Air you can wear - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

March 8, 2022

Air you can wear

Winter Garden bike ride #1

Boy, we sure got our rain last night when it decided to pour on us! What a change from the sunny skies we'd been enjoying to now a forecast week of rain everyday. 

But the rain had stopped by morning and the sun was peeking out from the clouds. We got Garfield ready to go and headed out for a ride. It was so humid out that you could almost cut it with a knife! 

We were riding on the West Orange rail trail which was easily accessed a couple of miles from our campground. It followed a former railway that ran along Lake Apopka and we'll be doing it in 2 separate rides. Today's ride was to the SW and we picked it up in downtown Winter Garden.

The trail was paved and quite wide. There were lots of others out on this pretty day and we enjoyed the pleasant mostly flat ride. 

We passed lots of nice homes, many of which had large screened-in patio/pool areas that are called Florida Rooms. The same thing in Arizona would be called an Arizona Room. They do create an outdoor space that's protected from bugs. 

After several miles, we reached the end of this trail where we found it fed seamlessly onto the South Lake Trail. That was a surprise as we didn't know about this one but decided to follow it for awhile to see where it went.

But this trail wasn't a flat rail trail - no sir, we discovered the hills here! The downhills were fun but the associated ups not nearly so much, especially when Don couldn't get the bike downshifted correctly on one steep climb. We had to get off and walk on that one. 

We only rode about 5 miles of this trail before turning around but I discovered later that it continued at least another 5 miles before ending. Both of these trails are part of the still developing Coast-to-Coast Florida Trail. 

The return trip went quickly and we were back at camp by noon. Not a bad ride, even though it was pretty urban and we had lots of side roads to cross. 

Don had a short time to relax before taking the truck over to a Toyota dealership to have the oil changed and check on a recall notice he had received about the power steering. I expected him to be gone all afternoon but he was back in about an hour. It turned out that the recall didn't affect our particular truck which was good.

This evening we went on a little trip to Spain for our dinner. I had been searching on-line for places in this area that served grilled octopus (we liked it so much when we had it in Naples, that we wanted to try it again). I had located a Spanish restaurant called Tapa Toro that not only had octopus but also paella and here was the kicker - live flamenco dancing every night! So of course we just had to check this place out.

The rain came back in sheets on our drive to the restaurant but luckily it stopped when we got to our destination which was located near Universal Studios. It was in the middle of a large shopping complex and we had a hard time finding it since only pedestrian traffic was allowed in the area which thoroughly confused our gps! 

After the third circle around the area, I finally caught a glimpse of the restaurant. Yeah! We're here and there was even complimentary valet parking. 

We were a little early for our reservation, but the place wasn't busy and they went ahead and sat us at our table which was next to the flamenco stage. Perfect!

This place served tapas (small plates of different appetizer sized items) which included the octopus. So we ordered that along with lamb/chicken paella which was supposed to serve 2-3 people. 

The one time we had ever ever eaten paella was at the Florida City hostel that we stayed at on our bike tour through southern Florida. We both remembered that as being quite good so wanted to try the dish again. 

Along with our meal, we also had a couple of glasses of their house made sangria which was really good but strong. I had about a third of the glass and was totally looped! I am such a lightweight when it comes to booze!

The meal was a leisurely one - first the octopus which was good but not as exceptional as the one we'd ordered in Naples. The paella was also good and we ended up taking a lot home. We could have ordered the more traditional seafood paella but Don has to watch not eating too much shellfish. 

But the highlight of the meal was the flamenco dancing! A young woman danced on the stage for about 20 minutes and we both enjoyed the different routines. Her arm/hand work was very expressive but Don felt her footwork could have been better. Always a critic! (I thought it was fine). 

Once the dancing was done, we finished our drinks, then took a little walk around the shopping area which consisted of many other restaurants and little touristy type shops. There was also a HUGE gondola ferris wheel that we could have ridden but decided our dinner had emptied our pocket book for the day. 

Time to head home, another adventure done.

A purple cow?! Not sure if this house was a business or private home.
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We even found a gator!
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Winter Garden had some nice parks along the trail with several unique sculptures like this one.
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This home had this neat vintage Airstream in their backyard. Complete with flamingos. I saw a mannequin inside that had her arm up waving at people passing by. I may have mentioned earlier that it's a "thing" to name your Airstream like this one. The barely visible numbers indicate a previous owner belonged to the Wally Byum International Airstream club. We are also members. There was a newer Airstream parked alongside the home. But we were surprised that this older one wasn't still traveling as many vintage Airstreams, with a little work are roadworthy.
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This older bridge took us over the interstate.
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Aahhhh - we're finally back in the land of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss! I love it as it reminds me so much of the deep South.
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At one rest area there was a nice butterfly garden. This was a type of jasmine but had no scent. I did see lots of butterflies, but none would stay still long enough for a picture.
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The highlight of the day was the flamenco dancer at the Tapa Toro restaurant we had dinner at tonight. I thought she danced very well - using a fan and scarf. Don said she should have taken off her glasses!
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Hey - who's this gal?!
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Today's ride: 21 miles (34 km)
Total: 432 miles (695 km)

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