Southern States Tour – Day 34

The weather continues to be pleasant. High temperatures are in the mid 80’s and lows in the mid 70’s. Winds are light. I’m getting used to higher temperatures, but still tend to stay out of the direct sun, except when swimming.

I had breakfast in Old Town with two neighbors of my hosts. We went to Blue Heaven. Sandy and I both had the Lobster Benedict with a Lime Hollandaise sauce and Stan had pancakes. It was super good, consistent with its reputation as a must visit Key West restaurant.

Since Stan and Sandy had never visited the Butterfly conservatory despite living here, I took them for a quick visit after telling them how much I enjoyed it. It was nap time after returning to the house as I was up late the night before on Duval Street.

The afternoon was spent relaxing, sometimes out by the pool, a short walk out on the sandy beach with the low tide. Andy brought back burritos in the early evening and afterwards, I took a short bike ride to watch the locals playing Bocce.

First Half Highlights

Below are just a few of my favorite “First Half” moments of my trip. I’ve included links to those pages if you’re interested in reading more about that day.

Hanging out with Mark, a fellow BMW rider I met traveling at Crater Lake, in Coos Bay (Day 2) and being shown some of the local twisty roads, like Seven Devils, the next morning. I first met Mark and his son David last year on a ride to Crater Lake.

Unexpected live music at a mid-week dinner in the small coastal town of Ft. Bragg, which made my late dinner seem like much more 🙂 (Day 3)

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Breakfast with all four of my former Santa Cruz housemates at Zachary’s, which stirred up a lot of thinking about the events that have occurred in my life since 1991. (Day 5)

Former Santa Cruz Housemates
Former Santa Cruz Housemates

Discovering the scenic and twisty Hwy 33 in the Los Padres Mountains (Day 9) and meeting fellow traveler Andy heading in the opposite direction. Andy rides a Harley and, like me, prefers twisty back roads and scenic byways.

Hwy 33 switchbacks south of Pine Mountain
Hwy 33 switchbacks south of Pine Mountain

Getting hailed on in the San Bernardino Mountains and meeting Deirdre Smith, a fellow traveler hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. We quickly became friends on Facebook and I try to imagine the different experiences traveling on foot presents to her, compared to my own. (Day 11)

Breakfast and beach time with former Seattle resident and co-worker David and his wife Vickie in Huntington Beach (Day 14). David and Vicky put me up for a few days and showed me around Huntington Beach and many of the nearby neighborhoods. Great hosts 🙂

Beach time
Beach time with friends

Discovering the beauty and serenity of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Day 15). My housemate Carson suggested a stop here and I’m super glad I visited. Some deserts are just so beautiful!

Organ Pipe Cactus Natl Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus Natl Monument

Observing the Sun through telescopes at Kitt Observatory and then finding myself traveling through Fort Huachuca because of the kindness of someone in the military (Day 16). I still can’t believe how lucky I was to be allowed to cross the base. Read about getting lost on base and asking for directions – it’s pretty funny. But the stay in Bisbee that night was worth the effort to get there. Bisbee was also Carson’s suggestion!

Eldorado Suites, Bisbee, AZ
Bisbee, AZ

Discovering the croissants at the Blue House Bakery in Carlsbad and visiting Carlsbad Cavern (Day 19). I loved this bakery and ate there two mornings in a row. It gets the best bakery along the “First Half” route award.

Meeting up with Paul for breakfast in Port Neches and a ride into Louisiana together on my way to New Orleans to visit Bourbon Street for the first time. (Day 25) I had met Paul and his wife Donna earlier on the trip in Fort Davis. It was very cool to hook up again and ride together, with him on his “vintage” BMW 🙂

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Getting an opportunity to camp at Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, Florida, with the best beach I got to see during my time along the Gulf Coast. (Day 26)

Henderson Beach, Destin, Florida
Henderson Beach, Destin, Florida

Arriving in Key West to visit long-time friends Andy and Kai and see the sites of Key West during my week off before starting my approximately month-long return to Seattle. (Day 29)

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