I woke up into a dream. Key Largo and the Salty Cyclists! Woah, these folks are super kind and located at a wonderful interval between Florida City and Curry Hammock.

We got started early because, somehow, I discovered there was a Waffle House in the Keys, and I had to go. After a week solid on the road my body was ready for an unhealthy dose of cheesy eggs, crispy hash browns and bacon, a waffle, and bottomless coffee – all with great service! WH did not disappoint.

We’ve taken to throwing a lock from her front wheel to my back wheel and like the easiness. We always sit within view to watch the bags but most theft is opportunity, which we try to steer clear of anyways.

Waffled up we began our move through the Keys. These types of stores seem very popular but we didn’t enter any. The A1A split into N/S one way streets and the bike path was on the inside of the southbound lane so we had excellent canopy cover from the morning sun. Temps were already in the 80s and we try to avoid sunscreen until the last possible moment.

We found a cool welcome center in Islamorado that had picnic tables, restrooms, an adult outdoor gym, and some fun holiday decorations. I’m really loving the holiday vibes down here and agree with my buddy that says “Let it snow, somewhere else!” The riding has been pretty smooth with either a bike lane on the A1A of a bike path. The bike path jumps sides of the street constantly though so better time is made in the road if it’s not super busy. There seem to be a LOT of dump trucks headed south and they really rumble by. They can leave you a little shaken if you’re not watching closely.

The water really starts to turn that Caribbean blue/green around the mid 70 mile markers. The riding is absolutely gorgeous but demands you pay close attention. We found ourselves unable to enjoy too much of it because there is a constant need to avoid abundant broken glass, road debris, drivers hugging the shoulder, and bridges – where everything already listed is amplified in severity.

This is the typical “bike lane” given for a good portion of the route. We’ve begun to worry about drivers txting, trying to get photos, or just being tired and absentminded. For being in a laid back paradise this is a bit unnerving. While I’m complaining we have also been getting horrible customer service when we roll into restaurants. They treat us very poorly and I have my suspicions why. One not to be named attraction would not let Tracy use the restroom unless she paid admission. Nonsense.

 

Making Marathon was delightful. We were a bit ahead of schedule and found that just N of Curry Hammock there was a bike path with sporadically nestled benches. We took advantage of one and waited for a better time to roll up on the state park.

Hiker/Biker tips straight from the park attendants mouth. One – hardprint that paper about the state parks putting you up and carry it with you. Two – arrive around 1600 hrs. At this time there’s not enough day left for them to turn you away if you find some unlawful resistance to your cause. By then the stringent major majors have gone home for the day and the volunteers are like, “yeah, here’s your emergency site #.” Three – carry enough money or a card to grease the states wheels – Curry Hammock costs $49 per night!

Curry Hammock is absolutely beautiful though. It’s the closest  state parks get to a resort that I’ve ever seen. Sites, restrooms, showers, ADA compliance, beaches, all immaculate. I totally get why these are booked out at the maximum 13 months. They are amazing and getting one by rolling up on your bicycle feels like getting away with something. Very cool.

Jeffrey McElfresh
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