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After a lovely rest day in Key West, I decided to bounce back north to Big Pine. Sandy, my host, was a great guy and I could have easily stayed longer, but it felt right. Jeffrey, the guy I’d met in Marathon was also cycling north and it would mean that I’d have someone to ride with. Having someone to talk to for the 30ish miles would make it more enjoyable than just listening to my iPod.

Before heading off though, I had two things to do. I needed another free slice of Key Lime Pie and I needed to get my picture at the Southernmost Point, probably the most photographed place in Key West. The pie the day before hadn’t been great, but I’m not a person to turn down free food. Different people were working at the Southernmost Café than when I’d gone the day before which made it less awkward although they were slightly confused at me walking in, picking up a coupon book and then showing it to them to ask for a piece of pie. They probably realised just how ridiculous it was to keep the coupons right there.

With my pie in tow I headed over to get my picture taken. There was a queue but it only took about 10 minutes until I got to the front. Behind me were a couple who had done the Key Largo to Key West ride over the last 3 days and were confused as to how it has taken me 9 months to get to Key West from Tampa. The guy was trying to persuade his wife that she wanted to ride back up to Key Largo, but because of the wind she wasn’t too sure. It was fun to talk to them though and see their joy at having made it and thinking of future rides.

Having misplaced my sunglasses back in Marathon, I was in need of a new pair. Considering I was on to my 4th pair I wasn’t too eager to pick up an expensive pair and so found myself at Dollar Tree where I found a pair for a dollar + tax aka $1.08 in Florida. They’re not quite as comfortable as my old ones, but they’ll do for now.

I met up with Jeffrey at Winn Dixie where he was busy using the internet. He’d had an enjoyable few days in Key West, but was also ready to head north so we set off together. Key West is at MM0 (mile marker), Big Pine Key is at MM30 and Marathon, his destination, is MM50.

We made good time until shortly after crossing a bridge. The shoulder had been full of glass and his front tyre wasn’t up to it. I was impressed by my tyre’s sidewall for not failing despite the gash in it between Mobile and Orlando. After seeing his, I’m much less amazed. His, like his front fork, are only not falling apart because of the sheer magical powers that duct tape has. The big chunks of tread that he is missing is just phenomenal. He has a new pair that are being shipped to him from the UK and I hope they arrive soon!

After getting his puncture fixed, we were back on the road and made good time all the way to MM30. We parted ways, knowing we’d more than likely meet up the next day when I rolled through Marathon. I headed to the library to get this sorted out and as such am setting a new record for me of actually posting a blog post before the end of the day.

After leaving the library I’ll be heading to the place I camped a few days ago. Then tomorrow I’ll continue heading back up US-1 towards Jim & Ju in Homestead. As I’m retreading old ground I’m contemplating riding up to Marathon, hanging out at Sombrero Beach, which is apparently the best beach in the Keys, and then taking the bus most of the way back up US-1. It’d mean getting to spend an extra night with Jim & Ju and also that I get to avoid riding through the less beautiful parts of the Keys and the headwinds that tomorrow is supposed to bring. Who knows. Technically I get to think on it tonight, but I won’t. I’ll wake up, ride and then make a spur of the moment decision when I get to Marathon! Spontaneity beats planning 9 times out of 10, at least on a trip like this.

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