3CMGM-Adventures-USA

Roadtrip on a Motorcycle: Miami – Key West

July 25, 2017

During the semester in New York it soon became clear that travel wouldn’t become a significant part of our time there. But how could I be in the US for two months and not go out of state? Logical choices would have been Boston or Chicago, two big cities I had never been to and would love to visit.

But if your boyfriend is complaining that he misses his Enfield and you actually don’t really mind being at the back of his motorcycle, then it is only a small sacrifice to look up “epic road trips in USA” on Google. The most straightforward choice would be Route 66, but it is kinda too long for a weekend away, isn’t it?

Soon enough, the Overseas Highway from Miami to the Florida Keys appeared in the lists. A few year’s ago, I already did this road trip with my dad and brother. That time we did it by car, so I could only imagine what it would be like on a motorcycle! I suggested this plan to my boyfriend, and he didn’t have to think about it twice. Soon after, we bought our tickets.

converse-travel-miami

One Thursday after class, we rushed home to pack our bags. Both JFK and La Guardia are in Queens, where we were living. La Guardia is literally only a 10-minute drive away! Despite that, Woodside is a very hard place to get a cab so we still had to take into account that small delay.

Once we reached the airport, we quickly grabbed a bite. During the flight itself, we worked on a paper that was due on Monday. That’s how you do it, study on the road!

The first night we stayed in Miami Beach, where I got us an AirBnb in the Art Deco District. It was going to be the cheapest night of our whole trip: €86 for 1 night. That evening, we went for a stroll on the promenade. I do have to say I remember Miami as being way more lively and crowded. It was soooo quiet…

The next morning, after a large breakfast nearby that was supposed to keep us more or less full until dinner, we set out to find a motorcycle rental shop to choose our ride to Key West. After walking around for about an hour we bumped into EagleRider. We rented a Yamaha Star 650 (incl. helmet, bags and all-round insurance).

yamaha-florida-eaglerider-miami

With my iPhone serving s a GPS, we were on the road by noon. It was a sunny, hot, humid day and we were advised to stop often enough to drink. I took the time to cover myself in sunscreen as well. After an hour (or about 40km) I was already up for a break. I am not used to be on a motorcycle that long and it is fucking tough! The wind is smashing into you from all sides and the vibrations give you a backbreaking workout. After the break we continued for the next 230km.

Just like I had hoped, the views were spectacular! The Overseas Highway consists of a series of bridges that take you over the bright blue waters, from island to island, in the Florida Keys. On one side you see the Florida Bay and on the other the Atlantic. We stopped another couple times for food and drinks (a.o. at the fun The Wreck Galley & Grill, where many people looked longingly at our bike) and to get gas for the bike. Oh yeah, and also once to find shelter from a short rain shower. The last stop on the way to Key West was to enjoy the sunset the place is so famous for. It is also one of the reasons I wanted to come here with my boyfriend, to the most southern point of the States, to show him this famous Key West sunset.

road trip miami key west

Finally, we reached Key West when the sun had already set. The quest for a motel where 1) they still had a vacant room and 2) that was reasonably priced was quite hard. Eventually, we went back to our first choice: Spanish Gardens Motel. We made ourselves at home for one night in this spacious, clean room. Soon enough I lifted my soar butt back on the bike so we could go for a small dinner. Unfortunately, most restaurants were already closed, so we ended up in a sports bar (believe me, this isn’t the first time this happens).

The next day, we started on our way back to Miami. I wasn’t up for driving the whole 270km in one day again. Every inch of m body was soar and butt was in a hell-a-lot of pain. It seemed better to me to split the way back into two parts and work a bit for school in the middle. After all, we had an exam for our Finance class on Wednesday we had to study for!

Before we left the island, we took a circle around Key West so we could see it in daylight as well. On the way to what would become our final destination for the day, we stopped here and there to discover the other islands a bit. We had lunch at Kiki’s Sandbar. After another 80km we reached Marathon. We booked a room in the Coconut Cay Resort & Marina, where we got the room next to the reception. Again, a very spacious and clean room. That night, we dined at an alehouse where the locals danced happily to country music.

overseas highway miami key west

The last day, we drove to Key Largo under a blanket of thick grey, ominous clouds. We went to a beach bar to get a drink while we waited for the traffic jam to lessen. Everyone was escaping the islands because of a predicted storm. The traffic jam made the 190km trip we had ahead of us even worse, because it took us even longer to bridge the distance.

Our next big stop was at my aunt’s place in Coral Gables. We barely had time for coffee and a chat before we had to head back to make it in time for our flight to New York. Soon enough, we were back in Miami and brought back the motorcycle. This went super smooth and we thanked the guys at EagleRider for helping us achieve this awesome experience. Finding a taxi, however, wasn’t as easy. Luckily we made it in time to the Fort Lauderdale Airport, despite the fact that our driver was a weird, but funny Jamaican.

During the flight, I spent most of the time trying to find the less painful positions to rest my body. In the meantime, I also tried to focus on another chapter of my Finance course. But I couldn’t help it… memories of the breath-taking ride kept sliding in front of my mind’s eye, reminding me that this was probably one of the most unique and intensive trips I would ever make in my life (I mean, I would never be able to make such a trip on my own on a motorcycle right?!)

palm trees key west florida

Where we you like to make a road trip one day? Would you prefer going on a motorbike or in a car?

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bucketlist

Bucketlist #20: See the Famous Key West Sunset

I love sunsets. You probably do too. But no one celebrates sunsets as much as the people in Key West.

Source: luxetravel

Why I wanted to go

After visiting my family in Miami, FL seven or eight years ago, we drove all the way down the Keys – a drive you should definitely make if you ever get the chance! I was excited to go, because it’s the home of one of my favorite writers: Meg Cabot. Not that I met her or anything. Besides, I think she spends a lot of time in NYC as well. And I didn’t know it back then, but Ernest Hemingway also wrote here. Anways, it is some kind of an island, so I was expecting paradise. And besides, I’m always curious to see what inspired some of the greatest (and my ‘favoritest’) writers!

Hemingway House in Key West

What I remember

Key West has a very nice port and boulvard to take a stroll on (even though I didn’t enjoy the walk because I had a lot of blisters) and the houses look like they come straight out of a Disney movie. As Key West as actually closer to Cuba than it is to Miami, this might be the reason. (If you’ve seen pcitures from Cuba you probably know what I’m talking about. Pastel colors. Wood. Just sayin.) Of course, we also went for a drink at Sloppy Joe’s, although we weren’t really blown away by it.

Source: Angelo Perron

O, those sunsets

So, like I said, Key West is all about celebrating sunsets. I’ve never seen a natural phenomenon been so exploited: sunset café, sunset bar, sunset restaurant, sunset hotel, sunset cruise… Name it, it’s there. We had high expectations about this famous moment and were there to see it from beginning to end. Just like all sunsets, it was a beautiful, colorful one. But so was the one at Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica for example.

Sunset Pier Source: shoestringsweekend

Key West is a definite must-visit if you ever go to Miami (again). Drive there – it feels like you’re flying over the water. It’s amazing, really! Don’t go for the sunset, but because of the beautiful architecture, the relaxing atmosphere and to see the traces from the island’s history.

Source: bdegiulio

Have you been to the Keys? Or Miami?