It is 10:15 PM, Monday, May 31, 2010. Memorial Day. I am in my cabin at Oleta River State Park. Laptop on my lap. There is a built in desk, but my new camp chair (red white and blue for the Holiday) is to low. No internet, just composing to save, cut, and paste when I return Weds.
I will write about today’s activity later. Traffic made me miss the Brewers-Marlins game, Now is time to tell you about day one of my 5 day weekend, Saturday, May 29, 2010.
I'm home 8:45 PM, Wednesday, June 2, 2010. Time to start adding pics and telling you about the last 5 days. That's the Atlantic Ocean, off Big Pine Key, above.
I left home about 7:00, Key West bound. Made good time until the end of the Florida Turnpike, in Florida City where it ends and US 1 begins. Backed up, but moving, from a half mile before US 1 to Card Sound Road. I took Card Sound, longer, more scenic, I think I saw a crocodile just after getting on the Road. Either that or alligator. I was tempted to stop and get a closer look,but there are no shoulders. I was in the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Back on US 1, there were two more slow sections, and few times that I hit the speed limit. It took 7 hours to reach Big Pine Key, about 360 miles. As as I crossed the bridge to Big Pine I turned left on Long Beach Road, taking it about 2.5 miles to the end. The Atlantic is 20 yards from the end of the road. I launched to look for Key deer on the Ocean shore, or in the channel connecting the Atlantic to Coupon Bight. Until last Labor Day weekend, I had never seen a Key deer. I’ve been visiting since 1988, plus one trip in the late 1970's. Now, I’ve seen them my last two visits, from the kayak. Did not see any from the kayak today. I did see osprey, cormorants, blue herons, snowy egrets, and great egrets.
I did not paddle long, about 50 minutes. I had told my nephew, Evan, I would be at his bike shop, ReCycle, on Stock Island, in the late afternoon. I did not want to have him wait for me. I had a slight delay as I put the kayak on the car.
Now I've seed Key deer every time I've put the yak in on Long Beach Road. Now I was on my way to the bike shop.
I bought a mountain bike. Kona Caldera. Upon my arrival at ReCycle, Evan had his hands full with a large family rental group and a young man who had some issues with his rental. Evan showed a lot of patience and professionalism. Traits that will serve him well as he is about to become a dad. Bike, and pump and water bottle racks, and water bottle, and compute purchased, I put the bike in the back of the Versa and went to my sister’s house in Key West. By the way Evan, I am going to need a rack. It was fine for the short trip, but when I left Monday, I took the wheel off and I’d rather not do that every time. With the wheel on, the wide handle bars hit the back of the car seat. High up, near the headrest. Not a good thing for a sudden stop.
The first test pedal came as Monica and I biked over to nephew Arlo’s home. Monica decided I would like a cookout. I’ll never turn down a meal. We stopped at Mangia Mangia, where my niece, Elena, works to say hi to her. Then it was brats and Italians with Arlo, Ashley, Evan, Camila, Jolly, and Bill. The poinciana are are in bloom, beautiful in the setting sun. After dark, the scent of jasmine permeated the air. Frogs croaked. A nice way to end the first day of the five day weekend.