Friday, May 22, 2015

Mangrove Land


Let sleeping dogs lie. Good plan.
In order to get Cheyenne to pass out satisfactorily I took her for a good long walk, part of a cunning plan. 
We humans got in the boat and took off.  We moseyed around in the mangroves and went for a swim.
 I took a  few pictures of these very evocative roots. Red mangroves are astonishing plants.
 Mangrove Article
 A nice day to be out on the water. A good day to swim.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stock Island

Cheyenne loves Stock Island, this motley collection of trailer parks, light industry, stores, trash and smells.
If I need to get my dog exhausted without the fuss of working my way into Key West during the morning rush hour, a productive hour can be spent wearing her out on Stock Island.

Stock Island is where the workers live, where they retreat to just a mile outside the Big City where rents are marginally more affordable and where development threatens  the trailer parks.
Around here the banal is made special by the banana leaves and palms.
And trash takes on mysterious connotations of lost cultures and unknown rituals. They operate cock fights in secret on Stock Island and they pile their  trash like obelisks by the side of the road.
El Mocho a real Cuban diner now open for dinner. There is no concession to beauty here where fisherman have coffee and talk in the morning, where fighter pilots in the know come from the nearby base to eat real Cuban food, where I come sometimes to have bacon and eggs and Cuban coffee and Cuban toast. 
Sunlight cures all ills, including the architectural ills of slab sided cheap commercial construction made sparkling by a mirrored window.
School is a short scooter ride away, lunch tucked under the seat, Dad  riding.
No helmet is not perhaps the optimal solution especially as Florida actually requires one for juvenile riders, but I like the style of riding to school. Start them early.
The West Marine store on Stock Island is a rather bland and uninspired building like so many around here. But give it some early morning sun and a few palm fronds...
Rock paper scissors or some variation thereupon as they wait for the school bus. Haitian kids find Cheyenne to be unnaturally large. I'd like her to eat several of them to bring the point home that we should be left alone, but as usual Cheyenne only pays attention to that which interests her and live people and animals rarely do. 
There's lots of parking on Stock Island, which is a sidewalk-free zone. 
And some people find pink to be the ideal color for their pimped ride. I find it over the top but one can't argue that it is a speck of color in a sea of drab industrial uniformity.
Perhaps they are relocating, perhaps not. Perhaps the plans for hotels and resorts and marinas and upscale housing have taken their toll. Perhaps the business has run its natural course. Change is good they say but I remain unconvinced.
Come all the way to the End of the Road to live in an apartment complex built in a style that completely lacks style of any kind. But it does have palms.
The Tom Thumb is awake before anybody, the heart of Stock Island, the sole grocery store, the convivial gathering place for the marginal, the workers, the drifters and grifters, anyone with a moment to hang out and talk banalities with strangers. Coffee to go to work on.
This is the kind of daily rider cycling I appreciate. No special clothing, no special machinery, practicality oozes everywhere out of machine and rider. Sometimes the demands of a sport's rigid fashion requirements make the sport itself too complex, too involved to be available for a simple moment outdoors. By the time you've suited up the moment is gone. These eminently practical daily riders around the Lower keys show us the way to daily satisfaction, even if it may be court mandated and a driver's license reinstated will end the practice.
The new fire station built in the bat of an eye, help in the neighborhood.
A tired dog on her water bed recharging the batteries. Stock island served her well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cheyenne At The Pool

Even though we live on Cudjoe three miles  away I bring Cheyenne to her old stomping grounds on Ramrod Key from time to time. If the mosquitoes and sand flies aren't impossible this is quite a pleasant spot to wander around and enjoy the serene views of water and mangroves.
If the dawn is still, and if it has rained recently make sure to apply repellent of industrial strength in industrial quantities.
This is where we can be found frequently, around dawn after I have had a long night at work.
Come here too often and Cheyenne gets bored,
But this place attracts people and their dogs in droves, which is too noisy and busy for Cheyenne (or for me), but they leave behind attractive scents my dog enjoys chasing down.

Twenty minutes or half an hour at the pool and she's ready to go home, eat breakfast and catch up on her sleep.
Me too.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Signs Of Key West

 I love walking around Key West after the bars close at 4 am and before daylight starts waking people up around  seven am. One does run the risk of being swept away by a speeding bicycle but I got away with standing around in the middle of Lazy Way Lane this time...
 I like the silence, the empty streets, the weird other-worldliness of  Key West uninhabited. Oh, and the shiny bright signs.
Then there was the automated teller machine that wasn't automated at all. Out Of Service.  Lucky I didn't need any cash.
At that hour of the morning Duval Street definitely does not look it's best.  The debris from the night before reaches epic proportions. You wonder how they manage to create this Augean Stable of trash in just one evening of epic drinking. But they do, over and over again.
I was stone cold sober but this sign just got away from me. Each line is uneven and the hours are just to crammed in to make any sense.
The former county mayor was a most capable self promoter and here she still is, a decade on. Amazing. 
Cheyenne knows where the cat food bowls are and i make sure she only gets a taste. The cats need it more than she does.
 Two survivors...
 Kids stuff. You don't see window displays like this dedicated to youngsters that often. Its mostly t-shorts about matters sexual cheering up passersby in Key West.
Call me odd but I found this combination of signs somewhat disquieting. The Hyatt presents itself as what iut is, an expensive waterfront resort. But here they are begging for customers with some crappy happy hour special deal. The two just don't seem to go together to me. But this stupid notion of happy hour has become  so entrenched that we find it everywhere. A  bar without "happy" hour is inconceivable. Drink hard, drink fast and please don't drive. I'm on my motorcycle out there.