Saturday, April 13, 2019

Key West, Biking the Florida Keys part 4

I'm ready to get moving. Kendall was feeling too tired to bike today, so we are taking our rest day today and will go back to Marathon tomorrow.
The sun is intense. Sitting in the shade neat the pool today and just the reflection of the sun off the water felt like it was sunburning me.
So we are going to get going in the morning as soon as it is light enough to see and hope to skip out on the hot afternoon.

Forecast for the night calls for rain, so I guess I better put up the rain fly. Might still be raining when we start in the morning.

Friday, April 12, 2019

It's a scam. Biking the Florida Keys part 3

We made it to Key Largo. Before heading out on
this trip I did a quick search to see what others said about biking the overseas heritage path from Key Largo to Key West. Most of what I read was that it was mostly doable except they didn't recommend biking over some of the bridges. Never did figure which bridges. But if you are a confident cyclist then there really isn't anything that isn't just fine to bike. If you have the mistaken idea that bikes should be on paths or sidewalks then this is not a good fit for you.

A few weeks ago we were babysitting my grandson while his parents went to the temple. We decided to take him to Disney world. But he was upset that he was getting babysat and not going with Mom and Dad. We tried to sell him on Disney but he is two and was having none of that.

However a couple days before that as we were driving we were thinking of going to Hobby Lobby, but I just wanted to get home, so we passed the Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby is a fun word for two year olds. So he spent the next few hours repeating phrases like "passed the Hobby Lobby'

So when he started saying, "no Disney" I asked if he wanted to go to Hobby Lobby. His answer, "don't pass the Hobby Lobby"

So we convinced him that Disney was hobby lobby. All day we asked him how he was enjoying hobby lobby. He loved it. But to get into the magic kingdom you have to ride the ferry boat or the monorail. The Disney employees will try and convince you that they are both the same fast. False. The ferry boat is a scam. So we spent all the day trying to teach my grandson to say the ferry boat is a scam. Tried to get him to tell all the ride opporators but he would never do it. But when we got back home and in the arms of mom we again asked, what is the ferry boat?" And he tells mom, "a scam."

So the overseas heritage trail is a scam. All these bike paths are a disaster. Larger sections are torn up and a lot of the bike path bridges are closed. I guess the hurricane a couple years ago did a lot of damage. Anyway for a lot of it it is just better to ride in the bike lane on the road.

Had a great time riding down, with beautiful views. But it kind of smells like Yellowstone here, and the beaches are a bust.

Kendall is too tired so we decided to take our rest day tomorrow instead of Sunday. And then it will be two days of head winds to get back.

I guess having him use my cheap Trek mountain bike that I bought to pull the baby trailer with was a mistake. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Key Largo to Marathon, Biking the Florida Keys part 2

Yesterday we got a cheap motel in Homestead. For 50 some odd dollars it wasn't bad, and the breakfast in the morning was great. Then drive to Key Largo for our starting point.

OK, what is the deal with the drivers here! Every time one lane was dropping out some idiot would think they need to sneak around at the last second. And when it is a big truck that means they are going to push you off into the mangroves. I guess it just fits in with the Florida thing of thinking they are stock car drivers and need to draft a few inches off your bumper.

But even though I'm going to leave a reasonable amount of space between me and the car in front of me, I'm aware of what is going on and I'm not going to let you force me off the road.

See we got to the chamber of commerce building a bit before it opens. Fortunately the lady running it also got there early. She says she has to leave early because frequently there is an accident from people getting forced off the road when the lanes merge.

In Key Largo the bike route is a nice path along the side of the road. But there are a lot of places south of Key Largo where the trail is all broken up and not ridable on a road bike. And if you are dumb to ride it anyway then you'll be fixing a flat. :-) 

Anyway it was a fun ride with amazing scenery and more iguanas than I've ever seen. OK, I'm not sure I've ever seen iguanas in the wild before, but I promise there are a lot and some of them are practically the size of an alligator. OK, OK, I yet to see an alligator in Florida, but they are big iguanas.

So tonight we are staying with some hosts we arranged through couch surfing. They have been the best. They even claim they like the vegetation version if Thai curry I made for them.

So get some sleep tonight and head out to Key West tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Homestead Florida, Bike the Florida Keys part 1

So, my friend Kendall, flew into Orlando this morning. His flight was delayed, probably die to all the issues with the 737 Max planes being grounded. So by the time we hit home it was about 4 am.
Today we did our final packing and then drove down to Homestead Florida. Key Largo is just a few miles from here. The plan is to bike from Key Largo to Marathon tomorrow, and then stay with some people we found through couch surfing. This is our first time trying out couch surfing. We tried getting other hosts in Key West and in Marathon for the return trip but so far have not been successful.
This is a trip that Kendall suggested way back before I decided I want to move to Florida. Before this trip my biking in Florida has consisted of the local bike paths and roads near Clermont.
Video of biking most prominent point in Florida:

Monday, April 08, 2019

SeaWorld doing the rides

We went back to SeaWorld again today. My grandson just had such a blast at Sesame Street last time, we had to come back and do it again with his mom and dad. So we spent about half a day doing Sesame Street and the Orca show, and then spent the last half of the day doing the roller coasters, and water rides.

We got drenched watching the Orcas and so then went to the splash pad and rinsed off the salt water. And then went and rode the Infinity Falls. It is a pretty good water rapids fall, not too long and the last drop that seems like it will be pretty intense, isn't as bad as it looks.

