Thursday, November 17, 2011


With any luck it will look like this again in seven more hours.

I'll be back after one more night of sitting up telling the cops where to go.

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Road Ends

Oh yes, the side road ends and there's a little trail to walk somewhere here. In a few hours I'll be back at work but for now we're out here at the end of the road.

Turn the car around, park, and look back. This is why Florida has a poor reputation as a motorcycling destination. True enough, it's eighty degrees and it is mid November but the road is a tad bit straight and a tad bit flat.

You'd be surprised how much my Labrador enjoys walking here. But there again she doesn't ride a motorcycle. You can't have everything but you can have a happy dog.

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Straddling The Overseas Highway

That tree down by the water near southern/western end of the old Bahia Honda bridge has to be among the most lovingly photographed in the Lower Keys. I've seen as a backdrop in all sorts of pictures including in a motorcycle magazine.

But for me on Tuesday, the limestone hill above the waters of Bahia Honda ("deep bay" in Spanish) was just the start of Cheyenne's afternoon tour of exploration.

We shuffled down the hill in the golden afternoon sunlight, Cheyenne running ahead and snuffling in the bushes as she went.

Across the waters of the deep bay I could see the beach pavilions of the state park. Bahia Honda has the nicest swimming beaches in the Lower Keys, inside and outside the bay itself. The inner waters are protected in prevailing southeast winds and are generally seaweed-free.

Before I got Cheyenne I had a $130 annual pass for the state parks which I used a great deal to go swimming at Bahia Honda. They don't allow dogs on the beach, thanks no doubt to careless dog owners, so I don't bother anymore. Before Cheyenne Bahia Honda was a pleasant ten minute ride from my house with good swimming, an outdoor shower and a concession stand conveniently close by. Now my love and I get to look at the beach from our exile on West Summerland Key.

One great thing about life in theKeys is quantity of open, unused public land you can wander at will. There isn't much dirt down here but what there is frequently undeveloped and open for all. The waters too.

Anglers like to stand on the seawall that was built to support the new bridge, opened in 1982. I wondered what sort of epic struggle broke this fishing rod abandoned in a trash can?

I do not chase fish but I am fascinated by those that stand here for hours staring at their lines dangling in the water. It was, I confess, a little voyeuristic but I peeked into the trash can to see what they do to wile away the hours. Ironically enough the anglers eat fried fish with copious amounts of ketchup, washed down with nasty "lite" beer and they use chum with gruesome fish oil to draw the fish to them. Or so it says on the box.

I climbed the hill up to the edge of the roadway to take a look around from a perspective high up. 'High' is a relative term topographically speaking, in the Florida Keys, but I must have been 25 feet above sea level which put me above any roadway in Key West.

A cyclist flashed silently by and I did a poor job of illuminating his effort on the endless ribbon of roadway. He is in the picture below, to the right, a mere shadow among the pixels.

Cheyenne was blissfully happy chasing traces of bait on the seawall. She has enough sense not to piss me off by falling into the fast moving water and thus forcing me to follow her in to save her 85 pound ass.

I wonder if the holiday makers were surprised to be driving by a human being apparently standing in air next to the bridge parapet.

It manages to surprise me even now how marvelously beautiful the mundane can be in the Florida Keys.

It's just a thirty year old Highway in the setting sun.

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Cold Front

When Cheyenne and I got to the pool there was still a bit of blue sky getting rolled over by the big black clouds. Ah winter!

This is winter Keys style, no sunshine for a day and I think these are what the poet calls pewter seas. Pewter they may be but I'm not swimming here until next Spring when they get above eighty degrees again.

Cold fronts dump snow feet deep Up North. By the time they get here we have been living through a few days of hot muggy weather which suddenly reverses itself as the line of black clouds barrel down on us.

When you're in the city of Key West and not paying attention to the winds and the skies and the tides you can easily tell when strong winds and fronts are in the offing.

The fishing boats take refuge off the south side of Key West to get out of the north winds that produce nasty steep waves in the open waters. At night you'll see a string of anchor lights twinkling south of the island between the White Street Pier and the Airport. When the winds die down they roll out of their bunks and go back at it.

This is a backwater base for spongers and fishermen in the creeks and channels among the mangrove islands. I have made it a habit to check out the local commercial fishermen when I travel. Generally they despise amateur gentlemen sailors like me when we meet at sea. They are out there to feed themselves because that is their trade. I'm out there because I'm an arse and doing it for my pleasure. Pros rarely appreciate the amateur effort.

I like to think of the fisherman's life when I'm in warm waters and I see the boats coming and going on their own time being their own bosses. In cold hard waters, I am inclined to feel sorry for them as I never have enjoyed sailing in the cold.

On the subject, there may be a cold front coming but there is still a patch of blue hidden amongst the gray. There are two really good features of winter here in these sub tropical islands. One is that most rain falls in the summer when it's hot. In winter it sprinkles a bit before the front but thereafter it's dry. The other good bit is that winter doesn't last. Tomorrow it will be sunny and breezy and cool. But it will be sunny (I hope!). Even when it's gray it looks amazing around here.

Of course I loathe temperatures below seventy degrees but there's no fear of that for a couple of months (I hope!).

It couldn't be that cold, today, as Cheyenne was taking a dip to cool off while a neighbor was busy leaping around chasing fish. I do enjoy the company of an older laid back dog. Especially on a gray drizzly day trapped indoors

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Walking Key West

An afternoon walk at random before work produced a surprising array of oddities. I passed by Moe's barber shop off Duval Street.

For some reason I paused and looked in the window amd saw this.

That provoked some thought. Who buys fake beards at the barber's I wondered, and why would they need such a thing. Around the corner on Southard Wings and Wieners ran out of puff and closed. This odd sign is now affixed to the door.

What do I know but I thought that was the job of all whores. Personally I preferred the Fred Hotdog to the idea of a big and tall "escort."

I was impressed by this cyclist's patience at the red light on Duval.

A voice in the Citizen was complaining about the blobs around town calling them graffiti, in a bad way. I am surprised they generate so much energy. In the picture below it's the blue thing, not the cat, which I think actually is graffiti.

The sun was setting, the light was fading on my walk. One more reason to dislike the switch to winter time.

Tow companies and the city are in talks about how to charge for tows from private property. The tow companies have come under fire for charging hundreds of dollars for the tows from privately owned lots and the city has been backed into a corner to try and regulate the fees.

It seems to me that the sign is all the explanation a sentient human being would need but apparently it's not enough.

The obligatory flower shot of these yellow beauties that are blooming all over the city. Followed by this view of the tail light of a Toyota Tacoma truck. The light came up to my chest and at this angle looks bigger than a Conch cottage across the street. It's all a matter of perspective but what an odd choice of transport for these narrow alleys.

You can easily read the front page of the paper for free, online in the comfort of your own home. Unless you prefer crouching on the sidewalk.

Fausto's attractive sign overlooking the parking lot is in need of a refresher. The orange is looking decidedly dusty.

I like the old sign above the door and the dark sign next to it that says weekend specials every day. Which must have meant something once.

I liked this sign in the home of a noted local political activist.

The café was looking inviting on a gloomy evening, the orange glow of the interior begged me to stop by for a drink and a plate of food. I had work to do.

I used the flash to penetrate the gloom of this off street parking space. The scooter looked lost in it...

Key West has been packed with people for some reason and tourism numbers have been extraordinary. Long may it last.

The skies put on a grand exit for me as I strolled back to the Bonneville trailing the tourists above.

The stormy skies didn't amount to anything. We're pretty much past thunderstorm season till next summer.

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