The Adventure Cycling (ACA) route from the famed hippy hostel to Miami is well established, but when Dodie (of the previously mentioned Grampies Go To Florida) told Angie about an alternative route, she was all over it. Angie rode the ACA path last year and found it remote and convoluted, with a lot of route-finding. So on Sunday we took the Steve and Dodie route, which is also the Google route. The route begins practically outside the front door of the Everglades International Hostel (aka the hippy hostel, about which Angie has written in the previous blog post).
For the first mile or so I think we were all a tad apprehensive as we skirted broken glass across the path in many places, but the route ended up having considerable appeal. Named the South Dade and then the M Path, the route goes all the way into Miami alongside a road that is open only to buses, before the Metro line begins, at which time the bike path continues, mainly under the elevated tracks. This route actually follows the historic right of way of the railroad established by Henry Flagler in 1896 (with the extension to Key West being finalized in 1912). The joy of all this was that we were seldom alongside real traffic. So, even though it was a relatively boring ride, and our second longest of the trip in distance, it was nowhere near as tiring as Saturday’s journey. We did see a couple of ibises when we paused to slather on some sun block, but not much other wildlife of note, excepting the odd lizard.
The route is also interesting because it is a link in a route that goes all the way to Maine/Vermont (depending on which sign you look at).
After a while we noticed that most of them said Florida to Maine, not Vermont, but a couple actually said Maine to Florida, even when viewed from the northbound side.
The highlight of the ride was possibly our lunch stop near Kendall, where we stopped so long, my Strava stopped recording my trip! We pulled up at a supermarket that was right by the bike path and had tables and chairs right outside. Angie and her dad went in to use the facilities and buy us drinks while I guarded the bikes. Since it is relatively easy to steal panniers and other bags off a locked bike, we seldom leave them unattended.
When Angie and her dad came back out, we sat down to enjoy the peanut butter sandwiches we had made for ourselves in the morning, along with some vegetables and other goodies we had been carrying. Henry had bought a half gallon of milk for the two of us to drink, but of course, we couldn’t drink it all and didn’t want to throw it away. I approached two women who were sitting near us to see if one of them would take it, and of course, being me, fell into conversation with them. One of them agreed to take the milk and we had a lovely chat about biking, the area (they lived a bit further west and loved it there and said it was beautiful for cycling), our plans, and about Colorado, where one of them was getting ready to visit, and California, where she used to live. It was a nice little interlude.
We carried on into Miami, which was as painful as riding into any big city ever is, based on the experiences Angie and I have had. This meant frequent stops to way find, especially because the Garmin seems to be having difficulty remembering what country we are in for some reason.
However, taking the Venetian Causeway into the Miami beach area was not too bad because it’s a toll road with a low speed limit. We stopped for a cool drink at Savory Bakery and Cafe and then, given said issues with the Garmin, we plugged the address into my phone, inserted the phone into my map pocket, and proceeded to the hostel.
The hostel we stayed at was called Freehand and they are clearly trying to do something different with it. It’s a great Art Deco building in the style that is popular here.
The room was set up like a hostel room with two hostel-style bunk beds with outlets and lamps.
It was pretty average in terms of the set up, some of the usual hostel iffyness like no hot water in the bathroom sink. The setting was nice however.
The bar was crazy busy and loud, even when we got back from dinner. When we’d arrived it was standing room only in the entire outside area, including all around the pool. Although the hostel had a relatively interesting restaurant, we weren’t too keen on $20 burgers, so we opted to go out to eat and used Trip Advisor to pick out a restaurant about a block away.
The name of the restaurant was Cantina27. The service was friendly and the food was pretty good, including house-made ravioli. Henry also enjoyed his creme brulee for dessert. I didn’t have dessert because they were out of tiramisu! Nothing else looked as good to me.
An after-dinner walk to the beach was aborted as we came upon three locals having a very loud fight. Two men walking behind us also seemed to think better of it as the shouting and cursing reached them.
We went back to the room to try to get through a Sunday night without Downton Abbey (no TV at the hostel) while being subjected to the bass lines of the loud music being played in the outside bar. We all managed to fall asleep without too much effort though.
Interesting lobby display of a few items, none were labeled. I noticed a talking books machine (basically a cassette player) for the blind. I worked on these machines as a volunteer for the Telephone Pioneers. First time I’ve seen one in the wild.