Friday, February 10, 2017

Oyster Tour 2017: Number Two

Ken organized Oyster Tour Number Two a while ago.

This included a regular, Jim Mandle and David Masse, coming from Toronto.

I headed west on Razzo from Jacksonville after working an hour on Wednesday.  I arriving at our meet up place, the McDonalds restaurant on 98 in Perry, Florida at 11:30.  I was early.

One of the joys of riding is enjoying the scenery, and wildlife.

 The boys arrived an hour later, but that time let me eat an Egg McMuffin appetizer and take some photos.

They were hungry, so we headed down the road to Pouncey.s for lunch.  I had a BLT that was one of the best ever.

Then off to Apalachicola, riding west on 98 around and through St. Marks, Medart and Panacea, then along the coast to Carrabelle, where we stopped for a photo op.  This one was along the Carabelle Harbor, where two women were fishing.  Watching them fish were several pelicans and an ibis.  Of course, I took the opportunity to take some photos.

Crossing Ochlockonee Bay near Panacea

David in Carrabelle

Then we continued to Lynn's Quality Oysters where three of us had the best raw oysters ever.  They were perfect.  Lynn's is ground zero for these rides, as it is the oysters that bring us back.

Oystermen returning home

A Canadian enjoying Florida's finest oysters

We checked into the Gibson Inn in Apalachicola and dined at a fine restaurant a block west.

Thursday we had a light breakfast at the inn.  Ken replaced the exhaust gasket on his new Vespa GTS that David was riding.  Then we headed east towards Cedar Key.  But he had a few stops in mind.  We started over the Apalachicola Bay Bridge, where the wind was howling from the north.  Poor Jim, all 135 pounds of him got battered a bit, drifting around in his lane.  But we made it and rode to the first stop at Carabelle Beach, so David could play in the sand.  A bit of history, the beach was used by US landing crews in preparation for the D Day invasion.  It is all shown on a marker at the park.

Crossing the causway at Apalachicola Bay in a strong wind.  Check out the whitecaps.

A stop on a narrow bridge in Carrabelle

Then we took the Sopchoppy route to avoid another bridge crossing in Panacea.  Ken turned unexpectedly on 319 towards Crawfordville and had us stop at a shaded spot that contained many old, rusted Ford trucks and other cars.  The vehicles were placed there by a fellow named Pat Harvey.  Rather than selling them, or trading them in, after use on his farm, Mr. Harvey left them all on this piece of property for all to enjoy.  They made great props for numerous photographs with the Vespas placed between cars.  It was special.

We passed through Perry, eating at Pouncy's again, where everyone wanted to try the BLT this time.  It was not quite as good as the day before, but David said it was still the best BLT he has ever eaten.

Contrails in a clear sky

Then we refueled and headed south on 19, where Ken again stopped unexpectedly when he saw a long distance bicycle rider on the side of the road.  It was a very nice fellow named Mark Eric Maga.  He had been on his long tour a few months, spending his time in Florida until the weather warmed up.  This location was the beginning of riding to California.  He can be found on his GoFundMe site.

Jim and David generously offered some cash to help him on his way.  He didn't ask for anything, and answered all of our questions for at least 15 minutes before Jim offered the donation.  I will be following him along his way on Facebook.

We stopped at a small, waterfront park in Fish Creek, just north of Steinhatchee, again for some photos and leg stretching.

Then we continued south where David showed us how he could fly on Ken;s scooter.

David flying

We had one last stop at the Dakotah Vineyards and Winery for a free wine tasting.  The wine was ok, but no purchases today.

Razzo at the estuaries heading into Cedar Key

Our fearless leader, Ken.

We made it to Cedar Key in the late afternoon, settling into the Dockside Hotel.  We wanted to eat at a new restaurant on the dock, but it was closed.  So we went to Tony's where everyone had their famous clam chowder and dessert.  Then a walk around the area, where I got some fine photos in the nighttime light.

"We are going to have dinner here tonight, and breakfast there tomorrow morning"

The Crystal River nuclear power plant looks like it is in the middle of the gulf from Cedar Key.

It was cold this morning, but after David, Ken and I had breakfast in town, they headed south and me northeast towards home.  It was another fine time with nice friends.  I am looking forward to the next one.


  1. Bill it was a pleasure riding with and spending time exploring the Gulf coast and the sights of the Panhandle.

    I hope to be able to repeat the experience.

    My own posts relating this excellent adventure must wait until I return home later in the month.

    Please send me the two pics of me 'flying'. That was a first for me.

  2. I've learned a few things from this post. That's always a good thing. First, the panhandle looks pretty nice. I always thought it was merely a place to pass through on your way to the real Florida in Orlando and Miami.

    And second, red Vespa scooters look pretty nice. I've heard they're the fastest.

    The riding and experiences the four of you had look great. I'm inspired to get out and ride more even though the temperature is on its way now to the lower 20s. Balmy by Alaska standards but miserable by my aging male standard. But inspired you have so I"ll likely ride to work tomorrow.

    My only other comment -- I thought there were alligators in Florida??

    Really nice post. Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes adventure.

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

    1. Steve, I almost refuse to ride south of Ocala anymore. That part of the state is largely sprawl now, leaving none of the good roads I like for my rides.

      There are many good rides in North Florida, nothing like the NC mountains, but good in a different way. That ride on 98 along the Gulf is one of the best we have, and I continue to enjoy it after riding it more than ten times in the last two years.

      It would be great if you could duplicate David's trip and venture down. I would gladly show you the better parts of the state. And I would be willing to go at your speed and stop wherever we found something interesting.