Well the dumpy motel choice could not have been better. My Nats beat Chicago. When the much under appreciated Michael A. Taylor clubbed a grand slam into a stiff wind I yelled and jumped straight into the air. Do the Cubs raise a white L flag when they lose?
Tonight’s game is the deciderer. No hostel for me. I’m staying in a La Quinta five miles from the Amtrak station in Ft Lauderdale.
So today was my last day of touring. The weather forecast last night called for thunderstorms. Oh joy. My route would take me straight through the Everglades with no available services or shelter for 45 miles.
I had a sammich, an apple, and a spare bottle of water. I was on the road at dawn.
There were storm clouds in the distance but no rain on me. I boogied. I was cruising at 16 miles per hour. The Mule was bringing it today. I suspected a tailwind – which was not in the forecast – and that’s what I got.
For the first half of the jaunt, I rode past Domino sugar cane fields. The four lanehighway would occasionally expand to eight lanes to accommodate cane harvesting trucks. This gave me a lane of my own for miles.
When the cane gave way to swamp I was back to a paved shoulder. You know you’ve been in Florida too long when tractor trailers blasting by you at 60 miles per hour don’t bother you at all. Of course, I had my eye on the beasts through my trusty mirror. (Best purchase ever!)
It rained on and off but I welcomed the cooling effect. I could have done without the road spray from the trucks though.
I was riding on a road referred to as Alligator Alley. The alligators were all wearing invisibility cloaks until one of them met the wrong side of a truck and ended up dead on my paved shoulder. I did not stop to take a photo. Even alligators deserve dignity on death. Also I didn’t want to waste one second of my tailwind.
I did get to see one of those Everglades propeller boats. Those things make a serious amount of noise.
When the 45 miles were up I was jubilant. I had eaten all the food and drank only half the water so I celebrated with a Gatorade and some cookies at a 7-11. As I was snarfing, the skies opened up. Wet cookies.
The last 17 miles were a straight line toward the Fort Lauderdale airport. My iguana friends came back. I also saw some colorful geese that were really pissed off at a man riding a horse along the irrigation canal to my right.
My maps routed me to the south but the Amtrak station is to the north so I turned on the Google and searched for hotels that would allow me to ride to Amtrak in some semblance of peace in the morning. The winner was a La Quinta about five miles west of the station and beyond all but one of the nasty intersections on the way there.
Did I mention that the most common billboard advertisement is for personal injury lawyers? This is because Floridians drive like they have spent way too much time in the sun. I dropped more f bombs today than anytime in the last six months.
I walked to the grocery store up the street to get late lunch and dinner. I tried to cross the street but a stop light runner and a U-turner both nearly took me out. I just stopped and waved for them to go. Everything in this area I am staying in is designed for cars. Let them kill each other. It’s just thinning the herd.
I managed to survive the trip and came upon an iguana of a certain age.
So with 62.5 more miles in the books, I have only 5 miles left in Florida. If all goes well, I’ll ride to the station, give Amtrak The Mule, check a bag full of stuff, and spend 30+ hours on a train reading and sleeping. I plan on riding home from Union Station. It’s not over til The Mule’s in the shed and I’m in my own bed.
My total mileage so far is 2,168.