We’ve been wanting to get out on a biking excursion (especially since we still have our bikes!), and hoping to find some new areas for riding, so last Friday we made plans with Bill and Linda to load up the bikes and head over to the Robinson Preserve in northwest Bradenton.
The Robinson Preserve is one of several preserves between downtown Bradenton and Anna Maria Island. It’s former farmland that has been converted to its natural state of salt marsh and coastal marine sanctuary.
There are several biking/walking trails in the preserve, as well as kayaking on the inland waterway and Perlico Bayou, all the way out to Tampa Bay.
The trails also connect to the bike path along Hwy 64, which takes you out to Anna Maria Island.
We parked at the main entrance and headed out on the main trail around the preserve.
It was a perfect day for biking – temps in the low 70s, full sun, and just a light breeze – and the preserve is very beautiful.
Linda and I had stopped to take in the scenery, and a lady offered to take our picture.
When we caught up to the guys, Tom was like, “Where did you go?” Just taking pictures and talking to people (that’s usually his deal!! – the talking part, anyway!)
We followed the trail out to Hwy 64 and into the Perlico Preserve. We rode the gravel path around a pond, where the county had constructed a rookery for birds out of old telephone poles.
Apparently, it’s not too popular with the birds yet . . . I think the poles look too low and close to the water!
We continued along 64 to the bridge to Anna Maria Island.
We briefly considered crossing the bridge on the bikes, but traffic was pretty heavy and we getting hungry for lunch and hadn’t brought money on the bikes with us.
We returned to the preserve along the same paths, and stopped at the Observation Tower on the way back to the parking lot. From the top of the tower, we had a great view of the inland waterway, Tampa Bay, and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
What a great day!
Arriving back at the parking lot, we had ridden a total of about 11 miles. Not a back ride, considering we hadn’t been out on the bikes much other than short rides around the RV Park.
Just down the road from the preserve is the DeSoto National Memorial, so we stopped in for a visit before heading over to Anna Maria for lunch.
This location marks the spot where in May, 1539, the Spanish Conquistador, Hernando DeSoto, landed and began the Spanish occupation of Florida.
At the time, this area of Florida was home to the Uzita Indians, and the national memorial has displays to preserve their history, as well.
The interactive area of the display – trying on the gear.
Too big for Tom’s head!
Bill and Tom had fun with it, though!
Do they look ready for battle??
We looked around, visited with the Rangers in the Visitor Center, and on the way out Tom struck up a conversation with a guy and a monkey . . .
The next thing I knew, he was becoming a tree for the monkey --
just stand really still . . .
OK, that was interesting!
We were all getting pretty hungry, so we decided to drive over to the Moose Lodge at Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island, where Linda & Bill are members, and enjoyed lunch at the beach.
What a great view!
It was a great way to end a wonderful day!