Day 4 – Key Largo to Miami Beach, FL

I was joking with a buddy last night that it would be nice if God turned on the AC down here without making it rain also. This morning was His gift to me. The first 25 miles, along the long and boring stretch of US 1, it was overcast and cooler than the previous riding days. I didn’t have to wipe the sweat off my face every 5 minutes.

While it was a longer day of riding, the overcast weather definitely helped out. I didn’t get the tail wind I was hoping for, but I guess I didn’t need it!

Today I rode from Key Largo to Miami Beach. A good 67 miles for my new record. Surprisingly, for not sleeping well again, I did and felt great through to the end of the ride.

On the side of US 1 looking back at Key Largo

Last night at my campsite, I got eaten alive by bugs. I left my clothes out to dry on a make-shift clothesline with my bungee cords, the fence, and a little tree growing out of a boulder. It did it’s purpose until I woke up at 1am to lots of wind and some light rain. I had left my rain cover off my tent so I could get some air flow to cool myself down.

Tent site in Key Largo

I now had to rush out of my tent, put on the rain cover and pick up my clothes that the wind had scattered, all while wearing just my underwear. The bugs loved it, and I felt it the rest of the night and this morning.

Shout out to my momma and aunt Cid for sending me off with some Chick-fil-A cards! One came in handy today and it was a delicious bite almost 50 miles into the day.

Next came the brewpub. Right down the road from Chick-fil-A, was Titanic restaurant and Brewery. It had a fun boat like feel inside, but I wasn’t too impressed by their beers or anything else.

Titanic Restaurant and Brewery

Once I got into Miami, I pulled over to get a picture of the river and the scenery when a guy came up to me and started asking about my ride. Turns out, this guy, Antony, walked from Washington State to Miami Florida! He said it took him about 10.5 months. And I thought I was crazy for riding my bicycle to Canada. We shared stories and goals and places he wants to travel next and was cool getting to talk with him.

Cheesin’ after finding my first East Coast Greenway sign

I am staying at a party hostel called the Rock Hostel and met a quirky old man who when I asked where he was from responded with, “I’m from the land of love, free spirits, and humor”. I still have no idea where he is from, but I’m guessing somewhere in Europe. Weird, but nice guy – he even showed me his yodeling. Ha! Hostels never disappoint. Hopefully tonight’s sleep on the bed doesn’t disappoint either.

Stats:

  • 67.4 miles
  • 5 hours 35 minutes riding

Accommodation:

  • Key Largo Campground and Marina
  • Rock Hostel

Breweries

Day 3 – Marathon to Key Largo, FL

Today was officially the most miles I have ridden, including my “training”. I felt great though! I was able to get a good amount of sleep at the hotel and fill my belly with some good grub for free. Some things I am thankful for today:

  1. Ice for my water
  2. Free breakfast with actually good food
  3. Trees for shade
  4. Drinking cold beer in air conditioned tasting rooms

During my ride, I only stopped a couple times and that was because the UV index was at 11 and I needed to reapply some sunscreen and because there were two breweries on my route.

First brewery stop at Florida Keys Brewing Co

First brewery stop was at Florida Keys Brewing Co. Had my traditional flight of beers so I could try out a few of them and it’s hard to say whether they were really good or if I had just rode my bike 30 miles. I am going to say they were pretty tasty as I met 2 guys from South Carolina who enjoyed their flights just as much and bought some to go beers as well.

Florida Keys Brewing Co

Met up with those same guys at the next brewery a mile down the rode: Islamorado Beer Co. Had another flight here and enjoyed the beer and company just as much as the previous stop.

Islamorada Beer Co

As I researched food to carry and eat during a bike tour, Cheese came up quite often. Now I have always refrigerated my cheese which I found out is correct and needed except for aged cheese which can be left out. So I bought some aged cheddar and had that and some salami the other night. What I am unsure of is how long the cheese and salami are going to be good for, because they were definitely baking in the heat. I ate some more of the salami last night and have not died yet, so that’s good, but threw away the remainder of them this morning. Any insight on how long you can go after opening aged cheese and salami?

The final thing I am grateful for today was a message from my pastor back home with a great bible verse that I feel like is going to be a constant verse for my trip. It comes from Psalms 23:3 – “He refreshed my soul. He guides me along the right path for His name’s sake.” For all the prayer warriors out there, tomorrow is an even longer day at around 67 miles. Pray for a tail wind!

Stats:

  • 49.94 miles rode
  • 4 hours 4 minutes riding
  • elevation gain of 45 ft

Accomodation:

  • Coconut Cay Resort and Marina
  • Key Largo Kampground & Marina

Breweries:

Day 2 – Big Pine Key to Marathon

It was a very windy night and I can’t say I got much sleep, but somehow I am feeling great this morning! I’ve got a sleeping pad about as thick as a yoga mat, and my little packer of clothes as my pillow. It was too hot for any blankets or the rain cover on the tent. I was treated to a beautiful display of stars on my sleepless night.

In the morning I was super excited to have free coffee and hot water for my breakfast oats. It’s the little things like not having to use any fuel to heat water.

Today’s ride is a shorty. there are no tent camping places available in a 30 mile range, and I have not gotten the courage to try stealth camping, so I opted to getting a hotel room. I think it will be nice having a bed and a good night sleep before the long riding days begin.

Today’s ride took me from Big Pine Key to Marathon, FL. A whopping 17 miles to my hotel. The best part was crossing the 7 mile bridge, stopping at the peak of the bridge and just looking out over the water and fishing boats.

I am using the extra time in Marathon to figure out this whole blogging website at the Marathon library. Found that using my phone to do it all was extremely difficult, and the iPad I brought is useless.

Stats:

  • 17.7 miles (plus more riding around town)
  • 1 Hour 34 minutes riding

Accommodation:

  • Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge
  • Coconut Cay Resort and Marina

Breweries:

  • None 🙁