Do’s and Don’ts DO… READ THE BLOG for great tips on Stuff, Food, Hotels, and Entertainment. Below are just some extra tips from Emmy. STUFF Do… get prescription sports glasses for riding. They are biking sunglasses with inner prescription lenses that easily snap in and out. Lewis calls me “Six Eyes” when I wear them. I am not offended cause I look badass. Do… pack a couple of spandex/nylon sun dresses.
Our ride ended after a late night arrival from Key West to Fort Myers on the “booze cruise” high speed ferry. We picked up a mini-van in which we could roll the bikes so we could roll much more rapidly from Fort Myers to Everglades City. The elusive allure of the Everglades eluded us. Still, the Everglades are one of world’s largest swamps, very important as a giant water filtration system and a habitat for birds, fish, alligators, and smaller creatures.
Well, Key West–what can one say? It is sort of the south end of the USA… And it is really crowded, really touristy, and really, really boozy. Yeah, it is. We did it: 538.6 miles from Amelia Island to Key West. And this was the end of our ride due to a bit of a logistics snafu. We stayed near the big marina and Duval St. where all the action is, even though our hotel, the Piers Hotel, was pretty quiet.
On our ride to Little Torch Key, we rode the legendary 7 Mile Bridge as seen in the 7 Mile Selfie, above. The shoulder is wide; the sun is hot; the water is turquoise; no flat tires; we lived to tell. It is a strange thing. Under much of the bridge, the water appears to be no more than a few feet deep. On the shorter bridges between keys, people fish.
On the way to Duck Key, we stopped at the world famous History of Diving Museum. One couple assembled a vast collection of antique diving gear and then added enough modern equipment to bring us (alive) to the present. Here, Emmy practices with an old fashioned diving helmet: On Duck Key, we stayed at Hawks Key Resort. This is a sort of unfortunate place. It was an ersatz experience: neither posh resort nor real and interesting.
The ride from Homestead to Key Largo begins on the causeway supporting US 1—the only way to the Keys. This is a black, asphalt strip with a wide and safe enough shoulder for us to ride on. But, it was long and hot with no places to stop until you reach Key Largo. There Chef Joe’s foodtruck greeted us and a more welcoming stop there never was. Not sure the giant spiny lobster you see above was on Key Largo or further along our journey, but if the lobster fits, wear it.
We rode the one paved, often broken, curvaceous bike trail from downtown Miami 20 miles to Homestead. In Miami, the trail is under the elevated commuter rail. From Miami it winds through the suburbs, including Coral Gables, home of the University of Miami. Before we reached Coral Gables we stopped at the extraordinary Mack Cycle and Fitness. We come from Seattle where there are some nice bike shops. But, none carry the amount of physically present inventory, across the price spectrum, of Mack’s.
Wow, the sun does shine in Florida. We finally got the sunny, warm riding day we’d always dreamed of. With the wind at our backs we flew into Miami, through Hollywood Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and onto Collins Avenue. On Collins Avenue shoreside nature gives way to 6 lanes of traffic jams, skyscraper condos, and fancy-brands shopping–ah, paradise (lost). Here we are at the faaaabulous Fountainebleau with all of the beautiful people.
We didn’t come prepared to do business on this ride. We had 3 sets of riding clothes and only 2 sets of “evening” clothes. We assumed that the evening clothes could do double duty because we wouldn’t sweat in the evenings. So, we made do at the conference. I appeared a bit more informal than other attendees at the conference. I had been invited to a conference entitled, “Democracy Matters,” held at the Eau Palm Beach hotel.
Another long overdue update on our trip. Finally, we are enjoying the sun-soaked rides we sought rather than the just soaked rides. We moved up our rest day from day 10 to day 9 in Palm Beach, which made it easy to attend a conference I had been invited to. This was a good day to dry out before the final leg south and west. Here is a summary update with links to the rest.
Today, we are riding from Hutchinson Island through Jupiter to Palm Beach. In Jupiter, we’d be meeting Emmy’s boarding school classmate from Westover School, Genie Jessup Murray. We thought we could ride out the storm. But, that was not to be. Just 4 miles in, we were thoroughly drenched with 39 miles to go. Wait! We have smartphones, the internet, credit cards—and we are in a place with lots of resources.
