TODAY’S INTERESTING FACT “…if you're in the ocean and a Tiger shark swims up to you, don’t worry, it’s just being curious. Simply push it away and it won’t attack you”. Such is the advice we received at breakfast this morning from a very nice and extremely adventurous South African family (their daughter, Natasha, who can’t be more that 17, swims in open water with Great White Sharks). And we thought we were being bold with our cycling! Anyway, on to the business of the day...
Much to the disappointment of Margaret and Audrey, we have been cycling ‘Off Piste’ for the past few days and today was no different. No more copying routes from websites and following a path set out for us, but instead spending hours in bed the night before researching, preparing and mapping out routes using Google Earth, Google Maps, MacPro GPS and a variety of other software programs. We are now the masters of our own destinies, making every effort to limit the Gamines’ frustrating recommendations to “make a U–turn” when we’re just 1 mile away from our next waypoint. Anthony in his typical “I will not be led by such idiocy…” manner developed a method for planning routes where it would be near impossible for the Gamines to impose their own interpretation of the ‘best route’ which, if obeyed, would send us an extra 20 miles in a ‘2pr’ direction before agreeing on our final destination. With 64 days watching the Gamines pull their best moves, counter moves and downright irritating nonsensical suggestions, we have finally won the day… not a single “make a U-turn” today: Ding Dong, the Gamines are defeated; we have exorcised the demon!
Cycling secure in the knowledge that last night’s 2 hours of route planning was an investment well spent, we enjoyed every aspect of today’s ride. Avoiding US Hwy 41, the equivalent of the M6 (a 6-lane busy highway in the UK) we meandered through the stunningly gorgeous towns of Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach and Holmes ‘tim’ Beach. Despite the trip distance being increased to 60 miles, we’d happily trade the views, roads and herds of fellow cyclists along the coastal path for the views of Trucks, SUV’s and pickups thundering past at 55mph along US Hwy 41, every time!
Knowing that overdosing on euphoria is not always a good thing, we weren’t too disappointed when the coastal leg ended 40 miles into the trip and we returned to the congested US Hwys. However, the problem with the ‘overdosing on euphoria’ theory is that it’s incorrect. So, 10 minutes later, we pulled into Macky D’s for a spot of lunch and a foody euphoric fix. We met a lovely lady called Teresa in Macky D’s. She was excited for us when we told her about the trip and handed her one of our business cards.
Back on the road and satisfied with our chicken fillet burgers, fries and apple pie (Kat insisted on the pies) we completed the final 20-mile stretch through some pretty residential areas before arriving at our Hotel, which is beautiful. The view from the porch this evening was lovely. We saw the illuminated fairy lights of St Petersburg across the bay whilst the Sun set in the Gulf (see photos)