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Ft Myers to Key West or visa versa

Old 01-04-12, 04:57 PM
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Ft Myers to Key West or visa versa

The thread about DC to Key West got me thinking. I would love to go back to Key West, and the in-laws live in Ft Myers, so it would be great to visit with them and then off to Key West!
So, to see what mileage was involved, I google mapped Ft Myers to Key West and hit the bike icon.
The directions were pedal to Grinnell St in Ft Myers and take the Ft Myers-Key West Ferry.
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Old 01-04-12, 08:26 PM
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ACA recommends the Florida Connector, then to Key West on the Atlantic Coast Route, with the ferry back to Ft. Myers. 386 miles.

https://www.adventurecycling.org/rout...or.cfm?pg=more
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Old 01-05-12, 09:16 PM
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We did this ride last year, except that we started on the East coast of Florida, rode to Key West, and then we were going to take the ferry to Fort Myers and ride back. EXCEPT, the ferry captain, after we had called ahead and reserved tickets and explained that we had bikes and all, denied us a place on the ferry. I would not trust the ferry as a way to get from Key West back to Fort Meyers, but you can always try.

As a side note, hotels are extremely expensive in Key West, and we could not afford to spend another night there, but we were stranded due to the fact the ferry wouldn't take us. Luckily, we found a big enough rental car and drove back to the main land in one night. The car ended up being much cheaper than the ferry anyway.

Anyway, the ACA does print the Florida connector map like alan said. It is probably the safest way to get from West to East coast of Florida, but it is not extremely scenic. We found an alternate route that is a bit more scenic, but probably more dangerous due to some narrow shoulders and truck traffic. It is called the Tamiami Trail, and it goes from Fort Meyers to Miami. It will take you through Big Cypress National Preserve, and you will get to see a good deal of wildlife. Really the Tamiami Trail was not bad at all. The worst part of this ride for us was the section through Miami on the Atlantic Coast. There traffic was terrible for about a 20 mile stretch through the city. Easily the worst riding conditions I have experienced on an Adventure Cycling route.

Not to deter you though, overall the trip was great, and the Keys were great fun to ride through. The temperatures were amazing every day, and Key West was beyond fun. Be sure to plan out where you will stay each night, especially if you are camping, reserve in advance. The camping down there fills up very fast. You can check out our blog in my signature if you would like. There we documented our trip last winter.
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Old 01-07-12, 10:08 AM
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Thanks big_rider for all the info. Your blog was very interesting.
The idea of a bike trip from FM to KW was just kind of a pipe dream, but when I mentioned it to my husband, to my surprise, he said map it out & get more info and he might be interested! Cool!
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Old 01-07-12, 07:27 PM
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We had planned to do the Ft. Myers to Key West trip next month. I got the ACA maps and then we started reading a number of threads about this route. Made it sound not to inviting. Also had a phone converstaion with a guy in Ft/Myers at a local cycling club who had just done this route last year. So we have given up on this one and we are considering 2 others. Bike Florida in the panhandle area or a trip that our local bike shop suggested, The Natchez Trace. Right now we are leaning toward the Trace.
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Old 01-08-12, 10:00 AM
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keep in mind for planning your day/night that the ferry leaves fort meyers at 8AM? and arrives key west 1230PM and
leaves key west i think 430PM for a late arrival back in fort meyers.
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Old 01-08-12, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom
We had planned to do the Ft. Myers to Key West trip next month. I got the ACA maps and then we started reading a number of threads about this route. Made it sound not to inviting. Also had a phone converstaion with a guy in Ft/Myers at a local cycling club who had just done this route last year. So we have given up on this one and we are considering 2 others. Bike Florida in the panhandle area or a trip that our local bike shop suggested, The Natchez Trace. Right now we are leaning toward the Trace.
Not a bad idea at all Tandem Tom. I don't want to discourage anyone from riding this route, or any route for that matter, if that is what they want to do. This route, however, was very challenging for us, and when I say that, I am comparing it to riding through the likes of San Francisco, L.A., San Diego, Phoenix, Austin, Washington D.C. and the list goes on. The route through the Miami area was absolutely terrifying compared to any of these other cities. To be fair, we were riding at what was probably the worst time, Spring Break season, and rush hour through this section. There was just too much road through the Miami are with no shoulders, no bike lanes, and the side walks (which I hate riding on) were even posted that cyclist were not allowed on them.
It was extremely stressful, car honking and people yelling out their windows at us, a few people even threw trash at us.

