|First view of Miami|
The bike lanes in the different towns between Lauderdale and Miami came and went without warning. The boardwalk area of Hollywood Beach was a highlight, with the beach being packed, like it was the middle of July. The closer I got to Miami Beach, the more it seemed
like riding in New YorkCity. Buses everywhere, trucks double parked, construction, horns honking, traffic jams at lights, tourists and townies of every description darting out whenever possible. There wasn't much to look at, unless you like rows of 49 story, two block wide, resorts with water falls and cement animals in the front, with bellhops and valets, cabs and cops. I decided that there was no way to safely negotiate all this without a full commitment to becoming part of the traffic flow. All it took was about 25 mph to go with the flow, so that's what I did, unclipping and sprinting alternately as needed.
The traffic mania ended at a park on the south end of Miami Beach, so I took some time to explore Miami Beach yacht club and marina, and the adjoining boardwalk.
|Flower vines climbing house in DECEMBER!!!|
The boardwalk ended at a beach where, I swear, the water was MORE beautiful than Lauderdale.
|Yachts and such in Miami Harbor|
|Rich person's fast toy!|
|South Beach (part of Miami Beach)|
|Me at South Beach|
I would like to go back there. I spoke to a security guard at one of the resorts I cut through, and he told me I could get a motel room at a good rate about ten miles down the road. I followed his directions, which took me across the causeway into downtown Miami. I saw the home of the Miami Heat.
Not long after getting to downtown, I took a right on Flagler Ave, as I was told, and didn't take long to realize I was getting deep into the middle of Little Havana. English signage disappeared and the storefronts were turning into lime green and pink cinder block buildings with bars on the doors and window.
Staying in the spirit of adventure that this trip was meant to be, I decided to go with it and I kept riding, looking for a room. I went right past Miami Sr. High at dismissal time, and got a good taste of what teenage life was like in the community. I finally saw a little motel, and stopped at Julia's Motel (pronounced Hulia's). The desk clerk spoke some English, so It took a while to establish that it was only me and a bicycle for one night, and that it would cost $40. He rented me a remote for the tv for $5.00, but I would get it back if I returned the remote and room key. My room was in the back of the place, right next to a Cuban woman who was doing her laundry in a tub, and hanging it from the refrigerator, which was in the outdoor hallway that was lined with tropical vegetation. The beat of the music that was playing had a Spanish beat, and I hoped they would turn it off tonight, not up! She looked at me and my bike like I was an astronaut with the lunar landing module, and smiled.
|One of the local chickens!|
|Hallway to my room|
I decided I was going to get an early supper, while it was still light, so I showered and headed out to find food. I walked around the neighborhood, looked at the Christmas decorations, the small homes, all fenced in, with chickens and cats everywhere. I found a restaurant that was busy and clean looking, so I went in, sat at the old fashioned bar like they had in Mel's Diner, and was ignored for a while. Finally a girl came over and I pointed at something on the menu. She went and got another girl who could talk English, and she told me I had ordered pork chops. I said ok, and proceeded to have a feast-two pork chops smothered in onions, black beans and rice, French fries, and a coke for $13.00. I highly recommend the joint if your ever in Little Havana.
It was only three o'clock, so I decided to go to the Walgreens, get some snacks, and head back to the room. Everything seemed perfectly safe during the day, but i decided not to go to the local bar for a beer later on. The room was about the size of the bedroom in the motor home, the blinds almost closed, and the Spanish soap operas on tv were entertaining for a while. As it got darker, I couldn't even tell because of the extensive fluorescent lighting in the outdoor hallway. Now THIS is an adventure I wish I could have shared with Pam!
|Note it's the Farmacia!|
|Scenes from Little Havana!|