Do you like malls? Or how about residential developments where all the houses are the same? If your answer to both of these questions is “no”, then…well, you won’t be a fan of the 81. Or, indeed, most of South Florida. But I digress.

The shelter at Delray Beach.

We found out about the 81 by noticing a bus shelter right outside of our hotel in Delray Beach. I thought, “Why not take it?”, and my father agreed to come along. The route starts in downtown Delray, and we picked it up a few stops later, on 1st Street. Continuing down the narrow street, we soon turned onto Swinton Ave, and then the wide Atlantic Ave.

Another perfectly framed shot from Miles on the MBTA! Yup, no problems with this picture.

We went by a lot of Delray Beach attractions along this stretch, like a library, a courthouse, some tennis courts, and a lot of businesses. It clearly wasn’t as interesting as downtown Delray Beach, but believe me, the scenery could (and would) be a lot worse. Just before the street crossed I-95, we turned onto 12th Ave, which was a narrow residential street.

A shelter in front of a modern building. 
A side street in the residential area.
And another.
A few houses.

We eventually passed a rather large school building, which was…locked behind a chain link fence. The street became Auburn Ave and curved a bit as we went by a housing development. It then got industrial, starting when we turned onto 10th Street. Going under I-95, we crossed the Tri-Rail tracks, then turned onto the wide Congress Ave. Eventually, we pulled off the road and headed into the busway of the Delray Beach Tri-Rail station, where a few passengers got on.

A building under construction.
A small intersection.
Crossing over the tracks.
A modern building as we made the turn into the Tri-Rail station.
The station itself.

From there, we headed up Congress Ave again, then turned onto Atlantic Ave. After going over a river, the street was lined with housing developments for a bit, then we passed a golf course. We eventually reached the Delray Square Shopping Center and pulled into its parking lot, where we had to wait for a little while because the drivers switched.

Going over the river.
The golf course.
So Dunkin’ Donuts exists outside of New England after all!
Geez, this is the biggest intersection I’ve ever seen…
Oh man, this mall sure is…boring…

We headed down Atlantic Ave again after that, going by more malls and businesses with huge parking lots. They became housing developments after we went over a river, but there was still a bit of retail of well. Eventually, we made a deviation by turning onto Lakes of Delray Boulevard. This was a literal gated community, and we made a long loop around it before returning to Atlantic Ave.

Some corporate building for a bank.
An open area.
A lake in the Lakes of Delray – makes sense.
A few of the apartments at the Lakes of Delray.
Another lake.

Soon after returning to Atlantic Ave, we turned onto another massive street, Jog Road. Luckily, when we entered the Villages of Delray, a complex of housing developments, the street (South Oriole Boulevard) was much narrower. We eventually deviated to serve the Oriole Plaza Mall, which included a movie theater.

Turning onto South Oriole Boulevard.
The entrance to one of the “villages”.
And another.

We returned to South Oriole Boulevard for a bit, but then turned onto Gateway Road, and then the wider Hagen Ranch Road. Going by housing developments for the most part, we soon turned off the street. This was an offshoot road that led to the Hagen Ranch Library, which was actually the last stop on the route. The few passengers remaining headed off to the library while the bus got ready for its trip back to downtown Delray Beach.

Woah! Farmland!
The entrance to a development.
A lake on the road to the library.
The bus at the library.
The library itself. It was a pretty modern building.
And the bus again.

Two of the people going back to Delray were my father and I, but we weren’t going all the way back. Instead, we took the bus to the Lakes of Delray again and got off. Why did we leave the bus in this strange, gated community? Find out…next post.

The bus leaving the stop.