The last leg…

Posted by on 22, Apr 2022 in 2022 - USA, Tilly the Tandem, USA

The last leg…

Some of the hotels chains in this area, appear to be upping their game since our last visit and refurbing their rooms. We had an excellent night in one of these and set off on another Florida sunshine and heat morning for a cycle further down the coast toward Fort Lauderdale.

Ginny, one half of a lovely couple we met in the USA a few years ago told us to look out for a Space X launch from Cape Canaveral that morning at 11:15 so we duly rolled up at the beachside at 11:15 and literally 10 seconds later the rocket launched and we got to see it cover the same distance, that we have taken 5 weeks to do, in a few seconds. It was a great experience and the beach had hundreds of people watching the launch.

The days cycle took us along a long island adjacent to the mainland, again a filthy rich place where every plant has been manicured nipped and tucked to within an inch of its life, just like many of the people who live there. We couldn’t tell whether some of their smiles were fixed or not, it was plastic surgery central.

It’s a lovely ride but the houses are huge and you can’t get to the beach for miles on end as its owned by the fixed grin brigade.

There are public access beaches where the plebs are allowed and the parks around them are gorgeous but the hotels this way are, should we say, rather pricey.

We got to 80km and decided we needed to book somewhere for the night. We weren’t prepared to pay $400 for a chance of getting a refurbed room for the night so, already exhausted, had to look further afield and ended up having to go another 40km to get one we could afford!

Just before we arrived at our hotel, we passed an advert for a $199 quickie divorce – I think by that stage of the day Linda would have been quite up for it – so I peddled harder and zipped by!

We arrived at the hotel having done our longest ride ever 123.4km in 6hr 45mins of riding time. Our bums hurt big time so we showered and walked next door to a Mexican and got told 45 minute wait have a seat… Errr we were starving so looked crestfallen and the waitress said, ‘Or you can sit at the bar?’ which we did and promptly order 2 large Margheritas which hit the spot big time.

Our neighbours were from the Jesus & Donald nutter brigade (Florida Branch) and the lady who had also had a fair number of visits to her plastic surgeon by the look of her Joker like grin was, I would say tipsy or perhaps had been at the communion wine, but hey, Donald speaks bluntly so I’ll do a Donald and say she was completely pissed.

She got off her chair and promptly started being a bit overly familiar with her hands – the Lord moves in mysterious ways – and I got a free massage from a gun toting life sized copy of the Joker from Batman who didn’t believe we should worry about covid cos the Lord would protect you, apart from her 3 friends who the Lord apparently didn’t like too much as they had died from Covid earlier in the year.

Linda wanted me to get rid of her but my sore buttocks were super keen to take advantage of the free massage my back was currently getting, but in the end we said we were starving and had to eat and she returned to her chair and in a loud whisper that the people driving past on the main road could probably hear, then told her husband everything we talked about, even though he’d been sitting right next to me. Now my memory isn’t what it used to be, but if religion has suddenly changed from prayer hymns and pslams in a cold 500 year old church to drunk women groping you at every opportunity I can see why it’s so popular down here.

We had a great meal, some of the best Mexican we’ve had anywhere, or was that possibly the result of needing to refuel the 3500 calories we’d just used.

The next morning we decided our bottoms would openly revolt if we made them endure another long day so had a short hop to Stuart a nice little seafront town with a main street of small shops and the obligatory stream of cars driving past them looking for somewhere to park. We rode into town and parked in the motorcycles only section next to Triumph motorbike and went for an ice cream.

Small is relative and here a small ice cream consist of about 4 scoops. It was lovely ice-cream but it was enormous, as all food portions are here.

The next day we arrived in West Palm Beach, Trumps home town. It epitomises a Trumpian world, the wealthy yachts were the size of small cross Channel ferries and the homeless slept virtually in their shadow. The waterside mansions were the size of hotels or country clubs and across the tracks were ghettos of broken roads, abandoned shops and unwelcoming houses. Its quite obscene.

We sat in a park for a drinks break and got talking to a guy who was a truck driver. He’d never left the country and was 60, he gazed at the skyline behind us and said how beautiful it was. We looked mystified. The skylines not New York, is a series of small tower blocks, probably smaller than Londons and we couldn’t see anything remarkable of beautiful about it. I wonder what he would make of Venice, or Rome.

Our final cycles took us to Fort Lauderdale and first, a bike shop to arrange for 2 bike boxes to pack Tilly in, then for or covid tests for travel.

We passed our tests and the bikeshop guy kindly delivered the boxes to our Airbnb for us. He was a very interesting character, conspiracy theorist, Trumpster, Homeopathy fan, wrote books, films, was in discussion with Netflix, grew trees, made medicine, ran charities, didn’t believe in electronic payments, builder and bike shop owner. Not sure how he managed to fit all that in especially as when he dropped the boxes off he spent about an hour talking about all his jobs whilst we leaned up against his 25 year old battered pickup truck with the bumper hanging off. Still, it was very kind of him to deliver the boxes and the next day Tilly was boxed and ready to go.

American borders are our least favourite border crossing behind Russia. The officials and organisation are often, though not always, on a par with Egypt with you really having no idea what’s going on, where to go etc. Fort Lauderdale didn’t disappoint.

We arrived in our taxi and the driver was told off for not parking close enough to the bus in front, but that was only after we’d been directed to the wrong drop off point.

We unloaded the luggage and the porter said Tilly had to go upright in a trolley and they couldn’t possibly carry her -, some ‘discussion’ followed and finally we had to give in as there was no way he was taking Tilly to the ship if we didn’t.. he did look seriously overweight so perhaps he had an excuse – and then really frowned at our tip.

Once we’d done that we then went for more covid tests which were so badly organised people were wandering around like lost sheep. We passed then had to navigate check in, which seemed well staffed but nonetheless was unable to cope with the passengers with each check in taking about 5 minutes.

But we did eventually finish and about 2 hours after arriving boarded the QM2 for our return to Blighty. It was a far cry from the smooth, well organised and efficient operation in Southampton but once in board we quickly settled into our room, and were up on deck to enjoy the sunset sail away as we left the shores of Florida bound for our return to Blighty…

3 Comments

  1. Superb entertaining blog! Didn’t say what Linda said about groper or indeed what husband of groper thought!!!

    • Somethings are best left unsaid! 🤭

  2. Great trip and tales. Looking ahead to the next one.

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