I was minding my own business happily living my daily life in the Fabulous Florida Keys and I got a mail from Tim, who was flying to Miami and wanted to know how to get to Key West to meet a sailboat. Ride in my car, was the obvious reply. There is still a portion of the 18 mile stretch that looks as it did before they decided to modernize it and make it safer. Soon this grassy view will be gone, replaced by fencing and barriers and everything.Tim's flight from San Francisco arrived at 8:15 in the morning. About which time I was here, stuck and aggravated. I hate mainland traffic jams I muttered to Cheyenne snoozing on the back seat.
Tim was there waiting exactly as planned, if an hour late and we fled south on unobstructed turnpike to the safety and tranquility of Key Largo, home to Denny's Latin Café.Tim and I met in Delray beach in 1981 when I was traveling cross country on a Vespa and a year later we met in Santa Cruz and lived out of his car together as we started our new adventurous life in the Golden State. We passed a lot of water together learning to live like hippies under the redwoods. Now we are middle aged men.Tim is a mechanical engineer, a man who studies the menu, aching for Cuban food that he remembered from his youth. Chorizo and eggs with salsa is my favorite dish here.We stopped at Bahia Honda to walk on the old bridge. I noticed this motorcycle cruiser from Up North and realized we weren't the only ones walking around with a huge mound of baggage...
Tim also missed conch fritters , not my favorite dish but Parrotdise on Little Torch Key served them up (on the left) with coconut fried lobster bites (on the right) and glasses of Smithwicks beer.We talked and remembered the Santa Cruz of our youth, reminiscing about our lives as boys, the women who made us crazy and the jobs we held down. We both wish we had been more career oriented and yet we both realize clearly that had we been we wouldn't have lived the lives we have lived of adventure and exploration.Tim wishes he had explored more and traveled further but Santa Cruz was a comfy nest for a young man with a lot of charm and a passion for mountain biking. And Key Lime Pie. Parrotdise offered up the best truly homemade tasting pie, tart and delicious.
From there we cruised to No Name Key in the wife's Sebring with the top down, and once we got off the bridge we looked for and found Key Deer.
Tim was in town to meet a boat sailing over from Cancun and we weren't sure how long he would be in town so I gave him the lightning tour of the Lower Keys as we drove and talked. Next up, the Blue Hole and the new mini alligator.
This is Bacardi's replacement. Bacardi was full sized and choked on a child's rubber toy dropped into the water from the observation platform.Tim's ship came in and it brought Tiina his girlfriend on it. She had joined the boat in Mexico for the trip to Key west which ended up being a 350-mile motor into the wind through choppy seas. She was none the worse for wear:
We ate Cuban and fish sandwiches from Sandy's Café up the road on White Street. After we had toured Fort Zachary and seen the town at more lightning speed we sat at Rest Beach on an overcast afternoon and ate.