Well my prophesy of awaking beautiful sunrises each morning this trip from yesterday didn’t last a day. This morning we woke to a cloud covered sky. It was also the only morning this week that we needed to be out by a certain time as we had a Segway tour booked around Sarasota. Nevertheless it was still lovely and warm as I ate my old fashioned porridge oats sat outside.
Although the tour wasn’t until 10am we left some 90 minutes before as we were unsure of any traffic congestion and what the parking would be like. It turned out there was minimal traffic and free parking at the Segway Office itself. As we were so early we had time to take a diversion to a Starbucks in Downtown where we able to park easily outside on the street.
At 9.45am we were back at the Segway place for our pre tour induction. As we are both ‘experienced’ Segway rides, the paperwork took longer than the induction itself. On previous tours in the US we have seen a couple of nasty accidents of people falling off, including one outside the Denver Broncho stadium where a lady cracked her head really badly and there was lots of blood. That time Karen and I were asked to make our own way back across the City whilst they awaited for medical assistance. Both accidents we saw were through people not doing as they had been told.
Despite this I love riding the Segways and if they were legal in the UK, I would have one and use it to get around and into the City on. In the US they are classified as wheelchairs and can go anywhere wheelchairs can go including inside Shopping Malls. However the roads and path are so much better and smoother here unlike at home. Karen is not quite so enthusiastic but once she is on one, loves it as well and is very proficient.
The tours are not cheap and this one should have been $65 each. As ever I had found a voucher and paid about $50 in total for the both of us. We had never been around Downtown Sarasota and were looking forward to the tour. Our guide today was Daniel. He was great fun and went out of his way to make the tour safe and informative.
This was the first tour we had done where we started on the road alongside cars (in special Segway lanes), going round roundabouts and then through the centre of a very busy Farmers Market. It was terrific fun though. We both really liked Downtown Sarasota and couldn’t understand why we hadn’t visited before.
The tour covered 7 miles in about 90 minutes. The weather was perfect, sunny, and hot but with a warm breeze. About half way and just before we went onto the bridge over to the keys we had a 5 minute break. We both needed it as standing on the Segway for too long really impacts your legs and you need to be able to get off to stretch them for a bit. At the stopping point, Daniel pointed out some famous people’s houses across the water including the British lead singer from AC/DC who has obviously done very well for himself.
All too soon though we were heading back after seeing some more interesting but off the beaten track buildings of Downtown. Unbeknown to us, the tour had had to be cut short due to the Farmers Market taking place in a slightly different place due to roadworks without Daniels knowledge. To make up for this we were offered 2 free vouchers to have another Segway tour at another of their locations across the US. I was very pleased and gratefully accepted these. The only trouble is that I will have to book another holiday to one of the places we haven’t been to use them - the hardship.
We decided to then stretch our legs and walk back to the Farmers Market. It was a good one, quite large, very busy and lots of interesting things to look at. We then wandered down Main Street and looked at some of the ‘Mom & Pop’ local stores as Daniel had described them. It was refreshing not seeing any of the ubiquitous branded stores you normally find.
For lunch though we decided to find one of the ubiquitous brands as we both fancied something from Panera Bread. It meant getting back in the car and driving a couple of miles but was worth it. I had another Chicken Caesar salad whilst Karen had a large Tuna Sandwich.
When we got back in the car there were some dark clouds in the distance. By the time we had parked up at St Armands Circle which was our next destination there was some proper Florida rain. Fortunately as we started to walk round the Circle it eased completely although there were some very isolated and intermittent single large raindrops that kept hitting us from seemingly blue skies. All most peculiar. I did wonder if someone was shooting a single barrel water pistol high into the sky and hitting us.
St Armands Circle is another up market shopping district set in 4 quadrants around a road junction. It is very pleasant. As well as being a nice place to visit for a wander, Karen was keen to try and buy some more orthotic Flip Flops as she had purchased some from here a few years back. We came across the shop almost immediately and to my amazement and her delight they still stocked them.
I am almost too embarrassed to say who much they cost but for that money I would have expected them to have been hand made, covered in real jewels and come with a free service warranty. However needs must and sadly that is what you have to pay if you have a dodgy foot and want to wear Flip Flops. Still they were very nice and most importantly made Karen very happy. We were back in the territory of Happy Wife - Happy Life.
From here we headed back to the Villa where we chilled by and in the pool. I continued reading David Cameron’s book which in parts were fascinating and others tedious.
Tonight, Karen fancied her first steak of the trip so we went to Longhorns. We were seated very quickly (and another place where we given a buzzer, when no one else was waiting and the buzzer thing went off again in just over a minute - what is the point?). The food was very acceptable although Karen commented that the Steak was not as flavoursome as Outback. Perhaps her taste buds are finally developing.
There was another shopping complex opposite the restaurant so we nipped across to go into Five Below, Ross and Dollar Tree. We were not there long before getting back to the Villa where Karen sat and watched the Strictly Halloween special on the iPlayer. I tried to watch one of the many US Christmas channels showing this years offerings but I couldn’t hear anything as the volume from Strictly drowned it out. Feeling tired I gave up and went to bed leaving Karen chuckling away to herself.