Crossing the Everglades?
I'm hoping to ride across South Florida from say, Naples to Key West. A lot has been posted here about the Miami-Key West stretch, but I can't find anything about crossing the state (presumably on US41). Has anyone ridden this road? Is it bike-friendly or do-able at all? Are there stops along the way or is it pretty much deserted road? Thanks.
I've just done it by car. I went in May, before the bugs and summer tourists, and after the spring break crowd. The road was quiet. It's a wonderful place. There were aligators absolutely everywhere, so stealth camping I'm not sure about. Most of that trip was spent between Key Largo and Key West. The road trafic was always heavy, and pretty narrow.
41 or tamiami trail has a rep as a death trap across state and it is due to the stretch through Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve where it loses its shoulder but the high truck/traffic continues on the relatively narrow two lane road.We rode that stretch w/o too much trouble(had to bail once or twice)but we hit it late and then early camping in the preserve at Monroe Station.There is enough grass shoulder off the road that in worse case you could always ride on that.Or you could take scenic loop road to miss much of 41 through the preserve but it is dirt in parts with a few bumps here and there .The rest of 41 has a generous shoulder.Then you can take 997 with shoulder south to Homestead where you can work through back street to Fl. City the gateway to the keys.On the 41 stretch there is not alot of services in Big Cypress but various airboat places and Indian exhibits/stores east of there bordering the everglades and various stores west of the preserve to Naples.
US 41...the Tamiami Trail...can be done by bike. Much of it has a paved shoulder, but there is a long stretch in the western section with no such provision. I've ridden parts...from Shark Valley east to Krome Ave.(Hwy 997). Traffic can be heavy as one approaches the Miami side of the Trail but the shoulder does help quite a bit.
Services are available but it's still a long crossing. It might help to check the wind conditions before attempting to cross.
Collier-Seminole State Park on the west side offers camping and primitive campsites should be available in the Big Cypress Preserve. For the latter, one could check with the rangers at the visitor's center on 41. Further east...food, water and restrooms can be had in the Shark Valley area. I'm just assuming that all of these services are back on-line after the hurricanes. The Shark Valley visitor's center is open.
Another option for services is Everglades City, approx. 5 miles south of the Trail on Hwy. 29. One would have to double back, though, to continue east.
As for reaching the Keys, it *might* be best to head south when reaching Krome Ave. It will lead to Homestead and should allow one to avoid much of the Miami sprawl.