Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Eighteen Days in the Keys (Dec. 18 to Jan.5, 2015)

We just discovered this unpublished post from Christmas 2014!

E438.41 miles on 9 different rides over 18 days.....Sugarloaf Key KOA is about 23 miles from the SĂ´uthernmost Point Buoy in Key West, so my first ride as a Key West 'winter resident' was to the buoy, to officially finish off the journey from North Carolina. My other rides basically consisted of the same loop from the KOA to Key West and back, with a few variations each time. About five miles south of the KOA,  the bike trail becomes continuous, parallel to the highway, but I didn't use it when riding south, because it is on the 'wrong' side of the road. When US1 starts to get rough, a few miles north of Key West, I would jump on, after the trail crosses under a bridge, to the right side of the road. I just like the slipstream of same direction traffic better than I like fighting the headwind caused by opposing traffic, even if it may not be as safe. Go figure. Along those lines, a biker did get killed by a car while we were there, a few miles south of the KOA, about a mile from where the bike trail ends. I saw them doing the investigation, road paint, measuring devices, and all, as I rode home after a loop one day. An elderly man hit a biker that was in the bike lane. I could see the skid mark from the bike tire when the bumper had it locked up, for about ten feet. There were no car tire marks. Bad luck I guess, but that is why I am addicted to my little rear view mirror that I wear on my sunglasses.
The highlight of the stay in the Keys was having Buddy there for over a week, and his friend Lindsay for the New Years Eve weekend. It's always good to see the boy. Pam, Buddy, and I went on a dive charter out of Key West, and scuba dived on a reef six miles off shore. We had a great time, even though the water was pretty choppy and the wind progressed as the day went on. One guy got sea sick and barfed on the stairs leading below deck to the restrooms, and one woman had to be rescued from the water, but the three of us faired just fine. After the trip we ate on a balcony overlooking the marina in Key West, soaking in the scenery. Buddy consumed seafood, as he did every day that he was there. We also rented a boat and 'Captain Buddy' took us out into the ocean about six or seven miles, and we snorkeled, look for sea turtles, and just generally created good memories.
Another highlight of the trip was having friends at the campground that we know from North Beach, in North Carolina. Charlie and Susan Watson, a retired EMS 'extraordinaire', and a retired school teacher respectively, always are there for us, and have taught us the meaning of true friendship. Bird and Gisele also came down for a week or so and camped, and their unique beach personalities make them some of my favorite company. I used their paddleboard one day to try to master that craft, but had a really rough go of it in the current. I'm just not made for it. My balance is terrible. I think it's because my ankles are so weak, but who knows.
The weather was a daily carbon copy the entire time we were there. 70 degrees at night, and 80 degrees during the day. We always knew what we were going to get. Even New Year's Eve was nice. Buddy and I upheld our Keys pyrotechnic tradition, as I smuggled Roman Candles into the RV, and I handed them out, and we all shot them off simultaneously at midnight. By the way, never trust Susan Watson with a Roman candle. After the first ball went off, she panicked and dropped it. The other nine balls proceeded to shoot off randomly, into the water, and into the mangroves, and at several people. Cmon Susan!!!
I became a common sight at Island Cycles, where I ordered a new chain ring, and stopped in to expedite the process every time I rode by. Well, they were nice enough, including the bike tech from Bethel Park, but it just never happened. They were too busy I guess. Fortunately, with the wisdom that comes with being an old man, I ordered the chain ring from another bike shop on Stock Island, just in case an occasion like this occurred, which it often does. I finally went to the other guy, and the chain ring was on, labor free, in less than an hour. I have learned to always have a plan B.

Pap Rose with his Christmas presents from Chase and Carter
What can I say????

Mike and the sponge monster

This iguana just fell off of our MH roof!

Rough life....

Taking Buddy out on a snorkeling trip

Some of the fancy yachts in the harbor in Key West


Key West

Pam snorkeling


Buddy enjoying his Christmas break!


Some of the fish we saw off the side of the dock


Having lunch in Key West after snorkeling

One of the famous Key West chickens

Pelicans feeding

Santa found us!

Mike with his new present!  A shark buff!

Christmas dinner in the Keys!

Buddy is ready to dig in!!!

Cheers!  Merry Christmas!

Showing off the Christmas presents

Captain Buddy takes us out on the ocean




Mike snorkeling

Lindsay and Buddy

The "North Beach Gang" celebrates New Years Eve


The New Years party theme was the 60s

















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