Day 3: Camp Sawyer to Stock Island

The night sky at 2:30 a.m. revealed the Milky Way on Scout Key. Great breakfast by Anne and group picture of all the Coasters on the ride. I am in the back. Ha!


A flat tire from a retread wire revealed a flat just prior to blastoff for the day. It slowed us a little bit. I had an issue slowing going down the road and the wheel rim was stuck on the brake as I pedaled. I thought I had gone to bike shutdown. Checked the issue and once the wheel was free to spin my affliction was lifted. I was born again to ride with my usual vigor. Must have been that shade tree mechanic.


Big Pine Key was all that and a bag of chips. Went to Blue Hole and saw him.


Went to the end of the road and saw this Key deer. It ended up 2-3 feet from us.




Went on to No Name Key saw the pub.


Left and got back out on US 1 and south the wind blew us down the keys. Some good bike trails.


The sky was high, clear and blue. The water green and rich.



It is not your eyes. It is the photographer. On to BABY’S COFFEE for lunch and COFFEE. Turkey wrap and Orangina. Pocket some bulk coffee on the way home.


On to Boyd’s campground for a swim and shuttle into Key West for Mahi.


My digs for two days. Miss all my peeps from home. Will update you on Key West evening mañana. Peace out. T dog

Day 2: Fiesta Key to Camp Sawyer

O’DARK THIRTY. An easy rollout and great coffee by Becky. 


The plan is to get away after breakfast and try to get on the Pidgeon Key Ferry at 10 a.m. We will sight see with that in mind. May only allow us shot at the noon ferry. We left after a blast of quick heavy rain. It was overcast.


On to Grassy Key and a stop at the Dolphin Research Center to get out of the rain. Peace, Love and Dolphins.  Missed the rain. On to Marathon. 


We had to stop again at the visitors center and saw Web and Jeanine. Hopped down to Pidgeon Key and got on the 12 noon ferry after a hog fish sandwich at Sunset grill. 


I have been wanting to got to Pidgeon Key for years and I was to go. 










On to land and over 7 mile bridge.


A fast roll over and on to Scout Key and Camp Sawyer. A great salt water swim pier with ladder. Really refreshing. Cell service a little spotty here. More tomorrow. Peace out. T dog

Day 1: Key Largo to Fiesta Key

It is as a cloudy getaway morning but the air was full of the color of the upper Florida Keys. 


Breakfast with Chrysa and Amy started a great day. 

We set out on a nice bike path from Key Largo past Tavernier and into Islamorada. A stop at the Rain Barrel for a collada and a look around. Lobster pics. 


The inside eclectic collection of shops and art is always great. 


We left there for a stop at backcountry cowboy and a purchase of a forgotten water bottle. Great shop with the coolest stuff. Shop owner remembered Tres dog from a year ago. On to Tea Table Relief. 


On to Robbie’s for tarpon feeding and lunch. We sat out a quick but heavy rain. Mahi-Mahi baby. 


Took Amy and Chrysa to feed the tarpon. I am just beside myself with joy being able to share Florida with my coast to coast friends. 


We left Robbie’s begrudgingly for Fiesta Key. It was a nice TAILWIND down from Lower Matecumbe Key to Long Key.


Went over the Channel # 5 bridge. 


On to Fiesta Key.


On to home again. 30 miles of paradise. 


Anne and Serge of Culinary Insider are doing the cooking. Ought to be great. Some kind of shakin goin on tonight. Peace out. T dog

The day before…

A quick breakfast with other riders and staff. Great to see Bubba, Snowflake,  a rescue dog named Buddy from the Katy Trail, Coach, Beth, Grace, Ed, Joyce and Sheila. Checked in for my snorkeling trip at Pennekamp and packed my gear. It was a chamber of commerce day but with a warning of moon jellyfish aboard the Sea Garden.


It was a little choppy but away we went. It was a beautiful day.


All kinds of coral and fish. The coral was very healthy. I saw grouper, needlefish, barracuda, French angelfish, blue angelfish, snapper of some type, parrotfishes of several all kinds, grunts, wrasses and some beautiful fish with deep purple bodies and intermittent iridescent light blue spots. The captain and first mate were very nice.


Splashed the solo kayak and went for an hour or so in the mangrove. 


Once I was out of the mangrove the wind was whipping up pretty good and it was time for take out. 


Time spent at Pennekamp is like salve for the soul. I returned to the hotel via the Cuban bakery of guava turnovers and cafe con leche. My fellow ride crew had arrived and it was great. Roast pork luau tonight.  


