Tim and I got a great ride up to Windsor Locks from Stephanie, Matt’s wife and Tim’s daughter-in-law, who picked us up at our houses in Media, shortly after 7am. Here is a photo of Steph and Tim as we’re driving over the GW bridge.
We made it up to Windsor Locks by about 12:30 p.m. and started riding by about 1 p.m. It was a pretty tough ride, with about 3000 feet of climbing and the hills were super challenging. I ended up walking my bike up portions of 5 long hills. Not having a granny gear, being fully loaded, and the really hot (91 degrees) weather were contributors to my walks, but I also just wasn’t ready mentally for the hard climbs. But we did finish the 50 miles after about 6.5 hours of riding (and walking).
Here are some of the day’s photos.
At our first and only rest stop.
Tim standing by the beautiful dam.
We didn’t get to the hotel in time to eat dinner there, but walked to the Neo Restaurant, about 1 minute away and had a great meal. We got back to our rooms by 9:30 p.m., called our wives and were asleep by 10 p.m.
Aside from the Day 1, this was the easiest ride of this trip, thanks mostly to a generous tail wind! Our ride today was about 61 miles. I personally found biking over the 7 mile bridge was more interesting than worrisome. There were only 2 lanes for motor vehicles, one for each direction, and the drivers were very courteous, moving towards the center as they passed Tim and I, when there was not another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. At that point, the tail wind was so strong that we were doing about 13 mph without pedaling, which was really nice! Just over the 7 mile bridge, and about 23 miles into today’s ride, we stopped at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Little Duck Key, which was a beach with a picnic table. Here are the pictures from today’s ride, starting with photos from our stop at the beach park.
After completing the ride, we disassembled and packed up our bikes, and we will check them with our luggage for the flights home tomorrow morning. Then after showering, Beth, Tim and I walked to the Truman White House in Key West, where we took an extremely interesting and informative tour. While we were packing up our bikes, Nancy and Beth walked to the Hemingway House at Key West.
After touring the Truman White House, we walked back to our hotel and Tim, Nancy and I then walked to the 6 pm mass, after which we ate dinner at Duffy’s Restaurant and Bar, about 2 short blocks from our hotel.
All tolled, we biked about 550 miles on this trip, which I think is the most we have ever biked on any leg. It was a tough trip but it ended nicely.
Today’s ride was 68 miles and it sure felt like most of it was with yet another headwind. But since I picked the direction of this ride from north to south, I can only blame myself. I really do not enjoy biking against a headwind. We got away from our hotel at about 8:15 AM and made it to our hotel (Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key – a really nice place!) at 3:30 PM. Here are the photos from today’s ride.
Tomorrow is our final ride of this leg, with 61 miles to Key West. A tailwind would be lovely, but at this point I feel it is unlikely, regardless of the weather forecast.
Today’s route out of Fort Lauderdale Beach and through Miami was very complicated, so Tim and I decided not to try to use the Adventure Cycling Association maps and instead we used google maps biking directions for a little more than half of the ride, and then again at the very end. Whenever we use my phone for the directions, I really can’t use it to take photos. Once we got out of downtown Miami and onto a bike trail that was constructed beneath the Miami Metro Line (and called the M Path), I stopped using my phone for directions. However, I only took this one photo:
The two trails, the M Path and the South Dade bike path, were safe, but there were numerous intersections, which tended to slow us down a bit. We left our hotel in Fort Lauderdale at about 8:30 AM and made it to Florida City at about 4:15 PM. We stopped three times for brief rests and to eat. It was about 65 miles in the heat and humidity – it got close to 90 degrees today, and the humidity was probably close to 90%. So it was definitely a difficult ride today.
Tomorrow we ride to Marathon on Duck Key, which is about 67 miles. I am hoping we do not have another head wind tomorrow.
This was the hottest day on the bike yet and even though the ride was only 62 miles, I ran out of fluids again. This time we stopped at a Walgreens right on U.S. 1 South and I purchased 3 bottles of water and 1 bottle of Gatorade. Today we mainly used U.S. 1 South, but we also used U.S. 5 South for a stretch, which was nice since there was very little traffic on U.S. 5 and we were somewhat shielded from the wind. Here are today’s photos.
We have a ride of about 64 miles to Florida City, our last place on the mainland before heading to the Florida Keys. Hopefully it will be our last day of riding into the wind.
