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December 20th, 2007 | categorizilation: all categories,USA (FLorida)

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Today’s distance / 今日の走行距離: 18.6 miles / 29.9km
Average speed / 平均速度: 8.6mph / 13.9km/h
Time on skateboard / 走行時間: 2h 08m
Total skateboarding distance to date / 今までスケボで走った距離: 1087mi (plus 266mi) / 1749km (plus 430km)
Ascent / 上り: negligible
Descent / 下り: negligible
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N27.55.034, E082.31.019

Last night I slept possibly the best I ever have slept outside in the US so far. A soft bed of leaves, temperatures that dropped down to near freezing (keeps the bugs away), not even a hint of rain, and best of all, a clean sleeping bag! I spent most of Tuesday afternoon washing my sleeping bag – the first time in more than five years – and it made the world of difference. I was nervous about washing the bag, since it is filled with down. Very difficult to dry. However Bob’s big dryer made short work of it, and now it’s all nice a fluffy again.

Washing my down sleeping bag (six years worth of grime) in Sebring, Florida, USA

So factor in a nice deep sleep, and a knowledge that I only had a miximum of 20 miles to skate todayto my destination, and I was a happy boy, the morning sun slowly warming the ground and air as I skated in the early haze through Bloomingdale.

Morning sun near Bloomingdale, Florida, USA

I arrived in Tampa in plenty of time, at around 10am. I skated through the impressive downtown area – a very tidy and clean-cut, modern town with wide streets and pavements.

There was some degree of drama when I visited the John F. Germany Public Library however. I walked in, and noticed a box near the doorway that stated ‘If Your Belongings Do Not Fit Into This Box, Then You Are Not Allowed To Bring Them Into The Library’. I walked up to the information desk, informed the staff that I was traveling through the area, and if it was possible to leave my bags somewhere while I checked the internet. My bag certainly didn’t fit into the box, niether did my skateboard.

The friendly desk assistant called her supervisor, and after a while the on-duty deputy arrived also to assess the situation. The answer was no. “Unfortunately you are not able to leave your bags anywhere on the library property, Sir,” the deputy informed me.

“This is a government institution, and security regulations do not allow for our policies to be changed for anyone, traveler or not,” he told me.

“You see, we have many homeless people here in this area. If we bend the rules and allow you to bring your bags into the library, then that would be discrimination.”

The library supervisor continued with “Please realise that since 9/11, security has been tightened. There is risk of bombs and other sorts of issues.”

Blanket regulations. Gotta love them. In the end I complied, and wandered out of the library. I headed to the University of Tampa, to see if they would let me, the possible teorrist bomber into their library.

“Sure,” the librarian at the Tampa University Library said as I entered, “the computers are just over there. Feel free to use them.”

“Is there anywhere I should put my bag?” I asked.

“No, not really. Just put it where you can see it.”

Good on you, University of Tampa.

I took a wander afterwards, and found that the University of Tampa is quite the place. Old (in American terms), the university used to be a hotel. Beautiful corridors and interesting nooks and crannies…

Student post at the University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida, USA

Tampa University lobby corridor, Tampa, Florida, USA

At 2pm, I met up with an old buddy from my time working in Switzerland as part of this trip around the world. Rick Smith is his name, and he is a legend. He met me at the Bank of Tampa on Bayshore Blv. and took me back to his groovy home in South Tampa. I will be staying with him and his wife for Christmas, so it will be a week long break for me before heading off again.

We spent the evening catching some live ice hockey action, and then had great sushi at The Rack Sushi Bar.

Ice hockey in the St. Petersburg Press Forum in Tampa, Florida, USA

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    Permanent Link     Comments (6)

Comment by Aunty Les — December 22, 2007 @ 1:36 pm | post a comment

It's funny, isn't it, how some people can't use their nouse and sort out when rules have to be ruthlessly adhered to and when they can be bent a little. I'm pretty sure no terrorist is interested in a library in Tampa. Just goes to show how paranoid so many Americans are.

Comment by Rob Thomson — December 22, 2007 @ 1:54 pm | post a comment

Aunty Les, I think it's more 'US Administration' that is the paranoid one. Many of the Americans I have met are as exasperated as anyone else when it comes to security regulations in the US.

Comment by WDAE Listener — December 22, 2007 @ 2:27 pm | post a comment


I had a chance to catch you on WDAE this morning; the Ron and Ian show. I really enjoyed your interview. Keep on, keeping on!

Comment by Michael Grifka — December 22, 2007 @ 3:22 pm | post a comment


Ahhh, welcome finally to the USA, land of rules and litigation. Remember, when someone tells you no, just respond with a gruff, "Then I'll sue you!." Magically, the no becomes a yes!

Most Yankees will treat you right after hearing about your travels. But until then, you'll just be a 'board toting, security threatening, homeless kiwi.

So when are you gonna make it to Arizona?

M Grifka

Comment by Bob Duckett — December 22, 2007 @ 4:47 pm | post a comment

I, too, heard you on Ron and Ian this AM and wrote down your website. Strange that the only pictures you took in Plant Hall at UT were of the post office boxes and the hallway leading to them. I was the "postmaster" there in 1989-90, and had not seen that area since then, when I left UT-what a coincedence that the only pictures you posted, were the domain I worked in. No big deal to anybody else but me…..glad you posted them.

Good luck to you in your travels in the U.S. and beyond-what a wonderful adventure this must be for you!!

Bob Duckett

Palmetto Fl

(southern tip of the actual "Tampa Bay" body of water.

Comment by jean smith — December 28, 2007 @ 4:48 pm | post a comment

Rob, Congrats on your accomplishments! I'm so happy you were able to meet and spend time with my Grandson, Rick, and his wife Robin.Rick has always been an adventurous person so I think great minds often find each other. Happy New Year and continued Blessings for you endeavors. Safe trip! Grandma Jean in Strykersville, New York

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