Day 525 – USA (Florida): From Tampa to Chival

Today’s distance / 今日の走行距離: 18 miles
Average speed / 平均速度: 8.8mph
Time on skateboard / 走行時間: 2h 05m
Total skateboarding distance to date / 今までスケボで走った距離: 1105mi (plus 266mi)
Ascent / 上り: negligible
Descent / 下り: negligible
End-of-day GPS coordinates: oops, forgot

Didn’t get away from Rick’s place until 2pm, but smooth roads today eased my transition from rest time to skate time. The tough skating to get through Tampa was made up for by the smooth Upper Tampa Bay Trail, which I followed for about five miles to its end near the outskirts of town.

Upper Tampa Bay Trail, Tampa, Florida, USA

The Upper Tampa Bay Trail dumped me out onto Gunn Highway. Gunn Highway is busy, narrow, and has no shoulder. I had to walk for two miles to find some back roads to make my way towards the Suncoast Trail trailhead – my goal for the afternoon. I figured that I would be able to camp out at the trailhead and start in the morning.

Things became interesting just after the nice security guards at the Chival gated community on the TPC Tampa Bay golf course let me take a shortcut through the community.

I was skating through the quiet neighbourhood, getting a little lost, when I happened upon Evan, Dane, and Alex riding their new Ripstiks.

Neibourhood kids in Chival, Florida, USA

I asked the guys which was it was to the trailhead, and before I knew it, we were swapping boards and having a great time skating up and down their street. The Ripstiks were easier than I had imagined, and I was scooting along in no time.

Enter Winston and Jimmy. Winston came across as a real life Home Improvement next-door Winston type. Friendly and energetic, he happened to be walking by as I was telling the guys about my trip, and why the heck I was inside a gated community. I told him that I was heading for the Suncoast Trail trailhead to camp, and he would hear nothing of it. “That’s just around the corner,” he said. “Stay here tonight, and start off in the morning! Unless you really want to camp, of course.”

The offer was too good to pass up, and Winston treated me to a great dinner cooked by Winston himself.

The evening was not complete without a visit to Winston’s neighbour, Jimmy. Jimmy is in the liquor business. He’s the kind of guy who smokes cigars, listens to jazz, drinks wine, and knows people. “If you ever get in trouble anywhere across the US, I know people,” he told me, giving me a serious look.

We sat up until far too late in the morning exchanging stories. Thank you guys for a most memorable evening!

Jimmy and Winston in Chival, Florida, USA

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3 thoughts on “Day 525 – USA (Florida): From Tampa to Chival

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