2.23 Key West

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We are all here, and now it begins. This is more of a tester post than anything else. So for now, get excited. On Wednesday we dip our wheels in the southernmost point of America. Then we point our noses north and start pedaling. Woof.

My name is Reese. I will be posting text here frequently. Maybe every day. Probably not. It will be what it will be. I am currently in a cafe that forced me to pay for $6 worth of coffee and cookie to access their internet. I can guarantee you that this is not sustainable.

For Brady and me it was a whirlwind road trip down to Key West. We left Chapel Hill at one in the morning and arrived in Charlotte at four. It started sleeting when we woke two hours later. Brady's mother, Carol (a wonderful woman), drove us down to St Petersburg. I slept in the back seat and drooled all over Carol's pillow. Apparently I breathe heavy when I sleep. There was some transmission issues in bumdiddly Georgia. An EMT told us that we had poured oil into the transmission fluid tank, a funny claim considering neither Brady nor I could find the transmission fluid tank even whilst consulting the car manual. You can always tell a Carolina man, but you cannot tell him much! The EMT said there was no way we would make it to the next town - some ten miles south - without our car exploding in a bright blue flame.

Carol drove us five straight hours to St Pete with no more issues. I hope the EMT is better at his job than he is a car mechanic. So we made it to St Petersburg. Brady and Rachel, bless them, went straight to an engagement party for Rachel's sister. But Tyler was there, Master Deming, T-Daddy, and we kicked it playing Ms Pac-Man. Then we were up at four, on the road at five, and in Fort Myers by seven.

We managed to fit four bikes and all of our gear into a short flatbed truck with a large toolbox welded into the bed. Impressive stuff.

The ferry was funny. We motored south with great gusto. Brady took out his camera to get our first video footage and nearly broke it within five minutes. Our Keys to Freeze documentary, nearly blinked out.

We made it to Key West at noon, and have not stopped sweating. This place is hot. Like seventy degrees. People who live down here keep telling us this weather is chilly willy. Man. Sign me up if this is as bad as it gets.

Our day was spent the day bumming around, playing with our bikes, setting things up and taking things apart. Bike stuff. Gear stuff. I realized I have too much stuff. And so it goes. Post office bound baby!

That night we took a meandering walk through the hopping tourist strip on Duval Street, the highlight of the night stopping into Bourbon St Pub to get a drink and listen to the famous drag queen Jessica sing a couple songs. The night turned out to be a musical one ... our walk ended at our host's mother's house. Jimmy, one of our hosts, was playing the piano and singing. It was awesome. We ate steak sandwiches and steak and cheese chips and steak hoagies.

Meat heaven is real.

Somewhere between falling asleep and waking I breathed heavily and drooled a lot.

Megan and George drove through the night with a busted headlight, arriving 24 hours after departing the snow globe of Kentucky at five in the morning. So the gang is here, no small feat.

With that let me say this: we have taken a dream and built it into a reality. That we have all six here, that we are all ready to rock on Wednesday ... this is an accomplishment. Now we get to live the dream. One mile at a time. And so it begins - Keys to Freeze. Our 9,000 mile ride to raise awareness and funds for the national parks of America. Check back here and our social media often. We will be posting updates from the road wherever internet and time allows.

Oh! And if you have any questions, or want to send us a note, or want to just say hi pop that CONTACT page and drop us a line. Day 1 is in the books. 168 to go.

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