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June 14th, 2013 | Florida

To the Southernmost Point…

Yep, there's one in Florida too...

Yep, there’s one in Florida too…

We were on the road by 7.00 am, riding as hard as the traffic laws would allow, trying to get as much mileage under our belts before the sun got to “baking mode”…

I came very close to running out of fuel at one point and limped into Vero Beach on fumes. Patricia was waiting for me there, as she had no such problems and could drive at higher speeds ahead of me, while I had to ride at about 50 mph to conserve what little fuel I had in the tank…

And yes, I got my ear bent for giving in to my habit of “running long”…

By the time we had refueled and chugged a coffee, the sun was well up and searching for me.

The I-95 was running smoothly and we kept the usual 10 miles above the speed limit, because everybody else was doing the same thing !!

We passed Fort Pierce and West Palm Beach and stopped somewhere south of that to take on water and a snack, before riding on again, through Fort Lauderdale with it’s beautiful homes and waterfront properties.

I had to refuel somewhere close to Miami and slowed down to push the tank to it’s limits again, as I did not want to have to ride into the city and run foul of the traffic congestion there…

We skirted the city and stopped well south of the city centre, at Coral Gables; refueled; drank a litre of Gatorade, and then took off again.

We had to ensure that we stayed off the toll roads, because Patricia’s car did not have the dreaded E-Tag… The rental company had wanted to charge us $7.00 a day if we wanted to use the toll roads through Florida.

Not that the Big Fella has an E-Tag either, but as you know, we are exempt from such things as paying for tolls… Our foreign registration makes it hard for us to be tracked down and made to pay !!

At this point I was hoping that we would not be taken through downtown Miami...

At this point I was hoping that we would not be taken through downtown Miami…

Kick-Ass limo and trailer...

Kick-Ass limo and trailer…

Miami skyline.

Miami skyline.

Zooming away to Key Largo...and beyond !!

Zooming away to Key Largo…and beyond !!

We struggled down a busy section of Highway 1, traffic lights and clogged lanes thwarting our progress, but finally we were onto the expressway that would take us all the way down to Key West. The stretch of road took us across Manatee Bay and into the first of the Florida Keys, and probably the largest and most well developed; Key Largo.

We went through Key Largo and got separated for a while and finally, in exasperation, I asked Patricia to ride on to Marathon, midway down the Keys and wait for me there. She had earlier passed me while I was taking a short break from the heat…
Green Iguana at Marathon...

Green Iguana at Marathon…

The traffic on Highway 1 was horrendous. And to make matters worse, everybody drove at a snail’s pace, taking in the views and in no apparent hurry to get anywhere… I on the other hand was starting to suffer from a touch of heat exhaustion and desperately wanted to be out of my kit and in the ocean !!

I rode over Tavernier Key, Cotton Key and on to Islamorada, then crossed another long bridge out over the sea before riding through Long Key, over Conch Key and Grassy Key before arriving in Marathon.
I stood panting in the heat, watching a large Green Iguana cross the parking lot to sit in some sparse shade thrown by palm tree. I was glad I was not bare-toed on the hot concrete apron of the service station !!
Riding down Highway 1, crossing from Key to Key, sea all around.

Riding down Highway 1, crossing from Key to Key, sea all around.

If only I owned that piece of property... Deep sigh...

If only I owned that piece of property… Deep sigh…

 

Mrs. B yakking away on the phone, or singing to the music... Probably the former...

Mrs. B yakking away on the phone, or singing to the music… Probably the former…

After a sweltering ride, we were finally there...

After a sweltering ride, we were finally there…

And we weren't the only bikers in town ! There must have been at least  30 other bikes at our hotel...but only 1 BMW...

And we weren’t the only bikers in town ! There must have been at least 30 other bikes at our hotel…but only 1 BMW…

Then we were off again, wanting to get the last leg of the ride over and done with. From Marathon, the longest bridge separating the Keys begins. It is seven miles long and takes you straight out into the ocean ! It is an amazing feat of engineering and as I rode across it, I forgot all about the heat and discomfort I was in.

The highway skipped across Bahia Honda Key, then on the Big Pine Key and a long list of others, before ending in Key West.
Made it !! The Southermost tip of the USA and thrid corner of my ride...

Made it !! The Southernmost tip of the USA and third corner of my ride…

The hotel we had booked into a few days previously had messed up our reservation and we were told that they no longer had place for us !!

To say that neither of us were amused is an understatement !!
It took a short ride down to the information office to secure and other reservation at a hotel that was further away from the centre of the main tourist area, but turned out to be closer to other amenities that suited us both.
We checked into the Blue Marlin Hotel, which would be our base for the next few days, and then hurried off to find the nearest beach to swim at.
The parking area surrounding large pool was filled with bikes from many states around the nation. More than one bike club was represented here and there was even a large mini van emblazoned with Harley Davidson stickers, that seemed to act as a back-up vehicle for one or more of the clubs.
All the bikes were Harley’s and the owners congregated around the pool, smokes and beers in hand, looking like the rough and tough guys they were meant to make people believe they are…
The nearest beach in this case was not to our liking, so we spent the remainder of the afternoon walking down the two main streets that make up the bustling tourist centre of Key West.
Duval Street is almost always busy. It is lined with bars and restaurants, all of which seemed very well frequented, Every second store sold T-Shirts and the usual souvenirs, which is too be expected in a destination as popular as Key West.
And around the corner from our hotell, the southermost house...

And around the corner from our hotel, the southernmost house…

People queueing to have their photo taken at the beacon...

People queueing to have their photo taken at the beacon…

Yep, shee's found what she's looking for already... Took just 10 minutes...

Yep, she’s found what she’s looking for already… Took just 10 minutes…

This what it's all about !!

This what it’s all about !!

his sign was what I've been saying for the last three years !!

This sign was what I’ve been saying for the last three years !!

We bought some supplies to take back to our room from a nearby convenience store, had dinner at a Cuban restaurant who served authentic Cuban cuisine by the very large plate-load, and then retired to our hotel to plan the next few days on the Key…

It was at this point that my laptop refused to fire up, and I resigned myself to the fact that there would be no writing for the next few days, unless somebody could repair it for me…

We decided that tomorrow would take care of itself, and fell into an exhausted sleep… It had been another long day in the deep south…

Brunswick, Georgia to Key West, Florida.

Brunswick, Georgia to Key West, Florida.

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