This year marked the 4th Annual Tampa Invasion Ride, hosted by Jetski Junkies USA. With 32 PWCs, one jet boat and 44 riders, it was another awesome downtown Tampa Bay invasion. The Tampa Invasion Ride is a come one, come all PWC event that brings Jet Life enthusiasts from around Florida and beyond, regardless of conditions. This year we lucked out with low 60 temperatures and sunny with 10 mph winds and 67 water temps.
The large group began from the Alafia River located in Riverview, making it’s way to Fantasy Island in Tampa Bay for a short stop. From there, the ride took us all north up the bay and right into the Port of Tampa, where we were able to check out some of the big ships at port, as well as two cruise ships, one of which was loading up to depart.
From there we rode right through the famous Channelside, Tampa’s downtown district by the water known for it’s night life and of course Tampa Bay Lightning stadium. Channelside dumps you into the Hillsborough River which makes its way right through downtown Tampa’s financial district. Our group passed NBC studios and the University of Tampa campus where you can see all the graffiti from colleges around the nation, put specifically on the walls and bridges lining the river by Rowing Teams throughout the years.
After that we passed the Children’s Museum, The Glazer, making our way under the bridge to the Straz Center where the river resumes normal operation and we ride amongst riverside homes, twisting and turning until we stop to turn back just before Lowry Park Zoo. From there it was back to Rick’s On The River, an excellent waterside restaurant with lots of floating docks for boaters.
After lunch we made our way back to Tampa downtown but headed west out into Hillsborough Bay where we rode alongside Davis Islands dotted with many large and elegant homes; one in particular is Derek Jeter’s new 30,000-square foot vacation home. The ride then took us straight down Tampa Bay about 20 miles to Pine Key, also known to many as Sharktooth Island where the locals go to hang in the warmer months. We pretty much had the Island to ourselves allowing for some exploration and shell finding.
The Tampa Invasion Ride ride is to finalize every Jetski Junkies Ride year and allows us to celebrate with as many of our members as possible, during the Holiday Season. It truly is about the members and we appreciate all of them so much, not only for coming out and riding but for their contributions to the Club and the friendships that are forged throughout each year.
Ride pics courtesy of Rich Decker