It is only our second day or riding and we’re already finding that we need to be a bit creative on our approach to this ride. When four of us rode with America By Bicycle 11 years ago, Mike Munk and his team provided all the logistical and SAG support. All the rest of us (all 50….) had to do was ride our bikes. Period. On this tour, we have that added responsibility. Before the trip we discussed possibilities and today we put one of those in to motion.
We left Buster at our campground and loaded Saddie up with all our biking gears and headed north. The plan was to have Randy drive us out about 40 miles. Then he’d head back with Sarah about 10-15 miles (since she already had a sore Achilles tendon from our first ride). Once parked they would ride to meet us and we’d all ride back to Saddie where everyone could decide whether to cycle on or jump in Saddie for a SAG ride back to the camp site. Of course, it didn’t quite go that way.
At the drop-off point — all the bikes, except Randy’s came off. Everyone started getting ready. Sarah had decided to ride instead of go with Randy, so Beth threw her bike back onto the rig and went with him instead. We are trying real hard not to have anyone riding solo. Sarah, Leo and I headed south confirming that the segments of this ride will not all be done in the south-north direction….
We rode on a bike path much of the way and across channels and water ways on both fishing/pedestrian bridges and bike lanes. Again the traffic was moderate and courteous. Going through Marathon was a little more hectic and since we were on a bike path we had to be extra careful at ALL the road crossing. I’ve never enjoyed bike path riding for this reason. I always feel ‘invisible’ to the cars. Riding with front and rear blinky-lights helps. Long stretches of the bike path were quite a ways from the road with lovely trees on both sides and had few road crossings. Those, of course, were my favorites.
I must say that the blue, blue water down here is still the most amazing ‘attraction’ for me. It is hard to take your eyes off it. Another great seafood lunch stop — I think we’ll be moving to PB & J sandwiches soon, but hard to pass up the fresh fish dishes!! I had a fabulous Greek salad with a blackened Mahi. I watched Leo make a giant piece of Key lime pie disappear for dessert! Doubtful it will be the last….
The bright blue of the water is due to a few things, but the main two are probably the fact that it is very shallow and the bottom is white sand. We spotted a bunch of folks wading out along sand bars as we rode by. Tempting…..
The birds found their own spot to enjoy the breeze and watch for lunch to swim by.
After lunch we got back on our bikes — thankfully, it was a relatively light lunch and none of us needed a nap before continuing.
When we got back to Saddie the plans got adjusted again. Instead of having Randy drive back to the campsite, we opted to all ride in together and Randy and I would take Buster back to pick up Saddie.
So, next up was the 7 Mile Bridge. It is actually that long — and the pedestrian bridge where the bikes normally cross was damaged in a 2018 hurricane and is a long way from being repaired.
I heard a local say that it was going to cost much more just to repair it than it did to construct it originally. Maybe they will get some stimulus $$$ and things can be fixed more quickly. Not in time for our crossing — I’d read some hype about riding bikes across with the cars and one blogger saying it was VERY scary etc. etc. I must say, for me, it was just like any other road and I did not find it scary at all. There is the fact that if the sh*t does hit the fan you have no where to go….. it was a nice wide shoulder but there is a barrier along the right edge and just a LOT of water on the other side of that. Needless to say, we all made it across safely. The bridge is not far from our campground.
Randy and I headed out while the others hung out at the campsite at the picnic table and with Buster’s two camp chairs. Since we hadn’t planned to shuttle like this, no one had put their shower stuff or recovery drinks in Buster. I did share a box of Cheese-Its but that was all I had to offfer. The box was above the sink in the overhead compartment.
Randy and I stopped at the store and fortified ourselves with a bottle of Sport Drink and a Snickers bar. Pulling out from the camp store, we hear this load CRASH!!! The overhead bin door was not latched (just closed….) and all the contents went flying out and crashing to the floor. I only carry a few glass items — and the small corning cereal bowl shattered into a thousand pieces. Could have been worse…. Note to self — double check all the latches before driving off.
Our campground is very nice — plenty of shade trees and sites right along the water. I snapped a shot of the RV park down the road — imagine it is hotter than hell there and I’d be afraid of walking into the wrong rig. Dang, they all look alike!