Five days, 250 miles to go

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Wheel full 70px When I was a kid growing up in the Chicago suburbs in the late 1950s and 60s, I could think of no place on earth that held the same allure for me as the southern Florida coast.  Place names like Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach were inflated in my mind to the status of tropical oases, with limpid blue water coming ashore onto endless beaches of dazzling white sand.  If you were really cool you got to live on a boat, like the guys on Surfside 6.  Plus, we Chicagoans had a direct connection to the area.

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Wheel full 70px Yeah, turn right on to good old Lake Shore Drive  out there at the end of the US 34-US 66 duplex just past Buckingham Fountain and drive.  The spitting snow and sullen gray shores of Lake Michigan would then, as if by magic and a couple of tanks of gas, be transformed to the balmy breezes and endless sunny horizons of the Atlantic Ocean.  And 41 would have transported you all the way in between.

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Wheel full 70px The reality, as I’ve come to learn, is quite a bit different.  Carl Hiaasen’s take on south Florida these days certainly appears to be the more accurate one, at least based on what I’ve seen during my ride so far.

Wheel full 70px But rather than say I was misinformed, better to hold on to the notion that, if I had only been here a little over 50 years ago, it would have been the way that I then believed it to be.  And so that’s what I’ll do.  See you in the Boom-Boom Room.

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Wheel full 70px Today I’ll ride most of the way through Fort Lauderdale, and tomorrow Miami Beach and Miami.

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Wheel full 70px The threat of drizzle remains in the forecast, but all I felt yesterday was a couple of drops that could have been stray ocean spray, for all I knew.

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Wheel full 70px The new wheel is performing, well… like a bike wheel is supposed to perform.  The bike shop only had black to work with, which allows me to now easily tell which end of the bike is which.

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Oh well, this ride has never been about appearances in any event.

And there goes my cushion again

Wheel full 70px Well, it may not be drizzling this morning but I’ll wax philosophical for a moment and say that into every long-distance bike tripper’s life some rain must fall.  My turn came this morning.

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Wheel full 70px Last night I noticed a wobble in my rear wheel.  I’d stopped and had one wheel or the other or both trued at several shops along the way.  No big deal there.  I had a piece of strap iron on a bike path get sucked up into the rear wheel and break a spoke in New Jersey, but that happened not too far from a bike shop and was dealt with in short order.

Wheel full 70px I’m assuming what happened in today’s situation was that a combination of the terrible pavement on roads across Kennedy Space Center plus a perfectly placed bump in the pavement somewhere close to the end of the day may have pulled through a stress crack in the rim and created the slot-like hole you see in the photo.

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Wheel full 70px Fortunately Stuart has at least one full service bike shop: Beyond Bikes, which is where I’m at now waiting for a replacement wheel to be built.  So once again I’m losing the little cushion of extra miles I’ve built up, but that’s how these things go.

Halfway down Florida

Wheel full 70px Yesterday along the coast north of the town of Stuart I passed the halfway point between the state’s northern border with Georgia and my destination: Key West.

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After tonight’s stay in the Palm Beach area, the remaining destinations are

Sunday, Nov 6 – Fort Lauderdale
Monday, Nov 7 – Cutler Bay
Tuesday, Nov 8 – Key Largo
Wednesday, Nov 9 – Marathon/Bahia Honda
Thursday, Nov 10 – Key West

Wheel full 70px The weather appears to be holding in my favor for the last 300 miles/500 kilometers of the ride.

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Wheel full 70px The rain predictions for today and tomorrow are for brief periods of drizzle- the same as have been in the forecast every couple of days for the past few weeks but have never materialized.  My weather app says it is supposed to be drizzling right now, but I guess it is hard to see in all that sunshine that’s currently outside my window.

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“Flamingo Sky”

 

Seven days, 350 miles to go

Wheel full 70px Today there is just a single week of my bike trip left.  Each day will be “the last,” as in “the last Friday of the ride.”  I still haven’t really dealt with that- I’ll keep you posted.

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Wheel full 70px After riding across the southern end of the Kennedy Space Center complex

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I finished up yesterday’s ride on the coast across Indian River from Melbourne.  My nephew Jack met me there and we had a nice evening of pizza and conversation at his friend Julie’s house.

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Wheel full 70px I got a chance to do laundry in a real washing machine as opposed to a motel sink.  This morning I got a  bright and early start back where I stopped the evening before and will ride about 70 miles/~110 km down the coast to Stuart.

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Wheel full 70px As this is written I am in Fort Pierce, with about 50 miles/80 km behind me. It’s been another gorgeous sunny day with a light tailwind. There haven’t been that many glimpses of the ocean, but it is always very easy on the eyes when it comes into view.

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