14degrees off the beaten track
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December 10th, 2007 | categorizilation: all categories,USA (FLorida)

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Today’s distance / 今日の走行距離:  22.7 miles
Average speed / 平均速度: 7.6 mph
Time on skateboard / 走行時間: 3h 00m
Total skateboarding distance to date / 今までスケボで走った距離: 788 miles (plus 266 miles)
Ascent / 上り: negligible
Descent / 下り: negligible

I think I slept about two hours last night. In about ten minute intervals. I could only sleep in the foetal position (not comfortable for me), and the ants/noseeums were biting all night. In the morning ants were all through my backpack, trying to get into my food bag.

Lesson learned: Don’t sleep under the Indian Key Channel Bridge.

As a result, today’s skating was tough stuff. Construction along the US1 highway didn’t help. Had to walk 2 miles. No, that doesn’t count towards the world record.

But I did meet some great guys at a kite-surfing/skate shop in Islamorada. I hope they email me with the name of the store. We had a chat for a few minutes while I waited for the rain to stop.

Skate/Kite Surf shop

Chris, the guy in the middle, is originally from Mexico, and has contacts there and in Texas. He offered to help out with people to stay with when I got to that area. Thanks Chris!

From Islamorada to Key Largo, there is fairly major road construction going on, and I didn’t feel safe skating on the highway. This meant an hour long walk along the side of the road over rough gravel.

Road works along side US1 Highway near Key Largo, Florida, USA

Coming into Key Largo, however, things improved a little, with a rough cycle path appearing.

Once in Key Larog I called Amy, a friend of Janet from the Scout Troop from two days ago. Janet had called her to let her know that I would be coming through Key Largo. Amy was happy to hear from me, and we arranged for me to stay the night at her family’s home. After an hour skate through Key Largo (a very long town) I arrived and met Amy and her family.

Amy is a part-time nurse in Miami. She works three days a week, so makes the 60 mile drive to Miami and stays there for the three days she works, then drives back to Key Largo for her days off. Her husband, Jack, is a marine supply wholesaler in Key Largo, and services mainly the powerboat industry here. Their two daughters are in middle school and high school. Their house is comfortably homely. Papers, magazines, and books lie in neat piles on tables. Megan and Erin, the daughters, arrive home from school and head straight for the pantry for an afternoon snack. Today’s was pre-made Chinese-style boiled wantons. A healthy snack by all apprearances. Later in the evening, Megan pulls out the Wii. The next generation of gaming machines, apparently. I’d never heard of the thing. Out of the loop, I guess.

Jack treated me to some great local food at Mrs Mac’s Restaurant. I chose the Monday Special – the meat loaf. A plate filled almost to overflowing with meat loaf, mashed potato, and green beans. Very good indeed. The walls of Mrs Mac’s were covered with licence plates from all over the country. I thought the Iranian licence plate I found on the road in Turkey would have fit in quite nicely.

Mrs Mac's Restaurant in Key Largo, Florida, USA

Thank you Jack!

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    Permanent Link     Comments (6)

Comment by christine — December 12, 2007 @ 3:20 pm | post a comment

one of the things i think you'll discover here in the states is it isn't as easy to sleep outside in the open or under bridges as you had throughout most of europe and other spots along the way. folks don't look kindly upon "vagrancy" like that… you'll really want to do your best to couchsurf and rely upon the kindness of folks to take you in or allow you to sleep on their property, or to hit up campgrounds.

praying for you on your journey, for safe pebble free bridges and the wind to your back.


(reviewed you for the Weblog Review earlier this year and have followed every step since).

Comment by Bob Cadzow — December 12, 2007 @ 6:05 pm | post a comment

Hey Rob! It's Bob, from Sebring. It's good to see you making progress. Just wanted to let you know that we didn't forget about you. If you choose a central Florida route, know the offer still stands. My fiance, Tiffany, and I are more than happy to have you as a guest. We haven't updated the restaurant/bar's website in years, but you can check some old pictures of the place, the staff, the menu, some of the stuff that goes on around here, and a map of where we are at http://www.bluelagoonsaloon.com Let us know if you head North up U.S. Highway 27. If not, we'll be keeping track of you. Smooth Roads To You. Bob

Comment by Scott — December 12, 2007 @ 8:56 pm | post a comment

Yo, Rob! Welcome to the States and the next (last?) phase of your adventure. I feel your pain with the "no-see-'ums." Those buggers murdered me along the Great Lakes during my crossing of the USA. I had a great trip, and I'm sure you will, too.

Be well. Skate hard! Be safe.


Your HPVelo Buddy…

Comment by Chris J — December 13, 2007 @ 7:25 am | post a comment

Hi Rob,

I noticed the new pictures on the site earlier this week and was waiting to read the updates. It seems you have had no problem meeting a ton of great people already who are more than willing to help you out. Sweet!

Florida sure seems nice too. In Wisconsin its below zero temperatures and snow. The fall is nice though, it would be great if you could visit Madison on some future trip to the US. Keep on skating and watch out for those ants!

Comment by Aunty Les — December 13, 2007 @ 4:01 pm | post a comment

How are the blisters? You need to get hold of some 'second' skin plaster to put on susceptible spots so that your shoes rub on that and not on your skin. I use stuff that is otherwise used for strapping on limbs etc when I go tramping to avoid getting blisters. It comes in a roll. Have a look around a pharmacy/drug store and see what they have that would suit. Regular padded elastoplast isn't any good as it doesn't stick flush onto the skin.

Comment by Bram van Uden — December 14, 2007 @ 7:28 am | post a comment

Hello Rob,

Wow, what a lot of nice pictures. I however do agree with your aunt, warning you for dangers on the road. My experience (when we biked from coast to coast in '85 and '87) is that the majority does not want to harm you at all and are always willing to give you some shelter. If we could not find a save place to sleep, we always went to a local police station or fire department and 9 times out of 10 they gave us a save spot to pitch our tent. If they were not allowed to give you such a place, they always knew some other solution like relatives or a church for example.

Once again, enjoy the friendlyness of the States but please take care.

Bram + family (Holland)

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