Thursday, April 14, 2011

Key West Storm

I went to the dentist last week in a blaze of sunshine. I parked Cheyenne in the car under the convenient large tree in the parking lot and went to get the tooth cleaned. Many people dread the dentist but I am not one of them, and my banter cheers Doctor Harris up enough he dropped by to say hello as I was strapped down with a polisher in my mouth and my teeth gleaming once more. I floss regularly in case you were wondering and it pays dividends when I get my twice annual check up."Great teeth!" the dentist said as he admired my X-ray. Apparently some patients are afraid to have x-rays for fear of the radiation which sounds loopy to me, but then again some people think vaccinations are the work of the One World Government so there is no accounting for people and their fairy tales. It looked like a grim fairy tale when I came out of the dentist's office on South Street. The dried up leaves in the big tree covering my car came down like snowflakes and passed through the sunroof opening to cover my dog. Soon enough the wind was followed by rain and it was looking like a proper summer afternoon on Simonton Street. There's an old sailing ditty that indicates that if the wind comes before the rain the weather will improve soon (Wind before rain, topsails remain; rain before wind, bring the topsails in) so I figured we should continue with plans to go for a walk. Truman Waterfront was the destination and these women were hurrying home from the beach.
I don't think they made it... As previously mentioned Cheyenne and I walked a little and watched a lot as the rain came down but it ended soon enough. I made up for the lack of walking by stopping in town and taking a turn around a few city blocks. I saw this gas canister doing extra work as an advertising billboard and as a recycling can -of all things.
It costs almost $400 to fill my fifty gallon tank at home and it gets filled about twice a year to power our shower. A solar installation to heat water would cost about $3,000 at least which is a large lump of money. I think it may be in our future if pay cuts ever stop and reverse themselves.
In fact the storm blew away and left reflective wet streets in it's wake. We could lots more rain if it were available.

Rainy Truman Waterfront

I knew the rain was coming- it was as obvious as the inky black cloud overhead, but Cheyenne and I were in key west and I was determined that my Labrador should enjoy one of her favorite walks and the temperatures were dropping ...and obviously this was not a good idea in the grand scheme of things.A family visiting the decommissioned US Coastguard Cutter Ingham saw the weather coming and made a run for the parking lot. They ran for the doors as the rain swept down in a curtain of cold water. I think they kind of made it...I have been planning to check out the Ingham but winter crowds kept me out of Key West. the website for the museum is here: and I plan on taking a tour soon enough myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the neighboring boat, the first arrival at Truman Waterfront, the World War Two survivor called the Mohawk. Everyone should pay them a visit in my opinion. The rain kept slashing down even as the visiting cruise ship pulled away to head out to sunnier climes. I had on a plastic jacket, what they call water resistant because it isn't entirely waterproof despite my best ministrations with silicon spray. Cheyenne is no great fan of the rain and she raced me to the shelter of an old abandoned hut on the waterfront. She laid herself down while I watched the rain and took some pictures to try to illustrate the beauty of a tropical summer thunderstorm in Key West.
I used to hate the cold winter rains when I lived in temperate climates Up North (Out West, really) but summer rain in Key West is delightful. It chills the air momentarily and then moves on leaving warmth in it's wake.

Simonton Beach 3

From time to time this is a ramp that people use for free to launch and retrieve their boats in the heart of Old Town Key West. How cool is that?You might want to come equipped with a large vehicle equipped to pull a trailer across sand but this is a spot anyone can use to gain access to the tidal salt water downtown. Cheyenne is not a swimmer thanks to the neglect of her former owners but she does like to paddle around in the water and take a seat in it to admire the view. The fact is not many people come to Simonton beach to enjoy the sand and water and that's a shame. As we saw in the previous essay there are more people enjoying the water from the deck of the tourist catamarans than at any time on this lovely little beach. Plans are afoot to spruce up Simonton Beach. The fact is this place is a hang out for residentially challenged people, rainbow kids and all purpose professional bums. They drink, gather in groups, tend to be loud from time to time and scare off the bourgeois burghers and their families from enjoying the delights of this little patch of sand. So bad is the situation that the toilet building has been closed and locked by the city.
At a recent city commission meeting they voted to sell a concession here at the beach proposed by a local businessman. Personally, much as I like the freewheeling spirit of an unregulated beach it's clear this place is doing no one much good. A concession selling food and water sports stuff will be a boon and the city has promised the ramp will remain as it is and perhaps not too long from now this place will be bustling and well used and enjoyed by a lot more people. And the city will make some money off the project. Excellent.

Simonton Beach 1

It was a rainy afternoon and Cheyenne and I took advantage of the coolness after the storm to take a walk at the end of Simonton Street. It's a square of sand with a small launch ramp, a shed housing toilets and some parking for cars, trailers and bicycles.The bike rack was getting submerged by dune action but the big white signs of the baskets indicate these are rented bicycles so I suppose no harm done if the machinery isn't yours! The view out across the harbor is worth watching for a while. In addition to the boats at anchor there is the constant coming and going of commercial tourist traffic: The beach is overlooked by this large hotel which is actually the Hyatt at Front Street (there are three Hyatt hotels in town and some Hyatt time share condos as well which makes for a confusing location for the inexperienced Police dispatcher...). From time to time anxious guests hear talking and shouting on the beach and are moved to call security who call the police. Most of the time when Cheyenne and I visit the place is quiet as the grave.
The City Commission has plans for this deserted spot and I think Simonton Beach will be much improved soon.