Friday, December 10, 2010

I can't go to Miami without thinking of that Will Smith song.

In our last episode, your dashing heroes rode beachfront roadway past the houses of the rich and famous.

The houses along route A1A in the Ft. Lauderdale beach area are unlike anything I've ever seen. None of them looked like people actually lived there, and all of them looked like monuments enshrining their owner's monetary success. Regardless of my thoughts on domestic excess, the rows of beachfront mansions made that day's long ride seem rather short. We gawked. We stared. We had trouble keeping our eyes on the road.

Riding through banyan tree tunnel.

At some point later in the day, I got a flat tire on my trailer (one of many, many flat tires to come). As I changed the flat, a jovial old man rode up to us on a folding bike. He stopped in the parking lot to tell us that he is an author, and that his latest work revolved around some touring cyclists. He said that it was a pleasant coincidence that he saw us pedaling down the road. As the old man told us this, a car entered the parking lot, and pulled within a few inches of the old man. The driver proceeded to lay on his horn. The driver's strategy was effective in doing two things: 1) causing the old man to remove himself from the parking lot; 2) demonstrating that Miami drivers are rude. Miami drivers are, without a doubt, the rudest drivers we have come across in the past few months. They honk more than geese, ignore red lights, and have a misanthropic attitude towards everything else on the road. We never intended this blog to be a forum for negativity, so I'll end my description of Miami's roadways.

96 miles later, we were relieved from having to brave Miami traffic. My uncle met us for a beer, and then we piled our stuff inside and on top of his car for a ride to his house. We took two days off in Miami, and spent some great time with my uncle, aunt, and my two little cousins. That Saturday, we had a real breakfast, played the Nintendo Wii, burned some burgers and chorizo on the grill, and had a generally pleasant day. My cousins are learning to play guitar, so we played a couple of songs together. Isabella is going to be the next Eric Clapton!

After a much needed two day break, we hit the road again for our final leg of the trip. We crawled through Miami at a snail's pace because we hit almost every red light Miami had to offer. The stop-and-go feel of the ride was annoying, so we stopped for a lunch break on the beach. The beach was absolutely beautiful: snowy white sand, crystal clear waters, and gentle waves. There weren't many people on the beach, either. The reason for the beach's sparse population became evident a few moments later. Vanessa spotted an older gentleman walking down the beach, displaying himself in stark nudity. A ways further down the beach, a few more entirely naked (and older) beachgoers were laying out. Upon these observations, I concluded that we were walking on a nude beach. We quickly made our exit so as to avoid the remaining nudists and their very unflattering physiques.

Lunch break beach, sans nudity.

I wish we would have seen this sign earlier!

After our inadvertent visit to the nude beach, we looked forward to some 15 miles of bike paths. Unfortunately, Miami failure to properly sign and maintain these paths forced us to ride on the road, and ultimately to find a new route to Florida City. Fortunately, our new route involved some 20 miles of dedicated bike lanes that ran alongside a bus-only road. Unfortunately, the bike paths were littered with broken glass. Unfortunately, a piece of glass ripped through my tire just as the sun was setting, and we had no spare inner tubes. Most fortunately, we were a half mile from a hotel, and only a quarter mile from a bike shop. Fortunately, we would end up sleeping in a warm bed on what became a record breakingly cold night for the Miami area. Talk about luck!

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