Porpoises cornered bait fish against the seawall and then surfaced. Manatees grazed on the sea grass. Pelicans flew past the sun and dove into the active waterway. A beautiful sunrise that warmed up the air to a moist 94. We slept in a little longer and rubber hit the road at 10 instead of 8:30. We ate in the room and munched along the road.
While filling up water in Mims, a town with a gas station AND a cow in it, we met James. His father served over 30 years in the navy and he wants to follow in his boot steps.
A gopher tortoise straddled US1’s middle lane with a death wish. Luckily Nate picked him up and we examined him. About 15 pounds of rugged scales under an awesome hexagonal shell. He receded his head and shielded his face from us. Nate placed him on my bike seat and the tortoise attempted to bike away for a quick escape. We put him on the grass as a biker, loaded with gear, cycled southward. We yelped to get their attention.
Yiwei (ee-way) attends university of Maryland, he’s a terrapin, a coincidental cousin to our latest pet. There was a clear language barrier so we shared in his excitement as much as we could. I even used my one go-to mandarin phrase which translates to “I speak a little mandarin”. Clearly, very little. He went on his way towards Key West. We told him to stop at Bike Spot and speak to Peyton.
Parker rode up on us as soon as we crossed the highway and got back on our bikes. He has been to independence cay where we stayed and was able to share welcoming stories of Marcos the chef. His agenda is looser than ours. Parker is cycling between major cities to sign up outdoor chartering businesses (scuba, surf, rentals, etc.) for a business venture, Unreasonable Adventures. He graduated from Boulder, CO. Is 22, my age. And has a Surly Long Haul Trucker. We drafted each other for 6 miles till Nate and I pulled off to eat lunch at Country Restaurant.
Had a comped lunch and the waitress donated $20, thanks Heather.
We stopped at New Smyrna Beach. Cars drive onto the sand and it was reminiscent of Deerfield. Beachside Candy Co. gave us a block of fudge and Dusty shared stories about the history of his bikes in the shop. One was built for the 84 Russian Olympic team but never made it to the track because the Soviets boycotted the Olympics. Another was used in the 82 Iron Man on Kona.
While on the boardwalk we ate the fudge and watched the waves roll over children playing and splashing. “shut up! get to the punch. Give them the money, we’re donating” Nate was surprised because he was still recalling the trip when the lady blurted.
Shaun showed us the inner workings of the Boston Whaler factory. How there unsinkable boats are made from mold to completion. We met him in Marathon on our second day, he was kind enough to take a photograph for us and in doing so offered his home as potential lodging. It was remarkable seeing the behind-the-scenes, like a live episode of How It’s Made: Unsinkable Legends. Did you know they fill the hull with foam so it dampens water noise and makes it more buoyant?
Just ate a carrot, spinach, radish, tomato, lemon pepper chicken, three pepper, mushroom, pecan salad with mint green tea. Lit an incense and put on Ben Harper. Melody chooses not to run the a/c. No wonder she is so skinny, she must sweat all day. Used two of the Publix gift cards for the spinach & chicken. The other ingredients were provided by our lovely host.
Melody is a young active traveller who has spent much time across seas in Spain where she taught English and is leaving soon for Brazil. Thanks for the peppermint tea and extremely hospitable experience!