Florida Keys Bike Ride
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Great hotels, fantastic scenery, a truly unique cycling experience 
December 8-14  2019
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by Pedal Across Wisconsin   Established 1985
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Sunday December 2  Welcome to Key Largo Florida
Rendezvous with old friends and make some new ones. There's plenty to eat and drink as PAW welcomes you to the Keys at Key Largo Hampton Inn. Have a drink poolside or on the sandy gulf shore beneath a palm tree on the spacious Hampton grounds. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is just around the corner where you will find America's only living coral barrier. Everglades National Park is just to the North where you will not have to search to see a huge amount of wildlife you won't see on an everyday hike around home.

Key Largo is known as a great fishing port, but also has numerous art galleries to browse and also affords the opportunity to kayak or bird watch.

After dinner PAW will host Ice Cream 101 and Bakery 102. Unlike your school days you can attend both classes at the same time, and it's your choice if you want to repeat them.
​Monday December 3  Key Largo to Marathon  48 miles
As we head South we notice the land area seems to be shrinking as we find ourselves crossing a series of causeways and small bridges. Some of us will want to know exactly where the Atlantic meets the Gulf. The answer is simple---it's directly under your front tire! No this ain't Wisconsin, Dorothy! Tree-lined back roads have been replaced with magnificent views of birds diving for fish, vast expanses of water with boats of all sizes from small craft to ocean liners, and best of all the frigid 30 degree temperatures have been replaced with sunny skies and warm, gentle breezes furnishing temperatures from 70 to 80.

Our home tonight is Holiday Inn Express, a newer facility with a beckoning pool area and Sombrero Beach just beyond. PAW dinner time tba. 
Tuesday December 4  Marathon to Key West 50 miles
OK, we can't walk over water! But we sure can bike over it and today we get a great chance at perfecting our skills. Just a bit South of Marathon we notice a prime photo-op stop looking over the waters where the Atlantic meets the Gulf. The newer looking cement structure above the waters must certainly be the bridge to the new world, properly known as 7 Mile Bridge, yours to enjoy.

Shortly after seven mile bridge some of us stop at Bahia Honda State Park, others continue in search of the small, nearly extinct, Key Deer. A nice side road to the North frequently results in sightings.

Key West is the southernmost island of the Keys chain and it just happens to have a luxurious Doubletree resort that will be our home the next few nights. PAW dinner----poolside!
Wednesday, Thursday-- December 4-6  Key West Holidaze 
3 nights, 2 days in Key West @ DoubleTree Hotel
We begin our day at the DoubleTree breakfast buffet, a certain source of energy to propel us on our way to enjoy our Key West stay.
The Conch site seeing train, Key West's most famous tour, provides the best way to see it all while furnishing a narrated historical documentation of area history and points of interest. You can do the entire tour in 90 minutes or get off at various stops, visit points of interest nearby, and hop on again. 

While no organized ride is planned, a map with bike routes from DoubleTree to downtown and surrounding areas will be furnished as Key West is an ideal town to see by bike. Maps and guides to get you to the most significant historical sites will also be furnished as well as tips on restaurants including local, Cuban, vegetarian, and American.

Within a small area you are bound to find a variety of destinations that spark an interest such as The Harry S. Truman Little Whitehouse, The Hemingway House and Museum, The Key West Art and Historical Society at The Custom House, and The Key West Aquarium.

Or you may want to take a day cruise to Dry Tortugas National Park 70 miles off shore where you will find coral reefs and sandy white beaches that are a part of 7 remote islands called the Dry Tortugas. While there you will see a 19th century civil war fort, the largest brick building in the western hemisphere.

Back in Key West you can take a walk on the beach and have your picture taken at the southernmost point in the US, only 90 miles from Cuba. Then walk over to Mallory Square and join the throngs gathering for sunset, which for many signals the beginning of the day's festivities in Key West. 

Overnight at DoubleTree both nights. Didn't someone say the pool is open all night?

Friday December 7  Key West to Marathon 50 miles
Here's a chance to bike North while taking in all the sights you missed going South. Several historical bridges will be on the route along with many scenic photo-op sites at which to pull over and enjoy the view.

Southbound you noticed some of the out of use old bridges were actually separated in the center to make sure they were "retired." At Pigeon Key located at the North end of seven mile bridge at mile marker 47 just south of Marathon, you really want to take a left and ride out to the end where you will find the Pigeon Key Museum housing artifacts and photos from the Flagler era.

This five acre island once housed 400 workers when it served as a depot during the Flagler railroad construction days. It is regarded as the single most historic site on the keys and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Several buildings from the Flagler era remain. The Pigeon Key Foundation now has charge of the island and holds marine science classes for students from elementary level through post graduate.

From there it's just a short distance to Marathon and Holiday Inn Express, our home for tonight. PAW dinner time tba. 
Saturday December 8  Marathon to Key Largo 48miles
As we near Key Largo we notice several riders and crew members missing. Story has it they decided to never return and spend their remaining days hanging out at some of Hemingway's old haunts and live on good brew, fine wine, and Cuban food. We need at least one crew member present otherwise how do we sign up for next year?
Hampton Inn Key Largo--private beach on Gulf of Mexico! A great way to begin our vacation.
Wild Bird Sanctuary on route..interesting place to see wild birds receiving rehab. (No charge, donations welcome)
Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail awaits! 

Another beautiful sunset picture taken from Mallory Square, Key West
Being in Florida during December is always a great idea! ..Even better on the Florida Keys Bike Ride. 
We love our Florida Keys Riders :)
Picture perfect sunset