I had a lazy guiltless start this morning as the ride to Key West would be short, less than 200 miles. In spite of what the weather ghouls have been saying it wasn’t raining; the sun was out in full force and it felt like an oven. Breakfast was provided by the hotel so I consumed my daily quota of cholesterol plus a slice of faux ham and a couple of sweet rolls. I’ve noticed my feet are getting harder to see while I’m standing so maybe it’s time to Velcro my lips shut again…or staples, that might be better.
I followed Garmin & Company’s directions to I-70 and south although it was unnecessary; there was but one way to get to Key West. For those of us not in the dope smuggling business that is, for others there is always another way.
I’d been avoiding the toll roads as I hate fumbling with change and always seem to hold everyone up. Today I couldn’t get around them so the first one I came to I pulled over and fished out 4 quarters that I’d squirreled away earlier. Then not much further on down the road I came to a second one which caught me by surprise as it hadn’t been that far from the first one. This time I pulled over to the side of the road and got a dollar bill out, holding it between two fingers on my left hand. It was clumsy as heck but I wasn’t going to hold it between my teeth, no telling where that buck had been.
Rolling into the pay booth the first thing that happened was when I put my right foot down the pavement was solid grease and I had to jiggle things to keep Green Girl upright. Naturally the first thing I did was get a better grip on the left handle bar which resulted in dropping the buck. At least it didn’t blow away; instead it landed between me and the toll booth. The trick then was to bend over nearly double and retrieve it all the while dealing with the slippery road surface and keeping Green Girl balanced. At the same time I was muttering about how I’d just paid and it seemed like a heck of a short ride between the two toll areas.
The toll-collector lady said something that sounded like “I like your style” and smiled at me. “Sorry for the hold up” I said. “That’s OK, have a really nice day” she said as I rode off into the sunset. Well, not exactly the sunset and my exit may have been just a bit befuddled looking due to the greasy road surface. Hey, at least I didn't fall over.
The ride along I-70 wasn’t all that long as it soon turned into US-1 and ran the rest of the way to Key West. It never fails on these long rides; I always develop a completely unfounded concern about something and this time it was whether I’d find gas available on the last 100 miles. I can hear all the Florida guys yukking it up over that one but my research and planning usually consists of “which way is it?” and “are there bears?” Fuel stops in most places are a given but along endless bridges in remote parts of Florida it seemed like it might be a bit iffy.
Green Girl has been getting between 43 and 51 mpg, depending on how hard I was thrashing her so with her fuel tank capacity of a bit over 5 gallons I knew I’d be safe. Still I don’t like to take unnecessary risks as pushing a fat bike down the road isn’t my cup of tea.
What a laugh, there must be 50 gas stations between Miami and Key West and they were all open on Sunday. Greedy buggers. Anyway I didn’t even come close to needing to fuel up. Duh…
It does take awhile to get there though, as the posted speed limits are set at 45 mph for mile after mile which really makes for a relaxed ride. I’d been advised to stay right at or slightly under the limits by a number of guys on the Modern Vespa Forum so I did. (You remember Red Dog Scooter by chance?) It was solid advice, the Florida cops run in wolf packs of 3 or 4 and dole out tickets on a mass-scale; it’s like a slaughter house for them and the suckers just keep coming. I’ll bet their operation budget’s in a lot better shape than the one we have.
The further south I got the more it reminded me of the Caribbean islands I’d been to; the houses and buildings took on a more casual design and the boat yards began to look more disheveled. I mean that in a nice way, I happen to like it. At one time in my life I used to spend several weeks a year in the Caribbean and for awhile I seriously considered moving to St Johns in the USVI. It never came to pass though, business got too busy and time just passed away. I still think about it once in awhile and it might yet happen.