Day 9: Mission to Florida

Sarasota to Terra Ceia: 58km
Tuesday, April 8th
Light rain, rain, heavy rain. 21C

By 7am both of us were awake and ready to get going. The continental breakfast was a weak offering so we procured some packets of butter for later and ate our own yogurt and granola. With rain in the forecast we wanted to get rolling as soon as possible. Having already scouted our route to Longboat Key yesterday we had no problem finding our way. Our route took us past some interesting sculptures and pretty close to the water at times.


As we crossed the Ringling Causeway there were a couple drops of rain. There was a bicycle lane on the 789 which runs the length of Longboat Key. Slowly the rain intensified, but it was warm enough that it didn’t really bother us. Approaching Bradenton Beach the road turned a little more north and suddenly the wind seemed to pick up. Heavy rain ensured that we were completed soaked and just for good measure puddles were forming along the side of the road. We turned east onto 64 crossing over from the Key onto Palma Sola Causeway Park. There were a series of shelters and a restroom so we stopped for a snack.


I wrung my shirt out twice there and probably could have filled a container with the water that came out. After a few minutes we carried on through Bradenton. We rode on the sidewalk and through several ‘puddles’ that must gave been almost a foot deep. We turned north onto the 41 and crossed the bridge over the Manatee River into Palmetto. Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to get more wet, I got splashed by a car going through a huge puddle.

On the outskirts of town we called Thomas our taxi driver and he agreed to pick us up where he left us three days ago. It took us another half hour to get there and his timing was perfect. We had just finished changing into dry clothes when he arrived, this time with a bike rack on the car. Again he drove us up and over the 275 Skyway Bridge, but this time we got him to take us all the way into Tampa to our hotel. We arrived in Ybor City and he found our hotel. Just before we were set to get out if the car we heard police sirens. We were being pulled over. Turns out that Thomas took us down the trolley tracks to get to the hotel parking. As we were removing our bicycles and soaking wet gear from the cab, the officer announced to consider himself warned. We were so thankful and Thomas was too. We said our good byes and went into the hotel.

We were too early to check in, again, so we dropped off our soggy luggage and had a little picnic on a nearby bench. It had stopped raining at this point and we decided to see where the train station was. Found it with no problem and checked our departure time for the next day. By the time we got back to the hotel our room was ready. The room is lovely and spacious with a small kitchen area and a sofa. Within a few minutes of us bring there it turned into a laundry room and garage.


After getting our wash done and hung on the line we went out on 7th Ave and found some fixings for an early supper and took a look at the strip. We ate in our room and then set out for the hockey game.


We took the trolley downtown to the arena and had some time to soak in the experience of hockey in Florida. There were probably equal parts Toronto and Tampa fans which made for a lively atmosphere.


Too bad the Leafs came out flat and truly seemed uninspired. We didn’t let that dampen our day which was otherwise dripping with fun. The trolley ride home was also interesting, when the trolley reversed directions, we were able to manually switch the seats from facing backwards to forwards. Our stop was Ybor City which is quite a lively area, but by this time we were past our bedtime.


After a snack and some organizing it was time for rest. We have another big day ahead of us in the morning as we are heading east to Fort Lauderdale.


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