Then, riding through Miami from West to East on the Tamiami trail was a whole other adventure. We were advised by a local professor at one of the colleges on which neighborhoods were dangerous, which led to us mapping and riding an extremely circuitous route through the city that took forever. Other than Miami being a hellacious experience both times we went through, and the ferry not letting us on after we booked it in Key West, the ride was a lot of fun. We were just left with a sour taste in our mouths. Florida doesn't exactly go out of their way to make bicycle friendly provisions.

With that, all I can say is that the Keys are much more relaxed, and a neat place to visit. Overall I wouldn't do this trip by bike again. Two days of feeling like I might die at any moment in Miami was plenty for me. Hopefully everyone else will have a better experience than me.
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Old 01-09-12, 08:04 AM
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Thank you all very much for the info! The Warmshowers site was helpful too; there are a couple of short trip reports that said pretty much the same negative things about the Miami area.
The more I look into this, the more just a weekend trip from someplace around Homestead or North Key Largo to Key West sounds appealing.

But, hey, that would leave more time to spend with the in-laws!!
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Old 01-09-12, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by big_rider
We did this ride last year, except that we started on the East coast of Florida, rode to Key West, and then we were going to take the ferry to Fort Myers and ride back. EXCEPT, the ferry captain, after we had called ahead and reserved tickets and explained that we had bikes and all, denied us a place on the ferry. I would not trust the ferry as a way to get from Key West back to Fort Meyers, but you can always try.

As a side note, hotels are extremely expensive in Key West, and we could not afford to spend another night there, but we were stranded due to the fact the ferry wouldn't take us. Luckily, we found a big enough rental car and drove back to the main land in one night. The car ended up being much cheaper than the ferry anyway.

Anyway, the ACA does print the Florida connector map like alan said. It is probably the safest way to get from West to East coast of Florida, but it is not extremely scenic. We found an alternate route that is a bit more scenic, but probably more dangerous due to some narrow shoulders and truck traffic. It is called the Tamiami Trail, and it goes from Fort Meyers to Miami. It will take you through Big Cypress National Preserve, and you will get to see a good deal of wildlife. Really the Tamiami Trail was not bad at all. The worst part of this ride for us was the section through Miami on the Atlantic Coast. There traffic was terrible for about a 20 mile stretch through the city. Easily the worst riding conditions I have experienced on an Adventure Cycling route.

Not to deter you though, overall the trip was great, and the Keys were great fun to ride through. The temperatures were amazing every day, and Key West was beyond fun. Be sure to plan out where you will stay each night, especially if you are camping, reserve in advance. The camping down there fills up very fast. You can check out our blog in my signature if you would like. There we documented our trip last winter.

why were you denied access onto the ferry ??
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Old 01-09-12, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by big_rider
We did this ride last year, except that we started on the East coast of Florida, rode to Key West, and then we were going to take the ferry to Fort Myers and ride back. EXCEPT, the ferry captain, after we had called ahead and reserved tickets and explained that we had bikes and all, denied us a place on the ferry. I would not trust the ferry as a way to get from Key West back to Fort Meyers, but you can always try.

Did you inform the ACA about the ferry problem?
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Old 01-10-12, 03:01 PM
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I have riden from Ft Myers to Key West, self contained. There is a group of guys and gals frm there who do it yearly. Look up Caloosa Riders bike club and message them. They. An tell you every twist and turn. Best, db
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Old 01-11-12, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by adablduya
why were you denied access onto the ferry ??
The ferry captain saw our bikes and confronted me in the waiting area at the ferry station. He told me it is a small ferry and he didn't like having bikes onboard let alone ours with all of the touring gear. He was a total jerk about it, offered no apologies or any other solutions. He just flat out said that he would not allow touring bikes on his boat.

Did you inform the ACA about the ferry problem?
Yes we sent ACA an email about the issue. Not sure what became of that. It was a huge pain. Like I said we tried to find any other option, but we ended up renting a car and driving all of the way to Ft. Lauderdale that night. We didn't get into our campground till about 2 AM. It was a crazy turn of events, but hey, that is the adventure in some tours.
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