#60 Key West - the Lowest Key

Key West Trip
March 18-25, 2007
Day 3
120 miles

Waking up in paradise...
You could tell we had changed latitudes ...and attitudes.

Arriving after dark last night, we couldn't see the view. Morning light brought the tropics front and center. Sitting on our patio having my coffee. Yes, it's a different world down here.

The bikes are rested and ready to roll...

Loaded and ready to see what it's like further south.

Looking for Margaritaville...

(Key West is where Jimmy Buffett wrote the song.)

US Route 1 is the only artery through the Keys...the only way in and the only way out. Posted speeds run 45-55 between the wide spots. The wide spots with communities have lower posted speed limits. One should NEVER BE IN A HURRY when in the Keys. Even if you don't see the police, the locals taking life in "tropical time" will slow those trying to rush through. The 106 miles from Key Largo to Key West will likely take about three hours...unless it's busier than normal.

The original Overseas Highway opened in 1938. There are over 40 bridges with the longest being almost 7 miles long.

That's the old Route 1. Now in disrepair, it has been abandoned except for the sections maintained for fishing piers. You see many small islands as you make your way along US1. Some seem to be a bit more developed than others.

The Keys are made up of about 1,700 islands.

This group of islands stretching from the tip of the Florida's mainland to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas National Park, got their name, "The Keys," from the Spanish, cayos, meaning "small islands." Quick stop for pictures.

As you look back behind me, you see the Atlantic Ocean to the right and the Gulf of Mexico to the left. Looks like the waters might get all mixed together under the bridges...guess they ain't too particular about that sort of thing down here. Our hotel...The Southernmost.

We unloaded our luggage at the hotel and took a quick ride around the tourist area of Key West along Duval Street. First, we found the Southernmost Point buoy to take a picture since it is just a couple blocks from our hotel. Couldn't get a good picture with so many people milling around waiting to take their souvenir picture.

Disappointment: Can you tell that half the people in this picture are statues? Apparently the powers that be in Key West thought you might need "friends" to pose with you in your Southernmost picture. Never mind that you don't know them and they just get in the way and block the view of the buoy. Maybe we'll come back and try again later.

Look it! I found Sloppy Joe's! Wasn't hard. It's right in the midst of the Duval Drag.

Interesting Factoid:

Sloppy Joe's opened for business Dec 13, 1933 -- The day Prohibition was repealed.

Sloppy Joe's has a live streaming web cam set up. You can log on to www.sloppyjoes.com/sloppycam/ to view the SloppyCam.

Of course, for Shonah, I went right up in front of the stage to wave. Anything for the poor folk still slaving at HCSO. Success was ours. She got to see me LIVE on the SloppyCam!Shonah asked if Spring Break was still going on...it was. But as I look around the Sloppy joint, most everyone is my age or older...mostly older! This is my kind of Spring Break! Must be the youngsters are still scattered out among the local beaches. I bet Sloppy Joe's starts hopping later though...

Traffic is pretty heavy as you might expect in a small tourist town. But most of the locals ride scooters. Many of the tourists rent them to get around Duval and Mallory Square area. Here Fleeter shares a parking spot with a local. Parking spaces are rare along the drag, but the city has motorcycle/scooter parking areas set up every couple blocks -- even they fill up though! If you haven't heard, Chickens Rule in Key West! They are everywhere. You see more than if you were driving through McDonald's farm. And Key West Chickens usually they get the right-of-way.This is just a nice wrought iron grate I saw in Key West.Mallory Square is the place to be at sunset. There are plenty street entertainers & venders and generally good for "people watching."After we shut down Mallory Square and ate at "Two Friends Patio" (conch fritters for me...had to, it's Key West!), we went on a photo-op mission. Maybe later at night there wouldn't be so much traffic and tourists in our way.

We know that US1 is the only way in and out of Key West, therefore this is where ROUTE US1 BEGINS. US1 spans from Key West all the way to Maine. And this is where it all begins...MILE 0.

So anywhere you see a mile marker along US1 in Florida -- that is how many miles you are from Key West.

Everyone knows who the Parrot Heads are...right?!

On our way back to the hotel, we thought we'd try again to get a picture at the Southernmost Point buoy. But now it's dark and raining...can't let that stop us!

Who ARE those people always motioning toward the Point?! And why are they always there?!

Night at the Southernmost Hotel in Key West, Florida.

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