All posts for the month March, 2020

Aside from the Day 1, this was the easiest ride of this trip, thanks mostly to a generous tail wind! Our ride today was about 61 miles. I personally found biking over the 7 mile bridge was more interesting than worrisome. There were only 2 lanes for motor vehicles, one for each direction, and the drivers were very courteous, moving towards the center as they passed Tim and I, when there was not another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. At that point, the tail wind was so strong that we were doing about 13 mph without pedaling, which was really nice! Just over the 7 mile bridge, and about 23 miles into today’s ride, we stopped at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Little Duck Key, which was a beach with a picnic table. Here are the pictures from today’s ride, starting with photos from our stop at the beach park.

A view of the Atlantic Ocean from the beach park at our first stop. The water looked so inviting that I was tempted to take off my shoes and socks and wade in. But getting all the sand off my feet afterward would have been challenging, so I opted not to do that.
Tim sitting at the picnic table at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Little Duck Key, where we had our 1st stop of the day.
Here is Tim at our 2nd stop at Cudjoe Key, where we left U.S. 1 to use the adjacent bike path. We were 24 miles away from Key West at this stop.
Another view of the bike path on Cudjoe Key.
A view of the colorful water just past Naval Air Station Key West. This was about 10 miles away from our hotel.
Tim and I on the porch of our hotel, shortly after the ride ended in Key West. I am on my 1st Guinness Stout.

After completing the ride, we disassembled and packed up our bikes, and we will check them with our luggage for the flights home tomorrow morning. Then after showering, Beth, Tim and I walked to the Truman White House in Key West, where we took an extremely interesting and informative tour. While we were packing up our bikes, Nancy and Beth walked to the Hemingway House at Key West.

The Truman White House, Key West, FL.

After touring the Truman White House, we walked back to our hotel and Tim, Nancy and I then walked to the 6 pm mass, after which we ate dinner at Duffy’s Restaurant and Bar, about 2 short blocks from our hotel.

All tolled, we biked about 550 miles on this trip, which I think is the most we have ever biked on any leg. It was a tough trip but it ended nicely.

The last morning send off. The Hawk’s Kaye Inn was quite lavish but the perfect distance from Key West for our last day’s ride. The winds were very strong between 20 and 25 mph but fortunately out of the NE. They were more of a cross wind than a tail wind but definitely helped push us along,
This was our first rest stop today. We had travelled around 20 miles and, more importantly, we had just finished Seven Mile Bridge. It was every bit of seven miles. I was gripping my handlebars with both hands the whole way.
Way off in the distance is Seven Mile Bridge. Brian came close to taking his shoes off and walking into the water. It did look inviting.
I took this picture since it was typical of the dozens of bridges we crossed today between keys. I don’t know why they call all these islands keys.
We wondered for the last two days when the road was built. It is a remarkable engineering feat. I hope you can read this road sign explaining the history of the road, formerly 4A but now called US 1.
Our last rest stop of the day and the trip. The pictures I took for the last two days just don’t show the true aqua color of the water in the keys.
A celebratory beer at the end of the trip. Altogether we biked around 540 miles over 9 days. We saw a spring training game, had dinner with Arlene Sullivan and saw the Truman Little White House here in Key West. We both have a sense of accomplishment for finishing a long ride in good spirits. We stayed in some very lavish places which helped regenerate us for the next day’s ride. Good job to Beth for making the arrangements and to Nancy for good cheer and great sandwiches. Thank you to both for making this possible. Beth says this was her last trip. We’ll see if we can’t change her mind.

Today’s ride was 68 miles and it sure felt like most of it was with yet another headwind. But since I picked the direction of this ride from north to south, I can only blame myself. I really do not enjoy biking against a headwind. We got away from our hotel at about 8:15 AM and made it to our hotel (Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key – a really nice place!) at 3:30 PM. Here are the photos from today’s ride.

Our first rest stop was in Key Largo, about 22 miles from Florida City. We stopped in the courtyard of St Justin the Martyr Catholic Church.
Here is a photo of Tim finishing his morning yogurts in the courtyard of St. Justin the Martyr in Key Largo.
I took this picture when we stopped at the crest of one of the bridges on the keys. The water is a greenish blue that is very striking.
Tim eating a sandwich at our final rest stop of the day.
The view of the water at our last rest stop.
The pool at the Hawks Cay Resort was really nice, and Beth and I swam in the pool about an hour after Tim and I arrived. Here is a photo of Nancy and me by the pool, shortly before going to an excellent dinner at the resort.
The bar bill for our after dinner drinks. Pretty impressive, especially the price for the 18 year old Scotch whiskey. Still, this resort is really nice!

Tomorrow is our final ride of this leg, with 61 miles to Key West. A tailwind would be lovely, but at this point I feel it is unlikely, regardless of the weather forecast.

Today’s route out of Fort Lauderdale Beach and through Miami was very complicated, so Tim and I decided not to try to use the Adventure Cycling Association maps and instead we used google maps biking directions for a little more than half of the ride, and then again at the very end. Whenever we use my phone for the directions, I really can’t use it to take photos. Once we got out of downtown Miami and onto a bike trail that was constructed beneath the Miami Metro Line (and called the M Path), I stopped using my phone for directions. However, I only took this one photo:

Here is Tim on the M Path, with the Metro Line elevated to his left. We did the last 30 miles of today’s ride on the M Path and the South Dade bike path, which connected to the M Path once the Metro Line ended.

The two trails, the M Path and the South Dade bike path, were safe, but there were numerous intersections, which tended to slow us down a bit. We left our hotel in Fort Lauderdale at about 8:30 AM and made it to Florida City at about 4:15 PM. We stopped three times for brief rests and to eat. It was about 65 miles in the heat and humidity – it got close to 90 degrees today, and the humidity was probably close to 90%. So it was definitely a difficult ride today.