Today’s ride was 55 miles and, while we had a head wind, it wasn’t too much of an issue until the last 5-6 miles, when naturally it was uphill also! But overall, it was a good day of riding and it was the first time we were actually hot while riding. Here are today’s photos.
We have a 66 mile ride to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow and the winds are again predicted to be in our face. We’re going to try to get away even earlier tomorrow morning.
What a tough day! Tim and I left before 8:30 AM and did not make it to Vero Beach until after 5:30 PM. We rode 78 miles into a 19 mph wind for most of the day. It was definitely one of our most difficult rides. Well, anyway, here are the photos I took on the ride today.
When I was a kid walking to school in the morning with Mark, whenever it was really windy, I would wish for a glass half dome to come down over Drexel Hill and block out all of the wind. That’s what I was wishing for today. It would have made today’s ride much easier.
Tomorrow’s ride is about 55 miles, and the winds are predicted to be 17 mph, in our faces again. So we’re going to try to leave early, since the winds pick up in velocity as the day progresses.
Tim and I got an early start this morning, leaving at around 8:15 a.m., and riding through the southern end of Ormond Beach into Daytona Beach. Shortly into Daytona Beach, we left A1A and went over a bridge and onto U.S. 1 South. We stayed on U.S. 1 for most of the ride today. Believe it or not, there were some grades we had to climb. I wouldn’t call them hills per se, but the entire ride was not flat, the way it was our first two days. Here are some of the photos I took today.
Tomorrow we bike to Vero Beach, which will be almost an 80 mile ride. Tim thinks we’re going to have a head wind – I really hope not!
On Friday morning 2/28/2020, Tim and I started riding from Jacksonville to St. Augustine, FL It was on the cool side when we left, about 37 degrees F, but I was prepared and dresses appropriately. I had assembled my bike the afternoon before in the room at the Hampton Inn. I got everything right, but somehow I criss-crossed the cables for the gears and was not actually able to shift any gears at all. But fortunately it was flat and we at least didn’t have any wind in our faces, so it was OK. We made it to our hotel around 2:15 p.m. It was the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, FL, and it was built in 1887. But it was really really nice. Here is a photo of what it looked like from the parking lot.
From inside the hotel, especially from the pool, the hotel reminded me of the French Foreign Legion fort in the 1939 movie Beau Geste. All that was missing was the French flag. Here is a photo in the stairwell of the hotel. I really like this picture because the moon is not full – in movies and TV shows and most pictures, the moon is always full, so I really liked this picture.
After getting to the hotel, Tim and I drove to Island Bike Shop at St. Augustine Beach, where in about 2 minutes, the bike mechanic diagnosed and fixed my gear problem.
The ride today was, as a result, much easier. The entire ride was on A1A South, so there was no chance of getting lost. We only stopped twice, and the first time was at Fort Matanzas, an old Spanish fort that was constructed in 1740. We didn’t take the short ferry ride to the fort – so we just took some photos from the National Park we entered right off of A1A. Here is a view of the fort.
The next time we stopped was at Flagler Beach, where the colors of the beach and the Atlantic Ocean were very striking. Here are two photos I took at Flagler Beach, where Tim and I sat at a picnic bench and ate the excellent sandwiches that Nancy made for us. Today they were turkey and cheese, much better than the peanut butter and jelly we ate on the ride yesterday, since it was the first day of Lent.
We made it to our hotel in Ormond Beach at 1:15 p.m. and had to wait until 2 p.m to check in. So Tim and I sat at the hotel pool reading while Nancy and Beth made a run to a local Wallmart. Once they were back, we showered, went to the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Brendan the Navigator Church in Ormond Beach, and then went to dinner at the Black Sheep Pub, also in Ormond Beach. Then it was back to our hotel for a refresher course in blogging from Beth.
We had 75 miles of riding today and we wanted to make the 4:30 PM mass near our hotel in Windsor Locks, so we were on the road by about 7:30 a.m. I think today’s ride was not the hardest, but very close to it. We had about 3700 feet of ascending and close to that in descending, and after a while, that can get old. We passed one Civil War statue today, as we have almost every day, but today we stopped for a photo. We passed close to a dozen small towns, and about half of them had small cemeteries. The other memorable part of today’s ride was all of the motorcycles. I would guess Tim and I were passed by close to 3 dozen motorcycles during our ride.
We made it to our hotel by 3 pm exactly, after which we showered and then headed to Beth’s room for our daily end of the ride beers and snacks.
Having Nancy along was really nice, and the daily lunches she packed for Tim and me were fantastic!