Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Flower Bike Man and his Floating Garden


One of the first things we noticed upon coming to Tarpon Springs were these lovely flower bikes around town.  They are especially prevalent around the Sponge Docks, posted up outside of many businesses.  I have spotted them throughout the town, sometimes in a parking lot, sometimes in front of a house, sometimes in action going down the street.  Most of them are strictly flowers, done by color scheme.  I have also seen a few other playful themes - a computer bike, a sponge bike, a CD/record bike, etc....

The flower bikes certainly add beauty and charm to this little city.  Every time I spotted one, it was exciting, and like a game.   How many of these are out about town? 

Greek Sponger Bike

Ruby Red

Neon Flower Power

What is the story with these bikes? Who is responsible for these beautiful works of art?
Eventually, and unintentionally, social media connected me to their maker.  I had snapped a couple pictures of a flower bike I spotted in action, and posted it to Instagram.

"I love that this is a thing here!"

Later, I noticed I had a new like, and a new follower, Flowerbikeman.
Until this point, I didn't realize the man riding the bike was not only an owner of one of these fabulous bikes, but he made them all!  We stayed in touch through Instagram and then through my other postings, we found that he lives on a boat, directly across from the slip Ricky keeps his in! Really small world. At this point, I heard through the grapevine that he has some sort of floating gardens.  Now this I have to see! He invited us to come by for a tour, and we planned a BBQ.

Floating garden

A floating lawn, complete with solar panels

The old man and the sea?

Grass hut style roofing

It looks like I am standing in a garden, but this garden is floating in the Anclote River

Gorgeous Sunset, unbelievable view

The Flower Bike Man!

Such a unique set up!  The Flower Bike Man lives on his own little floating island of sorts.  I have never seen anything like this before.  He and his wife live on a boat that is docked at the Tarpon Springs Spongedocks, and he has built multiple floating docks that are attached.   One dock is covered in all types of plants--from various berries to succulents and cactus.  Whimsical decorations are tucked everywhere, and it is illuminated by multiple laser and string lights.  Did I mention that he constructed all of these things with salvaged material?  By 'salvaged material,' I mean other people's trash/leftover scraps that were otherwise headed to a dumpster.  Some stuff was given to him, other stuff was found.  To me, this makes his floating gardens that much more special!  Another dock is equipped with solar panels, and completely covered in grass, like a floating lawn.  The grass has begun to grow over the sides, into the saltwater somehow.  He tells us that manatee occasionally swim right up to snack on the grass!  He also told us about the fish and sharks that are always around, waiting for scraps to go overboard.  He even demonstrated how easily he can catch them with a net:

We had a lovely evening grilling out with the Flower Bike Man and his wife.  Here is another video of the view at sunset.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sailing with Captain Ricky

We're sailing!

Yesterday was another gorgeous day in Florida.  We were lucky enough to spend the whole day with our friend, Ricky, on his sailboat. Ricky and his cousin, Billie, both live aboard their sailboats in a slip across from the Sponge Docks.  It's cool (and encouraging) to meet other people our age with similar ideas/dreams & actually living them out!  One day we will actually do it too, but in the meantime, it is great to have friends to learn from firsthand. Here's some pictures from our day.

Holly & Ricky
Oversized Grass Hat Fashions
I'm a lucky girl

Stay Tuned for more!

Friday, September 23, 2016

New Residents!

Meet my new flamingos! 

I have been patiently waiting a long time for these guys.  This time last year, Jacob and I were saving up & planning to buy an old sailboat to live aboard in the Gulf.  PS...we are kind of into adventure.

 In fact, we had plans to travel to Florida during Christmas to look at a boat Jacob found listed online.  About 1-2 weeks before said trip, he was asked if he/we would have any interest in possibly moving in to/taking over his grandmother's former home--the same home his mom was born & raised in, and that he visited during his childhood.  It was important to Grandma Toots that the house stay in the family.  We decided to factor in a visit to the home in addition to looking at the sailboat.  

We looked up the address of the home and the marina the sailboat was in.

They were less than 2 miles away from each other. 

(yeah, my hoodoo talking to me!)

So, after doing a drive by of the house & weighing our options, we decided to go for it.  We decided we could focus on taking on a house for now, and we could buy a smaller boat for fishing, and delay our sailing plans until further notice (I dream of paying off the house, renting it, and living on a sailboat at that point).  Our lease was coming up in April, so it gave us just enough time to make a couple trips down to get the house move-in ready. 

SHOOOO did we have our work cut out for us!  We had to literally clean house -- lots of old furniture and belongings had been left behind, so everything had to go.  We spent about one week in January removing everything from the house and having it hauled off/donated.  At the end of February, we made another trip down to continue deep cleaning & put a fresh coat of paint over everything.  The house was ready for our move!!  April 1st, we packed it all up in a U-Haul & said goodbye to Knoxville, Tennessee, and hello to Tarpon Springs, Florida. 

Fast-forward to late September.  

It still feels 200 degrees out, but the house truly feels like home now, and the front yard has progressed enough to be, what I consider, flamingo-worthy.  Also, I just spent a week in Knoxville on a business trip, and finally had some $$$, so I felt like I finally deserved them. Life is GOOD!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hello // Welcome // An Introduction

Hi, and welcome to my blog!

I'm Holly Nicole, and I will be your narrator.  I will be telling you my life stories, and the story (which is still playing out) of the Bay Trippers - me and my boyfriend, (my sweetie, my honey, my hunk of a man, best friend in the whole world, my HERO!!) Jacob.

I created this blog to supplement our Instagram account (bay_trippers) ~ because there is always a story (and boy, do I have them) behind the each photo / inspiration / idea / experience.

Please follow us as we find our way to travel the world!

Instagram: bay_trippers