March 17, 1999

After saying my good-byes to Mike and Holly as they were leaving, I finished writing for yesterday in my journal.  While I was on my way out I met Ed, one of the park rangers.  He inquired about my trailer and asked about my ride.  Ed told me that south Florida was one of the most dangerous places to cycle.    He told me his own cycling horror stories in south Florida.  On one occasion he was cycling along when a lady in the passenger seat of a van threw a dirty diaper hitting him in the face.  Another time someone threw a big chunk of ice hitting him in the left eye, which caused some peripheral vision problems for a long time after.   He goes on to tell me about this "redneck" in a truck that was driving in the opposite direction.  The "redneck" crossed over the road and ran Ed off the road into a ditch. 

He recommended a book for me to read, "Miles from Nowhere" by Barbara Savage.    Which I did read only a month ago.  Ed stated he met Barbara and her husband when they camped at the same campground and said that Barbara quoted him in the book.   He told of warning them about the ride into Key West.  "You shouldn't go any farther and end it here.  The road ahead is suicide."   Having just cycled that area myself, I saw the old bridges that they had to cross.   Long bridges with no shoulder, and very narrow.  Barely enough room for 2 cars side by side.   I don't know if I would've cycled it back then, especially the 7-mile bridge.   But now the new bridges have plenty of shoulder and it's a nice ride.   I pedaled off and heard him say to me as I rode away, "I wish you no bad detriments on your trip."

I rode on to the post office and mailed my postcards and journal entries.  At the post office a very nice lady put $5 on the counter in front of and said, "go treat yourself to breakfast."  This was after she found out my bike plans, and although excited for me, she seemed a bit concerned.  So far I've only met the nicest of people.  :)

I stopped at a Subway for lunch and refilled my water bottles.  As I rode into Key Largo, I took a picture of the "African Queen".  There was a Canadian I spoke with and he said I was leaving way too early for my ride.  He couldn't understand the concept of taking my time instead of racing to get there.

Battling headwinds and the hot sun today made me re-consider the ride into homestead.    The temp was 90 degrees and the sun was searing my sunburn.  So I stopped at John Pennecamp State Park (39 miles).  I pulled up to the gate and found out that the campsites were full.  But as luck would have it, Kirsten is at the gate and offers to share her campsite.  After setting up camp she offers to take me to the grocery store with her.

Before going into the store she goes into the library while I headed for the bike shop.    They were all in the same strip mall.   While in the bike shop I look at tires and was considering buying an extra tire for a spare.  While talking to the guy he told me about his friend that rode from Key West to Alaska then down to San Diego and across to Georgia.  I was informed that he too was pulling a B.O.B trailer and kept 75 lbs. in it.  During that ride he had only 1 flat while riding over barbed wire.    His great success in combating flats was due to "thorn resistant" tubes.   I looked at those tubes and although they seemed a bit heavy for tubes,   I thought they might save me some grief in the future.  The outside of the tube is 4.5 mm thick, the road side.   So I bought 2 for $6.50 each and headed for the grocery store.   I bought some nectarines, bagels, and some more sunblock.

Upon returning I ate 2 nectarines and sat down to write this when a squirrel walks right onto the paper I'm writing on.  This little guy has been fed by too many of the tourists here.  So far 75% of the people here are in rented RV's and are from Germany or some other foreign country.

I heard some guy yelling with his German accent "ruh-coon" "ruh-coon".    I look and he is pointing at me and then pointing to my feet.  I looked under the picnic table to see a raccoon right by my leg.   Geeeeeeez not raccoons again, they woke me up several times at the other campsite trying to get my food.

The excitement of the evening came when I discovered my camp stove was leaking at the fitting to the butane bottle.  In a giant poof I burnt the hair on my left arm.    I guess that's why they say that the bottle must be upright when in use.   :)   

After eating, I hung out with Kirsten and we discussed everything form Botany to Zoology.    She is a bit eccentric but a very intelligent lady, and well versed on many topics.   One of those rare people that are very good with right brained and left brained stuff.  We sat in her RV while she weaved a hat and uploaded the pics from her digital camera to her laptop computer.  

I heard the raccoons outside and thought "good thing my food is safe inside of my tent."  But I decided to take a quick peek outside and wouldn't you know it, those clever little ba…. Uh creatures managed to unzip my tent.   Three of them scurried out of my tent making off with my bagels, nectarines, and the rest of my instant mashed potatoes.  Luckily, they didn't have time to discover the rest of my food.  I positioned the zippers at the top of the tents arched door so they won't be able to get in again.  Then headed back to talk with Kirsten.

Kirsten talked some about her interests in neuro-linguistics.   We also discussed quantum physics and about how much power our minds can have over our own health.   She recommended a book "Molecules of Emotion" by Candace Pert.  The evening ended by an exercise she put me through.  It was a self-improvement exercise requiring thought, concentration, and imagery.

I went to sleep about 1 am.

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