Sunday, February 28, 2016

Riding the Legacy Trail

One last item on our “Things To Do” list for Bradenton was to ride our bikes on the Legacy Trail. 

Legacy Trail - Venice


In order to do that, we needed to find a way to carry our 3 bikes on the car.  We have a bike rack on the motorhome for when we travel, but we don’t have a hitch receiver on the car, so we can’t use that one.

Tom searched craigslist, and finally last weekend we found a trunk-mount bike rack that would work on our car.  We waited for the cool front to go through, and set aside Friday as the day for our bike ride.  IT was a beautiful, sunny day, and only in the low 60s – perfect for a bike ride.

Bryce got the bikes loaded on the car.

Got the bikes loaded on the new bike rack

The Legacy Trail is an old railroad line converted to a multi-use trail, and it runs from Sarasota to Venice.  It’s 10 miles long, and connects to the Venetian Waterway Trail, which continues on for several more miles.

We started at a parking area about 1 mile from the starting point of the trail in Sarasota.

Setting out on the Legacy Trail from Sarasota

The trail was wide, smooth, and flat . . . perfect riding conditions.  There are some trees along the sides in some areas, but otherwise you’re pretty much in full sun the whole time.  We were glad we waited for a cooler day!



We had gotten a late start, so at about 4 miles in when we reached Oscar Scherer State Park we were ready for lunch.


After lunch, we took a detour and rode our bikes through the campground.  The roads were a little tight for Tom’s comfort level, but we talked to a couple of the volunteers, and they really like it there.  There are also sites in the maintenance area, so those might be a little better for our rig.


After our short detour, we got back on the trail and continued on toward Venice.  The area around Oscar Scherer looked like prime Bald Eagle territory, so I kept one eye on the sky as I rode.  I spotted one, but it was too high up and moving away from us, so I couldn’t get a picture.

Oscar Scherer State Park

As we exited the state park, there was a stretch of old railroad track still in place – it was interesting to see what this trail used to be.

A section of original railroad track

There are also several road crossings that still have the lights and gates in place.

Railroad Crossing Gates










As we got closer to Venice, the scenery got more interesting and we rode over several bays leading out to the Gulf.

Roberts Bay

Dona Bay










Taking a break at Roberts Bay

We were doing pretty good still at this point . . . the temperature was perfect, and there wasn’t much wind (or maybe it was all at our backs . . . who knew??)

He's so cool


Even Bryce was having a good day . . . although he wasn’t very challenged by the trail – too straight and flat for him! 









We were nearing the end of the trail, and we needed to get across US-41.  Lucky for us, they built a bridge over it!

That's steep!


There’s a challenge for you, Bryce!


I was grateful for the short flat areas about every 10 feet on the way up . . .

and Bryce loved them on the way down because the were like little jumps every 10 feet!

There he goes!!!



Bryce's favorite part of the ride!

On the other side of US-41, we had almost reached the end of the trail.  We rode through a small industrial area, and then reached the Historic Train Depot.

We made it!











Historic Train Depot

Bryce wanted ice cream after our 10 mile ride, so we went in search of an ice cream shop that he found on his phone – following the Venetian Waterway Trail.

Another bike path










Unfortunately, it didn’t exist . . . at least not anymore . . . so after a mile, we turned around and headed back toward Sarasota.

Suddenly, we discovered that the wind had turned up while we were riding, and now it was hitting us full in the face on our way back – 10 miles into a stiff headwind!!  The ride back wasn’t quite as leisurely as the ride down was, but we kept going . . . no pictures on the way back . . .

OK, just one . . . I stopped for a gopher tortoise!

Turtle on the trail

It was a really nice day, and we enjoyed it . . . but we were exhausted by the time we got back to the car!

We couldn’t go straight home, though . . . I wanted to stop at Detweiler’s Fruit Market, which I had read about on Sherrie & David’s blog when they visited it with Bill & Nancy. 

What a great store – we picked up some wonderful produce and a few snacks . . . and Bryce got his strawberry milk shake!  A great end to the day!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Let’s Go to the Circus!

Circus Posters

Our last stop at The Ringling was the Circus Museum . . . and we really enjoyed it!

We entered through the Big Top,


past the giant mural,

Circus Mural

and into the exhibit hall.  Behind the glass was a miniature display of the circus coming to Smalltown, USA, beginning with the train arriving at the station.

The Circus arrives in town










The area between the train and the Big Top was referred to as the Back Yard, and it was bustling with activity.  There was the giant dining room tent, the dressing room tent,

Performers Dressing Tent

and the staging area for the performers.

Bustling activity int he "Back Yard"

Performers getting ready










Around the corner was the Midway,


made up of ticket sales booths, food and game vendors, and the famous sideshows!  Once the spectators made it through the midway, they entered the Big Top!

Entering the Big Top











The first tent was home to the menagerie – the animals from the show, their cages lined up along the side of the tent.

The Menagerie

After the menagerie was the three rings of the big top – and there was a constant flurry of activity there! 

Lots of activity int he Big Top

The tent was so bit that from many of the seats I don’t see how you could see much more than what was going on right in front of you.

Inside the Big Top










This display was so elaborate that even the trapeze artists were swinging through the air and spinning on the ropes.

The circus had its own Fire Department,

Fire Trucks ready and waiting

and portable stables for the horses.

Horse Stable

The amazing thing to me was that they would go through all this work – setting up all these tents – for just one day of performances!  It had to be an incredible amount of work!

The exhibit hall was really cool, and the displays were so realistic – we loved it!

As we exited the exhibit hall and made our way into the museum, we moved into full-size, actual artifacts from the Ringling Bros. Barnum – Bailey Circus.          20160218_185652

There were many that reminded me of childhood visits to the circus!


Circus Band

Inside the Museum











Famous faces of the circus!



Nik Wallenda



Emmett Kelly

Bryce and Tom had to take their turns as circus performers!

Tom showing off!



Giving the high wire a try

Then there are the animals – some of the most famous performers!



Elephants in the Circus

I remember Gunther!

I remember seeing Gunther!


Who’s got a big head??!!

Big Heads

Oh wait, there's another one! :)











We can’t forget the clowns . . . apparently I have a couple of them living with me!

In the Clown Car











Clowning Around

The Ringling is an amazing place, especially the Circus Museum, and if you are ever in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, you should definitely check it out!