We’re still here in Cortez, FL enjoying the sunshine and warm temperatures. Most days are spent riding our bicycles, going to the beach, or a combination of the two. One afternoon we loaded up the bikes in the car and drove just south of Sarasota for a return ride on a bike path known as the Legacy Trail, a paved path on an old rail bed that runs over ten miles from south of Sarasota to Venice. We had ridden it a few weeks ago with a group of riders from our park, but wanted to return and, at the south end, cross a canal into what’s known as Old Venice. Along the path we observed the fellow below making his (or her, it’s difficult to tell) way in the grass next to the path. It is a gopher tortoise, one of many who live along the path by digging into the sides of dirt banks, leaving mounds of dirt like a groundhog does in the north. These little guys weigh about 8 pounds and grow to about 14 inches long.
After the ten mile ride along the trail we crossed over a canal and rode through Old Venice, which is a typical tourist street of expensive shops and restaurants. We didn’t stop, but continued west on the main street headed for Venice Beach. The street we rode on looked very much like a street you would find in Savannah, GA, with Live Oaks creating a tunnel effect over the street.
We parked at a pavilion just off the beach and found a bench where we could rest and observe the beachcombers. Now, Venice Beach, FL is not anything like Venice Beach, CA (where do all these retired people come from?) but we did observe a couple of interesting fellows. The first is someone who takes his metal detecting a little too serious. Not only does he have what appears to be a sophisticated detector, he also has a sophisticated belt with all the “tools of the trade” necessary to a good detectorphile (ok, we made up that word, but it seems to fit). But the metal detector society is going to have to review his membership as, although he had all the necessary equipment, he forgot to check his battery. After hitching up his belt and strapping on his “detector” in what appeared to be some sort of ritual, he set out among the sunbathers, only to return moments later to change his battery. Oh, the embarrassment!
As soon as “detector boy” set out with a new battery, another weird person appeared. We’ve all seen men like this, guys right out of the 1970s who still think they are 20 years old and cool as can be. This character had long hair like he probably wore in his youth, only most of it had left town, leaving it a bit thin. Running shorts from 1975 and white socks up to mid-calf completed the outfit. He stood near us scanning the beach like a king looking over his kingdom. He then walked to the middle of the sunbathers and began some far out ritual, oblivious to those around us. After about 10 minutes of raising his arms to the sky, then to the left, then to the right, he moved down closer to the water and appeared to repeat the ritual. Most around him gave him a quick glance and then ignored him. The three pictures below show just a few of his “moves”.
Driving on to nearby Anna Maria Island is just about impossible during the month of March due to an invasion of snow birds and spring breakers. But on a bicycle the trip is not a problem. One recent afternoon we rode to the north end of the island to enjoy a late lunch at the SandBar Restaurant, right on the Gulf of Mexico. The view was fantastic!
We returned to the motorhome for a few hours, then peddled across the causeway to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
It’s a tough life, but someone has to live it . . .