Trip Report: 2014 Bicycle Tour
Burton, TX to Key West, FL along the Adventure Cycling Association Southern Tier Route.
This page is a report of my solo bicycle tour in 2014. I followed the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) Southern Tier Route from Burton, TX to St. Augustine, FL. Then I took the ACA Florida Connector Route from St. Augustine, near Orlando, then Ft. Meyers, and then Ft. Lauderdale. Then I followed the ACA Atlantic Coast Route from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West, FL.
See the sidebar for information about the Adventure Cycling Association, the route, and my bike and gear. I camped and stayed in motels depending on the location, weather, etc.
Click any of these links to see:
- Photos from the trip.
- Photos of roadkill along the way that was requested by my friend, Anette.
- Written list of the roadkill (PDF file)
- List of the birds that I saw on the trip (PDF file)
|Day 61, Friday, March 28, 2014.|
|Cutler Bay, FL to Key Largo, FL.|
Miles, Time (day/trip): 47.7/2,105.8 5:04/9:01:47.
I rode south into strong winds, down US Highway 1, past the Everglades, to Key Largo. I have had symptoms of a cold for a couple of days that are getting much worse this afternoon. I will probably just rest tomorrow.
|Day 62, Saturday, March 29, 2014.|
|Key Largo, FL.|
Miles, Time (day/trip):8.0/2,113.8, 0:51/9:02:38.
Today was a rest and relaxation day. My cold is getting better. I am sitting on the Bay side of Key Largo watching the boats, water, and eating shrimp.
|Day 63, Sunday, March 30, 2014.|
|Key Largo, FL to Islamorada, FL.|
Miles, Time (day/trip): 19.5/2,133.3, 1:58/9:04:36.
I had only a short ride to my next stop, Islamorada. I plan to spend 4 nights in a motel here.
The Florida Keys are about 110 miles long and very narrow. Everyone describes their location here in relationship to the mile markers on US Highway 1 that runs the length of the keys and by which side of the highway they are located. Mile marker 0 is south at Key West. The two sides are bay side and ocean side.
I am staying at a nice spot, The Ragged Edge Motel (mile 86.5, ocean side). Lodging and everything else, but especially lodging, is expensive here. This motel was one of the least expensive but is quite satisfactory despite the bargain (for Islamorada) price. I have a lovely view from the deck of my 2nd story room.
I had a terrific late lunch / early dinner of cracked conch and yellowtail snapper while overlooking the Florida Bay at a restaurant named Marker 88. It's located at (you guessed it) mile marker 88, bay side.
For several days now, I've been seeing a lot of Green Iguanas, a non-native species that seems to be thriving here in South Florida. Several are nesting here on the motel grounds. Some of them are several feet long. They look ferocious, but they aren't.
|Day 64, Monday, March 31, 2014.|
Miles, Time (day/trip): 18.6/2,151.9, 1:46/9:06:22.
I started the day with this sunrise over the ocean by Plantation Key. I learned that the term Key comes from the Spanish word "cayo" which means "small island". The Florida Keys are definitely a very special place.
I spent the day kayaking. I saw this manatee in the mangroves. I tried to approach it slowly and quietly expecting it to swim away as I approached. To my surprise, it turned and swam right beside my kayak. Then it lifted its head out of the water and looked right into my face from 2 feet away.
|Day 65, Tuesday, April 1, 2014.|
Miles, Time (day/trip): 22.9/2,174.8, 1:59/9:08:21.
I kayaked for about 5 hours.
I was bored so I decided to get this tattoo in my armpit. I always loved troll dolls.
|Day 66, Wednesday, April 2, 2014.|
Miles, Time (day/trip): 19.6/2,194.4 1:46/9:10:07.
Last evening, the bearing in my right pedal wore out. It began binding, making noise, and had excessive play when examined. Fortunately, I was able to easily buy a new one from the nice folks at Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters , a nearby bike, paddling, camping, etc. store.
I kayaked again today. I paddled out to Lignumvitae Key and circumnavigated it. I saw a bunch of small sharks in the mangrove shallows. There were many birds roosting there. I stopped after 3½ hours because of blisters on my hands.
|Day 67, Thursday, April 3, 2014.|
|Islamorada, FL to Big Pine Key, FL.|
Miles, Time (day/trip): 55.5/2,249.9, 4:13/9:14:21.
I was back on the road again today. I am at Big Pine Key, just 33 from the end of my bicycle tour in Key West. I plan to spend 2 more days here and will do so more kayaking.
This morning I visited Windley Key Fossil Reef Geologic State Park. It was a quarry where Key Largo limestone was cut to build Henry Flagler's Overseas Railroad down the keys to Key West. The limestone is filled with coral fossils. The cut faces of the stone in the quarry show these fossils very well.
I saw the endangered Key deer. Recent estimates of its population are only 700 to 800. There are dozens of them walking around the campground where I am staying like tame pets. They seem to have no fear of humans.
|Day 68, Friday, April 4, 2014.|
|Big Pine Key, FL.|
Miles, Time (day/trip): 0/2,249.9, 0/9:14:21.
I started the day with this beautiful sunrise at my campsite.
I kayaked and walked for several hours today.
|Day 69, Saturday, April 5, 2014.|
|Big Pine Key, FL.|
Miles, Time (day/trip): 12.8/2,262.7 1:21/9:15:42.
I hiked a nature trail near my campsite this morning. I saw this gumbo limbo tree as well as a wide variety of other exotic plants.
I did a moderately long kayak cruise, circumnavigating No-Name Key.
|Day 70, Sunday, April 6, 2014.|
|Big Pine Key, FL to Key West, FL.|
Miles, Time (day/trip): 35.0/2,297.7 2:40/9:18:22.
Today I reached the end of my tour, Key West. The Adventure Cycling Association Atlantic Coast Route ends at the southernmost point in the continental U.S. I rode my bicycle 14,062 minutes to get here. I estimate that it took slightly more than 1,000,000 pedal revolutions.
I added 2 birds, Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) and the somewhat rare, White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala) to my photo album. To see the Yellowthroat photo click here. To see the pigeon photo click here. To see the complete collection of my roadkill photos click here.
I visited the Eaton bike shop in Key West and made arrangements to get my bike packed in a box and shipped home. Tomorrow I'll go to the UPS store and box-up my panniers and other gear and ship it home.
Wednesday, I am flying from Key West to Jacksonville, FL. where I'll meet Connie. Then we'll drive to the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, near Live Oak, FL and attend the Wanee Music Festival. We will fly out of Jacksonville on Sunday. Connie is traveling directly back to Amarillo. I must fly to Houston and retrieve my truck from Burton, TX where I left it at the start of my bike tour.