I'm not a big roller coaster guy, but we had a blast doing the coasters at SeaWorld. The Mako coaster was the biggest coaster I've been on. I think half the time I was floating out of my seat. Then we did the Manta coaster. My daughter did NOT want to do that a second time. You are essentially riding the whole thing laying on your stomach. The first drop was terrifying and they take your picture at the bottom, but then as you head back up and around the next loop... yeah well it just gets even more terrifying. Finally we did the Kraken which is more rickety than the others and has a lot of loops. It really is a good set of roller coasters, and the lines were only like 5 to 10 minute waits. After Kraken we did the Atlantis ride which is something of a combo water ride and boat ride. Kinda cool.

We tried out the all day dining plan for one of us. It worked out good, and was enough food to share with the rest of us. I also bought their refillable drink cup. Usually I count on these park trips as a way to get some exercise in while not eating much because I don't want to pay the prices they charge for the food, but I think today I ate more calories than I burned.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Can you tell me how to get

Today we decided to check out SeaWorld. Dieter F. Uchtdorf tells a parable of a man that goes on a cruise and spends most of his time in his cabin eating crackers he brought with him because he was unaware that all the food and entertainment on the ship was included with the cost of his ticket.

Today I felt like that man. When I bought my annual pass for Sea World a couple of months ago it included a coupon for a free PhotoKey. I had no idea what a PhotoKey was and when I asked they told me how and where I could go and get it, but nobody explained what it was.

So today we decided to check out the new Sesame Street area of SeaWorld. It was actually pretty cool. Kind of like stepping into the Sesame Street from the TV show. The rumors I have been hearing is that the crowds at Disney the last week or so have been really bad. So I expected Sesame Street to be crowded, after all it has only been open for one week. But actually it wasn't crowded at all. In fact we were frequently able to ride the same ride multiple times in a row because there was no line.

Also the lines to meet Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Big Bird were very short, or at times no line at all. Each time we would go see Cookie and Elmo my grandson, Cayman, would run past Cookie and over to Elmo. He has an Elmo toy that he loves but really doesn't know who any of the Sesame Street characters are. Anyway, after were are done with the character greets they would give me a little card for getting the pictures they take. And I'm thinking I'm not going to buy those pictures. But then I look at the card and it says PhotoKey on it. So I take it to the counter and ask if my free photo key deal is good for the pictures they took. I'm thinking it is some kind of keychain with a picture on it. They tell me yeah but you have to go to the place by the entrance to get it.

So after we were done with Sesame Street Cayman was getting tired and I decided to head home for the day. After being at the beach all day yesterday I had a slight sunburn and figured it would be best not to spend another full day in the sun.

So we stop by the KeyPass place on our way out and I ask if I can use the free PhotoKey with the pictures they took today. I'm still thinking this is some kind of keychain. She says no problem and scans the cards I had collected and my coupon, and then tells me how the PhotoKey works. For the next year anytime I visit any of the SeaWorld family of parks I can give the PhotoKey card they give me to the photographer and then all the pictures they take will be available for me to download. For FREE.

The sad thing is, when I got the annual pass I also got a free animal encounter. I let my son Stephan, and my grandson Vincent use the animal encounter to go and see and pet the dolphins. And of course they took pictures, and I could have had those pictures, also we could have taken other pictures with Vincent. But like they guy in the parable I was figuratively sitting in my stateroom eating the crackers instead of enjoying the free benefits that came with my pass.

And one passing thought, I think they want you to go around the park asking, "Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?" because they didn't have any signs showing how to get there.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Florida Beaches

Over the last few months we have visited several Florida beaches. First we went to Daytona Beach on the Atlantic coast, and loved it. It was the middle of November, yet the water temperatures were fine and I was surprised how nice it was for being so late in the year. Then we tried Clearwater Beach on the Gulf coast. We were surprised at how nice the sand was, but near the water it was more broken shells than sand and so not quite as nice as Daytona Beach. Also the waves at Daytona Beach were a lot more fun to play. At least so far, and it makes sense, the waves on the Atlantic beaches are much bigger than on the Gulf beaches.

Then in January we tried out Cocoa Beach. My son in law gave me some pointers on body surfing and we had a blast surfing the waves. By the end of the day I actually got to where I could ride the waves pretty well. 

A few weeks ago I decided to get up early in the morning and bike from Clermont Florida to Pine Island Park beach and then meet my daughter and family would drive out and we could have a fun day at the beach. 

The problem is there isn't enough parking at the park so if you don't get there early you can't park. So after stopping to get a picture I headed north for Crystal River, and my daughter picked me up somewhere along the highway between Pine Island and Crystal River. Anyway we ended up going to Fort Island beach.

Fort Island beach was a great little beach for kids. It is well protected so there isn't much in the way of waves. Also while we were there a pod of dolphins came near the beach and played around for awhile. We stayed for sunset and I just had to get some pictures. 

And then today we headed out to go to Fort De Soto Park beach. But we didn't bring any cash with us so we couldn't go over the toll bridges to get to the park and decided to go to St. Pete beach instead. We had a blast there. The sand was super soft and fine. And while the water felt a bit cold when you first step into it, after you get used to it, it is just fine.

So out of the beaches we visited so far, which is the best? Hmm, hard to say. I guess so far every Florida beach we've been to so far has been great.

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