Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day Ninety, 090429 - Tampa Bay, FL

Day Ninety, Date Friday, May 29, 2009
Time in Saddle: 3:54
Distance for the Day: 41.48 miles From Clearwater To Tampa Bay
Accumulated Trip Distance: 4065.58
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 53’/21’, Highest: 60’ Accumulated: 7’?
Speeds: Avg: 10.6 mph, Max: 27.6 mph
Weather: warm, humid 68°
Expenditures: $11

Woke up pretty late, at about 9am. I used Stan’s internet connection to update the blog for a couple of hours, and then packed up, chatted a bit more, and thanked my impromptu host for his willingness to put me up on a moment’s notice. I then took off at about 2pm, and began to head south towards the Skyway Bridge at the south end of the St. Petersburg peninsula. I spent $6 for drinks and trailmix and another $5 at Burger King for lunch. It was pretty slow going, as it was solid city traffic, but got to the last gas station before the onramp to the bridge, and hung out there, looking for a ride over. After about 2 hours of no luck, the gas station manager kicked me out (nicely), and in defeat, I headed north to see if I could cross the bay to get south on the east side of the bay. I couldn’t quite understand how there were NO people going south across that bridge who could give me a lift; maybe it was the time of day, or the fact that there were other routes away from that gas station other than across the bridge, but for two hours, not one truck went south. Oh, well. “Many roads to Rome,” and all that. By about 7pm, I stopped in at a motorcycle shop to get some advice on whether Hwy 92, the Gandy Bridge crossing the bay, was cycleable. The guy there, Keith, was very helpful, but wasn’t sure if it was, or not. One of his customers said it had an 8’ wide shoulder, and was eminently cycleable. Keith gave me his cell number, and said I could call him, and he’d give me a lift, as he lived near that bridge, anyways. I thanked him, and took off for the bridge entry, not sure what to expect. Fortunately, his friend was right: the bridge was very long, but mostly flat, with an 8’ wide, clean shoulder. I stopped a few times along the way to take pictures of the sunset, and of the dolphins that were swimming by it (cool!) The sun set while I was getting towards the east side of the bridge, and I continued on into the neighborhoods on the other side, looking for camping prospects. I pulled into a mini-mart to use the bathroom, and a wild-looking fellow with a big beard (named “John” [no last name]) came up and began chatting with me about trikes (he’d built one that he said he could go 60mph with), then he got into health foods, and *then* he went into pharmaceutical conspiracies to keep people dependent on expensive drugs (true), and how he has been persecuted by the police who want to keep him quiet. Most of what he was saying was true, actually, but while I found his mission to get the word out interesting, I was still on my own quest. After about an hour, our conversation wound down, so I bade him farewell (after hitting the head), and took off into the night to find a stealth campsite. I found a nice dark spot behind a church between a couple of nice trees the right distance apart (N27° 53.956', W82° 29.661') and set up there with plans to wake up early to avoid any church people contact. I hit the hay at 10:30pm.

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