May 29, Islamorada, FL – Today was sunny, not too hot, and fairly long. I made 560 miles. I forgot to mention yesterday that I passed the first 1000 miles. Only 10,000 to go. The first part of the day was on red roads again, US-301 and US-1. The rest of the day was on I-95 and Florida’s Turnpike. I haven’t hit my stride yet. I’m up early and get on the road at an early hour, but my first couple of stops take longer than I’d like.
The good sights happened on the roads less traveled. For instance, this morning on my first break at McDonald’s was a group of retired men sitting around shooting the breeze. Let me explain why this was significant to me.
From 1926 to 1932 my mother spent her summers with her grandparents in Iowa. She has related many tales from those visits. One of my favorites is about after-lunch naps. She and her grandfather would lie down on the sofa in the parlor for a nap. My mother would hold on to his watch chain so he wouldn’t get away. Invariably she would wake up a couple hours later with the watch chain and no grandfather. He would be found uptown at the general store sitting around with his buddies shooting the breeze. My mental image of a group of old men paralleled the group I saw this morning. It’s good to know the tradition lives on.
Riding through Jacksonville brought back memories of my first encounter with the city as I made my way to Mayport report to the “Saratoga.” The palms, the sand, the slash pines, and the smell of the paper mills were still there this morning. And the Love Bugs! They are so obnoxious. They come out twice a year and seem to congregate along the interstates. Cars get covered with them. I cleaned my windshield and helmet a couple of times.
There weren’t very many photo opportunities on I-95. It is endlessly flat and fast. I decided it wasn’t worth sticking the camera out in the path of the Love Bugs.
I got down to a rest stop north of Miami and talked with a couple of Florida Highway Patrolmen about places to stay in the keys. They suggested a couple and I made it all the way to Islamorada. I’m in an old, but clean motel along US 1. It was much less expensive than the rooms available in the resorts and motels with ocean views.
Tomorrow I’ll ride down to Key West, find a room and get ready to officially register my first corner.