Friday, March 19, 2010

Key West Bonneville

In order that we might appreciate the fact my 2007 Bonneville (the basic model without a tachometer) actually gets ridden more often than people with motorcycles Up North (who are NOT Iron Butt Members) I thought a brief tour of Key West might be in order. This is my Bonneville at Garrison Bight Marina Wednesday afternoon. I had previously towed my skiff in for it's annual tune up before the wife and i spend a summer swimming. It's impossible to tell from here but my boat, like my motorcycle has minimal electronic equipment- no lights, depth sounders, radios, blenders, refrigeration, music system etc etc...Just how I like it. Contrary to rumors from Amish country I do not tow trailers with my motorcycle. I travel light.This is a Harley Davidson in it's natural habitat. Water cooled BMWs are often owned by people with powerful towing vehicles, just as a precaution.
Some people who own nondescript Universal Japanese Motorcycles make up for it with fiberglass muscle cars like this one parked in the meadows, my favorite neighborhood. Notice the Bonneville fully equipped for a commute or an Iron Butt ride at the drop of a hat. This Five Brothers Grocery on Southard, not that you'd know because we Triumph riders see the world from a different perspective and besides that my wife says million calorie Cuban sandwiches are off the menu for the time being which makes them all the more desirable.No tour of Key West would be complete without a picture of the cemetery, here at Grinnell and Angela. If there aren't any signs, it just isn't Key West. One would imagine a black fence would carry the "Stop" message fairly effectively but you'd be surprised what a rental scooter and few drinks can do to your judgment.This scootin new school, a Vespa LX 150, a more modern version of my wife's ET4. For some reason one mirror seems to do were two might be better. Parking it in a car spot is legal but rather misses the point of two wheeled ownership in Key West. Doubtless the owner will be Up North in a few short weeks. I still miss my mechanically unreliable GTS 250. I promised myself no pictures of anywhere famous. I include Half Shell because the Key West Bight is only well know to people who know Key West. I don't eat at Half Shell but many people like it a lot. Perhaps I will give it another shot this summer when the crowds have dissipated..Wednesday was St Patrick's Day, worse luck as I was working that night. Here James Street was clogged with faux Irish persons getting ready for their Breathalyzer test. Hallmark has a lot to answer for especially as I'm told Irish people in Ireland aren't particularly drawn to march 17th, unless some American tourists are standing by. In Key West people wear paper bowler hats in a peculiar shade of green and shamrock designs on their t-shirts. I was in uniform which is blue and brown.
I could have taken another picture of Schooner Wharf Bar, a sea of green. Instead I looked up and there was Wyland's ray on the side of the Waterfront Market:
Where else but Greene Street on St Patrick's day? Pardon Greene was one of four buyers of Key West from the original lessee from the King of Spain. He may have been Irish but he was burdened with a distinctive first name which may have been yoke enough for the poor man so the records don't indicate if he wore green in March. This is Old City Hall where the city commission meets on alternating Tuesday's and local vagrants gather nightly. The scooter parking has an awkward pothole running it's length which make it easy to drop your ride. But it is close to the bars on Duval.
Further up Greene Street at Duval the white orb in the sky is called The Sun for those who did not spend last winter in Alaska where the seasons have sped up so much they are back in Fall already after an early summer last February. Oops, my tag holder is showing there. This is Clinton Square, a monument to soldiers no longer with us and the Art and History Museum in the background, a wholly owned subsidiary of an heir to the Johnson and Johnson talcum powder fortune.Truman Annex, the gated community with strong gates to keep inmates safe from scruffy oiks on Triumphs. They don't work very well as long time readers of this endless blog might know.
This is the new Freeman Justice Center named for a local dignitary who filled all sorts of public spirited posts in a recent era when being elected to public office was an honor and an opportunity to help your neighbors. I heard some miserable expatriate a few minutes later expounding on the lack of character of anyone who chooses to run for public office. I wish I were alive when Freeman was Sheriff but instead I get to live through an era when demeaning our leaders leads to diminished leadership and voters are surprised.
I observed a certain shortage of palm trees so here's one. The white museum piece is the Ingham which I photographed at night a while back. This is Truman Waterfront, 33 acres given to the city by the Navy and now the object of much lust by developers. This week the Bahama Conch Community Land Trust essentially voted itself out of existence and plans to build an old folks home hereabouts have evaporated with it's tenuous and scandal riddled budget. Norma Jean Sawyer's legacy is not a place for old people to live out their days but one more public service scandal. What was I ranting about the public trust? Sigh.I lied. I said no famous places and here is my tachometer deprived Bonneville in front of the Hemingway House on Whitehead at Olivia Streets. In my defense a huge traffic jam was blocking Whitehead as dorks failed to negotiate the traffic light at Truman and I pulled out and popped into a space between parked cars. This was the moment when I realized in a blinding flash of light like Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, that a sidecar is a duff idea. I am too wedded to the mobility of a motorcycle. Cut and thrust and dogs be damned. Sorry, Cheyenne.
I slipped out of the traffic jam and cut and parried my way to work, past crowds of drunk faux Irish persons and lost car drivers. I had time enough for a proper palm tree picture:At Higgs Beach, just outside the frame the inevitable bundle of rags sleeping it off next to his bicycle. Ah, Key West. And so to work.
With thanks to Orin, Bobskoot and Toad for shaking me out of my complacence. The Bonneville is back.
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For my measured political posturing du jour: http://conchscooterscommonsense.blogspot.com/