Monday, December 19, 2011

Wheels Across Key West

This short essay reverts to one of my favorite subjects of whimsy in this blog, which is how people get around the Southernmost City. The subject came to mind when I spotted this gaggle of moped riding tourists stopped by the light at North Roosevelt and Fifth. They were off to a flying start and brilliantly they all got their feet tucked up without injury and flew off down the boulevard in a group without knocking each other over. That was impressive, I am not fond of group riding.

This guy was riding a weird Chinese scooter-built-to-look-like-a-motorcycle. The line between the two types of powered two wheelers is getting less well defined as time goes by.

This man was skateboarding but it wasn't strictly for sport. He was taking his shopping home which I thought rather deft of him. The Kymco scooter in the foreground is equipped like a typical delivery vehicle in Key West with the cooler for a top case.

On the open road home I did a poor job of snapping. These brisk snowbird cyclists all dressed up and highly visible.

This dude was enjoying the fresh pavement at Mile Marker 17 where they did not seem to have the room to create a. Proper new bicycle path.

A proper cycle path the length of the Keys is the aim. It seems too long and too hot and too exposed to be much fun cycling the highway. I've done short bits with my pedal bike and that was how it seemed to me. Riding it on my Bonneville is always fun.

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Gerald Adams School

College Road winds round north Stock Island in a semi-circle from US Highway One back to the highway over the course of a meandering mile and a bit. The city annexed this portion of Stock Island to facilitate a gold course development by the indefatigable Pritam Singh, he of Truman Annex fame. In addition the city got a little extra room to build out.

One city addition was Gerald Adams Elementary school, one of the newer projects in the school district. It sits between the Community College and the former trash transfer station N every day the slow children signs come out to keep traffic tame on the meandering College Road.

Not everyone knows this side of Stock Island is actually in the city but it is which accounts for the sidewalks that reach almost all the way round the semi-circle and more are being built all the time.

Crawling along at 15 miles per hour, not a human in sight I had time to enjoy the bright tropical colors of Key West's most far flung school.

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Duncan Street By Night

The heavy hedge at the corner of White Street marks the narrow entrance to Duncan Street, which despite all appearances is actually a two way street.

Duncan Street is quite an unassuming but is best known as the home of Tennessee Williams who first came to Key West in 1941 and bought a home at 1431 Duncan in 1947. it was the only home he ever owned and he kept it until he died in 1983.

He was born in March 1911 so we ca expect a blitz of centenary celebrations next year which means all of us need to know all about the man. The Art and History Museum on Front Street is doing it's bit. Tennessee Williams In Key West

It was a breezy night and I wished I had my gorilla pod which was safely at home in the Bonneville saddlebag.

This part of Key West was on the edge of town when the writer moved here though nowadays it's just another street in the city.

I make it a point to ride Duncan Street from time to time just because it's there and it's leafy and pretty. Next year doubtless it will be clogged with Tennessee Williams tourists.

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North Cudjoe Walk

There is a trail that leads off Cutthroat Drive on the north side of Cudjoe Key.

It is I suspect a road built for a development that never materialized and has become a trail for walkers or cyclists who like to see mangroves and palmettos close up.

The surface is crushed rock so it's easy to walk though in summer it tends to flood and the heat and humidity persuade my dog it's not worth being here.

So this is a winter walk, cool dry air, mid seventies, no mosquitoes and a light breeze mostly masked by the bushes,

Trash piles up from the bad old days but nowadays I find the dump, just up the road takes everything and is easy to use and reasonably priced.

Environmentalists tell us coke cans rot in about 500 years when left to lie around in the wild. This car was built just a few decades ago and it's almost gone!

Some kind soul brought a can of spray paint to the woods to leave this cultural mark on an old gate. I came to the conclusion it was either a representation of a face or a Dali-esque reproduction of the female anatomy.

Fat Albert's base is just around the corner close to the dump.

I wish flying for humans were as easy as it is for the turkey vultures.

They ride the thermals like they were born to it with no security checks or lines to wait in, no cancellations and no airline food.

I expect we will soon start seeing comments in the anonymous Citizen's Voice about all those birds hanging around in the sky.

It was no big thing being out in the woods.

But it was another great walk under the sun.

The highway gets clogged in winter and cold fronts are a pain but days like this make up for the bad stuff.

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Trumbo Waters

A cruise ship was in town and even though it was a mile away it dominated the skyline of our fair city.

With all the people off the boat crowding Lower Duval I decided to take Cheyenne for a waterfront stroll on Trumbo Road.

We stood there outside the Coastguard gate looking at the water.

I watched the center console closing in on the Key West Bight with Sunset Key in the background while Cheyenne refreshed herself in the water.

This corner used to be known as the Toxic Triangle a place where the effluent from the generator in the "Steam Plant" used to be dumped directly into the sea.

I knew people who tied their boats up here and lived on them despite the stench, simply because the price was right (free, obviously).

Nowadays the ex-military landing craft that service Sunset Key tie up here in-between hauling garbage trucks and delivery vehicles to the island across the harbor.

Key West is a tourist town that doesn't pause and every day professional boaters can be seen earning money on the waters surrounding the island.

Looking at the water can make you oblivious to the beauty overhead.

And even the sparse greenery at the Coastguard base has an austere beauty.

Where toxic waters flowed and rat boats tied up today there is the very clean and functional and proper ferry terminal.

Three hours ride in the evening gets you to Fort Myers beach while the morning ride comes south and lands here.

For details: Key West Express

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