Sunday, October 16, 2011


The wind and the rain kept some people covered up as they admired Key West under a fire hose of rain. Mallory Square was a photo opportunity of sorts, but for me there was something else up the alley.

A bright yellow magnet that drew my attention.

I'm not sure but I believe this rather simple and sleek beauty is an X1 Lightning built by Erik Buell around 2000. It put out a hundred horsepower from it's souped up Harley 1200 engine and it included a lot of odd Buell innovations designed to keep weight and the wheelbase kept very short for lighter handling.

I like the clean lines of the old Buells, though with my taste for cluttering up bikes with luggage and windscreens Buell and I were never quite on the same page though I respected his engineering. He's no longer under Harley Davidson and is busy building radical racing machines for a high price. I like to see these old road bikes still in use on the streets. A welcome change from the constant flood of all Harleys all the time in Key West.

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Soggy Key West Bight

The prediction is for a high probability of rain through Wednesday so with any luck it will be dry by Goombay next Friday. In the meantime Key West will most likely be wet.

It's a time when tour companies hand out ridiculous looking plastic ponchos and tourists tank up with alcohol to keep the rusty effects of rain at bay.

Conch Republic Seafood looked merry if damp.

Dark Gray clouds were lined up north of Key West yesterday afternoon and it rained well into the night while I was dry indoors at work.

The wind was howling too, a real storm all afternoon.

And my Bonneville was running beautifully, unaffected by the weather.

I was indoors all night, my 2007 Bonneville sat out in the Police Station parking lot all night. A real work horse.

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South Shore In The Rain

As hard as it had rained and as gray as the skies were, I figured Key West was probably waterlogged yesterday afternoon. South Roosevelt was carrying some improbably spectacular puddles the length of Smathers Beach.

Rain was still blowing across the road as I approached the tight right turn at Bertha.

It was just a couple of days ago I photographed birds perched on cement pilings in these waters, in a hot flat calm.

The end of the White Street Pier was taking a modest pounding. These waters are quite shallow, six feet or less so large waves have difficulty building.

At Rest Beach I saw a wild chicken taking refuge from the rain where I frequently like to sit and enjoy an ocean view, at the tiki hut on Rest Beach.

I thought this crowd of people at the Higgs Beach bandstand looked rather similar to the chicken hiding from the rain.

Perhaps it was an ill timed wedding party?

This motorcyclist pulled out in front of my Bonneville on South Street and I never did get close enough for a decent picture, but he was crouched on his crotch rocket in a t-shirt and shorts getting his backpack wet. He put me and my motorcycle gear and my waterproof luggage to shame. I am an official wuss.

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A Wild Commute

Looking at the weather radar before I went to work last night I could see a thick colored band sweeping across South Florida, the Old Bahama Channel and Cuba.

It rained all day and it rained all afternoon, so when I pulled out from under the house on the Bonneville I was swaddled in black waterproof plastic.

It wasn't particularly cold, close to eighty degrees, but it sure was wet. I stopped at the Post Office on Summerland to drop off a couple of Netflix discs we had watched to burn off a wet afternoon, and the parking lot at the post office was shiny with water.

The Saddlebunch Keys were lost in a fog of rain and wind driven spume, the sort of views that one likes to see for an hour or two, then watch the sun burn off. Not likely yesterday, as there was no sun at all, ever.

I wasn't cold, all muffled up even though my boots aren't really waterproof and some water tends to climb my pant legs in the heaviest downpours. I had my work clothes secure in a pannier so I could work all night in dry clothes. I was snug as a bug in a rug on the highway.

It sure was gloomy at 4:30 in the afternoon.

When I got into town I paused on South Roosevelt to admire the violence of the storm.

And intrepid cyclist was commuting home smiling as he went.

And the ocean was all frothed up by the power of the wind, with whipped cream flying off the tops of the waves.

I saw a few scooter riders out and about, the tourists laughing wildly and getting wet while the locals wrapped themselves in ill assorted bits of plastic to try and stay dry.

It is, I admit it, huge fun rolling through the rain. No hypothermia, no ice, no electrical break down drama.

What a great way to commute.

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Occupy Mallory Square

Yesterday the Occupy Wall Street protests took on an international flavor with protesters around the world taking a coordinated day of protest to make their feelings felt.

In Key West they gathered, sang America the Beautiful, off key but with feeling, and took their protest to the street, despite utterly gruesome weather.

I find it hugely ironic that this 40 million dollar yacht was anchored in the harbor across the water.

Seafair isn't just a 228-foot yacht for the one percent, it is also a shallow draft boat-for-rent for people who need to party or jewlers who want to exhibit their wares up and down the East Coast of thenUnited States. It is in short a boat looking to attract a "high net worth" clientele according to their rather clichéd website.

Whatever, it is nice to know our pensions have been wisely spent keeping it and its high net worth followers afloat.

They attracted an audience and I was glad I stopped by on my way to work. Unlike New York PD which has been spraying hitting and running protesters over with scooters Key West's finest have been behaving in their usual unobtrusive decorous way around the peaceful assembly. The crowd drew some attention...

...but others found the ubiquitous chickens of greater interest.

Next up: how does Europe plan to disintegrate? I watch and wonder when our turn will come. I miss the bad old days of pretend affluence and economic bubbles and illusion. I wish it could have lasted just a bit longer.

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