Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bicycling from Ft. Lauderdale/Davie to Miami/Everglades Campground(Dec. 14)

45.07 miles in 3:22....(977.64)....
Dec. 13...We are a couple of days ahead of schedule ( not really since we don't have a schedule), or should I say we have a day or two to burn ( sun burn is what I'm talking about), or should I say we just decided to stay an extra day at this campground, because Pam really liked the place, and we had a really neat porch/patio set up, with lots of plants she liked.....Anyhow, we spent the entire afternoon lounging in the sun, reading and dozing off, and such things. When the direct sunlight started to fade behind the palm trees, we cleaned up and headed east, into Ft. Lauderdale Beach, a place that Pam had never visited. We parked just south of the main drag, and walked for about a mile along the beach walk, before we sat down at the Drunken Taco, and had a frozen strawberry margarita at happy hour, and ate some supper, at an outdoor sidewalk cafe type of place. As we walked after dinner, we decided to stay and watch the Ft. Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade, which was being held on the Intercoastal Waterway. It's a good thing that we didn't want to get home, because just about every drawbridge in the city was up from 6:30 - 9:30 for the staging of this parade. We ended up in a riverside park, right next to Los Olas Avenue. There was a crowd, a band playing, and a two hour parade of every type of boat. Everything from paddleboarders to ocean going vessels that you could put a football field on, all decorated with millions of lights, loud speaker systems, spotlights, huge video screens, and packed with people having parties, floated up the river, and a great time was had by all.
Pam went for a bike ride today and discovered this bird.  No clue what it is

One of our little friends at our campsite

Doesn't get much better than this!

All the bars and restaurants decorate their palm trees

Looking across the canal at the decorations

 I'm just going to post some of the boats from the parade without comments!  Enjoy!

This was the first boat in the parade and it was HUGE!  With a huge sound system and a DJ!

And boat #100 and the final boat was.....Santa!!

That's him by the flag, waving to everyone!  Ho! Ho! Ho! South Florida style!

December 14.... I had a short ride today, on a totally different path of travel than two years ago. On the previous trip, I was along the Atlantic coast, and stayed in a motel in Lauderdale, rode through downtown Miami Beach and Miami, then stayed in a motel in Little Havana, before continuing on to Homestead. This time, we are twenty miles or so inland from all the coastal excitement, and are having a much different ride, almost along the border between Miami/Dade metro area and the Everglades. My ride was pretty normal, very calm on a Sunday compared to what it could have been on a weekday, and pretty short compared to most riding days. I headed due south on a four lane called Flamingo Road. What I never realized before was that Ft Lauderdale is basically a northern suburb of Miami. I was never out of commercial or residential area for the entire ride. The campground we are staying at is basically southwest of downtown Miami, so I covered the entire length of the metro area today. After sections of commercial, residential, and industrial roads, most with bike lanes, some without. The roads I was on with the most traffic were the ones without the bike lanes. All I have to say is I'm glad it was a Sunday afternoon. Two years ago the Miami traffic was death defying, over on the coast, and today it was heavy in places, but I get the feeling it was nothing compared to what it is on a weekday. A crazy thing that I wanted to mention, was the amount of money I have seen laying on the roads since I've been south of Daytona. I have taken to stopping a picking up the coins when it is safe and convenient to do so, and I have been picking up about 75-85 cents a day. Quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, usually in intersections. I pass up almost as much as I pick up. Coins everywhere. It's almost like they throw coins out of their vehicles for good luck or something. They are everywhere. If I focused on it I could double my take, I'm sure, but some free pennies are just too good to pass up when you're retired like we are. I have a coin jar of the most beat up coins you're ever going to find. 
With 5-10 miles left on my ride, I came to a sign that said Redlands Agricultural Area, and metro Miami just came to an abrupt end. The buildings disappeared, and the roads narrowed, and the fields bearing  tomatoes, avocados, beans, sugar cane, and who knows what else mixed in with the nurseries and Palm tree farms. The Miami/Everglades RV resort is smack in the middle of this agricultural area. Twenty miles from Miami Beach, 35 miles from Key Largo, eleven miles from the Everglades, it is centrally located in the middle of no where and everywhere. When I got into the park, Pam was already at the pool soaking up some rays, so I joined her. The weather turned for the better two days ago, and our days have been 72-78 degrees, with no change from that in the next weeks forecast. After a cool start to our Florida excursion, things are finally the way they should be. Amen.

