We had a great day at Clearwater Beach today.
I started my morning efficiently, got my writing done and got ready for my bike ride. I had to grab the helmet outside from the front compartment, had to get the bike down and inflate the tires, change and put some sun screen on, and I was ready to go. I was able to leave right by 8am, and took Pinella’s trail north, but with no exact route from there.
Again, this is a pretty awesome trail. It is wide enough for a lot of people to use it at the same time. It is well maintained. It does a nice job at crossing roads, and having traffic stop for trail users, or it has bridges. I only had to stop once at a traffic stop during the hole 2 hour ride. I ended up riding for a while before I saw some signs for Bellair beach and decided to bike into the streets to see Bellair Beach, but I ended up not being in the right place and then just reconnecting with the trail again and biking all the way to Clearwater Beach.
It was a very nice ride there. There was even a very clean porta-potty near the clearwater bridge that I used. Going over the bridge was pretty cool as well.
I stopped by the beach and took a few pictures and then continued down. I was able to see the tractor going over the sand and taking out garbage and smoothing it out. That sand is so amazing.
I rode down via the beach and got to see more beach front again, going over the bridge to Salt Key, then continued from there. When I got to Bellair Beach, I stopped to check it out and take some pictures. It is a nice beach, kind of like Clearwater but much less sandy area.
From there, I decided to head inland back into the trail, and head back to the campground. It was an awesome 31 mile ride, just over 50km, and it took me a little over 2 hours. It felt great to have done this ride, and checking out Pinella’s trail.
After getting back I rested a bit, got something to eat and some water, then had a work call.
Carol got the girls going in the morning, did more laundry, now washing some more bedding and all the rugs. She also did some cleaning, and after I got back she went to the grocery store. After the store she made lunch, made food for Maggie and finished packing some things for today’s beach day.
The girls both had a good day of school. Bia had a usual day, well, it was shorter than usual it felt, but she was done with her last live class at 2pm. Bella caught up from not finishing yesterday, and also got all her stuff from today done. There was no fighting today, and she did awesome.
After my work call, I started cleaning stuff outside so it’d be ready to go tomorrow. I also put away the bikes, and a few other things. Carol had seasoned some chicken for me the grill, so I had that going too. After we finished lunch and Bia was done with her class, we wrapped things up and left to Clearwater Beach.
I put a spot on South Beach in the GPS, which is the area south of the Pier at Clearwater Beach. I had seen it in the bike ride in the morning, and it looked less busy than the north side or too close to the pier. It took us about 40 minutes to get there, and then finding parking around there was a bit tougher. We did find a public parking lot, which was a total rip off at $50 for the day. Dam! I think this was the most expensive parking I’ve ever paid. We were kind of hurrying to get to the beach, so I just let it go and parked there anyway. Even that lot was full, with like two spots open. We loaded up as much as we could onto the red cart, and Carol and the girls took whatever was left, and we headed to the beach. We had two blocks to go, then crossed the street and were there. We were right by a life guard station. As we rolled into the sand, I kind of stopped and waited for Carol to pick a spot, once she did I started moving again. Bella had dropped her stuff off and came help me, and she pushed the cart from behind while I pulled it, and it actually helped a lot. Once we got to the spot, I started setting up the umbrella while Carol put sunscreen on the girls. We were setup quick.
As soon as the girls could go in the water, they were there. I went to the life guard station to ask if we could launch the paddleboard from there and the guys said we could since it was an inflatable, but that we should stay near the swim area marks and not go too far in, so yay! I inflated the board and went into the water.
By time I was in the water with the board, the wind had picked up and we were seeing some waves coming in. I got in the water and when I was knee deep or a little deeper, I kneeled on the board and paddled out to the deeper area, away from people, then I stood up.
After adjusting my feet position and paddle length, I started moving towards the pier. It didn’t take long to get pretty hard to balance and within 10 minutes of moving towards the pier, I got caught by a few waves in a row and fell off the board. I don’t even know how as a reflex I kept holding onto the paddle, which was good so I didn’t have to go after it. I just put the paddle on the board by the bungees and got back up, but this time I just kneeled the rest of the time. Kneeling was much easier to balance, and added a lot more power. I went back and forth between the area we were in and towards the pier, and paddled for maybe 30 minutes then went back. Then Carol went and decided to just go on her knees as it was pretty rough by then. She went around the same path and paddled for about 20 minutes. I got the board out and deflated it, and then we just hung out from there.
The girls were having a lot of fun. They’d go in the water, take their body boards, come back and play with sand, then start over. I think they took one break to get some snacks, and that’s it. Carol went in with the girls a little later and I just stayed and relaxed. The breeze was nice and the sun was nice, and it was not too hot, it was perfect. We were done around 7pm, put all the stuff back in the cart, rinsed off at the station before heading back to the truck. Everyone changed when we got to the truck, and we headed to dinner.
We had dinner with Dean, who was my boss a long time ago and we’ve stayed in touch. It was nice catching up. We almost moved to Tampa like 7 years ago or so because of him, he offered me a job at the company he was working at at the time and I accepted, but got a counter from my then employer. We all had a good time at dinner, but didn’t linger too long after we were done.
It was late, so as soon as we got back we had the girls shower and get ready for bed. I wanted to rinse off everything yet before going to bed, so I took everything from the truck and rinsed off, and left to dry overnight. I also swept the truck bed to remove all the sand. Tomorrow I’ll fold up the board and pack everything in the truck and we’ll be ready to go. Carol was wrapping up the cleaning inside, doing dishes, etc. By time I got to shower and lay down, it was almost midnight. I was tired and was out in no time.
We had a great afternoon at Clearwater Beach, and I had an awesome bike ride in Pinellas’s trail today.