Well, I have an extremely unpleasant start to the day. I am just out of the shower when there is banging on my door. I ask who’s there.. no reply.. must be next door. Then banging again.. it’s definitely my door.
‘Who’s there?’ a womans voice says ,’Open the door’ it sounds like the landlady,
‘No, I’m not dressed’
‘Open the door I can’t hear you’
‘No, I’m not dressed, what do you want?’
‘Are you checking out? It’s a 10 o’clock checkout’
‘OK, I thought it was 11 but that’s fine’
‘So you’ll be out for 10, you got 20 minutes’
‘I said OK’
Blimey, I’ve never, ever had that happen before… I’m not impressed. At 10 I am out of the room so I go to the office to drop off the key and get my $5.
The door to the office is locked so I press the bell, the man and woman come to the door, he holds out his hand and says ‘key’, so I say ‘money’ he says ‘give me the key and I’ll give you your money’.. so now I’m well pissed off… ‘No, you give me my money and I’ll give you the key’ ‘Right, I’m checking the room first’ ‘Fine, you go right ahead. Oh and by the way, I have never in over 40 years of traveling had someone banging on my door 20 minutes before check out demanding that I open the door’ the women starts to say something but I walk off and start packing up my bike. The man goes into the room and then comes out saying ‘you can get your money over there at the office’. I don’t bother replying.
I finish packing the bike and go to the office. It’s locked again so I press the bell, the man comes and opens the door a couple of inches and then walks off into the office. I open the door and enter, the man says ‘door’ ‘I beg your pardon’ ‘close the door please’ so I do. ‘Key’ here we go again… ‘money’ says I, he starts to get very aggressive ‘give me the key’ ‘look you can keep the fucking $5 and I’ll keep the key I don’t care’ he slams the $5 on the counter so I slam the key. He says ‘now get the fuck outta heyah’ ‘Oh I am, with pleasure’.
I am fuming to say the least and wish I’d dropped the key down a drain or something, it would have been worth the $5 just to piss him off.
I now get lost trying to find the road I want.. the gps wants to route me straight on to the interstate that loops around the bay, but I want to go on the causeway as it will save some time and be more scenic. Round and around… what a morning.
Eventually I get on the bridge and once across am now in Bradenton
where I join the i75… after about 10 minutes the gps falls off!! I mean seriously, I see it bouncing along the hard shoulder on the side of the fast lane.. I come off at the next exit 2 miles further on and turn back to see if I can find it and if it’s still in one piece. I find an exit and get back on the right side… I look and stop a couple of times, but I can’t find it.. I think it just smashed to smithereens. I don’t try another pass as it is extremely dangerous, the hard shoulder is only a couple of feet wide and there are road works, so that’s gone for good. I didn’t check it was properly secure this morning because of that arsehole at the motel… bloody grrrrrrrrr!!!!!
I’ll have to dig out the old iphone 4 and use that again… I just hope it doesn’t keep overheating.
Just as I get to Naples it starts raining.. and I mean seriously raining.. I stop to put on my rain jacket, my trousers are already wet. Before long I am in the middle of a thunderstorm and the lightening is striking the ground up ahead.. right I’m taking shelter. I take the next off ramp and lo and behold, there’s a McDonalds.. that’ll do as they have free wifi I can use.
The thunderstorm moves off very slowly so, although it’s still raining, I get back on the bike as I must clear the Everglades before dark or at least dusk because that is when it is most dangerous for animals crossing the road. I have already seen loads of different roadkill on my travels including an alligator in Louisiana and several small deer, such a shame, but if I hit one it will be curtains for sure.
I stay on the i75 for a while and then off onto Highway 41 that will take me through the Everglades.
I really enjoy the ride through the Everglades and am particularly interested in the small indian villages that are situated there. I noticed a sign every so often saying ‘Indian Village’ but couldn’t see what it was referring to and then I see this..
After this I see quite a few more… eventually I come across the main centre for the Miccosukee Tribe…
What a fantastic water tower… when I pull in to take the photo a security guard says no-one is allowed to enter the area after 5pm… Oh, Ok of course no problem, but do you mind if I take a quick photo? Ok but make it quick.
I also see another larger village further along
About 10 miles on and I need petrol so stop at this petrol station… it is also owned and run by the Miccosukee tribe… cool!
It is starting to get dark so I really need to get a move on.
I manage to take some video riding along….
Looks like Surrey doesn’t it… except every few miles I see these…
Not long after this I see a dead alligator on the side of the road… aww poor thing.. it looks very fresh, indeed it is still wet from the swamp so it must have only happened a little while ago.. better keep my eyes peeled.
I enter Miami-Dade county and take a right turn onto famous US Highway 1 that runs down the entire east coast.. this is the road into the Florida Keys and goes all the way to the end at Key West, where I am going.
There is no overtaking and a speed limit of 45mph for miles and miles on this road…. bloody hell, its getting really dark now and I’m starting to worry about hitting something especially after that poor alligator I saw earlier… I just hope it was dead, I hate to think of it suffering.
Just then I enter Key Largo…
yay I have arrived at the start of the keys, hopefully the animal problem won’t be such an issue here…
Oh good, they’re all in the water…
This is the start of the only road in and out of the Keys..
As you can see it’s getting really dark now
and I’ve still got about 50 miles to go to my motel… I’m really looking forward to seeing and riding this in the daylight tomorrow.
I can’t see anything now except the road ahead… as I pass over the various Keys, I realise I didn’t know there are so many.. some larger than others. I pass over, amongst others, Islamorada, (I wonder they want to change the name??), Long Key, Grassy Key, Conch Key, Duck Key and eventually Marathon… I’m not sure where my hotel is as I haven’t been able to stop and get a wifi signal to put it into the iphone. I ride along until I am in what I assume is the middle of Marathon and then check the iphone… oh it seems to work without the wifi. Once it has the destination it will route, but before it wouldn’t find the address without a wifi signal.. oh well. So my hotel is on Conch Key some 10 miles back.. ok off I go.
I arrive about 9pm, the office closed at 7pm but they have left a message on the door to tell me which room I am in. When I get up there the door is open and the key is inside. It is lovely, a real tiki style room with palm tree lamps and decor. I see I have a balcony but it’s overlooking the car park rather than the bay… that’s a bit disappointing.
I unpack and then ride back into Marathon for something to eat. I stop at an iHop because I have eaten there before, the food is fine and they are open 24 hours. There are loads of bikers around, I passed many on the way in, they were obviously out for a night ride. The ride along, even in the dark was really enjoyable so I can’t wait for tomorrow. Am planning to ride to the truly world famous Key West tomorrow and have a look; it’s about another 50 miles and I will be crossing the iconic 7 mile bridge, the one that always features in the films.
I don’t get to bed until gone midnight… have done over 400 miles again today… knackered!!