Friday, August 27, 2010

Onward ho!

In the wee hours of the morning...
while the honeymooners were yet sleeping, we headed (in our NON Cube car!) down the Florida coast on Highway 95 toward Ft. Lauderdale and The Florida Keys. 

With pedal to the metal, as they say, (too bad I don't have the ability to add a cheesy soundtrack right here-- some Steppenwolf "Born to be Wild" would really set the proper tone, I think.) we sped down the highway hoping to make it to the Mile Marker 0 of Highway 1 by  noon. Sorry no time for MacDonalds!

Finally, we are taking the exit to Highway One which is the only way to the Florida Keys and Key West.

The first blush of the Gulf is exciting even though we've already enjoyed the Atlantic in St. Augustine. 

Flipper in a whole new show:

Tourism silliness begins the moment you hit Key Largo (the first island in the chain of Keys on the way to Key West)- the irony of the many seafood restaurants across from the observatories always baffles me. Perhaps I am too sensitive but it seems crazy to be serving your main source of business like they are as plentiful as chickens when people enjoy looking at them.   


We love this drive, it was a little longer drive from St. Augustine than we had hoped (but worth it as St. Augustine held so many charms and we had a wonderful time meeting some new friends!), but we love it and I took plenty of pictures as fast as I could.

I can't get enough of the blue skies set against the ribboned blue green gulf.

In January, when my breath is frozen and my toes are icy cold, I will look back at these pictures and smile...

 won't you?
Onward to Tavernier and Islamorada!
We fly by the Dolphin Research Center. No time to stop today...

There's generally a deer or two to be seen on Deer Key but not today and we sped by without a sighting and no pictures to take.
Aha! The first glimpse of the Little Railway that could. Remember Henry Flagler?

 Henry Flagler decided he needed a transportation system to help support his hotel ventures in St. Augustine. He began by purchasing several short line railroads that would later become known as the Florida East Coast Railway. Eventually he decided to take this line all the way down to Biscayne Bay and after declining the honor of having it named Flagler he encouraged them to name it after the original Indian name "Mayaimi" which is of course now spelled Miami.

After building the train track to Miami, Flagler decided the track should go all the way down the keys to Key West and possibly even end with a barge that wound up in Cuba! A perfectly brilliant idea....

Begun in 1905, the project was immediately labeled Flagler's Folly. According to some records almost 500 men were killed in the process of building the extensive series of bridges (who needs those stinking unions anyway?). It was threatened by three hurricanes and cost approximately 50 million dollars...

It was complete in 1912 and was then called the "Eighth Wonder of the World"

In 1935, the "Storm of the Century" a category 5 hurricane that killed more than 400 people, destroyed much of the bridge in the Middle Keys. The Florida East Coast Railway was unable to rebuild so the roadbed and remaining structure were sold to the state of Florida which reused much of the infrastructure for a highway to Key West. The bridges you see here are all that remains of the old tressles from Flaglers folly.    

Now we're on the Seven Mile Bridge getting ever closer to the Southernmost point. 

If you have car trouble on the Seven Mile Bridge you are in trouble because there is no where to go... really.

Finally, almost eight and a half hours later...
I guess we want to go south!

Right turn? Left?

It doesn't matter. All ways eventually lead to...

and our first toast!


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