Hank – I woke early and found Richard was almost packed and ready to go. We chatted a while and I learned he stayed with Rob and Mary, also our Warmshowers Host, in Melbourne Beach. Wow, the world keeps getting smaller. I told Richard about getting a walk-in site at Bahia Honda Key State Park. He headed out early with plans to camp there too.
I knew Kathy didn’t sleep well last night so since she was asleep I let her get some rest. I walked over to the beach and watched some early morning kayakers and kite surfers. They were having some fun.
When Kathy woke we had a peanut butter/banana sandwich for breakfast since we have a light day ahead of us. I went and settled the bill, $22, while Kathy was getting dressed. We were on the road by 10:30 am. Since we only had 21 miles we decided to stop in Marathon and hang out for a bit. We had a strong tailwind so we made quick time. We stopped at the Overseas Pub and Grille for lunch. I had a hard cider and Kathy had a mimosa while we mulled over the menu. The place was very quiet and there were only a couple of customers sitting outside. An older gentleman pulled up on a cruiser bicycle and stepped up to the bar. Next thing your know we’re best friends with Hugh Baker. Hugh mentioned he’s a local barber and Kathy asked if he worked just down the street because she saw a sign that says, “Hugh is here.” Yep, that’s him. Hugh lives on a sailboat and has done so for the last 27 years. He plans to sail to Guatemala in April live down there because his money will go farther there. He was amazed to hear about our adventure and bought us a round of drinks.
While we were talking a guy pulls up in a Cobra sports car and goes inside. A little while later a woman walked by us and said, “Whoever owns that car, I’ll marry you.” Without missing a beat Hugh says, “C’mere, honey. I own that car.” What a jokester. Since Hugh was so much fun to be with I paid his tab as well as mine. We said our goodbyes and got back on the road.
We were soon crossing the Seven Mile Bridge. I’d heard horror stories about this bridge but I didn’t think the traffic or conditions were bad at all. The shoulder is wide enough for me. And maybe Kathy and I are just used to riding next to fast traffic. On the north side of it lies a long section of the Overseas Railroad build by Henry Flagler during the beginning of the 1900s. (We learned about Flager while visiting St Augustine). The old railroad is also part of the Overseas Heritage Trail but there are sections missing so it’ll be a long time before anyone will be able to cross it.
We arrived at Bahia Honda Key State Park around 2:30 pm. I told the woman behind the desk of my phone call a couple weeks ago where I was told we could get a walk-in site as long as we show up before 3:00 pm. Mona told me that whoever said that is incredibly wrong and said there were no sites available. She gave me a list of private camp sites and said I had to go to one of them. After a little more chatter she lit up and asked, “Is your name Hank?” I said it was and she said another cyclist got a camp site for us. It was Richard. He showed up before 1:00 pm and managed to claim the only camp site that was coming available today. So he told them we were sharing it. Whew! What a relief that was. Mona gave us our site pass and sent us on our way.
Richard was there and he was about to give up on us. He thought maybe we rode on to Key West or something. We pitched our tent. I strung parachute cord between to poles to hang our food up high because Mona said the raccoons are very aggressive here. We were leaving camp to go eat at a restaurant. Richard had a bus schedule. We walked out to the bus stop on the highway right next to our gate and rode to Big Pine Key. We found a good restaurant, Milagro, close to the bus stop. After dinner and some drinks we caught the bus back. Kathy and I got our showers in and then called it a night. Since Richard was low on food for tomorrow I gave him a Clif bar and a banana. He appreciated that very much.
Kathy – We ended up riding 23 miles today. It was super easy. Another hot day in the low 80’s with the sun shining brightly sure made those cold drinks taste very refreshing. I was enjoying our ride so much today that I didn’t want it to end. That seven mile bridge was pretty amazing too. Having water surround you is very calming. Enjoyed all our conversations with the people we meet today too. It is just so peaceful and beautiful down here – not sure I want to leave. 😉🌴☀️
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