Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting Around

I was driving Mile Marker 14 on the Overseas Highway and I saw these trucks out in the mangroves, looking prehistoric with their booms extended. They are spending your money maintaining the power supply out to Radio Marti, the completely ineffectual propaganda machine broadcasting to godless communists in Cuba.A group of prisoners of conscience in Cuba are taking turns to go on hunger strike, and so far one has died for the right to be heard when they are pissed off with the people in charge. We can't put pressure on the Cuban gaolers by say, withholding trade, because, imagine that, we already refuse to trade with them. Never mind that hardly;y anyone here has even heard of Orlando Zapata Tamayo who died after three months of struggling to be heard. On our side of the Straits of Florida vacation season is in full swing in the sub tropics. I turn my skeptical eye on my fellow travelers and wonder what happened to the concept of traveling light. Here Came Bronson, his 20th century bed roll bloated into a trailer:Now that's more like it, black on black and compact luggage:These trikes are getting huge amounts of advertising space in the magazines. I could buy four or five Bonnevilles for the price of this one. Or two Bonnevilles with sidecars. The trike would be handy at Boondocks, the tiki bar, mini golf and fried food haven at Mile Marker 27.There's always something going on at this popular watering hole. When I'm out on my deck at night with a light north wind freezing the landscape I get to enjoy the fine music wafting across the salt ponds.Prizes games and treats, it sounds irresistible. Unhappily I had to work and I missed being on the road with the fine party people who showed up for this: Better driving through endless alcohol. There is a little voice in my head that is asking how soon we will be enjoying dime-a-dance depression era contests. Look at these two, helmets and boots and everything. They look like me when I'm commuting and they are proof positive not everyone rides naked in Key West.It was a bit of a surprise seeing a tour trolley stuck in traffic on the Boulevard. The newspaper had a picture of the new City View trolleys soon be seen in their white livery offering more rides around the city. Perhaps the numbers of tours will force them to expand and find sights of interest in boring old New Town. Road food at the Southernmost Burger King, where the menu is identical to everywhere else. No Conch fritters here.I saw this horribly parked Kia when I was trying to find space for my kennel and I wondered why they had to take up two whole spaces.
Then I figured the car was parked to avoid the foliage and I wondered if they save money by painting Kias with water soluble paint. However some inconsiderate soul had brushed the other side of the car with a palm leaf at an earlier date: I gave up worrying about scratches on my kennel a while back. People have difficulty parking with accuracy even when they are trying to do it right and the narrow lanes make it easy for someone not paying attention to put a scratch in your car. Worrying about dings is a waste of time in this town. There's lots of parking in New Town for a different sort of Triumph, in this case a TR6.My step mother got one as a gift from her cheating husband however the gift didn't quite work out. It never ran right and it took the dealer years to figure out there was a piece of paper loose in the fuel tank blocking the fuel flow as it sloshed around. Weird but true. The Triumph was replaced by a reliable Nissan and the marriage dragged on through a couple of decades of misery. I was long gone, but cars do store memories quite well. This is busy time in Key West, snowbirds are in full force before they start leaving next month, but the Overseas Highway is clogged these days with youngsters driving down for Spring Break. Every night is an adventure at work these days and I am rather more tired and less motivated as a result. Laundry is piling up by day and drunk callers pile up by night. Busy times for key West Police.The sewer project alongside the highway is coming along nicely and the hope is the legislature will extend the deadline for completion to 2015 to enable the county to get a few hundred million in grants to get the job done. They call this Kia the Soil and the paint looks thick and lustrous.
35mpg and practical transportation. Some people say they buy motorcycles to save money, I think a car like this in the long run does a better job as relatively inexpensive all round transport. More fun? Well...let's not go too far! I am thinking this could be a nice little car for future consideration for my family. They are extremely popular in Key West these days, which boasts an actual Kia dealership. Most motorcycles visiting the Keys are v-twins and these are certainly not viewed as practical wheels, they say something. Perhaps they say a helmet would keep your ears warm more effectively than a hoodie.It sucks to see people down in the Keys for a few short days to get away from winter Up North and they find themselves huddling out of the damp cold breeze alongside the locals. Or you can come down to cruise the Overseas Highway with a bed roll and ape hangers. It must be exhausting holding your hands up in the air for hour after hour. Perhaps some free bud light eases the pain.When I was taking classes at the college some of my fellow students, none of whom was alive when President Kennedy was assassinated used to spend their breaks talking about their rides. They loved their souped up Japanese compacts, like this one with loud mufflers and spoilers:I liked their enthusiasm and they thought I was odd showing up on my frumpy old motorcycle to classes when I could easily have owned a classy bright crotch rocket. This next picture made me laugh. I thought it showed quite some ingenuity by Boondocks, buying a truck lift and sticking it on the back of the building as a cheap loading dock:I don't suppose it needs a tag but I wonder if the brake lights work?No Bonnevilles here. They say Harley sales have plummeted though you wouldn't know it. Not everyone trailers their motorcycles for a trip to the Keys. Some people rent and a few people even rent cars, and a few of them spend extra to rent convertibles. For their sake alone a little heat would be nice:There have been a few mornings when my wife, who always converts her car has refused to lower the roof claiming it's too cold. She even has electric seats which I could use this endless winter on the Bonneville. The world turned upside down - sub tropical frost.

An essay on Chris Hedge's "Calling All Rebels" is posted on my other blog today: