Florida Part 2: The Keys

I read on the FL Bicycle Association website there are 3 ways to get to the Keys.  First is route 1 straight to Key West, second is Card Sound Rd.  to Rte 1 in Key Largo, and third is to take your bike on the bus.  Route 1 has a shoulder but very heavy fast moving traffic.  Card Sound Rd. is low traffic, no shoulder, but longer and supposedly crawling with crocodiles.  The article warned crocodiles can move at 30 mph and cyclists should be ready to sprint for their lives.  I only saw one crocodile, and 3 manatees, in the mangrove river along the road.  None of them chased me.

Card Sound from Card Sound Rd. 


FLorida Part 1: Daytona Beach to Miami

FL is a big and diverse state. I am still in FL, writing from Tallahassee, and have done over 1,200 miles of riding here. I haven't been keeping the blog updated, but that was for the best now that I have a more complete picture of FL. Before I got north of Tampa I was sure FL was a giant over developed over landscaped beach town with too many Publix grocery stores.  That turns out not to be the case.  The east coast beach towns,  the southwest beach towns, the greater Miami area mostly fit that description, but the Keys, and especially north FL are much different. First, the east coast beach towns and Miami.


Charleston, SC to Daytona Beach, FL: Asking for Help

After 3 nights in Charleston I left with fresh legs and a hangover.  A couple UConn friends were at a wedding in town so I met them at a bar downtown, The Blind Tiger, for the post wedding reception party. Riding out of Charleston was not as pleasant as coming in, with high traffic, no shoulder, and a hangover. There was a bike path for a few miles, but it eventually turned to dirt so most of the riding was on highway 17.  The only highlight on that stretch of 17 was finding another flag.  This one was orange so I added it to my bike figuring it only makes me more visible.

I didn't know whose flag I was flying until I stopped to speak with an eight grader named Corbin on a back road in Adams Run SC.  He saw the flag  and asked if I was a Clemson fan.  Apparently there is a big rivalry between USC and Clemson, and according to Corbin most people liked USC in that area.  


Raleigh to Charleston: Sunny Days

You never know what to expect from a WarmShowers host (food, sleeping arrangements, personalities, politics), but this is all part of the fund and adventure, and I am generally happy to have some company at the end of the day.  My WS hosts from Raleigh to Charleston were not only kind and generous, but also inspirational.  

I spent my first night leaving Raleigh in a small town called La Grange, NC  with David, his mother, sister, and niece.  Upon arrival he brought me into the kitchen where a huge vegetarian meal was laid out on the counter.  After a 70 mile ride I couldn't imagine anything better.  While eating, David's mother, Wanna, came in the kitchen to offer me some ham.  I politely declined, and then she mentioned that David is a vegan and that all the food on counter was vegan.  Even better.

The picture doesn't do this meal justice.


Philadelphia to Raleigh

Riding 5-8 hours per day, planning my next move, and visiting with people is leaving me with surprisingly little free time.  I intended to do a blog post between Philadelphia and DC but after DC I increased the mileage, which left me a bit worn out physically and psychologically.  There appear to be plenty of state and federal parks along the NC, SC, and GA coasts, so I hope to relax more with shorter days and some camping.

Madeline and Lily mapping my journey in their pajamas. 


CT to Philadelphia

The stretch from Newtown CT to Philadelphia via New Jersey is rich in history and a look at some of the stark racial and economic inequalities we have.  In route to Tenalfy NJ the roads and trails through Westchester and Rockland counties of NY are mostly beautiful and well maintained.  Old railways have been converted to well used bike baths around NY reservoirs and expansive vistas are frequent along the Hudson.   Roads are mostly biker friendly, especially around Nyack and Piermont where there are many well manicured and restored homes, train stations, bridges and factories from the 19th century.  I spent a nice afternoon hanging around Nyack NY, a seemingly friendly, hip and affluent community, which I learned is the hometown of Edward Hopper.

Me, Cousin Nancy and the Guinea Pigs in their mostly empty house in Croton on Hudson NY.  Nancy & family are moving to FL so they will likely get two visits from me! Anybody interested in adopting some guinea pigs?


CT Send Offs

My first night on the road.  Wonderful accommodations, company, and food at Sun One Organic Farm in Bethlehem.  How could I resist the offer to sleep in a barn with solar panels on it? Thanks Rob!  


My Bicycle

My bike is a Surly Cross Check from 2008.  I thought about buying a a new touring bike, but after looking at the price tags of new bikes and talking to bike shop folks I decided to stick with what I've got and make some modifications.


Ready To Roll

After spending too much time preparing, I leave tomorrow.   I've tested my equipment and my legs on a trip to Cape Cod and several rides around CT.  A few important lessons I've learned on my test rides: