I am going to set aside any ire I might be feeling about the fact that Genius – Mr. Math – just added 25% to this trip. I am going to tell you the same story you just read. But I’d already written my version before Jerry told me he was writing one, so you will just have to read about it twice. Yes, okay, it’s true: we cheated and took a little train ride.
Long ago, even before we left Vermont, we understood that Miami would present something of a problem for us. Or actually, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. We had a reservation in Miami though Air B&B. We’ve organized a lot of our stops using this excellent website, because it can be a bit more economical than staying in hotels every night, unless you want to stay in motels, which are hit or miss at best. Two months on the road means a big expense, if you’re planning on staying in nice hotels. On the other hand, we’ve had remarkably good experiences with Air B&B, and are often paying less than $100 a night to stay in people’s lovely, clean, well-maintained homes. Sometimes you actually live in the homes with the owners, as with an actual B&B. We’ve met some nice people this way, and have been treated to some good breakfasts. Whatever. I digress.
We had a reservation at an Air B&B in this Coconut Grove cottage, which we would not have to share with the very nice man who owned it. We asked him about biking through the city, and explained this made us a tad nervous. And he said we could maybe take a city bus out of Miami, before continuing north. Brilliant! The busses have bike carriers in front.
We’d load our bikes on a bus, board, ride maybe ten miles to avoid cycling through a city we didn’t know very well, then get off the bus and continue on our way. Only problem would be taking all our crap off the bikes, loading them on the front bike rack, and boarding the bus in an amount of time that wouldn’t piss off a driver. So, the owner of our cottage suggested, the train. Perfect! Take the train. We could take it north to Fort Lauderdale airport, in fact, and then bike on from there. Excellent.
So when we wake up in Miami, we have a plan. We leave the cottage, board the train, ride it for fourteen stops, and then make the transfer to the Tri-Rail. This goes smoothly only because a total stranger helps Jerry buy the tickets on the fly, as the train is coming into the station. This man – whose name we never learned – almost misses the train himself, along with us, because he has decided he wants to help us. We board then, wrestle the bikes to an out-of-the-way area where we can stash them, and begin to ride north.
Shelagh’s Bike Relaxes On Tri-Rail
We ride. We ride and ride and ride. At a certain point, Jerry points and show me that we could actually take this train all the way to West Palm Beach, our ultimate destination for the day. We smile at that. And then the smile turns a little guilty – a little conspiratorial. Hmm…
We ride. Miami bleeds into Fort Lauderdale, which bleeds into West Palm Beach, with no clear sign saying, “Jerry and Shelagh, get off here.” So we don’t. Because really, who wants to ride a bike through the traffic of a string of strange, bustling cities when they could arrive early and rest in a friend’s generously offered Palm Beach apartment? (See earlier Key West post, with fatuous, self-congratulatory assertion: “The ride is the point.”)
We leave the train and find ourselves in West Palm Beach, maybe a three-mile ride from our friends’ apartment. We get Cuban coffee, to help us deal with the shame of not having ridden to get there, and then we ride to Palm Beach. We have not earned the apartment we are about to stay in. But once we walk in and see it, we realize we wouldn’t have felt like we’d earned it if we’d ridden 150 miles, because it is gorgeous. It is amazing and special and luxe, and it is all ours for the next three days.
Now you’ve read this story – the his and hers versions – twice. Can you tell we feel guilty about the train?