A Trip Down the Overseas Highway

Days 255-259; March 7-10, 2016

Total Miles Traveled: 2504

One random Tuesday we decided to revisit (3rd trip for me and 2nd for Jim) Key West, which turns out to be a worthy blog post. Not having a car is often inconvenient but in this case provided the opportunity to utilize public transportation – a $1.50 senior rate bus ride anywhere in the Keys. It was a beautiful trip on the Overseas Highway (USA 1), across bridges, and through mangroves with breathtaking views of the Gulf on one side and Atlantic on the other.

We boarded about midway in route and got the last two seats facing sideways to the road offering an interesting view and perspective on the scenery and our fellow 8:30 a.m. travelers. This was a packed commuter bus with those going to work, appointments and getting their babies to daycare. No conversation ensued among the travelers but here is what I learned by the behaviors and cell conversations around me:

  • One older gentleman, likely homeless, has a concerned network that he politely rejects while just movin’ on.
  • Another marginally groomed but polite man, likely a Vietnam veteran, has a sense of humor and relishes in the kind attention of at least one staff person at the Key West VA medical clinic.
  • A young mom is worried about the water being shut off while skillfully nurturing two beautiful baby daughters.
  • A tall, stately, stylishly dressed, eye catching young woman was in need of two sheets of paper from Jim’s notebook which she neatly folded and put into a book on her lap.

 

Bus driver, Fred, greeted most by name and while a tad gruff, cared about everyone individually and for the group collectively. It is clearly a community.  We got off the bus being careful to note where we should return for the trip home as the spot was marked simply by a weathered 6×6” bus symbol.

 

A breakfast of omelets and mimosas at Bagatelle was next (we are in Key West after all) and then a tour of the quiet early morning streets accompanied by the vibrant colored roosters meandering along with us. Throughout the day we shopped, snacked, walked endlessly (over 16,00 steps or 6.5 miles) and by pre-agreement we selected the Audubon House and Museum as our cultural experience. While John Audubon (author of Birds of America, published between 1827-1838) never stepped into this house, folklore had him there, the Audubon house name stuck and the wealthy community of the 1950’s honored the story and restored the home and museum in his name. Audubon sketched 435 birds for the book of which 22 were Florida fowl. You might ask, how did he sketch in such detail? Well, since photos weren’t an option, he shot the birds and then had a “still life” from which to sketch. Think about that the next time you snap your cell camera or draw a picture!

 

We planned on taking the 7:30 p.m. back home but were near the bus stop and climbed aboard the 5:02 instead. As it turned out there were forward facing seats available hosting a much different scenery and community on this trip. Several passengers were obviously tourists just like us including a group of boisterous young men but there were also the weary workers – young and old – returning home. About half way, the bus unexpectedly stopped alongside the road for the female driver and one elderly traveler to step to the door and enjoy a cigarette while the boisterous young men hopped off the bus and into the woods for a quick pee. It took us a bit to figure out what was going on but once moving again we became anxious about missing our stop in the pitch dark. A scruffy, local appearing young man in front of us, overhearing our conversation, coached us to a successful departure. Among other things this day, I thought about Curt as a new college graduate when he lived, learned and taught sailing right here.

IMG_9437Me standing in the Audubon House Gardens.  The coolness was a refreshing as it looks!

IMG_9449Biggby with us everywhere.

 

Other events and observations:

  • For entertainment we watched the 1987, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray production of “Dirty Dancing”.  While slow at moments, it was a wonderful trip down memory lane and we “Danced to the Music”!
  • I have mastered making iced coffee and smoothies with my little blender. Our meals are simple onboard as we eat out so much.
  • Jim is making progress with his second carving of the trip – a life-like Pelican. He works hard on boat maintenance including cleaning the bottom of both the Namaste and Dinghy, the air filter and other stuff that requires regular inspection and cleaning.
  • We enjoyed Sunday morning breakfast at the Sunset Grill (probably my now favorite restaurant on Marathon) after a long walk on the Seven Mile Bridge.
  • IMG_9412A favorite sunset picture taken from the Faro Blanco dock
  • The groomer provided a much-needed clip for Sammy yesterday. She smells good and is none the worse for ware, even if the pet shop reeked of heat and cigarette smoke. The price you pay for Key living!

 

IMG_9434Sammy and her Daisy Dog friend Molly, pre-haircut for Sammy and post-haircut for Molly

IMG_9474Beautiful, clean and happy Sammy post-haircut!

 

Quote of the day: – Marianne Williamson (although this quote references Bernie, I believe it pertains to any one of us supporting any candidate in this difficult election, 2016.)

“Only one thing could derail the political revolution now rising up: that would be if its adherents fail to demonstrate the dignity and lack of self-indulgence nonviolence requires. We need to keep it passionate but keep it classy. We don’t have to hate anybody, nor should we. We need only find the sacred place of genuine, heartfelt conscience and moral integrity, and speak it. Bernie himself doesn’t stoop to personal attacks and neither should we. This has to stay high-minded or it will lack cosmic support. No message, however loving, is going anywhere unless it is delivered with love. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The end is inherent in the means.” Those of us who want to create a more peaceful world cannot give what we don’t have. People hear us on the level we speak from. If we speak from anger, we will only produce anger. Moral outrage is not born of anger, but of love. That doesn’t mean all gooey and sugar sweet; we’re still passionate, and moral indignation is appropriate. But we can feel the difference within ourselves when we’re not yet reaching the place of what Buddha called “right speech.” When we pray to find that center, when we surrender our own judgments and grievances and ask to be delivered to higher ground, we’re even smarter, more savvy, more effective. Game on!” ( Posted on Facebook 3/9/16 at 1:02 p.m.)

Boat theme name of the day: My Girl, My Office, My Medicine

Bad boat theme name of the day: Piranha, Raptor

Happy Birthday to: Heather (we will celebrate together soon), Ilene (Mrs. H), and Diana (our lovely Eastern European server at the Bagatelle who was struggling to turn 30 – it is all relative!)

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