Even in private rooms with comfy beds I wake up at 4:50 ready to go. I lay there trying not to disturb T and meditate, calming my mind with my breathe. Today was no different except for the view in this room.

Once we were both up, we packed up. Everything in its place, drawstrings drawn and zippers zippered. We placed everything in a pile and thought – we should take a picture of that, but didn’t. Instead, we rode our naked steeds to Robert Is Here. An amazing fruit stand with live animals, incredible fruit shakes, and tons of off the wall food products both jarred and fresh. If you know Young’s Dairy in Ohio, it’s like that if it was in SW Florida, way bigger retail space, and run by Jimmy Buffett.

Back outside the hostel T asked which way we were going today and I was so happy to be able to point right at the bike path 20’ away and say, “that way!” We fixed (sortof) T’s front fender that was rubbing a little bit and were happy it wasn’t the brakes, loaded the bikes, and off we went. A short distance later we were pedaling down the shoulder of US1.

The sign read, Key Largo 20 and Key West 120. I shouted WOOHOO and Turbo responded, “WHAAAAT?” So, the 1 – it is just a shoulder down the side of a small highway with zero shade. We were happy to have a relatively boring (read:uneventful) 19 miles. The traffic was moderate but the noise pollution was very high so no music could be heard and talking was out of the question. Lonely miles. Finally, we reached the bridge that lifts you up and then drops you down into the Keys.

We stopped at the Winn Dixie and peed. I looked up what restaurants were ahead and there were many, so we just pedaled until we saw one that we liked the looks of and stopped. We’ve been splitting plates and having dessert. We had a fish sandwich with fries and our very first slice of key lime pie. I’m on the quest for the best key lime pie and I’m asking everyone for their opinion of who has it and what it looks like? Does it have merengue? Is it green or off yellow? Is the crust clean graham or drenched with a sweetener like honey? Are you the purest or the eccentric?

I looked at where we were staying and it was just across the street from the restaurant! So happy. We were early so we went to a really amazing state park, found a secluded spot that was dreamlike in its makeup, and got in the water. Also, crocodiles live here but we didn’t see any.

After a while we motivated and went to the night spot. It is amazing.

In Key Largo we met the Salty Cyclists and their dog Tank. We had an awesome evening camping in their yard. The weather was great because we had the lightest shower pass as we just started to rest. It cooled the tent down and made for wonderful sleeping!

Jeffrey McElfresh
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