Just say this thread. First I would like to say yes Dave that So. Fl. tour does seem ages ago but this makes the fact that you have pretty much been on a bike touring since then seem mindboggling but keep at it lol.
Also I agree with Dave on the chances of finding a touring ready bike down here they are just not that popular and thus available down here.I also agree if you could borrow/rent Mike's mtn. bike/pannier setup it would be ideal.
A suggestion I would make is to check with the Everglades Hostel in Homestead(Fl.City).It is centrally located between the east entrance to the EvergladesN.P. and the start of the Keys and in addition to cheap camping in their yard they offer Everglades hiking/canoeing/kayaking/cycling related tours/shuttling/rentals and advice.Apparently they rent 7speed Raleigh cycles. http://www.evergladeshostel.com/
As far as my own suggestions/advice look to either the Flamingo area in the N.P. or the Everglades City area near the Thousand Islands area if you want challenging kayak/camping.Also kayak rentals are available at may locations along the Keys.For cycling in the everglades the N.P. road from the hostel area to Flamingo should be cycle friendly but the main route across the Everglades(997/41)is narrow with no shoulder and dangerous high speed truck traffic at times in two areas (ie 997 just north of Homestead and 41 through Big Cyprus area).The loop roads off 41 would make good routes though one is mainly dirt.Camping spots should be easy to find in the Everglades area.On our tour across 41 we camped just down the loop dirt road in Big Cyprus.
As to the keys the route has sufficient lanes/paths/shoulders though the traffic can be heavy at times.You may want to try Card Sound road to bypass Rt1 between Fl. City and Key Largo where the shoulder has annoying high speed doozing alert bumps (need I add the cars tend to speed along this long straighaway area) The commercial camping areas will be outrageously expensive during Jan.and the state parks etc. fairly expensive also and booked early(and they don't tend to save spots for last minite arrivers on cycle).The only reasnable non stealth camping I found was the $5 primitive spots at Long Key S.P.(where they also had canoe/kayak? rentals)and as you have to walk a quarter mile or so to the sites they are not too crowded.Otherwise I found camping along and around the old bridges that paralleled the new bridges to be a good strategy.
Good luck with your trip.
Last edited by RWTD; 12-01-03 at 10:38 AM.