I’m under the gate a little early, about 6:45. Slowly the developments grow until I hit Naples. There I’m instantly in beachfront condo land again. I peer out over the Gulf of Mexico for the first time of my life. The water looks clean and blue.
It takes a long time to run out of condos. I ride some highway, cut through some more humble neighborhoods. Finally I find the road that runs along the keys south of Ft. Meyers. There’s a state park I didn’t know about on one of them, Lover’s Key. I check it out. There are lots of boardwalks and beaches, all open to bikes. I hang out, swim in the gulf near a school of dolphins, eat, and finally decide to camp on the beach somewhere. I haven’t come far today, but it’s a nice spot, and I haven’t yet slept on the beach.
I explore, cook some dinner, use a beach shower, buy ice cream, and swim again. When I decide to look for a spot to camp, I ride up the beach. In one area there’s a gorgeous woman sunbathing nude, and a guy videotaping her. I try not to smile too big as I ride by.
I find my spot and read until sundown. Vic told me about something called “greenflash”. I watch the sun sink into the gulf, and sure enough the last little bit looks like it turns bright green before it disappears. The air is warm but fresh, the sky clear. I pitch the tent without the rainfly so I can watch the stars as they pop out.