Monday, June 8, 2009

Sugarloaf Airport

Driving towards Key West on Highway One, there is a place just past the Sugarloaf Lodge where someone parked a plane:This unmarked street on Google maps is labeled "Perky" after the mythical town that was supposed to have been built around the developer's bat tower that can be found at the northern end of this road. The fact that "Perky" never came into being hasn't deterred mapmakers, locals call this place generally "Lower Sugarloaf" and this is where the airstrip lives, shown by that billboard advertising airplane rides.They say the landing strip is 2700 feet long, about half a mile to you and me, and just over three quarters of a kilometer in Canadian miles. It looks long enough to me, though I know nothing about flying at all. As airports go, Sugarloaf's is a very home brewed affair:This is where the flying lessons are apparently given:With planes parked alongside possibly ready to go:Continuing the home grown theme there is a simple mechanic's shop in a trailer:There is an ultra light also, similar in many respects to the one currently floating at the dock at Sugarloaf Marina next to the lodge. Doubtless for rent is you have a yen to fly ultra-lightly: It wouldn't the Florida Keys is precious land area weren't given up to the hopeless wrecks which sit gently decomposing at am epochal rate in the sun:Beauty and usefulness are strictly in the eye of the owner. Not to mention the cost of removal and disposal. You might think this would be an excellent spot to try some speed trials or just to bugger about on with a motorcycle, however to guard against a collision with an aircraft such foolishness is forbidden:
Though one can stand for a while and contemplate the surroundings which inevitably include water around here:And so, after standing in the sun for a while one has nothing left to do but turn around and head out. At which point one comes across the little green shed one saw peripherally on the way in. More rides!I am told by people that have done it that throwing oneself out of a perfectly good plane here yields tremendous views. The day I decide to do something so foolish I promise I shall post pictures. Looking back at the airport one can glimpse the houses I call the "Ho Ho Ho Homes". They light up the seasonal sentiments at Christmas time, clearly visible across the water for northbound traffic on Highway One.I hope I shall be back on the Bonneville soon because seeing these pictures and remembering riding does me no good at all.