Thursday, May 14, 2015

In Search of Key Deer

"Let's run away to the Keys," I said to Al. He liked the idea.

Many secondary roads and streets in the Keys are not road bike friendly. But what we are riding this week are basically old mountain bikes gussied up for city riding. Perfect for the Keys. Both of us thought of the same place down in the Keys: Big Pine Key. Close to the 7-Mile Bridge and home of the National Key Deer Refuge.

We drove down to Big Pine. Our favorite lodgings were booked, so we headed to a cheap fall-back, the Big Pine Motel. (We'd discovered it when we got hit by huge winds while riding from Key West to Marathon a few years back. We were literally being blown off the road, and we didn't think crossing the 7-Mile Bridge in those winds was safe. The motel is old and looks decrepit, but it is very clean and functional and the staff is great.) We arrived on Big Pine mid-morning, but the helpful motel staff had our room ready and checked us in. In no time we were out wandering around the island on our bikes.

We cruised the back roads of Big Pine and No Name Keys, stopping whenever we spotted one of the tiny Key deer. We wandered down some of the trails in the National Key Deer Refuge. We saw quite a number of Key deer, particularly over on No Name Key.

We stopped for a late lunch at the No Name Pub. And what was hitting up the pub patrons for a snack? Yep, a clever little Key deer.