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Published: March 1st 2007
After a while, I had to take it off and don my sun hat instead.
Today, Jen and I spent the day on Sanibel Island, famous for its shelling. A great variety of shells from all over the world tend to roll up on the shores here, and so many people walk around leaning over to look for them that they have termed this the "Sanibel Stoop." I was mostly interested in looking for shells on the beaches whereas Jen was mainly interested in renting bikes and cruising the island that way. We both were being stubborn and kind of ignoring what the other person was saying, hoping that we would each just get our own way. In the end, Jen flat out called me on it and I consented to riding the bikes. Once we drove over the causeway (ie bridge) that leads to the island, we drove around a bit to get our bearing. We ended up going back to the information center and they gave us maps and told us where to rent bikes and a good path to follow. We decided to ride through the large wildlife refuge and to the beach as well.
Our first main stop was the bike rental shop. As we were waiting in line we checked
Ah, just a peaceful place.
out the prices for the bikes and there were a lot of choices as to type of bike and amount of time we could have it. In the end, we went for the simplest option, a one-speed back-peddle-to-stop Grandma special, with basket and bike chime to boot. It actually turned out to be a good decision once we got familiar with not pedaling backwards unless we wanted to stop. We also got our bike lock and I got a helmet too, just in case. It occurred to me later on that the woman didn't take any form of ID from us, so there was no real reason to return with the bikes except that it was the right thing to do. Trusting people indeed. Or maybe she could have tracked Jen down with her credit card number. Who knows?
We left the bike shop and headed over to the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge which was named for a political cartoonist with conservationist leanings who got President Truman to sign the land into being protected instead of sold to developers on Sanibel Island. For a while I thought I had made a bad choice about where the entrance
was and that we had passed it, but it turned out I was right. Yay me! The refuge has a large road that goes through it so that people can drive their cars through the 4 miles of road or so. You can also take bikes this way, and it was funny when we pulled up at the pay station on our bikes and there were cars behind us. But it was a beautiful day and a good day to be riding. We took our time going through the park and stopped to look at the sites or the birds - it is also a bird sanctuary and lots of birds are migrating through at this time of year. Shame I'm no birder. We also stopped for the observation tower and from there you can look at the birds through magnified viewfinders. I tried to get a photo through one and it worked, though not as I'd hoped. The road ended much sooner than we anticipated and just dumped us back on the main road, and from there we hit Bowman's Beach.
We locked our bikes up near the bridge and walked over towards the beach. There were a
Can you see it? Right in the nook and cranny of the tree?
lot of people sunbathing but we were just interested in walking along the shore. The beach is nice in it's seclusion - no hotels, just people, and if you walk for a few minutes, you can find a space away from them. They also allow dog's on leashes, and we ran into a few. The sand was disappointing - it seemed gray, as if they were covering the beaches with sand that they dredged from off-shore. I'm not sure if this is the case, but it was different than I imagined, anyway. We did see a lot of shells on the beach, but they were small and my shell dreams were of large beautiful shells. It was also igh tide and you could see a number of shells covered by the water. I didn't end of collecting any, but it was still nice to see them.
After our beach time, we got back on our bikes and headed back. We had to go about 4 miles back, and it seemed to take forever, even though we were going fairly fast. By then I was tired from the sun and heat and my bum ached from spending so much time
on a bike seat. We had originally planned to see another beach as well, but by this time we were both tired and uninterested. We returned our bikes just as they were closing up, got in the car and headed home (after a quick stop at 7-11 so Jen could get a Super Big Gulp Diet Coke for the ride).
I was ready to completely crash out, but instead we went grocery shopping for dinner since we were having her friend's Joanna and Ross over for a bbq. We got back to the house just after they arrived, and after a quick introduction I took a quick shower to get the salt and sand off. Once human again, I rejoined the party and spent the night eating and chatting with everyone and showing off pictures from my trip. That night I literally dreamed of shell collecting, and passed over many a big beautiful shell for the perfect one. Sweet dreams!
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