Even though I left Denny's at 9am I still chose to ride Card Sound Road to Homestead. It's the alternative route that avoids the 18-mile direct route known as "The Stretch." Card Sound adds seven miles and a dollar toll, but its a great ride.
This backroad, photographed in October shortly after I got the Bonneville, winds through tall greenery with sweeping bends, the surface is smooth and police presence is rare so 70 or 75 in a 55 is entirely doable. A refreshing interlude before the hum drum 50 miles of turnpike to Fort Lauderdale, which I took mostly at 80 or 90 miles an hour with one notable burst just clipping 100 on the optimistic speedo. At those speeds the Triumph was perfect, smooth stable and still very responsive. It may be designed as a head-turning tourer but this retro rides the freeway very comfortably.I actually had a good time at Pure Triumph- they took the Bonneville I sat around for a couple of very relaxing hours sprawled on a leather couch reading English motorcycle magazines (Bike isn't too impressed by the Bonneville in hard riding twisties, but they are hooligans anyway) until it was time to fork over $317 and get going again.
My return trip did not go so well. I had wanted to locate Heinz and Frenchie's swing bridge just for fun but neither Google nor Google maps was giving up the secret in my brief search so I got on 595, the freeway spur to get out west and hit Highway 27 south. That was a nasty nightmare thanks to construction with exits closed and traffic backed up in every direction for miles. I hate lane splitting in a state filled with angry armed drivers but it was hot on the engine so I did a little. The Bonneville was running beautifully, I could feel the work they had done. The chain was tighter than I tensioned it 2500 miles ago and that's noted for future reference, plus Jason balanced the carburettors and the motorcycle was much more smooth as a result.All bad things eventually come to an end and the four lanes of Highway 27 soon opened up to me, straight of course, across the edge of the Everglades where development hasn't yet quite reached and sugar cane remains to the north. Highway 27 eventually branches onto Krome Avenue:And the theme of lonely marshy highway continues south: Then we had the second chaotic moment of the day, inbetween the nurseries and market farms and isolated homesteads and gas stations, a wreck. I was stuck at a light thinking about how people around here grow palm trees for sale and what do they do with them when they get this big, and this many, when I realised we were being diverted around a problem up ahead. The diversion led us to the edge of the known world and after we were back on Krome Avenue I stopped to wipe some of the dust off my freshly cleaned Bonneville. The Rescue guy was telling Univision two pick ups hit head on at 1:30pm probably driving too fast. Yeah, no kidding, from my amateurish standpoint I'd say speed was a factor in this vehicle compression. The whole interview scene made me glad my days as a reporter are long over. Talk about trivialization. I mean this is the day Raul Castro outpolled his brother in Santiago de Cuba, and I'm guessing this story came first in Miami's local news. Another reason I don't have TV at home.There is for me something fascinating about the agriculture along Krome Avenue. The state is threatening to widen the highway and if people insist on disassembling their cars like this I suppose the state will have no choice but to do it. I like Krome as it is, a straight shot through the lives of the Mexican and Central American fieldworkers, a place of abundance- of vegetables if not wages, all on display, impossible to avoid unless you stick to the freeways and turnpikes.Also one might miss a hand written sign offering Central American lunches, and this stop was just what I needed to push back the thought of wrecks, fieldwork and a hot sticky helmet. A pupusa or two, a Salvadoran lunch of a thick tortilla filled with cheese or meat grilled till molten and eaten with a mayonnaise-free coleslaw. Salvadorans eat them by stuffing the slaw inside the pupusa, but me, I'm a "gormet" and I like my flavors separate on the fork...a plate for $5 and all the shade I could use. Enough to make a tired motorcyclist feel like a capitalist exploiter of the toiling masses.Onward ever onward and a couple more irritating traffic lights and I'm on the main drag through Homestead, a pretty little town with churches, doctor's offices and restaurants, looking like a palm filled Midwestern burg. I shall have to come up and spend a day here with my camera. Meanwhile its back to Card Sound Road and the Florida Keys. Back where I started, sunup to sundown.I survived, I thrived, on another trip to the crazy mainland.