Bubba given us the heads up. Great to be with the peeps. 

Prologue: a new trip


Hello forgotten readers. Tres Smith, 2016 C2C rider, has prepared to ride with Bubba’s weeklong Keys trip from Key Largo to Key West and back. A 200-mile bicycle tour of the “culture” of the Conch Republic. He had previously ridden in 2014. An added bonus was that this lucky rider will also get to reunite with some of his fellow coasties from the spring. His road trip included the jewel of Florida the Everglades.




It has such stark contrast in itself between the west and east sides. Pines and Cypress domes give way to the table top immensity of sawgrass. Then an urban blight called southeast Florida. Another piece of good fortune will allow this intrepid snorkeler on a John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park tomorrow with some kayak paddle time as well.


A timely check in into the other sister hotel the Marriott.


Time for some Key Largo Seafood. Some coasties at the pool and the Cubs won. It appears the earth has come back on its truer axis. Peace out. T dog

Day 53: The day after

A great farewell dinner at Sunset Grill on St. Augustine Beach. Last night. Mahi. We all went back to the pool at the host hotel for a party. It was great everybody meeting riders family members that had shown up for the BIG day. Lots of “TRUE” stories and info swapping. It seemed by 8:00 o’clock I was winding down. My body still on ride time. I cannot comment enough on how hard Bubba, his staff and my fellow riders helped make yesterday such a special day for me and Mariella. I have another whole new cycling family and resource to tap into after this trip. I am so ever grateful to everyone involved for that. Mariella took me back to the Bayfront Marin B and B on Avenida Menendez and I slept until 5:50 am, 6:15 am.

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and 8:15 am. I am thinking there will be some readjustment blues to negotiate. The bnb is great and had yoga outside looking at the water. A lazy day of tourism was planned. We walked the historic streets of St. Augustine and took in the open shops.

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Tuesday seems to be the least crowded day of the week. A look in the free museum in the Government House had a great exhibit of dugout canoes.

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Paddle on.

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We had great coffee at Kookaburra and went to lunch at Crave. Great salad with grilled shrimp. Crave was in a commercial fishing and private marina away from the historic main drag.

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The day was beautiful. The day became windy and for once in two months it did not matter. A walk back through Lincolnville section and a reservation made at Preserved for tonight. A nap followed. It had been suggested that the blog go on. I believe this will be the last post as all great things must come to an end. It is with whole hearted gratitude and appreciation that I again thank everyone who followed my journey and supported me. My not so secret admirers. I have not been home in two months and will be there tomorrow. I am looking forward to that event. As always may you be happy, peaceful and safe. All my love. Tres dog

 

Day 52: Palatka to St. Augustine, Florida – 44 miles

We had a nice round circle last night of our reflections of the trip and I was given a plaque with C2C 2016 with a picture of myself on the ride. The picture appeared to be from Arizona.

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It was emotional and brought some closure to what had been done. The group was special because of the unselfishness, graciousness and true concern for one another that made this so special. EVERYONE was such a class act. Mariella was there and shared that with me. I was so grateful for these people and this experience. We rolled out of Palatka over the St. John’s River on what was a new bike path from Palatka to St. Augustine.

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It was great. We were in early for lunch and walked Old Town. Kilwin’s fudge.  We had lunch at A1A ale house.

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We went over the Bridge of Lions and on to the sign of St. Augustine.

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We went to the host hotel and dipped our wheels into the Atlantic.

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We were treated to a toast, medal and a swim.

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image We have a farewell dinner tonight at the Sunset Grill and I will document that tomorrow. This ride is done and I made it. Thanks to everyone. Peace

Day 51: High Springs to Palatka, Florida – 85 miles

The penultimate day started early and beautifully. My regular  3 riding companions were ready and off we went. A quick flat at mile 4, not mine. The culprit a staple. I could not make that up and away we went again. I had had forgotten how pretty this area was and how rider friendly. The roads were great especially the canopied roads between High Springs and Gainesville.We rode into our first SAG in west G-Ville and went through town on a Sunday morning. It was a good time to go through. We hopped on the downtown connector for the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail. It was great. Gainesville is probably the most bicycle friendly city in Florida and has been for sometime. The trail was great and we had a SAG stop at the terminus.

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We elected to eat in Interlachen 14 miles down he road. I know you may not believe this but the headwind kicked up again after leaving the trail. A windy ride into the armory in Palatka. Mariella scooped me up and off we went. A couple of big dinners tonight and tomorrow and we will be done. One more day. My continued appreciation for all this support and love. Stayed tuned for the finale. Peace.