Day 58 Touring around Key West 5 miles 89 feet
I slept in this morning while the rest of my group was departing from Marathon. I went to the Grand Havana Cafe, 1075 Duval St, for an enjoyable avocado toast and herbal tea.
After breakfast I rode over to the beach on the Gulf of Mexico for a ceremonial dipping of my front wheel. There is a time honored tradition during the Race Across America whereby racers dip their rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean before the beginning of the race and then their front wheels in the Atlantic Ocean, if and when they finish the race. A bit over 8 weeks ago, the day before we began our East Coast Greenway journey, I dipped my rear wheel in the St Croix River. As people follow in our footsteps I hope this becomes an ECG tradition. I still wanted a ceremonial photo at the southern marker and the Mile 0 marker for Highway 1, but would wait till the troops arrived and take those photos together.
I walked over to visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and was amazed by the abundance of tropical trees and flowering plants including
Travelers Palm Tree
Ernest Hemingway purchased his home from the estate of Asa Forsythe Tift in 1931 as a wedding present for his first of 4 wives. Over the years he would reside in the house with all four of those wives, just not at the same time. Wile he was off on a trip, his fourth wife removed his beloved outdoor boxing ring and replaced it with a swimming pool excavated into the coral rock at a then exorbitant price of $20,000. When he learned of the cost he pulled a penny out of his pocket and threw it at her, exclaiming that she had drawn the last penny out of him. She immediately embedded the penny in the still wet cement on the patio, where it resides to this day.
Asa Forsythe Tift was a structural engineer and one of the wealthiest men in the country when he built the house in the 1850’s. He excavated huge slabs of limestone on the site and used it to build 18 inch thick limestone walls which have withstood every hurricane to date. The interiors have been maintained with much of the original Spanish furniture that Hemingway enjoyed.
There is a small studio over the garage which served as Hemingway’s favorite place to write.
Hemingway apparently was quite fond of cats and that tradition continues with generations of offspring from his original brood of cats. There a currently 58 cats in residence and many are of the rare 6 toed variety. The docents appear to know every individual cat by name.
Directly across the street from the house lies the Key West Lighthouse.
Just before 2PM I rode west to meet the rest of the Timberline riders so we could ride the last few miles as a triumphant group. We could not have ridden more than a block before the sky opened up in a torrential downpour with crosswinds strong enough to blow your bike sideways. Several grumbled but I felt it was totally apropos that we should finish in the rain, as our journey had begun in the rain. The rain stopped just as we arrived at the marker for the southernmost point of the continental United States.
We then rode about a mile farther to the Mile 0 Marker for Highway 1, our old friend since Calais, Maine.
Dinner was at Lola’s Bistro, 728 Simonton St, a true epicurean delight. The tiny restaurant with less than 8 tables had a line out the door when we arrived. The menu changes daily based on what the chef finds fresh at the market. His kitchen is barely more than 100 square feet and he is in constant motion as he is a one man show. The food he produced looked, smelled, and tasted like the food you would expect in a Michelin Starred Restaurant.
All 15 States Completed
The Cumulative Totals
Feet Climbed 90,670
States Visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
For more details on my route, see my Strava Link