I stayed up late searching to no avail for lodging in Key Largo. I slept soundly. When I woke, I used the Google and found a cottage in Key Largo for $148. I booked it. Anybody want the second bed?
After chatting briefly with my two young German roomies, I rolled away from home sweet hostel with my rather sad free breakfast. A few ounces of OJ, a cup of yoghurt, and a chewy granola bar.
I went to the beach. You can see container and cruise ships looming off the coast. They remind me of the existence of worlds I know nothing about.
I cleaned and lined The Mule’s chain for the third time during this tour. And off we went over the ironically named Venetian Causway to play with a shit ton of cars beneath huge buildings. (I know a housing bubble when I see one and this one goes on for miles.)
Riding at rush hour in unfamiliar cities is blood sport. I nearly ended my tour when a moment of inattentiveness almost caused me to ride into the back of a stopped car. It was an Uber picking up a passenger. No signal. Stopped in the middle of the lane. I hate Uber.
If you want to see climate change in action, come to Miami at high tide. The ocean comes up through the storm drains. I am not making this up. It was a foot deep, maybe more, in two intersections that I rode through.
The downtown frolic led me to the M Trail a bike trail that follows the Metro line southeast out of town. Great idea except for the crosswalks every tenth of a mile. Starting The Mule up over and over again was exhausting. Also wayfaring signs are rare. I followed a connecting path into a shopping mall parking lot. Complicating things further was the fact that storm debris obstructed the trail in scores of locations.
Once the Metro rail line ended the path followed a dedicated BusWay along US 1. When I got tired of debris or tree roots I just rode on the BusWay.
All the stops and starts made it impossible for me to get into s flow. It took over 4 hours to go 30 miles. And there was no food anywhere other than gas stations. I was dragging tail.
When the trail ended I joined US 1. For 1/4 mile there was no shoulder. I dreaded the thought of riding this for over 100 miles. Soon the roadway widened and I had a shoulder that was nearly as wide as the travel lane.
I was no making a beeline for Key Largo through the Everglades. There was a chain link fence separating me from the creatures from the ‘Glades.
Of course there was quite a lot of debris on the shoulder. At one spot there were big shards of glass as much as 1/4 inch thick. I got through that only to encounter, and I am not making this up, dozens of pigs feet. They looked rather recently cleaved from their owners.
Up to this point it was hot and humid with a headwind. Then the sky turned black. He died from a lightning strike then a gator tore him to pieces.
The black sky brought a ten degree drop in temperatures then a cooling rain. Well done weather gods.
Wetlands gave way to waterways and finally Key Largo. I made it to the Florida Keys, Bert. Whadda ya know about that!
The final bit of business was finding the cottage I rented. It is at the south end of Key Largo. On the way I passed a collection point for storm debris. This is only part of it.
Then I found my home for the night.
I bought a bunch of sandwiches at a Subway and some water. After Islamorada, the next Key south, there is nothing but destruction for 70+ miles. I thought I would have to be self dependent but the clerk at the place I am staying said that gas stations are open on the road to Key West.
The plan is to arrive in Key West after 100 miles of pedaling and crash in a hostel.