Day 15: Mission to Florida

Lauderdale by the Sea to Dania Beach: 31km
Monday, April 14th
Sunny with some clouds, 31C

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After a meager breakfast at the hotel we packed our bikes and headed south on the A1A towards Fort Lauderdale. It was hot and humid already, but pedaling into the wind helped keep us cool.

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Our plan was to ride to the airport and then scout the route that we would take there on Tuesday morning. Everything was going smoothly until we saw a sign that read “Perimeter Road Closed”. This is the road we were going to ride on to get to our terminal in order to avoid pedaling on the curly-que highway. Turns out that there is a major road reconstruction project happening at the airport and our original route doesn’t exist anymore. We talked to a construction worker and got directions on how to get to the part of Perimeter Road that still exists. On the way there we passed through the Airport Green Belt which was a lush oasis nestled in beside the construction wasteland.

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We followed his directions and picked up Perimeter Road On the west side of the airport. It was not as busy as the highway, but it was busy enough with cars and shuttle buses from the economy parking. With little or no shoulders we weaved on and off the road to allow some of the busses to pass. By the time we reached the terminal entrance we had circumnavigated the entire airport. This is exactly the reason we wanted to scout our route beforehand. 

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We rode up a steep ramp to terminal one, probably the steepest hill of this trip. After catching our breath we continued on to terminal three where we will be departing from.

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We took a break to fill our water bottles and visit the bathroom. The air conditioning also felt nice. We were ready to depart and head to our motel. All we had to do was pedal out of the terminals, pick up the number 1 heading south and then a left onto East Dania Beach Boulevard. Well it turns out that due to the construction, highway 1 south is not there anymore and the detour involves driving out on highway 1 north. We had no choice so we went down the ramp towards 1 North and then my rear tire blew with a loud bang. I had to walk and then drag my bike to the bottom of the ramp where there was a little bit of shade  and where it was relatively safe to work.

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We only had one spare tube left and it wasn’t mine, the nozzle was slightly too big for the hole in my rim. I was able to use a utility knife to bore out the hole on the rim until the nozzle fit. After that I changed the tire pumped it up and we ready to go. We crossed over a grassy divide onto a side road and were back heading in the right direction. Again, this is why we decided to scout our route the day before. So we started off again and then all of a sudden BANG! My rear tire blew again. This time there was wire sticking out if the side wall of the tire and the tire was brand-new.

With no more spare tires or tubes we were stuck. We flagged down a truck and found out where we were exactly and the guy gave us the number for a taxi. He would have given us a ride, but was in a work truck. We called for a taxi and while I was on hold one drove by and we flagged him down. We quickly explained the situation and where we were going, only 3 more miles, and he reluctantly agreed to take us. He was on his way to pick someone up very close to our motel so I put the bikes in his trunk as quickly and carefully as I could, then we were on our way.

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He figured out we were Canadian and him being from Haiti, had very nice things to say about Canada and Canadians. We told him that he really got us out of a bad spot and now we refer to him as our Haitian Angel. After scouting our route we have concluded that we should not pedal to the airport afterall. We will hire him to take us there in the morning.

It was so nice to get to our motel after all of our misadventures and our room was a lot nicer than we expected. We ate lunch which was all of the leftover snacks we were carrying and then took a few minutes just to relax. Still bewildered about my brand-new tire coming apart we decided to catch a cab to the bike shop where we bought it two days before. The guy that sold us the tire claimed that it was puncture proof and lined with kevlar and it’s no wonder he looked a little surprised when I explained and asked if I could return it. He agreed and we decided not to get another one. This is the first time I’ve been without a tire at all on a bicycle trip, but considering it is our last day, it’s understandable.

We got a ride back to the grocery store down the street from our motel and did our shopping for our last supper and breakfast in the morning. We have had a quiet night in, although we’ve had a lot of laughs recounting the days events. It is like Florida doesn’t want us to leave. We have set our alarms and should be in our way to the airport by 9am. We have our bike boxes with us and will pack our bikes when we arrive at the terminal. That is if nothing else goes wrong.

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