March 18, 1999

I got up at about 6 am and showered then I headed to the beach area on my bike. I wanted one last look at the Atlantic Ocean. I really enjoyed the peaceful morning on the beach. Others are yet to wake up and get here, so that leaves me alone to take all this in, as the sun rises over the horizon of the ocean with beautiful palm trees decorating the landscape.

Went back to camp and said good bye to Kirsten. She took pics of me with her digital camera and said she would e-mail them to "Imp" and Steve. I only hope that if any of the pics are dorky, they don't put them on my web pages :) I left around 9:30 am.

The roads through the Keys have been great to ride on. Most of the time you either have a bike lane or a wide enough shoulder. Heading out of Key Largo the road was newly paved. But the new pavement only goes a couple inches beyond the white line. They left the old road shoulder there, which was bumpy as hell. I rode on the white line, and as far to the right I could on new asphalt. But while cars were passing… I headed back over to the butt hurtin', teeth jarrin' side. I also crossed a couple of bridges over channels that had no shoulder. I cringed as this idiot in his big ass suburban tried to pass me with cars coming in the opposite direction. My handlebar was about 2 inches from scraping his paint!

The temp today is 85 degrees but over 90 on the hot asphalt. The sun continued to fry my bright red skin as I realize I forgot to fill my water bottles! DOH! So I pedal at a slow, easy pace, to keep from getting overheated. There is nothing along the way... just road and marshlands.

I only rode 30.5 miles today. Arriving in Homestead at noon. I stopped at the first convenience store, downed 2 PowerAde’s and ate a grilled chicken sandwich. As I continued riding through downtown Homestead, a lady in the passenger seat of a RV said something to me. I catch up to her at the red light and I realize it’s one of the ladies from Boyd's campground in Key West. She was saying hello and wishing me luck on my trip.

Finding the Caribe motel, I checked in and immediately fell asleep for 1.5 hours. Having only 5 hours of sleep, and the hot sun zapping my energy, I was really tired. I'm just glad that I'm biking now, I'd die if I’d waited until summer!

The rest of the afternoon was spent making phone calls to let everyone know where I was. I fixed the rest of the chicken flavored rice on my camp stove and ate one of my MET-Rx food bars.

As I'm writing this I'm wondering about the road ahead. Initially there were a lot of people saying that 997 is a death wish. A lot of trucks take it to avoid the toll road. I was also informed that there is no shoulder to ride on. One person in Key West said it would be best to follow Highway 1 all the way to where it connects to 27 in Miami. He said it was a good, safe route. But on my departing day, I was assured by another, that it's been paved recently and has a wide shoulder. I hope the guy didn't have his roads confused! Guess I'll find out tomorrow. For now I'll watch some brainless TV and go to bed early.

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