First off, the disclaimer: There are some great folks here in Flatistan, like the airheads club and the folks at Cypress Cycle who honed my STs cylinders for a pittance while I waited but a few minutes.

But yesterday, I damn near got run off Flatistan’s too narrow roads- twice! First was on a morning bicycle ride, on the last quarter mile of road into the trailer park. Now they do have a few bike paths in Collier County, probably because the federal funding came along with funding for the adjoining six lane highway on a “use it or lose it” basis. Thus there’s a collection of sidewalks and paved trails along Collier Boulevard from Davis to US41 trying to pass itself off as a bike trail. While there’s some even half mile long chunks of easy riding on the trail, they’re interrupted by blind intersections where near blind and blue haired octogeneraians stand ready to send you to your grave before they reach theirs. And to get to this bit of bike trail, I have to traverse a mile of the narrow former route of Alligator Alley, a twenty foot wide chunk of asphalt with a 45 MPH limit and no shoulders, paved or otherwise. And there ain’t any alternative routes- I’ve ridden down a bunch of trails to nowhere ’til they disappeared into the woods. So to get to the bike path I have to navigate a quarter mile of this busy narrow two lane, ’til I get to the relative safety of a narrow sidewalk and dodging pedestrians. There’s a few side roads that run into a neighboring industrial park, but in SOP for the state of cul de sacs, they all dead end. On the other side is a gated community with what looks on google like a through route, but they actually have a staffed gate, so scratch that alternative.

So I’m on that last quarter mile home yesterday, riding as close to the edge of the road as possible, and I note a car coming the other way, no problem. Then I hear a car coming from behind, not slowing at all, then breezing by me with inches to spare. The offending driver turns into my trailer park, and I debate confronting the driver… Not worth the bother. Heck, he could probably kill a cyclist and go to his grave still thinking the cyclist didn’t belong on HIS road. This happens to me about once a week.

I had to ride into Naples in the afternoon, and with nary a hint of a through bike trail to Naples I had to ride the Buell. So I get into my best Motor Officer mindset and head west, stopping at a couple cycle shops and bookstores on the way to the office of the lawyer I need to see. The bookstores are looking more like Apple Stores than bookstores, so I decide to check out a county park on the Gulf. $8 entry fee… Scratch that! So I’m riding down a narrow winding city street when I meet a group of cyclists going the other way, we’re each well on our own side of the road and exchange friendly waves. Behind them was a senior barely in command of a super-sized pickup,  who by the time I’d come around the curve had assumed he had the left lane  to himself. I got as far to the right as possible and the overwhelmed senior in the super-sized pickup, the cyclists, and I just fit.

On to the lawyers office… apparently you need them to do simple estates in Flatistan. Now back in Minnesnowta ordinary citizens do this kinda stuff, and if they’re busy or intimidated they take it to a lawyer who pawns off the job on a paralegal. So said Flatistan lawyer got to bill for an hour or so and mileage to transfer the title of a $15k park model trailer from my late mother to me. Assuming there’d be a sales tax hit for the two thirds share of the trailer I’d bought from my two brothers and back licence fees from the last couple years since mom passed, I’d kept an extra thou in the checking account. Well, the state of Flatistan let me out of there with a title and plate for a bit over a hundred… No wonder Flatistan is always broke!

Now back in Minnesota I pay $800 a year in property taxes on a nice house in a small town, with miles and miles of bike trails and a grid of lightly used rural roads for my enjoyment. Traffic? Sometimes I’ll ride for an hour or more and not see another vehicle moving. Down here in Flatistan, I pay not even $100 a year, and don’t even get what I pay for. The weather’s nice back in Minnesota, with about half the daily highs above freezing- That’s riding weather! I’m counting down the days ’til I head home next week.

Truth is, until Flatistan invests in infrastructure and gets it’s unsafe drivers/voters off the roads, all Flatistan has to offer is nice weather for a couple months a year. No wonder stalled developments abound, waiting for the big hurricane that’ll turn south Flatistan back to wilderness.

The ADV riders should enjoy touring the ruins, though…

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