Total this tour: 347.2 miles
For once, I actually arose and was ready to leave by 7AM this morning. Linda got up too and the three of us half-packed the SUV before we got underway. At that hour, temperatures were fantastic and we even had tailwinds from the NE.
We rolled 4 miles down Hutchinson Island to its end and stopped at a Publix. I was looking for some stronger bug repellant, something like 40% DEET. When I inquired to a Publix employee, the lady thought I said “buckwheat” and gave me a really strange look, and then we both laughed. I eventually found some, but only 25%, and so skipped the purchase.
We continued over the bridge, then took some backroads along the river around Stuart and finally reached Port Salerno. The rest had rejuvenated my knees and I was feeling very comfortable in the saddle (but still vigilant).
We found a bar/cafe on the waterfront (The Grove Dock Bar and Cafe) that looked great for breakfast, but we soon learned that it was not operating as a cafe yet. The lady who talked to us, presumably an owner, was very sweet and directed us just down the street to the Whistle Stop Hoagie Shop & Eatery. Good breakfast there and real friendly servers.
Continuing down the Dixie Highway (A1A), we jogged back out to the the barrier island at Hobe Sound. We stayed for some minutes at the Hobe Sound Beach, checking the scene and talking to a few beachgoers, then continued south. All along here, through Jupiter Island and beyond, were some great looking homes, increasingly pricey and we moved south.
At Jupiter, the Loxahatchie River inlet forced a quick jog inland and then back out to the barrier island, where we enjoyed some of the best riding yet. Cooler temperatures, in the 70s and 80s, mild tailwinds.
North of Palm Shores, we stopped at a bridge populated with fishermen, and eventually befriended one of them. He advised that the only way to catch fish is to think like a fish. Despite his lack of doing so (the catching, not the thinking), it was an idyllic spot with peaceful flat waters, paddleboarders in the distance, and rows of white high-rise condos still further in the distance. Postcard Florida coast.
When we finally made a move to leave, Jack discovered his first flat of the tour. Couldn’t happen in a better place, really. Jack took care of it in no time.
In Palm Beach Shores, we sniffed out a touristy lunch place called Johnny Longboats (self described as “a breezy seafood joint with a round bar”). I had been craving a fish sandwich and this seemed to be the very spot to get one. Sort of a Jimmy Buffet kind of place. There was this ridiculously large great white shark hanging from the ceiling above diners, complete with a full set of big teeth. There was a huge lobster up there too. I could imagine getting very drunk at a place like this. In younger days…
Instead I settled for a grouper sandwich, which hit the spot. Jack went with a big Greek salad.
From Palm Beach Shores we had to jog inland onto US1 again for a while, and finally emerged back out onto the Atlantic in Palm Beach. Traffic lights got thick, the roads got congested, and when construction barricades blocked our progress, I ended up losing Jack in the confusion of a left turn and some one-way streets. At the southern edge of Palm Beach (at the Restaurant Buccan) I waited for him without success. A message to his phone went unanswered.
I decided to continue south for a while because all roads eventually converge back onto Ocean Boulevard, so I figured we might rejoin there. Made my way another 2 miles without seeing him, then stopped again to regroup. Another phone call, and then Jack finally called, asking where the heck was I. Seems he had been waiting on the waterfront side of Palm Beach. Ah well.
The road south of Palm Beach is pretty familiar to me since Linda and I have experienced stays at the Four Seasons for the last 2 years. It felt good to be in some familiar territory, passing the Palm Beach Par 3, the Four Seasons, and eventually reaching our destination, the Fairfield Inn & Suites.
Nice room. Jack and I scored some NY pizza and soft drinks and soon settled in watching the “Life of Pi,” which I’d never seen. Unfortunately, the cable reliability at the Fairfield Inn is very poor, and the picture repeatedly dropped out for 5 and 10 minutes segments. We eventually found “Saving Private Ryan,” but then experienced the same thing – lengthy dropouts mid-movie. This annoyed me, but the desk just shrugged and said “sorry,” making no move to comp us even a pizza. SO, if you like to watch TV in your motel room, I suggest you avoid the Fairfield Inn in Palm Beach FL. AND, if you work at the Fairfield Inn in Palm Beach FL, I suggest you start watching the TV show Hotel Impossible (that is, if your cable holds out long enough to learn anything). <grin>
We did end up catching Shark Tank, and watched eager entrepreneurs present Postcards on the Run, Rolodoc (disaster), Pickles, and Sweet Balls (home run).
58 miles. Today was the best and easiest riding day yet – a real joy.