We are not yet at the beach. We are in a motel next to a Mexican restaraunt on the way to the beach. I was concerned about Ft. Myers Beach because the Adventure Cycling map ends there, but they have no motels listed. Adventure Cycling's motel recommendations are always really great, cheap and clean with character. The lack of motel recommendations on the beach worried me; the beach motels must be really expensive.
So we stopped here at the Ashley Oakes Resort Motel. We were registered by the lady who owns the motel and her elderly mother. They carded both of us to make sure we are over 21, because they refuse to rent to partying teenagers. This is how I knew we found the low-cost option. Also there was this exchange:
Elderly Mother: "They don't have a car."
Boss Lady: "It's ok, they are on bikes."
Elderly Mother: "I thought we don't rent to people without a car."
Boss Lady: "Mama, that's for when people show up in a cab with their clothes in garbage bags."
Our motel courtyard is also full of art.
We ate at the Mexican restaraunt next door, which was totally authentic, and run by real Mexicans who speak no English. They had terrific margaritas, but not from a jet spray machine. Check out the raw plywood separating the dining area from the bar.
The ride today was not so hot. It was totally flat, with headwinds, but the real problem was we were "sharing" a two lane road with no shoulders with every dump truck in Florida. We went through Port Charlotte and Puenta Gorda, which had lots of hurricane damage, and the dump trucks were hauling debris to landfills. There was about 40 miles of this. It was very bad.
The orange groves ended today. It's all swampy ranches and housing developments.
At the end of the day we went through Cape Coral and Ft. Myers. Cape Coral was weird. We went through about 6 miles of housing developments, where only about a quarter of the lots had houses on them. That's an enormous amount of water and sewer and power to run for no reason. Somebody lost a lot of money there.
Ft. Myers is really nice. We went over the Peace River on a big bridge, and landed in downtown, which has lots of marinas.
We went through Ft. Myers on beautiful boulevards lined with palm trees. As soon as we got out of downtown, and strip mall hell started, there was a 10 mile bike path that runs alongside the highway almost to the beach.
Here is our 80 mile ride for today. This marks two weeks on the bike for me, and I have averaged 80 miles per day.