Hi fellow bloggers.
On this past Sunday after doing my mid morning workout at the gym’ I decided when I returned home to go ahead and get on my bike and to do my 25 mile bike ride along Bayshore Boulevard a little bit earlier than I normally would do.
The skies above MacDill AFB were a bit overcast, but it didn’t appear that any rain was imminent.
So off I went on my ride. The first 12 1/2 miles were uneventful. However, the second half for my return trip was a bit challenging to say the least!
The skies above Bayshore Avenue seemed fine as I was peddling along the Tampa Bay, although I did notice that the water on the Bay was beginning to get a bit choppy.
When I reach the destination of my 1st leg and was making my 180 degree turn to start my ride back to the base, I was shocked at how dark the sky above me had gotten! I did not see this inclement weather coming and I never carry my cell phone with me when biking. The winds in the next few moments really picked up and got progressively worse. I could feel the instability of my bike as I tried desperately to head towards home. The winds became so fierce (almost hurricaine intensity!) that big palm tree branches on the trees above me started to fall rapidly towards the ground with one large branch just missing my head! These palm tree branches can be pretty sharp and can really cause some bodily injury if you’re hit by them. Luckily I saw it coming towards me and was quick to duck! (Ok…Strike One!)
Since it was nearly impossible to safely peddle anymore I got off my bike and tried to quickly think about what to do next as I was definitely right in the center of a heavy storm. The thunder then began to roar and the rain began to quickly fall in massive amounts at great intensity and due to the heavy winds the rain was coming down at a 45 degree towards me! The impact of the rain hitting me actually hurt because of its intensity. I felt screwed! I had no place to hide! The street became flooded very quickly and it transformed into a rapidly flowing river. I was at a standstill for a moment as I collected my thoughts. I had to somehow get out of the open area that I was currently in and to find protective cover somewhere.
So I decided to take the plunge and to cross the street (or should I say rapidly flowing river!). The water was up to my knees. Since the winds were hitting me towards the left side of my body while the water in the street was rapidly rushing downstream toward the right side of my body, the force of each going in opposite directions allowed me to stay vertically stable while I crossed the street.
Once reaching the other side I quickly looked for cover and the only real possibility was near a home I saw off to the distance that appeared to be under interior renovation as I could see a large trash receptacle in front of it. My thought was that this house was temporarily vacant and hopefully I could find some overhang cover there. When within 50 feet of the trash receptical, suddenly I heard a quick boom and apparently lightening had just stuck the base of this receptacle. If I has been just 50 feet further along that road I would have been hit by that lightening! (OK ….Strike Two!).
After transferring along the side of that house, I found a corner where the side garage meet the corner of an extended part of that home with a small overhang. I figured staying in that corner would give me some protection from the rain and heavy winds. I stayed in place for about 30 minutes until the winds died down a bit and the rain lessened to a more tolerable level.
Ok at this point I started peddling down the side street and decided I would head back to the base via a different route. I couldn’t peddle on the side of the roadway as water was really gushing down the street from higher to lower levels.
About a mile away, I came upon a major one-way road way where traffic looked like it was coming to a stop as the light traffic light changed to red. As I began crossing the street passing one stopped car, in the other lane to the right of him…the driver in that second car was apparently not paying attention to the red light and as I was passing that second lane, I heard a load screach. That car came within an inch of hitting me! (Ok….Strike Three!)
At that point…I knew I had used up my 3 strikes. I think my ability and luck to not get hurt was becoming a bit limited. I would be glad when safely back to MacDill AFB, now about 8 miles away.
Ok, so as I continued to peddling towards home and was moving along the side of a fairy busy street, I looked to the left. I saw a large turtle at least 2 1/4 feet long beginning to cross the street. Surely if I didn’t do something quick that turtle would be hit! So I got off my bike and put up my hand in the holt position to stop traffic until I reached this poor turtle in the road. At that point I played traffic cop directing cars to the right and left of this turtle as I gently placed my foot to the rear of this turtle trying to prompt it towards the other side of the road towards an open field so it would be out of harm’s way. Finally it reached the other side of the road about 10 minutes later!! So I guess the answer for the old saying for why the turtle was crossing the road is actually correct….and the answer “to get to the other side!” is actually right!
So, all in all I managed to survive the palm tree branch, the lightening and the car nearly hitting me and also was able to save a large turtle from being hit along the way!
Three and one half hours later since starting out on my journey, I finally made it it home. Wouldn’t you know…not one drop of rain had fallen on MacDill AFB that entire time!
Have a great day!
Note: I included a video in this blog of an actual hurricaine, as the rain and winds your see in that video was very close to what I experienced during my bike ride! Unfortunately did not have my cell with me to capture actual pics of the bad weather.