Friday, May 10, 2013

Road Trip to the Mainland

Since I landed in Key West, FL, I had not been farther north than Marathon; about halfway up the keys. I had a day off, so I borrowed Amy and Bill's Wrangler, and hit the road. Key West doesn't have a big variety of department stores, and I needed a few things. My plan was to go to Homestead and go shopping.

US 1, also known as Overseas Highway, begins in Old Town Key West at Mile Marker 0 (which, by the way, is the most stolen sign), and proceeds up through the Keys to the mainland. This is a two lane road, with a speed limit of 45 mph through most of it, increasing to 55 in a few sections. Each Key has a name, even 'No Name Key', and Mile Markers are given for directions, rather than addresses.

"Turn at the Circle K store at MM 11..."
"Whale Harbor, at MM 83.5"

 Just south of Marathon is the Seven Mile Bridge. Like it's name indicates, it measures seven miles, with an arc at about MM 44, with a clearance of 65 feet at high tide. If your mast is taller than that, you must sail down and around Key West to get to the other side of Marathon.

Marathon is more popular in the cruising community, because it is much cheaper than Key West and provides better anchorages.  Sombrero Beach is a nice place, and located on the Atlantic side of Marathon. This is where 'Sun-Worshipper' and I anchored for an afternoon of sun.

On up a little farther is Islamorada. It took me a little while to learn how to pronounce it  ..... the 's' is silent.  I was driving along and suddenly saw this huge art piece in front of a business. I had to stop and take a closer look. The detail is awesome.

Flats Fishing with Dream Catcher Charters
The drive through the keys is very beautiful. You see mostly smaller power boats, because the water is very shallow, averaging about 4 feet. These areas are known as the Flats. Hopefully, I will get to fish these flats soon.

As I was walking out the door to begin my road trip, my four year old grandson, Aiden, handed me his compass and told me to take it so I could find my way home. He turned to walk away, then turned back and pointed to the compass dial and told me, "The red mark is home."

After being on the narrow streets of Key West for a few months, it was a strange feeling to drive in six lanes of traffic when I got to Homestead. And I didn't even have to dodge scooters or tourist on rental bicycles. Although I was only gone for the day, I found myself missing Key West... it now feels comfortable and like HOME.

The sun was getting low when I got close to home, so I pulled the visor down to keep the sun out of my eyes. When I looked into the mirror on the back of the visor, this is what was looking back at me.


If you've ever gone to the bank,
 and found a 'Gone Fishing' sign in the window,
you're in Conch Country.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Lezlie, thanks for allowing me to tag along on your road trip. I love the part about your grandson . . . children are so sweet, and you never know what they might say next :)
    Smooth sailing, Connie :)