Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day Ninety-four, 090602 - Long Point Key

Day Ninety-four, Date Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:23
Distance for the Day: 72.04 miles From Homestead To Long Point Key
Accumulated Trip Distance: 4427.87
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 32’/0’, Highest: 73’ Accumulated: 305’
Speeds: Avg: 11.2 mph, Max: 27.9 mph
Weather: 73° with overcast skies, clearing to partly cloudy and warmer
Expenditures: $21

Got up 5am at the Methodist church stealthcamp in Homestead. It was already warm and somewhat humid, but not too bad, at 73 deg. I broke down camp and was ready to go by 5:45pm. I went directly to the Florida City Denny’s to get breakfast ($12) and use the free wi-fi there to handle email, check weather, and blog until 12:57pm – I figured that since it will take more than a day to reach the furthest key, Key West, a late start today wouldn’t be a problem. Along the way, I stopped at mini-marts for trail mix and drinks ($6). I hit the first key, Key Largo, at 3:40pm and then Tavernia at 4:40pm; stopped in at a Dairy Queen for choco malted ($3). By the way, the roads in Key Largo were sucky, as they had no shoulders and the roads were old and lumpy. Due to the no-shoulders situation, I occasionally held up traffic in one of the two lanes going the same direction, which brought out the ire of a few bad apples, who honked (one even flipped me off – a first!) Following my own good advice, I just raised my hand in a non-threatening gesture of acknowledgement, and trundled on. Pretty much everywhere else beyond Key Largo had some combinations of nice roads in good condition, and some places even had bicycle paths – Key Largo was not good, though. (Correction: Key Largo also had a decent cycle path, but it was on the *northbound* side of the road - I was on the southbound side, and didn't see it until I came back up a few days later.) I saw my first in-the-wild iguana, who was in a shaded area of grass off a bike path, and there are these crazy suicidal 2” millipedes that cross areas of the cycle paths in one of the earlier keys (don’t remember exactly which one (Tavernia?). It’s almost like an arcade game trying to miss them; hell, I don’t even like to run over dead butterflies – you can imagine me trying to “tiptoe” my trike through these gaggles of millipedes! Also, saw a couple of these large, hand-sized bluish-grey crabs scuttling over the lawns in the evening – weird! The weather turned nice, with big cumulus all over the place, but no rain. It was hot, but the clouds provided shade, and the way was mostly quite comfortable. Twice, I fell for the “vanishing trail” trick at the bridges, where a cycle path seems to lead off to the right of the bridge, only to dead-end. After that, I stayed on the main highway road going over all bridges, and that worked just fine. I got to Layton by late afternoon, and stopped in at the state park there to find out camping costs $32 (yikes!). I opted to continue on as the darkness began to descend, and found a side road that led to another side road that led to a deserted area with a tiny patch of road, right on the edge of a shallow lagoon (N24 45.484’ W80 57.632’). Perfect! In the darkness, I brushed the pebbles off the patch-of-road’s surface and set my tent up in the dark. Of course, the mosquitoes were there, but my anti-mosquito measures kept most of them at bay, and when I dove into my tent, I only had to find and kill two of them that managed to find their way in with me, and I was good. Oh, I was informed by locals at one of the mini-marts that the police strictly enforced front and back lights on bikes at night, so I made sure to use mine, but quickly extinguished them once I left the highway, looking for stealth camping sites.

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