The road ahead

A lot of shoulder, blue skies and blue-green water ahead. Miles and miles on both sides. This was one of the more friendly wide areas. Looks like they continue to construct friendly bike paths that run parallel when they can. Just have to get used to the mix and sometimes feel the swoosh of a dump truck buzzing by at 60 miles an hour (or more?)

What a difference a day makes

To sum it up we are back in business.

After a tough Tuesday today fell right into plan.

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The day rested on finding the bike shop, getting there early and them fixing what needed fixing. They beat that. All Cycles in Key Largo was about 3 miles away. I needed to get there on time an get them working. So, I Ubered a ride with my bike hanging outside the driver’s trunk.

The repair guy had no problem fixing the flat but we discussed the possiblity of the tire being shot after several big hits that day. If you’ve ever had to fix a tire you know you do not want to fix anything that has a possibility of causing another future problem.

So, we went with a new Continental 33cm somewhat treaded tire with Kevlar linking. I was going bigger, wider and tougher to get thru the upcoming ordeal. Then it suddenly dawned on me that if I was going to upgrade the toughness oon one, why not just do both? Now I feel more ready and capable for what’s ahead.

So, finally finished the bike and I was ready to roll again by 11:30. I’ll be brief on ther ride except to say it was great, beautiful, hot, challenging and satisfying knowing that I’m back on track again. I’m here in Marathon, about 1/2 way out on the Keys staying at a airbnb cottage which is a nice reminder where I am.

My upcoming plans have changed slightly and I will be heading from here another 50 miles tomorrow to Key West where I have a camp spot on the ocean. That will be a new experience with me. I leave Saturday morning driving me and my bike to Daytona Beach. I will be missing a chunk of miles from Fort Lauderdale to Daytona that would have been on our route. But, its all part of my new revised Plan C.

That’s Life. That’s what the people say.

Whoa! I’m remembering what “Old Blue Eyes” once said. Big time.

“Riding high in April. Shot down in … (April?)”

So, today, Wednesday, April 11, started out great. This is the first full day on the bike!

I left the airbnb in Plantation, FL and headed south on almost a straight line for 30 miles. An early disappointment was the roads which were busy and randomly friendly to bikes, Some had dedicated lanes, some not even a shoulder. Some speedy, some pleasurably slow. Then the best part was the southern Miami area where there was a nice well kept bike trail for about 10 miles called the Old Cutler Road.

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The shit part started right after that ended and I, thinking the omniscient Google would always pick the best routes, decided to follow their suggest route which looked out-of-the-way and peaceful. That may be true but there’s more to pay for that.

Looking at the Google map to get to Key Largo takes a coastal route without any highway but it does not tell you that it’s a long 30 mile dusty trail in the middle of no man’s land, Biscayne National ParkĀ  and miles and miles of mangroves following a canal. Presumably, this is the Everglades or something like it.

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I’ll totally blame Google for this day’s woes. Once I got on the trail I suddenly realized that I need more of a pickup truck or fat bike to ride this stuff. My Ex Pat is designed to tow and take some weight and bounce but this was ridiculous, Rocks, millions of pebbles, ditches, all took its toll on the bike until I broke a bolt holding the rear rack to the frame. Then finally near the end of this torture I flatted after hitting some severe rocks.

The final straw as the flat was very difficult to fix as the tire was too tight to get on the rim. After an hour of trying I finally got it on only to have the new tube blow out. I was 1000 feet from hitting the road again but it was not to be.

Its getting near 5 pm and I still have another 25 miles to go so I did what any sane person would do these days and call a Uber. Pedro arrive in about 15 minutes and delivered me to Key Largo my destination (almost, since I was so beat my plan to camp was replaced with a room, somewhere, anywhere). That place was the Key West Inn (in Key Largo). I will not go into rating this right now because I’m not sure how you can rate this place. Maybe more on this later.

Anyway, I’m in Key Largo. I have a broken bike. But its nothing that can’t be fixed. šŸ™‚ However, I’ve got to get that done before I can do anything and this will set my schedule back. I’m going to sleep on what are my next steps. The trip goes on. Meanwhile, here’s where I had dinner and caught a little of the Keys mojo at Sharkey’s. More on that tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully a better one. No one said this would be easy. In a perverse way, I like the new challenge of improvising solutions and remembering that even the best plans of men oft go awry. I’m totally in my McGiver role right now.

 

 

 

 

 

Crashing in Fort Lauderdale

Sorry for the title. Meant to be lodging. We are at an Airbnb in Sandra’s condo. We at least have a bed each and a mall where I’m out eating some pretty fine pizza at Anthony’s. Pizza is gone. Tom is prepping for tomorrow and this is all that’s left.

Here’s Sandra’s place (airbnb) 711 North Pine Island Road, Plantation, FL. Decent enough for $44 for both of us. Good night’s sleep and we are off at 7:00 am daybreak.

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The Plan Changes

Besides his impressive resume of solo bike rides, which includes one from Florida 7 years ago, Tom is an experienced sailor and knows about winds.

My first leg of this long journey was to be starting in Key West by renting a vehicle in Fort Luderdale and driving ito Key West to start my bike ride on Thursday 4/12. Only problem is wind. But its a bg problem on the Keys. According to all reports I had a strong 15 MPH wind blowing East against me.

But if I switched the logic and rodeĀ  to Key West then took the car back I could make the wind work for me. So, the plan has changed. I’m on the road riding tomorrow Wednesday, 4/11 from Fort Lauderdale to the Keys. Depending how the day goes I’ll try to make it at least 75 miles or so. Then pick up a car in Key West and drive back to Fort Lauderdale on Friday. There I’ll begin catching up with Tom who will miss the Keys.