December 8 - Miami Beach, Florida

I am sitting on the balcony overlooking the street at the Hostel in Miami Beach. In the background I hear a mix of techno, Cuban, and jazz music from the cafes below. It's breezy and about 75 degrees out.

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I am a block away from the famous South Beach. Everyone here is extremely attractive and sexy, except me. I am the fat old goofball. I stick out like a sore thumb. It makes me appreciate RAGBRAI.

Nice ride today, I retraced the ride of 4 days ago in the other direction, through Crocodile Pond National Wildlife Refuge. I was determined this time to see a crocodile. I found the refuge office, and marched in and announced "I want to see a crocodile!" The ranger was very nice. He politely informed me that I was not going to see a crocodile, because they are very shy and they hide out in the most remote and inaccessable parts of the refuge. He said the best place to see a crocodile is at Flamingo, where they sometimes hang out at the marina. (Flamingo is 53 miles down a dead-end road from Florida City. Bummer.) He did have a stuffed crocodile in the office. I learned more about crocodiles. There were only about 50 crocodiles when they went on the endangered species list, but now there are about 2000. They have a very limited range at the southern tip of Florida, because they can't take freezing. They are found only in salt water, not because they like it, but because alligators don't like it, and alligators are meaner. This is more disappointment. I thought crocodiles were meaner. Furthermore, the crocodiles are not nearly as big as alligators.

So all I got to see is some mangrove swamps, where crocodiles might be hiding but probably aren't.

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Ever wonder where palm trees come from? It seems the whole area between Miami and Homestead is miles and miles of palm tree nurserys.

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Here is the route for today. 92 miles. Varying winds. Dead flat.

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