PrologueWhat we are doing, and why we're doing it!
We had wanted to make it to Key West before calling an end to the 'Great Adventure', and we finally made it.
On the way down to the Keys, we stopped in the Ft. Lauderdale / Boca Raton area to visit family and friends. It was good to renew old relationships, and visit.
Despite the many appeals of Miami, we decided to simply pass through this time. We'll be back sometime specifically to see South Beach and the Art Deco architecture. This trip was to focus on the Keys.
The drive down to Key West passes across numerous other Keys and bridges. Many of the Keys are lightly developed, but some of them sport lavish new developments. The Keys, in general, are a place of extremes. Some developments ooze of money. Most areas tend to the humble side. All of them seem extremely vulnerable to hurricanes.
The bridges and causeways on the way are fascinating. Some are miles long. Many parallel older bridges. All of the bridges feature spectacular views of crystal clear shallow waters.
Key West is the southern most point of the United States, it's only 90 miles from Cuba. In the unlikely event that someone made to Key West without knowing about it's geographical significance, there's a marker to let you know where you are. The location of Key West seems to be the very reason for it's existence. It's southern location prompts images of tropical paradise, and it's remoteness has fostered an 'anything goes' attitude.
Key West has been a magnet for all sorts of eccentric folk. One of the most famous is Hemmingway, who's still a big man around town. Another interesting character was a guy named Mel Fisher. He was a treasure hunter who found the wreck of a Spanish galleon that held over 40 tons of gold and silver! The foundation that he started still runs a museum that has some great stuff! The highlight is a gold ingot in a case that's designed so that you can reach in and pick it up. It feels like lead, only richer.
It's the people that make Key West so interesting. They'll use any excuse for a party. Far and away the most common excuse to party is sunset. There's a large gathering every day as the sun dips toward the horizon. Vendors and street performers come out of the woodwork, and so many tourists crowd to the west end of the island that you'd swear that the whole island going to tilt to the west. While the mob scene could get tiring, the sunset really is great!