The Best Free Thing to Do in Tampa

Put on your walking shoes and trek off to the best free adventure in Tampa.  You have two choices:  explore the Riverwalk or discover Bayshore Boulevard. Better yet, do both. Walk until your drop.  You won’t be bored.

Join me for a “speed walk” in Tampa through photos, starting at Riverwalk’s 2.5 mile pathway past the city’s best museums, parks, hotels, and restaurants. Being there at the end of a rainfall with the setting sun sneaking past the leaden clouds was a serendipitous experience. Reflections, refractions, rainbows, remarkable!

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Walking Bayshore Boulevard the next day, I experienced a different vibe from Riverwalk’s urban scene , as the 4.5 mile path winds parallel to the expansive Tampa Bay.   Prestigious mansions, sculptures, and wildlife (elusive the windy day I was there) provide non-stop entertainment along this route.

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If you are lucky enough, you will see another form of “wildlife”:  a pilot flying and landing the ICON A-5 Amphibian Aircraft.

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Tired of walking but want to explore some more?  Take a short drive to Ballast Point Park and enjoy the views from a bench on the pier and reflect on your two days of walking in Tampa:  Cost:  $0.0; Experience:  Priceless.

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Day #2 at EAA AirVenture 2016: Visiting the Airplanes and Other Awesome Sights

Round and round all over Wittman Regional Airport,  you can run and run and still not visit all the airplanes at EAA AirVenture 2016 in one day. I tried to do so and failed miserably.

Maybe it was the 92 degree heat that slowed me down. As the locals tell me, “We’re having your state’s kind of weather ” I can forgive Virginia’s fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk weather; Virginia is in the South, so I know what to expect. I had hoped for more (or should I say less?) from Wisconsin and its Northern environs:  less heat, less humidity, less sidewalk cuisine. Not to be!

I am not really whining because despite the hot heat, I saw some really cool spectacles, some with wings and some with not. Sweat running into my eyes did not dim my enthusiasm.

You can see the awesomeness that I saw and be totally comfortable. Pour yourself a cool one, sit back, relax, and take a “scroll” around the sights.  Here we go:

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The iconic propeller welcomes EAA AirVenture visitors at the gate.

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Pilots love their women, and the pilots of this B-29 are especially visual about expressing that love.

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This “bombshell” is not Fifi, but certainly she is the spirit of Fifi.

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C5 Galaxy military transport jet:  This plane can transport a lot of C-rations, 270,000 pounds worth according to the U.S. Air Force.

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The EAA honors the DA42 Twin Star, which was the first diesel-powered fixed-wing aircraft to make a non-stop crossing of the North Atlantic, doing so in 12.5 hours.

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The Pilatus PC-12 NG is getting rave reviews and is one of the most popular turbine-powered business aircraft on the market today.

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We have come a long way since the Xerox machine. Textron will have a 3D printed propeller engine on the new Cessna Denali turboprop.

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The ultimate toy box. Transport your light sport aircraft (LSA) and your Corvette in one trailer. A gal can dream, can’t she?

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Pipistrel’s Virus, a high-tech, carbon fiber aircraft produced in Slovenia, is a leader in the next generation of low-cost aircraft. It won the NASA PAV Centennial Challenge.

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I took several pictures of LSA, but why show the second best? Here is the best of the bunch: the ICON A5 on its trailer with the wings folded. We plan on playing on land and sea in this two-person. incredibly engineered amphibian. ETA? Hopefully, 2017.

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The daily air show offers thrills and chills on a hot, sunny day.

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Isn’t he cute? Tall, dark, handsome–and sweet!

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Need some adult refreshment to cool down? As you exit the displays, the Happy Face balloon points the way to the Beer Tent.

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Off of Wittman Regional Airport, the beer continues to flow late into the night. Wendt’s on the Lake is also famous for its fried perch. AirVenture attendees are still dining at 10 p.m.

Long days, short nights, and serendipity yet to come.  That sums up what to expect each day. I think, however, it’s time to take a road trip. More on that on Day 3….