March 24, 1999
|I got up early and ate a 1/2-cup of oatmeal and left at 6:45
am. There was an early morning mist as the sun was beginning to rise.
Continuing west on 60, I could watch the colorful sunrise through my helmet
mirror. Stopping at a small convenient store after riding about and hour, I
bought a granola bar to eat now, and 3 powerbars for later. There was a shoulder
most of the way except for where they were still doing some road construction. One
section they re-routed 60W and merged it with 60E to form one 2-lane road while they were
doing bridge construction. The lanes were very narrow with those barrier walls on
each side. Absolutely no room for me and a car to pass me. But this was
my only choice, so I waited for a break in traffic and then biked it as fast as I could.
About halfway there was a small clearing on the right. As soon as I got to it
I hit my brakes and ducked into that area pressing myself against the wall as the traffic
sped by. Then with another small break in traffic I finished my way across
with a semi nippin' at my rear wheel.
The shoulder disappeared a few miles before entering Brandon and I had to ride the white line again. In Brandon I felt safer riding the sidewalks until the shoulder re-appeared. Riding through Tampa was very easy, except for a couple of places where the right lane exits off and I had to cross two lanes of traffic to stay on 60. One was at the I75 exit and the other was for the Tampa airport exit. Both times I waited for the best clearing in traffic then pedaled as fast as I could across. Meanwhile telling myself "that's what they make brakes for.... so people can slow down for idiots like me." hee hee
I biked across the Courtney Campbell bridge and hit the first gas station in Clearwater. I had to clear some water of my own. :) While there I met Mark, an exceptionally nice guy that was very interested in my trip. We talked for about 20 minutes and I gave him the web address so he could get updated as I ride.
Arriving at Kathleen's around 1pm (70.62 miles), I was much earlier than I or she expected. I showered and we talked a bit about the PT profession and her private practice. Her two girls, Amanda and Allison came home from school and Amanda was kind enough to fix me a peanut butter sandwich. When Kathleen's husband, David, got home everyone got ready for tonight's softball game (Amanda and Allison play on the same team). It ended up being a very exciting game with Amanda and Allison's team making a comeback from losing at 5-1 to a tie game at 6-6. woooo hooooo What a great time at the ball field :)
Afterwards, Amanda and Allison had pizza and Kathleen, David and I had vegetable lasagna. WOW! That was good!! I was very hungry and ate 3 servings of lasagna, several breadsticks, a salad and a beer. I was trying not to eat too much and forced myself to eat slowly.... but when you're that hungry and the food is that good, it was hard to contain myself. :) Actually, I tried to contain myself once, but I escaped hee hee. OK some stupid humor in my journal.
After dinner I tried to maintain a conversation and stay as awake as
long possible. But by 11:30 I was really giving out after a long day. So
I headed off to dreamland :)