Today’s ride was a very mixed bag. The trail was situated next to a bus-only road that carried buses and emergency vehicles in both directions — but no cars. The car lanes were farther away from the trail and usually there was a sizable median with trees on it so you could hardly see or hear them. Along the trail were numerous bus stops. Each stop had a small covered area with permanent (concrete?) benches. There were people at many of them. Some of the folks were waiting to catch a bus, others had set up ‘camp’ and since we came by mid-morning, many of the campers were fast asleep on the benches just to the right of the trail, or on the grass along the fence line to the left. It was hard to see so many obviously homeless people.
The boyz drove the vehicles north while Beth, Sarah and I rode our bikes. We started in Homestead and as soon as we got going we started to see them — lots of them — abandoned shopping carts. They seemed to be everywhere but especially close to the bus stops. We couldn’t help ourselves. We started counting them. Within a few minutes we had a half dozen. Within the first couple miles we were up past 10. Guess how many we counted by the time we reached our meet-up point with Randy and Leo. Nope, more than that…. guess again.
We saw 65 shopping carts!
We also rode thru a ton of broken glass and there was garbage and litter along much of the trail. It was really a shame. The route was pleasant and it was very peaceful to ride next to the bus-only lanes. It could have been a top-ten ride. I plan to contact the East Coast Greenway folks as I’m sure they’d want to know the awful conditions and may be able to contact someone who might be able to address the situation.
The second part of our day was about as different from this as it could possibly be — we ate BBQ for lunch (in return for being able to park our RVs in the restaurant’s lot while we rode — the sacrifices we make…)
Beth stayed with the RVs and the rest of us did a quick 7-ish mile out and back. The trail went under the train tracks mostly and there was one particular stretch where someone got very creative. They turned the parking garage supports into dominoes. What an easy, striking thing to do. Leo said that he played a quick game of dominoes in his head using the pieces he saw….and he claims that he won (of course!). Randy and I also found an “old-style” pay phone (WOW!) It was very out-of-order however!
Once we got back to the RVs we loaded up and drove to the start of our afternoon ride. After snagging two parking spots near the start of the boardwalk in South Miami we followed a multi-use trail right along the water. It was absolutely incredible — but I couldn’t help but notice how affluent this area was in contrast to the poverty we had seen earlier just a few miles away.
Our campsite was pretty small tonight. There was hardly room for Saddie’s slide-out and Buster was tucked in so close we had to walk around to get in the sliding door!