However as I rode a small germ of an idea started to take form in my mind. Tampa sits right on the Gulf of Mexico and that allows the big cruise ships to port in Tampa, I've actually taken a cruise or two out of Tampa. The only problem is that the gulf itself is very shallow. At times reaching a depth of 30 feet, so the size of the ships are limited. If you have never taken a cruise, you don't know how big those ships actually are.
|The "exploded chicken"|
To paraphrase Robert Burns (Steinbeck stole the line from him) "The best laid plans of mice of men often go awry." While I was able to see the chicken and the Aquarium there was really no good area for me to pull over and take pics...the chicken itself sits in the middle of a round-a-bout making stopping impossible. The bowling pin was out of the question due to construction in the area. The pictures above are all stock.
There were no cruise ships in port and the parking lots were closed off, most likely to protect the cars parked there. Which makes perfect sense to me.
I did however find the modern day headquarters for the Rough Riders, so I had that going for me. This is one of the many volunteer organizations that does various good deeds throughout the year. At the end of the year they participate in the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival. Legend has it that when the pirates invaded the city, under the command of Jose Gaspar. Tampa's Jose Gaspar, not being a direct influence on the Jack Sparrow character, claim to fame is that the story of Jack Sparrow using his back hair to surf on the backs of sea turtles to escape a desert island, is taken directly from the Gaspar legends! Anyway...a fleet of ships went out to battle Gaspar and seeing the foolishness of the task, turned back and joined the city in the raid.
Why or how the Rough Riders are associated with these brigands I've no idea.
Generally though it was a fun day out and about, and any day out on the bike is a good day. Sadly however those days appear numbered. Their is a chance, although a small one, that the topical depression currently in the Gulf will become a small Hurricane. The first one to hit Tampa since 1946.
At this time it's still a weakly organized tropical depression and not expected to do much other than give us a serious soaking and associated flooding. It looks like that I'll be putting Kimmie under her blanket and tucking her into a safe corner over the next few days.