Micycle bicycle poses with the gator that greets everyone at the campground!

Our site at the Miami Everglades RV Resort

Bicycling from Jupiter/Juno Beach, Fła, to Fort Lauderdale/Davie KOA,Fla (Dec.11 & 12)

76.77 in 5:44....(932.57).....
December 11...we spent the day in Jupiter, resting the wheels, in a beautiful, but expensive RV resort on the Jupiter/Juno Beach border. I took the opportunity to take the bike back to Hobe Beach, and let Village Bikes hook me up with a new drive train. Pam and I drove back along Juniper Island, because I thought Pam might like to see how the other half lives, the rich and famous, that is. Then we stopped for lunch at a little roadside tiki bar and restaurant that John Travanti turned me on to last time we were here, Dune Dog. I had a footlong hot dog with sauerkraut, and Pam had some not so lobstery lobster bisque and a lobster roll, which she said wasn't that impressive. Oh, well. I liked the place last time, but they bombed this time. Then we bought a hose connector and spent way too much time fixing our water hose to the RV, which cramped up, and we weren't getting any water pressure. We had time to then walk a short distance, and check out the Juno Beach Park Pier, which cost a dollar to walk out on, so we didn't walk on it (we didn't bring any money). We did watch a group of surfers catch some pretty good waves (for Florida), and soaked what little warmth there was, on another day that never made it above 65. We then drove  20 miles, back to Hobe Sound, to pick up my bike, which wasn't done. They ordered a wrong part, and were trying to 'harvest' one off of other bikes in the shop. We were told to come back in the morning, and hopefully it would be done. I was hoping things would work out perfectly, but it doesn't always go that way. Then it was off to the Travanti residence, where we had hors dourves ( not even spell check could get that one right), drinks, and NY strip steaks, that John and I cooked on the grill. Pam got to meet John's two boys, David and Jake, and their two dogs. Their house was all lit up on the outside for the holidays, and Christmas music and decorations were all done up, inside. We had a great evening. John and Dorothy always go above and beyond the call of duty when I/we visit, which is two times now. The old roomie did pretty damn well for himself. 

