Monday, February 29, 2016

Lori & Jim's Great Florida Adventure - Day 5

I tried to post about yesterday's adventure at the Everglades Alligator Farm, but it wouldn't seem to post from our hotel room. I guess the signal wasn't strong enough. I'll catch up with that post and pictures later.

Day 5 

Today was great on its own, but Jim and I added a little extra adventure too!  We met up with everyone at the Miami-Homestead Speedway. 

Once all the bikes, bags and people were loaded, they bussed us out to Key Biscayne, to Bill Baggs Park. There we unloaded and hit the first of many trails. 

There was only 1 hill today and it was a good one - the bridge back to the mainland!

Jim did really well and pedaled himself the whole way. I think this was probably his first big hill ever!

We made it to the first rest stop with flying colors!  There I met a couple from New Jersey who admired the jersey I was wearing - one that Colin designed for Thick Bikes in Pittsburgh. It turns out their son opened a pizzeria on East Carson St. in Pittsburgh and Thick Bikes came to his opening. His favorite bike shop is Thick!  And later at the afternoon rest stop, the girl running it, I found out, used to live a couple of blocks from Thick and got her bike there too!  I also met someone from Brockport today! Small world for sure!

Most of today's ride was on paved urban trails through Miami and South Miami. One trail, through, is a work in progress, the Ludlum Trail. It was VERY rocky and hard to ride!  At the end we went into a park and it was our lunch stop. This is where the extra adventure begins. I got to lunch and discovered my phone had fallen out of the holder and was gone!  I figured it happened on that bumpy trail so I left Jim to eat lunch and turned around to go back to look for it. However, somehow I missed the trail and went an extra 5 miles or so down and back before I found the trail. UGH!  Then, as I was on the trail looking for my phone, people were finished eating lunch and heading back down that trail. Someone told me that someone found my phone and my husband had it. Now one of the ride organizers called Jim and said we would ride and meet up. I rode most of the rest of the afternoon without finding Jim and without my phone!  Eventually I got to the afternoon rest stop and waited for Jim and we were once again riding together. I didn't manage to get lunch but snacked while waiting for Jim. It was only 7 miles to the campground, most of it along the Black Creek Canal Trail. Kind of like riding the canal back home except there are palm trees, it's all paved, and there are very different birds!

It was nice to get off the city trails and onto a quieter trail that was more scenic. Finally heading into the campground was a really cool, twisty-turny trail with really cool, tropical vegetation. Unfortunately I didn't get a very good picture of it. Maybe tomorrow I'll get a better one. 

At the campground, tent set up, a shower and a change of clothes and dinner. 

40 miles today for Jim and 45 miles for me. We are both tired but happy!  And now I'm sitting here under the stars, under Orien, to be specific, enjoying the cool evening and listening to the crickets. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Lori & Jim's Great Florida Adventure - Day 3

Day 3 

We made it to Florida!
The traffic today traveling from Macon, GA to Lake Placid, FL was much better than our drive around Atlanta yesterday! It was a beautiful, sunny day!  We stopped off in Lake Placid for a short visit and dinner with some old friends that we haven't seen in years.  That was great!  Could have sat there all night talking!  But we did move on down the road a short distance to Clewiston, FL, on Lake Okeechobee.  It claims to be "America's sweetest town" in the heart of Florida's sugar industry. 

As I have been shopping online at each leg of this journey for a hotel for the night, I've been choosing hotel buildings no higher than 2 floors and with exterior access to the rooms.  My thought being that we didn't want to have to deal with hauling the bikes up in elevators.  The 1st 2 hotels happened to put us on the ground floor, so that was perfect.  Tonight's hotel put us on the 2nd floor, but it was still easy to bring the bikes up 1 flight of stairs.

Tomorrow we have just a short 112 mile journey from here to Homestead, FL, and then our bike tour leaves from there early Monday morning.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Lori & Jim's Great Florida Adventure - Day 2

Day 2 of driving took us from Beckley, WV to Macon, GA. The weather was very snowy through West Virginia!  We couldn't even see the mountains at times!  There was so much road salt, snow, and road spray, our bikes got really messy!

The snow let up as we traveled through Virginia and we found sunshine and blue skies in North Carolina.  That great weather stayed with us the rest of the day, through South Carolina and Georgia.

That sunshine really showed how gross our bikes had gotten!

In Gaffney, SC, we saw a rather enormous peach!

After a not so wonderful dinner at Zaxby's (I don't think we'll need to visit another Zaxby's), we bought some cleaning wipes and spent some time wiping down our bikes.

My bike before . . .

And after!

All clean and ready to be re-lubed in the morning outside before hitting the road again.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lori & Jim's Great Florida Adventure - Day 1

At the end of February and the beginning of March 2016, my husband, Jim, and I took off on a great new adventure!  I plan to use my blog to chronicle our adventure!


We are on our way to Miami, Florida. We will be participating in Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Florida Sojourn Miami-to-Everglades Bicycle Tour on February 29th - March 3rd.  After the tour ends, we are staying another week to explore the Florida Keys on our own. So we packed the bikes onto the car and hit the road a few days early.

In the spirit of real adventure, we haven't made hotel reservations ahead of time for the journey down.  We are driving each day until we feel ready to stop and then finding a place to stay the night. Today we stopped in Pittsburgh, PA for a short visit with our son, Colin, and then continued on.  We went to the Ohio River around Wheeling, WV, then crossed the river to the Ohio side and traveled along the Ohio River Scenic Byway for quite a distance.  Although it wasn't a sunny beautiful day, it was still nice to leave the Interstate for a while and see a countryside we've never seen before.  Around St. Marys we crossed the river back into West Virgina and after a while were back on the Interstate, through the capital, Charleston, and on to Beckley, where we stopped for the night.  A little shopping through on my phone while driving and we found a hotel and nearby restaurants.  I love traveling technology!

This is definitely going to be an adventure of "firsts!"

  • First time we have taken a vacation this long (15 days)
  • First time we will have gone to Florida without attending a tech conference or a Disney property
  • First bike tour we've gone on in Florida, first one together, and Jim's very first one ever
  • First time we've driven to Florida instead of flying
  • First time we haven't made reservations ahead of time for all the places we'll be
  • First time I've shopped for hotels based on how easy it will be to get our bikes in and out
  • First time we've shared hotel rooms with our bikes
  • First trip to southern Florida and to the Keys
I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about all these firsts and this great new adventure we are on!