Monday, June 28, 2021

December 2020 Bicycle Tour in Florida: Sarasota to Key West

In an effort to get out and have an adventure, I flew to Pat's house in Sarasota and we rode east to Ft Lauderdale and then headed south to Key West.  The red dots below show the basic route. 

The following pictures are in reverse order - that's how they imported into Blogger and I was too lazy to fix it. 

The "southernmost point in the USA" marker in Key West. The line to get a selfie was around the block, so we just rolled by and took a snapshot. 

We had all of our camping gear but never camped. The campsites were either full, closed, or just a bunch of concrete slabs like the one below. We stayed in cheap hotels instead. We had a great tailwind this day, as you can see from the trees. 

Seven mile bridge.  The shoulder of the road is nice and wide, so biking wasn't pleasant but it wasn't unsafe either. 

Scene from the Florida keys. This is the old abandoned bridge that parallels the newer 7-Mile bridge. Tomorrow, we get to Key West and rent a car to drive back to Sarasota.

Florida be all classy like this:

Conch Ceviche from the local gas station makes for a nice lunch. 

Castaway meets Waterworld. I especially like the camper top with the deck chair. Only in Florida.

A bunch of cruise ships lined up at the dock, mothballed due to Covid. 

Lunch in downtown Miami. 

Miles and miles and miles of this in Florida. Not the best state for bike touring. 

Two more riding days to Key West.

Bicycle touring with the rich and famous. Here is the view from our hotel last night. We were biking through "big sugar" territory and this is a hotel mostly used by migrant workers. The Jamaican shack up the street, however, made spectacular oxtail and goat.

The bus is here to pick up the migrant workers to take them to the sugar fields.

I hit a patch of dirt going around a corner. 

Breakfast beers in the orange groves.

Breakfast beers on Spanish moss and large rambling trees.

The bike, all loaded up and ready to head out. 

Pat's front yard in Sarasota. 


New Orleans in February 2021

We went down to New Orleans in February 2021, mostly just to get away. Since most things were closed, we rented a car. We normally just walk, bike, Uber or streetcar our way around town but Uber was pretty limited, the bikeshare program was gone. Because we had a car, we were able to travel to some of the outlying areas that we never really get to see. 

The iconic New Orleans photo in Jackson Square. 

Because of Covid, the parades were cancelled. There were a lot of individuals and organizations that decided to make "porch floats" instead. Many houses were decorated with beads and banners. 

Bourbon St was dead. Here is a photo of Bourbon St on Saturday afternoon. Also, no music along Frenchmen Street. 

Because we had a car, we drove across Lake Pontchartrain and wend on a swamp tour. Can you spot the alligator on the lawn? 

There is a cemetery in Metairie which has a number of beautiful mausoleums and monuments. It also has a famous weeping angel sculpture in one of the mausoleums. 

Since we had a car, we decided to drive all the way down to the end of the world. The last miles were clearly below sea level, with levees on one side to keep back the river, and levees on the other side to keep back the Gulf of Mexico. The land itself was just about 300 yards wide. 

Lots of wildlife down in the southern part of the state. Roseate Spoonbills below. 

Alligator Gar roadkill

Mike took a bike ride over to the 9th ward. There is an abandoned complex that has been redecorated by graffiti artists. 

There is plenty of other street art in the New Orleans area. Here are some of the murals:

Sadly, there was very little street music because of Covid. This one excellent blues band was playing, though. 

We decided to just pull a bench out across the streetcar tracks and have breakfast. 

The art museum in the city park is worth visiting. New Orleans always gives you an opportunity to be below sea level and protected by a levee.