Monday, February 18, 2019

Thunder by the Bay, Sarasota - new friends, new roads

I always seem to answer all those “Location posts” in the women’s motorcycle groups that I belong to on Facebook. I sometimes get a few “likes” or the odd “Hey, that’s near to me” but nothing ever seems to come from it, until now. This is one of those times…

I just happened to answer a post Elaine put up on the Open Road Girls group stating if anyone was in Southwest Florida. She was on the hunt for people to ride with from her area. Within a few moments of posting that I was in Lehigh Acres, Elaine was messaging me that she was too. We started planning a ride for the following weekend to Thunder by the Bay in Sarasota. (Feb 16)

I admit that I was a little nervous, okay a lot nervous about meeting Elaine and her boyfriend James. Especially since we had only briefly messaged through FB a handful of times.  This was so out of character for me to crawl out from behind my computer.  Since hitting my 50’s I have been trying really hard to break away from my almost hermit like existence. So what the hell, take a chance and meet people, I am not getting any younger.

Elaine also mentioned that two more were going to join us, TJ and Lynn. Our group would consist of a total of six, (myself and BF included) - on 5 bikes. I haven’t been on many group rides in my 10 years of riding, in fact most of my rides consist of myself or going with my BF and on occasion one other. (Hmmm… Does 3 count as a group?) Anyway, my very first group ride was back in 2014. (There were 5 other bikers, with us it made 7). Wow, 5 years since I was riding with more than two other bikers, no wonder I had a few butterflies. But really what is 3 more bikes, especially as it turned out, we all seemed to have the same riding style which naturally made it so much easier.

The Ride
We set out to meet everyone at the 711 gas station on Joel Blvd. Immediately upon meeting Elaine, James, TJ and Lynn it felt like we had already known them for awhile. After the introductions we organized our ride positions. We all agreed we didn’t care much for highway riding and opted to take 31 to Acardia and along 70.  (James held the lead position, then Elaine, TJ & Lynn, Me and my BF in the back. Elaine pointed out that it was us girls sandwiched between the guys LOL. My BF added he would make sure to pick up any pieces along the way, little did I know that he really would be. Then we were off to Sarasota. 

We were about halfway up 31 when I heard something clang onto the road, I wasn’t sure at first what had happened but then looked in my mirror and seen my BF turn around. It was then that I realized something must have fallen off. I pulled over and noticed it was my battery cover and my BF had backtracked to retrieve it. He literally had to “pick up the pieces” LOL. James had noticed we had disappeared and had ridden back to make sure we were okay. We decided to leave my battery cover off for the rest of the ride. We caught up with the others who had stopped and then carried on. BTW, not to fear, my battery cover managed to survive the slide across the highway, only a minor scratch at the bottom of it. Lucky it won’t be noticeable.

My little Sporty needed to be gassed up again just past Arcadia. I am sure that everyone welcomed the pit stop to stretch their legs. All in good fun James insisted that my bike was now too ugly with it's missing battery cover to park near the other bikes. I laughed and said I would try to keep my distance. Every group needs a little Sporty to keep things interesting.  My bike managed to reach Thunder by the Bay without further incident.

We have arrived

This was one of the largest festivals we had ever attended. We all stayed together and wandered around, had a bite to eat and browsed the wares and of course admired the bikes.

Even the dogs got in on the action

Now that is one giant Jenga game!

The sparkle on a pair of jeans caught my eye at one of the vendors tents and I decided to try them on. After making sure the jeans fit, I spent the next five minutes trying to get out the changing room!

In my defense, the guy did warn me that the door might stick a little… umm maybe he should have said, you may need a crowbar to get out! 

BTW, I bought them and they match my Sparkle Rider Bell that Lisa from gave me!

After my narrow escape from the change room we made our way over to watch some BMX bikes doing jumps. With my mediocre picture taking skills I even managed to get a few shots in mid jump. 

The journey home

On the way back we decided to make a stop at a biker bar on 70, The Open Road.

Disclaimer: all those beers on the table are NOT ours! 

The band was cool, but it sure made it hard to have a conversation!
(Age could be a factor, at least for me LOL)

Of course, we made another gas stop for my Sporty on the way back, but hey, those big bikes needed a little drink too! When we got into Lehigh we parted ways and headed home. It was awesome to meet some new people who share a common love of biking. I hope to go on many more road trips with them soon. 

As for me, it was a full day with another 200 miles round trip under my belt. Not to mention all the walking around I did. After a couple of glasses of wine, purely medicinal (wink) and a little bite to eat, by 8 pm I was snug in my bed dreaming of new adventures to come. 

Route to Thunder by the Bay Sarasota
(Aside from 31, which is a boring straight road the rest of the way was awesome)

Until next time...

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

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