Back to Day 48

5 PM

Sitting at the bar at the Black Point Ocean Grill. About 5 miles left to go to Homestead, the last town before we go to the keys. We don’t like to bar sit before the end of a ride, but it is POURING rain, and starting to thunder. It started raining about an hour ago, but it was nice. Sort of refreshing. And then it stopped, and we were happy. And then the skies opened up. And here we are.

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We started our day back on Colllins Ave in North Miami Beach, in nasty traffic with no shoulder. Lenore – I’m sorry I didn’t see your hotel, but all we could do there was try not to get hit by a bus. Eventually we found our way to Miami Beach, our mission being to find South Beach. But, of course, we had no idea what or where South Beach really was, so we got onto a main street and stopped for breakfast at The Tropical Beach Cafe. We knew we were in luck because the entire menu was in Spanish. We had cafe con leche (yum)

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and the best orange juice EVER. We had eggs with bacon and ham, but they looked more exciting on the menu written in Spanish. Then we had dessert – flan and egg custard – because we could. Meanwhile, I noticed these tan lines – it seems I don’t change my hand position on the bike very often.

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After breakfast we actually found South Beach! It was everything you would expect from a hip hot spot – stores and restaurants and bars and scantily clad young skinny people. We rode through it, but didn’t stop.

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Somewhere along the way we found the Jewish Museum of Florida – they have a special food exhibit that I would like to see, but we didn’t stop there, either.

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In our search for South Beach, we had left the ACA route and had to figure out how to get back on route. Eventually we found our way onto a bridge to Miami. It was a big bridge with fast traffic, but it had a wide enough shoulder, so I rode it bravely. Then we got lost trying to follow signs labeled “Bike Route to Downtown”. We rode in a circle and stopped under a highway and stopped again in a construction zone and finally found a ramp onto the walking/biking path on another bridge. As we entered Miami, we saw container cranes

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and cruise ships

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and tug boats

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and high rises.

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We rode through some of downtown Miami, which wasn’t as bad as we expected. We got to meet Juan Ponce de Leon again

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and see this JFK memorial

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and see this guy (who I’ve never heard of)

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and this guy (who I’ve heard of, but I don’t know why)

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Then we rode through more of downtown, and magically turned into a beautiful neighborhood. So most of our Miami ride was just a nice meander through the suburbs (thanks ACA!).

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After Miami we got to Coconut Grove, one of those Florida places I’ve heard of for no particularly good reason. We passed a bike shop, and Dana went in because his pedal was squeaking. While they fixed his pedal, I talked to one of the guys and mentioned that after no flats in MA, CT, NY, NJ, PA, MD, DC, VA, NC, and SC, we’ve had 7 in FL. He said it’s due to the rain washing all of the grit and debris onto the sides of the road. He said he’s sold about 120 tubes in the past 5 days. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

He also told us about 2 good restaurants in Key West, and gave us a complimentary patch kit as a parting gift. Then we rode onto Coral Gables, where we stopped to take a picture of this historic marker.

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It was in a nice place to sit, so we sat. And we saw a whole family of these little bright green lizards. Or iguanas. I don’t really know the difference.

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Then we ended up on the Old Cutter Road bike trail, which was a wonderful 10 mile stress-free off-road meander. I loved it. Dana hated it. But at least we were safe from cars. And check out this amazing mangrove tree!

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Along the trail we saw the old Parrot Jungle building

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and, of course, its historic marker

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8 PM

At Casavana Cuban restaurant in Homestead. Our second time eating Cuban this week. Life is good.

At around 6:00 we realized that it probably wasn’t going to stop raining, and we were basically nowhere, so we got back on the bikes. I had thought it was 5 miles to Homestead, Dana said it was 11, so we rode 13. It always works that way.

But the ride was beautiful. We are in Florida farm country – it’s like the Pennsylvania of Florida. We saw a coconut grove

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and a date grove

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and then we saw 12 more miles of those. So it was slightly boring, but it was pretty, and there were almost no cars on the roads, and every so often we saw some interesting birds. Speaking of birds, these ducks live in the motel parking lot. I’m thinking people have fed them before.

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By the time we checked in, we were completely drenched, covered with mud, and bug bitten pretty much everywhere. Tomorrow we will do laundry and go for an airboat tour of the Everglades. A much needed day off. After that, it’s less than 150 miles to the end.

On to Day 50

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