Confession, Southern Style (Or Jerry’s Account of How We End Up On The Train)

We’ve just biked along Faulkner St. And as you might imagine, I’m finding the writer beginning to emerge, or maybe just the need to start making some confessions Southern style.

So you find yourself with the need to bike through Miami, Miami Beach, and Fort Lauderdale and more, a total of 85 miles to get to your destination in Palm Beach. So we ask the owner of our Air B&B if there is any way to use public transportation to help our way through Miami. And he says to definitely use the Metrorail to avoid the Miami traffic. I look at our maps and realize that if we can get to the Fort Lauderdale airport, our maps will guide us the rest of the way. But it’s complicated and even he doesn’t know how to make the switch onto the Tri-Rail rail system. Besides it is clear that there are no real (human) ticket sellers to talk with to get help with purchasing tickets and other information. Experience tells me that every metro system works differently and I am going to stand there, not know what to do, and have everyone staring at the idiot who doesn’t know how to buy a ticket. But I’m not sure that I want to bike through Miami, and 85 miles is a lot of biking to do so early in our trip. I should also confess that whenever I started to work out on our home bike trainer for this ride,, I would decide that it was just too cold and go read a book.

We check the system out the evening before. I ask many questions to anyone that will answer. We can do this.

Then in the morning, 6:30, I’m trying to buy the tickets, mostly fumbling my way and finally, with much assistance from the local security, we and our bikes get on the train. Exactly fourteen stops later we arrive at the Tri-Rail transfer exit. Now what? Once again, I am rescued by the kindness of a stranger who helps me purchase our tickets as the train is pulling into the station. We and our bikes get on the train. There is even a special place for the bikes which would have been very usefull if not for the other three bikes already jammed in. Finally we settle in and I almost relax. I take out the train schedule for something to read and check out when we are scheduled to arrive in Fort Lauderdale. What do I see next? This train, with no extra work on our part, with no extra expense would transport us all of the way to W. Palm Beach, in only one and a half hours. But that’s not OK is it? I mean this is a BIKE trip. I sunk into a deep funk and by the time that I decided to do the right thing I looked up and we were past the Fort Lauderdale stop. So I decided to improvise. I should add that we did ride the three miles from the stop to where we were staying.

Which brings me to the reason that I need to confess. You know, I’ve always prided myself on my math skills. My dad had taught me to do math in my head and value that skill. In my many years as Treasurer of AAB, I would get into discussions with our business manager, Robert Dunn, about the advisibility of a certain decision. While he would peck away at his calculator, I would throw out my ballpark figure and in much less time come up with the answer. Wasn’t 100% accurate but it was good enough. Literally for years, people have been asking me about the distance our bike trip would go. I said that I wasn’t sure but I figured around 2000 miles. They would then look at me and say, no way, it’s only about 1500 miles. I would carefully explain that from Burlington to Miami is about 1800 miles, another 150 miles or so to Key West and then you have to add in the fudge factor since biking may be more fun but it is not as efficient as Route 95. So I figured 2000 miles and stuck with that. Sitting in Palm Beach, chatting with Shelagh, I figured I’ve got the time, why not add up al of the maps and see what the mileage? It would be usefull for planning, letting people know when we’ll arrive and that sort of thing. I do realize that it can be a challenge when you tell someone that you’ll be arriving around the second or third week of the month. Other people have lives. So I added them all together. After checking and rechecking the math, I realized that I needed to have a conversation with Shelagh. After all, for some people 2500 miles would be a significantly greater distance than previously described. Fortunately, we are still talking although I think that my math skills are considered a bit suspect.

Thanks for listening, I feel a little better.

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