Hank – We had oatmeal and tea for breakfast. I used the electric stove with our pan to boil water. We left a thank you card for Sergio and Eliana. Following Hwy 1–where else are we gonna go?–we got on a paved trail that runs next to it because it was smoother. Later on we switched to the bike lane because it was smoother and easier for cross traffic to see us. We alternated as needed the rest of the day.
We stopped by the Divers Museum intending to go in when Kathy noticed her rear tire was soft. I found a large staple in it and pulled it out. Funny enough, that didn’t cause the flat. There was a steel wire from a vehicle tire, hence the slow leak. I replaced the tube.
We checked our time and decided to skip the museum because we wanted to stop at Robbie’s as recommended by Jake at Son of a Pizza in Homestead. We planned to stealth camp at Long Key State Park because it’s closed. The campground was destroyed by Hurricane Irma last year. So we figured to sneak in and spend a night for free.
We stopped at Robbie’s and it’s definitely a tourist destination. While we ate at the restaurant there were pigeons hovering about in the trees above us. Kathy and I both looked up at the same time as one above us swooped down towards us. It looked liked it was coming for Kathy but it flew past us and onto the roof directly behind us. It gave Kathy a fright. Understandably so because I thought it was gunning for her too.
After our late lunch we walked around and decided, yep, it’s a tourist place. On the way out we spotted two touring bicycles out front. Maybe we’ll see them again.
With ten miles to go we pressed on to Long Key State Park. When we got there we found it was open but only the campground was closed. The ranger said we could try camping illegally along the highway or get to Curry Hammock State Park, another ten miles down the road, and camp there.
We got back on the highway. I called the park and they said we could camp in the day use area with another cyclist since the campground was full. And since we’re on bikes and we’re kind of stuck we could come in after they close but go to the office the next morning and register “but that’s not normally how we do it.”
We thought it would be good to get on the trail on the opposite side of the road so we’d be out of traffic. That turned out to be a bad idea. A sign warned us that the trail ended in 100 feet. We came to the end of the pavement and a chain link fence. What the heck? So we backtracked and got back on the road. We rode into the sunset with our lights on. The sun got lower and lower and finally ducked under the horizon. We arrived with little light left in the sky. The other cyclist introduced himself–Richard Humphreville–and we immediately knew there was something familiar about him. We stayed at his house in New London, CT back in September. It’s a small world, folks.
The no see’ums were out in force so there was no time for catching up. Richard got in his tent and we quickly pitched ours and got inside. Once organized we took showers and got ready for bed. Dinner consisted of popcorn and a Smirnoff drink for Kathy and Chex mix and a hard cider for me. Since we had long day today, tomorrow we only have 21 miles to the next state park we’re camping at.
Kathy – So our ride was hot with the sun shining and temps in the 80’s. The 100% humidity made us sweat like crazy but the ocean breeze was pretty nice to help cool us somewhat. We rode 61 miles today and crossed lots of bridges as we traveled through many different islands in the Florida Keys. It is a cool place down here. I love how we can see the Atlantic Ocean from our left and the Gulf of Mexico on our right. Pretty amazing to be riding on bridges with only water around us for miles. I’m liking the Keys, but don’t think I can talk Hank into moving down here. It was a good day for riding which ended a little later than we anticipated. However all is good with a warm shower and being able to see a sky full of shiny stars. Pretty peaceful evening to finish off our day.
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