It is winter when there are lots of people in Key West so I have put my Suzuki Burgman 200 scooter up for sale. Its the one I bought after the accident that wrecked me and my previous Burgman 200 and it is actually a fine machine. I'm offering it at $2100 and it will make a great ride for someone who isn't worried about being run down by a distracted driver. For myself I just can't risk putting my wife through the wringer of another wreck and having survived near death myself I don't want to do it again. Unless it is in some new and different way. Hence the van.
Nevertheless going for a ride across town brought back pleasant memories when i wasn't dodging distracted drivers. I rode for nearly 50 years without a serious wreck and when most people saw me in the hospital for three months flat on my back they saw the ruin I had become, not the half century of exciting memories that got me there. And even on this short ride I ended up with magnificent winter views looking across the harbor.
Two peculiar ships of some military or research style were tied up at the Outer Mole controlled by the Navy. I was standing on the Inner Mole looking across the body of water that is known as the Navy Basin, because that is what it is. The Parks Service operates several boats out of the docks behind the Eco Discovery center and the city used to run sailboat and power boat races based from temporary docks here. Not anymore.
Looking due west at the tip of the Outer Mole you can see Sunset Key to the right and open water leading to the ring of mangrove islands surrounding shallow waters known as the Lakes. There is a seven mile channel through the Lakes to Boca Grande Key, a crescent of sandy beach closed for much of the year to protect birdlife.
Not the time of year I go swimming but the water looks pretty enough even if it is closer to 70 degrees than 80. Not too cold for people of hardier constitutions Up North to go swimming and splashing in kayaks.
It is a matter of some astonishment to me how fast an hour long lunch break evaporates. You get up form the desk and stroll downstairs to your chariot and drive across town and already at least 20 minutes have been consumed. Add in a stop to park the car and pick up the scooter where you last left it, put the for sale sign under the seat and ride off. So after ten or so minutes of contemplation you get that nagging voice that it's time to start thinking about leaving.
You dawdle because it's a lovely day and the breeze is cool and the colors are vibrant and this is why you are glad you got to earn a pension in Key West, no snow and limited numbers of gray days, and you get to live and work where others vacation.
I do have to ask myself why this gorgeous weather didn't descend when I was off work but all I got was gray skies and flat light. On a day like this point the camera anywhere and you get these ridiculously lush views:
With the camera hanging round my neck, a small LX100 Mark 2 by Panasonic if you care, I fired off some attempts to garner some color on Duval as I made my way back to the parked car. Not entirely masked I fear but there it is. We apparently need more than three thousand Americans to die every day to make an impression on people on vacation.
Park the scooter, get in the car, drive back to work downloading pictures to my phone as we go. Lunch break done. What a lovely day for it.
That proved to be the last ride on the Burgman 200 as the next day I sold it, with some regret as it was a great scooter and will be for the Conch who bought it. I enjoyed chatting with him through our masks as we transferred title and reminisced about the good old days of actual motorcycle dealerships in Key West. Then I watched him ride away. I cannot risk putting my wife through the torture of another round of me helpless in the hospital amid ever tighter Keys traffic. Besides which I've seen as much of the ICU as I ever want to and I'd like to enjoy my four wheeled retirement soon. One chapter closes and the next and final one starts.