Monday, April 25, 2011

Waterfront Walk

This old pipe was placed here in World War Two to being water to the expanded Navy Base in Key West. Prior to it's arrival alongside the new motor highway across the islands, people lived by cisterns and some of us still have them in our homes. My wife and I were out enjoying a brisk afternoon breeze this weekend and I figured this was the spot to be, close by Bahian Honda. It was as pretty as a picture postcard, a view of which I never tire, summer or winter.

Cheyenne was happy too, and that's always a good thing.

There has been so much traffic on Highway One for Easter weekend it has quite reminded me of winter snowbird season. I wasn't ready to be inundated, but once again it seems the Lower keys are benefiting from the tourist dollar at a time when the newspaper says the rest of Florida isn't necessarily doing as well. The good fortine of the Florida Keys never seems to grow less.

Stickers And Signs

Around Key West the well known saying, the city's official motto, appears on bumper stickers all over the place. And those with a sense of humor like to cut up and rearrange "One Human Family" to suit their own purposes.This is how it is supposed to look, All People Are Members of One Human Family. A motto that gets regurgitated frequently in the Citizen's Voices asking if bums, chickens and aliens are also members of the One Human Family and thus deserving of respect.Love makes a family is not a city sanctioned sentiment but some people, even engineers have been known to get behind that idea. This sort of thing could be considered the ideal Key West home, a quiet street, lots of greenery and a dark blue sky over it all.I saw this bus across the street and the color scheme attracted my camera, not to mention the typical architecture behind it..Many years ago I owned a VW bus of a slightly different hue, a sort of gold color actually. However I wanted to go camping in it and I bought one with a Naugahyde bed and small wooden closets to put things in. I drove that machine all over California and Mexico. It was just like the one in the photos with the split front windshield and it even had Grateful Dead sticker son it. The result of that was wispy bearded hippies used to come up to me at gas stations and ask me where the next concert was, man. Like I knew.The bus had one awful fault, it was six volt. The result was it hated to started in cold damp weather of which we had an abundance in Santa Cruz, California so i was always obliged to find a hill to park it on, so I could bump start it in the pre-dawn mornings when I went to work to read the morning news on the radio. I remember going camping in Yosemite at Christmas one year in the late 1980s. I was into photography and wanted to take black and white pictures of snow. The engine would only start from warm so I had to get up every three hours in the freezing night temperatures and run the van engine for 15 minutes as I couldn't find a hill to park it on in the campground.

Youth is a time of great patience and resilience. And seeing an old vehicle brings back all the memories.

Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Better

I was hanging around at Truman Waterfront waiting for my wife to finish up her girls own party at Fort Zachary and I wanted to wait in the shade. Naturally the only shady spot was banned to vehicles for some reason I couldn't fathom so I parked there anyway.Which caused me to ponder a little about why it is that everyone isn't riding around on two wheels in Key West. I suppose one has to discount a few people who simply can't travel balance don two wheels but when I'm driving Miss Cheyenne I miss the flexibility of the Bonneville.Florida has no helmet requirement for anyone 21 or older who has proof of medical insurance but this is not a state that allows lane splitting or "filtering" as the English call it. In some respects it's probably just as well as most people in cars are doing anything except paying attention, however it does leave one stuck in a line of traffic that it would be so easy to just slip past... "No stopping on Bridges" says the sign. Unless you are riding a motorcycle over Cow Key Bridge leaving the city and want to make one last phone call in Key West.
This guy in a yellow wife beater epitomizes to me why I just don't like cruisers. Feet splayed I followed him all the way home with his clothes flapping and his open pipes blatting. He also kept accelerating and slowing down, surging so that I had to do the same.

Had I been on the Bonneville I could have slipped past him and the car in front but in the four cylinder Fusion there was never a wide enough break in oncoming traffic to get past. Another reason to prefer two wheels over four.

Cheyenne And The Fly

I was looking at this carpeting of minute blossoms in a lane off Grinnell Street, I think. It was a not afternoon and the breeze had died down in the middle of Old Town so Cheyenne decided she need a sit and I decided it was a good time to stop and think.It is not surprising really that my nick name for Cheyenne is Pooh Bear. She looks a bit like Winnie-The-Pooh, though she is much smarter than your average bear. But, like Winnie-The-Pooh she has the ability to make me laugh. Even just lying in the shade.Cheyenne suddenly started up and started snapping at the air around here. I'm not sure she caught the fly but she gave it the old college try and the buzzing noise went away. I am not one to criticize government the way some people do but there are days when even my patience is tried to the limit. I read in the paper yesterday that the Republican majority in Tallahassee wants to reduce the number of early voting days people can cast ballots. It seems too many Democrats go to early voting so the solid Republican majority has now decided to eliminate the chance of fraud and cut back early voting from 15 days to seven.I don't suppose the outcry will be enormous but one has to wonder why they think they can get away with cutting back people's opportunities to vote. Perhaps voting really doesn't matter anymore as the people in charge know what's best for us?

Take a breath, take out the bike and go for a ride. Lots of lovely views across Key West to reduce the blood pressure.

Bahia Honda Revisited

It's been windy for some time now, the breeze easing the incipient heat and giving sailors a chance to get out and enjoy the ocean. This catamaran, at the end of the telephoto range of my pocket Canon (camera) didn't bother to unfurl the foresail, possibly because they were almost at the end of their sail, the Bahia Honda anchorage.It was a lovely day Saturday and I suggested to my wife, recovering from a long week teaching that maybe she and I could take Cheyenne together for her afternoon stroll. Cheyenne and I hadn't been back for a while so she got busy sniffing while Layne and i spent some time simply enjoying the view. This little piece of land really does encompass a wide range of things to see, including the old bridge that stops so many visitors in their tracks, with their cameras at the ready.
Not this one though. This woman popped out of her parked car, snapped a picture so quickly I missed my chance and by the time she was in focus her attention was devoted to the unseen occupant of the vehicle. Funny, I thought, it looks so lovely out to sea today. I see a lot of tourists stopped here, they park snap a few pictures and leave, frequently chattering in some foreign tongue. They've come a long way to see this. I'm ten minutes from home. Lucky me.