The seasons are changing at last in the Keys as we move from Winter High Season to Summer High Season by way of the few weeks of doldrums in between when there is a period of fewer visitors and more open space.
I know there are fewer winter residents in the Keys because my street has no more dog walkers shuffling up and down it all hours. They'll be back after the first snowfalls blanket unspeakable places Up North, but by Easter they all leave to escape summer, much dreaded, in the Keys.
Summer visitors will start showing up when school gets out and families show up expecting to see beaches, not knowing that mainland Florida is where the beaches are...
...and the rocky Florida Keys are where the beaches look like this:
The arrival of summer means migratory birds are migrating away, just like the people so a chance to snag a pelican or two is a late season pleasure.
Ospreys hang around for the summer so life for fish remains fraught with danger. I wonder how they feel about that last flight far out of their element before ending up on the breakfast table. Not happy probably.
Down on Earth I will always take advantage of a day off to drive the van, even if its just twenty minutes from home. It feels like a road trip!
A nice fresh breeze to blow through the vehicle, but first Rusty needs to scope out the scene.
The new (1982) road bridge across the deep waters of Bahia Honda, always good for a moment of abstract art:
I don't think the scenery is improved by scribbles but the meessage caught my eye:
Bottoms Up! Fishermen trolling like ducks ona pond....
The old pump house was blown away finally by hurricane Irma after 75 years on this spot.
It sits next to to the original water line which was run from Miami to key West during World War Two to supply the expanded Naval Base.
I took the advice given to me on this page and removed the shackles from the new winch which has the added benefit of making the installation even less obvious. My next move will be to organize a driving lesson to learn how to use the thing as necessary when necessary. Which I hope won't be often.
Parking to receive the breeze through the side door made for a pleasant moment drinking tea and reading and not being close to a ringing phone.
I bought a door mat for the van, a stiff piece of PVC that I can use to lie on the ground to change a tire say, or to step on before I step inside. It works well and folds easily away.
I also used it to lie on the ground and test the spare tire arrangement. The driving to Alaska books stress having a full sized spare onboard and the Promaster arrangement requires winching the spare down from under the back of the van. Having a firm pad to lie on is invaluable it turns out. I blanched at the cost of $80 but at 63 years of age I think I'm entitled to lie down comfortably as I insert the winch into the slot on the frame to lift the van.
I then stuck my foot onto the bumper step and waxed the windshield, my monthly chore. It's an odd occupation waxing a windshield but a few months ago I had a plastic cover put on the glass which is supposed to prevent gravel strikes cracking the windshield. My wife says she's noticed two strikes here in Florida and the glass is prefect. To keep the plastic coat supple I have to keep waxing it. I'm motivated as I'm told Alaskan roads are full of gravelly bits thrown up by passing vehicles.
All these nuances Rusty ignores. He's grown to enjoy the van and jumps up immediately and takes his place ready to ride. When we arrive he knows how to handle the great outdoors. With a sound nap.