The next morning is another day of adventure, with gr-r-reat weather. This time I'll do a loop down to Ft. Meyers and return back to Bradenton and by the time I get back, Craig & Kathy should be back from their trip to Haiti.
I head west on FL 64 (Manatee Av) which takes me across the lagoon to the beaches.
Now I am on Anna Maria Island
Then I took the coastal route, FL789 south, stopping to get a photo of the beach area. Quite likely, this is where we went to the beach when my family visited Florida in March 1980.
Where I stopped, the land was narrow, you could see the water from both sides.
Next I come up to a drawbridge that stops me for a while, allowing me to take a picture.
Of course this takes a while so a long string of cars builds up behind me.
Once we get the green light, I know better than to stop and get photos because I'll get stuck behind a lot of traffic, so I keep on husting, through what is Longboat Key on the other side.
Soon I find myself going over a causeway leading me onto US41 (Tampa to Miami or Tamiami Trail) and downtown Sarasota.
Downtown is pretty awesome with a nice harbor. I sure wish I had more time to explore.
In this park, stands the Unconditional Surrender World War II commemorative statue, based off a famous photograph.
Continuing on, never having much time in any one spot, I find myself heading south, over to Siesta Key, a slight diversion off US 41. Some fascinating wide boulevards with palm trees up the center.
Bay Island is part of Siesta Key (or is it the other way around?)
The scenery is just breathtaking around here.
And you can see in the distance across the bay, that causeway I crossed, leading into downtown Sarasota.
FL 789 takes you down Siesta Key and then terminates at a dead end where you then have to turn around.
I note a lot of expensive buildings, resorts and condominiums along this stretch.
Eventually I get off Siesta Key and back on US 41, where I take note of a rather distinctive piano store.
Now another drawbridge, around Venice this time. I had the green light so I didn't have to stop.
Neat to look over the side of the bridge, giving you a rare photo without my bike in it, LOL.
Now I take another diversion off US 41 : FL 776, so that I can keep alongside the coast.
Interesting, this is a wide stretch of highway with virtually no traffic.
Not much to admire here except the neat shadow my Baghira casts.
After a decent lunch a Wendy's (I could get used to that if it wasn't for so much trash that fast food generates) I continue on to Placida. I thought of taking the toll road over to Gasparilla Island but the cost is $5 and it just leads into a state park and a dead end. The toll booth operator tells me there is no ferry to allow me to continue down the west coast, contrary to what my map says. So, I decide to double back and get back on FL776 which then takes me back to US 41. After a stretch of VERY heavy traffic I get to the causeway leading me to Punta Gorda.
Neat, another rider.
Now we have Punta Gorda into view. What a really nice place in the state. This is now Charlotte County.
Once I get into downtown I have a choice to make. Either continue right, on US 41 towards Ft. Myers or take US 17 north and inland towards Arcadia. All that traffic on US 41 leading up to Punta Gorda wore me out, and I figure it was going to be much the same continuing onto Ft. Myers, so I simply decided to start returning back to Bradenton via US 17.
Now this is more like it. Good choice.
Orange groves along US 17.
Wow Tiger, you sure take a lot of pictures. Yeah I know. Digital camera. You wouldn't dream of doing this with a film camera now would you?
Doesn't take long to reach Arcadia, a nice historic town in central Florida at what appears to be a railway junction. Here's the Desoto county courthouse.
Across the street at that location is some Spanish-moss laden trees, which you see everywhere in Florida, except these make a great picture.
The most interesting part of Arcadia is the historical district of course.
I park the bike in front of the pink arcade. Arcade. I guess that's where Arcadia gets its name.
Of course my time is limited, and no way I have a chance to look at all these shops, besides they were dropping like flies (closing, that is) as it was around 4pm or so. I do make a whirlwind tour, spotting this tiger blanket that sure has me tempted! I could carry this with me, but I decide not to.
As I write this up a few months later I wish I had gone for that Tiger blanket, LOL. Maybe it's still there :-)
This tiger picture is also tempting but not as. No way I can carry this on my bike. Wow, it's amazing how much money my MZ saves me!
And this antique shop was once a bank, with this heavy duty vault.
Across the street where I'm parked are more shops and the opera house.
Naturally the auditorium, over a 100 years old, looks like a modern-day flea market disaster zone.
The view is bettter from the stage.
On stage, or should I say backstage is a kind of make-shift museum with a variety of relics to do with movies.
Most impressive I guess, is this horse carriage (horse not included).
Wow, look at this old movie projector. The kind powered by a giant carbon arc lamp, that got very hot.
Okay, you know why I photographed this banner.
All the shops are closed now, there's nothing to do but to move on.
So far I haven't actually needed the chest protector - but hey it's a jungle out there and I'm not finished riding yet!
So I get on FL 70, which will take me back to Bradenton.
I decide to photograph this neat old house, on my way out of town.
Once again, the day has gotten long in the tooth as this machine-and-man shadow shows.
FL 70 is straight and empty until you get to I-275. I'm always fascinated by the shadow my MZ casts.
Near Myakka City, which FL 70 kind of bypasses.
Once I get to I-75 traffic gets heavy and sudden. Grrr! It's amazing how uneven the population is distributed in Florida. You can be riding along a complete empty road with hardly a soul around and then, BOOM! a few miles later you are stuck in heavy traffic.
So, the rest of the ride back on FL 70 to Craig and Kathy's is very frustrating, having to deal with traffic west of I-75.
But the timing could not have been better because the moment I pull into his driveway, Craig and Kathy had just pulled in a moment sooner, from their trip to Haiti. So, they got my picture once again :-)
I learned that Craig and Cathy had a wonderful time in Haiti, the wedding went well but the best news was, they got to see the twins they will be adopting. Endless photos of the kids to show me, of course.