Dec. 18th, Marathon, Florida

Wow! How did I let 5 days go by without a blog entry? I hope to catch up tonight.
I left the home of Jason and Crystal around noon (worked the morning and also booked my tickets to New Zealand), and headed for Jupiter, to stay at the home of Will and Nancy Ackles, only about 30 miles away. Will is a retired Presbyterian minister. Both will and Nancy, however, are fully engaged in one form of world mission work or another. It was great to meet them–Will reminded me of my Uncle Howard, a Methodist minister. I set up my computer in their home and spent about an hour talking about JWST. This was the evening of Dec 14th.
The next morning (Dec. 15th), I got an early start and made a mistake that I have only made twice before on this ride–I rode the wrong direction on A1A for about 4 miles. On the East Coast of Florida, along Highway A1A, it is not always obvious whether you are on the mainland, or out on the islands. This can affect what side of the road the ocean will be on! When it is cloudy, it is easy to go the wrong direction, and I did it. Arg!
The ride took me over several draw bridges. I had to wait at this one for about 10 minutes, and used the time to eat a slice of cherry pie that was given to me by Nancy before I left.

Waiting for a drawbridge

Riding along the ocean

I biked most of the day and started looking for a cheap hotel around 3:00 PM. I had a bit of sticker shock, in that I couldn’t find anything for less than about $130! I decided to see if I could get a last minute Warm Showers host, and lucked out with Joe Ruscito, who lived in Lighthouse Point. Thanks Joe! The next morning (12/16) I headed to the town of Homestead. This ride took me through much of Miami proper–what a tough ride. Much of it was in city traffic.

City traffic

A lot of it, however, was along a city bike path. But there were traffic signals as the path crossed what must have been 100 streets. Some simple math told me that I would never make it to my destination if I waited for every light. I just ended up riding through the red lights, paying attention to the traffic and the presence of law enforcement. There really was no choice.
Earlier in the day, I was stopped along the side of the road talking with my doctor, when a young lady passed me on a bike, and then turned around. She approached me and asked, “Are you Scott?” This is not what you expect a stranger to ask you when you are visiting an unfamiliar city! It turns out that this woman, Leelu, had stayed at Joe’s place the night before, and had already cycled the 30 miles to catch up with me. We would be staying at the same Warm Showers destination that evening.

Leelu

Leelu is training for the Race Across America, an endurance event where you ride 4300 miles in 17 days. Crazy! But that’s not the half of it. A couple of days earlier, she got hit by a car and ended up braking a couple of ribs. And she is STILL BIKING!!! This is the amazing thing about some cycle tourists. The strength, the toughness–it’s on the inside. This shy and petite woman, has the heart of a dragon. My money says she’ll win that race.
One other interesting thing happened on the 16th–I saw my first Lamborghini! But look what someone did to it. How can you paint any car like this, let alone a car that sells for ~$200K? It’s like a rainbow got sick and vomited.

How?

The night in Homestead was comfortable, but a little humid. I stayed at an organic farm–my sincere thanks to the owner. I got on the road the next morning (12/17) with the sun, and began the ride down towards the Florida Keys. Earlier, I had contacted Jay Elliot, who had arranged for me to give a lecture at the Crane Point Museum and Nature Center on 12/18. Jay also arranged for me to have a campsite the night of 12/17. I had not appreciated that it takes months notice to get a campsite in the Keys–thanks to Jay, I got to camp on the beach.

Camping by the water

 

This morning, I rode the remaining 17 miles to the Key of Marathon and stopped at the Museum. The talk went very well–a small, but interested audience; my favorite venue. But a bit sad too, as this will be the last talk I give in the United States. After the talk, Jay and his friend, Libby, took me to dinner. I had “stone crabs.” Now this is an entirely unique concept. These crabs are captured in the usual fashion. But the fishermen just take the claws off of the crabs and throw them back into the water. Given time, they grown new claws! Chances are, some of those crabs–whose claws I ate tonight–are still living in the ocean.
Tomorrow I ride the remaining 50 miles into Key West, to complete the continent. I guess I will put my bike into the water or something!
Cheers,
Scott
Scott

4 Responses to “Dec. 18th, Marathon, Florida

  • Congrats on completing another leg of the dream.

    Hint: Just dip tires in the water, not entire bike. 🙂

  • Was beginning to wonder where you were. Thought the bugs might have gotten you. I CANNOT STAND biting bugs!!!! At least it was not chigger’s. Glad you are at the end and got tickets for the next leg. Hopefully you get a little rest with the family over the holiday. One more leg and you are home free. I think you have the best leg for last, although I bet it will be a challenge. Good luck and pack the sun screen. It has to be better than the ice box here. Keep eating pie!

  • Kathy Clucas
    12 months ago

    Oh Scott, I am so very proud of you and happy you accomplished so much! So you will be with family over Christmas? I do hope so! Love and miss you!

  • Eric Coppock
    12 months ago

    Congratulations on surviving the most dangerous leg of the tour!! (or something like that 🙂

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