.....The BiKeWriTer

Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s | Unexpected pleasures of wild camping

January 30, 2021 – Key Largo, Fl – Pedaled about 82 miles from Coconut Grove to Key Largo; it was longer than the map indicated because I got turned about a couple times.

Sweaty, sore and fatigued I still wasn’t ready to pay $70 to lay on the hard ground at a campsite so I went wild camping behind a church. The priest gave me permission, as long as I packed up my nest by 7 a.m.

There was a lot of green to choose from. It was private, mature trees and just one odd plastic Santa decoration shoved among some branches. Only slightly creepy.



Skies grew dark around 6:30 p.m. The temps were pleasant, in the low 60s and no bugs. A full moon allowed enough light to easily pitch my little tent and tuck myself in for the night.

I’m sure I fell asleep quickly and I must have been exhausted but what happened next was unexpected.

No, the plastic Santa wasn’t pulling a Jason and peering at me through my tent flap. No, an iguana didn’t work it’s way inside and snuggle up next to me… it was… this.  Cue video…

So random. So nature. So somebody’s clock was really off.

I sound so tired. He sounds like he’s just winding up for an after-bar party.

Oh good grief. Probably hard to hear but it was like echo taps and his friends were also calling back in the distance.

Every. Time.

I found him in the morning. Actually he came to check on me, asked me how my night went… when I would finally be leaving.

He was still full throttle …not even raspy like his throat was dry from smoking with the fellas and being up all night pounding through a case.

On my way out the driveway a mother hen scooted by with five mighty small chicks in tow. That guy sure rules the roost at St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church and campgrounds.

Judy Steffes is currently on a road trip in the Florida Keys, raising contributions for music and exercise programs at Cedar Community in West Bend in honor of her late dad, Al Steffes, who suffered from the disease.

CLICK HERE to donate securely online. (In “comments” section” add the note “Judy’s Bike Ride”)

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