Islamorada to Coral Gables, a History


Tyler and I had left the Keys and were headed towards Miami, stuck between islands and mainland on the eighteen mile asshole that is US-1. There was a stiff headwind, and no shade, and traffic blew past us in dizzying bouts of gusting exhaust. We’d lost the other four to various reasons of individual account. I think Brady was filming something and Rachel was helping. Megan had gotten a piece of frayed cable stuck in her back spokes, a better pickup than the bloody latex gloves and sodden rags that littered the highway’s shoulder. George had stuck with Megan. Thus me and Tyler. I asked Tyler to tell me a story lest I lose my mind. So began the story of Miami and the birth of Brad Pitt …

A long time ago, maybe a hundred years, there was this woman named Ami. Ami was born into a family of unicyclists. At a young age she was taught the art of unicycling, her specialty in the way of her parents—cycling over tightropes suspended over a den of hungry lions.

They lived and traveled in the Circus. When Ami’s parents crashed during a show and were summarily devoured by the waiting lions below Ami became the main act of the Circus. Every show was dedicated to her late mother and father, lion meat.

Grandpa Pitt was dating the Bearded Lady of the Circus. It was a long distance thing but he flew to Condoleezzaopolis, now known as Los Angeles, to see his lover at a circus after party. Ami was there, and it was love at first sight. But Grandpa Pitt was an honorable man … as much as he wished to begin a life with Ami that night he stayed with the Bearded Lady. Ami never forgot Grandpa Pitt, and wondered about him often.

The Bearded Lady broke up with Grandpa Pitt and left him for a pirate marauding off the Gulf Coast. Grandpa Pitt, elated with his newfound freedom, quit his job as a furniture salesman and began unicycling in earnest. He joined a traveling circus in hopes of finding Ami on the road.

Howard Hughes was an oilman from New York. People thought he was from Texas but it was New York. He had a made a fortune in the oil trade. He was out prospecting in New Orleans and went with a potential client to the Circus. He was entranced with the lead unicyclist, whose name was an exotic one. Ami. After the show he offered her a lifestyle she had never known and could not resist. Ami left the circus and moved with Howard to the southeastern coast of Florida.

There Howard Hughes demanded a city be built for Ami. He was known to go about town yelling, ‘She’s My Ami!’

His labor decided to name the city Miami in honor of Howard’s lady love. They lived in Miami for a time. At Ami’s request Howard organized the first true moon landing, where using a complex device known as a Reverse Gravitational Adjustment Polarizer, or GRAP, astronauts were able to collect large quantities of regenerative moon dust to build the land bridge from Miami to the rail system connecting the Florida Keys. That same moon dust is on the dirty asshole of US-1 today. It rises and settles in yeasty fashion, its fluctuations seasonally dependent. The regenerative properties are contained by the mesh link fence flanking the highway’s sides. These fences send out electromagnetic pulses at forty second intervals to shock the moon dust into singular location.

Well, all this time of building Miami and collecting moon dust Grandpa Pitt was unicycling around the country looking for Ami. Every town and every night he was saddened. Where was Ami?

Howard Hughes was losing his mind. He became a germaphobe and was known to wash his hands every five minutes. He was the world’s first true bubble boy, and also invented the body condom. Ami was growing disillusion in their increasingly sanitized relationship.

One night the circus came to Miami. Wanting to press the restart button on their relationship Ami dragged Howard to the show. She was interested to see the amazing new unicyclist that the troupe had picked up. He was known to do her famous trick—the unicycle over the pit of lions.

Howard and Ami went, and her breathe caught when she saw it was her Grandpa Pitt on the unicycle! She pulled out her portable unicycle and went up to meet Grandpa Pitt. Howard, disgusted by someone who could carry such a greasy, oily machine in their purse, left the circus in his body condom and washed his hands of the relationship.

Elated, Grandpa Pitt and Ami decided to leave the mainland behind and explore the Keys. It was, to these weathered travelers, the final frontier. They embarked on a mighty month long unicycle trip across the rail lines, their journey ending in the pirate town of Key West. The night they arrived in Key West was the night they conceived Brad Pitt’s father, Dean.

Granpda Pitt joined a pirate company marauding company that specialized in rum runs through the Caribbeans. Ami took a job at the local sloppy joe restaurant and grew ever more pregnant, having Dean Pitt, father to our beloved Brad Pitt, when Grandpa Pitt was miles away and being boarded by Bush’s Best pirate company.

Dean was a squalling, healthy baby boy but Grandpa Pitt was in a world of trouble for his ex-lover, the Bearded Lady, was captain of Bush’s Best and was out for blood. She spied Grandpa Pitt and set about attempting to hack his head off.

But Grandpa Pitt parried and blocked, cold steel ringing on the blood and entrail soaked ship. A warmth built between Grandpa Pitt and the Bearded Lady, then that heat became a flame. They threw their swords down and made out vigorously against the ship’s wheel.

Grandpa Pitt and the Bearded Lady joined forces and co-captained Bush’s Best for a time before being lost forever in the Bermuda Triangle.

Ami Pitt, mother to Dean Pitt, was devastated at Grandpa Pitt’s infidelity and flung herself into the shallow corals of the Keys in hopes a turtle would consume her. Instead her foot wedged in a heart-shaped coral and she drowned, leaving Dean an orphan.

Dean, surrounded by nothing by pirates, fled the island. He swam from the Keys to the Everglades, killed two crocodiles with those strong hands his son Brad would soon inherit, and hitchhiked by rail to Los Angeles, the name having recently been voted into place by the town board.

There Dean met the love of his life, Betsy, and they had Brad Pitt.

And the rest is history.

Last night we stayed in Coral Gables with a Bike & Build Central US ’14 alum Athena. She was an amazing host. Having completed a recent cross-country bike tour she knew exactly what we’d be wanting. Food and sleep. We got a bunch of both,  and were on the road again bright and early the next morning.

Today we biked through the Everglades. This was our campsite last night.


We ate rice, beans, and meat for dinner. More to come of our ride through the park soon. Maybe tomorrow. Or the next day, or whenever my body doesn't punch me into submission post seven pm.