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Great hotels, fantastic scenery, a truly unique cycling experience
December 7-12 2020
2020 REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!!
by Pedal Across Wisconsin Established 1985
Sunday December 6: Welcome to Marathon 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 Marathon Holiday Inn Express. Have a drink poolside or check out the tiki bar Ocean Side at the tropical Sparkey's Landing waterside restaurant.
Marathon is known as a great fishing port & snorkeling area along with outstanding Cuban and seafood restaurants.
Monday December 7: Marathon To Long Key State Park (or beyond) & Return, Mileage choices: 0-50 miles
Tuesday December 8: Marathon to Key West 50 miles
OK, we can't walk over water but we sure can bike over it! 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, and side-trips towards No Name Pub.
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-Friday December 9--11: Key West Holidaze
4 nights, 3 days in Key West @ DoubleTree Hotel
Fully supported ride Thursday 12/12: Mileage choices 23, 33, 40
OR cycle around Key West + lots to see/do in Key West!
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.
Break up your sightseeing with a fully supported layover ride on Thursday 12/12 to Baby's Coffee & Return! Baby's is a popular local establishment know for Cuban coffee and eclectic roasts such as "Hemingway's Hair of the Dog," and "Death by Coffee."
For those wanting more cycling on layover days 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 4 nights. Didn't someone say the pool is open late?
Saturday December 12: 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.
As we head North 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.
Southbound you noticed some of the out of use old bridges were actually purposely 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 will notice historic Pigeon Key Museum which houses 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. Currently, boat
As we near Marathon 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?
Florida Keys; Gulf of Mexico!
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 :)
Awake at Holiday Inn Express Marathon for an excellent breakfast and cycle North towards Long Key State Park. Our food stop sits right on the Atlantic Ocean in Long Key State Park! Have some refreshments and check out the walking trails through the exotic mangrove trees, keeping your eyes peeled for Herons & Egrets. Continue cycling towards Islamorada and back for extra miles. Fantastic group dinner tonight at Island Fish Company right on the Gulf! Island Fish Company boasts the largest open air tiki bar in the Florida Keys.
Our home tonight is Holiday Inn Express, a newer facility with a beckoning pool area and Sombrero Beach just beyond. Everyone rests well as we await our journey to Key West in the morning.
Be on the lookout for exotic birds in the Keys
Only 2 Moving Days! Less packing, more biking & fun in the sun!