Key West, FL to Fort Meyers Beach, FL
Total Miles: 1601
Last night I got to go out and experience a bit of the famed craziness that is the Key West night life. It was Sunday so it didn’t get too crazy but that didn’t stop this drunken cyclist from getting smammerd and staying up way past his bedtime 🙂 Luckily for me I didn’t have any plans for today except to explore the city and hop on the ferry so I allowed myself to sleep in to a record breaking 10:30! It was just what the doctor ordered 🙂
Key West is a really old little city and chock full of fun and interesting history. My favorite, excerpted from Wikipedia because I’m lazy:
“In 1982, the United States Border Patrol set up a roadblock and inspection point on US 1 just north of the merger of Monroe County Road 905A/Miami-Dade County Road 905A onto US 1 (they are the only two roads connecting the Florida Keys with the mainland), in front of the Last Chance Saloon just south of Florida City. Vehicles were stopped and searched for narcotics and illegal immigrants. When the City Council’s complaints went unanswered by the U.S. federal government and attempts to get an injunction against the roadblock failed in court, as a form of protest Mayor Dennis Wardlow and the Council declared Key West’s independence on April 23, 1982. In the eyes of the Council, since the U.S. federal government had set up the equivalent of a border station as if they were a foreign nation, they might as well become one. As many of the local citizens were referred to as Conchs, the nation took the name of the Conch Republic.
As part of the protest, Mayor Wardlow was proclaimed Prime Minister of the Republic, which immediately declared war against the U.S. (symbolically breaking a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a man dressed in a naval uniform), quickly surrendered after one minute (to the man in the uniform), and applied for one billion dollars in foreign aid.”
Ballsy and hilarious.
My day was basically just slowly pedaling around the downtown area, eating ice cream and, as always, hunting for the best fish and chips I can find. I found a spot with outdoor seating and live music and hung out there for a few hours eating, drinking beer and listening to music. There was this adorable little pack of baby chickens wandering around the place with their mama, the waitress said they’d kind of just taken up residence there so, being the laid back island style people that they are, they just rolled with it let em’ stay. I could get used to this kind of free wheeling lifestyle.
After I finished up my food and beer I start slowly heading towards the ferry station. I my bike was feeling particularly difficult to keep moving but I figured I was just being slightly buzzed, food-coma lazy. No. I had a flat tire and I didn’t even notice! I only had about 30 minutes before the ferry started boarding so I had to get it patched up as quickly as I could lest I be stuck in Key West another night (what a terrible thing, I know). It didn’t give me any trouble though and I got to the terminal right on time.
The ferry was 3 and half hours long but man was it gorgeous. Sparkling turquoise water as far as the eye could see, outdoor seating in the sunshine and a fresh new book had James feeling extremely happy! It was dark by the time we arrived in Fort Meyers Beach but I had already scouted out a cheapo motel not far from the ferry station so I didn’t have to do much night riding. Tomorrow begins the first day of the longest leg of my trip and I’m kind of nervous. I’ve been relying on my trusty Adventure Cycling Association maps so much for the last month and I’m feeling bit lost without them. All part of the adventure I suppose, hopefully my good looks and charm will get me through the next 600 miles without any major hiccups :p
So with that I leave you for the evening, friends. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!