North Miami to Homestead
Day 2. Misques, rough roads, and wind.
Got out super early. Decided to follow the ACA route which meant heading over to the beach. The Lehman causeway had a nice bike lane. A1A was a combination of bike lanes, sharrows, and competing with the traffic. Not bad at all. Things were looking up until I got on the Venitian causeway which was supposed to take me back over the bay, only to see a big "Bridge Closed" sign. Of course ACA and everyone else tells you to always check local road conditions, which I did not. I rode up to the bridge anyhow thinking maybe I could squeeze through on a bike. No such luck. The draw bridge was raised.
So I back tracked which added about 5 miles to the day and went over another causeway which was much busier, but had a good bike lane.
Then I was in downtown Miami. Crazy but I survived. Here the ACA route is quite good, taking some side streets that have bike lanes or sharrows. Eventually things mellowed out as I got south of the city.
Coconut Grove was quite nice. Mostly through quiet neighborhoods, some with modest old homes all surrounded by dense palm trees. I rode around a bit looking for something interesting, but didn't find it. There was one part of town which had a large outdoor eatery which was packed.
Eventually I got on the Old Cutler Trail. The ACA map said the trail was rough and a good alternative was South Dade Rail-To-Trail which parallels US1, but first I had to get further south. Rough is an understatement. Tree roots had pushed the pavement up so much it was really unridable on a loaded touring bike. A bunch of road bikers were riding Old Cutler Road so I abandoned the trail and stuck to the road. There was no shoulder but the speed limit was 35 and traffic was not bad
Once I was far enough south I cut back west to get to US1 and the South Dade Trail. It was about 5 miles, which may have added a bit to the total. The trail was nice. Wide and mostly smooth and well separated from the highway. The only problem was the busy side streets that had to be crossed every quarter to half mile. This wore me out. It requires a lot of effort to start and get a loaded touring bike up to speed. One there it takes much less energy to maintain speed. Especially since the wind was mostly at my back.
The highlight of today was my Warm Showers host at this beautiful organic farm. I didn't get to talk to the owner Gabrielle very much, but spent some time with Ernest who works there and takes care of the B&B guests as well as the bike tourists. Ernest is from South Africa and has toured all over the world. The farm has gardens, greenhouses, and a large avocado orchard. The place is a true tropical paradise. I hope I can return.