We left at 9am from Coral Gables. It was slow getting out of Miami with traffic and all, plus we had to make a few stops (bike shop for tubes and camping store for deet and some extra bandanas). I mailed off my SERVAS info at Miami's last post office, then it was smooth sailing down US 41 (Tamiami Trail). We had a nice shoulder too, until about our 45th mile. It became a little more trecherous, but it didn't stop us from enjoying the view of Big Cypress National Preserve which was even more beautiful than the stretch of everglades outside of Miami that I am used to riding along. We saw lots of wildlife like birds and alligators and dispite the speeding cars and trucks, I'd say it was an enjoyable first day.
We stopped to camp at the Monroe Station after completing 61 miles. The mosquitoes were in full effect as we started to prepare our evening meal after setting up the tents in a little drizzle. We ate shrimp flavored ramen mixed with tuna and some cheesy dehytdrated pasta. We went to bed early, or that was the plan anyway. It was hard getting to sleep in such HEAT! I woke up around 2am to water drops on my head. I couldn't tell if it was condensation or my rain fly leaking. It was hard getting back into a deep sleep after that. I woke up periodically to what I thought was someone lurking around the campsite, but it was probably just the guys in their tents moving around in mid-slumber. We got up at 6am and were on the road by 7am the next morning.
Total Mileage: 61
Pic: Shawn, Dave, Carl, and Mike in Coral Gables, just before the start.