Matlacha and Sanibel Island

A great shrimp dinner from the Blue Dog Bar and Grill.

A good night’s sleep and I was up pretty early for a cinnamon roll and french press coffee in my room. Note the sunrise in the back yard.

A one minute drive to Matlacha Community Park and put in. The set up was easy and a big part of the Great Calusa Blueway paddling trail. The morning and the water were beautiful.

The paddling was great in this bay and I turned to go back went around a oyster bar. A few minutes later, I swear I hear the distinctive “poof” of a dolphin but, it is behind me. I hear it again and now I am snapping my head all around and then a pair of dolphin roll about 8-10 feet from my boat. I fumble with my phone and get some pics. They played with me for about 5 minutes as the kayak went through the water. Best picture is the featured image. Pinch me!

I paddled back to put in and town.

Post office

What a morning. Packed up and drove to Sanibel. Plan was to go to lighthouse and ride path from tip of Sanibel to Captiva and that is just what I did about 29.5 miles with a little detour.

I am amazed how blue the water was going to Captiva.

A quick shout out to my buddy Harley and his wife Ena. I think we were here. Peace out Tres

Matlacha

A room in Matlacha was reserved with the idea to be near the start of the weeklong Paddle Florida Great Calusa Blueway trip the next day. The paddle was canceled but I came down anyway. I rode with SMBC that morning and would head down after to Angler’s Inn. It’s great

It was a ripping day so I walked down to the park where I paddle after breakfast. Absolutely beautiful.

Matlacha is the coolest village on the way to Pine Island.

Dinner will be takeout from the Blue Dog Bar and grill. I will blog my paddle here and bike ride in Sanibel tomorrow. Peace out Tres

Bike packing trip- Little Manatee River State Park-41.5 miles

I was spotted by my neighbors, Dee and Delores, on my way out to the park. Featured image photo credit: Dee Hood. My painting instructor at Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin. Gray and overcast. I stopped at a c store and when I started out again it began just to spit rain. A small pause in pedaling but, I kept going and the little spit stopped.

It was a great night in my dream new sleeping bag. Peace out. Tres Sunset at Casa Smith

Bike packing trip-Little Manatee River State Park-40.78 miles

I had planned to return to this park because I did not last trip. It would be half the trip the first one was. That did not break my heart.

The route down US 41 South beyond the Little Manatee River is pretty and not a huge amount of traffic. The left turn into Valroy Rd. and toward Sundance is like Buckeye Rd., quiet and pastoral. Sometimes very windy.

Home Sweet Home.

Great hot shower, nap then orange spice herbal tea. A backpacking meal of Shepherd’s pie that was amazingly good with a little chocolate. Sundown walk was lovely.

Long bear like sleep with the usual interruptions. It was cold again, down to 45 degrees. Kept me in the bag until it was warmer. Site 25.

A slow roll out of the park and the canoe launch.

Little Manatee River from US 301. Great one night trip. Be safe. Peace out Tres

Apalachicola Day 6-Ralph G. Kendrick Dwarf Cypress Boardwalk in Tate’s Hell State Forest

Editor’s note: Above featured image photo credit-Mariella Smith. The day had its usual slow roll out of breakfast and e paper. We would go back to the forest due to the threat of rain. I was ready early and took to the bike again for an urban bike ride and to mail a couple of post cards. Historic lobby and beautiful homes.

We went back to the forest and drove to the boardwalk on forest roads.

The dwarf cypress forest was surreal. It seemed there was a swathe removed from it only to allow it to grow back.

Below photo credit: Mariella Smith

Quick lunch at our place with a quick walk downtown.

Home tomorrow. Thanks for coming along. Happy New Year to all. Peace out from Tres and the commish.

Apalachicola Day 5-St. Joseph Peninsula Park-Cape San Blas

I was up earlier than my wife and fixed breakfast. I took a 5 mile urban town ride and it was neat. The oyster shucker conveyor belt was busy.

We went Box R WMA on the way to Cape San Blas. The hiking was beyond the railroad crossing and the fence. No big walking today due to weather.

We headed out for the park to find the fury of Hurricane Michael. It had devastated the park.

We went to the beach/boat ramp that was all that was open.

At the front of the park was short boardwalk and trail next to the water. It was lovely.

Another great Up the Creek restaurant late lunch of Oysters and Shrimp. No rain yet but it feels like it is coming. Peace out Tres

Apalachicola Day 4-Paddle on Scipio Creek

It was decided that a paddle today would be the thing to do before a predicted change in the weather for tomorrow was forecasted. Two minutes from our place was the put in.

The wind was at our back and the tide coming in while we paddle up the creek. We did not paddle hard but knew we would have to paddle harder on the way home.

We turned and started to put in and town and the river got busier.

Lunch at our place, a little down time and a careful walk downtown.

Not sure what tomorrow brings. Peace out Tres

Apalachicola Day 3- 33 plus miles

It was decided earlier that I would take my classic, old favorite ride east bound on US 98 over the Apalachicola bridge and causeway. Mariella would go to Tate’s Hell State Forest for some more walking.

This stretch of US 98 between Apalachicola and Carrabelle may be the prettiest coastal road in Florida. For the cyclist, the wind is a huge factor. Eastbound, the wind was hitting me head on at 10-15 mph and non stop. I got off the causeway, US 98, to hop on the scenic byway.

This took me to the bridge over to St. George Island bridge OR the fishing pier bridge. I went to the pier.

I got back on the scenic route until in Eastpoint I had to get back on US 98. The route is beautiful.

US 98

After a 15 mile headwind ride. I saw the turnoff for Tate’s Hell State Forest. I saw a nice picnic table and a good forest service road and I decided I would go into the forest. It was a tale of two rides. So cool.

A 4 1/2 mile turn in the forest and saw a bobcat and a long thin bright green snake sunning itself. The turn put the wind at my back for an easy putt home.

Back to town and some 13 mile seafood for tonight. Fresh Yellow Tail Tuna Steaks and steamed shrimp.

XL large. Best I have had. I had to take a sample. More pics tomorrow of historic downtown. Kayak paddle up Scipio Creek tomorrow. Peace out Tres