Karrie had filled th kitchen with a ludicrous amount of food and drink. I did my best then headed out for points south.
Tosn and Karrie urged me to check out the alligators at a local park so that was my first stop. There were all kinds of herons and egrets flying this way and that as I wended my way around the little man made lakes. Then I saw a head in the water. A few minutes later I saw another. As I gazed at it, the back of the gator came out of the water. I can only imagine how the Spaniards who first came here to Florida reacted.
I next made a momentary attempt to go see the manatees on Merrit Island. It would have been a ten mile ride into a 25 mile per hour headwind. I resolved to through a Baby Ruth in the tub at the hotel tonight as a simulation.
I was already late getting underway because Karrie and I talked a blue streak over breakfast. These innkeepers like their guests to tell stories. It’s why they run an inn.
I dealt with a 25 mile per hour wind from the east northeast. It was pushing me forward and sideways. I rolled down the West Bank of the Indian River along what is rather sadly called the Space Coast, Judt a few miles to the east history was made at Cape Canaveral. I wanted to go check it out but that headwind would have killed me. And I know it would have looked like Chernobyl. I did get a glimpse of a large, tall building that I guess was the Apollo assembly building.
Suffice it to say the Space Coast is hurting these days.
US 1 had either a wide bike lane on its shoulder or a bike path along side it. Traffic was not so bad.
After 35 miles I stopped near Rockledge to recharge with fast food. The unlimited refills of drinks were the essential part of the meal.
Then I climbed a bridge over the Indian River to the barrier island opposite Melbourne. The headwind was intense. I put my head down, shifted into my granny gear, and hoped a gust wouldn’t blow me sideways into the jersey barrier or over it into the river below. Even the downslope was hard! It reminded me of riding across the 14th Street Brifhr during storms. Don’t stop because you’ll never be able to start again.
Now I fast a crosswind with seawater and sand in it for nearly 30 miles. The rain stopped then it started. Then it stopped. I wore a floppy hat under my helmet. The left side of the floppy brim was pinned against my face by the helmet straps. This way I could keep sand out of my left eye. It worked perfectly but must have looked deranged.
There’s a dirt road through a pelican refuge near Wabasso Beach. It was closed due to flooding.
My maps told me there were no hotels n the islands so I rode back over the river to US 1.
Drivers were now noticeably less tolerant of my slow moving mule. And for the last five miles into Vero Beach there was neither a shoulder nor a side path. Mirrors are the best!
I pulled into the Knights Inn just before the skies opened up. My room is only slightly bigger than a tent but it’s fine by me.
I had dinner at Ay! Jalisco II, a Mexican place down the street. The food was excellent. Just what my aching body wanted. Crosswinds will wear your sorry ass out!
So I covered 89 miles which means I’m 1,617 miles into the trip and only 70 – 80 miles from Renne’s house in West Palm Beach. I got this.
Tomorrow night I make arrangements for lodging in Miami Beach and book my train ticket home.
After riding to Key West, taking a ferry to Fort Myers on the west coast of Florida and riding across the state back to Fort Lauderdale.