Last night after the meeting I did as I said I would do and fell asleep under the stars on the roof of an old fort looking structure. Sounds romantic right? Nope.
Around 2am, it started raining. I somehow managed to get down to my bicycle and only skin my shin to the point of bleeding out and get a tarp pulled over me while my sleeping bag was only half drenched.
Around 4am, the rain stopped so I dragged myself to the top of the building to dry out in seemingly gale force winds.
Around 6am, Border Patrol woke me up with a shout, actually checked my citizenship and told me I couldn’t stay there. I was all like, “I don’t care, this place sucks and so does your attitude!” (Just kidding – I was like, “Yes Sir, Officer. Thank you for your service and patience.”)
I don’t have any pictures because it was a lame experience I don’t want to remember and mostly because I wasn’t going to goof off snapping pics in front of the police.
I got an ambitious & early start on the last leg of the ride this morning. Since my night in paradise was literally a stones throw from the 7 mile bridge, there were almost no cars, and the tail winds were 30+ mph, I made really good time!
From there it was another 40 miles of awesome scenery and unparalleled riding. I did run into a guy who was dropped off in Largo by his wife and was riding the length to meet her at the hotel in Key West. That’s not a bad idea for you less extreme adventurers.
The further south you go, the more blue the water gets, the more island-y the atmosphere becomes, and the more Credence Clearwater Revival just feels like the most perfect soundtrack ever to the act of riding.
On Big Pine Key, I had the opportunity to see a bunch of Key Deer as I jetted through the trails which are off the main road. Very cute mini-sized guys. Tough to snap a picture before they disappeared into the woods but I managed to snag one decent shot.
Finally, after many miles, challenges, opportunites, experiences, ideas, introductions, emotions, and adventure, I made it to my favorite place to visit, party, and enjoy that I’ve ever been to: Key West!
As I was looping around the last few miles of US 1 along the ocean, (seriously, at the same exact moment I was thinking how great it is to have safe trails off the main road) just in the horizon of my view, a guy on a motorcycle slammed into the back of a car. Pieces of car & motorcycle went everywhere and the car careened into the curb. This would have killed any biker who may have been riding there instantly. An unbelievably fitting and sobering lesson to be learned at the end of this specific trip.
After watching that for a while, I took off for my final destination. Making it there was a great feeling of satisfaction. There is nothing comparable to setting your sights higher than you’re certain you can attain and doing it. In fact, if there’s anything I’ve learned from my relatively few years of quenchless ambition, this “just out of reach” mentality is the best way to squeeze the most out of life.
I was generously offered a room for 2 nights at the historic & beautiful Key Lime Inn which is 1 of 6 different upscale resorts throughout Key West. My original plans had fallen through due to a scheduling conflict with a local festival I was not aware was happening the weekend I was to be in town, and the Manager, Cathi came to my rescue when I called. She couldn’t have been more hospitable and welcoming and I couldn’t be more impressed with how nice the room and facility is. The staff were all extremely accomidating and all the addresses are in ideal locations throughout Old Town Key West. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to rest well here after the journey.
I also want to talk about GU Energy which makes a collection of different chews, gels, mixes, and other supplements and donated enough to get me through the trip. It’s pretty amazing how many nutrients you lose in a day of riding (Often over 3000 calories according to the GPS) and how quickly it can be recovered by way of this delicious snack. I would have had a tough time pulling off such an extreme journey with no real training or experience without their help!
Also, for the record, Serfa Lights are incredible! These tough USB rechargeable little dudes are easily detachable, fit perfectly on the bike, and are incredibly bright! I had several cars flash their brights at me and even a cop pull me over one night thinking I was riding a motorcycle on the sidewalk. I can’t say enough about this essential and top quality safety accessory and thank them for supporting this trip & cause, keeping me safe in both traffic and darkness.
Tonight I am heading out to enjoy Duval St with a few really cool people I met earlier. Tomorrow I will be meeting the Mayor of Key West, Craig Cates, and their Public Information Officer, Alyson at Mallory Square. Very excited to spend a few days in paradise down here unwinding before heading home to grow out my beard for charity and prepare for the next journey.
Finally, THANK YOU to all the fans for your support and following along! The response has been way more than I ever expected & this trip would not have been half as worthy without your motivation & enthusiasm. Stay tuned…