After a rest day with Jim & Ju, it was time to head up to Miami. I spent the morning relaxing and giving some thought to the next few weeks. I’m at a stage of the trip which is a little difficult to plan for. Being in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, I’m strongly tempted to try to find my way over to the Caribbean, and at least the Bahamas. It’s an idea that I’ve had off and on since talking with Pete back in New Mexico. The slight problem is, I’ve not really done anything to make it more likely to happen with the constant thinking that well I can work it out when I get over here. While that works for day-by-day stuff such as finding a place to sleep, working out meals and deciding which roads to take, something like getting over to the Caribbean with no connections could have been made easier with laying some seeds and trying to plan things in advance.

There are cruises from Miami/Fort Lauderdale over to The Bahamas, and even timeshare things that Alix was going to research for me. The thing is, something like that doesn’t really jump out as something I’d actually particularly want to do. Getting on a cruise ship and then sitting round on a resort island such as Grand Bahama sounds kinda dull. If I want to sit on a beach, there were a few down in the Keys and the Atlantic Coast has plenty that I could relax on without going over to the Bahamas. For me, if I go over there, it’s for one of two reasons..

1. Going to somewhere like The Exumas or Eluthera which Tom assures me are the best.
2. Sailing over on a boat. I’ve never sailed, but think that it’d be a great way to start, give me an interesting experience and that also leads to the possibility of getting to other Caribbean islands as well.

Ju was at work, so Jim helped me pack my things and we said our goodbyes. It was sad to be leaving, although I was excited about the journey ahead. Little did I know that I’d be meeting Jim again sooner than I expected!

A few miles of riding the busway my mind randomly jumped to me not having brushed my teeth after my brunch. As I slowed down, I tried to rack my memory but couldn’t remember packing my washbag and started to get pretty sure it was by the sink back in Homestead. I pulled my Kindle out to text Jim and found a voicemail that he’d left a couple of minutes earlier about my bag. I texted him back and we organised to meet near where I was. I was glad that I’d realised that soon after leaving and that I didn’t have to double back 5 miles to pick it up. I waited on the side of the road and Jim turned up in his pick-up truck with a big smile on his face. He handed me my bag and we said our farewells for the third time.

The ride up to Miami follows the busway until the Metro begins. It was well sign-posted unlike so many other paths I’d been on in the US and so it was a pleasure to ride even though it wasn’t the most beautiful of rides as it made it’s way towards the city centre of Miami. It felt a little strange to be in such a built-up city as it’s the the largest one I’ve been in since Houston and Austin back in Texas.

A couple of miles south of Mitch’s place, I was riding down US-1 thinking that the road wasn’t too busy and all was well until out of nowhere a mass of cars just appeared. Vehicles were coming close to me, even though traffic was barely moving. People’s attitude of seeming to want to race to stand still at lights always confuses me. Why would you possibly want to dangerously overtake me just so you can get to the lights 2 seconds earlier? Especially when the person you’re passing is a cyclist who can just pass you again while you’re stopped? Sheer madness.

The worst culprit was a school-bus driver. She got within inches of hitting me as she passed me. It was close enough that I stopped to compose myself for a few seconds. Of course, having almost run me off the road, she was now stuck in traffic and I could get a picture of her licence plate in case I decide to contact someone about her terrible driving. I rode past her to where I had eye contact with her and mimed out Florida’s 3-foot law. Her response was that when she overtook me again to have her door open and shout out “Get on the sidewalk if you don’t want to get hit.”

A minute after that I was going across a junction that was green for those going straight but red for cars turning. Cars that are in line love to turn after the light has gone red, possibly out of a belief that all the cars waiting should be allowed to go through. Who knows. A few months ago, when I’d been riding, someone’s stupidity had lead to them getting stuck in the middle of a busy intersection, the guy here in Miami had no such plans. He accelerated hard and, if I’d not been going at a fair clip, did his best to take me out. He missed my back wheel by about a foot. I hate riding on the sidewalk, and find that it’s usually more dangerous. I’m a cyclist and I have every right to be on the road. After two experiences in under two minutes where I’d almost been hit by idiots I got on the sidewalk for the half a mile to Mitch’s place.

I met Mitch and told him of my experience and he wasn’t surprised. He told me about how terrible Miami drivers are, and people’s ignorance of the 3-foot law.

The afternoon and evening was spent in his yard which backs onto Biscayne Bay with a great view of the Miami Beach area. Unfortunately I didn’t get snap any shots, but it was glorious!

Downtown Miami

Waiting at the drawbridge