Mural Society President Kelly Gaylord
with City Manager Howard Kunik
The ride began at the recently renovated Gilchrist Park. Renovated, that is, but for the new restrooms. As soon as Howard was introduced, someone from the crowd cried out, "Where's the toilet?" "We will be getting the restrooms," Howard assured the 100 strong group. "We are working on ideas until the permanent ones are in place." The question detracted a bit from the beauty of the new park with its double wide sidewalks that allow bikers and walkers to comfortably share the path. But members of Punta Gorda's famous Guitar Army, which meets in the Park every Thursday night, have a legitimate concern.
PG Fire Department personnel and volunteers
with one of the Department's early trucks
As we prepared to head out, Howard noted the ride would not be an aerobic event. The focus instead was on safely getting the group from point A to point B, with police personnel on bikes and a motorcycle leading the way. (It was kind of cool to see a back up on 41 as cyclists crossed the four lane road.)
Our first stop was, quite aptly, the History Park. Margaret Bogardus, President of the Punta Gorda Historical Society, met us there to share some tidbits about the buildings in the park. I'd heard most of the stories before, but the haunted house tale was a new one.
|Punta Gorda's own haunted house|
Fiestaware at All Aboard
The Last Place Marketplace
Howard arranged so many interesting stops on our ride that you'll have to wait for my next installment to read about the Fire House, Blanchard House, the Ice House and the new mural. And here's the real teaser -- I'll include my friend Bruce Tompkins' video of the ride which, as always, is terrific.