Tomorrow we ride to Marathon on Duck Key, which is about 67 miles. I am hoping we do not have another head wind tomorrow.

Our send off photo. We couldn’t decide whether to follow the Advantage Cycling route or Google Bike route.. We chose the latter, so we avoided Miami Beach.
We crossed over the inter coastal on this bridge which is not a drawbridge.
Our first rest stop. We are in North Miami about to get on a short bike trail. Up to this point we were on a mix of artery roads and residential streets which was the norm until we had to pass thru Downtown Miami.
This was the first bike trail that lasted less than 5 miles. It was in North Miami.
A rest stop in Downtown Miami. I was nervous with all the cars, no bike lane and almost every driver on their cell phones. Even the scooter riders were on their cell phones. I couldn’t.wait to get thru Miami, but it was also a thriving, vibrant area with a lot of construction going on. Not what I was expecting.
This was the bike trail that comes out of Miami and goes to Homestead/Florida City. It runs under the Metro which is elevated it’s entire length. We were on it for over 27 miles, at least 18 were under the Metro. The shade it provided was one of the best features.
Our final rest stop today. We decided to stop at a bus stop since we had a place to sit in the shade. When the Metro ended, the bike path was along the busway, a dedicated two lane road exclusively for buses.
Brian did all the navigating today. This was our final stop to check on directions to tonight’s hotel. Almost there. A long day because of having to traverse the city of Miami but wind was not a factor. Tomorrow we reach and start down the Keys. The winds are supposed to be coming out of the North. And we are going south!!!
Day 5 Sendoff Photo.

First Rest Stop along Rt. 1. It’s always a banana.

Spring Training Game in Jupiter. Cardinals vs. Astros. Some Yankees fans were brutal chanting ‘cheaters’ every time an Astro player or coach was near them. I guess that is what the Astros will be in for this season.

View from my room in Jupiter. Lovely setting.

Morning Sendoff. We are ready for another day in the saddle. Getting butt callouses.

Rode thru some run down areas of Palm Beach. This was our first stop at a closed former gas station at a major intersection.

Another rest stop. Since we were in metropolitan areas, the library was literally our rest stop.

It was so hot today, we ran out of fluids and had to stop and replenish Gatorade and water as we passed a Walgreens.. We were on Rt 1 for most of the day.until the last 10 miles when we got to A1A.

In order to cross over to Fort Lauderdale Beach, you have to cross over the inter coastal waterway. This is a draw bridge in the up position to let a couple boats pass.

End of the day and I am settled in my room. You can’t see it in the picture but the ocean is way off in the distance. Lots are freighters are visible on the ocean. There is a pool on the other side of the hedge that was delightful.

This was one of the hotels across the street from our little two story hotel. IOur hotel was a nice little hotel with a pool and garden area outside the rooms.
We finished the day with a visit and dinner with Arlene Sullivan in Deerfield Beach.

This was the hottest day on the bike yet and even though the ride was only 62 miles, I ran out of fluids again. This time we stopped at a Walgreens right on U.S. 1 South and I purchased 3 bottles of water and 1 bottle of Gatorade. Today we mainly used U.S. 1 South, but we also used U.S. 5 South for a stretch, which was nice since there was very little traffic on U.S. 5 and we were somewhat shielded from the wind. Here are today’s photos.

One of our stops today was at Boynton Beach, where I propped up my bike against a trash can, right along U.S. 1 South.

We finally got off of U.S. 1 South and were headed to A1A in Fort Lauderdale by around 1:45 p.m., when the drawbridge was opening for boat traffic.
We had a nice happy hour in the courtyard of the Elita Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.

We finished the day by having dinner with Arlene Sullivan, a cousin who lives in Deerfield Beach.

We have a ride of about 64 miles to Florida City, our last place on the mainland before heading to the Florida Keys. Hopefully it will be our last day of riding into the wind.

Today’s ride was 55 miles and, while we had a head wind, it wasn’t too much of an issue until the last 5-6 miles, when naturally it was uphill also! But overall, it was a good day of riding and it was the first time we were actually hot while riding. Here are today’s photos.

We stopped after 20 miles into the ride just south of Fort Pierce, FL. At this point the winds were probably 10 mph in our face.
Here is Tim eating one of Nancy’s excellent sandwiches at our second and last stop, somewhere around Stuart, FL. This was 40 miles into the ride.
It’s always nice when you can see the sign for the hotel at the end of the ride. It’s a very nice place and is only about 5 or 6 years old.
We made it to a Grapefruit League baseball game of the Cardinals versus the Astros. We only saw the game from the 6th to the 9th inning, but still had a very nice time at the Card’s spring training ballpark in Jupiter.
Tim, Beth and Brian relaxing at the Cards versus Astros game.
I had a turkey dinner tonight at MaCarthy’s Pub in Jupiter. It was delicious! Plus blueberry pie for desert!

We have a 66 mile ride to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow and the winds are again predicted to be in our face. We’re going to try to get away even earlier tomorrow morning.

Obligatory picture. Beth took and no finger in the picture, even though Nancy says her finger is special.
First stop of the day after 15 miles. We were along Rt 1 Not very scenic rest stop.
This is what a 19 mile head wind today looks like. It was a challenging day
We met these two guys from Atlanta who were biking from Orlando to Key West. They are camping. We hope to see them on the road again since they will end in Key West on Saturday also.
It was a challenging day battling the 19 mile per hour headwinds this afternoon. We didn’t get in until after 5 PM. This was my view from the balcony of my room on the 5th floor of our hotel in Vero Beach. Vero Beach is a place I would like to come back to.