Most people of my time in Key West these last two days has been taken up riding around town. The island was one mile wide and one mile long. And it is flat as a board.
I have been riding in sandals and going very, very slowly just taking in the sights. I rolled along the sea wall bike path to take in what I missed during my weary entry to town on Saturday. The ocean was calm and dotted here and there with fishing boats. A long pier extended out and I rode to its end. Two women were doing yoga together. They seemed quite accomplished and unbothered by the sea birds nearby.
At the start of the pier was a memorial to Key West’s AIDS victims. So many names but also so much blank space. Was it designed before medical advances or are there so many more names to come?
After a few hours of comfortable weather, the sun does its thing and the town becomes uncomfortably hot and muggy. Nobody seems to mind sweating through their clothing.
The town has chickens darting about. They out number pidgrons and add a bit of kooky noise in the early morning and in the evening.
Most of the inns have plenty of vacancies now that the long weekend is over. I don’t know if I’d like this place if it were full of tourists. Right now it has a sleepiness to it that suits my mood.
I met a bike shop employee yesterday who moved here from Capitol Hill 12 years ago. He gives tours by bike. He said if you’re not into cats skip the Hemingway house. It has more than 50 cats inside. They have 6 toes. I checked out the house from the street. I’m not a cat person, regardless of toes.
I’ve managed to ride another 34 miles here, just cruising around town. Still no sign of a duffle bag but there are WalMarts on my route this week. If I can’t find something I’ll just mail some of my stuff back. I haven’t used my camping gear since Georgia.
In a few hours I head to the ferry terminal. Then it’s a 3 1/2 hour ride to Fort Myers. I called a motel near the terminal last night. I gave them my name. They said there’s no need for a credit card number to hold the room, “just call when you get on the property.” This should be interesting.
Taking the ferry one day earlier than planned gives me three days to cross Florida. Instead of being two 85 mile days, I’ll ride between 50 and 65 miles per day.
My rear shifted cable is freezing up. This is not a big deal. The Mule will be getting some serious maintenance when we get home.
With another 42.5 miles in the books, the tour has reached 1,995.5 miles, just a hair under 500 miles per week.
Inn anticipation of a tough boat ride I ate lightly. A cup of ice cream, a coffee, and a scone. I continued to ride around town and encountered people helping an old man lying in the street. A motel worker stuck his head out the window. I made a hand signal for a telephone and mouth “call 911”.
The police arrived within minutes. I bystander told me the man was riding a scooter and stopped. The scooter toppled over on him. He was conscious and was in some pain but I think he’ll be okay in a few days.
Before getting on the ferry I happened upon a book store. An honest to go book store. Of course, I went in and bought a book. I have a 30 hour train ride on Friday.
The ferry terminal lounge was up a flight of stairs. The elevator was out so I had to unload The Mule, lug all six items of stuff up the stairs, lug The Mule up the stairs, then reassemble the whole thing so that it could be inspected, dissected, and disinfected by the local security people. Not a single passenger was asked to show the contents of their carry on bags. I feel safer now.
The boat was big and powerful and fast. I stayed inside and read. There was no wifi and no cell phone services I couldn’t listen to the Nats playoff game. Only after we arrived did I learn that they lost.
I walked my bike off the boat. It was darker than dark outside. Good thing I brought my Stella headlight. I rode s budy highway to the hotel that I had arranged. The manager never returned my calls to sign me in so I threw in the towel on economizing and booked a room in a Hampton Inn. I rode another mile or two along my room to get to it. The desk clerk gave me two bottles of water st check in and the senior discount. Breakfast is also included. And there is a WalMart next store so maybe I’ll solve the duffle bag problem.
It was great to be back out on the road on the fully loaded Mule. Tomorrow should be no more than 60 miles.