441 Breeze, an hour and a half from end to end with no let up in between. The majority of operators who pick it soon dread their shift on this relentless, endless route. For the rest of us, it is a fantastic journey along the serpent's spine of State Road 7, with its thousand ribs leading mostly through parts the tourist board won't advertise. From Coconut Creek where luxury car dealers have formed a mecca of fine motors around the garish excess of the casino to freshly baking bread perfuming the concrete dust bowl at the gateway to the intergalactic interchange known as Golden Glades, this route will send you on a trip.
At Hollywood Blvd, I serviced the stop and was ready to pull away when the daredevil appeared. His impressive whistle prompted me to look left and see a man on a bicycle defying the odds as he cut across the dense traffic of a chaotic construction zone. It took my breath away, and I feebly voiced what was obvious.
'That's not safe. A lot of crazy drivers out there.'
"Life is an adventure. When it's your time..." The personal philosophy came with a matter-of-fact latino accent.
'Livin' on the edge! Could fall off any second.'
"Livin' on the edge."
He took care of the fare box and blended into the bus.
The massive State Road 7 roadway project in Hollywood was only in its second phase, which meant a couple more years of Swiss cheese roads and tight, shifting lane patterns. Major excavations from Pembroke Rd to Washington St designed for enormous pipes an adult could walk through were effectively sheer cliffs right at the edge of the lane lines, with only flimsy barricades separating us. Where once stood businesses, closed and demolished for the sake of progress, now spread shapely storm water retention pits. While they would later smooth the edges and install grassy banks, for now the earth works exposed bare bedrock never before seen by man. The ancient limestone crusted yellow as a silent signal to future generations of shifting sands where our feet now tread.