Miles: 69.52 Today / 289.92 Total
Elevation Gain: 728 ft. Today / 2497 ft. Total
Holy Cow! Today seemed so busy, but now I can’t figure out what made it feel that way. Could it have been all the miles I rode? Or was it the chatty cyclists I ran into while I rode today? It was Saturday, and there were a lot of cyclists out on the same exact roads I was riding.
An hour or so into my 61+ mile day, a fella who recently retired and moved from California to Florida rode up next to me and started a conversation about bicycle touring. He’s been on several solo self supported tours, and it was fun to talk about the places we’ve been. Very few people have ever experienced being on a cycling road trip like this or can even relate to the challenges and rewards. It was great talking to the guy, and he helped make 45 minutes of riding pass by painlessly.
A little while later, my GPS was telling me to make some turns that didn’t make sense, so I pulled over on the side of the road to figure out where the heck I was on the paper map and see if the GPS track was wrong (does any of this make sense?) This time a fella named Andrew, from the neighborhood I was stopped in, called out to see if I needed help. I told him where I was headed and he basically said, “Follow me, kid. I’m headed that way right now.”
He showed me the way, then took me on a private tour to see some sights—like Mar-A-Lago, some spiffy neighbourhoods where ultra rich people live along nice smooth hardly traveled roads, etc. We were chatting it up and having a great time talking about Florida politics, our exciting personal lives, etc. when suddenly and abruptly we reached…..what??? The end of a 3-4 mile long peninsula?
Turns out that Andrew hadn’t ridden that far up the road before and didn’t know that the road doesn’t go through. Bummer! The route back to the bridge, that could take us to a road that did go through, was 3-4 miles long, but we found a super nice bike path along the waterfront of that super spiffy neighborhood. It was scenic, easy riding and more time flew by. It was fun riding with you Andrew! The highlight of my day.
Thanks for the great conversation and for showing me so many cool places. P.S. Did you notice that that young photographer wasn’t that good of a photographer? Note to self: Next time, stick with a selfie.
After spending a bit of time goofing off and riding off route, when I parted from riding with Andrew, it was time to buckle down and cover some miles. But now it was REALLY hot and humid out. After riding only 7 miles, I had to stop for a Subway meatball sub and a few refills of a soft drink to attempt to hydrate myself. Okay, now I was out of excuses for goofing off. I hit the road and kept jamming those pedals.
After riding along a busy beach for several miles, then some busy parks, I found myself in the town of Jupiter, where Tiger Woods and some other gazillionaires live and golf. The ACA route went right up Jupiter island, which is basically one long, narrow street, with multi million dollar mansions on each side of the street either backing up to the Atlantic Ocean or an inlet.
Most of the houses had names on the signs, and I must confess that I didn’t recognise ANY of the names. That’s how out of it I am, when I comes to staying on top of the rich and famous.
Just a couple of miles from the end of Jupiter Island is where Nessa lives. Bruce, her tall, handsome, single neighbor below, welcomed me and invited me in to take a shower, while we waited for Nessa to arrive home from work. Okay, let’s see now. What do I do with that kind of proposition? I hemmed and hawed and didn’t take him up on it. Instead, I fiddled around with my gear until Nessa arrived. And this is what you know immediately, when you first meet Nessa: She is a very beautiful, fit, positive, high energy, kind woman. My kind of girl!
Bruce had ordered up pizza and mixed up a most excellent salad. He made sure us girls had time to talk, because there was important business at hand for us. Nessa has never been on a ride as long as the one she is soon to embark on with Ed, so we went over her gear, then ran through my gear list to see if she had all the angles covered. And she does. She is well prepared, with much less gear than Ed and I carry around. She’ll do great!
And after looking at her photos and hearing about her solo ride of the GAP (Greater Allegheny Passage) /C&O (Chesapeake & Ohio) Canal towpaths, which have always been on my bucket list, when I get home from my ride, I will be looking at my summer schedule to see if I have time to fly back out and cycle them with her. She’s willing to ride it again, and I would love to do it with her!
Nessa and Bruce: It was great to meet you both! Thanks for your kindness and superb hospitality! I look forward to seeing you again some day!