We are so not Navy Seals. We visited the National Navy UDT-Seal Museum. We learned that real Navy Seals are incredibly tough, well-trained, courageous, patriotic, and dedicated to each of their team members. They truly leave no one behind. The stories in the Presidential Medal of Honor commendations are harrowing for both those who survived and those who died. In addition to the history of the Seals’ predecessors, the Underwater Demolition Teams, and the Seals, there is a lot of cool stuff:
It always pays to eat local and eat the local catch. In Florida, the local catch includes grouper, wahoo, and shrimp. You can have them all fried, grilled, or blackened. You can have them presented in salads, sandwiches, tacos, and platters. Emmy’s favorite is blackened en taco. Lewis’ favorite is grilled sandwich or blackened platter. This fine establishment is on Butler Beach: This popular watering hole is The Inlet Grill right on Pierce Inlet:
Today, we rode to Indian Harbor Beach. What’s a little wind? …say, 18 mph. What’s a little rain? …say, an inch. Ya know wind at your back is not so bad even if it is pelting rain at our Goretex ensconsed upper bodies. Uh, then we crossed the intracoastal on the only up slopes in Florida and the wind and rain came from the side. Then, we turned south again—hey, no prob.
Another uneventful day on which we did not get drenched. Hutchinson Island is long and skinny and possibly not likely to be above sea level in 50 years. Actually, it still will be but storm surge won’t see much of a barrier. We stopped at an abortive effort to build a fishing pier: Lewis, like so many cyclists, is clearly a scofflaw or merely unable to read signs or both (well, neither…):
So much has happened. An update is way overdue. Now we are catching up with a barrage, yes—I say a veritable barrage of posts. See all the posts below for all of the updates. Uneventful day 4 with an entrancing photo. Uneventful day 5 with (in)action shots. Emmy re-unites with Genie (Eugenia) and serious dowsing. Having fun while drenched. We are (not) Navy Seals Cousins and serious dowsing. Quick, where is the Ark?
Day 4 as uneventful but long: 51.4 miles. We arrived in Titusville, whose primary claim to fame is the jumping off point for visitors to the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral. We didn’t schedule time to visit—this time. But, if Emmy doesn’t get over her pining for space men, there will be a next time. (I am very fortunate this fellow could not ever get out of his space suit.
Today, we sailed along A1A with the wind at our backs, often riding seemingly with no effort at all at 14 to 16 miles per hour. The path was nearly straight for forty-six miles. We started at a temperature of 42 in Florida. It never got above 55, but with the wind at our backs and bright sunshine we felt entire comfortable. Emmy and Lewis enjoy the view at Flagler Beach:
Today’s ride started out cold and quickly warmed up. Wind from ahead shifted to wind from the side. Thirty-seven miles to Butlers Beach—all along A1A. We went past all the mansions of Ponte Vedra: houses of 7000 sq. feet a couple of feet apart on a strip of land about 100 feet wide. Maybe 30 feet above sea level. Then more of A1A. We went through the charming town of St.
Today was our send-off on day one after spending 3 days with best hostess Prudy, affectionately known as “Granny P,” and her trusty and ever-present sidekick, Lulu. We did a short test ride to make sure everything was tip-top after jack-of-few-trades and simulated bicycle mechanic Lewis re-assembled the bikes, which had arrived a week earlier courtesy of Bikeflights.com and Fedex. The ride on the Amelia Island Bike Path is stunning, winding its way through forests of tangled Live Oak, dripping with Spanish Moss—see above (though with little Spanish Moss in evidence—but “trust me”).
We are getting ready for the start of our ride down the Florida coast from Fernandina Beach to Key West, then by ferry to Marco Island and across the Everglades to Ft. Lauderdale. Taking it easy–averaging 40 miles a day. No massive expedition like our ride across American in 2017 (see “More Trips” in the menu above). Instead, we’re traveling ultra-light and popping into beach hotels each night. This is the life–it had better be!