Miles: 49.68 Today / 164.13 Total
Elevation Gain: 338 ft. Today / 1264 ft. Total
We cycled even less miles today than we did yesterday, and at the end of it we were even more tired than yesterday. Could it have been the insane heat and humidity? How do people live in Florida when it turns warm and when it rains and when there are hurricanes, and, and, and?
We awoke at 6:30 AM, which, if you know me, you know is REALLY early for me. But we scored almost 7 hours of sleep, which might be just barely enough sleep for a couple of mid 60s goofs riding bikes. For our first breakfast, we had some of the steel cut oats I’ve been carrying in my food and cooking pannier. And I’m proud to say that we lubed our chains and were loaded up and on the road by 8:15. Not bad, eh?
The morning traffic in Marathon was 4 lanes of heavy traffic, forcing us to ride on the sidewalks and bike paths, some of which are not the best riding surfaces. Thankfully, as the day progressed, traffic got lighter and lighter.
The famous Seven Mile Bridge was first up on our route. We had heard conflicting accounts on whether there was a parallel path for bikes, and a young gal we spoke to at our hotel told us that she had just seen a sign in a bike shop saying that the old highway was open, so we could ride on it, instead of the brigade shoulder. Ed and I had both read that the old highway was only open a short distance, and there were no signs posted to warn cyclists about that, so they listen to people who tell them it is open the full length, then end up having to backtrack.
Well here’s the reality: The old bridge cycle path ended at about 2 miles, where a span of the bridge was missing. We heard that from a local who was right by the bridge, and we verified that with our own eyeballs. And that was not the only span missing from the bridge. There were several.
Another thing we had read about the bridge, in various blogs, was that there is little to no shoulder on the bridge and that the shoulder is heavily littered with tire hazards. Fortunately, that too proved to be wrong. The shoulder was 4-5 ft wide, with very little litter. And the wind was also cooperative, as in a gentle 6 mph cross wind from the south.
Though cars can’t stop on the bridge, for obvious reasons, we did—several times—to check out the scenery and snap a few photos.
The heat was picking up as we finished the bridge and our first 10 miles of riding, and we were already thinking about second breakfast. Sadly, there weren’t going to be any good food choices till we got to Big Pine Key—another 10 miles down the road. We muscled through it and found ourselves a super delish breakfast spot.
The rest of the ride was just chugging along from Key to bridge to Key to bridge, repeat, repeat, repeat, etc. Nothing memorable, but the heat, humidity and unquenchable thirst, until we heard the rumble of jet engines overhead. The Blue Angels were practicing for an upcoming airshow, and they seemed to be locked onto our GPS coordinates, because they buzzed us from every direction, as we pedaled onward.
Those jets roaring by lifted our spirits and took our minds off the problem at hand that was sapping our energy. We were hearing and seeing them till we hit Key West and checked into our campground at Sigsbee Island Naval Air Station Annex.
After dropping our panniers at our campsite, we hopped back on our bikes to find Mile 0 (zero) of US Highway 1, the monument for the southernmost point of the Continental US, and to run a few errands.
My number one errand was to pick up a rental car to shuttle my bike and self back up to Miami tomorrow norming. Number two—I needed a new power cable for my MacBook, which they luckily had exactly one of at the Navy Exchange near our campground.
It’s been fun riding with Ed. He’ll be in the campground alone tomorrow night, then will be joined by a fellow named Lenny to ride a variation of the route I’m taking up the Atlantic Coast. Best of luck with your ride, Ed and Lenny!
Tomorrow, my route from Miami to Boca Raton takes me through the flooded US Highway A1A beachfront of Ft. Lauderdale. I don’t yet know how I will get through or around that area, so wish me luck. I’m 100% positive I’ll need it.
One final word. If you are enjoying my blog, please consider donating to the cause I am pedaling to raise funds for: Bike the US for MS
6 thoughts on “4/13/23 – Marathon to Key West”
I’m glad Ed and you were able to meet up and have some time riding together. Good luck with the rest of your ride, and especially having to go through the flooded area of Florida. Have fun and be safe. I look forward to meeting about the rest of your trip.
Thanks Diane! And Thanks for sharing Ed with me again! It was fun riding with him! Next up, you get to ride with him on that island vacation of yours. Hope you enjoy it and can plan more of those cycling adventures with each other!
Re: the mural, the person on the left is Ernest Hemingway.
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Hey yeah! I thought the one guy was Richard Nixon, but does that make sense?
The guy with the cigarette in his mouth was FDR. The guy on the left with the hat may be Milton Berle.
From one of my old bosses: Mural faces (l to r) – Ernest Hemingway (author), Jimmy Buffet (musician), Franklin Roosevelt (president, socialist), Al Capone (criminal), Henry Flagler (multi-millionaire, built railroad to Key West that turned Keys into vacation destination)