Biking along the Pinellas trail never gets old - it seems there is always something new to see, even though most of my miles are logged on a 10-11 mile stretch between St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
One recent day I spent 15-20 minutes tracking the movement of a dolphin in the bayou, watching his sleek body rise from the surface of the water in a gentle arc and immediately submerge again. I kept trying to catch him/her on my phone camera, but unable to detect a discernible pattern in his movements, I found it impossible to guess where he would next rise from the water and I never succeeded in positioning my camera lens within a chain link diamond in time to snap the photo before the dolphin submerged. I have a dozen photos of "empty" background to go with my memory.
A week or two later I braked to a stop at that same spot to see if the large pelican standing on the front of a small fishing boat was alive or just a whimsical "hood ornament". As the boat pulled closer, I saw it was indeed a real live pelican, hitching a ride with a crab fisherman, hoping for a handout from one of the man's many buckets. The fisherman directed his boat in numerous looping circles, reaching into the water to tug on crab lines while the pelican stayed at his post, adjusting his feet for balance and occasionally flapping his wings for a small circle flight around the boat before settling on the bow once again.
It reminded me of the children's story, "Come Again, Pelican" by Don Freeman, which my boys had enjoyed so much that I tracked down and purchased a worn out copy of the then out-of-print and out-of-library-circulation book to read to my grandsons.
This week I saw a man in a viking mask and shorts running toward me - he had a long red beard and a helmet that reflected the bright summer sun. "You just never know the craziness you'll see", I thought. When he finally got close enough, I saw that the thick red beard was real, the ends tied in a knot 4-6 inches below the chin, but the "helmet" had morphed into a incredibly reflective bald head.
Sights like these are hard to catch when you are going at car speed, and far enough away from home that I would never see them walking or running. Perhaps that partly explains my love affair with the bike.
If anyone out there is still reading this blog since Sam has been too busy with family life to post, I would like hear what are your favorite trails, rivers, etc. and some memorable sights from your neck of the woods.