Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day Ninety-three, 090601 - Homestead, FL

Day Ninety-three, Date Monday, June 1, 2009
Time in Saddle: 9:48
Distance for the Day: 106.56 miles From Naples To Homestead, FL
Accumulated Trip Distance: 4355.83
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 33’/32’, Highest: 47’ Accumulated: 282’
Speeds: Avg: 10.8 mph, Max: 14.6 mph
Weather: 68°, clear and somewhat humid, becoming rainy by late morning and thru the afternoon
Expenditures: $4

Got up Mon June 1 at 5:30am ready to roll at 6:34am. The mosquitoes here are particularly numerous and aggressive, and I got several bites, but was now ready to go through Everglades to the Miami area. At 10am I saw my first (dead) alligator on the roadside – poor fellow. In the distance (not quite distant enough) I could see large, dark looking cumulus clouds, and all too soon, I got underneath them and the rain started. I put on my rain gear, and forged ahead. The road quality varied from a somewhat nice but narrow strip, to rough with nasty shoulder-wide (why do they do that?) buzz strips every 20 yards. It wasn’t too bad, though, because the road was lightly traveled, and I could go out into the main roadway for long stretches, keeping a constant eye on the road behind using my rearview mirrors. When traffic showed up, I’d pull off to the no-goodnik shoulder, let them pass, and then pull back out into the main road, again. The rain was on-again/off-again, but pretty steady, and sometimes heavy. I stopped at rest stop at 11am to wait out one of the heavier downpours, and used the downtime to eat an early lunch. The sun came out again at 11:24am, so I continued on. I stopped for about an hour at 12:00pm at the Oasis Visitor’s Center, a nice interpretive center for the Everglades, to read about the local flora and fauna. They had a view platform along a section of river where you could see live alligators and big fish. I left a $1 donation in their box. I saw at least half a dozen airboat tour operations along the way. Coming out of the everglades was a long, straight, rainy road with a lot of pretty heavy industrial traffic. I stopped in at one of the bigger tourboat places to get an ice cream ($3), and they advised me to take Hwy 997 south to bypass Miami, and get the quickest to the Keys. Unfortunately, it had a very narrow shoulder and lots of rush hour traffic which made things a bit tough, but it was still do-able, and got me down to the city of Homestead, the entryway city to the Keys. I passed a lot of orchards of palm trees, and mangos and even corn along the way, and, incidentally, achieve my second century (more than one hundred miles in one day). Cool! I actually passed through Florida City (the southend of Homestead) and began going down the road to the Keys, but it was dark by now, and noticed there weren’t *any* good camping sites, so went back through Florida City and into Homestead to a Methodist church I saw (N25 28.548’ W80 28.718’), and stealthcamped, there. I looked through Florida City, but it was a low-income neighborhood, and didn’t quite feel safe. The church was well-lit, but I chose a small corner under a covered drive-through in which to pitch the tent. There was some incredible lightning forks flashing across the clouds to the northwest, and I thought it might rain that night, so I’d best be under something for protection, though it never did rain. As usual, I resolved to get up early, to avoid contact with the church people.


Axel said...

Good luck for the "leftover" of your tour.
Hope we see you once more.
Thanks for posting the picture.

From Florida City, the "German tourist" Axel and Karin

Julie said...

Hi Don- r u going all the way down to Key West on that skinny bridge? U r making great time! See u soon!

obi_donkenobi said...

Hi Axel: Arrgh! I'm terrible with names. I'll fix "Susan's" name to read Karin. Thanks for the correction! Hope you two had, and will continue to have a good time visiting America! :-Don

Hi Julie: Yep - made it to the end, and am on my way back up. Yeehawww! Love ya! ;-Don