Saint Petersburg and Tampa Bay area.

The event was held at a beautiful place called the Cordoba and Beach Park Clubhouse in an upscale condo development in Tampa.  From the minute I walked in the door, I felt so welcome by this group of warm and wonderful people.  It was so easy for me to connect in some way with everyone that I conversed it.  These folks came from all walks of life and professions.  There were some that were retired military (like me) or that previously worked for the Department of Defense in Washington DC where I previous lived when I was stationed at the Pentagon. There were some that were lawyers, doctors or in other medical professions, there were some with an information technology or advertising background and there was even a few folks that worked at the VA where I get my healthcare from and one that was a nurse who worked at the Moffitt Cancer Center where Terry previously received his care. They were couples that have been together for a long time, just like Terry & I had been and there were others that were  single or windowed, just like I am now. Most of these folks reside in the greater Saint Petersburg or Tampa area and in my conversations, they offered me some greater insight about the area and let me know of some other activities that the group has planned in the next few months such as a kayaking adventure, hiking excursion, cheese and wine tasting party and attending next month’s Second Saturday evening Artwalk Gallery event in downtown Saint Petersburg (with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine of course!)  There were also a couple of people there that grew up in Massachusetts within 10 miles from where I grew up and there was even a couple that moved here in the past year from the Dallas, TX area, just about 15 miles from where Terry and I previously lived.  As I said, it seemed that I could associate in some way or another with almost every individual that I met there.

A girl at the social who was also originally from Massachusetts, told me about a sailboat event that happens each week on the Tampa Bay at a location very close to where I live on MacDill. She said I can participate as a crewmember on one of the sailboats and then after the sailing there is a really nice clubhouse at the marina where I can get a drink or two and participate in after sail social event there.  This sounded really intriguing to me as I used to sail many years ago each Sunday on the San Francisco Bay with a nurse who had a sailboat who worked at the same Army hospital that I previously worked at right at the foothills of the San Francisco Bay back in the late 70’s.  It would be fun to do this again here! My new friend said that she is going to text me in the next day or two all the details.

The food that folks brought was phenomenal and the deserts were to die for ! The host for this event even had orchestrated several raffles where a few lucky individuals (but not me) won  bottles of wine and other unique and fun prizes.  I really enjoyed the camaraderie of this group and will definitely be participating in other events with them.  They were a really great group of people and the showing for this event was over 70 people!

At the end of the evening there was so much food left over. Some folks took back home with them the remaining food they brought, while others just left the items there to either be taken by anyone that wanted them or to be ultimately disposed of.  Since there were so many desserts as well as main course dishes, I decided that after helping with the clean up of the clubhouse, I would take several of the unopened desserts and on my way back to MacDill Air Force Base I would offer them to the airman working overnight manning the security gates on the base and also to bring some desserts to the military policy and firemen crews on the base pulling standby duty.  If was better to share these items with these deserving folks than to just see out the items in the trash.  Needless to say they airmen and standby crews were very appreciative to me for providing them these treats and I felt so good about doing it in appreciation of their dedicated service to us all.

Have a great rest of your week.

Gary

Off Kilter

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Another catchy title for my blog today. Although I might have gotten a little bit off kilter myself before the night was through, “Off Kilter” is actually the name of the main band that performed this Friday evening at the Scottish festival in Dunedin,FL.

Dunedn, FL is a cool old Florida town, just north of Clearwater and is about an hour’s drive from my current location on MacDill AFB in Tampa. The name comes from zDun Eldeann, the Scottish Haelic name from Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Dunedin is known also for being the first area to develop and to package frozen juice concentrate. Around the center of town, there are so many quaint stores, unique restaurants and some great bars to hang out at.

I got a text mid-day Friday from “Ed” one of the new friends that I met the night before when I attended my first meetup function in Saint Petersburg Beach with a group called Tampa Bay Adventurers (see yesterday’s post).

Ed invited me to attend the annual Scottish festival in Dunedin in conjunction with some of his friends that were going to attend as well. Since I didn’t have any definitive plans set for that evening, I figured I’d go since it was another chance to explore a different location in this area and to meet some more people.

To my surprise, the drive was well worth it! This event was bigger than I thought. The video that I’ve posted to this blog really doesn’t portray just how great this band “Off Kilter” was! They were able to play every style of music (jazz, rock & roll, current musical hits, etc;) and not just the typical Scottish bagpipe melodies you normally here. The lead singer had a phenomenal voice and the spirit of the crowds was tremendous.

Have a wonderful week. Luv Gary

 

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Some of my new friends above that I hung out with at this festival.  They were all real nice.  In fact, I am going kayaking next weekend with the girl closest to me in the photo.  The Tampa Bay adventurers is having an outing and Ed, who can’t go was so gracious to loan me his kayak for that event.

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“No Filter” 

20180405_203558736970548.jpgI know, you are probably wondering what the heck is “No Filter”? It was the name of an awesone band that I heard on this past Thursday evening.  I decided to take a drive from Tampa to Saint Petersburg Beach that evening to link up with one of my new meetup groups called Tampa Bay Adventurers. We met at a really cool and lively bar & restaurant called “Jimmy B’s” which was right on the beach!

There were about 80 group members in attendance and we all danced the night away. The band had so much high energy and they transitioned so seemlesly from one popular dance song  to the next and were none stop (no breaks) for 2 1/2 hours. 

Besides the main video, I am going to try to download a couple of real short video clips to give you more of a glimps of this bans, but truly these videos really don’t do this great band much justice. They really are much better to experience in person!

Have  great day !

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What fun!  GARY