Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Craig Key

It was a day for driving. The weather was cold, around 63 degrees (16 C) with a honking north wind around 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) but the sun was shining and the day was crisp and bright. Besides, my dog wanted to go for a walk.Highway One on a Monday is a good day for travel as the weekend turn around of visitors is over and the weekenders from the mainland are back at their desks, or in the unemployment lines and the Overseas Highway is largely free of plodding gawkers. We had a bit of a jam northbound in Marathon where sewer work was bunched around the main traffic light and no one had the wit to adjust the times on the light to allow the backed up traffic to dissipate. But in any event it wasn't long before Cheyenne and I were on the Channel Five bridge, 70 feet (21 meters) above the water looking down on our destination: Craig Key, Mile Marker 72.I forget who, jcba or Combustible Turnip or someone wanted pictures of Craig Key. Here they are, though I have no idea what it is all about. It is no exaggeration to say that Craig Key is a wide spot in the highway at Mile Marker 72. Looking back from Islamorada you can see the bushy wide spot and in the distance the hump of the bridge. The bushy wide spot is Craig Key, everything else in the picture below, isn't. (If you are a complete mental deficient you step over the warning sign and fall into the water. If you have any brains at all you walk on the paved path. The assumption is everyone is ridiculously stupid, hence the signs).We are told this human built island was named for Roland Craig who bought the land from the Overseas Railway in the 1930s and made a fishing camp out of it. The claim to fame is that President Hoover came down to sail his yacht out of here presumably while failing to come to grips with the first Great Depression. There's a thought as we sail merrily through the Second Great Depression.Craig Key lies at the southern boundary of Islamorada, a town that rejoices in the nickname of "Village of Islands." The unincorporated nature of Craig Key doesn't mean it lacks amenity. There is a splendid new bike path covering the splendid new sewer system. And there are two homes on the island.The western-most home is much more visible enjoying as it does a thin screen of coconut trees which expose it's half finished state to anyone driving by.While I find the location spectacular enough and the isolation for one of my disposition is highly desirable the noise from the highway would be incessant, particularly as the wind usually blows from the southeast, which puts these homes downwind of traffic... I know I am a fussy sod but one of my pleasures living three quarters of a mile south of the highway is the quiet, most of the year when snowbirds aren't walking and shouting in the street in the early morning. Around here there's lots of traffic.The eastern most house is much more wooded with casuarina trees that mask the island from view, though whether the Australian pines cut much road noise is doubtful to me.
The western house has a floating dock in disrepair, well liked apparently by the locals.
The eastern house, further up the road...
...also has a dock. And both boat docks are nicely tucked away. This past Monday was a good example of why you need to take precautions against the weather.
As pooh bear and I stumped between the houses the metal railings hummed and groaned in harmonic vibration from the wind and her ears flew and her leash got bent into an arc by the force of the breeze. It was cold.
Inside the bight behind the eastern house all was calm and the water was flat.
Not so the tip of the western house fully exposed to the breeze.
That was a hell of a walk. My fingers were frozen, and I was glad for the shelter of the casuarinas.
Guest house anybody? The architecture seems typical Keys stuff and aside from the location could be seen on any canal in the Keys.
That's the end of Craig Key where the bridge is Islamorada, the incorporated "Village of Islands." As though down here it could be a village of anything else.
At least this gate doesn't have any disfiguring and silly signs on it.
Splendid views on a splendid day.
That's Craig Key. I hope I didn't miss anything.
Later Cheyenne and I spent time wandering the Channel Five Bridge (another essay for another day) and this was the view looking southeast at Craig Key.
Fixer upper anyone? I'll bet it's going for a song!