Hot, hot, hot…..

South Florida has a decidedly tropical feel, compared to the north of the state. To be riding a bike in these parts, you have to like the heat….and it gets even hotter in the summer….greater humidity and a greater incidence of tropical storms and hurricanes.
I teamed up with Charlie Martin for 15-20 miles, as he was out on his Sunday morning ride. A keen club (or team) cyclist, he has completed the southern route across America with his son, a distance just short of 3000 miles. He told me of the 1992 hurricane that swept through the area, causing huge devastation. His market gardening business survived and his house had fortunately been built to survive hurricanes.

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The campground I stayed in that night had its interesting moments. It wasn’t a private resort site (like so many of them) but a simple city municipal site in Florida City, but it came with security warnings. Some of the long-term residents warned of thieves coming at dead of night, targeting bikes in particular. One said:”Not only will your bike be gone, but they’ll take your tent too….with or without you in it”. He told me he always had a couple of guns at the ready…… Oh, my, oh my……dire warnings indeed. So I took the exceptional measure of chaining my bike to the tent (at least I’d be woken by the thieves)…..and had my little mini-pump loaded and ready to fire…..

Of course, nothing exciting happened……so this post goes downhill immediately! Sorry to disappoint you.

My route yesterday took me through the wealthy suburbs of Miami

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following the Old Cutler Trail

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then across the Venetian Causeway to Miami Beach

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with distant views of the 15 mile line of development

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along the long narrow peninsula. I began to enquire about campgrounds, but had no luck in locating any along the route. An hour before dark, I entered the only campground I had seen all day but……..yes, you’ve guessed, they were full. The young attendant gave me Google directions to a sister campground 13 miles away, so I made a hasty booking for 2 nights and set off to try and beat the dusk.

I think you guess that this story might not have a happy ending……well, that is partly true. 5 miles into the ride, I realised he had given me directions for a car driver, and his route was taking me on to the Interstate Freeway (equivalent to a motorway in the UK) where, of course, bicycles are forbidden (probably with a pending sentence of death……but at least they do it “humanely” in Florida by lethal injection).
In a quandary of what to do and where to turn, I spied a lone pedestrian who made simply the best suggestion…..if I cycled another 3 miles, I could catch a train, go two stations and it will drop me within a couple of miles of the campground. So off I went, with 30 minutes of daylight remaining….
I found the campground, it was now dark, checked in and pitched my tent in the dark (with the help of my mini Petzl head torch)…..showered, ate something accompanied by a couple of Buds, and climbed onto my air matress to sleep the sleep of the exhausted, interrupted only occasionally by foraging raccoons outside my tent.
When I woke up this morning, I discovered the beautiful woodland setting of the campground

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As with any story that has a potential negative ending, you have to always remember that….worse things happen at sea.

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on February 24, 2014, in Cycling Florida and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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