Village Bike Shop in Hobe Sound, Florida

Banyan tree "tunnel" in Hobe Sound, heading towards Jupiter Island

Loggerhead sea turtle sculpture 

Juno Beach Pier

Juno Beach Pier

My old roomie, John Travani

December 12....the day started off with a trip back up to Hobe Sound to pick up the bike, which the mechanic was still trying to get to shift properly. He was finally successful, and I was out of there with pretty much a new drive train, except for the one gear that was causing me problems. I'm happy that the maintenance is done, before bigger problems occurred, and I will find the one gear I need somewhere so I have my big speed gears back again. I got out of there with a really good price, and the mechanics really were conscientious and did a good job. I had them put new brake pads on also, that I had been carrying with me. After almost 25,000 miles, the brake pads were about shot. 
I got on the road at about eleven o'clock, (and Pam was able to get the rig out of our little tropical  cubby hole!) with about 75 miles to do, on one of the shortest days for daylight of the year. I didn't kill myself, but I didn't dilly dally either. The first 20 miles or so we're on US 1, which is just a business corridor, so it was pretty boring, except for a stretch in Palm Beach, where I went over to the Intercoastal Waterway, and rode along the water for five miles or so. The yachts are getting bigger as I go south, and there is no shortage of money in this stretch either. They also had several huge sand sculptures for Christmas and lots of decorations, which I would have missed if I stayed on US1. The homes and condos are very impressive. There have been bicyclists everywhere since Daytona, and today was no different. I met up with a couple on US1, that were packed down pretty good, and also headed for the Keys. We chatted for a while, but they wanted to beeline it on US1, and I wanted to head over to A1A, so they went on ahead, and I made a left, toward the ocean. The bridge that was going to take me over the Intercoastal was closed for construction, so I had to go about five miles south, to find another bridge. 
I finally got over to the ocean, and A1A, is just a different world. I crossed over just south of Lake Worth, just in time to see Boynton Beach, a more residential area, then onto Delray Beach, which was much more commercial and touristy. All these beaches and towns, regardless of what is there, are just gorgeous, well manicured, and too pricey for my blood. Then it was on to Boca Raton, where there was a beach replenishment project going on, with a huge pipe running right down the middle of the beach for miles. It was interesting that I knew exactly what was going on, because the same kind of project was going on on the Outer Banks all summer long. Then it was Pompano Beach, which had a huge, guarded beach and a pier, and looked like a great family vacation spot. Traffic had been building gradually, but when I got to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, a full scale traffic jam broke out, condos shot up like weeds, and it pretty much stayed that way, through to Ft Lauderdale. There was road construction to deal with at that point, plus work on the walkway along the beach, which meant that I really had to pay attention to traffic, rather than look around, as I like to do. 
In Ft Lauderdale, right in the heart of the beach business district, which was pretty busy, I made a right, and headed inland, towards the Davie/Ft Lauderdale KOA, where Pam had set up camp. We were fortunate to get a site on a Friday, as RV parks are becoming more rare. The parks in the Lauderdale area are old, therefore not equipt to handle the newer big rigs like ours, and they are in neighborhoods which are older and not so nice, according to all the reviews that Pam read. Last night, we were about ready to bail on the whole bike riding idea, because we didn't think we would find a place to camp, and I didn't want to stay in motels like I did in this area last trip. But, as usual, Pam pulled through finding a place, and all I had to do was ride about twenty miles inland from Ft Lauderdale. 
As I rode inland, I discovered that Ft. Lauderdale is a huge place, and there is much more than just the beach. Los Olas Street, which I rode on for several miles, was filled with standstill traffic, condos, and upscale restaurants. There was also at least a half a dozen waterways, complete with the huge yachts and other mere million dollar boats. I was delayed by a couple more draw bridges, before I got into a maze of major roads, including I-95, the Florida Turnpike, I-595, and other eight lane roads. I mixed it up with traffic on US441, which felt like an interstate, and had a five mile stretch on Fla 817, that was busy as hell, but had  a bike lane. Darkness was falling quickly as I hit some residential areas, and got on a trail that meandered for miles along a residential canal, and popped out right at the KOA. My last ten miles were paralleling one canal or another, which I found interesting.
Once I was showered, and checked out our really neat campsite, complete with covered patio, chairs, and exotic ( for us ) plants, we went over to the restaurant/bar area, and had lasagna, and chatted with the local workampers for over an hour. Our workamping experience in Arizona is drawing nearer, so we shared what we knew. Pam was an encyclopedia of information on traveling that one couple was tapping, and I spoke to a couple of others about what I knew about bike touring, and running and biking injuries.

Fellow travelers headed for the Keys on Rt 1

Sand sculptures in Palm Beach

Sand sculpture in Palm Beach

Bike trail along Flagler Road in Palm Beach

This sign is seen in several towns south of Palm Beach

Beach replenishment went on for miles in Boca Raton

Micycle Bicycle taking a restroom break in Pompano Beach

Pompano Beach

Pompano Beach Pier

Lauderdale By the Sea, traffic and condos everywhere

The last seaside condo before Ft Lauderdale

Crossing the Intercoastal Waterway.....again

And again, complete with drawbridge delay!!

Bike trail along the New River canal, heading to the KOA in Davie

Not a bad site, eh??!!

Complete with fire ring, benches, and.....

.....the man cave for the day!

It's Florida, the plants are nice, but it's still cold!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bicycling from Fort Pierce, Fla to Jupiter/Juno Beach, Fla. Dec 10

