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Port Manatee State Park

This may be one of the most underwhelming posts ever on this blog.  With that in mind, here we go.  Ted, of Ted and Bill's Excellent Adventure bike ride a few months ago (look it up),  had been pressuring me for another bike ride.  After the first one where we hooked up with his friend, Bill, I kind of decided the need to stay alive was more prominent than taking a ride.  But Ted wanted to go and so i told him only if we went somewhere where there was no traffic. 

Ted, if you remember, was my landlord at Shawshank.  He found a really nice time-capsule bike and knew I had one so a biker group was born.  And if you remember our last ride with Bill, Ted was leading for a bit and sped up through yellow lights leaving Bill and I at the stop light.  We went through block after block of stop and go traffic, not really conducive to enjoyable riding.   But, well, since this is their state then I was just tagging along.   

And so after a few calls from Ted to ride I finally acquiesced and said I'd meet him at McDonald's down on South 34 close to the Skyway Bridge.  I gassed up along the way to insure there would be no panicky side trips looking for petrol.   The only place to go to avoid traffic is to cross the Skyway, travel north toward Tampa and exit to Parrish.  So we met at McDonald's and I ask Ted where are we going to go.  He says, its my trip so I must decide.  Keep in mind he is a lifelong Florida resident in the area and the first time we rode I got us lost and ended up in some South Tampa traffic, and I DON'T DO TAMPA! 

On the way toward Parrish I spy a sign that says there is a train museum in town.  Being a former resident of G-Burg I figure I don't need more trains.  And then another sign that says there is a state park nearby, only 6 miles north of Parrish.  So that's where I head.  At the turn off into the park we meet a Winnebago and the driver says they forgot to hand in their kayak key and would we be so kind to leave them at the park entrance?  I say sure and off we go.  A short way down the road we come across the park center building and I take the key to the ranger.  She said thanks and because of my kindness we can take a cruise around the place without paying, as long as we don't stop.  Uh, OK.   First off, I didn't know it would cost money, and not sure Ted would approve of that expenditure, and secondly, as the pictures attest, there is no reason that i could see to get off the bikes anyway.     

Unless, of course, scrub brush is your thing.  This is about all I saw.  There was a parking area that I assume was the kayak rental place and there must have been a creek or waterway nearby, but on the main roads this was it.  

It was about this time when Ted waved me over and told me we had to find some gas since he was sitting on a quarter tank and might not make it back.  Lord, Ted, why didn't you gas up before we started?   

Naturally, this ended the fun portion of the trip and we had to go search for a gas station.  Somehow this scrub started looking great compared to the highly-trafficked area we now had to endure.  

I am not expecting too many more rides with Ted, and I think our adventures are about to end.  Riding a bike down here is no fun; too much traffic, too many crazy drivers, and having it exposed to the elements makes it real tough to enjoy.   I think I'll ship it to Northlandia, like my old car - to enjoy when I am up there.  


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