Day 066 – Fort Pierce, FL > Boca Raton, FL

Not the best sleeping decision, but it’s funny in retrospect.

I decided to pull off on the side of the road at Little Mud Creek and try and sleep in my most favorite chair for a couple of hours instead of going through all of the effort to pitch a tent. There was a paved turnoff that lead to a gated road. Beyond the gate was a parking lot and a sandy path up over the dune to the beach. I decided it would be too much trouble to take my bike all the way to the beach so I decided to set-up my chair on the paved turnoff next to a retaining wall and doze off. Of course it only took a few minutes for the mosquitos to realize I was there and start eating me. Even after I rubbed all my exposed bits with bug repellent I kept getting eaten. For some reason I thought it would be a better idea to lay down on my sleeping mat, but that just put me closer to the ground and resulted in me getting even more eaten by bugs.

So back into the chair I went for another 100 minutes or so of bug swatting and dozing off. I also happen to be in front of a drain where I could hear the sound of an alligator baby croak reverberating from somewhere inside. I was hoping that it/they were at the end of the pipe somewhere far enough away that momma gator wouldn’t come looking for me. Deciding sleep and being out of water I decided to get back on my bike and start riding again.

I rode another 15 miles before getting water at a 7-11 in Stuart at 2:30 in the morning. As I was riding up the clerk, Jheri-Lynn, and a private security guy were out front shooting the shit and staring at me in disbelief as I rode up on my rig. Their eyes continued to get wider as I causally explained that I was trying to get to Boca Raton and had come from Brooklyn. I managed to scarf down a footlong Italian sub and a bunch of water and beer while talking to Jheri-Lynn about her life.

For so early in the morning she was full of spunk and talking a mile a minute about going to school for criminal justice and grand plans of becoming a Supreme Court Justice (I think) some day. It was funny to hear about how her partying years are behind her now that she is 20 and getting serious about making something of her self.  She isn’t overly impressed by her contemporaries or their expectation that life will be handed to them. It was refreshing to hear about her ambitions and I wish her all the luck. I asked to take a photo, but she refused to her picture taken in her uniform so she sent me one instead of her and her dog.

After eating I got back on the road, but only made it 10 blocks before my body said I really needed to get more sleep before continuing. I pulled into a bank and parked in the back under a covered parking area and sat in my favorite chair again. This time I was far enough away from standing water that the mosquitos weren’t bothering me. I kept waking up every so often and at one point thought I saw a group of people staring at me, but it turned out to be a bunch of plants in front of me. A tired mind is a funny thing.

As soon as the sun came up I was back on the road and made it to Hobe Sound Beach for a swim (pics). It was about 8 am and the water was glass smooth and the temperature of bath water. I love the fact that salt water makes it really easy to back float. I just laid in the water for half an hour staring at the sky and relaxing. Then I made some coffee and finished off the last few pastries and pumpkin seeds I took from my Aunt Helen’s and went about repacking my bike. The park is a popular stop for recreational cyclists so I spoke to a few. One guy was in town from New Zealand visiting his daughter who was going to school. Him and his family sailed from New Zealand to the US a while back. Sounds like a great adventure for a couple of young kids.

I managed to lose another bike glove and my handlebar tape was in bad shape so I decided to stop at a bicycle shop in Jupiter to buy yet another pair and get my rig worked on. I wasn’t sad about the Bontrager Crochet Gloves – they were cheap and comfortable, but the black stained my hands blue and after I washed them they shrank and became brittle so they were much less comfortable. If you don’t sweat much try them, but if you do than get a pair of  more expensive Specialized Body Geometry Gel gloves. They don’t breath as much, but stand up to water much better and the dye doesn’t come off. I plan to put together a section on this blog about my gear and what I thought of it eventually.

Mario (pic) of Real Deal Cycles rewrapped the bars and also saw that my chain was really stretched out so he replaced it. I knew I’d to it eventually, but didn’t think it would happen at 1900 miles. If you ride too long with a worn chain it will grind the rear cassette teeth into a shark tooth shape. Then when the chain is replaced it will slip off the worn gears to you will be out an additional $50+. Luckily I didn’t have to replace it. If you are in the area go give Mario a visit.

Next stop was North Palm Beach where I had to get something to drink at a gas station and was seriously wondering if I was going to make it all the way to my cousin Brendan’s places in Boca Raton. I was really starting to feel the lack of sleep and had a mini run of bad luck at this pit stop. I learned three things – 1) $6 sun glasses can get lost – I left them at a burrito place back in Jupiter and had to buy new ones for 10 bucks. 2) I should have replaced my rear tire at the bike shop – I even thought about doing it – because when I got back on my bike I realized it was flat 3) being impatient will cause your headphones to get eaten by the front spokes of your bike when fixing the rear flat. Grrrrrrr.

I finally got back on the road and made it to Brendan’s just before 8 PM.

After a quick shower he took me out to eat at a place he works at called Kawpow! Noodle Bar. Thanks to his employee discount we got stuffed on all kinds of goodness – wok charred edamame, Sriracha mojito musselssteamed buns (pulled pork was my fav), skirt steak ramen, some other dish I can’t remember and copious amounts draft Sapporo and saki – nigori (unfiltered) of course without totally breaking the bank.

Then I went to bed because it was a long day.