Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 29, 2010 – Day 24 Bye Bye Key West, Hello Clewiston! Clewiston?

Not much to report today; after another Big McBreakfast I headed out north on highway 1 leaving Key West to the real tourists. For my first rest break and to buy a bottle of water I stopped at the Pigeon Key welcome center. It’s located in one of the old railroad cars left over from an early attempt to build a railroad across the Keys. I saw a number of books about it and I think there’s a museum in Key West for folks who love old train stuff.

My Uncle Estace worked for one of the railroads, I think it was Union Pacific as a pile-driver operator starting when he was seventeen. It made him loony as a pet squirrel but I guess I won’t go into that.

The gal running the place seemed happy to have a visitor to chat with so I listened to her tale of how she and her husband landed there 18 years ago. I didn’t mind as the air conditioning was working great and the water was cheap. I’m not sure if I’d want to live there but it might be fun for awhile.

After leaving Pigeon Key I rode on through the rest of the lot, enjoying the sights. It was a nice morning and I only encountered rain one time. Rain on the Keys is usually visible a long ways before you get to it so you have ample time to pull over and gear up. I almost didn’t do that today but after stopping to get a better look around the traffic at the distant squall I decided to play it safe.

My new Frogg Toggs are not made of breathable material so once on they were hot as the dickens, not exactly what I’d choose to wear if I lived in this area. Naturally as soon as I rode into the rain it stopped and heat began to build up rapidly in the suit. I put up with it for a couple of miles, then stopped and put the jacket away figuring if it started again it wouldn’t take much effort to dig it out if. That whole scheme lasted all of another 15 minutes after which I stopped again and stuffed the rain pants back into the saddle bag. “Phooey” I thought, “if it rains I’ll just get wet and maybe it’ll cool me off.” Didn’t happen, stayed dry as a bone the rest of the day.

Once I reached the mainland I followed 997 which took me through Homestead, a very nice town and evidently home to lots of people of Cuban descent. There were Cuban and Latin theme restaurants and clubs everywhere, several of which I’d have liked to visit. It was too early to stop though, so I kept on with the ride. A few miles north of Homestead I hooked up with highway 27 and stayed on that; it's a long flat featurless stretch of road and I'd been forwarned it might be boring. Still, it was all new to me and I found the farms and ranches interesting.

The New River Canal follows highway27

The long, long road stretches way out of sight along here...

There were a few small communities, all of which were focused on agricultural industries of one sort or another. The further north I got the more sugar cane fields there were until I arrived in Clewiston, self-proclaimed as the “Sweetest City in World” or something like that.

By this time it was just about 5:00pm and since there were some nice motels in town I decided to bag it for the day; the dark clouds were mustering overhead and it looked like it was going to get stormy before long.

I checked into the Clewiston Best Western and when I turned on Weather Channel they were all agog over a huge lightning storm just to the west in the Fort Meyers area. There had already been 51 strikes reported in just an hour or so and it looked like the storm was growing and moving towards Clewiston. They were warning people to stay indoors so I’m glad I chose to stay here instead of riding another hours. I’ve ridden in a number of lightning storms and I never feel comfortable with 4-5 gallons of high-test between my knees, there’s just something about it that gives this person pause…

After watching the gloom & doom folks for awhile I figured it was time to refuel myself. There’s a Sonny’s Barbeque place right up the road so I headed up there for a dinner of pulled pork, coleslaw, corn on the cob, garlic toast, and a huge tumbler of sweet iced tea. Man these southern folks know how to do barbeque and I’m loving it!


  1. LOL I have stayed in that best western before and you probably picked the best place for dinner in clewiston. :)

  2. I love a big tumbler full of sweet tea!