Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day Ninety-seven, 090605 - Homestead, FL

Day Ninety-seven, Date Friday, June 5, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:29
Distance for the Day: 80.41 miles From Marathon To Homestead, FL
Accumulated Trip Distance: 4627.44
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 15’/20’, Highest: 75’ Accumulated: 354’
Speeds: Avg: 10.7 mph, Max: 26.1 mph
Weather: 78° clear, warm and humid,
Expenditures: $58

I woke up in the pre-dawn dark at 5:45am to avoid any possible problems with more church people, and broke down/packed away by 6:20am. I stopped at a mini mart for choco milk and Danish ($3.50), and stopped at the Vaca Cut Bridge at the north end of Marathon to look at the Gulf of Mexico while eating my breakfast. From there, I continued on, up through the Florida Keys that I’d just come down a few days earlier. Note to future cyclists touring the Keys: I discovered that pretty much the entire length of the Keys has cycle-friendly routes, even Key Largo, but they’re not always very well marked. The one through Key Largo was on the *northbound* side of the road; as I originally approached the town on the southbound side of the road, I didn’t know about the cycle path, there. There’s almost 100% of the time a wide enough margin on the side of the road or an actual bicycle path, through the Keys, so kudos to the State of Florida for being bicycle friendly.

I did some online work at the Subway in Key Largo from 1:40pm to 4:15pm; I got a ticket to see a shuttle launch at 7am, June 13th for $55 (hopefully, I’ll get the $15 shipping charge for the ticket refunded as I will pick the ticket up via will-call); I also ordered two bottles of the Avon product, Skin So Soft, to be delivered to the Rockfish Gap Outfitters in Waynesboro, VA, where I’m also having Renee B send one of my pre-packaged soap packs (fragrance-free shampoo and anti-bacterial camping soap), too.
A miracle occurred on the ride coming up from Key Largo: the Florida Dept of Transport is doing major upgrades of the highway between Florida City and the first Florida key, Key Largo. The good news is: there are long segments of new road construction that haven’t been fully finished and aren’t open to regular traffic, but were eminently rideable for me; kind of like having an entire brand new highway to myself. BUT, there are “gaps,” where the new road hasn’t been laid, yet, and at those gaps, I have to ride the two-lane (as in, one lane going north, the other lane going south), shoulderless old highway. Drivers of regular cars *could* pass me, but they had to have nerves of steel, as they’d have to squeeze between me and the oncoming traffic – forget it for big rigs. So, I got to this section where I had to get on the two-lanes-and-no-shoulder, and braced myself for getting squeezed, cursed at, and general heightened levels of stress, but just then, I noticed there was NO northbound vehicles within sight, behind me – a big gap in the traffic! Wow. I got out into the northbound lane, and pedaled hard, trying to get to the next section of new construction ASAP. Just *before* I got to the next, new section, the northbound traffic reached me from behind, but now, the southbound (oncoming) traffic had disappeared, so the cars behind me could easily go around me. I then hit the new road construction section, got out of the way of the traffic, and everything was hunky-dory. The timing was nearly perfect all the way around. A miracle! I noticed huge cumulo-nimbus clouds stretching all the way from the northwest to the northeast. I hate riding toward cumuo-nimbus. At 5:23pm, I reached Florida City, and went to the same Denny’s I’d been at a few days prior for dinner and free wi-fi ($13), and tried to set up some Warmshowers contacts, but Denny’s lost power during a brief but intense lightining storm, and their wi-fi died. Demitol. I left Denny’s and went back to the Methodist church I stayed at the last time I was in Homestead (again, a few days earlier), and this time got permission to overnight there. I set up my tent and was ready to sleep by 8:50pm. Since I didn’t really get much sleep the night before, I knew the fairly significant traffic noise at this location wouldn’t really bother me, that much, and had a decent night’s sleep. Despite the two rainstorms that evening, I managed to keep my gear and myself relatively dry. How nice!

No comments: