M-D Custom Cycles in Key Largo @ MM 102.6
I did not have an opportunity to rent a Harley this trip but the friendly and helpful staff at M-D Custom Cycles provided me a rental rate sheet and I was able to pick up a Daytona Bike Week 2006 hat and the tank top that is in the photograph.
This should be a stop for anyone interested in renting bikes in the Florida Keys as you could enjoy 102 miles of road south to Key West over some beautiful water.
The portion of US1 that continues south from Florida City to Key West is known as the Overseas Highway. This 130 mile long highway contains about 40 bridges which connect the tiny islands of the Keys to the mainland of South Florida.
The Overseas Highway is a mostly two lane road and it can be a very slow going one. But the ocean views and ocean breezes experienced while driving along this highway make the trek worthwhile.
The most famous spot on the Overseas Highway is the Seven Mile Bridge (see things to do). The Seven Mile Bridge is located about 50 miles north of Key West. The newer version of this bridge was constructed in the early 80s and runs parallel to the Old Seven Mile Bridge, which is now used partially for recreation and for getting to Pigeon Key.
Although its only 150 miles from Miami to Key West, plan on allowing 4 hours minimum for this drive, and that's if you drive without stopping much. The two lane road is often congested and an accident can shut it down completely.
Every one will warn you about the traffic police and here is another warning. They hide in the verges of the Overseas Highway, you cannot see them until you are close. Stick to the speed limit which is at times a frustrating 30mph especially in the dark, there is no escape.
If I were to go again I would stay further down the keys so that the journey to Key West was not so long., maybe Marathon for example.You could then spend time at Baihi Honda (spelling?) and head Key West later.
Having asked on the VT forum of the best route from Orlando to the Keys we set off down the Florida Turnpike, which was the quickest. It is a heck of a long way (51/2 hours) yet my thoughts are always get where you are going as quickly as possible and any sight seeing do on the way back, so off we set. It is highways all the way so not much to see and make sure you have a lot of change for the turnpike tolls. We made it to the keys and headed off the main overseas highway to cross into the keys on the less busy Card Sound Road. We were held up here by a film crew but made it through in the end. There really isn't much in the way of things to see from a car up to our accommodation in Key Largo, in fact I'd go as far to say nothing, this is not a scenic drive as the vegetation blocks far reaching views. The way back well we went via the Billie Swamp Safari for one day and night, see my off the beaten path in Florida pages for more details. The way back though we went via the none highway route for most of the way, headed west along Alligator Alley before leaving the main routes and taking a much quieter view of Florida. We made our way north through the Big Cypress Indian Reservation. Perhaps a part of Florida that not many people see, a lot of farmland and open fields with the odd Cypress tree wood that must have been much more previlent years ago. Headed north to Lake Okeechobee and skirted around the West of the lake. To see the lake you'll have to get out as it is boarded by large dykes. We headed for Okeechobee north of the lake and north again past the settlement (6 buildings If memory serves) of Yahoo junction and off again, bearing west to Kissimmee and back to the busy centre of Florida Tourism.
The Keys make for beautiful biking. No matter where you are, once you pass Key Largo it is very scenic. You usually have the Alantic on your left and Gulf of Mexico on your right. It is flat terrain and gorgeous. Lots of fun towns along the way. Bring a bike and you do not have to worry about drinking and driving. I spent some time at Marathon and Islemorada and there is not much for taxis up that far.
The JGT Transit provides daily commuter bus services between Florida City and Homestead to Mile Marker 50 in Marathon a distance of over 75 miles. Fares are $1.50 each way and the bus makes 6 round trips daily from Florida City/Homestead to MM 50 in Marathon. Last year the JGT carried a total of 168,000 riders up and down the Keys and averages over 500 passengers a day. It is a hail system model to get on and off with no specific bus stops. The bus will stop only where it is safe to pull off the US 1 Highway to pickup and discharge passengers who flag the bus down.
In June of 2005 a connecting commuter bus operated by the Key West Transportation Department employees will commence running from Key West to MM 50 in Marathon to connect with the JGT bus schedules to provide full commuter bus services throughout the Florida Keys. The fare box revenue will also be $1.50 each way as is the JGT bus fare box. This will be the first time in the history of Monroe County that Keyswide commuter bus service will be available to residents of both counties.
Toll Free: 800-524-7894
* Fax: 305-852-8342
219 S. Coconut Palm Blvd. Tavernier, FL 33070
24 hour personalized door-to-door service to and from the Florida Keys. Executive cars, vans, limousines or charters buses.
I was riding my bike in Key West when I had problems on a Sunday. No shops were opened and I had to get back to Daytona. This guy named Tony who owned Overseas Bike Rescue towed me back at a fantastic rate. He had an enclosed trailer designed to transport bikes in style and had a nice ride to boot. Great guy to know if you get stuck in the Keys.
I decided to drive the entire route of the Florida Keys. From Fort Lauderdale I took the Interstate 95 South towards Miami. From Miami I followed the US 1 road toward Homestead all the way to Key West passed Key Largo, Craig, Marathon, Big Pine and Summlerland Key. Once you have passed the city of Homestead there is virtually only one road which is the US 1. Take caution passed Miami since one can get easily confused and end up on the wrong highway or road, particularly if one is not used to the US signs.
To have more independence I choose to hire a car in Florida. Visiting the sun shine state I thought is was most appropriate to travel with a "top less" car - even though I visited the State in January. The temperatures were still great and most of the time I took the top off to enjoy the warm Florida winter sun. I found that is is cheaper to book and pay for your car before you arrive in the USA since many car hire companies offer specials for tourists from abroad.
We spent only 36 hours at Key Largo and like anywhere it did not do it justice, I hope to return sometime. Our first afternoon was spent lazing around the pool and beach area of accommodation in Key Largo and we only went to the restaurant next door for dinner. There is not much to see in any of the towns along the way really, you have to plan carefully in the Keys as you won't stumble across very much, you have to search a bit and make the effort for that fishing or diving trip by getting out of your hotel room at a decent hour. Yuo can see in this background some of the fishing boats in just one marina that offered many such trips.
There is only one road and the addresses all reflect the position on that road Mile Markers (MM) are refered to all the time. We spent a day travelling to Key West, stopping off a different places along the way. Coming home was a long way, It's about 2 to 21/2 hours back to Key Largo and after a day on the road it was tiring for a wimp like me. Some great views from the car along some of the bridges, in the dark it wasn't the same.
The closest international airport to the Florida Keys is the airport of Miami. Here many international flights from all over the world land, and the airport is connected to all major cities of North America. Car hire agencies are located in a seperate area of the airport and one has to take a shuttle bus to the rental car station.
We rented a Chevy Trailblazer from Alimo at The Ft. Lauderdale Airport. It was a nice looking and driving car with plenty of room for our fishing rods. Make sure you fill up near the airport or pay $6/ Gallon for them to fill it.
» Alamo Car Rental http://www.alamo.com
» Avis Rental Cars http://www.Avis.Com
» Budget Car Rental http://www.bnm.com/budget.htm
» Dollar Rental Car http://www.dollar.com
» Enterprise Car Rental http://www.enterprise.com
» Hertz Rental Cars http://www.bnm.com/hertz.htm
» National Car Rental http://www.nationalcar.com/
» Thrifty Car Rental http://www.thrifty.com