57.89 miles in 4:18....(855.8)....We woke up to temperatures in the 40's!!! That was nothing another hour in bed couldn't solve, however. When I left at about ten o'clock, I started out with a jacket, but it only lasted for about 45 minutes. I had some eastbound riding to do to get over to A1A, and the chilly north wind was smacking me in the left ear for about ten miles. The wind was especially cold over the water, as I traveled to Hutchison Island, and the ocean. Once I turned toward the south, the jacket came off. Hutchinson Island started out with a commercialized beach area, then it thinned out into a stretch of road with little beach access parks, canoe put in areas, and bird watching areas in a county run bird sanctuary and park. A1A was still a sweet ride with the nice shoulder and the tailwind, but this being my third day of riding in a row, I took a little off my normal effort, and just cruised along, even though it only slowed me down about a half a mile an hour. At about the 20 mile mark, I came to the end of Hutchinson Island, and it was back across the water, and onto US 1, which was a six lane, traffic filled nightmare through the town of Stuart. There wasn't anything worth mentioning on this twenty mile stretch, as I spent my time watching for traffic and road debris, and slowing or stopping for red lights. Once I rolled into Hobe Sound, I was directed onto a road to take me back over to the coast. I saw a bike shop, so on a whim, I stopped in to say if they could do anything about my rapidly deteriorating drive train. The folks at Village Bike, stopped everything they were doing, and commenced to researching and ordering every part that I need. My normal Shimano parts have been fantastic, but this time I'm going with a different make, because Shimano parts could not be shipped for my one day lay over. We agreed on all I wanted done, agreed on the price, and after about an hour at the shop, I was on my way again. I will bring the bike back tomorrow morning, and hopefully I'll be good as new. The shop is only about 20 minutes from our campground, so it is my best opportunity to get things done before disaster strikes in the form of a breakdown in the middle of this strange and far away land.
The remainder of the trip was definitely the most scenic. I ended up on Juniper Island, not knowing what I was going to get, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It was a shoulderless road that passed through a landscaped Mecca of very high end homes in an environment that was very isolated from the off island metro that was occurring on the mainland. It turns out that this island is the home of the rich and famous, including Tiger Woods and Greg Norman, two pro golfing millionaires, and Michael Jordan has a joint there to escape to every once in a while.  Just a very impressive nine mile stretch. On the south end of the island, I was stopped by two consecutive draw bridges, before emptying into the beautiful town of Jupiter, which also happens to be the home of my college roommate, John Travanti, and his family. We had been in contact, and we deliberately got an RV site close to the area so we could hook up. I rode down Oceanside Blvd in Jupiter, which is a very impressive lane with an ocean view, and miles of sea grapes separating the road from the beach. Sea grapes are a protected plant that grows in this area, and they make up a integral part of the landscaping on Juniper Island, and this region,  and make a great animal and bird habitat, as well as erosion control, not to mention their natural beauty. I turned away from the water for a half a mile to find our campground, which turns out to be the Taj Mahal of campgrounds. This place is the winter home of the upper crust, and was very nice. Pam backed into a very narrow, but beautiful site, (of course this was a camping resort that DIDN'T escort me to my site and guide me into it!!) and when I got there, we preceded to the outdoor jacuzzi to enjoy a spa hour. Then John, and his wife Dorothy, picked us up, and took us to a fantastic, local restaurant, in Hobe Sound, called the Catfish House. I had the catfish with cheese grits, and Pam had the biggest shrimp I've ever seen, all done to perfection. It was good to see the old roomie again, and we planned to get together tomorrow also. John is the only person I've kept in touch with from my fraternity days, and we reconnected after losing track of each other for 25 years. I stayed with John for several days last trip down this way, and we've hooked up for a couple of WVU football games, and I'm proud of how he turned out. We've both done well for ourselves, considering how we floundered our way through the college years. But, we had fun!

My legs weren't screaming that bad, but someone's were!!!

Indian River Lagoon was always nearby

A sample of the "shacks" on A1A.  Their backyard is the Atlantic Ocean!

Riding down the road on Jupiter Island - just a view of the landscaping at some of the houses

Examples of the the plush landscaping at each home

How do you prune that??!!  Motorhome wouldn't fit in there!

Nothing better than December blooms!!

Plush vegetation has paths down to the ocean along Ocean Blvd in Jupiter

I had to stop for a drawbridge


And then stop for another drawbridge!

Sea grapes is pruned flat, but it grows on a dropoff down to the Atlantic

This lady is taking a picture of a bird on her car!

Our "camp" site in Juno Beach!

Pam got the RV in there, but can we get it out??!!  It was a tropical jungle

John, Dorthy and Pam having dinner at the Catfish House